Daniel Finlayson programme article

Posted : 3rd December 2022

‘Look at Linfield’ this week catches up with right full-back Daniel Finlayson, the on-loan St. Mirren defender who has been a regular in the Blues’ back four this season.

Just five months into his season-long loan spell, Finlayson has already made 30 competitive appearances for Linfield this season and he says he’s loving every minute of life at Windsor Park.

“I’ve really enjoyed it here so far. It’s been a difficult season with multiple challenges. I loved playing in Europe – that was a great experience, even if it ended in disappointment. I feel that we’re now starting to get a bit of momentum again after a tough start and we are looking strong.

“I have played a lot of minutes which has been good. At this stage of my career, I feel I need a good run of games in senior football and I’ve got that so far this season. With that, I’m learning all the time and it’s been really good for me. I’ve had a wee knock which I picked up against Larne and I thought I would have been okay for Crusaders last weekend, but I was struggling with it again and that’s why I was substituted. I am hoping that having no midweek match will have allowed me to recover and hopefully, I’ll be fit for Carrick Rangers.”

Unfortunately, Daniel has been far from the only player experiencing an injury of sorts recently. Blues boss David Healy was without nine senior players for last week’s draw against Crusaders, and during the match, Stephen Fallon was added to the injury list. After a busy November containing eight fixtures, the Blues had a midweek break this week and Daniel is hopeful that can be beneficial for the team.

“I love playing twice a week – I feel it can help you get a bit of momentum going which we have been doing. When you’re on a good run like we are, you want to be playing matches – however, in terms of the squad, it was probably for the best that we had a break from midweek action this week as we have a number of players out injured at the moment. It also gives us more time to work on the training pitch and hopefully, we can welcome some players back for this weekend’s match.”

After going close on several occasions throughout the season, the Glaswegian got off the mark when he slotted in the equaliser in Linfield’s 2-1 win over Glenavon three weeks ago. Following his first Linfield goal, the defender is hopeful it’s the first of many now that he’s got the monkey off his back.

“I should probably have scored five or six goals this season from set-pieces as I have missed some chances. It was great to get off the mark a few weeks ago, against Glenavon and a nice feeling to score my first Linfield goal. Scoring goals and being an attacking threat was an area I have targeted improvement in. I think the more games you play, the more understanding you develop for movement in the box and the type of deliveries to expect into the box. Even in the last couple of matches, against Larne and Crusaders, I’ve had a few chances which I nearly scored and generally, I feel more of a threat in the box now.”

Looking ahead to the match against Carrick Rangers, Daniel says there’s a returning air of confidence about the Blues who are looking to make it ten matches unbeaten.

“Carrick Rangers are a good side and they’ve shown that this season. They are by no means a team that just floats about the bottom, because they can mix it with the big boys as well, as we know from losing in Carrick early in the season. We know they’ll be physical and well-organised, and they’ll be right up for it as coming to Windsor Park is a big occasion for visiting teams. We just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing over the last month but with a bit more cutting edge this week.

“The confidence of the team has been rising along this unbeaten run of eight or nine matches that we are currently on. Of course it was a sticky period for us when we lost to Glentoran and Larne in October. It was tough time for everybody around the Club and things needed to change, which is why we’ve went on this run of form. We were wounded and now we are back in the race again. We still aren’t where we want to be in the table but I have no doubt that with the quality we have in the squad, we have good reason to be ambitious this season.”

Following this weekend’s match against Carrick Rangers is a crunch League Cup semi-final against Glentoran at The Oval, and then next weekend sees Finlayson return to the place where he spent last season on loan, as the Blues take on Kelty Hearts in the SPFL Trust Trophy.

“I loved my time at Kelty, it was a real learning experience for me. I won the league when I was there and I have nothing but good memories from my time at the Club. I have a lot of respect for the Club, the owners, and the boys who play there. They are a good footballing side with a lot of good players, particularly in the middle of the park. They’re a physical side as well and although they’ve had a bit of a slow start to their season, I think they’re starting to pick up now. It’ll be a good game and I look forward to seeing familiar faces.

“They’re based in Fife, about an hour away from Glasgow where I grew up. My links to Northern Ireland come through my grandparents who are from here. My Granda's side of the family are from Strabane and I came here quite a lot as a kid, so I was very familiar with the surroundings when I signed for Linfield. I also knew some of the players here and along with my connections to Northern Ireland, I would say that’s why I have enjoyed it so much. It feels like home and not much different to my original home of Glasgow.”

Best wishes to Daniel as he and his team mates continue targeting silverware on all available fronts over the coming weeks.
Next Match
Queen's University
League Cup
Kick-off : 3rd October @ 7:45pm
Venue : Windsor Park
Last Match
Newry City
Irish Premier League Match Report