Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Warren meets... Craig Mackail-Smith

I was due to interview another Peterborough player on Saturday in Craig Alcock. Unfortunately, he didn't travel down with the squad however, I did see another Craig; Brighton forward Mackail-Smith lurking around after watching his former team mates play and I managed to grab a few words with him.

WL: Craig, you started your career kicking around in the non-league game, how were those experiences?

CMS: Yeah, it was fantastic, I think I've worked hard to get to where I am today and non-league kind of shaped my career and built me as a player. It taught me a lot about appreciating the game and, as I say, I wouldn't be the player I am today without my non-league background.

THE BOY'S GONNA BE SPECIAL: Craig during his Arlesey days
WL: So it's fair to say, playing at non-league grounds galvanised you to make sure you made it as a pro?

CMS: Yeah, definitely, I've been to some tough grounds and played some tough teams and tough defenders so yeah, it shapes you as a person and as a man. It introduces you to the men's kind of football and I always look out for the teams that I used to play for.

WL: You went to Dagenham & Redbridge, John Still brought you in, along with many other players from the lower leagues, how much of an influence did he have on you?

CMS: He was fantastic, he game me the opportunity taking me from Arlesey Town and changed me from a winger into a forward. He allowed me just to play my natural game and, as you say, he's brought on some great players like Paul Benson and Sam Saunders so it shows he's got an eye for talent in the non-leagues. He's done fantastically well with his Dagenham side.

WL: You then moved to Peterborough, you took a while to stamp your mark and had to bide your time there but soon struck up a brilliant partnership with Aaron McLean. It must have been great to suddenly get loads of games and bang in lots of goals?

CMS: Yeah, I think someone said that we couldn't play together because we were too similar and then I think we both ended up scoring 100 goals between us so, it was a fantastic partnership and we complemented each other so well on the pitch and got on well off the pitch so it was great to play together. I had a fantastic time at Peterborough, have great memories and I always try and get to games when I can.

DEADLY DUO: Craig celebrates yet another goal with Aaron McLean
WL: You scored 35 goals in your last season at Posh which triggered your move to Brighton, how big a transfer was that for you in terms of moving away from that area where you had played for a while?

CMS: I'd been at Peterborough for almost five years so it was a big change. Brighton had just moved into a new stadium, were a club on the up and were looking to push on into the Premiership. I felt it was a club that matched my ambitions to push on and Gus (Poyet) obviously sold me the club, sold me the vision and I moved there. I felt that I had a pretty good season but not fantastic; I felt I could have maybe scored a few more goals last season but it was a good place to start and hopefully this coming season, I can push on and
score a lot more goals.

WL: I think it was a record transfer at the time and still is, did that put pressure on you to succeed?

CMS: Yeah, it probably put a little bit of pressure, maybe more pressure than I put on myself; I should have just gone out there, played my natural game and enjoyed myself. Sometimes things are made a bit difficult and you go out there trying to justify your price tag, maybe that didn't help me and maybe I didn't score as many goals due to that. However, I have learnt from that and this season I'm just going to relax and enjoy!
RECORD BREAKER: Move could rise to £3.5m
WL: Previously, you've played for England C, from there you've then gone on to play for the full Scotland national side, that must have been a great experience as well?

CMS: Yeah it's been fantastic. I wanted to play for Scotland for a long time and it didn't come around when George Burley was in charge but Craig Levein (Scotland manager) gave me the chance about a year and a half ago and I love it. Everytime I pull the shirt on I wear it with pride and I love representing Scotland.

WL: So you made your debut against Brazil of all teams, that must have been an eye-opener!?!

CMS: Yeah it was fantastic to play against the world champions and unbelievable world class players in my first international game and it's certainly given me the appetite to get more and more caps and of course to play against better teams.
Craig meets Barcelona right back Dani Alves!
WL: Finally Craig, your in your prime at 28 now, where can we expect to see you in five years time... maybe at the Broadfield!?

CMS: (Laughs) Hopefully still in the Premiership. Hopefully I'll get to the Premiership, play there a few years.  You never know, once I get that little bit older I'll see where I go from there; maybe a bit of coaching or a bit of management. We'll see what happens!

I would like to thank Craig for taking the time out to speak to me.


  1. Spain are World Champs

  2. Do do do do do do do do do do do do do do CRAIG MACKAIL-SMITH