Thursday 21 March 2019

Payne out to prove there's life after Parkhead

Ex-Celt rebuilding career back in Dublin

Brandon Payne in action for the Ireland Under 18 team against the Czech Republic
Brandon Payne in action for the Ireland Under 18 team against the Czech Republic
Brandon Payne in the Lucan United colours

A spell at Parkhead was anything but Paradise for young hopeful Brandon Payne.

But the highly-rated teenager, back on home soil, is determined to make the most of his second chance in the game and carve out a career for himself.

Now 19, Payne had high hopes when he joined Celtic from Lucan United in 2014, and Celtic had big expectations of the midfielder who had already impressed at underage international level.

But perhaps the move to Scotland was doomed before it even happened, as Payne suffered a broken leg while playing for Lucan ahead of his formal move to Glasgow.

The transfer went ahead but Payne was held back by a series of injuries while on the books of the Bhoys and when he was released at the end of his contract last summer, it was no major surprise.

He has since rejoined Lucan United, and has hopes of a League of Ireland career, but is enjoying the rough and tumble.

"You get a few kicks from lads, people say things to you on the pitch as they know you have been away and it hasn't worked out for you but you get on with it," says Payne.

"You just let it go over your head and get on with playing.

"I needed to get fit as I'd been injured for a good while so signing for Lucan United made sense, so I could get games, I hadn't played that many 90 minutes in a long time.

"Once I had left Celtic and was back in Dublin, and I'd been here for three weeks, it was a case of 'what do I do now?'

"I knew I wasn't fit enough to go and play League of Ireland football right away so I had to get my head down and do my own thing, keep my fitness up and lose a bit of weight.

"The plan is to get back playing at a good standard so hopefully I can get a team in the League of Ireland, I am open to anything and long term I would like to get away again."

Payne is kept busy, working away on an FAI/ETB scheme in Clondalkin where young players put through their paces by highly-regarded coach Harry Kenny, a chance for players to find a path in the game.

He's also played in a trial match for a PFAI team made up of out-of-contract players, with a view to landing an offer from a League of Ireland side.

"Hopefully I can get another chance, I have been working hard for it so fingers crossed," he says.

"I don't have many qualifications so this course is helping me and I am enjoying that, and training five days a week is great to build up your fitness and your confidence, training and then playing for Lucan at the weekend.

"I am enjoying the course with Harry, I will get whatever qualifications I can from this and try to move things on."

Injuries made sure that Payne never had a clear run of things in Scotland. "I had signed a pre-contract with Celtic but I broke my leg before I went over. I got to go over a year later and signed a pro contract, things were ok for a while but I just kept picking up injuries and it just got worse as time went on," he says.

"When my contract was up they let me go, I hadn't played that many games so I wasn't able to prove myself. They said they couldn't offer me a contract as they hadn't seen enough of me and I just accepted it, there was nothing I could say back as I hadn't played."

Payne admits now that education was sacrificed for his football.

"When you are younger it's in your head that you are going away, that you are going to be a footballer, so I found it hard to concentrate on school and you end up leaving in Third Year.

"I did my Junior Cert, I stayed in school for a few months after that but then went to Celtic in January 2014," he says.

"At the time you just want to go away, you want to be a footballer, that's all you have dreamed about as a kid so you don't think too much about school.

"It's hard to focus on English and maths when you just want to get away.

"I am older and wiser now and if I did go back to the UK I would be a lot wiser about life over there."

Promoted articles

Entertainment News