Dunfermline Athletic

McCann looking for bounce back

Friday, 8th Oct 2021

Lewis McCann missing out on football with Dunfermline and possible Euro qualifiers with Northern Ireland

Life seems to have passed him by in the last six months claimed Dunfermline Athletic’s young striker Lewis McCann while his older brother, Ali, has been winning cups, playing in Europe, representing his country in World Cup qualifiers and earning himself a move to the English Championship. Lewis has proved that he is a fighter however, been battling back from a niggling injury and attempting a comeback as quickly as possible for a club sitting bottom of the Scottish Championship.

There can be no question that this McCann has confronted his ailment. Last season Lewis experienced pain in his pubic and like all young men expected it just go away. That was back in December and he played all the way through it until come the start of this season, when he just felt that he couldn’t bear it any more. He explained:-

“I went and got a check up and it turned out that it was a hernia. I had to get an operation so I went down to London for the operation and after that it was just about building back up, it has been a long time coming.”

Lewis and the staff at Dunfermline have worked hard to get the 20 year old back to match fitness and the manager has continually given optimistic updates saying that he is ‘nearly there’.

“That’s the thing, it has been almost there for about three weeks now. I have not quite been fully fit until last week when I would say when I felt back to normal. It is about continuing to get game time, moving on from it and making sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

All heartwarming stuff from a player who has had to watch from the sidelines as his team mates have gone eight Championship matches without collecting three points anywhere:-

“It is frustrating because it’s a big factor that we haven’t won a league game. You are sitting there almost feeling helpless thinking ‘I could be doing something for the boys’. Then again I was out of the picture and just had to wait my time. Hopefully that is coming up.”

The successes of his brother, Ali, 18 months his elder, is a positive to be shared but there is also a feeling of what might have been possible had injury not afflicted him:-

“Ali has been terrible for me, really” he joked, “he just keeps kicking on, doesn’t he? Just rubbing it in my face while I’m sitting there helpless. I can’t move and he’s picking up trophies and moving down to Preston.”

Both brothers came through the Hutchison Vale club in Edinburgh but while Ali joined St Johnstone, Lewis went to Hearts and then Fife Elite. Tough as it might be for close brothers who are competitive, Lewis is incredibly proud of Ali, part of the Saints cup double squad last season:-

“He is doing amazingly well, is an international player and just keeps getting better. It has positives and negative, because you get people saying ‘oh, you’re Ali McCann’s brother’ and you want to be your own person. But, at the same time, I’m so happy for him.“

Above: Ali and Lewis McCann in opposition at East End Park last season

It has been a long journey to get back on the pitch for Lewis but he takes some comfort that life wasn’t always straight forward for his older brother either. Ali went out on loan to Stranraer from February to May 2019 where he got 13 starts to get experience of first team football in League One.

The loan enabled Ali to solidify his place at St Johnstone — and ever since then, he has been an ever present. Since making his debut in July 2018 Lewis has made 44 appearances for Dunfermline but only 13 starts. His 44th appearance was his comeback towards the end of the Pars last match away to Queen of the South and although the trip to Dumfries was painful for the squad, management and supporters Lewis was glad to get on to the pitch, his first appearance since against Alloa Athletic on the last Saturday in April.

“Tell me about it. It has been way too long, I have had the right amount of time off but it is so long since I had been out there. Obviously it was not a great way to come back in but it’s a positive that I have come back in at all.”

With the international break and no involvement on the SPFL Trust Trophy Lewis acknowledged that it is just his luck having to wait another two weeks for a game. Had he been fit he could have been part of the Northern Ireland squad playing Euro qualifiers this week in Moscow’s Arena Khimki:-

“The under-21 boys are going away to Russia and I’m not involved because I’m injured. But I wish them all the best. It’s a bit annoying when you can’t go because of injury.

“You feel helpless, again. I can’t reiterate that enough, it’s so frustrating not to be able to play and seeing the squads come out and your name isn’t on it. And because you are injured, it’s not a case of you doing anything wrong. It’s annoying, more than anything else.”

Lewis has 6 caps for Northern Ireland at U19 level and 4 at U21 level. In July the U21 team manager Andy Crosby left for a job in England as Assistant Manager at Port Vale and his place has been taken over by John Schofield:-

“I have spoken to, but I haven’t been able to have a sit down with him” but Lewis knows that it is matters nearer to hand that need the immediate attention. Reflecting back on Dunfermline, Lewis added:-

“I’d say the belief and confidence is still there. Obviously, the situation is a bit of a downer. There have been moment when we have been close, just grasping at a win, and it has slipped away, but I’ve not noticed a culture of people not wanting to be there or not wanting to play for the manager. That’s down to the coaching staff keeping us positive.

“It’s that bit of luck, a big toe-poke into the corner — it was gutting watching that go in. However, that’s in the past and it becomes about how you bounce back from it.”

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