He’s brought style, craft, bags of pace and, most importantly, a bundle of goals to the table to help keep Carrick on track for a trophy treble, writes John Gillespie.
Miguel Chines may not be the youngest sharpshooter on the Taylor’s Avenue block, but he does have vast experience. That maturity combined with a clinical finishing ability, has seen him produce goals galore since his summer move from Knockbreda.
The Portuguese striker has netted 27 times for Championship 1 leaders Rangers - a monumental return for a striker in his mid-30s. But the former Linfield man, who was no stranger to finding the net at Breda Park, revealed that when he put pen to paper for Gary Haveron he wasn’t entirely convinced he could produce the goods on a regular basis.
“When Gaz signed me at the start of the season he had this view that I would come here and play with Ben (Roy) and Adam Dick and that I would score goals. Funnily enough, I think he actually saw more in me than I did in myself.
“When I arrived I scored a couple of goals but then I hit a dry patch and I thought to myself, maybe this is not working but the goals came again. I never stopped believing that I would score but once they starting to flow the confidence came back again and I kept going and going. It took me a while to actually adjust to how the boys play and what runs they make, but now it’s like I almost know what they are going to do just by their body movement, so we are starting to gel.”
Eight of his tally have come from the spot and for Carrick fans there’s no other man they’d rather have standing over the ball from 12 yards than the ice-cold Chines who remains so composed under pressure.
“It’s a poker-face, you see,” he said. “There’s always a bit of concern on penalties but I don’t think there’s a player who wouldn’t get concerned when they are in that situation. You’ve got to be confident to step up, otherwise there is no point to even go up there, whether that’s me or anybody else in the team. I know that any one of us is good enough step up and do it. They are all confident boys who can take a penalty, no problem.”
The 34-year-old remains coy when the subject of a potential treble is broached, but added: “The position we are in now keeps everybody in the group excited but, again, we cannot even look past the next game. We’ve got ourselves in a great position. We’re going for the league and the Intermediate Cup final as well as managing to win the Steel and Sons.”
Asked if it’s a real confidence-booster for the rest of the team to know they have a centre-forward who will put the ball in the net, Chines replied: “Listen, it’s actually the other way around. It’s great for me to see the boys at the back working their socks off to make sure we don’t concede. We know that we won’t concede many but we need to make sure that once we have our chances we make sure we capitalise on them. The midfielders and defenders - they’re the ones who actually make the job easier for me as a forward.”