Gary McCutcheon believes his switch from Ballymena United to Crusaders could be the last big move of his career.
The Sky Blues fought hard to keep the sharp-shooting Scot at the Showgrounds earlier this year but McCutcheon pledged his allegiance to the Crues cause in a bid to land silverware.Other than a league cup winner’s medal from his time with Portadown, the 33-year-old has suffered as glittering prizes have slipped from his grasp.
Now in the twilight of his career, McCutcheon wants his moment in the sun and Setanta Sports Cup and Irn-Bru Cup winners Crusaders are giving him the platform to live his dream.
After scoring an incredible 34 goals for United in his second season with the club, the former Portadown hitman looked for a new exciting challenge at this stage of his career and he saw it at Seaview.
“Part of the reason why I joined Crusaders is because I know it was going to be a very big and important move for me at this stage of my career,” said McCutcheon who was named Ulster Footballer of the Year by the Castlereagh Glentoran Supporters’ Club.
“It was important to know that I could achieve something and win a trophy. There were options I had but Crusaders are proven trophy winners and I thought it would be nice to be a part of that.
“Every footballer wants to win silverware and I’m no different. You never say never in football and who knows what will happen down the line but Crusaders could be my last club if things go really well.
“That’s why I had to get the move right. At Portadown we won a League Cup and went close to a few bigger prizes a few times but it wasn’t to be.
“When Portadown got to an Irish Cup Final I sat it out injured. But hopefully I can get my hands on trophies with Crusaders.
“We have a strong squad and now we must go out and show that to everyone.
“I was very impressed when I heard Stephen’s (Baxter) vision for the club and hopefully I can play a key role in that.
“The squad has got stronger in recent seasons and I believe he’s building something special there.”
McCutcheon has already scored two goals in pre-season and if he wears the same shooting boots as the ones that terrified defences on Warden Street then Crusaders could find themselves in a sustained title challenge.
But smashing Linfield’s dominance when it comes to the Gibson Cup is a much bigger mountain to climb than the picturesque Cavehill in north Belfast.
“The league table told us Linfield are miles ahead of everyone else but Crusaders’ problem last season was falling so far behind in the first half and hopefully we can put that right,” added McCutcheon who trains at Stranraer and travels over at weekends with his former Sky Blues team-mate Allan Jenkins.
“It’s all about the start for us and keeping pace with them. There is no doubt Linfield have a great squad but so do we. We have 20 to 21 players strong enough to play in the first team.
“The Blues are the team to catch but we’ll go for it. I got to know the boys on the Norway trip and they are a great bunch.
“There has to be a good spirit in the team if you want success and we have it.
“Everyone’s raring to go.”