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O'Neill kept me on right track, says Portadown star Twigg

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Crystal ball game: Stuart McKinley gives his Irish League predictions for the weekend

Crystal ball game: Stuart McKinley gives his Irish League predictions for the weekend

Crystal ball game: Stuart McKinley gives his Irish League predictions for the weekend

Gary Twigg has revealed that Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill saved his career.

And now the town where the international boss was born is reaping the benefits.

Twigg has scored six times in Portadown's last four league games – a run of form that has landed him the BT Sport Player of the Month award and also helped Ronnie McFall's men to top the Premiership after nine games.

The 29-year-old Glaswegian is now enjoying his football more than ever and he can trace that back to when he first played for O'Neill five years ago.

"Michael O'Neill has been a massive influence on my career," said Twigg.

"I was playing different positions at the clubs I was with and before I went to Shamrock Rovers I struggled with a lot of injuries.

"I was at Derby from 16 to 20 and when I came home I missed a full season and didn't have a club.

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"Just to get back to playing at a decent level I was happy enough, but every time I came back I got injured again.

"It didn't go great until I went to Rovers with Michael and everything just clicked.

"I was going to stop playing before he took me to Brechin.

"I was just fed up getting injured all the time and I had setback after setback.

"I thought that there was no point in playing on and I was going to get a job, but Michael took me to Brechin, gave me a new lease of life and I loved it.

"When he said he was going to Shamrock Rovers I knew how big a club it was and I jumped at the chance of going there."

Next in the firing line for Twigg, who has scored 11 goals in 10 games this season, is Warrenpoint Town, as the Ports attempt to be the first team this season to stay at the top of the table for more than a week.

And the Ports fans have O'Neill to thank that he is at Shamrock Park.

"I spoke to Michael when I was leaving Shamrock Rovers and when I told him I was thinking of signing for Portadown he told me it was a good move," said Twigg.

"I won two league medals and a Setanta Cup in four unforgettable years at Rovers and had the run in Europe as well.

"Those years will take a lot of beating, but I am really enjoying my football. At times you're up one week and down the next, so you have to enjoy it while you can."


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