Meet the A-League snub starring in Scotland

Former Perth Glory youth team defender Jack Iredale is making his mark in Scotland’s second division after breaking through at Greenock Morton.


Jack Iredale with his Greenock Morton jersey Source: Jack Iredale Twitter

Iredale, who was born in Scotland, spent part of his childhood in New Zealand before his family relocated to Western Australia at the age of 10. 

The fullback came through the WA national training centre and the AIS, before three and a half years with Glory’s National Youth Team.

But with his path to the A-League blocked, Iredale headed to Scotland last year and eventually earned a six-month contract with Scottish Championship club Morton through a trial.

After impressing on loan at League One side Queens Park FC in Scotland, Iredale returned to Morton last month and won another six-month deal with regular first-team appearances.

"I came over in June last year and had a trial with a club but it didn't work out," Iredale told The World Game.

"But then the manager of Morton called me and invited me to a trial game, and then it just sort of took off from there.

"I was on trial for a few weeks and then he offered me a six-month contract, which I snatched at and took it as soon as I could. Then, thankfully, I got another extension at the end of last year and that’s the deal till the end of June now.

"The gaffer said I need to get game time, I needed to get first-team experience and he said that going to League One with Queens Park could do that for me. 

"So I went and I certainly learned a lot. Now I’ve come back and I feel a lot more confident, I feel a lot sharper and better. It was definitely a good decision to go out on loan."

Iredale has racked up six games for Morton in all competitions so far, scoring one spectacular goal in a win over Dundee United and grabbing an assist.

"I’ve got an opportunity at left back at the minute,” Iredale said.

"I’ve not played as much left back as I have centre half, but I grew up as a left winger so I'm just trying to find the right amount of balance between defending and managing to get forward and contributing to attacking as well. But I’m really enjoying playing left back. 

"The club’s really good, they’ve been really, really good to me. They’ve helped me out with a few things and there’s a really, really good group of boys. 

"The standard - I was very surprised when I got to Scotland how quick the pace of the game was compared to Australia. 

"That was definitely the biggest change I’ve noticed. The technical ability in the Championship compared to the A-League is pretty similar but it’s just the pace of the game that is so different here."

It has been a long and hard road for Iredale, who represented Australia at Under-17 level back in 2012. 

The 21-year-old has already gone through three knee reconstructions, which hampered his development years.

But Iredale points to his time in Canberra at the AIS as a formative one in his fledgling career.

"That was a really good experience helping me grow up," he said.

"I was there for two years but I only played eight games because I was injured for 18 months. I did my ACL. I was basically injured the whole time but I still learnt a lot there. 

Iredale admits it was difficult to leave the Glory last year, without a chance in the A-League, but has no regrets.

"It was disappointing. I was training with the first-team basically full-time but there just didn’t seem to be a clear pathway that I could see for myself," he said.

"I knew that if I wanted to be a pro footballer I needed to go and chase that elsewhere. Perth were good to me in my time at the club but I thought if this is what I want to do, I have to make something of it.."

But now he has got an opportunity in Scotland, the left-back is eager to cement his spot. 

"Football in Europe is such a different culture to back home, especially with promotion and relegation and play-off spots and all that stuff,” Iredale said. 

"I've definitely been learning about the culture and how dog-eat-dog it is. There’s ‘no prisoners’ here – if you make a mistake you know about it – and that might be your opportunity gone. 

"Growing up as a kid my dream was to play football in Europe and right now I’m doing that. I’m doing everything I can to make sure I get an extension or keep playing football in Europe. 

"It sounds cliched but it's the best job in football and it's all I've ever wanted to do. I'm really happy so I just want to carry on over here."

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5 min read
Published 7 February 2018 at 4:20pm
By John Davidson