Mark Russell: I’m loving life at Finn Harps

You signed for Finn Harps in the Republic of Ireland in 2019. How are you enjoying your time at the club so far and how would you describe the club?

I am really enjoying my time at Finn Harps FC. I am into my third season and I am loving my time at the club. It was a bit of a culture shock at first when I came over from Scotland and it was different being away from home and living with other boys but I have nothing but good words to say about the club, place and the people over here.

You played in the youth setup of St Mirren Boys Club. How do you look back on your time at the club and do you have any particular highlights or memories?

Yes, I played for the club for years and then after the age of 16 years old I signed for Greenock Morton.

You played one season for Falkirk FC. How do you look back on your time at the club and do you have any special memories or highlights?

I arrived at Falkirk FC after being at Greenock Morton for five seasons and I took a gamble and moved to the club to play under Paul Hartley and I loved my time at the club from day one and I played four games and then there was a change of manager and I went to basically training with the reserves and being bombed out but I stuck my head down and tried my hardest but it was just not meant to be under a new manager, that just the way football is all times. It was a frustrating spell but I am just happy that I managed to take a gamble and go and tried something new and unfortunately it never worked out.

You have accrued good experience in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. Could you say who are among the best players you have played alongside so far in your career?

Yes, I played with Gavin Gunning at Greenock Morton and he was a big Irish centre half who at times would just stroll through games and he was a top player. I believe he is now playing in the Non League in England. Jamie Lindsay who is a central midfielder who is currently playing for Rotherham United in the Championship down in England so he has done very well for himself and had a good career so far. I have been fortunate to play with many good players so far in my career.

I can imagine in your position as a winger that you have come up against many difficult opponents so far in your career. Could you say which opponents have stood out for you in terms of talent and ability?

Yes, although there are quite a few. Obviously I have played against Celtic FC and Rangers FC and I would say that Moussa Dembélé currently on loan to Atlético Madrid from Olympique Lyonnais in France is a great player. James Forrest at Celtic FC is also a top, top player as is Leigh Griffiths and also Patrick Roberts who is currently on loan to Championship club Derby County from Manchester City at the moment.

Finally Mark, You mentioned Paul Hartley. Could you say who are the coaches and managers who have meant a lot to you and played a key role in your development as a professional footballer?

Yes, When I first came through Kenny Shiels was the manager and Allan Moore just before him and David Hopkin gave me my first team debut and he is at Ayr United now and he was my reserve coach before that and I had a really good time under him and I kicked on under Kenny Shiels and Jim Duffy was my manager for four years and he really helped me especially from a boy to a man and manning up and taking my game to another level.

FEATURE PHOTOGRAPH: Finn Harps FC

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