Re­build­ing work pays off for new man Ebbe

The Herald - Herald Sport - - LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP - ALAS­DAIR FRASER

DEAN EBBE, In­ver­ness Cale­do­nian This­tle’s Jan­uary sign­ing, went from dol­ing out pots of tea in a brick­lay­ers’ yard to bag­ging a deal with a Scot­tish Premier­ship club.

Given that whirl­wind trans­for­ma­tion, the 22-year-old could be for­given for be­ing a young man in a hurry to grasp his big chance and true vo­ca­tion.

When he ar­rived at the club in early Jan­uary, man­ager Richie Fo­ran de­scribed the for­mer Sham­rock Rovers youth and Blue­bell United am­a­teur as “prob­a­bly one for the fu­ture”.

Ebbe was hav­ing none of that. A goal and an as­sist in the de­vel­op­ment league vic­tory against Rangers this week had Fo­ran re­vis­ing that early as­sess­ment. The quiet-spo­ken young striker agrees, de­scrib­ing him­self as ready to come in and “score straight away” in Scot­land’s top-flight.

Yet only a few months ago, the young Dubliner had ac­cepted his dream of mak­ing a full-time ca­reer in the game was done – foot­ball was to be a side­line, a hobby.

After an ill-fated spell at Sham­rock, the ca­reer path dipped down­wards through spells at Long­ford Town, Athlone Town and Cabin­teely.

Last sea­son, he dropped out of the League of Ire­land to join Collinstown in the Dublin Ath­letic Union League, be­fore join­ing Blue­bell – a club with a rep­u­ta­tion for re­build­ing the ca­reers of fal­ter­ing tal­ents.

Brighton’s Richie Tow­ell, Bo­hemi­ans striker Izzy Ak­i­nade and Sham­rock Rovers winger Bran­don Miele all spent time with Blue­bell in re­cent sea­sons be­fore re­viv­ing for­tunes.

Ebbe, though, had ba­si­cally thrown in the towel – but, cru­cially, kept bang­ing in the goals with a rel­ish at the lower level.

The In­ver­ness man­ager took him in on trial in Septem­ber after send­ing a scout. The re­port land­ing on his desk de­tailed a four-goal in­di­vid­ual spree.

In Fo­ran’s eyes, he re­mains raw with as­pects of the game still to learn, but with a nat­u­ral eye for goal and ta­lent in and around the penalty box.

The striker said: “After tri­als, Ca­ley This­tle asked me to sign in the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow. I came back over for two spells after that to help keep fit.

“It’s exciting, it’s the first time I’ve been a fully pro­fes­sional player. At home I played at part-time and am­a­teur lev­els.

“I was a brick­layer back home, but not for very long. My job was mainly get­ting teas and cof­fees for the older lads.

“I’m 22 now and I gen­uinely thought I’d missed my chance of mak­ing a ca­reer in foot­ball. I thought it would be a hobby, rather than an ac­tual job.”

He added: “As soon as I come into the team, I think I’ll score straight away.

“Hope­fully I get the chance soon enough.”

Pic­ture: SNS

WHAT’S IN A NAME: Niall Ke­own says his fa­ther Martin tends to take a back­seat when it comes to his game and lets him “work things out” for him­self.

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