McCabe is determined to justify move from Rangers

Rhys McCabe has experienced the highs of an Old Firm derby win for Rangers against Celtic and is determined to avoid the low of relegation with Sheffield Wednesday.

The 20-year-old midfielder was highly-rated at Rangers but opted to leave when the Scottish club was beset by financial troubles and forced out of the Scottish Premier League.

The Owls beat off competition from Premier League clubs to bring the Scotland Under-21 midfielder to Hillsborough but the first half of the season has been a bit of a culture shock for the Scot.

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Used to Rangers and Celtic dominating the league north of the border, he has been thrown into the Championship where bottom can beat top, like Peterborough did against Cardiff 10 days ago.

Seven successive defeats had seen the Owls crash into the Championship relegation zone, but McCabe’s return to first-team action has coincided with back-to-back wins.

He was a second-half substitute at Barnsley in a 1-0 win, then on Saturday he replaced Chris Lines and netted a stunning volley to beat Charlton 2-0 and climb out of the bottom three.

Now McCabe is determined to prove his decision to turn his back on Rangers and move to Hillsborough was the right career choice.

“I had a contract at Rangers until 2015 I think, but I just opted to part ways and try my luck somewhere else,” he said.

“I started really well, the team were doing well, but I picked up a niggling injury – which I had never really had before – which set me back.

“We went through a bad spell, but these last two games we have been solid at the back and been more positive, more like us.

“When you look at the Scottish Premier League, everybody knows Rangers and Celtic – they are your big clubs. But when you come to a league like the Championship, everybody can beat each other, which makes it exciting.

“For me, it’s just gaining experience. On Saturday, I think it was important for me to get back into the team and put in a solid performance.

“It was more a team performance than an individual one, so I am just glad we picked up three points.

“We can take confidence from winning. Looking at the results on Saturday, Peterborough beat Bolton, who we have next, so there is no reason why we can’t take confidence going into that game and get another three points.”

After successive wins and two clean sheets, McCabe believes today’s trip to the Reebok Stadium can help the Owls maintain their revival.

“It’s good to be out of the bottom three,” he admitted. “We have been in a tough patch, so it’s good for everybody at the club.

“Obviously, there was a bit of a mood around the stadium, and the players in general, but I am hoping this is the turning point.

“You just look at some of the results we have had, and there’s been two or three where we have been unlucky, but I think we are showing more of a togetherness – working as a unit – and it’s working for us just now.”

When McCabe netted his volley against Charlton, there seemed some confusion with his goal celebrations.

It was his first goal in senior football, so McCabe revealed he could finally silence the dressing room banter after breaking his duck.

“It’s definitely up there at No 1,” he joked. “It was my first professional goal so I was delighted.

“I have been unlucky, but against Charlton the ball fell to me on the edge of the box and I just swung my left foot at it and luckily for me it went in.

“The boys work hard in training, have a lot of shooting practice, so I’m just glad it paid off.

“More importantly, it helped us to get three points and, hopefully, we can build on that during the Christmas period and help get us back up the table.

“I was getting a bit of stick from the lads for not scoring, but I scored a good goal against Charlton and, hopefully, I can score a few more like that.

“We have been conceding goals, not scoring, so it’s important that us as midfielders and forwards get our fair share of the goals and get back on the right side of the table.”

McCabe was not the only one to net his first goal in senior football on Saturday, as on-loan Manchester City youngster Jeremy Helan added a late second.

“They were both magnificent goals and real moments of quality,” said Owls manager Dave Jones.

Rather than looking at the bottom three, Jones hopes the Owls can drag other teams like today’s opponents Bolton, Ipswich and Birmingham into the scrap.

“The win against Charlton keeps the pressure on those around us but we want more to be dragged into it and the only way to do that is by winning your own games.”

The Owls have extended the loan signings of Helan and Stoke City’s Mamady Sidibe.

The Premier League duo will stay at Hillsborough until January 19, after their loans expired after Saturday’s win over Charlton.

Last six games: Bolton DWLDWL Sheffield Wednesday LLLLWW.

Referee: G Mathieson (Cheshire).

Last time: Bolton 2 Sheffield Wednesday 0, December 26 2000, Division One.