Thursday, February 12, 2009

McCarthy staying grounded after SPL player award

James McCarthy insists there is no chance of him believing his own hype as long as he remains at Hamilton.

The 18-year-old Irish U21 international midfielder has been in top form recently and was rewarded for those displays with his second successive Clydesdale Bank Young Player of the Month award.

It was a hat-trick for the Lanarkshire club, with boss Billy Reid and goalkeeper Tomas Cerny picking up the Manager and senior Player gongs - the first time all three prizes have gone to one club since Rangers enjoyed a clean sweep in September 2003.

There is no doubt McCarthy continues to claim most of the credit with his flashes of individual brilliance.

But he claims he is in no danger of getting carried away by the constant praise or the persistent speculation over his future.

He said: "I'm happy to stay here and work away and get good experience playing every week in the SPL.

"I've got the older lads, like Mark McLaughlin and Alex Neil, who help me keep my feet on the ground.

"The gaffer too. If I ever get too big for my boots, he will bring me back down again.

"It's great to win the award, it's fantastic. But I think anyone could have won it because we have been great this month."

Accies are on an impressive winning streak of six games in all competitions, largely thanks to a change to a more conservative style of play and McCarthy has no complaints about swapping panache for points.

He said: "We have changed our system a wee bit but I think we are still playing decent football. This is the way we need to play to get results and I'm happy with that."

Craig Levein criticised Hamilton for being negative after his Dundee United side were held to a 1-1 draw at Tannadice in November but Reid believes recent results prove a change of tactics were justified.

He said: "One or two folk were slightly unhappy with the formation we played - maybe that's because how we played against them didn't suit them.

"But it's my job to make sure people are not happy when we are playing against them."

He added: "I was in the First Division for five years and I knew all the players, I knew what formations teams would play and I knew strengths and weaknesses.

"I watched as many SPL games as I could last season in the hope that we would get to the SPL and I watched a lot of games on DVD.

"But it's not the same until you play against these teams. After over half a season in the SPL, I feel like I have adjusted to that."

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