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Shiels pushing for first-team football

by David Robson – 18th December

Matthew Shiels is delighted to be back in contention for first-team football following his 11-month spell on the sidelines with injuries.

It’s been a tough time for Shiels, who suffered an ankle injury when on loan at Clyde last season and then a hamstring niggle when he returned to training for Accies.

However, he told the press that he is now feeling fitter and stronger.

“Obviously I signed in the summer and started in June but I didn’t really get fit and into training until the middle of September,” he said.

“It’s been brutal. It was my ligaments in my ankle, I think they were torn. I was on loan at Clyde and I went up for a header in training and came down and landed on the outside of my ankle.

“I went to hospital straight away to get an x-ray but they said they couldn’t see anything, so I went for an MRI and that told me that it was fully torn.

“Then about two or three weeks after I was back in training so there has been a lot of hiccups but I’m finally back in and training each week.

“I’m just working with the sports scientist team on getting my strength back. I’m starting to feel a lot fitter in training – I’ve noticed that myself.

“It has taken a while and we’re still working on it but I’m feeling better each day.”

The 21-year-old returned to action in the Scottish Cup loss to Auchinleck Talbot. He was very disappointed with the loss but was happy on a personal note that he finally made his first appearance for the club.

He said: “It was good to get back on the pitch, that was 11 months I was out so it was good to play against Auchinleck, but obviously it was a very disappointing result though.

“It was good on a personal point of view though just to be back in a football game.

“I came on against Kilmarnock as well so I’m getting closer to being back and fully involved, but there’s still a good bit of fitness to come.”

Shiels is happy he is finally getting some first team action after years in Rangers’ youth system.

He said: “As soon as I joined Hamilton that’s what I said – I just prefer being involved in a first team environment as it’s more physical and I felt when I played for Rangers, it was just against younger boys.

“You’re not really challenging yourself, even though there are talented boys you’re playing against.”

Accies face the league’s front-runners on Saturday as they travel to Inverness. The defender is looking for a similar result to the 2-1 win over them at New Douglas Park in October but understands it will be a difficult match.

Shiels added: “They’re obviously doing well and they got a good result last week but we did well against them earlier on in the season and it was probably one of our better games.

“It was a great result beating them considering how well they’ve been doing and we can only hope for something similar on Saturday.”

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