Matty Smith is now a Derry City player. Pic courtesy of Kevin Morrison.
Matty Smith admits that Ruaidhri Higgins’ decision to visit him in Scotland last month played a big part in him choosing Derry City as his new team.
The former Waterford and St. Patrick’s Athletic striker took his time over his decision after winning the FAI Cup and finishing second with the Inchicore side last season, with options elsewhere in Ireland and also in America with Eamon Zayed’s team Colorado Hailstorm.
Higgins in turn did not rush into adding to his squad, despite admitting that he felt one more attacking option was needed. That patience now looks to have been rewarded with Smith signing a two-year deal at the Brandywell.
“Without doubt we’re delighted to have him here and he adds to the exciting attacking options that we already have,” Higgins said. “It’s taken a good few weeks. I met Matty before Christmas and myself and Renny, who Matty knows well, had a really, really good conversation. I went over to see him in Scotland and spent a couple of hours with him and obviously we’ve had a few conversations with him since then as well and thankfully we’ve persuaded him to get here.”
For Smith, that personal touch by Higgins ultimately meant a lot.
“He came over to Scotland to see me about a month ago which was obviously a big thing as well. It was a good compliment for him to come over and I knew Renny too and he came over from Waterford and he’s a big reason I signed too,” he said. “He’s a good lad and I would love again to work with him so I can’t wait to see him. I remember him at Waterford, he used to call us all rejects, but that makes you want to fight for him so I look forward to seeing him again.
“From last season, from when we played Derry, I remember it was always a tough, physical game playing against them, and with the players that have already been added as well, I think this s going to be a good season for us.”
Smith enjoyed a successful season with St. Pat’s last year and is already well adapted to the demands of the League of Ireland in what will be his third year here.
“I think it was good last year, it was a good team to go into,” he continued. “I had a lot of game time as well, so the more games that I got the more confident that I got and hopefully I can continue on from that with Derry this season. I want to improve each season, add more goals, add more assists and help the team the best that I can. I’ve been keeping myself fit. I won’t be as match fit just yet so I have a wee bit to catch up on, that match sharpness, but I can’t wait to get in with the lads.”
Smith is the eighth new signing at the club in the close season, and Higgins is delighted to get a player he has rated highly for some time.
“He had concussion in the 2-2 draw here earlier last season and when the team sheet came in and his name wasn’t on it, it gave us a lift and that’s a big a compliment that I can pay him, that I was delighted he wasn’t on the team sheet,” he explained.
“Any time I seen St. Pat’s live he was a real threat. He brings a real hunger and energy to the team and I can’t wait to get working with him along with the staff.”
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