Garry O'Connor


Garry O'Connor

Infobox Football biography
playername = Garry O'Connor


fullname = Garry Lawrence O'Connor
dateofbirth = birth date and age|1983|5|7
cityofbirth = Edinburgh
countryofbirth = Scotland
height = 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
currentclub = Birmingham City
clubnumber = 8
position = Striker
youthyears =
youthclubs = Salvesen Boys Club
Hibernian youth
years = 1999–2006
2000
2006–2007
2007–
clubs = Hibernian
→ Peterhead (loan)
Lokomotiv Moscow
Birmingham City
caps(goals) = 138 (46)
004 0(1)
033 0(7)
026 0(4)
nationalyears = 2002–
nationalteam = Scotland
nationalcaps(goals) = 015 0(4)
pcupdate = 15:49, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
ntupdate = 13 October 2007

Garry Lawrence O'Connor (born May 7, 1983 in Edinburgh) is a Scottish professional footballer who currently plays for Birmingham City. He is also a regular member of the Scotland national team squad.

Club career

Hibernian

O'Connor made his debut under manager Alex McLeish in April 2001 as a substitute against Dundee,cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/1303446.stm|publisher=BBC Sport website|title=French connection wins it for Hibs|date=29 April 2001] his only appearance that season. The following season saw O'Connor making just four appearances by Christmas. However the departure of Alex McLeish to Rangers and the arrival of new manager Franck Sauzée saw O'Connor feature more regularly in the first team. He scored his first goal for the club in a 1–1 draw with Celtic in February 2002,cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/1794903.stm|publisher=BBC Sport website|title=Battling Hibs hold Celtic|date=1 February 2002] and although Sauzee was sacked later that month, O'Connor continued to feature in the first team under Sauzee's successor Bobby Williamson. O'Connor went on to score a further seven goals that season, including goals in five consecutive games between March and April.

Following a period in which he struggled to fulfill his early promise, the arrival of manager Tony Mowbray at Hibs in May 2004 led to improved form for both O'Connor and the team as a whole. Hibs' impressive 2004–05 campaign (in which they finished third in the Premier League) led to speculation that many of their talented young players would move abroad, or to the Old Firm. With O'Connor firmly establishing himself in the Hibs team, he won a recall to the Scotland squad and once again began to be linked with a move away from the club. O'Connor had formed a formidable partnership with Derek Riordan at Hibs and between them they scored 42 goals that season as Hibs qualified for the UEFA Cup.

Lokomotiv Moscow

On February 26 2006, it was reported that O'Connor was set to join Lokomotiv Moscow for approximately £1.6 million. This offer was subsequently accepted by Hibernian, with Tony Mowbray conceding that the personal terms on offer (including a reputed weekly wage of £16,000) were "life-changing for Garry and his family". On March 6, it was announced that the transfer had been agreed.cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/h/hibernian/4752964.stm|publisher=BBC Sport website|title=Lokomotiv complete O'Connor deal|date=7 March 2006] O'Connor scored a total of 58 goals for Hibs in all competitions and scored in his final Hibs appearance against Falkirk in the Scottish Cup.cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_cups/4745628.stm|publisher=BBC Sport website|title=Falkirk 1-5 Hibernian|date=25 February 2006]

On March 22 2006, O'Connor scored for the first time for his new club, the opening goal in a 2–2 draw with Spartak Moscow in a Russian Cup tie. He opened the scoring for his side against Torpedo Moscow in a 4–1 win on May 14. In the 2006 season, he scored seven league goals and a cup goal in the 29 matches he played in (although only on the field for the full 90 minutes in five matches – he averaged 58 minutes of playing time per match), and was yellow-carded once. In Moscow he formed a partnership with Russian international Dmitry Sychev, although Dramane Traoré, the Mali international, threatened his position.

On May 27 2007, O'Connor came off the bench to score the winning goal for Lokomotiv Moscow in the Russian Cup final against city rivals FK Moscow. The extra-time goal, coming in the 109th minute, was enough to seal a 1–0 victory for the railway team, and provided a measure of redemption for O'Connor, who struggled to settle into life in Russia, and was repeatedly linked with a return to British football.

Birmingham City

On June 27 2007, he completed a £2.65m move to Birmingham City.cite news |url=http://home.skysports.com/list.aspx?hlid=474117&CPID=8&clid=41&lid=3&title=Blues+wrap+up+striker+deal
title=Blues wrap up striker deal|publisher=Sky Sports|date=June 27, 2007
] He scored his first goal against Sunderland who, coincidentally, had Craig Gordon in goals who O'Connor had previously scored against in the Edinburgh Derby.In the Summer of 08' after a low key season in the Premiership he shed over a stone with the former Hibernian fitness coach. Since his successful rehabilitation he has had the form of his life.

International career

O'Connor's impressive form towards the end of the 2001–2002 season was noticed by Scotland national team manager Berti Vogts, who gave O'Connor his debut against South Korea in May 2002.cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport3/worldcup2002/hi/team_pages/south_korea/newsid_1988000/1988667.stm|publisher=BBC Sport website|title=South Korea humble Scotland|date=16 May 2002] O'Connor was then relegated to the Scotland under-21 squad for a few seasons as he struggled to find his best form.

O'Connor's improved form in the 2004–05 season earned him a recall to the full squad, and he scored his first Scotland goal in a 2–2 draw with Austria in August 2005.cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/4134446.stm|publisher=BBC Sport website|title= Austria 2-2 Scotland|date=17 August 2005]

Withdrawal from Scotland squad

After featuring in Scotland's 1–0 victory over France at Hampden Park on October 7 2006,cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/5397614.stm|publisher=BBC Sport website|title=Scotland 1-0 France|date=7 October 2006] O'Connor and the rest of the team were given an evening off before reconvening ahead of the trip to Ukraine for another qualifying match. O'Connor failed to rejoin the squad and was axed from the travelling party by manager Walter Smith.cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/6032917.stm|publisher=BBC Sport website|title=Smith dismayed at absent O'Connor |date=October 9, 2006] O'Connor subsequently issued an apology through his agent without revealing the exact cause of his failure to appear, while Smith's assistant Tommy Burns announced that O'Connor was unlikely to be frozen out of the squad permanently.

O'Connor said that his wife was unhappy with life in Moscow and he had decided to stay with her rather than return to training.cite news|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/sport/2006/10/14/sfnsco14.xml|publisher=Daily Telegraph website|title=O'Connor 'put family first' |date=October 14, 2006] It was later revealed that O'Connor left the squad as his sister Kerry, a recovering drug addict, had attempted to commit suicide.cite news|url=http://www.sundaymail.co.uk/news/tm_headline=garry-pain-&method=full&objectid=17933034&siteid=64736-name_page.html|publisher=Sunday Mail website|title=Sister's suicide bid |date=October 15, 2006]

International recall

He was recalled to the Scotland squad in May 2007 under new manager, and his former boss at Hibs, Alex McLeish. O'Connor was initially drafted in due to squad call-offs but was given a place in the starting line-up for the friendly match with Austria. O'Connor scored the only goal of the game as Scotland won 1–0.cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/6696543.stm|publisher=BBC Sport website|title=Austria 0-1 Scotland|date=30 May 2007] This was followed up seven days later with a goal in the 2–0 Euro 2008 qualifier victory over the Faroe Islands.cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/6713997.stm|publisher=BBC Sport website|title=Faroe Islands 0-2 Scotland|date=6 June 2007]

International goals

:"Scores and results list Scotland's goal tally first."

Career stats

References

External links

*soccerbase|id=16926|name=Garry O'Connor
*SFA Profile|id=26567|name=Garry O'Connor
*(ru) [http://www.rfpl.org/clubs.shtml?team=5&act=players&id=4879&year=2006 Russian Premier League player statistics for 2006 season]
*(ru) [http://www.rfpl.org/clubs.shtml?champ=on&cup=on&euro=on&year=2007&team=5&act=players&id=4879 Russian Premier League player statistics for 2007 season]


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