Cammy Devlin's sleepless nights, apology and career low point as Hearts midfielder vows to make amends against Rangers
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The Hearts midfielder reckons he has experienced the lowest and highest points of his career in that time. Now he needs a level head as he gears up for Scottish Premiership fixtures against Rangers and Livingston before flying to Qatar on Sunday to join up with the Australia squad for the World Cup.
Being included in Australia’s 26-man squad was such a big moment in his life that Devlin burst into tears when manager Graham Arnold told him the good news over the phone. A month earlier, anger and frustration with himself were Devlin’s principal emotions after the red card against Rangers at Tynecastle Park which he regards as the lowest point of his career.
The buzzbomb midfielder was dismissed for a reckless challenge on Rabbi Matondo right in front of the technical area in a game Hearts went on to lose 4-0. As he prepares for the return fixture at Ibrox, Devlin insists he has learned from his mistake and is determined to make amends with a strong performance. His World Cup call-up certainly ensures he goes into the game on a high.
“You probably don’t get much higher than this, but I have got to come straight back down,” he said, turning his attention from Qatar to Glasgow. “The last Rangers game was probably the lowest point of my career, I have never felt like that before. It was a silly, silly thing on my behalf that I’d like to show I have learned from. This is a great chance to go to their place and go there as a team and get a result.
“I watched it back about 500 times. It kept me up for too many nights. The way I play is aggressive and tenacious and you are going to miss tackles, but looking back it’s a learning curve.”
Devlin knows he needs to find a balance. He doesn’t want to change his natural game, but recognises he must exert discipline and self-control in the heat of battle. He looks back on that incident against Rangers with regret, knowing that it cost his team dearly and apologised afterwards to his manager and the rest of the team.
He explained. “I’m someone who doesn’t want to change my game because that’s who I am. That’s the way I play all the time. If I see the ball I am going to go and chase it and try and win it back. I saw it, and the way I went in for it is the way I do all the time. But he’s put his foot down and I have stepped on it with too much force and it’s a red card.
“I spoke to the gaffer and apologised and I said sorry to the whole team as well because I let them down. I just want to repay the players and the staff with good performances.”
He added: “Last year we went there and got a result, the next time we went there we got smashed, so we want to repay that. And on a personal note I want to go through there and play as well as I can.”