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Why Michael O'Halloran swapped Rangers for Melbourne City

6:57 AM GMT+4 24/08/2018
Michael O'Halloran
A big move made easier by a number of factors

At a time when a number of Australians are making the move to Scotland, Michael O'Halloran has done the opposite - trading Rangers for Melbourne City. 

Still just 27 years old, the number ten turned winger hasn't come to the A-League for a holiday and looks more than capable of filling the shoes left by City's last star Scotsman Ross McCormack.

Born and raised in Scotland, O'Halloran's decision to come to Australia was by no means a simple one, but a number of factors combined to make an otherwise intimidating move, a pretty straight forward one.

First and foremost, having extended family located in Melbourne has made the transition a much smoother one for O'Halloran, who has never played outside of Europe. 

"I've got some family over here, which is a big help and they’ve put me under their wing and showed me around the city," O'Halloran told Goal.

"It seems like a really nice place. 

"Obviously it’s a big factor (having family here), it’s helpful in terms of settling in. It was another plus in coming over here."

With the open arms of family awaiting him in Melbourne, some encouragement from Socceroo and former City midfielder Aaron Mooy also made the decision easier.

Having first crossed paths at Bolton as teenagers, Mooy and O'Halloran have been good mates ever since with the now Huddersfield player's glowing endorsement of City ticking yet another box for O'Halloran. 

"Azza is one of my closest friends in football so when I heard of the first bit of interest I was onto him and he told me what a great place and club it is," he said.

"He was nothing but positive about it so that was a big factor in my decision as well.

"He’s flying at the minute, I’ve played with him from a young age and he’s always been technically gifted.

"He’s good with both feet. When I used to play with him he played an advanced role but now he’s settled into a deeper position and you can see he’s really good at dictating the play." 

Last but not least, game time is what any footballer craves and it's something O'Halloran simply wasn't getting at Rangers. 

Making just 25 starts across three seasons for the Glasgow club, in between a loan move to St Johnstone, the 27-year-old decided a change was needed. 

"I didn’t play as much as I would’ve liked, but that’s football isn’t it," he said.

"At the time I had to move on and play football again. It wasn’t great."

While departing the Scottish Premiership, O'Halloran believes the league, which is home to several Aussies this season, is of a much higher standard than most realise.  

"A lot of people don’t give it the credit it deserves until they go play in it and realise the standard," he said.

"It doesn’t really get the coverage, but there’s some big teams and some really good players as well.

"I really enjoyed playing at home in Scotland, but it’s a fresh challenge now here and I look forward to this one."