Ryan McBride would never have imagined three seasons ago that he would be starting his third season as Distillery’s number one.
Despite an opening day defeat, the young goalkeeper, who was named as player of the season for the Championship One side in the last two seasons, has set his sights on gaining promotion this season.
He said: “Obviously we all want to be back in the Premiership. Looking at the squad from last year to what we have now I think we are a lot stronger.
“Tommy (Kincaid) has made some good signings and added a bit of balance to the team so I’d expect us to be in the mix.”
McBride, who was reported to have attracted interest from clubs from the top division, was also included in the Northern Ireland Regions Cup squad and hasn’t halted his training in the off season.
He said: “I haven’t really stopped from last season to be honest. I was training with the Northern Ireland Regions cup squad and doing my own bit in the gym, which we didn’t have last year.
“I was happy with my performances over the course of pre-season, especially against the Irish Cup holders, Glentoran.
“I thought, as a team, we were excellent in that game “
McBride had picked out last Saturday’s match against Ards as one he was looking forward to but that didn’t turn out quite as planned as he conceded five goals and the Whites were beaten 5-2.
Ross Arthurs, Emmet Templeton, Jordan Baker, James Cully and Gary Warwick all scored for Ards while Mikey Withers and Kevin Hughes replied for Distillery in what was a disappointing day for the Whites as they begun their league campaign.
McBride has proved himself to be one of the best goalkeepers in the league and despite that opening day defeat his ambitions remain high as he wants to collect his first trophies with the first team.
He said: “Getting beaten in the semi final of the Intermediate Cup with virtually the last kick of the game was gutting, so I aim to go one further this year and make a final. It would be great for the club and our fans.”
The Distillery Academy graduate won many accolades in that successful Academy.
With the transfer window open for another few weeks Tommy Kinkaid will be hoping to keep hold of his prize asset.