Charlie Reilly determined to live Dundee dream as he opens up on struggles to get back into full-time football

Charlie Reilly can’t wait for his Dundee dream to get going in earnest.

The exciting prospect made the big jump from League Two into the Premiership over the summer but has struggled to make a first-team impact.

That’s largely been down to injury and his substitute appearance last week against Hibs gave a glimpse of what could be to come for the attacker.

Just his third appearance of the season – all from the bench – saw a winger with ability to dribble past players and make things happen.

That culminated in a run past three Hibs defenders before finding Owen Beck to eventually finish at the second time of asking.

‘Determined’

It was telling that Reilly was manager Tony Docherty’s first choice to bring on with his team chasing goals and the Dens boss spoke highly of the 21-year-old’s recent form in training.

And the Albion Rovers man is keen to show more of that on the pitch.

“It was good to get more minutes as I have not played as much as I would have liked or hoped for because of the injuries I have had,” Reilly said.

“I have been here five months and I have only played in three games. I’ve had wee niggles in my calf and hamstrings but I am determined that is not going to hold me back.

“I have been part-time for the past two years and I am coming into a full-time club in the Premiership.

Reilly in action for Albion Rovers before joining Dundee FC. Image: SNS

“You cannot get any harder than that, going from League Two in Scotland to the top division.

“I was used to training twice a week and now it’s five or six times a week.

“It is hard. Your body is not used to it. So coming here it has been tough.

“I need to keep going now and try to get into the starting XI.”

Getting released and finding the way back

Reilly is hoping to get another nod from his manager this afternoon when Dundee travel to Motherwell.

It will be his first trip to Fir Park as a senior pro.

This time last year, Reilly and Albion Rovers had just been knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Stirling University and were gearing up for a trip to Forfar.

Quite a change in the space of 12 months.

Reilly as a youngster at Hamilton. Image: SNS.

But it’s a change he always believed was possible despite first being released by Hamilton and then leaving Partick Thistle to join League Two Albion Rovers.

“It wasn’t a nice feeling getting let go from a club I had been at for 10 years,” Reilly said of leaving Accies.

“It came to lockdown and it was the worst time for everybody. A lot of boys like myself aged 18 or 19 were let go because of finances.

“I went to Partick but it didn’t work out and then I went to Albion Rovers.

“Brian Reid signed me and gave me two years of men’s football to show what I can do.

“Thankfully, last year it worked out really well scoring all those goals and assists.

Former Partick Thistle midfielder Charlie Reilly celebrates with the League One trophy and winner's medal.
Reilly was part of the Partick Thistle squad that won League One. Image: SNS.

“League Two is all nitty gritty but that’s where you learn – people are really fighting for three points on a Saturday.

“That’s where I learned my trade as a footballer and I will always be thankful for that.

“I had to drop down to find my way back up again.

“That’s what I’ve done. I would do it all again if that’s what it takes.”

‘Living the dream’

What is has taken, though, is also going above and beyond just his two day’s training a week in League Two.

Reilly chose not to get work outside of football so he could focus fully on trying to get back into the full-time game.

Charlie Reilly takes on Hibs. Image: SNS
Charlie Reilly takes on Hibs for Dundee FC. Image: SNS

His move to Dundee is thanks to that work ethic – now he wants to make the most of the opportunity.

“I would train Tuesday and Thursday with Albion and then Monday and Wednesday I would do my own stuff, running and going to the gym,” Reilly said.

“I never really saw the opportunity to get a job as I always had the dream to get back full-time and thankfully I have done that.

“It is nice to think that last year I was only training twice a week and now I am coming in every day to a massive club like Dundee.

“I love it and I am living everybody’s dream. I’ve wanted to be a footballer since I could take my first steps – that’s all I wanted to do.

“I am doing it now and I am thankful for that.”

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