It's A Funny Old Game Saint
One day the Primeira Liga of Portugal and on the sidelines and the next in Paisley and in the squad for the Scottish Communities League Cup semi-final. Football does deliver some startling contrasts.
St Mirren have brought Esmael Goncalves over to Scotland on a six-month loan in a bid to boost their goal scoring abilities and give the boy a chance at first team football. The Rio Ave striker will find life different in Paisleyas he prepares for life in the SPL. manager Danny Lennon has put him straight into the squad for this Hampden's Scottish League Cup semi-final with Celtic on Sunday. But while Goncalves, who was loaned out to French Ligue 1 side Nice last term, is not that up on the SPL, he is optimistic he can make an impact for his new team. Goncalves, capped for Portugal's Under-17 side, said: "A coach at my old club told me about St Mirren and said he thought it would be a good move for me. He thought I could come here and score goals so I said 'yes' to the chance. I had only played with eight games with Rio Ave this season, that is all. I was frustrated. I only know a bit about Scottish football, that it is a lot like English football, which I like. I don't know much about St Mirren either but I have met with the coach Danny and he is a good guy. He is funny. I like him. I trained with the squad this morning and the standard was good. I'm not sure what will happen once my loan is up. We will see. It depends how I play." Goncalves slipped down the pecking order at Rio Ave after they brought in Manchester United's £9million forward Bebe on loan. Venezuelan international Yonathan Del Valle has also been brought in on a temporary basis and Buddies manager Lennon admitted Goncalves' frustrations at a lack of first-team action opened the door for him to make his move. He said: "Esmael is a player who has been on our radar since before the transfer window opened. He's strong and quick and will hopefully bring goals. He's got great experience in Portugal playing against the likes of Benfica, Porto and Sporting Lisbon but now finds himself third choice behind Bebe and Del Valle. It shows a lot about the boy that he is prepared to come and expand his horizons and have a go at Scottish football. And what a baptism it could be on Sunday for him with a semi-final against Celtic to come."
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