Ex-Clan Braehead captain Matt Keith urges former side to aim for play-off glory

FORMER Braehead Clan captain Matt Keith has urged his former side to embark on their quarter-final play-off with the Cardiff Devils.

Malcolm Cameron’s side, now called Glasgow Clan, will struggle to beat two-time winners Devils to book their place in the four-team final weekend in Nottingham next week.

And Keith, who played for the club between 2014 and 2017, says not making the final is one of his biggest regrets.

“If I could give any advice, I would basically tell guys to be ready for the first face-off,” he said.

“You have to play to the end and drop everything. It’s only two games and you can’t have any regrets. They must do everything to get you there.

“One of my biggest regrets of my time with the Clan is that we never made it to the finals weekend. The only year they did was the season before I arrived.

“In my first year we missed out on winning the league by a point and then lost to a Hull Stingrays team that went bankrupt that year.

“Don’t take anything away from them, but we had nothing left and we just couldn’t do it. It was the same the next two years, against Fife then Dundee and those games showed that anything could happen.

Keith, now a firefighter in Vancouver, admits he’s been keeping tabs on his former team from afar and is positive about their season, their first after emerging from a Covid-enforced hibernation.

They finished sixth in the standings last week to set the date with the Devils and spoke about his own experience preparing for two huge games.

“You can feel the buzz around the club with the fans as the week progresses and I’m sure the team there really gets a feel for it around Braehead or on social media,” he added.

“I still watch from afar and keep in touch with a lot of the same people on social media. I’m still good friends with Matt Haywood so I keep in touch as much as I can.

“It’s an exciting time, with a chance to see such a great event as the last play-off weekend and there’s so much investment in that weekend, they want their team to be a part of it.

“I think Glasgow have a good chance of doing it and they really deserve it, as do the fans and everyone involved.”

Keith knows his former side won’t take Cardiff lightly and also thinks the experience of former team-mate Haywood and striker Mathieu Roy, who won the competition with the Sheffield Steelers in 2017, can also help.

“It certainly won’t be easy against a team like Cardiff,” he warned. “Both teams have to travel, so it should definitely make for an interesting game.

“I’m sure Malcolm Cameron speaks to guys from past experience of what he knows and players like Matt Haywood and Mathieu Roy can pass on their knowledge of what to expect.

“It’s a 120 minute game and if you allow a goal late in the first game it can carry over into the second leg but if you score it can also give you new life so times like this can be huge.

“There’s been a lot the clan has had to go through to get to where they are this year, so I’m definitely keeping my fingers crossed that they can do it this weekend.”