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St Mirren winger Kyle McAllister fully fit for first time in his career

St Mirren winger Kyle McAllister fully fit for first time in his career
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McAllister's move to Derby was hampered by injuries.

St Mirren winger Kyle McAllister is enjoying the "amazing feeling" of playing pain-free for the first time in his professional career.

McAllister returned to Paisley on loan from Derby this month, two years after leaving the club, and has come off the bench in the last two matches.

The 19-year-old was a major success in his early days in the Saints first team, but his performances masked the groin problems that went on to plague him for the first 18 months of his Derby career.

His body eventually recovered for the start of this season and he has returned home to rebuild his career after playing a number of games for Derby Under-23s.

Ahead of Sunday's Ladbrokes Premiership encounter with Hibernian, McAllister told Press Association Sport:  "I struggled a lot with my body but it's a lot better now and hopefully I kick on.

"We were struggling when we (St Mirren) were in the Championship and I played with sore groins the full time I was in the first team. I blame myself for that because I wouldn't tell anybody. I would just get on with it and try and do my best at the weekend.

"It just wore me right down. Especially being so young, my body wasn't ready for it.

"When I went down there (to Derby), they told me my groins were done in.

"It was hard. I was happy hearing it was six months I was supposed to be out, because when I left here my full body was aching at all times. My groins were so bad.

"I did the six months, came back into pre-season and felt my groins again, and the following year was just terrible, getting told 'six weeks' and coming back and out again. My groins just weren't recovering.

"It was such a struggle trying to play with it and every time I woke up I was so sore. There was not one day in that year and a half that I felt perfect until the pre-season there, and then it just disappeared.

"Since then I have felt good and it's an amazing feeling playing without sore groins."

The injury problems made the move away from home even more difficult than it would be for any teenager.

"I was just getting treatment and going home," McAllister said. "I didn't know what to do with myself. And when you are always in the physio room, it's harder to bond with your team-mates. It took time to get in with my team-mates.

"Here you have friends and family, people you can speak to, but when you are young and away, you feel like you can't speak to anyone. About a year into it, I realised I could speak to people but before then it was a struggle.

"It got to the point where I got comfortable and then it got a lot better while I was playing over the last six months."

McAllister made a triumphant return to the Saints team with a spectacular late William Hill Scottish Cup winner against Alloa last weekend.

"There were high expectations of me coming back from all the fans but I still had to prove myself, especially for my self-confidence," he said.

"Being out for so long was a struggle and I needed the confidence, so that start was perfect for me. The fitter I get, and hopefully start games, hopefully I can help the team."

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Harry Wilson in action for Derby County on January 1, 2019
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