Scotch with Ice: Hilmar Mcshane's unusual football journey
In a team full of Jonssons, Peturssons and Gunnarssons, the surname sticks out like a sore thumb. “Aye, right it does,” says young footballer Hilmar Mcshane, in a broad west coast of Scotland accent, “my dad’s a Glaswegian!”
His father Paul was released as a young player by Scottish side Glasgow Rangers, and went on to sign for Fram Reykjavik in Iceland 16 years ago.
“He got an Icelandic girlfriend and then I came along,” explains Mcshane. “So I was raised to speak English with this accent by my dad, and people often think I’m Scottish. He also taught me to be a Rangers fan. My favourite player is Nicky Law. I feel very connected to both Iceland and Scotland.
“My dad is extremely proud of my progress as a player and I hope to become a pro. We have got a very, very good Under-15 side and Nanjing is the perfect experience for us. It’s an excellent tournament and we think we can win it.”
Iceland beat Honduras 5-0 in their opening match in Nanjing, and despite a 2-1 defeat against Peru in their second group game, they are still in with a chance of reaching the latter stages. “Whatever happens, this is great experience for us,” Mcshane said.
But while China is an enjoyable stage of his football journey, the striker is still dreaming of Glasgow. “It is my ambition to pull on the blue shirt at Ibrox [the home stadium of Rangers] one day," he said.
“I’ve been over as a fan to see them play in the Champions League, and it gave me the taste. Although I’d also like to play for Barcelona, so that would be fine, too.”