I knew I made it as a player when I signed my third contract I signed at Glasgow Rangers. As a 23-year-old I had cemented a position as a starting XI player at one of the biggest clubs worldwide. Up until then it was about hard work, trying to establish myself and I wasn’t in a position where I was earning unbelievable money, so I wasn’t getting carried away.
I was happiest when I was with Glasgow Rangers. They were the most successful years in terms of winning trophies. We all want to win and I was able to do that in Scotland.
My hero growing up was Craig Johnston. I grew up in Western Sydney and he was the one at that particular time playing in England, Europe and scoring in FA Cup Finals. He inspired me to become a professional footballer.
The funniest thing was when Paul Gascoigne came in one day to training and he had his teeth done because he had a slant in his teeth. His teeth were massive when we came in, it was ridiculous. Ally McCoist in particular and the other boys were giving him a hard time calling him a horse. During training we were doing our warm-up and there was no Gascoigne and then we saw him 50 metres away eating the grass as if he was a horse. That was Gazza and the next day his teeth were back at a normal size.
The day football broke my heart was when I experienced a sore defeat. Rather than pinpointing one moment, I can give you many examples. Going back to 1997 with the Iran game, I was 21 then and I didn’t think too much of it at the time. It’s now grown on me significantly because there were a group of players that never played a World Cup and that was their only chance. I look at the 2004 Olympics and being suspended in the quarter-finals against Iraq and we lost. Then there’s the Italy game in 2006 - that was devastating because we had experienced a lot of new things in that World Cup as a group and then we were wondering what could’ve happened.
My proudest moment was to represent my country, but there’s several proud moments. I was fortunate enough to captain Australia and play in two World Cups. It was nice to score in a World Cup, but it isn’t a standout because it’s always what you achieve as a team rather than individually.
If I could change one thing it would be to get a healthy debate around the game and everyone being able to move forward in the same direction.
If it wasn’t for football I would’ve went down the road of physical education teacher or become a real estate agent. I was clever enough at school, but I wasn’t there a great deal because of football.
Three words that sum me up - honest, hard and fair.
If you could have one wish it is that we wake up tomorrow and Australian football is 20 years further on from what it is today.
Right now I’m exploring opportunities in becoming a football agent. I’ve worked in an FFA role in mentoring and guiding players with decision-making, as I’ve been through it myself, and I’ve worked at Brisbane Roar as a football director. I’ve seen it all and I’ve got big networks and contacts all over the world. Moving forward it was probably the best thing to explore.