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In focus: Conor McGrandles

mkdons.com takes a look at the career of Conor McGrandles, who will join the Dons this summer on a free transfer from Norwich City...

18 May 2017

Born in Falkirk, McGrandles began his football career with his hometown club and made his competitive debut for the Scottish Championship outfit in September 2012, playing the full 90 minutes in their 1-1 draw with Cowdenbeath.

The midfielder, who was working under Stevie Crawford and Neil MacFarlane at Falkirk Stadium, made a further two appearances over the next two months before bagging his first senior goal in a 2-1 defeat to Livingston . He scored again the following week, helping the Bairns to a 2-1 win at home to Motherwell.

That match away at Livingston saw McGrandles line up alongside now-Dons boss Robbie Neilson, who had joined the Stirlingshire club on a short-term deal. It was, however, one of only two occasions when they would play with each other.

From November onwards, the 17-year-old proved to be a key member of the Falkirk team, finishing the campaign with 30 senior appearances to his name. He also helped the side reach the semi finals of the Scottish FA Cup, although they lost out to Hibernian in a seven-goal thriller at Hampden Park.

McGrandles started the 2013/14 season in goalscoring fashion, finding the net in his first appearance of the campaign – a crucial winner in the first leg of the Bairns’ first-round Scottish League Cup tie at Clyde – as well as the opening league match of the season.

The teenager finished the campaign with six goals to his name in 36 appearances, form which assisted in Falkirk reaching the Scottish Championship play-offs – despite seeing off Queen of the South in the Last Eight, McGrandles & Co were knocked out by Hamilton Academical in the semi-finals.

McGrandles was involved in Falkirk’s first six games of the 2014/15, providing five assists, before making a move to Sky Bet Championship side Norwich City for what was a club-record sale for the Bairns.

The then-19-year-old established himself, straight away, as a regular in the Canaries’ Under-23 side and his form there earned him a call-up to the first-team squad for the Sky Bet Championship clash away at Wigan Athletic in December 2014.

Three weeks later, on Boxing Day, McGrandles made his first-team debut for Norwich as a 76th substitute in the 6-1 triumph over Millwall at Carrow Road.

The Scotsman continued his form for the Under-23s during the second-half of the campaign, scoring one goal and providing four assists. He also captained the side to a 2-2 draw with Manchester United.

McGrandles remained a regular fixture in the Canaries Under-23s starting line-up through the start of the 2015/16 season before he re-joined Falkirk on a loan deal in January 2016.

He played five times for the Bairns before suffering a broken leg 12 minutes into an away fixture at Morton, which cut short his season.

After a spell on the sidelines, McGrandles returned to action for Norwich’s Under-23s in December and made four appearances for them during the remainder of the 2016/17 campaign.
McGrandles’ contract at Carrow Road expired at the end of the season and seeking a fresh challenge, opted for this move to Stadium MK where he’ll be hoping to get back to playing regular first-team football and help his former teammate, Robbie Neilson, lead the Dons to success in 2017/18.