'It’s not a miracle': McGree's maturity shines through after latest moment of inspiration
His name may still flicker on the global footballing billboard, but Riley McGree is proving he's no flash in the pan.
2018 has been a big year for the Gawler-born teenager. Six months ago, McGree’s scorpion kick goal put the Hyundai A-League on the map.
That is a moment destined to follow McGree despite what he goes on to achieve in his footballing career.
But after his match-winning cameo in the Melbourne Derby on Saturday night, there's no chance anyone will be condemning the ‘Scorpion King’ as a one-hit wonder.
McGree is developing a reputation for producing the sensational – his match-winning Melbourne Derby goal came just two minutes after he entered the fray as a second half substitute for Anthony Caceres.
But according to the man of the hour, there was nothing special about his latest moment of inspiration.
“We work on forward runs in training - it’s not a miracle – you make the forward run, you get the ball, you get an opportunity to score,” he told Fox Sports after the match.
“What an opportunity it was. I had a point to prove tonight, I was on the bench, so I came on and gave my all for the team and it was good to win the Derby here.”
The 26th Melbourne Derby looked as though it would belong to Keisuke Honda. The Japanese marquee had threatened to steal the show after opening the scoring with a textbook glancing header.
But instead, McGree is commanding the headlines once more, and it was somewhat fitting that he left the Victory marquee trailing in his wake before netting the winner with a tidy first-time finish.
It would be only natural for the 19-year-old to get caught up in the furore. Only last month, McGree was rubbing shoulders with Zinedine Zidane at The Best FIFA Awards.
However, the City debutant remains grounded and mature beyond years, and says his next challenge is working his way into Warren Joyce’s starting eleven.
“[It was] a bit disappointing at the start [not to start] but you have to take these things in, it’s a learning experience,” he continued.
“I had some impact either way if I was on the bench or starting and I try to give my all every game and I did today out there.
“You want to set your goals high when you go to these things [The Best FIFA Awards] and I was really driven, after coming back a much better player and go on to the next level and further.”