Former Celtic attacker Gary Mackay-Steven has made a return to Scottish football, signing a short-term deal with Kilmarnock.

Gary Mackay-Steven
Football Soccer – Hamilton Academical v Celtic – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – New Douglas Park – 15/16 – 26/2/16
Celtic’s Gary Mackay Steven
Action Images via Reuters / Graham Stuart

This move comes after a seven-month search for a new club following his release from Hearts at the end of last season. The 33-year-old is poised to potentially face Celtic in the upcoming Sunday noon kick-off at Rugby Park.

Mackay-Steven, who has been capped three times for Scotland, has been training with Kilmarnock in recent times, striving to secure a contract. His efforts have paid off, with a deal now in place until the start of the winter break on January 3.

Kilmarnock, managed by Derek McInnes, have a packed schedule ahead, with seven games leading up to a clash against Philippe Clement’s side at Ibrox in the new year.

The winger’s journey in Scottish football has been notable. Initially brought to Celtic by former manager Ronny Deila in a £2 million deal alongside Stuart Armstrong from Dundee United in January 2015, Mackay-Steven had a promising start. He scored a debut goal against Partick Thistle and totalled 10 goals in 52 appearances under Deila.

However, his prominence at Celtic waned following the arrival of Brendan Rodgers in May 2016. During Rodgers’ first season, Mackay-Steven found opportunities limited, making only 10 appearances without scoring. This led to his departure in July 2017 to Aberdeen, where he reunited with McInnes, the then-Pittodrie manager.

Mackay-Steven’s career also included a stint with New York City in the MLS, where he played under Ronny Deila once again, after his time at Aberdeen. His return to Scottish football with Hearts and now with Kilmarnock marks the latest chapter in his varied career.


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