Garry Lawrence John O'Connor (born 7 May 1983) is a Scottish professional footballer. He played for Hibernian, Peterhead, Lokomotiv Moscow, Barnsley, Tom Tomsk, Birmingham City, Greenock Morton and represented Scotland.
O'Connor in pre-season with Birmingham City, 2009
|Full name||Garry Lawrence John O'Connor|
|Date of birth||7 May 1983|
|Place of birth||Edinburgh, Scotland|
|Height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Salvesen Boys Club|
|2000||→ Peterhead (loan)||4||(1)|
|2010||→ Barnsley (loan)||4||(1)|
|2010||→ Barnsley (loan)||5||(2)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 30 June 2015|
O'Connor began his career with Hibernian, where his performances in 2002 earned him selection for Scotland as an 18-year-old, and he later earned a lucrative transfer to Lokomotiv Moscow. He scored a winning goal in the 2007 Russian Cup final for Lokomotiv. O'Connor struggled to settle in Russia, and he returned to the United Kingdom later that year by signing for Birmingham City. O'Connor struggled to hold a place in the Birmingham side due to injuries, and he spent most of the 2010–11 season with Barnsley. He then returned to Hibernian for the 2011–12 season, scoring 12 goals in 33 league appearances. O'Connor signed for Russian club Tom Tomsk in July 2012, but was released after making only six appearances.
Hibernian (first spell)Edit
Born in Edinburgh, O'Connor made his Hibernian debut under manager Alex McLeish in April 2001 as a substitute against Dundee, his only appearance that season. O'Connor made just four appearances before Christmas in the following season. After the departure of Alex McLeish to Rangers and the appointment of new manager Franck Sauzée, O'Connor featured more regularly in the first team. He scored his first goal for the club in a 1–1 draw with Celtic in February 2002. Although Sauzée was sacked later that month, O'Connor continued to feature in the first team under Sauzée's successor Bobby Williamson. O'Connor went on to score a further seven goals that season, including goals in five consecutive games between March and April.
Following two seasons in which he struggled to fulfil his early promise, the arrival of manager Tony Mowbray at Hibs in May 2004 led to improved form for both O'Connor and the team as a whole, as Hibs finished third in the 2004–05 Scottish Premier League. O'Connor formed a formidable partnership with Derek Riordan, and between them they scored 42 goals that season, as Hibs earned qualification for the UEFA Cup.
On 26 February 2006, it was reported that O'Connor was set to join Lokomotiv Moscow for approximately £1.6 million. This offer was subsequently accepted by Hibernian, with Tony Mowbray conceding that the personal terms on offer, a reported weekly wage of £16,000, were "life-changing for Garry and his family". On 6 March, it was announced that the transfer had been agreed. O'Connor scored a total of 58 goals for Hibs in all competitions and scored in his final Hibs appearance, against Falkirk in the Scottish Cup.
On 22 March 2006, O'Connor scored for the first time for Lokomotiv Moscow, the opening goal in a 2–2 draw with Spartak Moscow in a Russian Cup tie. He opened the scoring for his side against Torpedo Moscow in a 4–1 win on 14 May. In the 2006 season, he scored seven league goals and a cup goal in the 29 matches he played in (although only on the field for the full 90 minutes in five matches – he averaged 58 minutes of playing time per match), and was yellow-carded once. In Moscow he formed a partnership with Russian international Dmitry Sychev, although Dramane Traoré, the Mali international, threatened his position.
On 27 May 2007, O'Connor came off the bench to score the winning goal for Lokomotiv Moscow in the 2007 Russian Cup Final against city rivals FC Moscow. The extra-time goal, coming in the 109th minute, was enough to seal a 1–0 victory for the railway team, and provided a measure of redemption for O'Connor, who struggled to settle in Russia for family reasons.
O'Connor completed a £2.7 million move to Birmingham City on 28 June 2007, and scored his first goal for the club on his first appearance, on 15 August 2007 against Sunderland in a 2–2 draw. However, he lost his place, and manager Alex McLeish told him he needed to get fitter to return to the starting eleven. He had to wait until January 2008 for his second league goal, an equaliser against Arsenal. He missed several games in early 2008 through illness, and McLeish told him to "write the season off and come back this season all guns blazing".
O'Connor worked with a fitness coach over the summer, lost weight, and returned to training with a positive attitude towards the coming season and towards his manager. He had a successful pre-season and started well in the Championship with an assist for Kevin Phillips followed by scoring three goals in three games, but then sustained a groin injury. Returning to the team a month later, he produced some good performances and scored three more goals in two games, prompting his inclusion in the Championship Team of the Week, before again injuring his groin, this time in the pre-match warm-up at Queens Park Rangers on 29 October 2008, a match which Birmingham went on to lose. He returned to first team action against Doncaster on 14 March 2009. O'Connor's goal for 10-man Birmingham which confirmed their 2–0 win over Championship leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers was voted as the club's Moment of the Season.
O'Connor missed most of the 2009–10 season due to undergoing two operations on a hip injury. McLeish suggested that the injury dated back to O'Connor's time with Hibernian and had been aggravated by playing on synthetic pitches in Russia while he was with Lokomotiv Moscow. A Channel 4 documentary Dispatches, aired in September 2011, claimed that O'Connor had been sidelined due to failing a drugs test. O'Connor's contract had been due to expire at the end of the 2009–10 season, but the club extended it until the end of 2010 in order for O'Connor to prove his fitness.
To regain match fitness, O'Connor signed on loan for Championship club Barnsley on 10 September 2010 for one month. He scored a goal on his debut in a 5–2 win against Leeds United. Although Birmingham were happy for the player to remain at Barnsley, whose manager wanted to extend the loan, budgetary considerations made it impossible. Though O'Connor returned to Birmingham's first team, Cameron Jerome's recovery from injury left the player again looking for regular football, so in November he rejoined Barnsley for another month. His 89th-minute winning goal at Preston North End on his second Barnsley debut secured the club's first away win since February. O'Connor then scored the third Barnsley goal in a 3–1 win at Ipswich Town. O'Connor then signed on a permanent basis with Barnsley, from 1 January 2011 until the end of the 2010–11 season. He scored only once in 13 appearances, and his contract was cancelled by mutual consent in April 2011.
O'Connor re-signed for Hibernian on a one-year contract on 15 June 2011. He scored his first goal in his second spell with the club in their second match of the 2011–12 season, a 92nd-minute winner away to Inverness. Hibs had never previously won at the Caledonian Stadium. O'Connor made an excellent start to the season, scoring 10 goals in his first 11 appearances. This form meant that O'Connor was the subject of transfer speculation in January 2012, but injuries restricted his appearances. O'Connor was rested for some matches and given additional training to improve his level of fitness. He responded by scoring a goal in three consecutive matches, which helped to earn four league points and a place in the 2012 Scottish Cup Final. Hibs retained their place in the SPL, but then lost to Hearts in the Scottish Cup Final. O'Connor's contract with Hibs expired on 1 June 2012; on the same day, he was found guilty on charges of possessing cocaine and obstructing a police officer.
O'Connor returned to Russian football in July 2012, when he signed a two-year contract with FC Tom Tomsk. He was initially unable to play for the club, which was subject to a player registration ban. O'Connor made his debut appearance for the club on 6 August, but was sent off after 65 minutes in the match against Baltika Kaliningrad. He was released from his contract in December 2012, having made just six appearances, scoring one goal.
O'Connor returned to Scottish football on 6 January 2014, agreeing a contract with Greenock Morton until the end of the 2013–14 season. He left Morton at the end of the season, having scored only one goal as they were relegated to League One. O'Connor signed a one-year contract with Lowland League club Selkirk on 1 August 2014. He scored 18 Lowland League goals in the 2014–15 season, 21 in all competitions; he then re-signed with Selkirk for the 2015–16 season.
Scotland national team manager Berti Vogts gave O'Connor his international début, against South Korea in May 2002. O'Connor was then relegated to the Scotland under-21 squad for a few seasons as he struggled to find his best form. O'Connor's improved form in the 2004–05 season earned him a recall to the full squad, and he scored his first Scotland goal in a 2–2 draw with Austria in August 2005.
After featuring in the 1–0 victory against France at Hampden Park on 7 October 2006, O'Connor and the rest of the team were given an evening off before reconvening ahead of the trip to Ukraine for another qualifying match. O'Connor failed to rejoin the squad and was axed from the travelling party by manager Walter Smith. O'Connor subsequently issued an apology through his agent without revealing the exact cause of his failure to appear, while assistant manager Tommy Burns announced that O'Connor was unlikely to be frozen out of the squad permanently. O'Connor said that his wife was unhappy with life in Moscow and he had decided to stay with her rather than return to training.
He was recalled to the Scotland squad in May 2007 under new manager, and his former boss at Hibs, Alex McLeish. O'Connor was initially drafted in due to squad call-offs but was given a place in the starting line-up for the friendly match with Austria. O'Connor scored the only goal of the game as Scotland won 1–0. This was followed up seven days later with a goal in the 2–0 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying victory over the Faroe Islands. O'Connor was then left out of the Scotland squad for almost two years after appearing against the Ukraine in October 2007, but was recalled for the matches in September 2009 against Macedonia and the Netherlands after Kevin Kyle withdrew from the squad due to injury.
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
- Scores and results list Scotland's goal tally first.
|1||17 August 2005||Graz, Austria||Austria||2–0||2–2||Friendly|
|2||2 September 2006||Glasgow, Scotland||Faroe Islands||6–0||6–0||UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying|
|3||30 May 2007||Vienna, Austria||Austria||1–0||1–0||Friendly|
|4||6 June 2007||Toftir, Faroe Islands||Faroe Islands||2–0||2–0||UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying|
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- Bathgate, Stuart; Hannan, Martin (30 September 2011). "Craig Levein keen to select O'Connor but off-field issues blocked call-up". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
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- Шотландский нападающий Гарри О'Коннор стал игроком "Томи". fctomtomsk.ru (in Russian). FC Tom Tomsk. 12 July 2012. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
- "Garry O'Connor Sent Off on Debut in Russia Return". en.ria.ru. RIA Novosti. 6 August 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
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- Garry O'Connor at Soccerbase
- Garry O'Connor at Soccerbase
- Информация по игроку: 2007 [Player information] (in Russian). Russian Football Premier League. Archived from the original on 26 June 2008.
- Garry O'Connor at the Scottish Football Association