Mariners sign Socceroos hopeful Cummings

Scottish international and Socceroos hopeful Jason Cummings has signed an 18-month deal with Central Coast after falling out of favour with Dundee coach James McPake.

Cummings played a key role in helping Dundee gain promotion into the Scottish top flight last year, but the 26-year-old was sent home from training in December by infuriated coach McPake.

Cummings had attended a gala show the night before in which he had drunk alcohol and was decked out as the Joker from Batman.

“He was unfit to train,” McPake told the BBC last year of his reason to send Cummings home. 

“People are human beings and we all have choices to make. If you want to be a footballer then you live your life as a footballer.”

Cummings wasn’t able to win back McPake’s trust after that incident, despite his impressive goalscoring track record.

The star striker started his professional career at Hibernian where he netted 55 goals in 114 appearances.

In 2017, he became the first player since 1961 to score more than 20 goals in a season for Hibernian.

After moving around the United Kingdom to play for clubs including Nottingham Forest, Luton Town, Peterborough and Rangers, Cummings linked up with Shrewsbury Town which led him onto a move back to Scotland at Dundee.

The Scotland-born Cummings netted eight goals in 15 matches to help Dundee gain promotion, but his lack of professionalism off the field saw him fall out of favour.

Cummings made two appearances in friendlies for Scotland, but he remains eligible to play for the Socceroos thanks to his Australian mum.

“I am not taking this opportunity lightly and want to reward the Central Coast Mariners,” Cummings said. 

“Being an Australian citizen, I knew it was only a matter of time until I came out here and I am ready to make an instant impact and show people what I can do.”

Mariners coach Nick Montgomery is looking forward to having the striker in the squad with injuries and COVID-19 illnesses impacting selection choices already this season.

“As always, we did our due diligence and spoke to numerous people who know Jason personally and the feedback was that he is a very talented player who has not reached his undoubted potential,” Montgomery said.

“But a fresh start here in the right environment can be the making of him.

“We fought off interest from numerous clubs vying for his services and after speaking with Jason many times via zoom and on the phone, I am in no doubt he will be a massive asset to the club.”

Cummings landed in Australia on Sunday night and will join up with the team this week.