By Ben Baker
FULHAM fans finally saw the best of Ross McCormack in midweek – and the Scottish striker hopes the man who brought him to Craven Cottage was watching, too.
McCormack arrived in southwest London for an eye-boggling £11m from Leeds in the summer and it seemed as though that hefty price tag weighed him down as he took time to find his feet in the capital.
But after netting just six times in the first half of the season, something seems to have clicked. A first-half hat-trick in the 3-2 win against Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night saw McCormack take his tally for this campaign to double figures.
It is a far cry from his early days in a Fulham shirt when the man who brought him down from Leeds – former manager Felix Magath – deemed the Scot not fit enough to play 90 minutes.
Magath’s attack appeared wide of the mark given McCormack made the most appearances for Leeds last season, scoring 45 per cent of all their goals.
And while he might be some way off that this term, the 28-year-old is just happy to start proving Magath and his doubters wrong.
“It has been up and down for me since I arrived at Fulham,” McCormack said. “When I came here and I got told I wasn’t fit enough, I was thinking ‘Well, I played every minute last year’. It felt a bit silly.
“After the games, Felix Magath was saying I wasn’t fit enough to play 90 minutes. That hurt me, because I knew I could complete 90 minutes.
“But managers have got different takes. I think the old manager’s idea of fitness is different to anyone else in the world’s idea of fitness!
“That’s in the past now and since Kit Symons has come in I’ve played nearly every minute of every game, so I am feeling a good part of the team. I am at a level now that I am comfortable with, Kit is comfortable with and the coaches are comfortable with.
“The hat-trick will help and now I am just keen to kick on.”
McCormack helped himself to 29 goals in all competitions for Leeds last season, but has only notched ten this term.
Yet he has often been deployed out wide, or even just in front of the midfield, by Symons – the Fulham boss praising the Scot’s versatility.
However, it’s no surprise that his 35-minute hat-trick against Forest came while he was up front.
“If I can play up front more, I think more goals will follow,” he said. “I haven’t had a lot of luck since I’ve been here, so it was nice that was on my side against Forest. Hopefully it continues.”