FC St. Pauli did sign Jackson Irvine, an Aussie playing for the Socceroos. The 28yo midfielder joins the club without any transfer fees after his contract with the Hibernians from Scotland expired. We don’t want to spill the beans here already but there have been other new signings about which we had considerably less to report.
(Cover picture: FC St. Pauli)
The story so far
Jackson Irvine was born in March 1993 in Melbourne. Because of his Dutch father he made his way into football. Already at the age of 16, he put pen on paper with Celtic where he played for several youth teams. Subsequently as an adult, he joined Kilmarnock and Ross County on loan, which he joined later as a regular player after he couldn’t make it al Celtic.
Anyway, his appearance with Celtic on the 1st of September 2012 against the Hibs, where he was substituted in the second half will (soon) make him the first player who played for Celtic as well as St Pauli, if we didn’t forget anyone.
And: Already back in January 2012, he was chosen as the best player of the tournament at the renowned A-youth indoor cup at Sindelfingen.
During his time at Kilmarnock in 2013, he also made his first appearance for the Socceroos for which he made 33 appearances subsequently as an adult player and played 21 matches in the youth squad. Additionally, he made one appearance with the Scottish U19 team, for which he was able to play because of his father’s descent.
Already during his first campaign for Kilmarnock, he became a regular player, in the following campaign he then played for Ross County on loan that signed him later.
After two years playing in Victoria Park, he transferred to the second division in England, where he played for the “Brewers” at Burton Albion and where he faced a tough relegation battle with the club. However, he contributed a lot to keep the club in the division (see below) and after the start of the 2017/18 campaign did not go well either, he transferred to Hull City on matchday 5 which became the most successful station of his career so far. He stayed there for three more campaigns and even became captain at the end of his third season there. However, in the summer of 2020, his contract ended and he did not get signed for the next six months until he put pen on paper at Hibernians in the Scottish Premier League.
Interview from Scotland
Many thanks to Jens from the moist beavers who as a Hearts supporter could quickly connect us with a Hibs-supporter, so that we could interview Scott who besides supporting the Hibs also feels sympathetic about the 1. FC Cologne.
Hi Scott, FC St.Pauli just signed Jackson Irvine from your club, Hibernian FC. Do you think, 2.Liga in Germany will be a good fit for him?
First thoughts are the league should suit him compared to Scotland. The quality will be better and he’ll have more time on the ball. Playing for Hibs (and before at Ross County) time is a luxury you don’t get much of in the midfield here. St.Pauli ended the season well so he’ll have good players round him too and might help with a potential promotion push. Not 1. Liga quality though.
What was his main position ab Hibs? Our club announced him as a very flexible player in midfield?
He played as an attacking midfielder for us, he was good at getting into attacking positions/movement and isn’t scared to have a shot at goal though some of that wasn’t great. St.Pauli’s counter-attacking play should suit him – it was our main strength at Hibs last season. He put in five assists and helped improve our fellow Australian player, Martin Boyle whom he linked well with.
What kind of a player is Irvine? What are his strengths? And in which areas is room for improvement?
In terms of strengths and weaknesses I think he’s something of a ‚luxury‘ player at times. He’s not what you want when your’re 2-0 down and that’s the frustrating element for me. With sides like Schalke and Bremen joining you I might want a better defensive player in the midfield in tougher games. He shows flashes of brilliance but can also be poor at times – particularly showing a lack of composure front of goal – that word „Kaltschnäuzigkeit“ comes to mind. So whilst I would have been happy if he’d signed a contract I’m also a bit ‚egal‘ with him going – he’d have been a top earner if he’d stayed here.
He has been in Scotland for some years before he went to Burton Albion and Hull City. He was without a club since summer 2020 and joined Hibs in January for the rest of the season. Were you hoping that he would extend the contract and what might have been the reason why he didn’t?
Regards to him leaving, he’s had an offer on the table for a long time at Hibs and the rumours coming from the club (twitter etc) were the club were wanting him to either sign soon or move on to someone else. When he arrived he was seen as a big catch but wasn’t match fit – as you say he was without a club – maybe if he’d been here longer it would have come together better but he never really hit peak form at his time here. I don’t think his intention was to stay here for long and he was likely influenced to come by our Australian internationalist, Martin Boyle in coming here. Going to St Pauli will give him a big pay raise but don’t put yourselves down – playing for St Pauli against HSV, Bremen, Schalke etc. is exciting for anyone and it’s understandable. St Pauli – HSV is a famous Derby here too. Seeing clubs like Fürth and Bochum go up show the league is also competitive and just about anyone seems to have a chance – you guys coming good after a poor start to the season illustrate that. I’m not sure he was hugely committed to Hibs and we were maybe a stop gap, with him signing a longer term for you that should work to your advantage. The pay will certainly be a factor as well. As a comparison we couldn’t afford to pay as much in wages as Darmstadt were for Jamie Maclaren. He’ll enjoy the more attacking, expansive football in 2. Liga and being kicked and fouled less for sure.
I should add a couple of things in fairness to him. I wasn’t able to see him play in person for Hibs because no fans were allowed so I can’t comment on his off the ball/camera work, so I may not be giving him as much credit as he deserves. Equally we lost in a cup final we should have won and I’m definitely not over that, so there’s a cloud of frustration hanging over me for that side even though they did well to finish 3rd. He also hadn’t played in 9 months so it’s a really big ask to get involved half way through the season. On a lighter note he looks like a hipster with his hair, heard and moustache so culturally he might be a perfect fit 🙂
Thanks, Scott, your next beer in Hamburg is on us!
Statistics – and Instagram
Not just football-wise the FC St. Pauli signed an interesting player with Jackson Irvine. If you can afford two hours of spare time, watch this video. Besides heavy laughing and a thick Scottish accent, you can listen to Irvine playing the guitar. Also interesting: Already at the age of 16, Jackson Irvine was on the radar of Celtic even though he just started to seriously play football. The video is really worth watching.
Well, and then there is his Instagram-Account. It deserves full attention. Finally, there is a player with a stable insta, we’re triggered to say, “And his experience will benefit our younger players” was the statement of Timo Schultz. We really hope that he will also educate them on how to use Instagram in the proper way!
You should also save the date of the 1st of April (which we will of course add to the MT calendar). Because this day is also known as the “JacksonIrvine-Day” at his former club Burton Albion FC. This is because of this smasher in the 97thminute which was massively helping to fight relegation (and en passant we also might get an impression about the speed of Jackson Irvine)
Well, it’s really interesting what Timo Schultz says about Jackson Irvine (“physicality and rugged style of play”) and what the data is telling us on the other hand. Because lately, Irvine convinced because of his brilliant pass-play. He came second best when outplaying the opponent’s lines with passes in the Scottish division. He also came second when playing passes behind the last defense line. Instead, his values in defensive statistics are rather mediocre.
But this might also be related to the fact that he played a rather offensive role at the Hibs. When he played for Hull before, he convinced with ball gains and successful passes into the last third.
The flexibility of Jackson Irvine is remarkable. This might also be the reason why he cannot convince in respective statistics. Because there’s hardly any position in midfield that he didn’t play on. Thus, the demands to his mode of play are very different. He even played as a wing-back. Accordingly, his statistics are adjusting. Hence, he played the most header duels as a midfielder in the 18/19 campaign and also convinced with regard to successful defensive duels. However, these values decrease during the last two years while the already reasonable values of his pass play were elevated to a new level. Just watch this video of him as proof. Of course, these are rather his highlights than lowlights, however, his first contact looks pretty neat.
So the FC St. Pauli clearly gained flexibility for the midfield. And it seems as if the FC St. Pauli also gained more quality. Scott mentioned in the interview that he would have loved to see Jackson Irvine continuing to wear the jersey of the Hibs (even though he wouldn’t make use of the word “mentality player” as Andreas Bornemann did). The same is true for Hull City if one reads these rather clear lines.
Aged 28 years, Jackson Irvine is definitely considered to be immediate support and the FC St. Pauli gained an important brick for the construction side “Half position”. Nice.
A warm welcome at the Millerntor, Jackson Irvine!
//Maik & Tim (translated by Arne)