“It has been quite an experience rooming with Adam Smith. Having never been away from his mum and dad, Smudger has been a bit homesick. But he took it to new extremes last night when his mum gave him a FaceTime call and sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to him. It got him off to sleep but didn’t do me any favours.
“Ryan Fraser has been getting a bit of stick, mostly due to his age and naivety. But fair play to him because, apart from not knowing which currency they take in Austria, he has done his research. At breakfast, he was very proud of himself because he has mastered how to say hello in Austrian. He’s been saying guten tag to everybody, even some of the English people here.
“We haven’t seen him spend any money yet but, when he does, I’m sure we’ll be in for a laugh.
“The Wee Man did baffle me a bit when he said he couldn’t wait for Friday’s game because it would be amazing to see Drogba. When I asked him what he was on about, he said we were playing Galatasaray. He looked a bit disappointed when I told him we were playing FC Copenhagen but he soon perked up when I said they were a big team who had played in the Champions League.
“After breakfast, we had planned our own Tour de Austria bike ride. We were going to have a race to the training ground which is about five minutes down the road. As we are in the middle of nowhere, we were expecting quite a safe route and everybody was geed up for the race.
“Matt Ritchie, who is a keen cyclist, was first out of the traps and leading the way when we got to the end of the pathway at the hotel. That was when we were confronted by a dual carriageway. I don’t think it went down too well with the motorists when 30 lads emerged on bikes wearing bright red training tops.
“A few of the lads were a little uneasy by this stage and Cookie nearly ended up in a cornfield.
“We all got to training in one piece and went in single file behind the fitness coach. I don’t think we will be doing that again.
“The facilities and pitches at the training ground are excellent and we are very fortunate to have such a great place to work. We had two hard sessions today and the training was high-intensity, as it always is. The gaffer worked us hard during a long morning session on the pitches and everybody got a lot out of it. After a break, we did a gym session this afternoon.
“Harry Arter was the only person missing this morning and the rumours were that he was jet-lagged. I’m not sure how that could have happened when there is only a one-hour time difference. He made the afternoon session so hopefully he will be ready to rock and roll tomorrow.
“It has been a pretty tiring day but that is what we are here for. We had some down-time and four of the lads went off to play golf. Matt Ritchie and Brett Pitman have both been talking themselves up ever since we left Heathrow but have been a bit quiet since losing to Josh McQuoid and Ian Harte. Those Irish lads are all good golfers.
“After dinner, the first of the new players will be doing his singing initiation and then we will have a quiet night watching the World Cup. I’m just waiting to see which song Smudger’s mum is going to sing him tonight!”