EXCLUSIVE: By HAMISH CARTON
MASSIMO DONATI claims that his Hamilton Accies side are every bit as good as the majority of the teams in the top-flight.
Speaking after Monday’s training session, the 35 year-old feels that there are only a select few clubs that can count themselves as truly being better than Martin Canning’s dogged side.
“I think there are maybe only two or three teams in the whole league that are better than us”, Donati explains. “I think the rest are at the same level. Anything is possible in football but the main target at this club is to stay in the Premiership. Tenth place is a success for us.”
Described as a “class act” by boss Canning, Accies are a much better team with Donati involved. He adds experience and composure to a young squad – invaluable at a club that puts such emphasis on rearing their own.
As Donati, formerly of Celtic explains, the New Douglas Park move came as a mutual benefit to both the player and his new club.
“My contract had just finished at Bari and I asked Hamilton if I could come for a week during the summer. Things went well and they asked me if I wanted to sign a contract and play here long-term.
“I always had it in my mind that I had to come back to Scotland one day. I think when you want something badly, you’re more likely to make it happen.
“I’m really happy here at Hamilton – I’m part of a really friendly family. Everybody has treated me like a friend from the day that I signed. We just need to keep picking up more results because the target is to stay in the Premiership and to do that we need to win games.”
Hamilton may be Donati’s current Scottish love, but they weren’t his first. There’s barely a day goes by where the midfielder doesn’t think of the Celtic, such was the impact of his two-year stay in the east-end of Glasgow.
Even the slightest mention of the club brings a smile to the Italian’s face.
“Celtic were my first experience outside of Italy”, Donati reveals, still smiling. “I didn’t expect it to be so brilliant. You’re always a bit scared going abroad into a new life but I was part of a big loving family.
“It’s hard to explain unless you’re there, but Celtic is much more than just a football club. They have fans all over the world. I remember once, we went to America for a friendly match and the fans sold out the stadium. It was incredible.
“Even now, when I’m in Glasgow I’m still recognised by Celtic fans.”
Last week, Donati signed a new two-year deal at New Douglas Park. And the truth is that the Italian couldn’t be happier where he is right now.
“I signed a new contract last week and I’m really happy. I see a future for myself in management and hope to be able to start doing some coaching while playing here at Hamilton.
“I love the people and I love this country. Everything is organised, unlike Italy. I don’t know exactly why but I just feel good here. I love this place.”