Former Dundee, Rangers and Scotland midfielder Graham Dorrans says his pals are green with envy as he enjoys personal freedoms and performs in front of packed stadiums in Australia.
Dorrans, 33, quit Dens for life Down Under last November, joining Western Sydney Wanderers and linking up with his ex-Gers team-mate Kenny Miller, who is on the coaching staff.
The playmaker has shone in his two appearances since the A-League restarted, helping the Wanderers to a 2-1 victory over Newcastle Jets in his last outings.
However, Dorrans will perform in front of the biggest crowd he has experienced in Oz on Sunday, with more than 20,000 supporters expected at Stadium Australia on Saturday for their derby clash with Sydney FC.
"It's quite simply the biggest club clash in any code in this city…"
— WS Wanderers FC (@wswanderersfc) January 12, 2021
Fans are allowed in grounds in Australia, with the island nation far more successful in combatting the Covid-19 outbreak than many other countries, including the United Kingdom.
He said: “Back home, they’re really struggling at the minute, a little bit more than here.
“I know there has been a small outbreak [in Sydney] but I don’t think it’s anything compared to what it’s like back home.
‘Fans make football’
“In Scotland everything closed down, all shopping centres, restaurants – families are stuck in the house, which is difficult.
“I’ve had messages and phone calls from my mates, they’re very jealous that we can get out and about and fans can get into the games – they all follow football and have been disappointed the whole season.
“Fans make football and it’s not easy when they’re not at the games.
“When you’re pushing for a goal in the last 10 minutes or you’re defending for your life in the last 10 minutes, you want to have the fans behind you either way.
“It gives you an extra five, 10 per cent maybe if they’re on your side.”
While the racket of a proper derby day experience may seem like a novelty amid empty arenas around the world may seem like a novelty, Dorrans insists nothing will compare with his Old Firm outings.
Derby day ambitions
The former Livingston, West Brom and Norwich man face the Hoops on three occasions, even captaining his boyhood club in one of the fixtures. However, he never tasted victory.
And Dorrans cannot wait to see what the all-Sydney showdown has to offer.
He told the Sydney Morning Herald: “I grew up going and watching the Old Firm as a fan. Playing in it was totally different. It’s incredible.
“I captained Rangers as well, which was a huge honour for me.
“When you’re walking out of the stadium you can literally not hear a thing that anyone’s saying to you. Your teammates are shouting instructions and there’s nothing you can hear.
“I switched my phone off for the week – you get mates and everyone calling you all week so I just switched it off and focused on football.
“It’s disappointing the results never went for us, it’s not been a great fixture for me.
“But hopefully I can get a victory in this derby at the weekend.”