Ilmari Niskanen braved Storm Arwen as he travelled to Dingwall for Dundee United’s clash with Ross County on Saturday.
But the Finnish star has no qualms about playing in Scottish football during the big freeze insisting he LOVES playing in the rain.
Niskanen is fast becoming a United fans’ favourite since his move from German side FC Ingolstadt 04 thanks to his all-action displays on the wing.
And while the north of Scotland took a battering yesterday with gusts of up to 90mph, Niskanen is ready for any conditions.
The Finnish football season runs during the summer but Niskanen is used to plummeting temperatures back home.
“I spoke to my girlfriend in Finland earlier and she told me it had been snowing heavily,” said Niskanen.
“It was -6 or -7 already.
“It also gets even colder than that so, for me, the weather is no problem.
“I actually prefer playing when it is raining because the ball moves so well.
“To be honest, I don’t even like the sunshine so much so this weather is brilliant.”
Ilmari Niskanen: I’m a Scottish-type player
Niskanen has fond memories of the last time he played Ross County.
The game is best remembered – sadly – for allegations of racial abuse directed towards his team-mate Jeando Fuchs.
The SPFL later revealed there was ‘insufficient evidence’ over the claims.
United boss Tam Courts, who held up a Show Racism The Red Card t-shirt in support of Fuchs, admits he anticipates a ‘frosty reception’ from the County fans.
But for Niskanen, his first-ever Dundee United goal will always be special.
And as works his way towards full match fitness after almost a year out in the cold in Germany, the Finland international has promised his best is still to come.
🔊 SOUND ON – Finnish international Ilmari Niskanen hits a powerful drive that the 'keeper can't hold and the ball sails into the net much to the delight of the Tangerine Army. 😍 #GOPRO#UnitedTogether pic.twitter.com/jF8wKrtHBC
— Dundee United FC (@dundeeunitedfc) October 4, 2021
“The first few games were quite hard for me personally,” added Niskanen. “I didn’t play at all in the second half of last season in Germany.
“After the pre-season, I wasn’t playing at all.
“It took time to get my game fitness back.
“I was training hard but match fitness is completely different to training
“It took two or three games but I feel better and better all the time.
— Ewan Smith (@ewansmithpr) September 22, 2021
“I now feel I can run all the time and my playing style requires that.
“I need to do those heavy sprints all the time and I feel good.
“Scottish football is more intense than it is in Finland but I love that intensity and the tempo.
“It suits me because I am not a big fan of ball-possession football. “I like it when the game goes back and forth because there is more space for me to run.
“I am totally more a Scottish type player.”