AN island paradise, or a scarred landscape?

A chance to marvel at Mother Nature, or fear her destructive powers?

There is a first time for everything, and Lyle Taylor's maiden voyage to Montserrat won't be his last.

The 25-year-old is back in more low-key and familiar surroundings after a trip that saw him catch twelve planes and a boat, visit a handful of Caribbean islands, score on his international debut, discover the history of his adopted homeland and meet the uncle he never knew he had.

From a knock at the door from a man nicknamed 'Beep Beep', due to his taxi and car rental firms on the island, that turned out to be his dad's brother William, to the sight of a lava spewing volcano that only two decades ago decimated Montserrat's capital city, it is fair to say Taylor's first taste of international football is one he will never forget.

The World Cup dream would never become a reality as Curacao, managed by Dutch legend Patrick Kluivert, edged though 4-3 on aggregate but the experience has affected Taylor the man as much as Taylor the footballer.

His father, one of six children, has never been to the island where his parents, John and Charlotte, grew up and moved to England from 70 years ago, and Taylor is the first grandchild to ever make the journey.

The effects of the Soufriere Hills eruption in 1995 are stark, with an exclusion zone still in place around the ruined city of Plymouth, and it has made its own mark on Taylor.

"To see to effects of 20 years ago and where my grandfather was born as this concrete shell, a whole side of the mountain just grey and the volcano still spitting fumes, there's no words for it," he said.

"One of the other lads went on the tour with me and I had a video camera and I stood in front of him and asked him what he thought about what we had seen.

"He just stood there and said 'wow, I can't, I have no words.'

"That's what it is like. It's scary to see something that powerful than no one has any control over and can go at any minute.

"It's amazing that while we live in this sheltered country - which we do in the UK - we will never really understand it. There are people who have lived with it for 20 years and I don't know how they've done it.

"Most of the islands are formed from volcanic and plate activity. It's crazy but I'd urge everyone to see the different parts and cultures of the Caribbean."

As well as soaking up the culture of his adopted nation and land of his grandparents, the on-field action was to prove just as eye-opening for Taylor.

Montserrat were unable to upset the odds and move through to the second qualifying phase and the striker, who returned to Firhill on loan from Scunthorpe on deadline day, had mixed experiences on his first taste of Caribbean football.

Taylor said: "You have to take the rough with the smooth. There's not a great deal of money in the Caribbean.

"It's not the same infrastructure we have in the UK when it comes to football.

"The pitch in Montserrat is probably the best I have played on sine pre-season - that's how good it was.

"That was very good but the pitch in Curacao was awful. It was like playing on concrete.

"It was an astroturf pitch from 40 years ago and totally embarrassing that FIFA could allow anyone to play on a surface like that."

Having returned to Scotland last week, Taylor was reintroduced to Scottish football sooner than expected after he replaced Kris Doolan half an hour into the Jags' Premiership clash with Aberdeen on Saturday.

It was to prove a frustrating afternoon as the forward passed up two decent chances in the 0-0 draw but Taylor won't use his international exploits as an excuse.

He said: "In 11 days I was on 12 flights and a boat! It's not a case of flying in and out again.

"We went Barbados to St Martin to Antigua to Curacao, back to Antigua and St Martin, then St Kitts and back to Curacao to Antigua, a boat to Montserrat and back to Antigua then back to London.

"Then there was the flights between London and Glasgow. I used to think a trip to Carlisle was a long journey!

"The travelling was hard and it took its toll. I have struggled with my sleep patterns but that has nothing to do with not scoring on Saturday.

"We should have won the game. We had other chances than mine, we were unfortunate and on another day we could have beaten Aberdeen 4-0 at their place."