IF someone had told Matt Haywood when he arrived in Glasgow as a fresh-faced 18-year-old who had just been recruited to the city’s new ice hockey team that he’d still be here a decade later, he’d have laughed them out of town.

Yet against all of his predictions, ten years on, Haywood remains in Glasgow and has worked his way up the pecking order at Glasgow Clan to his current status, as captain of the team he has spent his whole adult life with.

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The Sheffield native is the club’s longest-serving player and to honour this achievement, he will play in his testimonial this evening and as humbled as the 29-year-old is, he admits he is also a little nervous about the evening.

“I’m looking forward to it but I’m also a bit apprehensive at the same time – I hope it all goes well,” said Haywood.

“I’m really looking forward to catching-up with all the guys but hopefully it all goes smoothly so it’s mixed emotions.”

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Haywood’s brother, who is also an ice hockey player, will play in the game and his family, including his wife and three-year-old daughter, Charley, will be in the stands supporting him but he reveals if he had listened to the advice of his grandparents when he headed north all those years ago, tonight would not be happening. And he could not be more pleased he did not heed their advice.

“When I first came to Scotland, I got warned by my grandparents not to get a Scottish girlfriend,” he recalls.

“And yet here we are with a Scottish wife and a daughter.

“I’d never have believed I’d still be in Glasgow ten years on. This wasn’t the original plan but that changed when I got to know the city and the people. I love it here.”

Haywood will not be the only star name turning out this evening, with a raft of former players returning to Glasgow to play in the game this evening. And Haywood admits it is somewhat surreal that so many fans, who have been so supportive of the Englishman throughout his time at the club, turn out to celebrate the captain’s time at the Clan.

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“The fans have been fantastic – they’ve been so welcoming to an English lad who came up here,” Haywood said.

"They’ve been so great with me and are the ones who have got my contract renewed so I owe them so much thanks, I really appreciate everything they’ve done for me and how supportive they’ve been.

“It’s quite a surreal feeling to know all these fans will be coming tonight – I just keep saying they’re coming to see the other guys though, that’s the real attraction.

“It’s also very humbling that these all guys who have played for the club in the past are willing to drop their busy schedules and come over and help me celebrate this moment.

“The people I’ve brought back are not only my friends but also people who have had a big influence on my career and so I think it’s going to be a really good, fun night.

“But the game is also a celebration of the club because the club is ten years old too so I’m in a unique position from that point of view.”

As soon as this evening is over though, Haywood will turn his attention back to the more serious matter of the EIHL. The Clan hit a purple patch of form earlier in the season to top the league but a recent dip has seen them slide to seventh place.

But Haywood remains confident that with 15 games of the season remaining, they can rediscover their best form.

“We want to get some good results so we can get as good a seeding as possible and hopefully progress to the finals weekend,” he said.

“I think we need to reset and maybe relax a bit more.

“We need to identify what makes us good, which we are doing and so we’ve got to stick to that as much as possible. If we stick to that and get beaten by a better team on the night then we can live with that. So as long as we feel we’ve left it all out there, that’s all we can do.”

Haywood remains relatively young in elite ice hockey terms, although he knows he is closer to the end of his career than the beginning.

And so with that in mind, he has been studying quantity surveying so that he has the foundations for a new career when he does finally hang up his stick.

That will not be for a while though.

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“I still have another year on my contract,” he said.

“I’m currently studying alongside playing so it’s busy - it’s a bit scary thinking I might need to get a real job sometime but I’m doing everything I can to make the transition as smooth as possible.”