BROWNE ON THE BALL: Jamie McGhee is making the grade once again

Jamie McGhee.
Jamie McGhee.

Jamie McGhee’s least favourite lesson at school was science. His favourite teacher, from the English department, got the nod because she was good looking, not because she inspired him in any academic way. Oh, and he was regularly, and possibly unsurprisingly, in detention a lot.

I know these things about the Boston United attacker because I read his responses to the School Days feature in the club’s matchday programme.

But as I closed those pages at 2.30pm on Saturday I had absolutely no idea about the answer to the real burning question - would McGhee pass the test as he returned to the starting XI?

With Kaine Felix ruled out with a sprained ankle, the 25-year-old former Mansfield Town man made just his second start in 23 competitive matches for the Pilgrims.

Last season was certainly not one for McGhee to remember fondly.

A series of injuries - most worryingly a tendonitis issue similar to the one suffered by teammate Marc Newsham - saw him fail to feature in 31 of the club’s 50 competitive matches.

And like Newsham, when he returned to fitness he found others had made his role their own, kicking off that vicious cycle of a lack of starts and match fitness.

Dennis Greene showed faith in McGhee this summer, inviting him back to link up with the squad in pre-season.

But in some ways, the start to this campaign could be seen as make or break for McGhee, a non-contract player who would need to prove exactly why his wages wouldn’t be better spent elsewhere.

And in the first 45 minutes of Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Curzon Ashton, he made his point resoundly.

He may have been lucky not to have added to the game’s red card count after he and opponent Alex Frost had an early off-the-ball scuffle which ref Tom Bramall missed.

But on the ball he was one of the stand-out performers, along with the continually impressive Liam Marrs.

There was that 40-yard ball on the turn that set Jay Rollins free and almost led to a goal, plus a combination of darting runs and clever link-up play which added to the hosts’ dominance.

After the break his impact was not the same, despite two efforts on goal which both fizzed over the bar.

But in his defence, fatigue, a lack of understanding with new signing Aziz Deen-Conteh and an unorthodix-yet-defensive opposition could explain plenty of that.

McGhee may not have the blistering pace to bamboozle defences like Felix does, but he has different weapons in his locker.

He can score a free kick, he can offer a dangerous dead ball delivery and he certainly hasn’t lost any of that confidence which was a breath of fresh air on his arrival at York Street.

Saturday was a serious test for McGhee, but one he passed comfortably.

It may not have been an A* performance, but he made the grade and it’s comforting to know that a decent run of game time could see him soon return to top marks.