Robbie Muirhead's new lease of life under Dan Micciche

Robbie Muirhead was the only player to shoot against Bristol Rovers
Robbie Muirhead was the only player to shoot against Bristol Rovers

Despite being signed twice by his former boss, Robbie Muirhead says he is enjoying football more under Dan Micciche than Robbie Neilson.

The 21-year-old Scot has been a part of the MK Dons squad for a little over a year now, and was Neilson's first signing in January 2017 after he took over the helm. It was the second time Neilson had moved for Muirhead, having rescued him from Dundee United while at Hearts before bringing him to Stadium MK.

Muirhead was barely seen in the first half of the season, usually playing only Checkatrade Trophy games

Muirhead was barely seen in the first half of the season, usually playing only Checkatrade Trophy games

As he adapted to the English game, Muirhead had his critics among Dons fans, having struggled for goals despite being touted as a solution to Dons' striker shortage last season. While he ended the campaign with two goals to his name and a head of steam after some good performances at the end of the year, Muirhead went missing at the start of this season. Not even making the bench for months, Muirhead's time in Milton Keynes looked to be stalling.

"I don't think I started the season well and that showed because I didn't play for a few months," Muirhead told Red Dot, MK Dons' match day programme.

"I won't lie: when I wasn't getting into the team and on the bench I was really low and didn't feel great. That period has taught me that you can never get too low when things aren't going well, and when they are it is important not to get too high. You're never going to play every game - it's just one of those things you need to deal with in football.

"When I wasn't playing, I did look towards my form during the end of last season because that reminded me I can do it in this division. I'm hoping to start showing my ability once again during the run-in."

Muirhead warms up

Muirhead warms up

But after Neilson's dismissal in January saw Dan Micciche take over at the helm, and Muirhead has found himself a regular in the squad again, rejuvenating his motivation once more.

He continued: "Since the new manager has come in, it feels as if I've got a new lease of life. I think I played well when I came on away at Walsall and that performance has given me the bit of confidence I needed.

"I'm really enjoying my football. Since he's come in, I've been involved in the majority of games and that's what I want to do - play games. I've played on the left-hand side of midfield and as a central midfielder and I enjoy those roles."

Impressive shows in 2018 have come at Oxford, Walsall and Fleetwood, finally breaking his duck at the Highbury Stadium in the 1-1 draw with the Cod Army.

Muirhead has been told to express himself by new boss Dan Micciche

Muirhead has been told to express himself by new boss Dan Micciche

Muirhead added: "It was a massive, massive relief. I've not had a lot of chances to score this season, but I haven;t taken the chances I have had when they've fallen to me.

"It's such a good feeling to get the first one out of the way and hopefully I can add many more. I've confidence in my own ability to score goals. It's funny though because I don't think I actually hit that ball well - I thought I shanked it a but but it found the bottom corner."

Against Bristol Rovers on Saturday, Muirhead was the only Dons man to chance his arm, with three decent efforts, albeit only once testing keeper Sam Slocombe, in a game that ended with a 1-0 defeat.

But while Muirhead has been given a new lease of life, Dons' troubles have only deepened under Micciche. Scoring just three goals in his eight game tenure, Dons are six points from safety in League 1.

"When we get into the final third, Dan wants us to express ourselves and that's good for the players, especially for the ones who have a trick in them - that little bit of innovation can win you the game.

"We need to win games at home. We've not lost too many times at home but we've drawn too many. We need to start turning those draws into wins. Even if we won half the game we've drawn at home we'd be in a much better position. It's just one of those things and it's up to us to start winning games."