25 October 2020 14:31
Get the Glasgow stories that matter to you sent straight to your inbox with our daily newsletter Sign me up Thank you for subscribing See our privacy notice Invalid Email To say Calvin Miller grew up fast when he became a dad at 17 is an understatement. When baby Olivia arrived the Castlemilk lad was trying to break into Celtic's first-team. Coping with nappies and sleepless nights when his youth team pals were enjoying nights on the town, Calvin doesn't regret a bit of it. For him, it was all about his little girl, and being the best dad possible. Speaking to Sunday Mail sport this week, Calvin, now 22, recalled: "Becoming a dad so early in my life was a big thing.
The 22-year-old told MailSport: "I was a young boy from Castlemilk, just enjoying myself. Join thousands of fans who have signed up to our Celtic newsletter. But at 17, living on a tough Glasgow housing estate, while trying to break into Celtic's first-team? That's why, even though he's not at Parkhead any more, it's impossible not to admire Calvin Miller. When his Hoops youth team pals were going out he would be at home heating milk bottles or changing nappies.
For Miller and his partner Shannon, their new baby girl Olivia was the priority. Rather than let it derail his Celtic aspirations, the birth of his daughter only made Miller more determined to make the grade at Parkhead. A cruciate knee injury ended any hope of a future at the club last September. After 10 years there, Miller didn't even get to say goodbye to the coaches or players he'd worked with, due to Covid-19 restrictions. And after an uncertain summer, he's now playing with English League Two new boys Harrogate Town. Shannon, now his fiancee, and Olivia will soon move down to their new home in Leeds - and Miller couldn't be happier. And when he reflects on the biggest moments of his life so far, he wouldn't change any of it. Instead, it gave him the discipline, maturity and resilience to make a career out of the game. The 22-year-old told MailSport: "Becoming a dad so early in my life was a big thing. The day Olivia was born, I matured. "I was a young boy from Castlemilk, just enjoying myself. But when I had my wee girl everything changed and I had to grow up quickly. Thankfully, I had a good group of pals who wouldn't get me into trouble. "I was full-time at Celtic and the credit has to go to Shannon. She helped me a lot, at times probably pulling me away from situations with my mates. I've always said that it's the best thing that's happened to us. "We've been together for 11 years and Olivia is five now, she's just started school. It paid off for us and I think it shows the maturity of both of us. "Of course, when I was 17 at Celtic, while other boys my age might have been out, I was at home babysitting or changing nappies. But I wasn't thinking about it too much. "I don't think most people realise what it's like until they have a baby. "And it changes your priorities because your child has to come first. But it's the best thing in my life so far. "I wouldn't change my upbringing at all. I like being labelled a scheme boy. The injury Miller picked up at the start of last season in a reserve game against Hibs left him in limbo. The final year of his Celtic contract was a write-off as Covid ended the campaign. Battling back to fitness on his own was mentally challenging - as was leaving his boyhood club inconspicuously. He said: "I never got to say goodbye or shake hands with anyone at Lennoxtown because of Covid. "I did my cruciate in the last year of my contract at Celtic. "You know at 22, with that injury and a squad of about 30 players, that you're not getting another contract. "I put a goodbye message on Instagram and it was great to see all the boys' comments, especially more experienced players like Scott Sinclair. At that point, Miller could have easily drifted away from the game. And even when he was the victim of the English game's cut-throat nature as a move to Plymouth Argyle fell through, he stayed focused and earned a deal at Harrogate. He said: "Going to France was a turning point for me. "After the injury, it was the first time I'd played a proper game. My knee felt great and I haven't really looked back since. "The injury was tough at the time but everything happens for a reason. "Right now, I'm in a better place physically and mentally than I've ever been. "Then the manager at Plymouth said he was going to offer me a contract. "Plymouth had played Rangers in a friendly and I came on for the second half. It was the best I'd felt in my career. "I'd had to reinvent myself, become stronger, better, faster than before at Celtic. I had no update and was wondering how things could change so quickly. It's just great to be back playing again. "That's my aim right now and we're a team with nothing to lose in this league.