Guitar hero out to hit right note

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IF the Gallagher-esque haircut and Converse trainers weren't a big enough giveaway, new Clarets striker Steven Thompson loves his guitar music.

To emphasise the point, midway through the interview, his mobile phone rings, blaring out Coldplay's Viva La Vida.

An accomplished musician, the 29-year-old wrote an alternative song for Cardiff's FA Cup Final appearance in May – "Do The Ayatollah"– while his father Graham plays in a band called Dr Cook and the Boners, and one of his cousins is in up-and-coming Manchester indie outfit Twilight Robin, championed by the likes of Clint Boon.

So it's fair to say the former Rangers frontman is looking to strike the right chord with Burnley, and show, to paraphrase one of his most requested tunes at Cardiff team get-togethers, that "(S)He's Electric"!

He is looking forward to a new challenge at Turf Moor, after two and a half years at Ninian Park, and aiming to kick on under the man whose boots he used to clean as a trainee at Dundee United – boss Owen Coyle: "I'd like to think that I can bring something to the team, but at the same time I'm very keen to learn and improve, and I've no doubt whatsoever that I will improve here, as a player, working with Owen Coyle.

"My memories of Owen, going back about 12 years, I just remember him being an influential person around the changing room, which obviously he still is.

"He was, without a doubt, a top predatory striker, and that's exactly what I would want to work with, someone who knows the game inside out, knows what he wants from his strikers, and he can help me develop and improve me."

A physical presence, at 6ft 2ins, Thompson has great aerial prowess, and adds variety to a forward line with pace, guile and power.

The targetman Burnley have lacked since the departure of Andy Gray, and, probably, in all truth since Gareth Taylor was sold to Nottingham Forest five years ago, Thompson hopes his attributes will be compatible with Martin Paterson, Robbie Blake and Ade Akinbiyi: "I think it's good to have options, the manager has said that, and I think I'll give a different option up front.

"It's difficult to say what you can expect, I'll just try my very hardest, give 100%, and hopefully things work out very well.

"Whatever the manager selects, I'm looking forward to forming partnerships and settling into the team, and giving my all really, and I'm quite sure we'll be climbing the league very shortly."

Thompson brings a wealth of experience, adding that Cup Final appearance to playing for Rangers in Old Firm derbies, and for club and country in some of Europe's top venues, such as the San Siro in Milan, Porto's Estdio do Drago, the Stade de France and the cavernous Westfalenstadion in Dortmund.

And although his time in Wales saw him enjoy that dream date against Portsmouth at Wembley, Thompson admitted: "It was the right time for me to leave Cardiff, I was happy to leave and everything about this move was right for me.

"I wouldn't say things had gone sour down there, but everybody's got a shelf life at a football club, and mine had expired.

"Saying that, I started the first game of the season and scored against Southampton, and we won 2-1, and I have still been involved up until leaving on Monday.

"But I don't want to dwell too much on what happened at Cardiff, I would rather look forward, and a fresh start is what I want.

"It's what I need, and I'm very much focused on doing well for Burnley."

Thompson will have the international break to settle in at the club, and while he is familiar with Coyle from their time at Tannadice, he also knows a number of the players from the Scotland set-up, and he said: "It's nice to have some friendly faces when you join a club.

"Obviously I know Russell (Anderson), Graham (Alexander) and Steven (Caldwell) all very well, I've been in Scotland squads with them all and played in Scotland games with them all, and it's nice to have friendly faces around.

"And they're all quality players, which I think's more important."

And adding to his 16 caps, the last of which came four years ago when he scored in a 1-1 draw in World Cup Qualifying in Moldova, remains a major ambition: "I would love to get back into the set-up. I've not been involved in the set-up since I came to the Championship when I left Rangers. It would be nice, but I think first and foremost I want to get myself in this team and prove myself here, and if things go well it would be nice to think about that in the future.

"But it's something that you always think about. I've got 16 caps and it would be nice to get some more."

While Thompson looks to establish himself at Turf Moor, the dressing room is sure to become a lively place, filled with the strains of his guitar, and he spoke of his interest: "I started learning the guitar about 10 years ago, and I love it.

"I've got two kids now – one's two and a half and one's four months – so the chance to find time to play the guitar does not arise very often.

"I pick it up every now and again. It's better for a laugh with the boys, to do a bit of strumming.

"That's probably the only time I play it now. I'm not an enthusiast, but I do enjoy by music.

"I like the new Coldplay album. I was listening to it all the way up on Monday, and I'm looking forward to the Oasis album coming out very shortly.

"And my wee cousin is in a band in Manchester called Twilight Robin, They're just starting out, but they've got quite a big following.

"I think they're looking to get signed up, and they're on the verge of doing really well.

"He's at Manchester University doing a degree in music, so I'll be able to see him."