Position: Central Defender
Date of Birth: January 27th 1991
Birth Place: Leeds, England
Previous Club: Hearts (youth), Hearts, Partick Thistle (loan), Partick Thistle
Killie Contract: September 11th 2015 (4 month deal) extended to June 1st 2018 (2.5 years)
Freed'ed by Killie: Aug 30th 2016:
Landmarks: Killie debut on Sept 24th in the Scottish League Cup, at home to Hearts. Scored his first Killie goal on Oct 3rd 2015, at Tynecastle (after conceding a first half penalty) in the Premier League. Signed a two and half year extension to his short 4 month contract on November 23rd 2015 which takes him up to the end of the 2017/18 season
March 29th 2015: “My mum’s father is from Hungary and her mother from Austria. They both moved to England when the Second World War started. They met in Leeds and, even though neither of them could speak English, they got together. My grandfather died when my mum was just eight years old. So I never met him. My Gran is still living in Leeds just now but it’s quite a small family on my mum’s side. It would be interesting to look back at my family tree. I’ve heard stories and I can’t really say what’s gone on. But you can imagine what went on in their countries during the war. I’m just glad they did flee to England and make me! My mum has been to Hungary but I haven’t yet. I think I’d prefer to go when I’m older with a wife and a couple of kids – just to show them where we’re all really from. Maybe I’ll come across it on my travels. My mum speaks about her parents but she doesn’t know everything – it’s all quite tight-lipped. Mum doesn’t really like talking about the past but it would be interesting to know if my Gran wrote stuff down, to find out what life was like for them. My dad died last year but he wasn’t too big an influence on my career. It was more my mum. We moved up to Scotland when I was eight and I went long periods of time without seeing my dad. He’d call me and look out for my results. But it was always my mum taking me to training and lifting me up after I’ve had bad games. I have to thank her for always being there – and she’s still in Edinburgh. I’m still eligible to play for Austria and Hungary, as well as England or Scotland. It might be a long shot but I’d be open to playing for either Austria or Hungary if the chance ever came up. Last year, I literally booked a plane ticket on a Saturday and I was away to the Greek Islands on the Monday. I stayed for two and a half weeks. I just went island hopping and stayed in hostels. The amount of friends I made was unbelievable – people I still speak to now. We’re already talking about a reunion. It’s great keeping in contact with people from different places all around the world. I like going away myself, I’m a weirdo! All the boys slag me off. They couldn’t do it by themselves. I do get nervous at times but it’s like anything - you have to try things at least once. If you go away with a mate, it’s always at the back of your mind: ‘Does he really want to do that’? Santarini is probably the place I’ve been to where I’ve thought: ‘I’d love to live here’. It was beautiful and the people are terrific. There’s also an island in Thailand called Ko Phi Phi. That was out of the world. That’s where the Tsunami hit 11 years ago. It rained for three days straight at one point, which was a real shame because on the hills, they have the Tsunami memorial at the highest viewpoint. We wanted to go there but couldn’t manage it. I’d definitely go back to visit that. Unfortunately, both Santarini and Ko Phi Phi are too small to have football teams so I can’t go and play there. It’s one of the pitfalls of being a footballer in Scotland – you’re going to be out of contract at some point. That’s for sure. If you look at players in England it’s a bit different. They’re on thousands of pounds a week, whereas the money up here isn’t great. Personally, it’s been tough. I’ve just bought my first flat and all my money has gone on that. I literally have no savings. Everyone who buys their first flat knows what it’s like for the first six months, it’s hard. Unfortunately it’s going to coincide with my contract running out. At the same time, it’s exciting because I don’t know what’s around the corner. I’ve loved my time at Firhill and I have a good relationship with the Thistle fans. But sometimes in football you have to look in other directions to improve yourself as a player.
September 18th 2015: "It's been tough, I'm not going to lie. You don't know what's going to happen, you don't know whether someone is going to take you but you have just got to be positive and think something is going to happen. Luckily for me, Kilmarnock came calling. But it's been difficult waking up and not knowing where your future lies. You just have to go to the gym and keep yourself as fit as you can but you miss it. You miss going in with the lads and having the banter in the changing room. I thought there were a couple of things that were maybe going to happen from abroad. I was just waiting for the offers to come in but nothing materialised. I kept getting told 'something's coming, something's coming', but I wanted to get back into it. I have bills to pay like everyone else, I have a mortgage. I'm not made of money. I needed a job and staying in Scotland is not the worst thing in the world. It's a good league and I'm looking forward to the next four months. I decided in January I was leaving, (the Jags) I had five great years there [Hearts] and just decided a change was necessary for myself and my career. Maybe things didn't quite work out the way I wanted but I'm only 24 and I have a good few years in front of me to fulfil my dreams in football. I was getting a bit impatient and I just wanted something. When Kilmarnock came in, I thought it was the right decision to take something short term until January, and we will assess it then, whether it suits both parties to renew it. I'm just happy now and looking forward to get back playing and doing what I do best. As footballers we want to go out and play in front of crowds and put on a show for the fans. I played 90 minutes on Tuesday and I'm feeling much fitter, so to get back out for the first team and help the boys up the league would be massive. I just want to go out and play and I want to do well for the club. They have taken me in and hopefully I can repay them."
November 21st 2015: "It's always a worry when you are out of work and not getting paid, like everyone else I had a mortgage and bills to pay. But football is different from other jobs and sometimes you just have to take that chance to better your career, so that's why I left Thistle. Hopefully I've made the right decision after Kilmarnock showed some faith in me. I was always confident I'd get something sorted out eventually but I just didn't know if it would be in the lower leagues or not. I had an offer from Dunfermline but I wanted to stay in the top flight so I held out. When Kilmarnock came in I jumped at the chance. It's not a secret that I had wanted to go abroad or look down to England during the summer. But things didn't work out and I learned that maybe I should look a bit closer to home at times. The grass isn't always greener. My belief is that everything happens for a reason and I'm now back enjoying my football. But my biggest ambition remains to try going abroad and sampling a different culture and a different style of football. I don't think enough Scottish footballers go abroad and try and improve themselves. I've not got a young family or anything, so feel I could try it now. I've only got a girlfriend so would it work long distance? You never know. You can't say no to every opportunity. I want to look back on my career and say I went out there and tried it. [On his Celtic Park record] Zero wins, zero draws and I don't know how many losses. But I'm not going there expecting another defeat. Every time I play at Parkhead I go there expecting to win. I'm quietly confident. I know it's going to be hard but I've got faith in my team-mates that if we all show up we can cause an upset."
November 23rd 2015: “I'm thrilled to have signed a long term deal with Kilmarnock. [2.5 years] Since joining in September I've settled in well. I managed to get my fitness levels up quickly and then get a lot of first team game time under my belt, which is what I was hoping for. I'm enjoying the style of football that Gary is developing. I really feel that the Club is on the verge of achieving something great and I want to be part of that.”
Aug 30th 2016: Conrad Balatoni has left the Club by mutual agreement.
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