Nathan Austin says the level of competition at the 2015 Central Fife Sports Council awards shows just how prestigious the prizes are.
The East Fife striker, MMA star Stevie Ray, boxer Connor Law and motorsport ace Jonny Adam are competing in a reader vote for the council’s main Sports Star of the Year award (see this week’s East Fife Mail).
Previously the prize was only available to amateur sportsmen and women, but this year has been opened out to the professional ranks.
And Austin, nominated on the back of a prolific 2015 in the black and gold, says it demonstrates just how deep the pool of sporting talent in this part of the Kingdom is.
He said: “When I saw that I had been nominated it came as a total surprise.
“I hadn’t really heard too much about the awards before but then I looked at the other people who have been nominated and you can see just how high class it is.
“I watch Stevie Ray’s fights so it’s fantastic to be mentioned at a level beside him.”
It’s been a terrific year for Austin who started 2015 with a bang and hasn’t looked back.
It seems bizarre to think it, but there was a point last season when Austin’s name was far from the first on the team sheet.
However, the striker is a key man at Bayview now, with the stands packed with admiring higher league scouts.
Thinking back to the turn of the year, Austin described his 2015.
“Jon McShane left the club in January and I thought that I’d be getting a starting place,” he said.
“But then Ola Adeyemo came in from Dundee United and I felt I may be behind him again.”
Austin, though, used the Dundee United man’s arrival as a positive to spring him on to the next level.
He explained: “After Ola came in I was on the bench for some games but coming on and playing well.
“Then I started a game against Annan and scored.
“The week after that I started against Elgin and scored four.
“Since then I haven’t really looked back.”
The striker was determined to pick up where he left off at the start of the 2015/16 campaign.
Having enjoyed a short holiday over the summer, Austin trained locally with his brother to ensure he hit the ground running.
And he’s done just that this season, already racking up 12 goals before Christmas.
He won’t be adding to that tally this weekend, though, with the scheduled game against Queen’s Park already postponed due to Queen’s playing Forfar in a Scottish Cup replay.
“It’s not what we wanted, but hopefully we get a friendly set-up,” said Austin.