Raith Rovers striker Mark Stewart insists he doesn’t sulk when he’s on the bench - because he believes he can still impact the game.
Stewart made another bright substitute appearance against Queen of the South on Saturday as he struck the post after coming on early in the second half.
The 28-year-old changed the game the last time the side’s met at Stark’s Park in October when he scored twice after coming on with half an hour left.
While Stewart would prefer to be among manager Grant Murray’s first picks, he feels he can still contribute when named among the reserves.
“I’m obviously disappointed when I’m not starting games,” he told the Press.
“But you’ve got to quickly put that disappointment to the side and say, how can I change the game when I come on?
“I know I’ve got it in my locker to change games from the bench - I’ve done it before for Falkirk, Dundee and Raith already this season.
“That’s always in my mind and helps get the disappointment of being left out the starting 11 out my mind.
“I’ve nearly done it again on Saturday. Half an inch on the other side of the post and I’ve scored another one from the bench.
“It might’ve gone our way from there - that’s the margins in football - bu it wasn’t to be so we just have to focus on next week now.”
Stewart feels that he is facing stiff competition for a starting berth up front at Stark’s Park.
“We’ve got a good forward line - myself, Calum, Christian, Lewis and even Jimmy’s played up there as well,” he said.
“It’s competition for places and you want that in the squad.
“I want to be starting but when I’m not I need to turn that into a motivation to come on and help the team - which I know I can.”
While Stewart would like more starts, he admits he is just happy to be fit after an injury-plagued last three seasons.
“I’ve had that many injuries over the last few years that I’m just absolutely buzzing that I’ve not missed a days training since I’ve came in,” he said,
“Actually being on the training pitch every day is a big thing for me.
“If I can keep that going through the whole season without getting injured, and hopefully bag a few more goals, then to me that’s been a successful season and I can look to build on it next year.
“That’s a long way off though and I need to focus on the now, and we’re stick in a wee rut where we can’t get into the rythmn we had at the start of the season.
“It’s a couple of good performances then we’ll lose a game whereas Queens are consistent team and that’s why they are in top four.
“That’s what we need to look for because we’ve got good players in that dressing room.
“It’s a very good squad it’s just a case of getting consistency and a bit of confidence throughout the team.
“Things will change - we’re not even halfway through the season.
“I wouldn’t count us out of the top four by a long shot. I think we’ve got a right good chance being in there at the end of the season.”