Raith Rovers’ Jamie Watson has taken his emergency introduction to the first team in his stride.
The 20-year-old right back was pitched into the team’s decimated defence at a critical stage of the season and passed with flying colours.
He was introduced for the 1-1 draw away to Falkirk and has featured in every game since – even playing against Dumbarton at left back – including Saturday’s win over Peterhead.
“It was a tough one but it shows the character of the boys,” he said. “We’ve fought through.
“I think that’s three games we’ve had with sendings off and we’ve just battled through it.”
Watson says he has been happy to wait patiently before getting a chance to feature regularly in the first team.
“I’ve bided my time, then I’ve come in and I think I’ve done quite well. I just need to keep my performances up and keep the manager happy.
“Right back is my best position and sometimes I’ve had to fill in at left back, but you’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do.”
Aside from the Dumbarton defeat, the team has been on a good run and Watson says that has helped him to settle in.
“It’s great. To play in a team that’s doing well and is top of the league – we just need to keep it going.
“I think I’ve got over 30 appearances now, so I know what it’s about. I just need to keep it up.
“I feel like I’ve definitely matured in all aspects of my game and I’m getting taller as well!
“The gym work is good. It’s important when you’re playing in this league because it’s very physical.
“It’s quite a young team but we had experience against Peterhead with Kyle Benedictus, that helps a lot.
“Personally, I think my on-field communication has improved. It can get better. Football-wise, that has helped me a lot.
“We lost against Dumbarton when I was playing left back but every other game I’ve played in, we’ve done well.
“That’s been three top-of-the-table clashes we’ve played recently and we’ve won two of them.”
Watson said he’s taken inspiration from the excellent form of his fellow defender Kieran MacDonald, who has been a revelation at left back this season.
“I’d like to do what he does and get up and down the wing,” he said. “He’s doing that exceptionally well. I don’t know how many assists he’s got but he’s doing it brilliantly.
“We work on crosses in training all the time and I feel I’ve improved in doing that over the years.”
Watson said being a lifelong fan of the club has made running on to the pitch in a Rovers shirt that bit more special.
“I’ve been at the club since I was 11 in the Youth Academy but I was also a season ticket holder,” he said. “I was at the Scottish Cup semi against Dundee United and played at half time on the pitch.
“I’ve also got signed boots from Gregory Tade! It’s great to be playing here.”