Craig Barr admitted that he was as surprised as the Raith Rovers fans to see his name in the starting 11 on Saturday.
The forgotten defender made his long-awaited debut for the Kirkcaldy club in the 2-0 win over Livingston after an injury-plagued season.
Barr signed from Airdrie in the summer but a knee injury picked up in pre-season, which subsequently required surgery, prevented him from playing.
He finally returned to the first team squad in December, and after spending the past few months on the bench, the 27-year-old was delighted to finally get his first game under his belt.
“I didn’t know I was in the team until quarter to two when the gaffer flicked over the team,” he told the Press.
“To say it was a surprise was an understatement.
“I wasn’t quite giving up hope, but the team had been on a good run, and the boys were playing well.
“When you’re sitting on the side watching good games and good performances you just want to be involved.
“It’s a hard feeling. You’re happy for the team but at the same time you want to be playing and involved.
“I’m just happy that my name was on the sheet and the gaffer put some faith in me.”
A nervy Barr admitted that he was relieved to come through his first 90 minutes with a clean sheet and a 2-0 victory.
“It was a good result, and a clean sheet for my first game for Raith after what’s been a long 10 months since I agreed to sign,” he said.
“On a personal level, I’m happy enough, although I’ve still got room from improvement.
“After so long out it was one of the most nervous I’ve been in 10 years playing football.
“Hopefully I can show even more what I can do in the coming weeks.”
Barr admitted that his long period on the sidelines was one of his toughest times in football.
“It was a difficult one,” he said. “Not many people knew what the problem was so I was waiting week by week seeing surgeons and specialists.
“It was about 12 or 13 weeks in when we eventually decided that surgery was the best way to go.
“The recovery time wasn’t set in stone - it was a case of get the surgery and play it by ear.
“It was horrible. There’s no lonelier place in football than when you’ve been injured and coming into a new club made it even worse.
“You’re on the edge of it - you feel on the outside looking in.
“That’s football and injuries happen - but it wasn’t an easy time. Hopefully that’s behind me now.
“I know there’s not many games left in the season, but the gaffer’s shown faith in me and I’ll hopefully repay him.
“I feel I’ve got a point to prove. I’m almost starting again, so hopefully now I can show what I’m capable of.”