Raith Rovers defender Kyle Benedictus has heaped praise on boss Barry Smith after he was named League One Manager of the Month for August.
Benedictus credits Smith with galvanising the side and restoring the confidence that was torn to pieces after last season’s relegation, while he also believes he has improved individual players.
“He’s a great man manager,” Benedictus said.
“I knew him previously from my days at Dundee and Alloa, so I was delighted when he was appointed in the summer.
“I knew what he’d be like. He gets to know every player individually and that’s helped him get the best of boys like Lewis Vaughan and Bobby Barr.
“Ross Callachan has got his move to Hearts but I think he’ll be the first to say that the gaffer has made him into a better player this year.
“It’s a pleasure coming in every day. All the boys are enjoying it.
“There’s banter flying about, and there’s a good intensity to training every single day.
“The manager is always onto us about not slacking off – he always wants more.
“He knows what we need, and how important it is to stick together on and off the park, and I’m sure if we continue the way we’re going it will be a succesful season under him.”
Benedictus was speaking after the routine 4-0 win over Ross County Colts in the Irn-Bru Cup second round on Saturday.
“It was a nice comfortable win,” he said. “The boys flew out the traps – as we’ve been doing in every game recently – and although we maybe slackened off a bit in the second half, that can happen when things have gone so well in the first half.
“We’ve kept a clean sheet as well, which is great for the whole team, now we move onto the big one next week.”
Benedictus wore the captain’s armband on Saturday, and admits he would be happy to take on the role full-time following the departure of Callachan.
“The manager hasn’t decided yet, but he wanted myself to take the captain’s role for the time being,” he said.
“I don’t know how long it will be for, but if he wants me to take it permanently, then I’ll be happy to take it.
“It doesn’t change my game. It’s just an armband at the end of the day, and a bit of extra responsibility off the park.
“As long as I’m playing, and winning games, that’s all that matters to me.
“It’s a group game, and we’ve got a small squad so we’re all going to need to play a part.”
Next up for Raith is a top of the table clash against Ayr United at Stark’s Park this Saturday and Benedictus is hoping to lay down an early marker against an expected title rival.
“It’s early in the season and leagues aren’t won five games in, but to get a four point gap would be nice,” he said.
“We’re scoring goals but keeping clean sheets, which gives us confidence throughout the whole team and long may it continue.
“Ayr have got some good players, but we’ve got good players too, and if we keep going the way we’re going, I’m confident we’ll get three points.”