Life is enjoyable for Iain Davidson at Raith Rovers again.
The long-serving defender makes no secret of the fact that the dressing room was an unhappy place last season as the Kirkcaldy side slithered towards relegation.
But the 33-year-old believes that a quick return to the Championship could be on the cards now that Barry Smith has put the fun back into the football club.
“Compared to last year, it’s very enjoyable,” Davidson told the Press. “It’s a good place to be at the moment, and everyone is in good spirits.
“From day one this season there’s been a togetherness and a connection. It wasn’t too bad last season under Gary Locke, but under John Hughes it certainly wasn’t there.
“There was zero communication and no togetherness and when you’re fighting a relegation battle that’s something you need.
“It’s night and day so far, and because we’re winning games that helps. Confidence is good and there’s a great team spirit.
“We’re having laughs on the training pitch, but we’re working hard too. We’ve got a good balance.”
Davidson is enjoying working under Smith’s management for the second time in his career following a spell at Dens Park.
“I know Barry well because he signed me at Dundee and I’ve got a lot of time for him,” he said.
“He’s honest and up front, what you see is what you get. He puts demands on you, but at the same time he connects with players.
“He’ll pull boys aside before and after training, and that’s all you want – a bit of honesty.
“He has good man-management, and I’ve even seen a difference in him since I had him at Dundee.
“He’s more talkative now from a few years ago, so he’s even improved as a manager as well.
“I think the club is in good hands and we’re in a good place.”
Davidson produced a heroic performance in the heart of the Rovers defence on Saturday as they came back from a goal down, and an early leg break for captain Kyle Benedictus, to defeat title rivals Ayr at Stark’s Park.
“Performance-wise it maybe wasn’t the standard we’ve set in previous weeks, but the good thing to come out of it is that we’ve won the game, having not really performed well,” he said.
“From what I hear, Ian McCall said after the game that’s the best they’ve played in a few years, so that’s a positive for us that he’s really happy with his team yet we’ve managed to beat them not playing well.
“It’s a big win because they are going to be one of our rivals for that league. It was a happy changing after the game, although it certainly wasn’t at half-time.
“The gaffer had a bit of a pop at us for the first time, which we deserved, and we came out with a reaction.
“Taking on board the reshuffling that had to be done it was certainly a good result, and there was a bit of character and resilience there.
“There’s lots of positives for us to take even though we’ve not performed to the heights we’ve set so far.”