Ross Laidlaw has bounced back from the disappointment of being dropped last season to make another push to be Raith Rovers first choice goalkeeper.
Laidlaw lost his place to Lee Robinson during the second half of last season but the 22-year-old has bounced back this term with a series of impressive displays since taking over from the injured Kevin Cuthbert.
The big shot-stopper has started Rovers last five matches, keeping a clean sheet on two occasions and even earning man of the match despite conceding four goals against Rangers.
He is keeping a fully fit Davie McGurn on the bench, and Laidlaw is hoping his form can convince manager Grant Murray that he deserves to hold onto the gloves this season.
“I knew that if I got a chance to play this season, I would have to take my chance,” Laidlaw told the Press.
“In Kevin and Davie there’s two good goalkeepers there who want to play as well, so I’m glad I’ve came in and done well.
“It’s what you want. You want to train with good goalkeepers and have that pressure on you.
“That’s why I’m playing better this year. I know they are behind me so I need to work hard at my game.”
Laidlaw also puts his good form down to a successful summer knee operation after playing through an injury last term.
“I felt it during games and it was a bit swollen,” he said. “I was struggling a bit with it but after seeing a consultant I got it tidied up during the summer.
“Since then it’s been absolutely brilliant. I took a bit longer off during the summer to get it fully healed, now I’m feeling good and training hard.
“I’m able to just concentrate on my football now.”
Laidlaw is now keen to avoid a repeat of last season where he was left out of the side following inconsistant displays.
“I was obviously disappointed to get dropped but with my knee problem and Lee Robinson coming in, the gaffer thought the time was right to take me out the team,” he said.
“He didn’t want to give me too many games at a young age for a goalkeeper because I made a few mistakes last year.
“But all through this year I feel I’m doing better and hopefully I can keep my place.”
Laidlaw played a key role in the 1-1 draw away to Hibs on Saturday, no more so than in the fourth minute when he made a superb double save to deny Jason Cummings.
“I was delighted with that save early doors,” he said. “The first half wasn’t the best for us and we conceded at a bad time just before half-time.
“But we still had belief we could claw it back and in the second half I thought we were the better team and were unlucky not to get three points.
“But we’ll take a draw at Easter Road. It’s a hard place to come and teams will drop points here.
“It’s been a good start to the season for us.”