Kevin McHattie is hoping to finally put his injury hell behind him by helping Raith Rovers to promotion.
The left back has managed just 10 intermittent appearances this season due to a troublesome groin injury that required two operations, on top of picking a knee injury in his first game back.
The 24-year-old made his latest return to first team action on Saturday by completing 90 minutes in the 2-0 victory over Queen’s Park that closed the gap on leaders Ayr to two points.
And he was delighted to play his part.
“On a personal note and as a team performance I thought we played very well first half, knocked the ball about and got the two goals from it,” McHattie said.
“In the second half they came out and lumped balls on top of us, but we defended well and kept a clean sheet, and everyone in the team takes confidence from that.
“It was a good game to be involved in. The formation they played gave Jason and I a bit more time on the ball, which helped me get my head up, pick passes and grow into the game.
“It was a good game for me – and for the team.”
McHattie, who hails from Glenrothes, has shown flashes of ability since joining Raith two years ago.
When fully fit and playing with confidence he can be a real asset, as was particularly evident in the early stages of last season, where he provided a real attacking thrust from the left full back position.
Fans will recall his stunning equaliser in the 2-2 draw with Dundee United at Tannadice in August 2016.
Injuries have prevented him from consistently reaching his true potential, but the former Hearts man is hoping that promotion, and a return to full fitness, can put the past to bed.
“It’s been frustrating,” he said. “Basically from last February onwards, it’s been a hard one.
“I had an operation at the end of last season on the left side of my groin, got back from that, then had an imbalance so I had to get the other side done to even everything up.
“Everyone in the changing room has been behind me – the manager, backroom staff and physio – and that helped me through it. That’s what you need.
“Bene was out for a while too and we kept each other’s heads up. It’s been hard and I’m glad I’m through it.
“Coming back at first all the boys were popping the ball around and I didn’t know what was happening!
“But each week I’ve grown more confident and getting back into the way of training. I feel I’m getting there now.
“I know what I can bring to the club when fit, and I’m confident I can do that week in, week out.
“It’s good to come back at a crucial time and and hopefully play a part in winning promotion.
“We’ve got two games left, and we’re looking to win those to pile the pressure on Ayr, and see if they can deal with it.”