Raith Rovers midfielder Ross Matthews is glad to be back on the pitch, and back eating normal food again, after his recovery from a horror facial injury.
The 23-year-old suffered a fractured eye socket and broken cheekbone in a nasty collision during the derby defeat to East Fife at Bayview back in August.
The injury left him with temporary disfigurement, unable to eat and speak properly, and kept him out of action for two months.
“It was pretty horrible for the first couple weeks and I couldn’t eat much,” he said.
“My cheek was all swollen and twice the size of my other cheek.
“It was brutal – I was on milkshakes and smoothies.
“Because of the painkillers I wasn’t actually hungry and I lost quite a bit of weight.
“Part of the process of coming back was just eating as much as I could, but even that was painful after surgery.
“Thankfully that’s over.”
The silver lining for Matthews was that, despite missing seven matches, he was able to keep himself fit due to the nature of the injury.
“I was still able to keep my fitness up because it was my face so I was still able to go on the bike and do stuff in the gym,” he said.
“So I still felt fit, it was just no contact training for six weeks, and then the last few weeks I’ve been back and feeling good again.”
Matthews was speaking after the 3-1 win over Stranraer on Saturday, as Rovers bounced back from the defeat in Peterhead the previous week.
“Going into the league we want to win every game but especially after last week we wanted to put on a good performance and I definitely thought we did that,” he said.
“I don’t know how it felt from the stand, but on the pitch I felt we looked confident and that we were going to score with every attack.
“They had a wee spell in the second half towards the end when they scored the goal but I thought we actually restricted them well.
“Maybe last season we would have been open and still tried to press but we sat in and made it hard for them and just protected the win and got away with the three points.”
Matthews, who played alongside Brad Spencer in the middle on Saturday, added: I thought me and Brad did well in there. We won a lot of second balls and I thought we controlled the game for large amounts.
“That’s what we wanted going into the game, especially at home, where we feel like we can control any game this season.”
Rovers now head into back-to-back cup fixtures at Stark’s Park with Friday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final against Elgin followed by the start of the Scottish Cup versus Peterhead the following week.
“It’s two massive games,” Matthew said. “Now we’re in the quarters of the Challenge Cup we want to go on and put in a good challenge to win it.
“Elgin have won their last five though so I’m sure it will be a tougher test than it might seem.”