BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
KYLE Benedictus has thanked Ray McKinnon for giving his professional career a lifeline – but has promised Raith Rovers will not give their old boss any favours this afternoon (Saturday).
The Championship leaders come face to face with McKinnon at Tannadice for the first time since he left to join Dundee United in the close-season.
The former Brechin City manager was a hugely popular figure during his year in at the helm in Kirkcaldy and especially with Benedictus thanks to the pivotal role he played in the defender staying full-time.
The 24-year-old had just been freed by Dundee in 2015 after spending a full campaign in the part-time ranks with Alloa Athletic and was worried about his future.
However, a move to Rovers – who are ahead of Hibs on goal difference after winning three out of three under Gary Locke in the league so far this term – has revitalised his career and he will be forever grateful to McKinnon.
He said: “When I left Dundee that was the first year I had been without a club.
“So I was wondering what was going to happen – but then Ray gave me a phone and said he wanted to sign me.
“I would like to thank him for giving me the opportunity to play football again.
“I played every game last season apart from when I was suspended and that has given me a lot of confidence.
“But Ray knows me and he will realise I will just be desperate for three points on Saturday.
“I’ll do as much as I can to get them for the boys.”
As a former Dundee player – and one who played for the ‘Deefiant’ side that saved the club’s First Division status in 2011, despite a 25-point deduction for going into administration – Benedictus is expecting a hot reception against United today.
But the Dundee-born stopper has revealed publicly for the first time he was actually a regular at Tannadice as a kid and was a boyhood Tangerines supporter.
He added: “As a former Dundee player, I am expecting a few boos. But they will not know, I was once a United fan!
“I had a season ticket for about eight years and used to go to games when I was younger with my auntie.
“I kept it quiet for years and no-one really knew.
“But obviously I signed for Dundee and, once you are a professional, who you support goes out the window.”