ROSS Matthews got used to starting matches against the Old Firm and Hibs last season – but is now desperate to make his mark for Raith Rovers every week.
The 20-year-old has been named in the starting line-up for eight out of Rovers’ nine competitive outings so far and is again expected to be given the nod when they bid to keep their unbeaten run going against Falkirk this afternoon.
It was a very different story under previous boss Ray McKinnon, with five of his seven starts coming against Celtic, Rangers and Hibs last term.
But the midfielder is delighted to have quickly gained the confidence of new manager Gary Locke and is eager to help ensure the Stark’s Park side maintain their impressive start to the campaign.
He said: “I’m just delighted to be playing. Last season, I came on as a sub a few times but I have had a few starts so far this campaign and I am hoping to keep that up.
“When I did start games last year they were against Hibs, Celtic and Rangers.
“I couldn’t really complain as I was playing in the games everyone wanted to play in.
“But I am still young and I just want to take part in as many games as I can.”
Matthews made 18 appearances in all last term and admits to some concerns when McKinnon departed for Dundee United during the close-season.
However, the youngster insists he has been determined to make the most of the fresh start afforded by the arrival of a whole new management team.
He added: “The manager spoke to everyone as a whole and said there is competition for places.
“So I just tried to impress in pre-season – basically make him like you!
“I hope I have done that.
“Last year when Ray McKinnon came in, we still had Laurie Ellis here but this year has been totally different with the gaffer and Darren Jackson coming in.
“It was a clean slate and a good chance to impress.”