Ross County debutant Raffaele De Vita was delighted he delayed his decision to come off with cramp before scoring the decisive third goal in the 3-2 victory against Motherwell at Dingwall on Saturday.
It was only the second home win of the season for bottom-placed County and their first win since November. It took them within three points of the Steelmen and St Mirren.
Martin Woods gave County a first-half lead before Well debutant Conor Grant equalised with a free kick, with goals from Paul Quinn and De Vita proving enough despite Well defender Fraser Kerr’s headed goal setting up a tense finish.
Italian midfielder De Vita felt the effects of his first appearance since playing in a 1-0 defeat for Cheltenham against Exeter City in December but, despite having to come off after 71 minutes, he was glad he remained on the field long enough to net the all-important goal.
He said: “I felt it a little bit before the goal but I stayed on and I’m glad I did. My last game was on Boxing Day and I was suffering with the cramp. I wanted to help the team but I was worried I might make a mistake and I didn’t want to cost the team a goal.”
De Vita’s stunning volley capped an outstanding debut performance, with the former Livingston player also providing assists for County’s first two goals. The 27-year-old reckons defeat would have ended the Staggies’ hopes of staying in the top flight, with De Vita relieved to secure the three points.
De Vita added: “It was pretty much a cup final for us.
“If we had lost that game we would have said we’d keep going until the end of the season but the gap would have been too big.
“We wouldn’t have given up. But looking at the table, after another defeat by a team trying to stay in this division, it would have been a massive blow for us.
“It was a great win. On top of that I was happy to be involved in every goal.
“It was a good debut and I’ll remember it with a smile on my face.”