Ross County midfielder Tony Dingwall is determined to repay the belief shown in him by manager Jim McIntyre this season.
Dingwall has made his breakthrough to the first-team, having failed to make a senior appearance under previous manager Derek Adams.
The 20-year-old’s Staggies debut came as a substitute in September’s 4-0 defeat by Hamilton Accies – the first game after Adams’ sacking, in which Dingwall’s former youth coach Steven Ferguson was in charge of the team.
However, it is since the arrival of McIntyre in September that Dingwall has become a first-team regular, going on to make 19 appearances throughout the campaign.
The youngster was rewarded with a new two-year contract in December, although he broke his hand twice in the subsequent weeks.
Despite the injury set-backs Dingwall considers the season to have been a successful one for him and, having returned recently, he is eager to make an even bigger impression with his hometown team next season.
Dingwall said: “It means a lot for the manager to have that faith in me. I need to have the chance to show what I can do.
“Fergie was great with me in the youth teams and when he took over as caretaker he threw me in.
“I was signed by Derek but I never really got beyond being on the bench.
“The manager came in and stuck me on and then started me the next week. I’ve not looked back since.
“I’ve been at the club since I was 11 and I have supported the club all of my life.”
Dingwall has fond memories of supporting his hometown team, including travelling to Hampden Park to watch the then First Division Staggies play in the Scottish Cup final five years ago, ultimately losing 3-0 against Dundee United.
Dingwall hopes more local players can follow his path into the first team, including his brother, Russell, who is part of the youth team at Victoria Park.
Dingwall added: “I guess I’ve got the name for playing here – a few people have mentioned it. This is what I wanted to do and it’s great to be playing with my hometown club. I used to sit in the stands with my mum and dad.
“A load of us went down for the cup final a few years ago. That day was something else for the town but it’s great to see County established as a top-flight club.
“I’d never had thought that would be the case a few years ago but that’s a few seasons now and hopefully we can push on and finish higher up the table next season.
“There are a lot of my friends in the under-20s who can hopefully follow me into the first team.
“My brother Russell signed this year. He needs to develop physically but hopefully he will eventually make the step up.”