Elgin City forward Joel MacBeath says the thrill of representing his hometown team has given him added drive this season.
MacBeath joined local side Elgin in the summer, after being released by Ross County following a 12-year spell in the Staggies’ youth system.
The 19-year-old had previously spent a stint on loan with League One side Montrose, where he netted twice in 10 appearances.
MacBeath has largely been used as a substitute by Gavin Price this season, with all but one of his 10 outings coming from the bench.
Having made the switch to senior football at part-time level, MacBeath says he is enjoying the chance to play for the Moray outfit.
MacBeath said: “It’s nice playing for my local team. It gives me that added impetus to go and work harder and play, as I know people that support the club.
“It’s a different challenge compared to being full-time, as I’m not training every day.
“Since I joined I have really enjoyed Elgin. The boys made me feel welcome straight away and the coaching staff have been brilliant with me.”
MacBeath is among a number of young players pushing for a place in Price’s side this season, with 21-year-old Aidan Sopel making a strong impact which saw him rewarded with a new contract until 2023.
David Wilson and Owen Loveland are also among those who have been on the fringes of the starting 11.
Elgin’s desire to accelerate the rise of young talent has impressed MacBeath, who added: “Although I was at County from the age of six, I knew Elgin were going in the right direction over the last few years.
“I think that’s what’s so good about Elgin, they have always had a good youth set-up and they have always tried to bring local lads through into the first team.
“I think we will see that more in the coming years, with young boys coming through.
“It’s pointless to waste it. There are some really good players at the moment.”
MacBeath was part of Elgin’s under-20s side which defeated Clachnacuddin 5-1 in November to claim the North of Scotland title from last season.
Although the League Two season is currently on pause due to Covid-19, MacBeath would not be surprised to see more young players make the step up in the coming months, with Fin Allen and Matt Jamieson having both been hotly tipped by Price in recent weeks.
MacBeath added: “Winning that cup was great for some of the boys.
“It was a very young squad, so it will do them the world of good and give them a lot of confidence.
“There are loads of young players who could eventually break into the team.”