Elgin City boss Gavin Price has challenged Tony Dingwall to put in the effort to prove he can get back to full-time football.
Dingwall joined Elgin in December after being let go by Raith Rovers, joining his younger brother Russell at Borough Briggs.
He burst on to the scene as a teenager at Ross County in 2014 under Jim McIntyre, but could not match those initial heights. A cruciate ligament injury early in 2017 also kept him out of the game for more than a year.
The 26-year-old started in Tuesday night’s Scottish Cup defeat against Ayr United and Price has challenged to put the effort in to match his obvious talent.
He said: “It’s the same as anybody – you get out of football what you put in. If you’re prepared to work hard, you’ll get rewards out the game. There’s no doubting Tony’s ability, he’s just got to match that ability with work-rate.
“We’ve all been there, dropping down the levels. It’s not an easy transition sometimes. If you think it’s going to come easy, you can be in for a rude awakening.
“That’s nothing against Tony, that’s for any player. As soon as you take your eye off the ball with football, it comes back and kicks you in the bum.
“The penny drops when the team’s selected and you’re not in it. That’s when the penny should drop for players. I got the reaction from the substitutes (on Tuesday night) and that’s what you need.”
Another player Price is hoping to get more out of is defender Darryl McHardy.
He spent some of last season on loan at Highland League side Rothes and started on the bench on Tuesday night, coming on in the second half.
The Elgin boss feels tough love is the way to get the best out of the former club captain.
Price added: “I think he wanted to prove a point. I want to put a carrot in front of him and I know he’s annoyed at me for not playing.
“But I think he needs that carrot sometimes – I think I know how to get the best out of him and, by design, sometimes I need to get him angry.
Elgin 0-4 @AyrUnitedFC
We are out of the #ScottishCup as four first half goals seal the win for the visitors.
We wish Ayr all the best in the next round
— Elgin City F.C. (@ElginCityFC) March 23, 2021
“I don’t mind him being angry with me. I want him to be. If I’m getting him determined to be in that starting line-up week by week, that’s the Darryl McHardy I want to see.”
Elgin welcome Stirling Albion to Borough Briggs today and victory against a fellow play-off contender will go a long way to helping the black and whites achieve their goals for the season.
Price added: “It’s a massive game. We’ve got a good record against Stirling, but we need to be much better than the last two games.
“Hopefully we’ll be more up to speed on Saturday.”