Creag Little stepped out a self-isolation and being struck with Covid-19 to make his debut for Elgin City at the weekend.
For an hour on Saturday, the summer signing from Stenhousemuir was at the heart of the Black and Whites defence as Ross County, in Malky Mackay’s first game as Staggies manager, won 5-0.
It was, however, only 1-0 at half-time before County put their foot on the gas in the second half and added more goals against League Two City.
From training to facing Ross County within two days
Little only trained with his new team-mates for the first time less than 48 hours before facing their Premiership opponents.
He explained: “I had Covid, so I’ve been isolating for 10 days and my first day out was when I travelled up for my first training session with the club on Thursday and for the game on Saturday.
“For the last two weeks, I haven’t been able to do anything so I’ve been struggling a wee bit, and 60 minutes was enough for me today.
“I am feeling fine now, but it really is about getting my fitness up now. It surprises you how much of that you lose in such a short period of time.”
Elgin manager Gavin Price had been tracking 28-year-old Little for some time and the centre-half explained that a strong performance against the Moray side probably boosted his chances of a switch from Stenny.
He said: “My mind was made up about coming here after my first conversation with the gaffer. He said he’d been looking at my performances for about a year. One of my better performances actually came against Elgin, so that probably helped.
“One of the things the gaffer talked about was that he says I’m a good talker and maybe that’s something that the team needed.
“If that’s something I can bring to them and help organise the back four and the midfielders in front of me, hopefully that bodes well for some clean sheets for the team over the course of the season.”
Elgin, who take on Strathspey Thistle in their latest warm-up match on Tuesday, kick off their season in the Premier Sports Cup on Saturday at home to Dick Campbell’s Championship visitors Arbroath.
City also have cup ties against Dundee United, East Fife and Kelty Hearts this month, before their League Two opener at home to Stranraer on July 31.
Little cannot wait for the hectic run of fixtures.
He added: “We have games coming up thick and fast, twice a week now, which is good, so the boys will be up to match speed in no time.
“We want to get into these cup games and do as well as we can, but the most important thing is for us to be ready for July 31 when we start in the league against Stranraer.”