Boss Barry Smith praised his Elgin City players for proving they can make impacts when stepping off the bench.
The Borough Briggs manager, who recently replaced Ross Draper in the hotseat, guided his team to their first League Two win of the season at the weekend as they defeated joint-leaders Dumbarton 2-0.
Goals from Ross County loanee Connall Ewan and Aberdeen loan striker Liam Harvey sunk the Sons as they now get set for Saturday’s trip to Hamilton to tackle basement side Clyde.
Smith’s first game at the City helm was a 2-1 SPFL Trust Trophy loss at Championship Morton and they followed that with a winning result to climb up to seventh spot – three points ahead of Clyde.
‘Everyone is willing to play their part’
Former Dundee, Alloa, Aldershot Town, East Fife, Raith Rovers boss Smith is thrilled by the reaction from his players, whether they’ve started or not so far.
He said: “I said when I came in I needed everyone in the squad and I was delighted that Owen Cairns and Kenny MacInnes came on and did their jobs. They played their parts.
“I have said to the players they have always got to be ready to come on and make an impact. Owen and Kenny came off the bench and did what we asked of them and they contributed to the win.
“We also had Ben Barron on the bench, who rolled his ankle on Tuesday.
“Ross (Draper) wanted to be on the bench, but we can’t put him on given his injury. Any knock on his shoulder and he’d be out for a longer spell.
“Everyone is willing to play their part, which is excellent to see as a manager.
“It’s a good group. They are willing to work hard, listen and learn.
“I have changed the shape a wee bit and the players are doing what we’re asking of them. If they do that, it’s something to build on.”
A lot more to come from Elgin
Staggies defender Ewan, 17, and 18-year-old Dons forward Harvey got the all-important goals last week.
Smith knows it’s only the first step forward after a tough start for the team, but he is thrilled to see the loan players make their mark.
He said: “It was important to get off to a winning start (at home).
“In terms of the performance, we had to be resilient for spells of the game. We were also comfortable in other parts of the game.
“There were a lot of pleasing aspects, but we still have a lot to work on.
“But the first win is good for the fans. It’s brilliant. You could tell there was a good atmosphere at the ground and after the game.
“People who work there on a daily or weekly basis, you can see smiles on their faces. These people work hard and hopefully we can build on that.
“It was also great to get the young boys on the scoresheet. Connall has done very well at the back, while Liam, playing through the middle, scored for the second week in a row. Hopefully he takes confidence from that and kicks on.”
‘We will have to be on our toes’
With Brian McLean’s Clyde being only three points below Elgin at the foot of League Two, Smith is calling on his side to keep the levels up to give themselves of returning with the points.
He added: “Anyone really can beat anyone in this league.
“We will have to be on our toes again to make sure we give the same kind of performance as last week and I challenge the players to give these high levels week in, week out.
“The game against Clyde will be tricky. They have got to win at some point – we just have to make sure it’s not against us.”