Jonny Crawford is desperate to make up for lost time after returning from injury to help Formartine United defeat Inverurie Locos in the Highland League Cup.
The 29-year-old made his first appearance for 15 weeks in Saturday’s 1-0 win against Locos at North Lodge Park.
The former Aberdeen, Peterhead and Montrose defender suffered a slipped disc in his neck in a 2-1 defeat by Fraserburgh in August.
He said: “I actually played the following game against Livingston Under-21s in the Challenge Cup when I shouldn’t have.
“Eventually I got a scan and got to the bottom of it.
“I feel a lot better. I had only trained four or five times but I felt really good in the first half against Locos.
“I got tired in the last 20 minutes but overall I was happy with my performance.
“Getting a touch early in the game helped settle me down. I had a header early as well and that gave me the confidence that my neck was OK.
“I was delighted to get back in the team and get the full 90 minutes.
“It was a great result. We needed it with the way things had been going for us so we were delighted.”
Crawford hopes to be involved again when Lowland League side East Kilbride visit North Lodge Park in the third round of the Scottish Cup on Saturday.
The United full-back is optimistic about his side’s chances of overcoming the K Park side, who are without a manager after Stuart Malcolm left to join Forfar.
Crawford said: “I love the Scottish Cup so I’m really looking forward to Saturday.
“I wanted to be back for the previous round against Gala Fairydean but that was going to be impossible.
“We have no midweek game so I have a full week to recover.
“East Kilbride might have a new manager in by Saturday which may give them a boost.
“But when we are at home against any team in League One, League Two or the Lowland League, I fancy us to beat them.”
Formartine had goalkeeper Kevin Main to thank for an inspired display in Saturday’s victory against Inverurie Locos.
Crawford says the former Buckie stopper has become a hugely important player for the Pitmedden side and rates him as the best in north football.
He added: “He made some very good saves but that is what he gets paid money for.
“I would say he is the best goalkeeper in the Highland League now that (Cove Rangers’) Stuart McKenzie is away.
“We know what Kevin is capable of and we have come to expect it from him.”