Ross County goalkeeper Nathan Baxter feels ready for the challenge of keeping the newly-promoted Staggies in the Premiership.
Englishman Baxter has joined County on a season-long loan from Chelsea, and will compete with fellow new signing Ross Laidlaw for the gloves.
Although he is only 20, Baxter is not short of senior experience having clocked up more than 100 games in the last three seasons during loan spells with English clubs Solihull Moors, Woking and Yeovil Town.
Despite suffering relegation from League 2 with Yeovil last season, Baxter emerged from the campaign with credit after winning five of the Glovers’ player of the year awards.
That experience makes Baxter confident he is prepared should the Staggies face a battle to survive in their first season back in the top-flight, following their Championship triumph last term.
Baxter said: “Every team I’ve gone to on-loan has been the bookies’ favourite to go down. Clearly because of my age, I’ve gone to clubs which have no money, really, a small budget – that’s why they’re looking for a goalkeeper.
“If you have a big budget, you’re going to go for someone really experienced on a high wage. I’ve played for poor teams, but in a way that has helped enhance my reputation. People have seen how consistent I can be and how positive an effect I can have on a club.
“We’ve been through some tough times. This club, although it is still a step up for me, realistically we’re not going to be fighting for the top of the league.
“Hopefully, the experiences I’ve had of playing week-in, week-out and dealing with the pressure of being in a side up against it, will help.
“I’ve been through that. For me, it’s important I’m part of a successful team so hopefully we’ll be able to achieve what the managers and the lads want to achieve this year.”
Baxter revealed Chelsea turned down offers from League One clubs in order to send him to Scotland, and he says he has received encouragement to make the most of his loan spell by a number of experienced mentors at Stamford Bridge.
Baxter added: “I was number three in the squad when I was 17 and worked with Thibaut Courtois, Asmir Begovic and Willy Caballero.
“I like to think, although I am young, I’ve had that experience of being in the squad and learning from that side of things, but then obviously also drawing from my four loan spells and playing 120-odd games.
“Speaking to the senior goalkeepers at Chelsea, along with the first team goalkeeping coach at the time, Hilario, and Academy manager Neil Bath, they all said to me I needed to go out and play – it’s probably the best decision I have ever made.”