Ross County midfielder Iain Vigurs has urged youngster Harry Paton to grasp the opportunity to fill the void left by the departure of Jamie Lindsay.
Midfielder Lindsay left to join English League One club Rotherham United in a £300,000 deal earlier this week, with the former Celtic player having been a near ever-present in County’s Championship title winning side last term.
Lindsay’s exit could open the door for Canadian midfielder Paton, who impressed from the start alongside Vigurs in Wednesday’s 2-0 Betfred Cup victory over Forfar Athletic.
The vastly-experienced Vigurs says the 21-year-old has the potential to rise to the make the slot his own, and he said: “It’s only up to Harry. If he wants that shirt, he needs to make it his own – no-one else is going to do that for him.
“He has got the ability, no doubt about that. He just needs to keep learning.
“He’s only young, he’s not had that many first team games at a higher level. But he has got undoubted ability and talent, so it’s just about the older boys coaching him through it.
“He’s got great legs, he’s young and he’s good to have around. It’s always good to be pushed by the young boys.
“I’ve played with him in the centre a couple of times in pre-season. I like playing with Harry, he’s willing to learn all the time, he gets around the park very well.
“With his touch and vision he’s got everything to make it, but he just needs to go that extra yard now to make it his own.”
Former Caley Thistle and Motherwell player Vigurs feels there is strong competition throughout Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell’s squad ahead of the Staggies’ return to the Premiership, and he added: “There are two or three players for every position. I think at every club I have been to there has been a full squad with a couple of players wanting to take the shirt off you.
“That’s good, you need that competition or you end up getting slack and relying too heavily on yourself, when you need boys pushing you.”
Aberdeen-born Vigurs missed much of last season due to a foot injury, but he feels he is back on track after helping County reach the last-16 of the Betfred Cup by winning their group section.
Vigurs added: “It has been massive just to get some minutes under my belt. I have been rusty on some occasions, but that is going to happen. It doesn’t come back straight away after so long out, you need to feel your way into it.
“I’m happier with each game that has passed.
“You have to put the hours in. When you are out that long you need to get the miles under your belt, so that when called upon you are ready.”