Charlie Lakin hopes he has made an instant impression on new Ross County manager John Hughes by answering his call to fill in at left-back.
Midfielder Lakin has made a strong impression since joining on loan from Birmingham City earlier this season, prior to picking up a thigh injury in the 2-0 Betfred Cup victory against Celtic last month.
After regaining fitness in time for last weekend’s visit of St Johnstone, Hughes, who recently replaced Stuart Kettlewell, opted to pitch the 21-year-old in at left-back in the absence of Carl Tremarco.
Although Lakin has previously played the position, the Englishman took the call as an early show of faith from Hughes.
Lakin said: “The manager told me he wanted me to do a job there and I knew I was capable of doing that. I found it all right. I played there when I was younger, so it wasn’t too unfamiliar to me.
“I thought I could do it well, so I wasn’t going to turn him down.
“I’m quite versatile, I can play in a number of positions, so if the manager asks me to play left-back, centre-mid, number ten, left wing, I feel I can do it.
“When he asked me to play left-back, I told him I was comfortable doing it. I felt I had a bit of knowledge about what I was trying to do.
“He told me the full-backs would be getting a lot of the ball and knew I’d be ok with that, so I was happy to do so.”
Lakin had impressed in his opening nine games for the Staggies prior to picking up the injury and, having committed to the Dingwall club for the rest of the season, he is eager to recapture his early-season form.
Lakin added: “To pick up that injury was disappointing, especially in such a big game, and even more so because we went on to win it and I wasn’t particularly involved.
“Then to miss five weeks when the results weren’t particularly great and not being able to do anything to help the players or the staff was hard to take.
“It’s one of those things that happens, injuries come, but to get 90 minutes on Saturday was great, I was buzzing.
“Now it’s time to kick on and get back to where I was, get games in and help the team as much as possible.
“I thought before the injury things were going really well. I was getting minutes which was the main thing.
“In general I thought my performances were reasonably good. The reports I was getting back from friends, family and coaches were all positive as well.
“I feel like the loan has gone really well for me. I am pleased with how it has gone.”
Lakin is involved in a relegation scrap for the second successive season, having spent last year on loan with English League Two side Stevenage.
The Hertfordshire outfit were bottom of the table when the campaign was curtailed due to Covid-19, however, stayed up after Macclesfield Town were deducted points.
With County looking to move off the foot of the Premiership when they travel to Livingston tomorrow, Lakin hopes to avoid a similar scenario.
He added: “It was a bit lucky for Stevenage in the way we did stay up, we got fortunate and I am grateful because they are still in the league.
“Hopefully that doesn’t happen this year because it was a bit of a panic last year.
“Even though the season was called short and I was back at Birmingham, I was getting messages from the Stevenage manager saying: ‘there’s a meeting today, we don’t know what’s going on.’
“No-one knew what was actually happening until it came out on social media, and that’s when we found out as well.
“We didn’t get a heads-up, we found out at the same time as everyone else.
“It was a relief, but let’s hope that doesn’t happen this season, because it was stressful and it wasn’t nice to go through.
“It was difficult because we were losing pretty much every game. We’d only get the odd result here and there.
“It was tough, but from my personal experience it’s about digging deep and keeping going.”