Malky Mackay never had any doubt that Canadian midfielder Ben Paton would handle been thrown in to firefight for Ross County in the left-back berth.
The County manager was rocked by injuries to Jake Vokins then Jack Burroughs, who were the two main players capable of playing in that role, while Connor Randall took care of the right side of defence.
Vokins, an instant hit in July when arriving from Southampton suffered a broken bone in his foot and has since undergone surgery at his parent club, while Burroughs, who is on loan from Coventry City, is out shorter term with an ankle injury.
Burroughs, although primarily a midfielder, is capable of playing at left-back.
The injury blows saw Mackay ask another middle man, Ben Paton, brother of Staggies ace Harry, to pitch in.
He made his debut there in a 4-2 against Rangers and showed up well in the 1-1 draw with Aberdeen too.
Mackay is impressed by 21-year-old Ben Paton’s approach, attitude and performances so far since coming in from Blackburn Rovers.
He said: “Ben is the most level-headed young man I think I have met. Harry and Ben, being brothers, are staying together. They are very different in personality.
“Ben is a highly respectful young man and I just discovered the other day he’d actually played tennis for Canada. He impressed us from day one.
“We brought him in on trial after he was released by Blackburn. He had been schooled really well there. They have a very good academy there.
“It was time for him to leave and he’s been great. He’s powerful, but he is also so calm on the ball.
“Against Rangers, the ball down in the corner and it was Ben against three players chasing him, but he took the ball and, with his back to them, took the hit and got the foul. That was calmness.
“He was involved in our goal against Aberdeen with Ross Callachan and Blair Spittal, where he laid a lovely ball into Blair to get the ball into the box for the goal.”
‘So comfortable on the ball’
Mackay said Paton hasn’t let anyone down since pulling on the Staggies shirt.
He added: “We have had to ask him to play in an area that he’s never played in before. I felt he would handle it no problem because he is so comfortable on the ball as well as strong and powerful.
“We are talking to him in terms of his positional skills, which he has picked up really well, but he will be fine. I want to get him back into the midfield because he’ll be a real asset to this club over the longer term.”
Keeper Munro needed as back-up
Mackay, meanwhile, confirmed that the club are not planning to send 21-year-old goalkeeper Ross Munro out on loan for game time.
Number one Ross Laidlaw and Ashley Maynard-Brewer, who is on loan from Charlton Athletic, are in front of highly-rated Munro in the pecking order.
However, Munro is needed for cover and the manager has been impressed by his off-the-field influence too.
He added: “If one of our goalies goes down at any point then we have a problem. Ross is part of the first-team squad and will continue to be that between now and Christmas.
He is a great kid and probably one of the most enthusiastic boys I’ve met.
“He is in that dressing room at the end of games high-fiving people and picking them up – he’s a great young man, who trains hard under (goalkeeper coach) Scott Thomson. Ross will stay with us.”