John McGlynn has revealed that Matej Poplatnik was yet to even meet his Raith Rovers teammates prior to his first outing for the club last weekend.
However, the Stark’s Park boss is adamant the Slovenian striker has quickly made his presence felt.
Rovers snapped up the Livingston front-man on loan last Friday evening and pitched him into action in a friendly against Queen’s Park less than 24 hours later.
Despite the whirlwind introduction, Poplatnik marked his substitute appearance with a goal in the breathless 2-2 draw.
McGlynn was heartened by the cameo — with Poplatnik allying a tireless work ethic with real quality in possession — and he has been impressed further in the week of training which has followed.
“Matej walked onto the pitch having never met his teammates,” McGlynn told Courier Sport. “He only turned up on the day of the game.
“It was very late in getting the loan deal done on the Friday, so it says a lot about his ability and intelligence that he was able to slot straight into the side — he gave us a right spark.
“He has quality, work-rate and enthusiasm. There was a moment when he struck a great ball across the pitch for Reghan Tumilty to bomb on, he had a dangerous header and scored a goal.
.@KeralaBlasters' Matej Poplatnik looked dangerous throughout against @ATKFC and even scored the opening goal of #HeroISL 2018-19! He is the Hero of the Match!#LetsFootball #FanBannaPadega #KOLKER pic.twitter.com/c7SYzM0AUc
— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) September 30, 2018
“That impact is what you want to from a substitute and it’s what you are looking for from a new signing.
“Now he has trained with us for a week, you can see he is a really, really clever player. He is 28 years old — so not a kid; he has experience — and he has already scored a hell of a lot of goals in Slovenia during his career.”
A point to prove
Poplatnik, who is in line to make his competitive debut at Cowdenbeath on Saturday, made 25 appearances for the Lions last season, albeit only seven of those outings came in the starting line-up.
He rippled the net three times, including the winner in an extra-time Scottish Cup victory against Raith Rovers.
And McGlynn believes he can call upon a player with a point to prove.
Poplatnik, a prolific marksman in his homeland with Triglav, has joined on a season-long loan but there is a recall option for Livi in January.
“I’m sure he is coming to Raith Rovers and keen to make up for lost time,” said McGlynn. “Like any player, when things don’t quite work out somewhere, there is always an element of wanting to show people you are better that what they think.
“We are really grateful to Livingston for allowing Matej to come here — it is not the first time, with them loaning us Lars Lokotsch last season — and I’m sure Matej is determined to do well here and make that step back up.
“He gives us firepower and he gives us options.”