Dario Zanatta admits he was left ‘embarrassed’ after a wonderful opportunity to impress against Celtic culminated in his dismissal.
However, the Raith Rovers winger is adamant he would never allow one miserable evening in Glasgow wreck his sensational start to life at Stark’s Park.
Parkhead was anything but Paradise for Zanatta last Thursday, with the Canadian picking up two sloppy bookings in the space of eight minutes.
He cut a dejected figure as he sloped down the Celtic Park tunnel, with boss John McGlynn later describing the red card as ‘petty’ following a 3-0 defeat for Rovers.
However, Zanatta was back to his sparkling best on Sunday, rippling the net for the sixth time in 12 outings as Raith defeated Partick Thistle 3-2.
“I wanted to make up for Thursday,” confessed Zanatta. “It was a one-off and it was the first red card in my career.
“I also knew that we had some massive games coming up where I could make amends.
“Of course, it was a frustrating night against Celtic and to get sent off on a stage like that a bit embarrassing, if I’m honest
“But I knew I would get a chance to right those wrongs quickly.”
Zanatta’s circumspect, relaxed attitude shines through.
Indeed, McGlynn recently joked ‘Dario’s horizontal, isn’t he?’ before adding ‘you need to be at him’.
It is a style of management that is clearly getting the best out of the former Hearts kid following miserable stints at Partick Thistle and Ayr United.
— SPFL (@spfl) September 27, 2021
It’s much easier to enjoy the graft in a team with craft.
“I’ve taken really well to how the gaffer has dealt with me,” said Zanatta.
“I am a laid back guy, I’m not overly confrontational. I just enjoy playing football, being around the boys and being successful.
“But the gaffer is always driving me and saying: ‘Don’t be content with how things are going — keep pushing’.
“The defensive part of my game is something I still need to work on. I feel like I have got better at helping out Dicko [Liam Dick], and Ross Matthews is really good at talking to me during games.
“But everyone can hear the gaffer shouting at me — so it’s obvious I need to get better!
“But, to do that side of the game, it helps when you are enjoying your football.”
While loath to set targets, Zanatta is keen to hit a double-digit goal tally for the first time in his career; an eminently achievable aim at this rate.
But personal glories pale into insignificance compared to the prospect of being involved in a promotion push.
A win over Dunfermline would see the Rovers open up a four-point lead in the final playoff place and move to within six points of league leaders Inverness.
“I’ve never had a season in the Championship where I’ve been involved in the good playoffs — fighting for promotion,” smiled Zanatta. “That’s what I’m here for.”