Ross Matthews’ aim is simply to stay fit, get a run in the side and take it from there.
The Raith Rovers midfielder came off the bench at half-time in Saturday’s win over Linlithgow Rose to kick off their pre-season fixtures.
A brace for Josh Mullin, on his first start for the club, and goals from Dylan Easton and Jamie Gullan saw Rovers run out 4-1 winners.
For Matthews, it was a matter of getting back out onto the pitch after last appearing for Raith versus Hamilton in November due to a foot injury.
“It was good to get back playing, I’ve been waiting so long for that,” he told Courier Sport. “It was quite difficult in that heat!
“Before, I hadn’t had any bad injuries but last season I couldn’t get a break. I ended up having two surgeries.
“It’s quite mentally challenging not playing and having to watch all the time.
“To be fair, at the end of the season I was almost back and I was feeling it a wee bit. I had an aim to get back for pre-season and get a proper good season.
“Touch wood, I stay fit this season and get a proper run of games. That’s basically my aim, to get a good run of games and play well for the team.”
Back to full fitness following his foot injury, it is now a case of slowly building up minutes so the 27-year-old is in the conversation when manager Ian Murray selects his team for their first Viaplay Cup match.
His next chance for some game time comes on Tuesday night as Rovers travel north to Montrose for their second warm-up fixture.
Matthews, who has been at Stark’s Park for more than 10 years, after joining as a youth player in 2012, said it is an exciting time to be part of the club.
Josh Mullin and Dylan Easton. 😮💨
📹 Yesterday’s four goals from pitchside. pic.twitter.com/TYNBDn4dY3
— Raith Rovers Football Club (@RaithRovers) June 25, 2023
“I’ve been here a long time and there are a lot of changes happening now. It’s all for the better,” he said.
“All the guys that have come in have fitted in straight away. Even all the new owners and the new people around the club have all been really welcoming.
“It’s definitely a good time to be involved.
“We realise that there were a lot of injuries last year, I was one of them, and we didn’t have the biggest squad. In my opinion, it hindered us a bit.
“Now you can see that we’ve not just brought in players for the sake of it, we’ve brought in proper quality players with experience in this league and above.
“We’re building a strong squad.”