Kevin Dabrowski, like most others in football, knows to deflect the praise onto the team when it is directed solely at him.
But the towering Polish keeper doesn’t shy away altogether from enjoying the spotlight.
He is bristling with confidence – but he has backed it up so far.
In pre-season he was the hero in the Fife Cup shootout versus Kelty Hearts and he took that into his first competitive spot-kicks since he joined Raith Rovers this summer.
He saved the first and sixth of Kilmarnock’s penalties in their penultimate Viaplay Cup Group F tie.
🤩 Two super strikes in the second half and a huge hand to win the shootout.
— Raith Rovers Football Club (@RaithRovers) July 26, 2023
The 25-year-old shot-stopper, in his luminous kit, fills a fair portion of the goal and has backed himself from a young age to keep at least one from hitting the net.
‘It’s my thing’
“I’m always confident, that’s always been my thing since I was a teenager,” Dabrowski told Courier Sport.
“I came from the youth team at Hibs. We had a penalty shootout in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup against Celtic.
“I saved two penalties and I took the team to the final which we won.
“After that, when I got through to the first team, I had a chance to play against Arsenal.
“There was a penalty and I saved the penalty against the most expensive in the history of Arsenal. Against [Nicolas] Pepe.
“So, you know, it’s my thing. If I can save against a player who cost £80 million, it’s not a problem for me and I’m very confident.”
Unlikely practice partner
Penalties following a draw in a group stage is a quirk of the competition and, as a result, Dabrowski’s preparation was slightly odd to match.
Rather than facing team-mates or those likely to take a penalty, the keeper got a feel for them by facing his manager Ian Murray.
“Sometimes I [practice] with the gaffer,” adds Dabrowski. “Especially because the gaffer he is very good at it.
“He managed to score a couple, not all of them. Today it paid off that we’ve been working together.”
The extra point sets Rovers up well for the final day. Win versus Annan Athletic and they will go on to nine.
That will take them above Dunfermline and at the best of results elsewhere.
Toe-to-toe with Premiership side
Regardless of Saturday’s outcome, Tuesday’s result and performance, for Dabrowski, have laid down a marker.
“It’s a massive chance and we’ll do everything to get out of the group stage and be in the knockout stage,” he says.
“As we showed everyone, we put a statement that this season we are going to be very strong and organised as a team to show everyone what we can do.
“We’ve got a very good bunch of boys and the club is going in such a good direction, as you see – on and off the pitch.
“That’s why we wanted to show a statement that we can compete against Premiership teams and we’ll be fighting for it to one day get promoted and one day play like we did today with Killie.”