Dundee boss Paul Hartley admits Kosta Gadzhalov is reaping the rewards for all the hard work he has put in on and off the pitch.
The big Bulgarian defender joined the Dark Blues in the 2015 January transfer window.
Until recently, the 27-year-old had been restricted to cameo appearances as he struggled to nail down a regular place in the team.
Now, though he has started the last four games for a resurgent Dundee side and has formed a formidable partnership in a back three alongside skipper Darren O’Dea and Frenchman Kevin Gomis.
Gadzhalov, who memorably scored against Dundee United in a certain derby back in May, doubled his tally for the Dark Blues on Saturday against Inverness and his manager is full of praise for the no-nonsense defender.
Hartley said: “Kosta’s been good and has never let us down – he’s been reliable.
“He has had to wait for his chance but any time he has come in he has always done a great job.
“His English is also a lot better. He struggled with that when he first came in.
“But over the last year or so, it has been good. I think he took some lessons.
“When you are in a dressing-room with English-speaking players, then you do pick it up but he also worked at it.
“His wife is here and he has a young baby now.
“He is a great lad to work with. He is pleasant, he works hard and you know what you are getting from him.
“He is getting a run in the team now and he seems to be enjoying it.
“I think you are seeing this season that his concentration levels have been a lot better.
“I think the three centre-halves have been solid.”