Trevor Carson has backed fellow Dundee United keeper Benjamin Siegrist to bounce back stronger than ever after his injury nightmare.
Siegrist sustained a knee injury in training before last weekend’s victory over St Johnstone that will keep him out of action for an extended period.
It also opened the door for Carson to step in between the sticks.
Having experienced his own injury hell in recent years, with deep vein thrombosis and a knee problem robbing him of huge numbers of games, the Northern Irishman knows what Siegrist is going through.
But he also believes that the Swiss stopper has the character to come back even better than before.
“On a human level, I feel sorry for Benji. I’ve been there myself,” he said.
“We still don’t know the full extent of what it is but at the time you could see he was distraught.
“It’s one of those situations, you don’t really know what to say to him.
“I was completely gutted for him – especially with the form he’s been in.
“It’s no secret that there’s been a lot of interest in him and it probably couldn’t have come at a worse time.
“My experience gives me a bit of insight, but no matter what anyone says to you immediately afterwards, it doesn’t register.
“I just gave him a wee pat. He was obviously a bit emotional at the time so I just gave him a text later on that night.
“There’s nothing much you can say in these situations that will help, but I just wanted to let him know I was thinking of him.
“Obviously I want to play in the team every week, but these are not the circumstances I wanted it to happen by.
“We’re just all gutted for Benji. He’s a great lad. His attitude and dedication are second to none.
“I just said to him from working with him for six, seven weeks I know he’ll be back stronger. In that short time, I can tell he’s got the character.
Carson kept a clean sheet on his Tangerines debut as United downed St Johnstone in Perth.
It was an experience he relished.
And the 33-year-old – who has been called into the Northern Ireland squad for next week’s international matches – can’t wait to take the field at a packed Tannadice against Hearts.
“On Saturday night when I was lying thinking about the St Johnstone game, that’s exactly how I wanted it to go in my head,” he said.
“Personally, I needed the game. It was my first game in nine months or so and my first game in front of a crowd in maybe three years, which is scary.
“I was out of the team at Motherwell with a blood clot and missed a year of football. Then when I did come back the pandemic struck.
“I’d forgotten the buzz playing in front of a crowd gives you. It was an amazing feeling – and to have my family there as well made it a brilliant occasion.”
He added: “It’s going to be a great occasion (against Hearts). There’ll be a big crowd there and I know a couple of the Hearts boys really well.
“It’s going to be a tough game because we’re both confident and we both have good squads.
“They’ve also got that winning feeling from last year. The lads are used to it and that’s a good habit to have.
“They’ve clearly taken that confidence into this season because they’ve started really well.”