Scott Allardice endured a bruising battle on his Dundee United debut but the young midfielder loved every minute of it.
The 19-year-old Dundonian made his first appearance for the Tangerines in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Falkirk and was the victim of a few meaty challenges as well as dishing out one or two tasty ones himself on the way to a booking.
Allardice prefers his football to be about passing rather than tackling but to his credit he dug in and was more than a physical match for every Bairns player he came into contact with.
That adaptability was a sign of maturity in a teenager and now Allardice hopes to kick on.
He is praying he has done enough to persuade manager Ray McKinnon to give him another shot when Dunfermline visit tonight.
The Scotland under-19 international said: “I was delighted to get my chance.
“I wasn’t expecting it. I only got told on the day before the game.
“I actually slept OK the night before, certainly better than I thought I would.
“Obviously, I was a wee bit nervous beforehand but once the whistle went I was just back to normal.
“It was great to get my debut in front of the United fans and I felt I did OK.
“It was more of a battle of a match and I prefer to get the ball down and play.
“I was on the end of a couple of tough challenges but I don’t mind that, to be fair.
“I can handle it and give it out as well.
“It’s all part of the game and not a problem for me.
“I thought I battled well and the manager told me after the game: ‘Well done.’
“Hopefully, now I can play my part in the run-in and have an effect on the remaining games.
“I do think I can add something to the team if the gaffer chooses to put me in again.
“This is going to do wonders for my confidence and hopefully I can kick on from here.”
Allardice admitted that there was a tangible difference between first-team football and turning out for the development side.
He said: “Yeah, it was a step-up from what I’m used to.
“The main thing compared to the under-20s was the intensity.
“It was quicker and more physical.
“I did get a bit tired towards the end there.”
Like almost everyone else who was at the game, Allardice felt United should have come out on top against Falkirk given the amount of excellent opportunities they created before Luke Leahy’s late leveller.
Allardice added: “I would say it was two points dropped.
“We had a quite a lot of chances – clear-cut ones at that – but conceded near the end.
“It was frustrating that we didn’t see it out.
“Everyone in the changing room was disappointed about that.
“It is all about how we respond against Dunfermline now.
“I do think any team in this league can beat any other on their day so we know it will be a tough match.
“Dunfermline are a good team and don’t give a lot of goals away.
“Again, it’s going to be tight but I think if we can create as many chances as we did against Falkirk then we will come away with the three points.
“If we win then that will put pressure on Falkirk.
“Second place is the aim now and hopefully we can close the gap.
“Recently our performances maybe haven’t been good enough but the players know that.
“It would mean so much to me to finish in second and then hopefully get the club back up.”