Former Dundee United youth Adam Hutchinson is enjoying life in League Two with Forfar Athletic.
The centre-back came through the ranks at Tannadice before leaving last summer upon the expiry of his contract, having not made his senior debut.
A loan spell at Station Park towards the end of last season convinced Hutchinson to make the move there in the summer and take on an apprenticeship as a cooper at a distillery near his Stirlingshire home.
The 20-year-old is part of a Loons backline that restricted Premiership Hibs to few chances in Saturday’s narrow defeat in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.
Despite the home side’s loss, the occasion and their competitiveness made it one of highs of the season so far for Forfar, who sit eighth in League Two.
His manager Ray McKinnon – also formerly of Tannadice – is confident things are now moving in the right direction.
And after deciding to leave behind full-time football, at least for the time being, Hutchinson’s career appears to be moving in the right direction as well.
Adam Hutchinson: It’s been a change I’ve enjoyed
“It was time to move on,” he told Courier Sport. “I’d planned I was going to be away anyway.
“I was getting ready and thinking about what I was going to do as a job, going part-time.
“I feel like this was the right place to do it. I love it here.
“There have been a lot of experiences that you don’t get playing in reserve matches and things like that.
“It’s been a change from full-time football, but it’s one that I’ve enjoyed.
“That’s me 20 now and I was starting to think that I hadn’t made my debut at United.
“And the big thing is money. When you get to that age, you have to start thinking about money.
“There are other routes into the full-time game and it’s one that I’ve taken. Hopefully it carries on the way it’s been going.
“I’m still young enough to get back to it. I’ll take it week by week. That’s the thing in football, it can change so quickly.
“Right now I’m loving it, next week I could be hating it. It’s a rollercoaster ride. It’s just the way it is.
“Right now, it feel like I’ve made a good decision.
“I needed to kick-start my career in the senior game and I think I’ve done that. I’ve learned a lot throughout this season – through the ups and downs. I’ve got to take these experiences into the future.”
A need for senior football
Experiences like hosting Hibs at Station Park and tussling with the likes of Elie Youan and match-winner Christian Doidge will do Hutchinson the world of good.
Holding his own will boost his confidence and playing alongside experienced players like Loons captain Andy Munro and goalkeeper Marc McCallum won’t hurt his development either.
“It was needed at this time in my career – playing senior matches,” added Hutchinson. “Playing those types of games like on Saturday.
“I’ve loved it. I loved it when I was on loan here at the end of last season, I really enjoyed it.
“It’s been a good decision. Hopefully, it carries on like that until the end of the season.
“Leaving Dundee United had been coming, I was in the last year of my contract and I needed a change. I’d been there since I was so young.”