Peter Pawlett didn’t expect to be in the squad let alone be Dundee United’s match winner at Firhill.
The midfielder came off the substitutes’ bench to score the winner in the Tangerines’ 2-1 victory over Partick Thistle on Friday night.
It was a wonderful moment for Pawlett, who had been toiling with a knee injury since last season’s promotion play-offs.
He had to have injections to enable him to complete the season then struggled all summer before finally returning to full training just last week.
Showing supreme confidence in Pawlett, manager Robbie Neilson felt he could still do a job against the Jags and so it turned out.
Pawlett said: “To be honest, I was surprised to even be in the squad.
“I had been out injured since the end of last season and I hadn’t any pre-season games or any game time of any kind.
“I did train well all week, though, and felt good.
“The manager took me to one side and asked me: ‘Do you have half-an-hour in you?’
“You are not going to say no, are you?
“I got on and thankfully we won the game thanks to my goal.
“I am delighted the way it turned out.
“The result shows there is good character among the team.”
It was the second successive win for United and Pawlett is hoping their can keep their perfect points total going for as long as possible.
He added: “We have to keep churning these results out and not get too ahead of ourselves.
“We also have to respect everyone in the division because we know it’s a tough league.
“Partick showed their quality at times but we left with a great result.”
Pawlett has some high praise for the man who got United’s other goal, inform frontman Lawrence Shankland.
The pair were together at Aberdeen but you get the feeling that the striker has come on considerably, as far as Pawlett is concerned.
“I do have to give a special mention to Shanks,” he said.
“His quality has made all the difference to us so far.
“His goal against Partick came at the perfect time. He just hit it into the ground and it went in.
“The previous week against Inverness, I watched from the sidelines and it was one of the best performances I have seen live from a striker.
“Obviously, I know you get different levels in football but he has no choice but to to do it at the level he’s at.
“I have been so impressed by him.
“I was with him at Aberdeen but he has improved since then and he has been unbelievable since he’s come in at United.
“He has so much quality and you can time your runs off him because he is such a clever player.”