Aidan Connolly is hoping to prove a point to his former Tannadice employers by helping fire Raith Rovers into the Championship promotion play-offs.
The 20-year-old forward, released by Dundee United last month after being deemed surplus to requirements, has made an impressive start at his new club and grabbed his first goal for the Kirkcaldy side in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Livingston.
“I’m just doing my best to impress and prove people wrong that’s what football is about,” Connolly said.
“I came here to play, but I had to keep my place and I’ve done that, now I need to keep going.
“Getting my first goal is good for me, but I’m aiming for a lot more goals than just the one, so we’ll see how it goes.
“If you win the game, and create chances, you feel good. I feel confident now, so hopefully I can get more goals.”
Connolly also won Raith’s man-of-the -match award, chosen by Matthew and Jonny Gourlay, sons of former club media officer Ally, who passed away a fortnight ago after a courageous two-year battle against cancer.
Ally was an inspirational figure at Stark’s Park and the club held a special pre-match tribute including a playlist of his favourite songs, interviews with former players and a minute’s applause before kick-off.
Raith went on to claim their first home win since October and boss Ray McKinnon dedicated the result to the Gourlay family.
“It was all about the result today, especially with the occasion for Ally,” he said.
“It’s well documented how I feel about Ally and how much we miss him around the club. We certainly are dedicating that win to him and his family.”
Chances were few and far between in an uninspiring first half with Livingston creating the first opening on 20 minutes as Sam Stanton fired narrowly wide from the edge of the area.
Rovers went even closer on 31 minutes as Harry Panayiotou exchanged passes with Connolly 20 yards out before floating an effort onto the underside of the bar.
The hosts were gifted the lead six minutes later as Livi defender Darren Cole’s pass back was too heavy for keeper Marc McCallum and Mark Stewart raced through to slot into an empty net.
Raith doubled their lead in the opening two minutes of the second half as Stewart turned provider, superbly working his way to the by-line before squaring for Connolly to shoot home at the back post.
Livi tried to mount a fightback but Raith keeper Kevin Cuthbert was quick off his line to deny full back Craig Halkett, who ghosted in behind the home defence.
Jordan White also went close with a low drive from the edge of the area, before Raith handed a debut to on-loan Rangers striker Ryan Hardie, who replaced Panayiotou with 20 minutes left.
Hardie was inches away from connecting with a through ball from Stewart, before fellow sub Grant Anderson forced McCallum into a save at his near post in the dying minutes, after sprinting beyond the visiting defence.
McKinnon added: “I don’t think we were brilliant, by any stretch of the imagination, but we scored two goals and we’ll take the victory.”