Lewis Vaughan marked his long-awaited return to the Raith Rovers team with a goal in the win at Livingston.
Handed his first start since September due to Christian Nade’s suspension, the 19-year-old striker hopes he has done enough to keep his place for the Scottish Cup quarter-final in Inverness.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “I’m delighted to get in the team, and to score a goal is a bonus. The most important thing was to get the three points,” he said.
“We’ve got Inverness in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals so I would love to play in that game and hopefully I can keep myself in the team for it.”
Vaughan’s 21st-minute strike, his second of the season, came six minutes after Ross Callachan’s opener as Rovers killed Livingston off early to bounce back from losing their seven-game unbeaten run against Rangers last week.
“It was a good performance but it was not too pretty at times. The conditions didn’t help the pitch, but it was a good three points,” Vaughan added.
“We came out of the traps really quickly and got them by surprise. We had a good few chances but we didn’t take them.”
Raith manager Grant Murray rang the changes, with Craig Barr brought in for a surprise debut after an injury-plagued season. Barrie McKay, Liam Fox and Vaughan were brought into the side.
Livingston started brightly and striker Ibra Sekajja should have done better than shoot straight at David McGurn from 10 yards after four minutes.
Raith were keen to avenge a 5-1 home loss in December and they took the lead in the 15th minute as Callachan let fly from 25 yards and his effort swerved beyond the reach of Darren Jamieson.
It was 2-0 on 21 minutes as Vaughan started and finished the move, playing the ball wide then arriving at the perfect time to steer McKay’s cut-back into the net from 12 yards.
Mark Stewart was unlucky not to add a third for Raith with Jamieson denying the striker with his outstretched foot late in the first half.
The striker rattled the underside of the bar with a thumping left-foot drive after the break.
Livingston improved in the second half, but half-time substitute Myles Hippolyte passed up their best chance to get back into the game, heading over from six yards when it looked easier to score.
The hosts finished the game with 10 men after using all their subs before Jason Talbot picked up a facial injury with 10 minutes left.
McGurn had to be at full stretch to preserve his clean sheet in injury time to push away Danny Mullen’s deflected effort.
Raith boss Grant Murray said: “The first- half performance won us the game.
“It was a game we had to win if we want to keep pressure on Falkirk and Queen of the South.
“We can now focus on another massive game for the club in the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup.”