New boy Tom Leighton reckons Cove Rangers can provide him with the pathway back to full-time football.
The defender made his debut for the Granite City side in Saturday’s 2-1 win against Stenhousemuir at the Balmoral Stadium.
Leighton, 19, had been without a club since leaving English Premier League Watford in the summer before signing with Cove last week.
The Northern Ireland Under-19 international does have aspirations to return to full-time football, but is firstly focused on helping Cove between now and the end of the season.
Leighton said: “Cove are an ambitious club so it’s a pleasure to sign for them.
“I’m looking forward to playing for them and seeing what the future will bring.
“It was good to make my debut and I really enjoyed the game and it was good to get the win as well.
“I do have aims to get back to full-time and it was in my thoughts when considering part-time.
“But for me it’s about the senior games, and I know training twice a week with the manager and Gordon Young will benefit me more than just training with coaches who aren’t bothered about you.
“I know at Cove I will improve as a player.
“I hope as a club we can win the league and personally I hope I can get a lot of senior games under my belt because that is only going to improve me as a player.
“These are the games I need. I experienced Premier League development football at Watford, I’ve come through a youth academy and I’ve played age groups with Northern Ireland.
“All I need now is senior games and that’s what I’m going to get at Cove so it’s a good opportunity.”
Cove assistant Gordon Young was pivotal in the signing of Leighton, having worked with him at Motherwell.
Leighton added: “Gordon offered me the chance to come and play senior football and that’s why I’ve joined Cove.
“At Motherwell Gordon was always good to me. On Saturday he said I was in the team because he believed in me and that’s a great confidence booster before your debut.
“I really enjoyed the game, especially with Gordon helping me from the sidelines.
“The manager is impressive as well and he has so much experience in the game. It’s an ambitious club with targets and it allows myself to set targets as well which is good.”
In the first period on Saturday Cove’s Fraser Aird cracked the crossbar with a free-kick while Stenny keeper Graeme Smith saved from Aird at close range after neat set-up play by Mitch Megginson, who also had a low shot held by Smith.
In the 53rd minute the League Two leaders led when Scott Ross and Martin Scott combined to set up Megginson on the right side of the box and when his shot was parried SCOTT fired home the rebound from 10 yards.
Stenny responded 11 minutes later with Alan Cook’s left wing delivery powered into the top left corner by Jonathan TIFFONEY.
After the Warriors had David Hopkirk sent off for a second bookable offence Cove claimed the points on 87 minutes when sub John ROBERTSON cut in from the right and curled a tremendous effort into the top left corner from 18 yards.
After recovering from consecutive defeats to Annan and Edinburgh City, Cove boss Paul Hartley said: “We deserved the win. I thought in the first half we were really good and then we go ahead.
“We let them back in, but then we showed character to get the winner and it was a terrific finish.
“When you put a sub on they have to make an impact and John did that. John is only a kid at 17, but he has quality.
“Tom had a good debut, but after not playing for a while he started to get cramp towards the end.”