New Cove Rangers signing Ryan Mullen was relieved to put more than six months of injury hell to bed after making his bow in senior men’s football.
Mullen joined Cove from Premiership champions Celtic last week on a season-long loan, after missing more than six months of action with a torn tendon in his thigh.
Lockdown had proved somewhat of a blessing for the 19-year-old, allowing him to catch up fitness work, and he was keen to get himself out on loan when football resumed.
Cove gave him that opportunity and he played the second half of the 1-1 draw with Dundee on Saturday.
Mullen said: “I’ve been waiting a long time for it. That was my first game back and in men’s football. It was a great test.
“I tore the tendon in my thigh, so that was me out for 34 weeks. It was good to get myself back in pre-season with the team. Lockdown made it even worse, but I saw it as a blessing in disguise, as a lot of boys weren’t playing football, so it was a chance to catch up with them.
“I had been playing on it for a while and hadn’t flagged it up, because I didn’t know the difference between a strain and a tear. I played through the pain barrier before realising I couldn’t kick the ball. I flagged it up, went and got a scan and it wasn’t pretty.
“I was doing a lot of strength work and cardio to keep myself ticking over. I was limited to what I had, but I invested in some stuff, to make sure I was ready for coming back.”
The target now for the young stopper is to make himself a first-team regular at the League Two champions.
Stuart McKenzie has been Cove’s number one since he rejoined the club in 2015 from Montrose, helping them to four league titles.
Mullen added: “I had been trying to get myself out on loan to get some men’s football. I got in contact with Cove and the club were really happy for me to get out there.
“The manager has showed faith in me and I want to go challenge for that number one spot. Hopefully I get my chance.
“It’s a great standard for me. I was surprised to get out to League One since it’s my first loan, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity. Hopefully I can get to keep that number one spot.”