LYLE Avci has thanked a couple of ‘old heads’ after he made an unexpected league debut on Saturday.
The 21-year-old has waited patiently as understudy to Max Currie, who has enjoyed an impressive season between the sticks at Stair Park.
However, when Currie was shown a straight red card during Saturday’s draw with Arbroath, Avci stepped up and kept a clean sheet in the second half.
Avci spoke to the club’s website immediately after the full-time whistle and said: “You cannot really anticipate that you are coming on.
“You have just got to go with the flow and see what happens.
“You just make sure you do the first thing well and, luckily, I did.
“You are prepared to come on but it never really happens.
“For the three years I have been doing this, this is the first time it has happened.
“You have just got to be prepared for this.”
Currie’s red card came in first half stoppage time after a clash with Arbroath midfielder Michael McKenna.
Avci took his place for just a few seconds before the half time whistle blew but there was no lengthy teamtalk from Stevie Farrell.
Instead, the replacement goalkeeper spent time getting ready alongside goalkeeping coach Eric Phillips.
Many in Stair Park would likely have anticipated that Avci and the remaining nine men would have been in for a busy second 45 minutes.
The goalkeeper explained the warm up and said: “It was just getting the hands warm, getting things going.
“Eric knows me better than anyone in the dressing room.
“He just said to me to do what I do every week in training.”
The goalkeeper, who is from nearby Lochans, admitted he was “nervous” and had to go and get his goalkeeping top before coming on.
However, he revealed that captain Jamie Hamill had pulled him aside and told him just to play at his own tempo.
Avci said: “Obviously, down to ten men, you want to slow the game down.
“You don’t want to play to their tempo because then they will just run you ragged.
“When I came on, Jamie just pulled me to the side and said ‘take it slow, do what you do and go from there’.”
The shotstopper’s family were at the game on Saturday with Avci expected to start tomorrow (Tuesday) against Brechin City.
The rearranged clash is the first time Barry Smith’s men will have played at Stair Park this season, with a second contest just next month.
Avci had nothing but praise for Currie, who will sit out the game, and his performances this campaign.
He said: “I cannot really be frustrated because Max has been one of the better goalkeepers in the league.
“You cannot really be frustrated or go and speak to the gaffer and say ‘look, I think I deserve to be playing’.
“I, obviously, believe in my own ability but sometimes you have just got to bide your time and today was my time.”
Photos: Stranraer FC