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SATURDAY'S defeat to Ayr United might not live long in the memory of many Stranraer fans.

However, it was an important milestone for one member of the Blues squad.

David Gray became the second member of Stuart Wild's under 20s squad to make the step up to Stevie Farrell's first team in less than a month.

Cameron Elliot came off the bench against Dumbarton and added further minutes eight days later against Alloa.

On Saturday, it was Gray's chance to shine and the latest debutant said: "Guys like Cameron and Kyle Turner have set the example and that is where I want to get to.

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 "It gives you a target and an aim.

"Stevie Farrell said if you are doing well in the under-20s, then he will reward you and get you into training with the first team.

"You get a taste for it and it is a motivation for me to put in everything I have got."

The full back came off the bench to replace Morgyn Neill for the final 17 minutes, with the Blues trailing 1-0.

Stranraer could not find a way back into the tie at Somerset Park but it was still a very much game to stick in the memory for the 18-year-old.

He said: "It was exciting, a new challenge and a new step.

 "It was a really good feeling to make my debut.

"On the Thursday night after training, just at the end of the team talk, Stevie said for me to turn up with my stuff and be ready.

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 "I was not really expecting to get on and just hoping to get experience being with the team and being involved.

"I didn't really think about it and just stayed relaxed."

It capped a remarkable rise for the teenager, who is doing an HNC in electrical engineering at college in Kilwinning.

The student is in his second year with the under 20s squad, and has vowed to keep working hard and to climb the ladder to become a familiar part of the first team.

Stranraer under 20s manager Wild said: "After playing in a number of friendlies, David signed in June and was primarily a left sided central defender with his previous boys' clubs.

"His versatility allowed him to play left back as his use of the ball and mobility was identified early.

"He has made the position his own in the under-20s and scored his first goal recently against East Kilbride.

"As he had arrived from youth football, an opportunity arose in August to gain valuable experience in the top level of junior football when Kilbirnie Ladeside requested a loan deal after he had impressed playing against them in the James Glen Memorial.

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 "After a discussion, a short term month’s loan was agreed to aid his development, which also allowed him to play 20s league games.

"Since then, David has dipped in and out of the first team training to familiarise himself with the levels Stevie requires to play League 1 football.

"Steady progress has been made.

"David has been a model of consistency this year and links up well with Cameron Elliot.

"A trademark of his play is his overlapping runs and pinpoint crosses.

"His reward for all the hard work and impressing was Saturday’s debut."

SPFL 3L1 6474

1 Arbroath 17 45
2 Raith Rovers 17 32
3 East Fife 17 26
4 Forfar Athletic 17 24
5 Montrose 17 21
6 Airdrieonians 17 20
7 Stranraer 16 20
8 Dumbarton 17
9 Brechin City 16 16
10 Stenhousemuir 17 15


2018/19 Squad

1 - Max Currie (GK)
2 - Daniel Higgins (DEF)

3 - Chris McGowan (DEF)
4 - Andy McDonald (DEF)
5 - David Brownlie (DEF)
6 - Connor McManus (MID)
7 - Mark Lamont (MID)
8 - Kyle Turner (MID)
10 - Luke Donnelly (STR)
11 - Grant Anderson (M/S)
12 - Ian Smith (MID)

13 - Lyle Avci (GK)
14 - Cameron Elliott (MID)
16 - Max Ashmore (MID)
17 - David Smith (D/M)
18 - Innes Cameron (STR)
19 - Ciaran Diver (STR)
20 - PJ Crossan (STR)

22 - Jamie Hamill (DEF)
23 - Adam Cummins (DEF)