Kilwinning Rangers boss Chris Strain reckons young defender Jamie Whyte deserves ‘special credit’ for standing out in a star-studded defence.
The 21-year-old centre-half has forced his way into Strain’s starting 11 since arriving from Auchinleck Talbot in the summer.
And the gaffer reckons his contribution to a rejuvenated Buffs defence can’t be underestimated after watching him snuff out some of the game’s toughest strikers.
Whyte was outstanding once again in Buffs 4-1 win over Arthurlie at Dunterlie Park last weekend, and Strain was quick to single him out for praise.
He said: “Jamie has been tremendous for us since he came in.
“People might look in from the outside and think he’s being helped along by proven quality players like Craig Pettigrew and James Latta.
“Of course, these guys can only help him develop, but for me Jamie’s been excellent in his own right.
“He’s handled himself superbly against some very experienced junior players so I’m quite happy for him to go about his business quietly.”
Flying under the radar is something Strain is keen to do when it comes to talking up Kilwinning’s chances of winning silverware this season.
Five wins from their first seven Premier League games has some fans believing they can end a 14-year-wait for a top flight title.
Strain reckons his side are developing a new-found mental toughness. He was particularly pleased with the way his side responded to conceding a second-half equaliser at Dunterlie.
Alex Wyper’s deflected leveller carried a huge slice of luck and Strain reckons his teams of the past would have let that affect them adversely.
He said: “You have to learn to mentally park perceived injustices in the back of your mind and I think the boys did that.
“Their reaction showed a real winning mentality. I felt we had been playing within ourselves but they really drove on from that point onwards.
“We started shifting the ball quicker and I think our fitness levels shone through in the final 10 minutes.
“We also made a little tactical switch that paid off by moving Bryan Boylan out to the left and Ryan Nisbet into the centre of attack.
“Ryan has a low centre of gravity and that caused their centre-backs problems. They’d been doing well in a physical battle with Bryan up until that point. It was a tough game on a difficult pitch so to get the three points is great.”
“At the moment our target remains getting to 30 points.
“That said, I don’t want to play things down because you enter competitions to win them.”