Connor Shields is determined to repay the faith of Motherwell manager Graham Alexander and build on his first goal for the club.
Shields netted in a 2-0 win over Hearts last Saturday to open his account following his summer move from Queen of the South.
Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Dundee, the 24-year-old said: “Obviously I wanted to get it sooner than I did but I was glad to get it out the way and hopefully it sets me off to get more.
“Getting injured in pre-season set me back a bit. Obviously you want to come in and hit the ground running.
“I injured my hamstring, it was an overload from pre-season, but Saturday was a good step in the right way.
“It’s the first time I have played in the (Premiership), it is much harder, but I am settling in now.
“The competition for the forward spots is very high. I am grateful the manager trusts me to put me in against Hearts in a big game.”
The pre-season injury saw Shields fall behind the likes of Tony Watt and Kevin van Veen in the race for the centre-forward spot, but Alexander rebuffed the player’s request for a possible loan move by making it clear he was a major part of his plans.
“I was going from last year playing every week to finding it a bit more difficult to get game time,” said Shields, who hit 11 goals for Queens last season.
“But him saying he wants to keep me here and sees me breaking through, I just need to prove that with performances. It was good to hear that, it makes me go away and work even harder and prove that I can do it.”
Shields has already had a well-travelled career, earning a move from Albion Rovers to Sunderland in 2018 and then playing for Alloa and Aldershot before his move to Dumfries.
“I have gone high and low in my career and had to pick myself back up,” he said. “Hopefully this is me on a steady path going up now.
“Last year I was a bit more consistent and hopefully I can do the same over the next couple of years.
“When you get high and go down again, it is a bit hard to take. But you just need to work hard on and off the pitch. I worked really hard last year and did well and got my move to here.”
Alexander is sure his faith in Shields will be rewarded.
“We knew he would score goals in the Premiership,” the Motherwell manager said. “It was down to him to decide how long that would take.
“He is up against very stiff competition but we also know his attributes fit our model of playing superbly well. He works absolutely 100 per cent every day, he is quick, knows his way to goal, and scores. Those are not bad ingredients of a good striker.
“But he knows he has got to keep those standards up if he wants to stay in the team.”