After the most frustrating four-and-a-half months of his career, Jordie Briels is delighted to be back and is itching to be part of what he believes can yet be a successful battle to promotion for Dundee United.
Sidelined since October because of a combination of injury, bad weather and then injury again, the Dutchman returned for the final 10 minutes of the vital win over Championship leaders St Mirren at Tannadice on Tuesday night.
And, although his involvement was brief, for the 26-year-old the blood and thunder action as the Tangerines held on to deny the Buddies the result they needed to clinch promotion, was exactly the kind of game he relishes.
Briels is aware it was far from vintage stuff but knows there are likely to be plenty more such fixtures to be negotiated if United are to go up.
He said: “Against St Mirren we battled. That is how it starts, with battling and being hard working. On Tuesday everybody showed we can work.
“I think if we play against higher teams, we can give more and you see everybody go for it. It is a bad excuse, but against Dumbarton last weekend (when United lost) you can see the attitude was not the same.
“Now, Tuesday has given us a good feeling. You need to have trust in each other and trust in what we can do. We had that feeling against St Mirren and that is what you need. It is something we can build on.”
And Briels is determined to be part of that process. Despite his extended absence, he feels he can be firing on all cylinders by the time the play-offs come round early next month.
“It was four-and-a-half months I was out. Now I am very happy I was on the field on Tuesday. I am also very happy we won one-zero. It was a good evening for me and the team.
“It has been frustrating for me and before the winter snow I was back and I could play but I think they cancelled five games because of the snow so I had to wait longer.
“Then the next game I got a kick on my calf so I was out injured again. It was bad luck but I don’t want to look back on that time now.
“I am just looking forward to the play-offs. Now I am back, I want to be involved. My fitness is back but the game readiness is not fully back. Give me one or two games and I can play 90 minutes.”
And he genuinely believes what has mostly been a season to forget can end with the ultimate high of a Premiership return.
“We have a lot of quality. We have everything, a good staff and good players and, if we play like we did against St Mirren, we can beat everybody we have to face. We can, for sure, go up by winning the play-offs.
“We didn’t want to let St Mirren be champions in our stadium. For us this was not possible. Now we have a big result against them and this is the way we can come back and be strong again.
“Against Falkirk on Saturday we must do the same and everything is possible for us.”
For Briels, just finishing the season back in the team will be a positive. He admits he hasn’t enjoyed his prolonged spell as a spectator at the side of the pitch.
“It has been very hard watching games. My start to the season was good, everybody had a good start. Then I had the long time out and I am delighted to be back.
“Before this injury, the most I had ever been out for was three weeks so I was not used to not being able to play for so long.”