A determination not to let his new club down saw James Keatings put himself through months of agony last season.
The attacker has revealed he’d been in pain with the hip problem that eventually ruled him out for the rest of the campaign back in January, for some time before that.
But, having only joined Dundee United last summer, he’d played on in a determined bid to help the Tangerines in their quest with promotion from the Championship.
And he admits had he not been in that particular scenario, he would probably have called time on the injury earlier.
“I was new here and I put a lot of pressure on myself that I normally wouldn’t have done,” said the 26-year-old, who returned to action against Alloa in the Betfred Cup on Saturday.
“Normally, I would have relaxed and just gone and played and, if I was injured, I would have said, but I played on because I was new.
“Everyone is going to have bad games but, in the end, I had more than most and there were reasons for that.
“I was trying to get through games with a hip that I should not have been playing with. When they looked at it they said it was a miracle I was even playing, given the condition it was in.”
A check by surgeons revealed a muscle tear in his hip and a chunk of bone that was restricting his movement and causing a great deal of pain.
And while he’s over that now, sorting the problem wasn’t without its discomfort either.
He said: “I had a tear and an extra bit of bone that was causing a problem when I was twisting and turning.
“It was catching the groin and stuff like that. They’ve taken if off now and it’s freed up the hip and has given me a lot more movement.
“Taking off a bit of the bone wasn’t nice when I woke up from it but, to be honest, I was in pain for a few months leading up to it so it was worth it.”
Although the operation was a success, the months since have been about hard graft to make sure he would be back and ready to play around the start of the new season.
“The hip feels good. I’ve not had any problems with it since the operation and it’s like night and day to where it was before,” he said.
“For a while I was in every single day working on strengthening my hips.
“I had two weeks’ holiday and, to be honest with you, I had to have that rest as well.
“If I’d kept going without that break, I would have burned myself out.”
The hard work paid off as he returned at the weekend and, although the game against Alloa produced another Betfred Cup disappointment for United, he was pleased to be in the starting line-up.
“It’s obviously good – it’s been a long frustrating time,” said Keatings.
“It felt good to be back out there and it would have been better if I’d got myself a goal or done a wee bit better but I can’t put that demand on myself just yet.
“I’m still a wee bit behind with fitness and sharpness but you get that from playing games. A few more and I should be 100%.”
And, despite being linked with a move to one of his former clubs, Hamilton Accies, getting to that level of fitness is all that’s on his mind right now.
“I’m here at the moment and that’s all I can say. There’s been a bit of interest but I just want to play football and, if I’m here for the season, I will give it my all,” he said.