BANNED for nine matches last season for thumping a rival player, Gary Fraser has been tipped by Alan Archibald, the Partick Thistle manager, to make a name for himself in all the right ways this term.
In truth, several Thistle players could have been singled out for their roles in Wednesday night's 4-0 demolition of Ross County at Firhill but it was Fraser who claimed the man-of-the-match award.
His early-season form suggests he can finally bury the memory of the nine-game ban he was handed last year for punching Dunfermline's Chris Kane in an under-20 match.
Loading article content
Twelve months after arriving at Firhill on loan from Bolton, and seven since penning a permanent deal with Partick, 20-year-old Fraser produced one of his finest performances in red and yellow against County.
Archibald said: "Gary is a young lad, but when he is on the pitch he is mature. He has added a bit more to his game. This is his first full pre-season with us. Last year was a bit stop-start for him when he went down to Bolton and it was a broken year.
"On Wednesday I thought you saw the benefit of having six weeks with us and a full pre-season. He looked full of energy and full of life.
"We have never had any bother with Gary, his application has always been great. He had the incident last year, but he has been fantastic."
While Fraser was always likely to be one of the first names on the team-sheet for the visit of County, Archibald had a choice to make further back. He gave keepers Scott Fox and Paul Gallacher equal chance to shine in pre-season and eventually put his faith in Fox, who rewarded him with a string of superb saves.
Archibald said: "It was a hard decision. They are two great goalkeepers and great professionals. We spiced it up all through pre-season and gave them a game each. I wasn't worried which one I played. I have total trust in both of them."