EUAN Murray, the Kilmarnock captain, has backed teenage debutant Charlie McArthur to gain further exposure to first-team football this season at Rugby Park.

The 16-year-old made his first-team debut on Friday evening as Kilmarnock progressed into the last eight of the SPFL Trust Trophy at the expense of Queen’s Park.

Among the highlights for Tommy Wright was the performance of the teenager with Murray confident that the defender’s attitude off the park will not be affected by his introduction into the senior side.

“I thought he was excellent,” said Murray. “I like everything about him. First and foremost he is a good lad; respectful, listens to what you tell him and a massive amount of ability.

“I have no doubt that he has the support network around him to keep his feet on the ground because that is important but he is an unbelievable talent and I hope he goes on to have the career that right now he has the potential to do.

“He got man of the match and it was deserved. He picks up good positions and he is very composed on the ball. He isn’t rash that you sometimes find in young centre-halves and what he has here are all the tools now to go and kick on.

“He has the right manager to take him to another level and he has shown now that he can go into a game at first-team level and hold his own.”

In terms of the win itself, Murray is optimistic that the weekend win can strengthen Kilmarnock’s conviction ahead of the resumption of league duties.

A defeat last week to Raith Rovers at home came on the back of a draw with Arbroath. Next weekend is a game against Peter Grant’s struggling Dunfermline side, one of a number of former clubs for the defender.  

And the experience the nomadic 27-year-old has had means he can appreciate the complexities involved in trying to engineer a route out of the Championship and back to the top flight.

“The Championship is one of those leagues where one bad result can feel like the end of the world but you have to realise that this is a league where there will be twists and turns,” he said.

“That’s why Friday’s game was good for us to get a game and get that defeat out our system.

“In recent years there have been big clubs in the Championship and it is not easy; Rangers, Dundee United and Hearts all found it a tough league to be in.

“I have played in the league before and know you have to respect every team that you face.

“It is a different style of play that a lot of players might not be used to because so many teams want to sit in tight rather than the 50-50 of the top flight. You have to be able to break teams down and be patient at times rather than rushing it.”