The world is David Watson’s oyster as he looks to kick on after collecting PFA Scotland’s Young Player of the Year award.

The 19-year-old has enjoyed a stellar debut campaign for Kilmarnock, scoring five goals and providing three assists from midfield in his 42 appearances so far.

It’s not all been plain sailing though, despite what his new personal title might suggest. A drop in form around February saw the ‘Prestwick Pirlo’ drop out of Derek McInnes’ starting XI. He’s struggled to get back in with just three starts since the home victory over Livingston.

So, the manager has kept his feet on the ground and Watson is all too aware that he still has plenty of work to do at Rugby Park, despite the inevitable transfer links that will come his way over the coming months and years.

"It's been about working hard, staying back after training, doing a wee bit extra with the gaffer and the coaching staff,” the Killie youngster said. “One of the reasons I've won this award is the goals I have added to my game.

"That's because the gaffer and staff get me to do shooting and finishing.

"A lot of boys do their own wee individual thing. Every so often, they do their own thing. I just do my own thing to better my game.

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"There is an amazing group and a good balance between younger boys and older ones. You have the likes of Kyle Vassell and Rory McKenzie, experienced players who know the league. They are massive for me.

"It's just such an honour to be noticed by other players in the league. There are so many good players in the league.

"For them to notice the good season I've had and to vote for me - and for me to win it - is such a special achievement.”

Since breaking into the first team fold in March last year, Watson has signed two contract extensions. The latest came in November when he agreed to commit his future until the summer of 2026 in Ayrshire.

As he mentioned himself, McKenzie is someone who has spent his whole career at Killie, minus a loan spell at Brechin City in his budding days.

Watson is unsure if seeing out his time as a player at Rugby Park will be the path he chooses, but he’s loving life in blue and white stripes and is in no hurry to move on to pastures new.

He added: "I need to see where my career takes me. I'd love to stay at Killie for as long as I can.

"Rory has had such an amazing career. He went down to the Championship but came back up and is playing Premiership football. He's amazing for me, a great mentor in the changing room.

"I've never had an opportunity to go. I'm just happy doing what I'm doing just now.

"It's the best job in the world and a dream to play for your local club. It's an amazing honour.

"For any young player, the main thing is playing men's football as much as you can. Even if it is going out on loan, it's all about playing men's football.

"That's how you good used to the physicality and up to speed with the game.”

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Killie are just one game away from securing a fourth-placed finish in the Premiership. Should they beat St Mirren in Paisley this weekend, then a nine-point gap will be opened up on their top-six rivals, with just two games left to play.

European football is already guaranteed, with Killie unable to finish any lower than fifth. However, the higher the finish, the greater the prize money, the more guaranteed qualifying games and ultimately, more opportunity.

It’s set to be a ding-dong between the clubs at the SMiSA on Saturday afternoon, a task that Watson is relishing.

"It is a massive game,” he said. “We're going into it with every confidence.

"We just need to dust ourselves off after the Rangers game on Sunday. It's always hard going to Ibrox. I thought we were doing well up until the sending off and that killed us a wee bit. With eight minutes added on at the end of the first half, it was a bit excessive.

"For Kilmarnock, the only way is up. We're having such a good season this season but I'm sure next season we'll be ready again.

"It's the biggest stage on the planet to play European football in front of fans. It's so good for the club, an amazing prospect and I'm sure everyone is excited for it.

"I've not had a chance to look at possible opponents yet as we've only recently secured our place. It would be amazing to go away to Ajax or Braga. It would be such a dream for us.”