Steven Rigg on his debut against Hartlepool United
Cumbrian born Steven Rigg was rewarded for his recent hard work on Saturday afternoon when he made his debut for United in the 3-0 away victory at Hartlepool, having impressed new boss Keith Curle with his application and desire in training over the course of the last few weeks.
And he added icing to the cake of his first professional start with a close range finish which brought him a debut goal which set the team on their way to another vital three points as the ripple effect continues to gather momentum.
“Steven’s performance is a message for all of the young and aspiring players at the football club,” Curle commented. “I saw something in him not many others would have seen. He came up to me during an 11v11 training session, not long after I’d got here, and he told me he’d taken a knock. I told him I needed him to carry on, but he did have a nasty gash on his leg. He rolled his sock up, got back into the fray ... and I like that.
“He played against Newcastle on Tuesday, up front, on his own, and we got an absolute trouncing. He spent all game feeding off scraps but he still showed the willingness and desire to go and fill holes and do his job for the team. He earned the right to get a chance because of that.
“He has a goal scoring record to be envious of and it doesn’t matter what level you play at, scoring goals can become a habit. I’ve seen some great determination in him and he works his socks off. Like I say, there’s a message there for everyone. If players do that then they will get the reward, because I’m always watching them all.”
Rigg’s goal, a tap-in from a Mark Beck flick which sparked a ruthless finish to the game for the visitors, was reward for a hard-working performance which had seen the attacking midfielder turned striker go close on a number of occasions.
“I’m delighted I’ve played my part in getting three points and with the goal on my debut,” Rigg said shortly after full time. “I don’t think it could get much better than this. It’s been a good day.
“I think it was just instinct that kicked in once the ball came off Mark’s head. I decided to follow it up and you then just have to get anything you can on it. If you clatter the keeper there’s not much you can do about it. The important thing is to get there and try and put it in the net.
“I probably should have scored in the first half but the keeper made a great save from my header. I was disappointed it didn’t go in but you just have to dust yourself down and make sure you’re ready to help the team and for when the next chance comes along.”
“It was a bit strange scoring in front of all of our away fans,” he revealed. “I’ve never really played in front of a big crowd before so that was a new experience for me as well.
“They all seemed to enjoy the goal even though I’m not too sure what my celebration was about. I was over the moon I’d got it and I didn’t have anything planned, or anything like that, so it was just a case of taking it all in.”
“It was a dream come true when I finally got my contract in the summer so getting my debut is the next step,” he explained. “I’m really happy it’s happened and I’m glad it went well. Playing up front is a new position for me but I’m happy that I’m learning new things all the time. I just want to play and I wanted to give it everything to repay the manager for picking me.”
“I’m really enjoying my football and I was buzzing when I heard I was getting my start,” he said. “There’s bound to be a few nerves but I was looking forward to it more than anything. Hopefully I’ve done enough to give the manager something to think about going on from here.”
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