Jimmy Dunne believes the faith shown in him by Craig Levein has been the making of him as a player.
The centre-half has been an ever-present in the Hearts side since joining on loan from Burnley in August, catching the eye of fans and pundits – and even the Republic of Ireland national team – with a string of impressive performances.
The 21-year-old thinks settling into life at the Jambos quickly has been a factor in his on-pitch showings, but key is the confidence extolled upon him by the manager.
Speaking to HeartsTV, he said: “I think the three months I have been here have gone really well.
“I settled in really quickly and I get on with all of the lads and all of the staff. It’s kind of a family club and I feel comfortable here.
“It kind of feels like I’ve been here forever, which is a good thing. I’m really settled in, really enjoying the games and really enjoying the place.
“I think there was pressure just to fill the big boots that the team had been missing.
“I know a lot of managers don’t generally trust young defenders at all, so to be given so much responsibility from the gaffer and being told you’re good enough to go and do it was a real confidence boost for me and it makes me feel like I’ve now matured a little bit more as a player and from all of these games I’ve gained a lot more experience.
“There was a lot of pressure at the start but I feel like, now, I’ve kind of grown into it and I’m enjoying it.”
Jimmy is the first to admit that recent results haven’t been up to the high standards set at the beginning of the season.
However, he insists there will be no confidence issues going into Sunday’s massive Premiership game against Rangers, and says he’ll continue to give maximum effort as the men maroon look to get back on track.
“All the thought of about previous fixtures and future fixtures just kind of go out of the window and out of everyone’s minds for games like this,” he said. “It’s literally just going to be concentrating this week on how we can get a really positive result against Rangers.
“The lads won’t need any more motivation, other than the fact that results haven’t gone great, and we want to beat Rangers.
“Its good to know that the fans get behind you, and the fans have been really good that way.
“What I have noticed about the fans is that if you just try your hardest, and you’re passionate, then they can maybe excuse a couple of mistakes or whatever as long as you really give it 100% maximum effort.
“They’ll be on your side and that’s what I try to do. You can’t really promise good performances every single week but you can promise your maximum amount effort.
“I’ve been trying to do that and I think that fans have backed me a lot.”
Jimmy’s interview is available to watch in full now on HeartsTV by clicking here.