ZAK Rudden got his chance to start for Argyle in Sky Bet League Two and grasped it with the only goal in a tough 1-0 victory at Cheltenham on Boxing Day.
The young striker on loan from Glasgow Rangers has had to be patient in his wait for a starting berth and also contended with injury in the early stages of his time as a Pilgrim, but the reward came with a well-taken winner in a big game for Argyle.
The goal came from a George Cooper cross and a further assist by Antoni Sarcevic, who linked up nicely with the young Scot all game.
“It was a great ball by Coops, flicked on by Sarce and I couldn’t really miss,” said Zak. “He [Sarce] is always on to me and we were linking up quite well.
“I found out in the hotel [that I was starting] and I feel like I’ve stepped up [in training]. It’s been hard coming back from injury and I’m now trying to work hard in training, impress the manager and it showed with the goal.
“I’m getting better at that [holding up the ball] and the boys did brilliant to keep a clean sheet. If I can stay calm and composed, they are the ones that go in and I gave him [the manager] a goal, which is what he wants.
“The manager talks about the strikers producing and I’ve been working really hard. He is very demanding, like any manager, and that’s good because he’s got standards.”
While Zak’s goal gave Argyle the platform to secure three valuable points, the second half, in particular, was all about defensive resilience, with the back five protected by holding midfielder Josh Grant and Alex Palmer impressive in goal.
“The back five was excellent and Josh in front of them, who I though was man of the match, and Alex in goal as well saved us a couple of times,” said Zak. “He [Palmer] is commanding and brilliant for us.
“We showed that we can do the nitty gritty side and hopefully we can push on.”