Sean McLoughlin is ready to fight for his place after St Mirren added experienced defender Kirk Broadfoot to their squad.
The former Kilmarnock player has made clear he has not returned to his former club just to make up the numbers, placing pressure on McLoughlin, who has started every match since arriving on loan from Hull.
The Irishman, though, welcomed the additional competition for places ahead of Saturday’s Ladbrokes Premiership match away to Ross County.
He said: “The manager has brought in another centre-half since our last match. Kirk’s got great experience with Rangers and Scotland, and he also played here before. So he offers a lot.
“You’re never going to get an easy ride in football and there’s always going to be competition. I knew that before I signed.
“But I came up here to play. I just have to keep training well and doing well in the matches and hope that’s enough. I won’t give up my spot without a fight.”
The 22-year-old is gradually becoming accustomed to Scottish football after spending the last two years playing for local side Cork City in the League of Ireland Premier Division.
And while he says the football back home is just as physical, he admits the Scottish top flight has been a step up in quality.
He added: “I’m happy with how I’ve settled in. It’s easy when you have a good bunch of lads who help you along. There are no egos in the group or anything like that. I’m enjoying my time here.
“The last game against Livingston was a different challenge from the opening three matches against Hibernian, Aberdeen and Rangers.
“It was a game we maybe should have been taking some points from and it will be a similar test this weekend against Ross County.
“On the physical aspect the league here is similar to back home. But there’s definitely a step up in quality here in the teams we’ve faced so far.”
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