Lyndon Kane had a smile as wide as the River Bann as he led his beloved Coleraine out to face Carrick Rangers on Saturday.
The local boy was bursting with pride as he was handed the captain’s armband for the very first time in the absence of skipper Stephen O’Donnell.
The day could not have gone much better for the 22-year-old as the Bannsiders recorded a 4-1 to keep the pressure on Crusaders at the top of the league.
“I was delighted, it’s a dream come true,” said Kane.
“Oran did his normal routine going round and telling each player the opposition player you would be up against.
“Just before he walked away he said ‘Skipper today’.
“I grew up supporting this club, playing for them is massive, but to get the captain’s armband, I’m quite proud of myself.”
It was a fitting reward for the full back after a tough couple of years battling back from a foot injury.
“It’s well-documented that the last two years have been extremely tough for me, but I feel that I’ve come through the other side now,” he said.
“Having got the screw in the foot now I feel a lot stronger, I’ve had no issues at all and I’m getting fitter and more involved in the games.
“I’m feeling a lot happier about my performances.”
The only downside for Kane on the day was that he passed up the opportunity to grab a rare goal.
“I should have scored to be fair, there was a it of a rush of blood,” he said with a wry smile.
“I took a good touch to take it around the keeper, but I tried to hit it so early just to get it in and I sliced it.
“We were probably lucky enough to be going in 2-1 up at half time. I thought we were quite sloppy.
“I don’t know what it was, we didn’t adapt ourselves to the way they played.
“As players we need to look at ourselves and produce a performance for 90 minutes and not just 60 minutes or whatever.
“Getting that goal to go in 2-1 up shows what type of team we are, we can graft and go ahead even when we aren’t playing well.
“The second half was similar to the Dungannon game, Oran said the same, we came out and played our own game.
“We dominated and started to play good football once we got the third goal and created a lot of chances.
“We have to look after our own game and keep improving.
“Hopefully come Tuesday night we can start the game the way we finished it against Carrick.”
Bannsiders boss Oran Kearney was delighted to be able to hand the armband to Kane as he knows what it means to him.
“It was a big moment for him,” he said.
“It’s not something that you would choose lightly and I think for Lyndon in particular, it means the world to him.
“You could see him beaming with pride when he took the captain’s armband and he reminded me in there he has a 100% record as club captain.
“He will want to hold onto that and you hope it can kick him up another level.”
Kearney admitted Saturday’s victory at Carrick Rangers would not go down as a classic Coleraine performance, but it was job done in the end.
“I’m happy with the outcome, happy with the goals and the response we got at half-time,” said Kearney.
“Overall, it won’t go down as one of our top five best performances of all time, but its needs must on a day like today in terms of the conditions.
“When I was researching Carrick pre-game, they only conceded 12 goals all season and have best the defensive record in the bottom six, so you knew the 3-5-2 formation was working for them and they’d be hard to break down.
"To be fair to our boys, we have created a few chances in the first-half , maybe should have taken a few more, but we scored a few from set pieces which maybe isn’t like us either.
“It’s good to get the three points to take down the road."