With his 30th birthday little more than four weeks away, Livingston defender Ben Gordon appreciates he has a father-figure role to play this season.
Having swapped Championship rivals Alloa for Livi in the summer after four years with the Clackmannanshire outfit, Gordon arrived at Almondvale in July unaware of just how young some of his new team-mates were.
In fact, only striker Liam Buchanan, another summer signing from the Wasps and recent recruit Hugo Faria, are the more mature members of the current squad.
The average age of last weekend’s starting XI at St Mirren was just 24, the Lions clocking up their first point in the Championship after a hard-fought 1-1 draw in Paisley. However, Glasgow-born Gordon revealed he is more than happy to offer some words of wisdom to the younger ones in the side.
“You kind of take on that role when you come in I supppose,” he told The Evening News. “A lot of the guys in the squad are that wee bit younger but they’ve got experience of playing games and they know what’s required so there isn’t too much mentoring needed. But obviously the older ones like myself are there to help out where we can.
“It [his age] is mentioned every now and then from the other guys in the dressing room but it’s just a laugh so you just get on with it.”
At 29, defensive team-mate Craig Sives is just six months shy of Gordon, a partnership which, he believes, can only get better through time.
“We’ve gelled really well so far and formed a good understanding at centre-back,” he said. “He’s a good guy and we get on well so I’m feeling comfortable and hopefully with Craig, or whoever plays in defence for that matter, the partnerships will improve as the games go on.
“The last couple of weeks we’ve both played quite a few games so I think we’ve seen some progress. I think there are still a lot of the other teams in the division who have not quite gelled yet either but that all comes with getting more games under your belt.”
Gordon revealed the lure of first-team football and the advances made by manager Mark Burchill during the close-season were a huge factor in his decision to leave a club he captained to successive league titles in 2011 and 2012.
But after taking a couple of weeks to readjust to the physical demands of pre-season as a full-time professional, Gordon admits to feeling more accustomed to his new surroundings.
He said: “I’ve got the hang of things now. Obviously it took a bit of time getting used to being full-time but I’m enjoying it. You have to remember you are getting to play football every day.
“I’m at an age where I wanted to give full-time a go so it was really a case of now or never. The gaffer showed his interest in me early on in the summer and he was keen to get me in and that makes a big difference when you feel wanted at a club.”
Asked if he harboured any sympathy for former club Alloa who have so far yet to register a single point from four games, Gordon said: “It was always going to be difficult for them this year with so many of last season’s side leaving, so there’s been a lot of change.
“But it’s not as if we’ve got off to the best of starts either, but it’s still early days and a long way to go.”
Livi welcome Championship newcomers Morton to West Lothian tomorrow, keen to turn last weekend’s point into three this time round.
“I think in this league you go into every game thinking you can get a result,” Gordon said. “I watched Morton against St Mirren the other week and they seem a good, compact side. They got their first win last week but we’re at home so hopefully we’ll get the right result.”