As he received treatment on a facial wound that had left his face a crimson mess, Scott McKenna’s stock among Nottingham Forest fans rose again.
During a pretty miserable campaign for the Reds, the man signed from Aberdeen has shone like the sun over the River Trent on a baking hot day.
The centre-back has been brilliant when called upon and had he been fit more frequently, Forest might be sat on more points.
When the vast majority of players around him have folded like cheap deckchairs from the B&M sale, the Scotland international has showcased his undoubted quality.
McKenna leads by example. Not by barking orders but by ensuring he continues raising his standards in each and every game.
Forest signed 16 players last summer and some weren’t convinced by the addition of the 24-year-old.
Rangers and Celtic fans advised supporters that he wasn’t very good, whilst some Aberdeen fans had their reservations over his quality.
Some players adapt and boy has McKenna done that. From the moment he made his debut at Huddersfield, the centre-back has looked the part.
His physique is akin to an Adonis, he wins plenty in the air and the fact he’s left-footed brings a lovely balance to the Forest back four.
In winning the late penalty last night he also highlighted immense bravery. That ability to put his body on the line will see him quickly become a firm fan favourite.
Of course, there is room for improvement but for once Forest have added a player capable of thriving at the club during his prime years.
If the club could bottle one signing from last summer and use it as a potion for the right formula this summer, it’s the addition of McKenna.
Plenty have raved about Joe Worrall this season – and rightly so. The academy graduate has been brilliant when he’s been available too.
When it comes to Player of the Year accolades, however, expect to see McKenna right near the top of the list too.
He is a defender who supporters will hope is a mainstay in the team for man years to come and it seems likely that he will improve as a player as he continues acclimatising to English football.
After last night’s nasty clash, Forest will hope that he can be patched up and made available to face Stoke City at the weekend.