Aberdeen midfielder Peter Pawlett believes that the knee surgery he volunteered for last season has led to him working at optimum fitness for the first time in his short professional career.
He came off the bench on Monday evening to make his debut for Scotland’s Under-21 side in the 0-0 draw with Bulgaria but he’s looking forward to playing for the full 90 minutes against Hibernian at Easter Road this afternoon.
Pawlett’s recurring knee problems limited him to only 16 appearances for the Dons in each of the last two campaigns. However, after going under the knife he’s now determined to put struggling Hibs to the sword.
“Injuries were a big problem last season,” he said. “I had a knee operation and I also broke my toe. I had injections and things like that but eventually I had to get it seen to.
“I was playing with a knee problem for three or four months and it was a case of needing to have the operation [in February]. I realised my season was over so I had to keep my head down and get the rehab going then look forward to this season.
“I wasn’t doing myself justice playing with a problem and I didn’t want to go on the pitch when I was only 70 per cent fit and couldn’t show my true ability. My thought was that it was best to get the op done at a young age so that I can have an injury-free career.”
Pawlett, it transpired, was a victim of his own enthusiasm as a schoolboy.
“It was actually from playing on concrete when I was younger that the injury stemmed from: I got it through that,” said the 20-year-old.
“It was getting worse and worse. Then, when I started playing professionally, the body gets wear and tear and you have to adapt to it. It was the Astroturf stuff: that was the diagnosis. The rubbing on the tendon created the aggravation for me.
“Playing on the hard surface was the problem. I think the pitches are getting better now and they are trying to adapt them.”
Pawlett is also confident that Craig Brown’s side can record this season’s first victory away from Pittodrie .
“We’ve not had the best of starts as yet but I think we’ve played well in spells and, hopefully, we can get three points this weekend,” he said.
“Obviously, we need to create more chances. It’s a new bunch of lads and we’re still gelling together but I think the goals will come.”