HE’S hit a ton of league starts for the Pars and now Lewis Martin wants to start the next century by beating the ’Ton.

At the age of just 23, the versatile defender racked up the impressive milestone during Saturday’s match against Alloa Athletic, which was his 144th appearance in all competitions for the club.

That leaves him only behind vice-captain Lee Ashcroft in featuring most in black and white out of the current squad, a milestone that the Bonnybridge native is proud of.

After joining Dunfermline at under-17 level, Martin was just 17 when he made his top team bow – ironically, at this weekend’s opponents, Greenock Morton – and has gone on to play for Scotland’s under-19s.

Speaking to Press Sport this week, Martin admitted that news of his landmark appearance was a surprise – but believes he should have more games as a Pars player under his belt.

“I didn’t even know that myself but I saw it in the programme before the game,” he reflected.

“It was a bit of a surprise but it was a good feeling. It’s a good achievement so far but, hopefully, I can just keep on playing and get a lot more.

“I’ve been here for a while and I probably should have had more starts if it wasn’t for injuries.

“Last year, I only played one game, so I basically missed the full season, and even the year before I only made, I don’t know, 15 appearances or something like that?

“The last two seasons I feel like I should have made more if I was fit, and the year before, I just never got an opportunity as much as I probably should have at the time.

“When I got a new contract, I worked hard over the summer, and I came back one of the fittest and I’ve just kept working hard.

“I’ve played every game so far, so hopefully I can keep doing that.”

In a complete turnaround from an injury-hit campaign last time around, Martin has become one of the first names on head coach Stevie Crawford’s team sheet, starting each of Dunfermline’s 13 competitive matches so far.

Having excelled at left back in its early stages, he has moved back to the heart of the defence for their last three games, in which they have collected four points, and he continued: “Tom Lang got injured, and we had injuries, so I moved in against Inverness.

“We got beat but I thought we did well that day as a team defending, and then we had a 3-0 victory against Partick Thistle, where we did really well.

“Even on Saturday, I thought we were comfortable.As a team defending, I think we’ve done well in the last few games, hopefully we can continue to do that.”

Returning to Cappielow brings back fond memories for Martin, who added: “It was my debut and you always remember your debut.

“Jim Jefferies put me on in front of the left back and I just ran about for the last five minutes – I didn’t even touch the ball!

“It’ll be a tough game but, with the players we’ve got, we’re going to create chances so it’s up to us to take them and win the game.”