RYAN SCULLY admits returning to Athletic’s line-up was the perfect birthday present but backed glove rival Cammy Gill to “come bouncing back”.

The former Partick Thistle and Morton stopper celebrated turning 27 with a recall to the side by head coach Stevie Crawford for Tuesday night’s home win over Arbroath.

That came after the weekend defeat to Dundee United, which was the seventh successive top team appearance that Gill, 21, had made since replacing Scully, ironically after a defeat to the Lichties in August.

A clean sheet and three points was the icing on the cake for Scully, who was Crawford’s first Pars signing in January, and he told Press Sport: “You can’t get much better, and it’s my birthday as well, so it’s rounded it off nicely.

“It’s obviously been a disappointing time for me the last wee while, as it is for any player; you always want to be playing. You need to keep digging deep and keep hoping you’re going to get your chance soon enough but there’s days – you’re only human – where your head is a bit gone.

“Cammy’s done brilliantly since he’s came in. He’s a great young lad who’s got a good future in the game.

“For an outfield player, they can come on as a sub sometimes and keep being involved in the team but, as a goalkeeper, you’re kind of zoned out sometimes.

“You never want to see another goalkeeper make a mistake or get injured. It was a tough game for him on Saturday but it’s a great experience for him and he’ll only get better as well.

“He’s pushing me all the way and he earned his chance. He can look on it and see what he did well, and what he could work on, and I’ll help him as well during during training.

“He’s got a big future at this club and in the game. I’ve no doubt he’ll come bouncing back and be stronger than ever.

“But I need to concentrate on myself because I know he’ll be pushing me all the way again.”

Scully added: “You need to respect the manager’s decision.

“You need to accept it, whether you agree with it or not, so it’s just about trying to show a good attitude and keep training hard.

“It’s not always going to be nice for you; you are going to make mistakes as a goalkeeper, and it’s about how you deal with it and learn from it. It’s good to be back on the pitch again and winning games of football.”