Fulham ace Ollie O'Neill relishes first taste of League of Ireland action with Derry City
Michael Duffy's injury in the warm-up forced Ruaidhri Higgins' hand as the City boss gave O'Neill the nod moments before kick-off.
"To be honest you're probably better off being thrown in at short notice," said the Ireland U21 international. "That's fine. I was excited by it. I'm not really one to get nervous anyway. It was; 'alright, you're in!' And it's sort of a nice way to do it."
Considering the Londoner was officially unveiled as a Derry player just 24 hours earlier and hadn't played a competitive game in six weeks due to an ankle injury, it was an encouraging debut.
Admittedly it will take the youngster some time to get up to speed with the tempo and physicality of the league but he showed enough during the opening hour to suggest he will fit in seamlessly.
"It was probably a classic first game of the season where everything was very hectic and things were 100 miles per hour, especially in the first 10 or 15 minutes. But once it settled down a bit it was fine.
"It was a debut where I showed flashes but there were things I could do better. I'm excited for it going forward."
O'Neill began to have an impact on the match when Higgins moved him from the wing to a more central position and he could've marked his first appearance with a goal in the first half but his lobbed effort, with David Odomuso in no man's land, was headed off the line by Lee Desmond.
He showed he can pick out a pass also with a delicious ball to set Ryan Graydon clean through on goal but the winger was denied by the Pat's keeper.
"I had that little spell in the first half when I made a couple of things happen and thought 'okay, I've got my feet under me here now. But I'm fairly flexible and the gaffer is very tactically good and spots things quite quickly. So that combination quote suits me and it did improve things.
"Obviously Ryan had a chance, I had a chance and probably should've scored. That would've probably put the game to bed.
"I'll get better as well. It's my first game in about six weeks."
With the prospect of Derry's first home match of the league season to come on Friday against Cork, O'Neill can't wait to experience the atmosphere for himself.
"We have the expectation to come to places and win. We're not coming to places for draws and obviously the nature of the way we conceded is disappointing. At the same time, it's an experienced dressing room and we're already switched on to say, 'fine, let's put it to bed. We've Cork next week. Let's get three points there."
"Even after tonight, it would be nice to have that home crowd. That should be a good game and I'm really looking forward to that."
City manager, Higgins was delighted with O’Neill’s debut performance and admitted he had no hesitation in naming him in the starting XI.
“Ollie O'Neill showed glimpses. He played an unbelievable pass for Ryan Graydon where he slipped him through and he (Graydon) should maybe have done better.
“He showed glimpses of his quality. Before coming here Ollie missed four or five weeks with an injury so he's just catching up as well.
“It was a difficult night to throw him into but he's more than capable of that and I think we saw small glimpses of what we're gong to see in the coming months.”