Mentally rested Rhys focuses on first team

01/10/11. John Devlin. HAMILTON. New Douglas Park. Hamilton v Falkirk. Bennett sports a lump under his eye after he got an elbow.

01/10/11. John Devlin. HAMILTON. New Douglas Park. Hamilton v Falkirk. Bennett sports a lump under his eye after he got an elbow.

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RHYS Bennett was the subject of yells from both Steven Pressley and Lee Bullen during the second half of Saturday’s 1-0 win at Hamilton.

“Focus!” was the instruction from the dugout to the central defender.

The on-loan defender though could be forgiven for struggling to do just that - with a heavily bloodshot eye and a swollen cheek following a late clash.

“I think it was an elbow,” Bennett told Heraldsport. “The ref didn’t give a foul but have a look at my eye and you can see the evidence the guy elbowed me.

“It’s one of those things really, I play centre half and you’ve got to expect it.”

Boss Steven Pressley believes bumps and bruises are the makings of a good centre-half but Bennett wasn’t quite in agreement.

“The gaffer says that but... well, it’s not something you want to happen but it does and you’ve got to deal with it,” Bennett mused.

The swollen right eye came in the final ten minutes of the victory which also marked the defender’s second start in more than a month.

He admits his focus may have slipped a little but he’s back and raring to go after replacing injured Murray Wallace in the starting set-up.

“I’ve had a spell out of the team.

“When I came to Falkirk it was my first ever taste of first team football and playing week-in, week-out.

“The mental strain is something I’d never experienced and I was beginning to get a little mentally fatigued.

“You could see that in the last few games I played before I had a bit of a rest.

“It was a case of getting my head straightened out. I did that and I’m back in the team and hope to stay here.

“I have basically tried my hardest to get my head straight and get my game back on track. I certainly feel refreshed now.”

Since replacing the injured Murray Wallace at the heart of the defence, Bennett has looked back at home between Tam Scobbie and Darren Dods - despite only featuring from the start against Rangers in September.

Wallace kept the on-loan Bolton player out the team while Bennett regained his focus, but now there’s only one thing on Bennet’s mind.

“Murray did well when he came in and it is very competitive for places - and that’s the way it should be for all good teams.

“I’m delighted to be back out on the pitch, I’ve had my rest and now I want to try and stay there.”