Kirkintilloch curler Ross Paterson and his team just missed out on a place in the final of last week’s World Cup event in Sweden.
The Scots rink were unbeaten after five of their six pool matches in Jonkping, but were edged out in their final match - a ‘winner takes all’ encounter with Canadian Matt Dunstone.
That put the Canadians through to a final against hosts Sweden, which they then won to book a place in the end-of-season grand final of the new World Curling Federation competition in Beijing in May.
Nevertheless Paterson was pleased with his team’s performance in what is his first season as a team skip.
The 34-year-old took the plunge and decided to lead his own squad after a decade playing at the elite level under other skips.
And so far it’s going well with a breakthrough into the world’s top 10 and a first Grand Slam title, won in Canada in December.
Paterson has recruited 2018 Team GB member Kyle Waddell, form Hamilton, former Team Brewster colleague Duncan Menzies, from Arbroath, and 2014 Olympic silver medallist Michael Goodfellow, from Stirling.
Having just missed out on selection for the 2018 Winter Olympics with Team Brewster, Ross’s long-term target is to make up for that by making the Beijing Games in 2022.
And while he knows it’s a long road to gets there, he’s pleased with the start he and his team-mates have made.
He said: “I thought it was time for me to step up and take my own team and luckily I got the support of three guys who are great players.
“We’ve had a bit of a breakthrough year so far. I think we started about 18th in the world rankings and now we’re into the top 10 and won a Grand Slam title in Canada, which is huge.
“We’re on track to where we want to be. We’ve got lots of things we want to tick off the list of achievements and we’re still new so we’ve got a lot of stuff we’re still learning about each other.
“But we’re managing to win as we’re learning, which is a bonus I would say at this stage.”
“I used to be involved in the front end of curling which means there’s a lot of sweeping, a lot of physical aspects. You’re throwing your shots and you’ve got a team dynamic role to play but you’re not involved as much in the tactical side.
“Now I’m the guy that’s making the calls and playing the last two shots, so there’s a different mindset.
“The focus is a little bit different, but the challenge is something I knew I was ready for and I’m enjoying it.”
The team’s next target is next week’s Scottish Championships in Perth where a win would clinch the spot to represent Scotland at the World Championships in Canada.
But with the likes of world number four Bruce Mouat and Glen Muirhead, also top 20, in opposition he knows that won’t be easy.
He said: “The quality of the men’s game in Scotland is very high and we know it’s going to be tough.”
Ross is a trading standards officer with East Dunbartonshire Council and said he is grateful to his employers for all the support they give him.
He said: “I get a lot of unpaid leave and the council have been very supportive.
“I can’t really ask for much more from East Dunbartonshire Council, they are allowing me to do what I want to do and I’m pretty lucky to be in that position.”