IT DIDN'T take long for Cammy O'Donnell to realise just how different life was in the Alloa first team.

The teenager, who became the first from the new look academy to start a league game for the Wasps, had just given the ball away in a training session and his new team-mates weren't shy in pointing out his mistake.

It was at that moment the standard needed to make the grade hit home for O'Donnell and ever since then he's loved every second of learning alongside the likes of Iain Flannigan and Andy Graham.

The 18-year-old told Advertiser Sport: "It's a massive difference and I remember coming in on one of my first sessions and just thinking: 'Wow'.

"The sharpness and the speed were so high and it was tough even just trying to track your man in training.

"I was getting shouted at a lot because I just couldn't keep up with my man. But, all the boys teach me and that's great for me.

"I gave away a couple of goals in training during my first sessions and they were not happy.

"Even just watching the likes of Stevie Hetherington and Kevin Cawley is great because I can just pick up wee things that they are doing.

"Andy Graham is always helping me and talking me through what I should be doing and how I can make myself better."

O'Donnell's rise to the first team has been a major feather in the cap of the new look academy at the Recs.

In less than two years, Derek Nicholson and his dedicated team of coaches have rebuilt the youth side from the ground up and O'Donnell has been there from the start.

It didn't take long for Nicholson to spot the talent in O'Donnell and the youngster – alongside Nathan Gilhooly and Paul Gillespie – has become a frequent fixture in the Alloa matchday squad this season.

"Derek brought me and he had the confidence in me," the Wasps teen continued. "He kept telling me to just keep doing what I was doing and I would get my chance.

"It's always good to have someone like that behind me to try and force me to get pushed up.

"When we used to play under-18s when I first came, I just used to go out and enjoy it and I just loved playing.

"After a few good performances, Derek knew I could make the step up and he began to encourage me."

O'Donnell started his first league game for the Wasps in Saturday's defeat to Ayr United and emerged with a lot of credit from a steady half of football.

He said: "It was good and it was exciting to be named in the squad on Thursday. It was a tough game because of the wind in the first half.

"I was really nervous (between Thursday and the game) but if the gaffer trusts me then I know I can go out there and do a job.

"Having the trust of the manager shows I am doing well and getting better as a player. He wants me to go in and be a playmaker and get on the ball which is what I want to do.

"It could have gone better but it was a huge positive to get that first start."