Cameron Harper is determined to make the most of any opportunity he gets with the Caley Thistle first-team.
The teenage left-back trained with the senior side last season and was part of the successful under-17s team that won their Club Academy Scotland league over the summer.
Manager John Robertson has told the youngsters they will get a chance if they prove they are good enough, a message echoed by Barry Wilson and Ryan Esson ahead of the impressive midweek 8-0 win over Buckie Thistle, in which Harper featured.
He made a brief debut against Dunfermline in March and hopes to learn from Carl Tremarco, who plays in the same position, while also being Robertson’s go-to option should the club captain be unavailable.
Harper said: “The gaffer has made it clear from the start when we came in the door: if we’re good enough, we’re old enough. If we prove that in the 18s league and the friendlies, he’ll have no qualms about putting us in.
“For myself, I really want to push into the first-team under the gaffer, push Carl Tremarco and go straight into the team if he’s injured or suspended. That’s the main aim. I had a wee bit of a taste being involved in training, getting to know them early will definitely help going into this season.
“It’s definitely a help having Carl in my position. I can take little bits from his game that make me better. He’s such an experienced pro and obviously our club captain now. I can take bits from his game to really push me forward and maybe we teach him some things as well. Getting as many minutes as I can is my main aim – when you get to 17 or 18, you really have to be pushing into the first-team.”
The majority of the team on Tuesday night was comprised of that successful under-17s side last season, which has set the target of carrying on that form into the newly-created under-18s league in 2018-19.
Harper added: “We’ve been together since under-12s and that helps us going into games. We’re a close-knit group and will always spend time together and that really helps on the pitch. Winning games is our plan for the under-18s league under Barry Wilson and Ryan Esson and I don’t see why we can’t. We won 21 out of the 23 games and won our league last season – we carry on as we set out.
“It was good to get all the 18s out against Buckie because we’d not played as a team together. To go up there and beat the Highland League winners from two seasons ago was very good. No matter what, we’re always giving 100 per cent. The gaffer, Ryan Esson and Barry Wilson have drilled it into us that if it’s going to happen in training, it has to happen on a match-day.”