Caley Thistle teenager Daniel MacKay is eager to show manager John Robertson he is ready to lead Inverness’ frontline.
MacKay opened his goalscoring account for the campaign when he netted a late winner in Caley Jags’ 2-1 Betfred Cup victory over Raith Rovers on Tuesday.
Robertson has stated he still views the 17-year-old as an impact substitute, however the attacker wants to prove him wrong by competing with fellow forwards Nathan Austin, George Oakley and Jordan White for a starting berth.
MacKay said: “I just need to keep on making an impact and show him I am ready to start.
“That’s what I need to do this season – earn a few starts and kick on. Then I can hopefully become regular in years to come.
“That’s what I really need to do. That’s how I can improve, through playing all the time.
“I can’t just expect to play well. You can play well and not do much or have any end product.
“I need to have an end product, score goals and make assists – and then I can go and knock on the gaffer’s door and ask why I’m not starting. I need to have something to back it up.”
MacKay rose to prominence last season, becoming Inverness’ youngest goalscorer aged 16 years and 174 days when he netted on his debut in a 3-0 IRN-BRU Cup win over Peterhead in October 2017, before Carl Tremarco’s winner against Dumbarton in the final of the same competition in March this year.
Having only turned full-time earlier this summer after leaving Millburn Academy, MacKay is refusing to take anything for granted in his development, adding: “It has been surreal. Even last year, I didn’t expect to get the chance. This time last year I was watching games from the stand, thinking ‘could that be me?’
“In the Peterhead game in the Challenge Cup I got a chance and scored on my debut. That was just unbelievable.
“It seemed to progress with the winning goal in the cup final. This year I just need to keep making that extra step and keep improving.
“I’ve always put pressure on myself. I always want to push myself. Even when I was younger I would say ‘I want this, I want that’.
“But the only way you’re going to get better is by pushing yourself. There’s no point being content where you are.
“In football, I could just stop. This could be the peak and I don’t get much better, so I need to keep on at myself.”