Caley Thistle defender Jamie McCart reckons his loan spell with today’s Championship opponents Alloa Athletic provided him with stability at a crossroads in his career.
McCart joined the Wasps on a temporary deal from Celtic midway through their League 1 campaign last term, at a stage when he already knew his Parkhead contract would not be renewed beyond the summer.
The 21-year-old played 18 games for Jim Goodwin’s men in a successful campaign which saw Alloa promoted to the Championship through the play-offs.
Although he will come up against his former club at Caledonian Stadium today, McCart has fond memories of his stint at Recreation Park.
McCart said: “It was awkward stage for me because I knew I was leaving Celtic and didn’t have a future there.
“Jim Goodwin gave me an opportunity to play games, albeit in League 1 a level below where I’d been playing previously in the season, while on loan at St Mirren.
“I loved it there, especially playing under a good manager like Jim Goodwin – it makes all the difference.
“Jim was at Celtic as a younger lad and knew what it was like to leave a club like that, so he was brilliant with me.
“He gave me that belief and confidence. It resulted in a great end to the season with promotion through the play-offs, which was brilliant.”
As the only part-time team in the second-tier, Alloa are widely expected to struggle this term however McCart believes they can thrive on being the league’s underdogs.
He added: “They’re definitely equipped for the Championship. It is obviously tough for them. I was there last season but they lost quite a lot of boys so it was obviously going to be a hard transition.
“I think they will relish being written off because we kind of had that last season, strangely enough, especially in the play-off games.
“Everyone expected Raith Rovers to go up and they expected Dumbarton to beat us as well. Obviously this is another step up, and with the resources there is a massive gap.
“But I think they do have a good opportunity to stay up this year. I think they have every chance with Jim Goodwin and some of the players they have there.”
McCart returned to Inverness in the summer, having previously had a loan stint with the Highlanders in 2016-17 when they were relegated from the Premiership.
The centre half’s only appearance came in a 2-1 loss to Dunfermline in the IRN-BRU Cup earlier this month, and McCart is biding his time for more opportunities, adding: “I’ve not played in the league yet and not played many minutes, but some times that happens in football. You have to be patient and wait for circumstances to change.
“It is really frustrating just now, but I’ve just got to deal with it.
“I’ve been playing for the reserves when I can, just trying to keep a positive and professional attitude. That’s all I can do – just give my best every day in training and hopefully it pays off.”