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Shaun Rooney grateful for Caley Thistle chance

Caley Thistle defender Shaun Rooney.
Caley Thistle defender Shaun Rooney.

Shaun Rooney feels he did not get the chance to make the right back slot his own at Queen of the South, making him all the more eager to do so with Caley Thistle.

Defender Rooney joined Inverness from today’s opponents, having made just 14 league starts for Gary Naysmith’s side last season following his move from York City the previous summer.

Although Rooney conceded a costly late penalty in Caley Jags’ 2-2 draw with Alloa Athletic in August, the 22-year-old is savouring the opportunity handed to him by Inverness boss John Robertson, having started all six Championship matches so far.

Rooney said: “I got injured quite a few times last season. Myself and Scott Mercer were in and out the team quite a lot, while Callum Fordyce played right back as well.

“I got short on confidence, when I didn’t really know if I was going to be playing one week or the next.

“The manager liked other players for different games – he liked my height against Livingston for example.

“You have to take everything into consideration and I didn’t play as many games as I would like, so I had to move.

“Since moving to Inverness I’ve had the confidence from playing every week.

“I’ve been trying to do well – not give away penalties.

“I’ve always got something to play for, because Brad Mckay can play at right back and Jamie McCart can slot in at centre half.

“I’ve always got to do well and hope for the best.”

Rooney will this afternoon come up against a prolific former team-mate in the form of Queens attacker Stephen Dobbie, who has already netted 21 goals in his opening 13 games in all competitions.

Despite Dobbie’s form, Rooney believes the 35-year-old would resist any interest from a higher level, adding: “The guy is not human. He did well with Queen of the South before he went down south to Blackpool, Swansea and the likes.

“He has obviously enjoyed himself enough to come back up here.

“I think Premiership teams will come in for him but he enjoys his football that much at Palmerston, just because he gets to go and see his family after home games. His family still lives in Lytham.

“He’s comfortable there, he knows what the manager wants and the fans love him. I don’t think there’s any point in him moving if the fans love him that much.

“Last year I enjoyed playing with him, although I won’t enjoy playing against him. It’s going to be a tough test for Coll, Brad, myself and Carl to try and keep him at bay.

“But we did it for Lawrence Shankland – so hopefully we can do it for Stephen Dobbie.”

Caley Jags are second in the table and remain the only unbeaten side in the second-tier, with Rooney determined to keep the momentum going at Caledonian Stadium today.

He added: “The boys showed mental strength last year and it has been carried on, we have been playing the way the manager wants us to play.

“We’ve got to keep on scoring, it gives the strikers confidence, and clean sheets help as well. Hopefully we can keep it going.”

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