Caley Thistle winger Darren McCauley says John Robertson’s determination to bring him to Caledonian Stadium swung him away from a near done deal with Derry City.
Robertson completed the signing of Northern Irishman McCauley on a nominal fee from Coleraine on Thursday, with the 27-year-old signing a two-and-a-half year deal with the Highlanders.
McCauley had been on the transfer list at Coleraine after expressing his desire for a new challenge, and although he revealed he was on the verge of joining the Candystripes, the wide player says Robertson’s eager pursuit sold him on a move to Inverness.
McCauley said: “It was very close, but John was persistent with me and kept that belief in me. He gave me space, which was great and refreshing.
“John has been interested in a while now, and there were obviously a few other teams from Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland that were interested.
“It was more a case of weighing up all the options and eventually Inverness came out on top.
“The option of Inverness was always there and it was something I puzzled with in my mind for a long time, but having now been here and arrived at the stadium to meet some of the boys, I feel it’s the right decision.”
McCauley, who had a spell as a youth player with Celtic in 2010, is relishing the return to full time football and hopes to help Caley Jags succeed in their aim to return to the top-flight, adding: “Going out of my comfort zone professionally and personally by moving to a new place is going to be a challenge, but I think we grow by putting ourselves in situations that are difficult and see if we can overcome them.
“To test myself in Scotland is something I have never done before at a professional level. The appeal of stepping into the unknown was something I wanted to embrace.
“The club have a good professional setup by all accounts. They want to play attacking football but they have been struggling for goals, there have been a few draws.
“They are sitting fifth so there is the potential the play-offs or even winning the league – I know we are quite a few points behind but it is a possibility.
“If I can try and contribute to that between now and the end of the season, that will be fantastic. I’m excited by the challenge of stepping up because I believe I can get fitter and better technically.”
McCauley, who is a final year nutrition student at Ulster University, will combine playing for Caley Jags with his degree in the coming weeks. McCauley added: “The university and the club have been fantastic at trying to accommodate that. I will try and get back now and again but there’s only 12 weeks left. I have signed a two-and-a-half year contract so if I can get through that it shouldn’t be a problem.”