Daniel MacKay wants to make up for lost time at Elgin City after a year of injury problems beset his progress.
The teenager burst on to the scene with Caley Thistle during the 2017-18 season, scoring on his debut as a 16-year-old against Peterhead and setting up the winning goal in the Irn-Bru Cup final.
However, three separate injuries during the last campaign kept him sidelined and confined him to the physio room.
MacKay joined Elgin on loan last week until January, signing in time for their League 2 game against Annan Athletic. He scored his first goal for the club in the midweek 5-4 win over Brechin City.
The ultimate goal is to return ready to fight for a place in John Robertson’s Inverness side, but the Elgin move could not be more timely as he looks to get his sharpness back.
MacKay said: “The first year couldn’t have gone much better but last year was stop and go. I didn’t really get going. I did my hamstring in late October, then my medial ligament twice in December and tore my meniscus in March. I had my operation in May and finally got back in mid-July.
“There was a lot of time sitting in the gym. You get a good vibe when you’re training but in the gym, it’s the same thing every day. When I found out what was wrong with me knee, it was a lot better for my head and I knew I would be back.
“I’m having to play catch-up for fitness as I’ve not played any games. When the loan was coming, I had a look to see how Elgin were doing and saw they’d done really well. It’s good to come into a side that wants to play.
“I’ve played my first two games out wide, where I played most of my youth football. I always enjoy beating people, scoring and assisting goals. Hopefully I can get back to enjoying football again rather than sitting on a physio bed.”
The 18-year-old comes into an Elgin side second in the League 2 table behind Cove Rangers, ahead of their home game against Stenhousemuir this afternoon.
The Borough Briggs side have struck goals with their front pairing of Shane Sutherland and Kane Hester so far, with the two forwards hitting 15 goals between them in the opening month of the campaign.
MacKay added: “I knew about Shane from when he was at Inverness – he’s always scored goals for Elgin. Him and Kane have got a good partnership going and hopefully I can chip in with a few goals and assists.”
He has made 27 appearances for the Caley Jags, scoring three goals, and hopes his loan spell with Elgin can force him back into Robertson’s plans for the remainder of the season.
MacKay said: “The manager said he wants me to experience first-team football at a good level and make sure I’m ready when I come back.
“The Elgin manager had been speaking to John, asking if I was fit. I’d been doing my rehab over the summer and had been trying to get fit.
“This is a good opportunity for me to play games and do that.”