Daniel MacKay is ready to relaunch his injury-jinxed career at Elgin City with a Caley Thistle return the ultimate goal.
The talented 18-year-old was loaned out to the Borough Briggs club at the start of the season after a year of injury problems beset his progress.
MacKay then feared he had broken his ankle in only his second game with the League Two club. Fortunately for him, the problem turned out to be ligament damage only but the setback further stunted his chances.
Now, though, he is back and contributing, with a strong performance in Saturday’s 3-1 triumph at home to Queen’s Park.
He would almost certainly have made a scoring impact had prolific Shane Sutherland not nicked a touch on his attempt, as the striker took his season’s tally to 18 with a double.
MacKay 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.
But three separate injuries during the subsequent campaign kept him sidelined and confined him to the physio room. Now striving to rediscover full sharpness, 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.
“I’d only just come back when I picked up that injury. I was gutted.
“You could see it on the park. I was upset and thinking it was worse than it turned out to be.
“Luckily it was only ligament damage and now I’m back playing. I felt I did well today. I’m not allowed to play in the Scottish Cup as part of my loan agreement, so I missed last week and I didn’t expect to get straight back in today.
“It shows the faith the manager has in me and why he took me here, so hopefully I’m rewarding that with my performances.”
MacKay is determined to go from strength to strength now with a part in Caley Thistle’s Championship campaign still a possibility.
He said: “The point of coming here was to get games and show what I could do. I missed six months last year so I needed to kick on.
“The manager, John Robertson, said I needed game time so that’s what I’m doing.
“The loan ends in January so hopefully I can prove to the gaffer in Inverness that I’m ready to come back and play for my place in the first team.”