Midfielder Charlie Trafford wants to be judged on his own merits at Inverness Caley Thistle – rather than as a Ross Draper replacement.
The 25-year-old Canada international is ready to embrace the challenge of filling the hole left by Ross County’s six-figure signing but feels comparisons will fade once he settles at the Championship club.
Trafford, who signed a three-year deal with Caley Thistle on Thursday, certainly holds comparable stature to Scottish Cup-winner Draper and showed hints in Saturday’s home draw against Morton that he can marry physical strength with technical ability.
The three-times capped midfielder said: “I know the supporters will think of me as a Ross Draper replacement but I don’t really want to compare myself to any player. I want to make my own impact.
“Caley Thistle have lost a brilliant player in Ross and I know his are quite big shoes to fill. That puts a little bit of pressure on but you have to enjoy that and rise to it.
“I know I need to fill his shoes and then go on and do my own stuff.”
Calgary-born Trafford earned his first senior contract at SC Toronto before joining Finnish side IFK Mariehamn in 2013 but it was at Finland’s Kuopion Palloseura where he made the grade, winning the club’s player of the year award.
After moving to Poland’s top-flight club Korona Kielce in 2015, first-team action proved elusive before a loan deal was brokered with then second-tier side Sandecja Nowy Sacz.
It was there, in March, Trafford learned of Caley Thistle’s interest but found the move stalling as the Highlanders hurtled towards relegation.
In June, Trafford felt he could wait no longer and returned to Finland with top-flight side Rovaniemen Palloseura only to learn that Inverness, under new manager John Robertson, were on his trail.
He said: “I was in Scotland in March with the Canada national team and started talks with the agent about this move to Inverness.
“It has been in the works for a while. Of course, with relegation here and turn-over at the club, it has been a bit hectic for them as well.
“They have been in the process of selling Ross Draper, so it was tough to get the deal through.
“I had endured quite a difficult time in Poland, so I just wanted to get signed and get going, so I decided I would just sign in Finland.
“A day after I signed in Finland, they finalised the deal to come here. John Roberton was brilliant in trying to push it through.
“I played only six games in Finland and, through the entire time, in my mind, it was all about coming here.
“It has been a pretty crazy spell but it’s a fantastic club. I’m excited to get going. I will dive straight in and sink or swim.”