Caley Thistle midfielder Sean Welsh has bemoaned the pre-season dismissal which has left him playing catch-up in his effort to settle with his new club.
Welsh joined Inverness earlier this summer from Championship rivals Falkirk – who Caley Jags face today – and had an eventful first outing in a 3-1 friendly win against Brora Rangers, in which he scored twice before receiving a red card for a late butt on Cattachs striker Kyle MacLeod.
The incident resulted in a two-match suspension for Welsh, which meant he missed out on Betfred Cup matches against Raith Rovers and Hearts.
Although the 28-year-old still disputes referee Billy Baxter’s decision, he admits the setback has left him behind schedule in his bid to get up to speed with John Robertson’s men.
Welsh said: “It was very frustrating, because I need games. I didn’t get many minutes over pre-season except from that one game.
“That didn’t end the way I wanted it to, which cost me the two cup games.
“It was a bit bittersweet. The game had gone well, and then it was obviously just stupid at the end, although there was nothing in it. I didn’t feel it was a red card.
“It was just heat of the moment stuff from both of us. It was a bit harsh for the referee to feel like he needed to do that, and especially to report it and get a two-game ban. Even the manager agreed with me. He was at the game and he felt like it was harsh. It didn’t really merit a two-game ban, which has cost me the minutes I needed before the season.
“I’m playing catch-up in terms of minutes now, but it’s done now, I’m raring to get going and I just need to get a bit of a run now.”
Welsh left the Bairns in the summer after making just 11 appearances following his arrival in January, but knows Caley Jags will face a much-changed side this afternoon, with manager Paul Hartley having brought 15 new signings to the Falkirk Stadium.
Welsh added: “Falkirk have turned over a lot of players. Most of the squad I was with there last season have left, and they have brought in a lot of new faces people don’t really know. There’s a lot of younger boys from down south.
“I’m here now though, and I’m glad to be here. I’m looking forward to getting going with Inverness and hopefully having a successful season here.”
Inverness are looking to recover from their 5-0 Betfred Cup loss to Hearts at Tynecastle last weekend, which saw them eliminated from the competition.
Despite that setback, Welsh feels he is joining a team with momentum on its side, adding: “The team obviously did well at the end of last season and they’ve started well in the cup, albeit a bad result against Hearts.
“We’ve just got to forget about that. The lads have done well so I’ve got to train hard and try to get a bit of momentum. Once I’m called upon, I’ll be ready.”