Caley Thistle midfielder Anthony McDonald says Inverness’ promotion push can to ease his frustration at missing next weekend’s Scottish Cup semi final against parent club Hearts.
McDonald joined Caley Jags on loan from the Jambos in January, meaning he will be ineligible when the two sides meet at Hampden Park in next Saturday’s last-four tie.
While McDonald’s team-mates will aim to set up a final showdown with either Aberdeen or Celtic, the 18-year-old must focus solely on league matters in the meantime, and he hopes he can help John Robertson’s men move a step closer to securing a promotion play-off spot with a victory at Ayr United today.
McDonald said: “We have got one foot in the play-offs at the moment, so hopefully we will get cemented in there and then we’ve got a semi final – which I’m gutted I’m not allowed to play in.
“There’s still a lot to play for and we still fancy our chances. We have had a few injuries, it’s a small squad but we’re all confident.
“It’s a good squad and if we play to our strengths I think we’ve got a very good chance of going up. Hopefully we can get the club back to where they belong in the Premiership.”
McDonald is disappointed at missing out on a semi final appearance at the national stadium, adding: “I was watching the Hearts game against Partick, and I watched the draw after it.
“I was sitting with my Dad, and I just said ‘watch this – we are getting Hearts here.’ As soon as it came on I was gutted.
“It’s just one of those things though, it happens. I’ll just go to the game and see what happens.
“I was back to Hearts for my treatment, so we were talking about it there. I can’t really say much though – I’m not giving much away.”
McDonald has been restricted to just three starts and four substitute appearances since joining Caley Thistle, making his return from a groin injury in Tuesday’s 2-1 Highland derby loss to Ross County.
The Kirkcaldy-born player is determined to make his mark at Caledonian Stadium under the eye of Robertson, who is Hearts’ all-time leading scorer.
He added: “It was a frustrating injury, as I was starting to feel like I was starting to do well. That’s what a run of games does to you.
“The game the other night was not the greatest. We didn’t start very well, but on a personal note it was good to just get back on the pitch.
“We have not got many league games. It was a horrible time to get injured at, with so many crucial games.
“I’m feeling good now, so I just need to go and make sure I cement a spot in the team. If we were to get to the play-offs it would be another few games to make me feel good about myself.
“The manager has known me since I was 13 or 14. He knows what I play like, and what systems I fit into. He’s also a Hearts legend, so it’s one that I kind of look up to.
“With all the goals, you look at it and think that could be you.”