Caley Thistle defender Jamie McCart feels he is reaping the rewards of his decision to rejoin the Highlanders for a second spell last summer.
McCart rejoined Inverness last summer on a two-year deal after leaving Celtic, having previously spent a six-month spell on loan at Caledonian Stadium prior to the club’s relegation from the Premiership in 2017.
Although the 21-year-old initially had to show patience following his move to Inverness, McCart has hardly dropped out of the side since being drafted in in October, with 32 appearances for John Robertson’s men.
McCart reckons his move back to Inverness has helped him to come of age in the Championship, having been part of a Caley Jags side that has clinched a promotion play-off spot and reached the semi finals of the Scottish Cup.
He said: “It has been a good second spell here since signing permanently.
“The people around the club are really good, both those who were here before and those that came in after I left the first time.
“When you look at our squad, it’s really young, but there’s a good core even if we don’t have too many players in regards depth.
“It’s a really good club and I enjoy playing my football here. That’s the main thing.
“Because the club has dropped down a level it is obviously not the same, but both spells have been really good. They have been different perspectives.
“Both times I have been learning, and there have been different atmospheres, but I can honestly say both spells I have enjoyed it regardless of the outcome.”
McCart was only 19 when he was brought to Caley Jags by Richie Foran for his first taste of senior football. Although he made 11 appearances it proved a difficult period for the club, who were relegated following a seven-year stay in the top-flight.
Despite the club’s struggles, McCart reflects on the spell as a productive one on a personal level, adding: “It was kind of like being thrown in the deep end, it was my first experience of first team football.
“I got to see what some people would call the ugly side of the game – relegation battle, games that mean everything where one mistake gets scrutinised massively.
“It was a massive learning experience, but I definitely felt I learned mentally about the pressures of first team football, and what it means to other people.
“It’s not just about the team, where in youth football if you lose, you lose.
“If you lose in the first team, jobs and livelihoods are on the line.”