Caley Thistle defender Kevin McHattie is aiming for a change in his play-off fortunes at the third attempt with the Highlanders this season.
McHattie was part of the Raith Rovers side which suffered relegation through the play-offs under former Caley Jags boss John Hughes in 2017, with the full-time Fife outfit failing to secure promotion 12 months later.
With Caley Jags having already booked a top four place with two matches to spare – starting with today’s trip to Alloa Athletic – McHattie is hopeful this can finally be the year he can revel in play-off glory by helping his side claim a Premiership place.
McHattie said: “I’ve been involved twice with Raith Rovers. One was relegation and one was trying to get back up – and we got beaten by Alloa.
“I’ve not got any good memories of play-offs, unfortunately – and hopefully it will be third time lucky.
“The first time at Raith we were trying to avoid going down and it was tough. We didn’t know how it would affect finance at the club and whether we would stay full-time or go part-time. That was a tough one to take.
“There would be six games to play if we are successful, but that’s something we need to deal with. That’s football.”
Caley Jags boss John Robertson gave his players the early part of this week off but despite having the opportunity to rest up ahead of the play-offs, former Hearts player McHattie is determined to use the next two games against Alloa and Dunfermline to build momentum ahead of the play-off tilt.
The 25-year-old added: “Even the boys just getting a couple of days to get home and see the family lifts spirits and raises energy levels back up.
“That’s exactly what we’ll need for the last two games and the play-offs. The two games coming up are vital, obviously, to get the confidence up and hit the ground running.
“I’m sure the manager will balance the training with games. He has done that ever since I’ve been here.
“He looks after every one of the boys and makes sure they’re ready for the next game.”
Today’s opponents are scrapping to remain in the Championship, however McHattie is wary of the Wasps, adding: “Alloa are fighting for their lives, so it will be a tough one down there. It’s a plastic pitch as well and they’re used to playing on it every second week, so we’ll need to go down there and be at our best to get the three points.
“I think it does matter if we finish third or fourth. Obviously coming here for the second leg would mean the home crowd was behind us.
“Again, it will be two games and two games where we just have to do all we can to be ready for. I’m sure the boys will be ready when the time comes.”