James Keatings is still adjusting to life on and off the pitch in the Highlands, but the forward is convinced he will rekindle his enjoyment of football with Caley Thistle.
Keatings, who joined Inverness from Hamilton Accies earlier this summer, still feels he is playing catch up on his fitness after undergoing hip surgery during his time with Dundee United nearly two years ago.
The injury problems have restricted Keatings to just 39 appearances in his last two seasons with United and Accies, and he has urged Caley Jags fans to show patience before they see the best of him as he attempts to get back up to speed with John Robertson’s men.
Keatings said: “It has been two years since I did a pre-season. I had major surgery on my hip and I wasn’t going to play again, but lucky enough I managed to get myself on the pitch.
“I’m just looking forward to keeping myself out there, staying away from injury and getting myself up to scratch with the rest of the boys.
“It’s a continuation of pre-season for me. It’s going to be another three or four weeks until I will feel up to scratch, then it’s about looking after myself and making sure I’m in contention to play games.
“It has been a hard two years for me on the pitch and off it with injuries and personal problems.
“I came up here to enjoy my football again, and that’s exactly what I want to do. I want to stay fit and play as many games as I can.”
Glasgow-born Keatings says he is still taking time to settle after relocating to the Highlands, but he is confident he has made the right decision in joining Caley Jags on a two-year deal.
The 27-year-old added: “The first two months have been hard, moving up. My wee girl was up for two weeks and then went down the road, so that hit me a bit hard being away from the wee one.
“It’s something I will need to get used to. I sat down before I made the move and it is a big step for me, but it’s about adjusting. I knew I had to do it.
“It’s a lovely place up here, it’s chilled. The manager knows me well, he knows how much I want to play and how frustrated I get when I don’t reach the standards I know I can hit.
“It’s about getting out there and getting as fit as I can and playing with a smile on my face.”
Keatings netted his first Inverness goal in Tuesday’s 3-2 Betfred Cup victory over Cove Rangers, with the former Hearts and Hibernian attacker adding: “It’s good to get on the scoresheet any time – that’s part of my job.
“I’m still trying to learn the way they play, and I’m still trying to learn the way they play.”