Caley Thistle midfielder Sean Welsh hopes his patience is rewarded following a long-awaited return from a broken metatarsal.
Welsh played all 90 minutes of Tuesday’s Pat Munro North of Scotland Cup victory over Forres Mechanics, in his first action since suffering the break in a win against Alloa Athletic in March.
It was a cruel blow for Welsh, who missed out on Caley Jags’ Scottish Cup semi final against Hearts at Hampden Park, along with their subsequent promotion play-off run in.
Welsh has resisted the urge to fast-track his recovery but following a five-month absence he is relieved to be back in contention for John Robertson’s men ahead of Saturday’s Championship match against Dundee at Dens Park.
Welsh said: “It has been long. It was hard at the time – I got injured at a vital part of the season so it was tough to take.
“The club looked after me and I got surgery done. It was just about recovering over the summer and doing my rehab.
“It has just been about trying to get fit since I came back. It’s a slow process, you’ve got to build it up slow and you can’t rush these things.
“I have been training for the last two or three weeks and I’m getting there fitness-wise – although I’ve still got a wee bit to go.
“It’s a relief to be back out on the pitch and I just need to build up my fitness now.”
Welsh was put behind schedule after joining Caley Jags last July when a red card in a pre-season friendly against Brora Rangers resulted in a two-game competitive ban.
The 29-year-old went on to settle seamlessly into Inverness’ side, and Welsh is confident his latest setback will not hold him back, adding: “It’s a similar situation to last year, playing in the North of Scotland Cup which I did last year.
“The only thing is last year I was fitter because I had a pre-season in the tank. But I’m a fit boy, I will work hard and get fit as quickly as possible.
“I’m not worried about that. I know the boys well, they have been welcoming me back with open arms into training.”
After impressing in his 34 matches in his debut season, Welsh was rewarded with a new contract until 2022 in the summer, which the former Partick Thistle and Hibernian player insists he did not have to think long and hard over.
He added: “Last went well for me personally and the team. We just fell short in the end in the semi-final and the play-offs.
“The manager felt I did well and rewarded me with a new deal, and I was more than happy to sign that deal.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time here last year so there was no question for me when the deal was offered. It was an easy decision.”