Caley Thistle forward James Keatings feels quickly settling into life in the Highlands has helped him to rediscover his goalscoring form.
Keatings joined Inverness in the summer after leaving Premiership side Hamilton Accies, with his double in Friday’s 5-0 triumph over Morton taking him to three goals for the campaign.
Hip surgery during a stint with Dundee United two years ago restricted Keatings’ game time with the Tannadice outfit, with the lack of action causing the 27-year-old to fall out of love with the game.
Keatings feels thriving in his new surroundings can rekindle his hunger, and he said: “Obviously coming here I’m away from home with my little girl down the road, but it was about coming here and getting fit and enjoying football again after a period of two years where I can’t recall a game I enjoyed and life in general was tough.
“Up here is a lovely place to live and the boys in the dressing room and the manager and backroom staff have been amazing with me and I’m getting there. I’m fitter but it’s about not pushing it too far and just taking it game by game and keep building on that.
“The football can act as a pick me up. The two years I had was dragging me down. With injuries Friday nights were worst sitting in the house knowing I wouldn’t be playing the next day. There was no buzz and I wouldn’t even go to watch games because it had reached the stage when it was dragging me down so much.
“When you’re fit and playing and taking part it gives you a buzz and the hunger back. Nights like Friday give you a fire in your stomach and that’s what I missed the last few years.”
Keatings has achieved promotion from the Championship on three separate occasions with Hamilton, Hearts and Hibernian, and he feels Caley Jags manager John Robertson can help him get back to his best.
He added: “It’s about rediscovering my form. Earlier in my career I showed what I could do but the past two or three years my problems off the pitch have been well documented and I’ve had injuries too.
“I’ve now scored three goals and had a few assists but I’ve not set myself a target, other than my own target of playing as many games as I can and get as fit as I can and believe in myself.
“Coming here I knew the manager from my time at Hearts and always kept in contact and when he showed interest I knew it was a manager who believed in me and knew what I could do so coming up here it was a chance for me.”