Charlie Trafford has played in some of the harshest climates the Finnish football season can produce – meaning today’s Championship trip to windy Arbroath carries no fear for the Caley Thistle midfielder.
Canadian international Trafford spent the first two years of his professional career in Finland with IFK Mariehamn, TPS and KuPS and latterly had a spell with Lapland-based club RoPS prior to his move to Scotland in 2017.
Trafford, who has three caps for his country, regularly played in temperatures well below freezing during his Arctic stints, which came either side of a two-year spell in Poland.
That means the 27-year-old has no reservations about playing at Gayfield – a ground renowned for being among Scotland’s coldest, standing exposed on the Angus coastline along from the steep Arbroath cliffs.
Trafford said: “I played in a couple of games that were around minus 10, maybe minus 15. I didn’t think that was possible.
“There were a few cold ones. The wind was not as bad there, but when you get to the beginning or end of the season there are a few cold days.
“You just don’t stop running. You can’t stop – if you stop you freeze. I don’t think you ever get fully used to playing in wind though, it’s a horrible thing.
“Both teams are playing in the same conditions, so it’s something we both need to deal with. There’s no excuses going down there.
“We just need to go down and keep digging out results.”
Trafford was a shining light in last Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Dundee United, with his impressive display earning the man-of-the-match award.
Caley Jags manager John Robertson has demanded more consistency from Trafford, who has struggled to command a regular berth in the Inverness midfield in his two-and-a-half year spell in the Highlands. But the player feels he needs a run of games to show his best.
He added: “I have had issues here where I’ve not had enough runs of games.
“Anytime I have got a few games, I have been able to step up and do my job. We had a good run at the end of last season when I played every game.
“It’s hard, it’s something people don’t really see from the outside when you are in and out of the team.
“Your confidence is up and down so I have just been working on trying to stay level. Whenever I’m called upon, I’m ready.
“As I have done in the last few games, I can come in and once I’m in I’ll just try to keep my spot and do what I can for the team.”
Trafford hopes Inverness can return to winning ways against Dick Campbell’s Red Lichties – who have won three of their last four matches.
He added: “They seem to be doing quite well. They are digging out results, they are a hard team with confidence from getting promoted.
“It’s never going to be easy. I’ve heard things about going down there and how it’s tough to play there.
“But we expect to win. When we are fighting for promotion, we should be thinking we need to beat every team.
“We are definitely going down there to win. It’s a chance to get back to winning ways and get that confidence going again.”