Ross Tokely can understand why the lure of Premiership football with Ross County is too much for Caley Thistle defender Coll Donaldson to resist.
Donaldson is believed to have struck a pre-contract agreement with the Staggies, who are keen to strike a deal to bring in the 24-year-old this month.
Donaldson, who has revived his career with Caley Jags since joining from Dundee United in 2017, will follow the likes of Ross Draper, Iain Vigurs and Joe Chalmers who have crossed the Kessock Bridge in recent years.
Former defender Tokely, who is Caley Thistle’s record appearance holder, ended a 16-year stint with Inverness to join a newly-promoted County side in 2012.
Tokely feels Donaldson has risked the wrath of Caley Jags supporters in order to gain another crack at top-flight football.
Tokely said: “It’s a short career. As a player, you’ve got to look after number one. I wouldn’t have thought he would be getting miles more than what he’s on at Caley Thistle, but playing in the Premiership would be attractive for the lad.
“I’m sure there will be grumbles – he will have to deal with that. The Inverness public were not very nice to me when I went over. It will be a challenge for him if he does go.
“It happened when I was at Inverness, and we got the likes of Don Cowie and John Rankin over from Ross County.
“It was only seven months, but I thought Ross County were an excellent club and I enjoyed my time.
“It was nice for me to get a different challenge. I think that’s what football is about, in trying to do the best for yourself and get a good challenge.”
Donaldson recently made his 100th appearance for Caley Jags, and Tokely has warned there is no guarantee he will rekindle the same enjoyment should he move on.
Tokely added: “One thing I would say to Coll is that if you are comfortable playing for a team and doing well, he’s only a young lad so the grass sometimes isn’t greener.
“Everyone is different, but I enjoyed my football at the club and when I got to that stage that’s how I felt. It’s up to the lad and it’s his decision.”
Tokely feels Donaldson can help to shore up a Staggies defence which has conceded 42 goals this term, adding: “I don’t really get to a lot of the games through my coaching, but the few games I have seen him he seems quite an assured young defender.
“He’s still got a lot to learn, but he maybe wants to play at a level where he feels he wants to challenge himself.
“I’m sure Stuart Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson are looking to improve their side, so if they can get somebody local it fits the bill.
“The Championship is such a good league full of players who have maybe dropped down a level, that have maybe revived their careers. It’s definitely a platform for moving on and playing back at the top level.”