Sean Welsh hopes to make up for the pain of missing out on missing out on a Hampden appearance last season by helping Caley Thistle reach another Scottish Cup semi-final.
Midfielder Welsh was sidelined for Inverness’s 3-0 loss to Hearts last April after suffering a broken metatarsal, which caused him to miss the end of season run-in.
Caley Jags have again reached the quarter-finals of the competition courtesy of Saturday’s 1-0 win over Premiership side Livingston, with John Robertson’s men handed an away tie against Premiership side Hibernian.
Welsh hopes he can play his part in helping the Highlanders get back to the national stadium and he said: “That was one of the biggest blows I’ve suffered. It was less the actual injury itself that hurt me so much, it was missing the semi-final and missing the play-offs.
“That was devastating as I’d played basically every game throughout the season and was having a good season up until then. Hopefully, then, I can make up for that this year and we can go there again.”
Welsh, whose free kick won the tie against Livingston, says the victory over Gary Holt’s men gives Caley Thistle confidence going into the next round on February 29.
He added: “We know how well the club has done in the Scottish Cup – and the manager reminded us about that before the game.
“We’ve gone and beaten a top six Premiership team, so we’ve no reason to fear anybody. Livingston have been going great in the top flight and they’re a really good side. We more than matched them, but we’ve got to give everybody the respect they’re due.
“Livingston are in the league above us and we gave them that respect, but matched it.”
Welsh took great delight in his winning goal, adding: “I took one in the first half but, at the time, I thought their wall was massive. I would need a worldy to beat them. I was thinking about crossing the first one but just thought I’d have a go.
“But Jordan White said to me, if we got another one, to hit it to the goalkeeper’s side, low and hard with wind behind me, and I’ll have a great chance.
“It has crept in the bottom corner. It’s right up there for me among the goals I’ve scored. I’ve hit a few free kicks but not managed to score one before, so there’s a first.
“I’ve been trying them and feel like I have been getting closer, so thankfully I’ve managed to nick one today and I’ll stop getting stick from the boys.”