Returning to Easter Road in tomorrow’s Scottish Cup quarter final tie will take on special significance for Caley Thistle defender Brad Mckay.
Former Hearts defender Mckay, who grew up supporting the Gorgie outfit, made a notable debut for the Jambos as a first half substitute in an Edinburgh derby away to Hibernian in March 2013.
After replacing Fraser Mullen as a first half substitute, a 19-year-old Mckay, who had previously spent time on loan at Stenhousemuir, helped an inexperienced Hearts side keep a 0-0 draw against their rivals.
It was the first of 45 appearances for his hometown team before Mckay moved on to St Johnstone in 2015, but the defender admits his recollections of his debut are hazy.
Mckay said: “I came on at right back and it’s a bit of a blur. People ask me what it was like, and I can barely remember it. It just goes so quick, and the next thing you know you’ve made your debut.
“It was the first time I had been on the bench – I went out with my training top under my strip, I didn’t have my shin-guards on properly.
“John McGlynn had been sacked, and Gary Locke stepped in. I flicked the chart and saw I was on the bench, I was delighted.
“I was warming up and he shouted me back – the next thing I was chucked on the pitch. There were hailstones, I didn’t even know where I was.
“We kept a clean sheet, but it was a very controversial one where Leigh Griffiths hit a free kick that was about three yards over the line.
“We were lucky to get away with that one.
“It was a dream for me. I’ve got good memories there. All my family will be there to watch and support, so it’s fantastic for everybody to go back to Edinburgh.”
Mckay hopes to help Inverness reach the last four of the Scottish Cup for the second successive campaign by claiming an upset against Hibs tomorrow, and the 26-year-old insists the Championship side will take confidence from their 1-0 win over Livingston in the previous round.
Mckay added: “There’s big belief for us after putting Livingston out, and keeping a clean sheet.
“Seeing how well they are doing in the league, and they put in a good performance against Hibs the other day as well which gives us confidence.
“We have to put in that sort of performance in again on Friday.
“We have got nothing to lose. They should be tipped to turn us over easily, but if it doesn’t go like that at Easter Road the fans get on their back.
“We’ve just got to go and enjoy ourselves first and foremost – and go with a gameplan to try and beat them.”
Mckay is intent on turning the home crowd against Jack Ross’ men, adding: “If they get an early goal and start rallying, and the fans are up for it, it can be a tough day at Tynecastle or Easter Road.
“It’s a cliched saying but most managers will tell you when you go there to keep it quiet for 20 minutes, and that’s them off your back already.”