Caley Thistle’s Premiership-bound defender Shaun Rooney feels he has come a long way since leaving tonight’s opponents Queen of the South.
Rooney will depart Inverness this summer, having signed a pre-contract agreement to join top-flight club St Johnstone.
The move will come two years after Rooney joined the Highlanders from Queens, where he made just 14 league starts during a 12-month spell.
Rooney admits Doonhamers supporters did not see the best of him, insisting getting back on track with Caley Jags has been the driving force in him earning a crack at Premiership football.
Rooney said: “If you ask the Dunfermline and Queen of the South fans, they would have said there’s no chance I would have made it to the Premiership.
“But it’s me myself who has to put my head down and work harder, and not bother about what anyone thinks of me.
“I got a hard time from those sets of supporters. At Dunfermline I didn’t play much, but when I did play I was still young and learning the game.
“I didn’t have my best of times there, and I can admit that.
“At Queen of the South I played well in some games but not well in others, I just wasn’t consistent enough.
“Up here I have got myself consistent, but still not where I want to be.
“Even if it’s not your day and you’re getting beaten by your opponent, you can only give 100% and try to help everybody.
“If it’s not your day, you’ve got to try something else.”
Rooney feels he has blossomed both on and off the field under John Robertson following his move to the Highlands in 2018, with the 23-year-old adding: “I’m enjoying it. Obviously there are games where I feel as if I should be doing better – where I should possibly get forward more or defend better.
“I’m still learning. Every day is a new day, whether it’s a new shape or formation, or it’s defending against a tricky winger.
“I think the manager is good at getting everybody settled down here.
“He lets people act how they want to act, and if you are being too loud he will come and say that to you.
“It’s your work at the end of the day – you’ve got to come in and be able to enjoy it, and leave happy.
“I think being up here, I’m away from my pals down the road.
“You’ve got time to yourself, you get the weekends to chill instead of going out every weekend when I was back down there.
“I’ve stopped doing that now and I’ve just got my head down.”
Rooney is determined to continue Inverness’ good fortune against Queens, having run out 2-0 winners in the sides’ last three meetings.
He added: “We’ve beaten Queens in every game we have played against them this year.
“Hopefully that keeps on going. It will be good to see some old faces, but the main thing is we’ve got to win.”