His future was up in the air but Josh Meekings’ feet were firmly on the ground.
Meekings decided that signing on again at Dundee, on half of his wages for the next three months, was not in the best interests of his family.
He made the decision in the company of loved ones in his native Suffolk, consulting them for advice on what he should do.
It is a transitional stage we all must face in life, where decisions are made not based on what works for you but what now suits the family you have built around you. Meekings, the former Caley Thistle defender, was no different.
“I just decided my family should come first. I’d been away from my family for a long time and being so far away from our families – one at the one of the country and one is at the other. My reasonings were family-based.
“I understand what the club is having to do because of the pandemic and financially they’re having to make cuts. It’s not nice but I’ve said it before, there’s a lot worse going on right now.
“The decisions are never easy but I’ll always put my family first, as I believe anyone would in any line of work.”
He has a great deal of gratitude for the work physio Gerry Docherty undertook with him to get him fit again, particularly after hip and knee problems, and also to manager James McPake for not rushing him back.
There has been some criticism online from supporters regarding his injury record and it is something that once used to bother him. But, as he stresses, no footballer wants to be injured. He is satisfied that as club captain, he gave his all to the Dark Blues’ cause.
“It doesn’t bother me anymore. It used to. I’ve come through it now as I’ve had to deal with it for a little while. I’ve had my fair share and I understand that.
“Some things you just can’t play through and the majority of time I’ve been out, it’s been something serious. Mentally, you don’t want to read those comments. You do feel like you’re letting people down but there’s nothing you can do about it, in the grand scheme of things.
“Serious things like my knee and my hip – you have to listen to your body. Of course I would like to have played more but I’m 27 and I hope there’s still plenty more football to play in my career.
“If I know I have given everything and I always will, then I can hold my head up high.”
He stresses that he has enjoyed his time at Dundee and cites getting relegated and not getting promoted this season as two things he would change. The captaincy is an honour he has appreciated during his time at Dens Park.
At 27 he ought to be coming into his prime as a player. He has a significant amount of football behind him, particularly at a young age with Caley Thistle, but also so much more to give.
The example of Greg Tansey does resonate somewhat though, given he was one of the fittest players in that Inverness team but one problematic injury curtailed his entire career.
“It can happen to anybody,” adds Meekings. “I’m well aware of that. But while I’m fit and healthy I want to make the most of that.
“I’ve had hit-and-miss seasons with my injuries; it’s been difficult for me physically and mentally. But I felt before the lockdown I was in a better place and as a team, we were starting to do better.
“I feel fit, as fit as I’ve ever been. I’m raring to go again and I just want an opportunity, one that is right for my family. Then it’s up to me. You’re always in control of your own situation and you need to be ready for it.”
Inevitably Caley Jags supporters will ask about him making a return to the Highland capital, where he admits he had the best spell of his career. Weekly chats with his agent keep him updated but any big decision will again have to be made with family concerns at the forefront.
“I’m not writing anything off it all but the only decision that comes into my mind at the minute is that my family will come first. That’s all I can say on any situation.
“I’ve got a young family – my daughter is two at the end of the month – and I’ve lived away from my family for a lot of years. Grace needs to think about her family too. It needs to be a joint decision.
“It’s always nice reading comments from the Inverness fans. I had a fantastic time there. But any decision I make will be based on what’s best for my family. I can’t stress that enough.”