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Robertson backs Caley Jags skipper Welsh to use lockdown to advantage

Caley Thistle skipper Sean Welsh.
Caley Thistle skipper Sean Welsh.

Caley Thistle manager John Robertson is hopeful the Highlanders will see the best of new skipper Sean Welsh following a prolonged close-season.

Midfielder Welsh was limited to just seven appearances last season, after suffering a second broken metatarsal in the space of six months in October.

Despite the injury setback Welsh netted three goals, having scored four in the previous campaign.

Robertson feels the former Partick Thistle and Hibernian player has shown his worth to the Highlanders when fit, which underlined his decision to hand the 30-year-old the captaincy following the departure of Carl Tremarco.

Robertson said: “Sean is an experienced player, he’s got Premiership experience with the likes of Partick Thistle, he has been about the leagues and when he is on the pitch he is a huge influence on our team.

“We just felt that his experience, the fact that he plays in the engine room in the middle of the pitch, he is in contact with both defenders and forwards, that he can add something there.

“He is very well respected by the players and well liked, he is a strong individual and it’s a chance for him now to step forward and prove that he is worthy of the armband.

“We feel he is, and I’m sure he will be another in a long line of very good Inverness Caley Thistle captains.”

Robertson feels the six-month spell without games due to coronavirus may have inadvertently helped Welsh, who had been sidelined when last season was curtailed in March.

Robertson added: “He has had his injury woes with a couple of metatarsals in the last couple of seasons, but he is one that may have benefitted from the lockdown.

“Whilst a lot of the lads haven’t played for five or six months, Sean hadn’t played for nine, so a longer rehab allowed him to get fitter and it allowed the bones in his foot hopefully to gel and be better.

“We’re delighted that Sean is back playing, that he has got through the games so far without any problems and touch-wood that will continue into the season.”

Inverness began their Championship campaign in defeat, after going down 3-1 defeat against a Dunfermline team tipped to challenge for promotion this season.

The Highlanders now play back-to-back home games against Ayr United and Arbroath, before facing title favourites Hearts at Tynecastle at the beginning of next month.

Although it was not the start Robertson had hoped for in a truncated 27-game season, he insists Caley Jags can make gains on the higher end of the table by stringing a run of form together in the coming weeks.

Robertson added: “With nine games less, it’s more advantageous to get off to a good start, but unfortunately not everybody can do that.

“Unless everybody else can win two and lose two of their first four games, that’s the only way it would be a straightforward start.

“The league dictates that three or four teams will get off to a really good start, and three or four teams will get off to a poor start.

“In this league it’s amazing how if you can put together five or six wins quickly to rocket you up the table, and that’s where you want to be.

“It’s important for everybody’s sake, every single team and manager, to get three points on the board as quickly as possible to give you a springboard to move up the league and move forward.”

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