Caley Thistle manager John Robertson feels the Highlanders are benefitting from handing Shane Sutherland another full-time opportunity.
Forward Sutherland returned for a second spell at Caledonian Stadium in the summer, capping a fine career resurgence having been released by then Inverness boss Terry Butcher in 2013.
Sutherland spent the bulk of the intervening seven years with Elgin City, but also had two spells with Peterhead in League One, racking up impressive goal tallies for both clubs.
After an injury-disrupted start to the campaign, Sutherland has netted in his last two games against Morton and Arbroath to take his tally to four for the season.
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Robertson is hopeful the 30-year-old will only get better now he has settled back into full-time football.
He said: “Shane was brought in because we felt he could do it at this level.
“He’s a player who has scored goals.
“Lawrence Shankland had to go down to League One to get noticed, Kevin Nisbet had to go down to League One initially, so this happens.
“Sometimes part-time football suits players, but Shane has always been one that I think has been a missed opportunity.
“He took it very hard when he was released by Terry Butcher, and the problem Shane had is one that many northern-based players have.
“If Shane had played for Hearts, Hibs, Celtic, Rangers or one of the Dundee teams, he could have moved on to another full-time team quite easily.
“Because he is based in Inverness, the nearest full time club to us – apart from Ross County – is St Johnstone, and it’s very rare for an Inverness lad to move down the road.
“A lot of them tend to drift to either the better-paid teams in the Highland League, or Elgin City.
“We felt there was enough hunger in him that he could do a job for us at the Championship level.
“The stop-start pre-season with games and injuries hasn’t helped him settle back into full-time football, but since he’s gotten over his injury he has settled back into training every day to play football, and that shows.
“He works extremely hard for us. He can play wide-right, he can play through the middle, and at the moment we feel he is doing a very good job for us.”
Sutherland will face extra attacking competition following the capture of former Hearts player Anthony McDonald on a deal until the end of the season, with the 19-year-old having previously spent a loan stint with Caley Jags.
Robertson feels he has the flexibility to rotate his attacking unit, adding: “It just depends on what we’re looking for when analysing the opposition.
“Over the last couple of seasons Daniel Mackay has been pretty effective coming in off the left-hand side, but against Morton played on the right and took his goal well.
“That’s the flexibility we have. Aaron Doran tends to be a wide left player that wants to come into pockets to play, but we also felt like we needed a natural left-sided player who could take the line.
“Anthony can do that, he can play out there as an out-and-out winger.
“We’ve seen already that Shane and Miles Storey can play through the middle, and both have been effective at different times this season.
“We feel at this moment in time that Shane is more effective away from home because he holds the ball up better and brings others into play, whereas here on the bigger pitch Miles tends to find the spaces in behind.
“We’ve got a very fluid and interchangeable front three – any of them could play there.
“Anthony can play wide left if we want him to hug the touchline and put crosses in, or he could play on the right hand side coming in and looking to play one-twos or shoot.”