Billy Mckay may be at a different stage of his career then when he first emerged at Caley Thistle, but his thirst for goals has not dimmed.
Now 33 and in his third spell with the Highland capital club, Mckay has cracked double-figures again and looks to be key to Inverness’ promotion aspirations.
His form during his first spell at Caley Thistle between 2011 and 2015 was huge in lifting an unfancied team under Terry Butcher into the top half of the Premiership.
It caught the attention of Wigan Athletic, who managed to lure the striker away from the Caledonian Stadium as his contract entered its final six months.
He returned for an ill-fated loan spell in 2017, when the Caley Jags tumbled out of the top flight, before embarking on a prolific period over the Kessock Bridge with their Highland rivals Ross County.
Billy Dodds brought him back to the club at the start of this season and after biding his time, Mckay looks to be settling into an old groove again.
“Over the years I’ve had to adapt my game. I’ve never really relied on my pace or anything like that. I’ve never been the quickest,” said Mckay.
“I’ve had to use my brain, which is coming good for me now. I’m not as young and maybe not as fit as I used to be, but that’s where my brain can come in. I’ve adapted and probably don’t run the channels as much as I used to.
“My overall hold-up play for my size is good and I like to bring others into the game. I still get in the box and try score goals; it’s something I’ve always done, get in the right places in the box.
“Even when things aren’t falling for you, make sure you’re in the right places and one is definitely going to fall for you to put away.
“As I got older I’m still doing the things I’ve naturally done all my career: hold the ball up, get in the box and use my movement well. Hopefully I can continue to do that.”
Working with Dodds at Caley Thistle has probably helped his cause. The two had a brief time working together at County, with Dodds assistant to Jim McIntyre when Mckay arrived in 2017 before leaving the club shortly after.
“I had a brief spell with him before – maybe not as long as it should have been – but obviously he was a very good striker and having him giving me little pointers is going to help,” added Mckay.
“I’m always willing to learn, even at the latter stages of my career, and he’s good for giving little pointers here and there, for crossing and finishing. I’ll take anything on board I can get.”
After back-to-back postponements against Partick Thistle and Dunfermline, Inverness return to action with a trip to Championship leaders Arbroath on Sunday.
The Angus outfit have been the success story of the season, as the part-timers have lost just twice in 19 games to lead the pack.
“You’ve got to take every team on their merits and I’ve not heard one player in our squad write them off,” said Mckay. “People talk about them being part-time but they’ve been together a long time.
“I played them when they were in League One and I thought they were a good team then. The manager has got them well-drilled but we believe when we’re at our best, we can beat anyone in this league.”