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Sean Welsh on the highs and lows of six years at Caley Thistle

The former Inverness captain reveals what he recalls most from his time with the Championship side after making the move to Queen's Park.

Former Inverness Caledonian Thistle captain Sean Welsh.
Sean Welsh, ahead of last year's Scottish Cup final, where he captained Caley Thistle against winners Celtic. Image: SNS

Sean Welsh left Caley Thistle with some brilliant memories after six action-packed years in the Highlands.

The former Inverness captain swapped Championship sides this month when he made the shock switch to Queen’s Park.

The experienced midfielder, 33, opted to move to the Hampden club for a few reasons.

Firstly, as he battled back from a broken nose then a groin injury, he felt helpless to save Billy Dodds from being sacked at the start of a poor run of form from July into September.

He also wasn’t convinced that he was going to be a main player for Dodds’ successor Duncan Ferguson, which made him weigh up his options, mainly from Callum Davidson who made him his first signing as Queen’s Park gaffer.

Allied with his wife’s desire to move back to the Central Belt, it all pointed towards Glasgow for Welsh.

Sean Welsh celebrates his winner against Kilmarnock for ICT in last year’s Scottish Cup quarter-final, which sent them into the semis against Falkirk. Image: SNS

Promotion chase went to the wire

The aim of taking Inverness back to the Premiership during his time in the north came closest two years ago after they defeated Partick Thistle and Arbroath to reach the play-off final against St Johnstone.

A comeback 2-2 home draw was followed by a goalless first 45 minutes in the second leg at McDiarmid Park.

However, four second-half goals, including two late on as ICT sought a reply, kept Saints up and Inverness in the second-tier.

Reaching last year’s Scottish Cup final, helped by Welsh’s goals against top-flight Livingston and Kilmarnock, was a high point, despite the 3-1 final loss to Celtic.

A thrilling penalty shoot-out triumph against Ross County in the 2018-19 edition of the Scottish Cup to reach the last eight was another highlight, although being injured for the semi-final showdown which they lost 3-0 to Hearts was the other end of the scale.

Welsh, who played 143 matches for ICT, said: “We came as close as we could to getting promotion a couple of years ago with the play-off final against St Johnstone. We were 45 minutes away from getting back to the Premiership.

“Overall, I look back at my time at Inverness with great memories. We achieved some good times together.

“It was just disappointing I could not help the club get back to where it wants to be. It would have been beautiful.

“We came so close, but we never quite got there in the end.

“It was so disappointing to lose that game in Perth. We came into it feeling we had a massive chance. It was tough the way it ended, because it looked a lot more comfortable than it was for St Johnstone. That was hard to take.

Memories to last a lifetime – Welsh

“Another low point for me was after playing the full season I pulled my foot and unfortunately missed the Scottish Cup semi-final against Hearts at Hampden.

“Then you look at the high points and reaching last year’s Scottish Cup final against Celtic.

“It was also nice to score the winner last season against Kilmarnock in the cup (quarter-final).

“We always rose to the challenge as underdogs in the cup. The performance at Livingston was brilliant.

“Billy (Mckay) scored two wonderful goals I managed to help the team with a wee headed goal as well, so it turned out to be as a comfortable victory.

“I also remember my first season up there when we beat Ross County in the Scottish Cup, which was another memorable night.

“I have so many brilliant memories from my time in Inverness and I will look back at those for the rest of my life.”

Sean Welsh scores the second goal in a 3-0 win at Premiership Livingston in last season’s Scottish Cup. Image: SNS

Seven sides have eyes on fourth spot

Welsh kicked off his Queen’s Park career recently with a winner in a 2-1 victory at title hopefuls Raith Rovers.

Following Saturday’s match at Dunfermline being postponed, the Spiders are one point and one position behind seventh-placed ICT with a game in hand.

Inverness are six points away from fourth-placed Airdrie, although they have played one match more than the Diamonds.

Welsh says the fourth promotion place is up for grabs to most sides in the Championship.

He said: “I am a Queen’s Park player now and I am really excited about what lies ahead. It could not have started any better with a goal and a win for the lads on my debut.

“The manager (Callum Davidson) showed a real desire to get me in, which was really nice. It’s nice to feel wanted.

“I will try and repay the manager as much as I can on the pitch for Queen’s Park. I want to help the team climb the league and hopefully we can climb the league.

“It is so tight from fourth position down.

“Every team will be looking at fourth spot thinking if they can put a run together there is no reason why they can’t finish there. Every one has the same ambition.

“It looks like the front three (Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Partick Thistle) have too much of a gap, but fourth to 10th is so tight.

“I am looking forward to the challenge at Queen’s Park. Hopefully we can do it.”