Caley Thistle midfielder James Vincent was pleased to put a summer of disappointment behind him by making a goalscoring return in Inverness’ 2-0 win against Hearts on Friday.
Vincent, who scored the winning goal in Caley Jags’ Scottish Cup final win against Falkirk in May, has been out of action since pre-season with successive calf and groin injuries.
The Englishman’s lay-off included missing both legs of the Europa League second qualifying tie against Romanian outfit Astra, much to Vincent’s regret.
Having worked his way back to fitness, Vincent was named in the starting line-up by manager John Hughes for Friday’s victory against the Jambos.
The 25-year-old’s opener set Inverness on their way to their first win of the campaign, before debutant Miles Storey netted a late second, with Vincent delighted to return in style.
Vincent said: “It’s great to be back playing again firstly. I got injured just before the Astra game.
“I pulled my calf originally, then on my way back I had a setback with my groin. It kept me out for an extra two or three weeks longer than I should have been.
“I came back for pre-season and I felt sharp – I felt ready for the season.
“I got the injury before probably the biggest game I would have played in, in Europe. But I’ve been working hard off the field to get up the fitness.
“I’m feeling good again now. I’ve trained the last week. I’m still feeling the effects of football a bit but with a few games I’ll get more and more sharp and I’ll kick on from there.
“I felt good against Hearts. I just need more games to get sharp again.”
The victory ended a run of eight matches without a win for Caley Jags in what has been a poor start after last year’s hugely successful campaign.
Vincent has been left frustrated, with his injury preventing him playing his part in resurrecting the Highlanders’ fortunes until now.
The former Stockport County and Kidderminster midfielder always felt his side’s luck would turn, however, and added: “It was good to get the first win under our belt. Hopefully, it’s going to kick us on for the season.
“It’s not been nice watching from the sidelines.
“The boys are an honest bunch when we know we’ve not been playing as well as we could have done.
“We did exactly what we needed to do on Friday. We matched Hearts really well in the midfield. A win will get the momentum going and we’ll kick on.”