Caley Thistle goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams is still in buoyant mood after the most memorable summer of his life during which he was part of the Wales squad that reached the last four of the European championship finals in France.
Fon Williams was an unused substitute for Chris Coleman’s side throughout the tournament, with Wales reaching the semi-finals before losing 2-0 to eventual winners Portugal.
The 29-year-old was given an extended summer break by Inverness manager Richie Foran following Wales’ exit from the competition but after returning to the club last week he could make his first appearance of the season in today’s final Betfred Cup group stage fixture against Arbroath.
Fon Williams says he is still on a high from the experience of representing his country at a major tournament and said: “It was actually unbelievable – the best seven or eight weeks of my life.
“It was 1958 the last time Wales had qualified for a major tournament, so as a nation we had waited so long to see our country performing on such a stage as the European championship.
“For me, personally, to be involved as one of the 23 players there I was so proud, as were my family and friends. It was an incredible experience.
“The boys had worked so hard for the last two years to get to the European championship finals in France. The manager Chris Coleman had made it clear what was needed to qualify and the boys worked their socks off, along with the staff, to make sure we had everything in place.
“It’s a time I’ll cherish and never forget.”
Fon Williams says being greeted by Welsh supporters on the squad’s return home was equally satisfying as the tournament itself, adding: “Everyone is probably still on a high in Wales. It was so nice heading back to Wales after spending so much time in France and seeing so many turn out to welcome us back. It was incredible to see.
“There was a sea of red everywhere. The doors of the castle in Cardiff opened and there we were among thousands of Welsh supporters who had come from every corner of Wales to support us and show their appreciation of what had been achieved.”
Fon Williams hopes the Caley Jags squad can be inspired by the unity shown by his Welsh compatriots in attempting to defy the odds.
He said: “The manager touched on it last Saturday. What we have inside the walls of our dressing-room is – and has to be – something special because we are together, regardless of whatever happens outside. We are firmly together and we’ll work for one another – and that’s the spirit we have here.”