Caley Thistle defender Kevin McNaughton is set to make his first Scottish Premiership appearance in a decade tomorrow and the former Aberdeen player is determined to prove he still has plenty years left with his new club.
McNaughton joined Inverness this summer after an injury-hit season with Wigan Athletic, where he made just three appearances following his move from Cardiff City last year.
Having also suffered injury problems during a previous loan spell with Bolton Wanderers, McNaughton has had to get used to watching on from the sidelines in recent years.
After signing a one-year contract with the Highlanders, however, the 33-year-old wants to show he can still play more than a bit-part role in Richie Foran’s side, starting with tomorrow’s game against Partick Thistle at Firhill.
McNaughton said: “The manager said to me to just keep doing what I was doing and I’d get a run in the team. I needed to get back playing because, over the last couple of seasons, I’ve been watching a lot of football.
“It was important to go somewhere where I’d get a half-decent chance of a run in the team. My injuries over the last couple of the seasons have come at bad times – I got myself into the team at Bolton and broke a leg and then signed with Wigan. In the third game of the season I tore my hamstring tendon and was out for about four months.
“I just couldn’t get back into the team. They were flying – they went 24 games unbeaten and the right back got in the team of the season. I had to sit and watch for the rest of the season.
“As I get older the more I want to play. It was certainly the case with me over the last couple of seasons. It’s been frustrating. We were winning last season and there was a good atmosphere in the camp. It was good to be part of a team that was winning the league.
“I’m just going to gauge it this year. If I enjoy it I’ll keep playing – I’m going to take it year by year now.”
McNaughton, who left the Dons to join Cardiff in 2006, has been impressed with the standard of the Premiership.
He added: “It’s been a while since I’ve played in the league, so I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m looking to get myself in the team, get a run of games and for the team to be successful. That’s the aim.
“It’s going to be a competitive league. We’ve played Dundee United and Dunfermline, who are in the league below but still good opposition. This Saturday is going to be a real test.”