Sean Kelly hopes he has overcome his injury nightmare after signing his new Ross County deal.
The defender penned a new one-year extension yesterday after a frustrating two years in Dingwall, which has seen him battle a persistent hip and groin problem.
Three operations look to have finally cured the problem for the former St Mirren man, who made 20 appearances last season as County earned an immediate return to the top flight.
Kelly was signed by Jim McIntyre in the summer of 2017 and missed the last four months of the season when the Staggies were relegated. He becomes the latest member of the squad to commit their future to the club, following Michael Gardyne, Ross Draper, Tom Grivosti, Declan McManus, Billy Mckay and Marcus Fraser.
He said: “Re-signing for Ross County was never going to be an issue, but I’m glad it’s done now. Now it’s really just about doing justice to myself, more than anything else. Since I joined the club (two years ago) I’ve had three operations.
“It has been really stop-start which is obviously massively frustrating for me and for the management as well. You’re going to so many different people, specialists all over the country, and you start to wonder if they actually know what the problem is – and who you can trust. I was down to London and Leicester, back and forward the length of the country and it just never seemed to do any good. Nobody could give me a definitive answer.
“After the third operation, back in January, that was a real turning point and coming into the summer now I feel absolutely great and good to go. Hopefully, now, I have my fitness back and can stay free of injury and really push on.”
Despite playing 20 times during the promotion campaign, Kelly is surprised to have featured so often given his fitness issues off the park.
Kelly added: “I feel I’ve not played anywhere close to my capabilities through all of this. Even before the operations, when I did play I was just putting myself out there as a man in a shirt, rather than actually contributing what I know I could.
“That was fine by me because I wanted to play as many games as I could, but it came to a point where I just wasn’t doing myself any justice. I think the management have recognised that with the new contract.
“Looking back on the season, I felt like I’d missed a lot but I’d actually been involved in over 20 games. I’m just hoping we can carry on the momentum we have into the new league. There’s a feel-good factor at the place and we want to take that with us.”