Robbie Thompson will be hoping his season on loan at Clachnacuddin can be a step in the right direction to fulfill his ambition of breaking into the Inverness Caledonian Thistle first team.
The 17-year-old midfielder has impressed for the Lilywhites in the Highland League this season, retaining a regular place in the first team.
While on loan at Merkinch, the former Inverness Royal Academy pupil also trained at Caley Thistle under the watchful eye of head coach Billy Dodds and his coaching staff.
Thompson says he learned a lot playing in the Highland League and thinks it will stand him in good stead when he returns to Caley Thistle at the end of the season.
“I normally train four times a week with Inverness Caledonian Thistle and then talk to the coaches.
“They came to see me several times at Clach and follow my progress.
“It’s good to be able to train with the first team and good quality players.
I would love to play for Caley Thistle because I’ve been in the youth system since I was eight years old.
“Being able to go to Clach and learn the game in the Highland League playing against men, I think is a good start.
“I hope if I keep playing well the manager will see that and if I keep working hard I think I can make the first team.”
Thompson says training alongside first-team players, and especially those with top-level football experience, has been good for his own development.
“A lot of senior players have set good examples such as Kirk Broadfoot and Billy McKay and it’s good to see how they train and set the standard.
“It’s good to see that every day so close, even playing against them is such a challenge and it will help me develop playing against quality players who have such experience.”
Clachnacuddin continues his Championship season against Huntly at Christie Park tomorrow and Thompson feels a first half final for the first time since 2013 is within reach.
“Our final position could still be eighth, if we get the results we need,” Thompson said.
“It would be a great season for us if we could finish eighth or ninth. It would be amazing to change the way things have been at Clach.