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Daniel MacKay's success inspires former Inverness Caledonian Thistle academy teammate Cameron Harper

By Alasdair Fraser

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Cameron Harper is drawing inspiration from Dan Mackay’s big summer switch to the Premiership.

And the 19-year-old defender believes every young footballer in the Highlands should be energised by the pathway now evident for up and coming talent in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Harper is in no rush to follow Hibs’ Mackay through the exit door at Caley Thistle and is driven by a determination to play a big part in the Championship club’s promotion push this season.

But as Scottish players make it big in England, and Highland players progress in Scotland, the club youth academy product admits it is a great time to be an emerging player carving a future in the game.

Cameron Harper says former teammate Daniel MacKay's progression should inspire the next generation of ICT players. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Cameron Harper says former teammate Daniel MacKay's progression should inspire the next generation of ICT players. Picture: Ken Macpherson

Ryan Christie, now at Bournemouth after success with Celtic, remains the trailblazer.

Scotland under-21 squad member Harper stressed: “I’ve known Dan since we played together in the under-10s. I was thrilled for him to get that move – he deserved it for performances towards the end of last season.

“All of the boys at this club, coming up through our academy system, should look at that and take inspiration. It shows that the opportunities to progress are there.

“In the past, boys from up here maybe got overlooked a little bit, so it gives everyone belief. There is a pathway, first of all, to break into the first team like me, Roddy MacGregor and Dan.

“Then, if you perform well, there is a pathway further than that. It is a great time to be a young footballer in Scotland. We’re seeing more and more Scottish players making the grade in the Premier League down in England.

“It is definitely exciting times. I’m just glad to be involved here in what is shaping up as a really exciting season for Caley Thistle.”

Harper, who recently signed a new contract keeping him at the club until the summer of 2024, added: “The draw at Dunfermline was a wee setback, but on reflection it could be a good point.

“Against Queen of the South, if we’re at it and show a little bit more composure we know we can win. We’re still full of confidence and belief.”

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