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Former Culloden Academy pupil proud to captain Inverness Caledonian Thistle against Dundee United

By Will Clark

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Cameron Harper. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Cameron Harper. Picture: James Mackenzie.

CAMERON Harper may only be 22, but his manager Duncan Ferguson felt he was good enough to become the Inverness Caledonian Thistle captain in a vital league clash.

With captain Billy Mckay and vice captain Danny Devine both on the substitutes bench in the 1-1 draw against Dundee United on Saturday, the winger was given the armband to take temporary charge of the team on the field.

Thought to be one of the youngest players to be named captain of Inverness in a league clash, Harper says it was a huge honour to be appointed as stand-in skipper.

He was not made aware that he would be leading the team against Dundee United until 90 minutes before kick-off, but grasped the opportunity.

Harper said: "I knew on Friday that Billy Mckay wasn't going to be playing.

"I thought it would be me or Mark Ridgers. Then the gaffer told me in the changing room an hour and a half before kick off.

"He didn't say I was captain, all he said to me was if you win the toss, keep the wind behind us in the first half.

"That is how I found out I was captain.

"It is definitely an honour, coming up through the youth academy, you always want to play professionally for Caley Thistle.

"I am 150 appearances down now for Caley Thistle and captaining the side for the first time was a proud honour."

For 13 years, Harper has been part of Inverness Caledonian Thistle, having joined the club's academy when he was nine.

A former pupil of Duncan Forbes Primary School and Culloden Academy, he says he always aspired to become a professional footballer.

He says that he always received encouragement to follow his dream both at school and the club.

He hopes that he can show other aspiring footballers in Inverness that they can go and play professionally.

He said: "I joined when I was nine years old and I feel like I am part of the furniture here.

"I always backed myself when I was growing up.

"The teacher would ask me what I wanted to be and I would say that I wanted to be a footballer and they always backed me with it.

"When Caley Thistle offered me a professional contract, I feel like I kicked on from there.

"I have always believed in myself and I can go and try my best.

"It is a proud honour to be captain and it is a bit mad to talk about, only being 22 myself.

"I can still remember the youth days, but if I am an inspiration to young players, I will always do my best."

Inverness Caledonian Thistle drew 1-1 with Dundee United yesterday, with Wallace Duffy giving them the lead in the first half before Louis Moult scored from half way after the break.

While disappointed with a point, Harper felt it was a good result against the league leaders and will be looking to push on in the fight against relegation.

Speaking about the result, he said: "I was a bit frustrated, but also happy. Being 1-0 up we were happy with that and we felt we did enough to limit Dundee United to any real chances. The crowd were getting on their back and we felt that we were in control in the first half.

"I thought there was a foul on Cammy Kerr, but it takes a wonder goal to beat us. But it was good to get a point at least.

"We will focus on each game at a time and make sure the club is safe at the end of the season."

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