Josh Meekings’ biggest regret is not being able to help Dundee out this season as they were relegated – he says he’ll do everything in his power to make up for that.
The former Inverness defender has had a terrible time with injuries over the past two years – firstly a cruciate knee ligament injury suffered while with the Highland side and then a persistent hip complaint that kept him out for the vast majority of last season.
The 26-year-old’s hope is those problems are behind him heading into pre-season after returning to the playing squad for the final clash of the season against St Mirren.
He told the Tele: “Personally, it was nice to be involved on the last day and I thank Jazz (James McPake) for getting me involved.
“He just asked if I wanted to be involved and I was delighted to be in again. He knows the situation and knows it’s mentally tough so he thought it would be good for me to be out there just to be in the environment again.
“I’m just praying next season I don’t get injured again because it’s mentally so draining.
“It’s been really tough for my family and, for me, when I’m not able to do what I want to do, it’s a tough time.
“You have to understand there is a lot worse out there and you try to put it at the back of your mind, keep working and hope to come out the other side.
“But it doesn’t make it any easier on yourself when you want to be out there and it’s been the way it has been this season.
“You want to be out there fighting and doing your bit for the cause.”
He added: “It’s just been a really tough season.
“We’ve not been good enough, we know that – we speak a lot in the dressing-room and the boys have owned up to it.
“There were bits and pieces where we feel we could have done with more help.
“I’ve clearly been out of the dressing-room, not been involved too much on the pitch especially but over the last month I have seen how difficult it’s been.
“Watching from the side I’ve almost been a fan myself.
“Clearly not playing but coming in and watching the boys was tough because, no matter what, you don’t want to lose.
“Unfortunately we went on a horrendous run and it didn’t go well at all – I don’t want to say it was bad luck because you can’t have that amount of time with bad luck, it’s just clearly not been good enough.”
His hip problem flared up at the start of September in a defeat to Motherwell, keeping Meekings on the sidelines for almost nine months. Now, though, he’s keen to put that all behind him.
He added: “I feel good. It has been tough, it’s not been plain sailing – there’s been ups and downs, days where I’ve felt pains and niggles but I guess that’s how it’ll be at the moment.
“Over the summer I’ll work hard again – I said this last year actually and came back feeling good but then the injury happened.
“It was a disaster because I’d gone away and done the work after my knee thinking if I could get a pre-season in me I’d feel really good.
“It’s just one of those things – I’ll have to do it all over again!
“I’m used to that now, not that that’s a good thing but I’ll deal with it and, hopefully, can go in next season, train my hardest and make a difference on the pitch.
“I’ll be working on being fit and ready for next season and if I’m already rolling before pre-season starts that should give me a better chance of staying injury free.
“Hopefully, next year it’ll be better and the fans will have a bit more to cheer – that’s what I want to help with.”