Inverness CT: John Hughes only looking forward

Inverness finished third in the Premiership last season
In 2014-15 Inverness enjoyed their best campaign since formation 21 years ago

Manager John Hughes wants Inverness to retain the underdog spirit despite last season's impressive achievements.

Caley Thistle finished third in the Premiership and won the Scottish Cup.

"We cannot let the success of last year soften us up," said Hughes. "We need to get the boiler suits back on and get our hands dirty.

"And I say that to the supporters, you need to keep supporting us as underdogs. Don't let expectations spoil your enjoyment of the game."

The Highlanders' highest league finish brought with it qualification for Europe for the first time although they are already out of the Europa League after a 1-0 aggregate loss to Astra Giurgiu.

Over the summer, Graeme Shinnie has gone to Aberdeen, striker Marley Watkins to Barnsley and midfielder Nick Ross joined Dundee, with striker Billy McKay having left in January for Wigan.

"We have lost four real good players in Nick, Shinnie, Marley and Billy but the boys have got on with it," explained Hughes ahead of the new Premiership kick-off at home to Motherwell.

"As staff, we need to work hard, we cannot let our standards drop.

"We will try to win every game but I don't think we will do that.

Inverness beat Falkirk 2-1 at Hampden to win the Scottish Cup for the first time
Inverness beat Falkirk 2-1 at Hampden in May to win the Scottish Cup for the first time

"Last year is history, let's go again.

"Support the team with the mentality that we haven't got too much but that every team that comes up here will know they have been in a game and if it is our day, hopefully we can win it.

"I am 100% convinced that all the teams have improved, they have all recruited very well and we have to improve as a team as well.

"I am optimistic but I have been in the game long enough to know you that sometimes you never know what you are going to get."

Gary Warren echoed the manager's theme of dampening expectation, saying the club's key aim is to simply stay in the top flight.

"It will be tough to emulate what we did last year," said the defender.

"But I say to everyone that every season with the size of this club, the aim is to stay up.

"That's what we have to do every year and as soon as we have those points on the board you look at a top six and when you have cemented that, you look at a European spot and cup competitions."

Top Stories