Manager John Hughes says Inverness Caledonian Thistle is "the best place" for out-of-favour Celtic striker Anthony Stokes.
Stokes has been linked with a move to the Highlands, with Celtic assistant manager John Collins confirming on Friday the player will probably go on loan this month.
"The best place for Anthony Stokes at the moment is Inverness," said Hughes.
"Celtic recognise that, I recognise that, everybody recognises that."
Stokes, capped nine times for the Republic of Ireland, has twice worked under Hughes at Falkirk and Hibernian, impressing in both spells.
But the Caley Thistle boss suggested the striker could be tempted elsewhere given Celtic's apparent keenness to loan him out.
"I kick his backside, get the best out of him," Hughes told BBC Scotland. "He needs to be playing regular football in a starting XI.
"Lo and behold, he thinks: 'oh, I'm allowed out on loan, that's open house for everybody'. No, it's not. The best place for you, and everyone at Celtic and Inverness can see, is for you to come up and play with me.
"Get your head down, score goals, get fit, and maybe get yourself in the Euro Championships. But as soon as he's heard the whisper of going out on loan, it's open house to everyone.
"It'll be down to the player. John Collins has said he's going on loan, but it's all about playing football, going and enjoying it, scoring goals. He's a lovable rogue, a bit like myself, so the two of us are quite compatible."