Caley Thistle manager Richie Foran has demanded his players prove their top-six credentials by beating Dundee at Dens Park today.
Inverness go into the game on the back of successive defeats by Celtic and Aberdeen, which saw the Highlanders drop to seventh in the table, albeit just a point behind Motherwell in sixth.
Foran is aiming for a top-half finish in his first season in the dugout since replacing John Hughes and he reckons games like today’s Dens Park encounter, against a Dark Blues side sitting bottom of the league, will determine whether they succeed.
He said: “We go there to win the game. We won’t be sitting in or playing defensive, we need to beat them if we’re to finish in the top six.
“Their performances have picked up but it’s about my players and what we do. It’s different to be going to Parkhead and we’re very like for like, so the game is hard to call.
“Dundee will see it as a game they can win and so do we. It’s another big challenge. They’ve picked up some good performances recently and changed their style a wee bit, getting the ball forward a bit quicker.
“We’ll have to be better than we have been over the last couple of games. We need to be more solid as a unit and get higher up the park, starting with the striker up top.
“We’ve conceded a lot of goals and we need to work harder to stop that happening. That starts with Lonsana Doumbouya up top.”
Foran was critical of his side’s lack of belief in the defeats by Celtic and Aberdeen and he has challenged his players to regain the level of performance they displayed in their previous matches.
He added: “I think I’m being realistic. When we play Aberdeen here I don’t think there’s much between the squads. We didn’t want to express ourselves and when we did score against the run of play we didn’t take advantage of that. There were opportunities to take the game to Aberdeen and we didn’t do it.
“Maybe the Celtic game knocked a bit out of us. Aberdeen have got one of the best attacking sides in the league and when you catch Jonny Hayes on a good day, it’s near impossible to stop him. We got him on a good day.
“The belief is there, though. We just have to look back on our performances against Hearts and Motherwell which were fantastic.”