Caley Thistle manager John Robertson believes the financial disparity between Inverness and Sunday’s opponents Dundee United is insignificant ahead of Sunday’s Scottish Cup quarter final tie.
Robertson estimates his own playing budget to be less than half of his United counterpart Robbie Neilson, whose side five points adrift of leaders Ross County in the Championship title race.
While Robertson says those constraints make a sustained challenge for top spot difficult for his side, the Inverness boss insists the gulf in finances bears little relevance in this weekend’s one-off cup tie at Tannadice.
Robertson said: “If you look at it from a league perspective, we’ve probably got the sixth biggest budget in the Championship – behind Dundee United, Ross County, Partick Thistle, Dunfermline and Falkirk.
“But we probably have a slightly bigger budget than Ayr and look where they are in the league. Look where Livingston were last year with probably a slightly smaller budget than us.
“The advent of the play-offs allows the teams without the biggest budget, against the big boys, to get themselves into the play-off spots where they can go up.
“There’s an opportunity there where there wasn’t before.
“But in the cup it is one-off games and budgets don’t really count. This club has punched above its weight several times in its history.
“You go back to the famous 3-1 win at Celtic Park, the 1-0 after that. There were other times they have knocked big teams out.
“That’s what cup football is all about.
“Ayr United, going by budgets, should have quite comfortably beaten Auchinleck Talbot, but they didn’t in a one-off game on a tricky pitch.
“That’s the magic of the cup. While budgets in league terms do have a huge effect, in cups it doesn’t matter.”
After Caley Jags earlier this week announced a loss of £810,000 for 2017-18, Robertson feels the prize of a Scottish Cup semi final berth would come as a welcome boost for the Highlanders should they progress, adding: “As people will point out, especially given our news earlier in the last 10 days or so, financially it could be absolutely massive.
“The team that goes through will more than double the substantial income they’ve already made so far in the season.
“United are bringing in regular five or six thousand crowds, which helps financially. They are the biggest club in our league by a country mile.
“Their budget is way up there – probably well north of double ours.
“But that’s part of the challenge as being a manager in the Championship. Ask Jonatan Johansson at Morton, Ian McCall at Ayr, Livingston last year – that’s what we’re up against.
“My job is to find the best players we can within our budget, coach them and make them competitive.”