Caley Thistle manager John Robertson insists Inverness are now in knockout territory as they begin their quest for promotion to Premiership via the play-offs.
Inverness take on Ayr United in the first leg of their quarter final tie at Somerset Park tonight, with the return leg at Caledonian Stadium on Saturday.
Caley Jags finished third ahead of Ian McCall’s men, who they have defeated in three of the four meetings between the sides this term, however Robertson says previous results count for nothing.
Robertson said: “Whilst it’s good we do have a good record against them, it means nothing now.
“That’s the regular season finished. We’ve finished third, done well and reached our goal of the play-offs.
“But now all that’s forgotten about. It now becomes a two-legged knock-out. It doesn’t matter what went before.
“We now have to go and beat them.
“The first game is away from home and we’ll go down there and be positive. Yes, we’ve won down there twice before but it doesn’t make it any easier.
“Both teams towards the end of the season haven’t had the results we hoped at home, so it is going to be a very interesting tie.
“We’ve come from a long way back to get past them, but league placings no longer count.
“We now know, to get up, we have to win six matches.”
Should Inverness progress past the Honest Men, they would face two-legged ties against Dundee United and either St Mirren or Hamilton Accies for a place in next season’s Premiership.
Although Robertson says the schedule would be unfavourable for the winner of this week’s tie, Robertson insists his side is capable of going all the way.
Robertson, who is still without skipper Carl Tremarco who he hopes will return from a calf injury for Saturday’s second leg, added: “We spoke to the players about the way we finished last season. It is not a schedule that should scare us.
“Last April, we finished with eight games and won seven of them and drew one.
“It’s a schedule we’ve had before and one we’re used to. We need to make sure we do the same again, train and play.
“But for whoever gets through, ourselves or Ayr, the next part will be really tough because you play Saturday, Tuesday and Friday.
“I’m still perplexed as to why that has to happen. I know originally it was Wednesday-Saturday and they changed the Saturday because Dundee are at home.
“Why can’t they go Wednesday-Sunday?
“The final isn’t until the following Thursday so whoever gets through from ourselves and Ayr, United have been handed a big boost, I think.
“But we hope it is a problem we have.
“We know why it is – TV has dictated and I don’t think that’s fair to ourselves or Ayr United.
“But it is what it is, and we hope it’s ourselves who have that problem.”