Caley Thistle boss John Robertson has challenged Jamie McCart to compete for a starting spot after rejoining the Highland capital club.
McCart spent the second half of 2016-17 on loan with Inverness and penned a two-year deal to sign permanently, after his Celtic contract expired, on Tuesday.
The Caley Jags already have three centre-halves on their books but McCart is the only natural left-footer, with a place there to be earned in pre-season.
Robertson said: “Jamie was on our initial list as we didn’t have a natural left-sided centre-half. He’s a good young lad, very professional and a good attitude. As soon as we knew he was available we made contact and had a chat. He liked his time up here before and we didn’t have to sell the club or area to him.
“We told him he’d be the only left-sided centre-back but we have three other centre-backs here and he will have to fight for his place. In pre-season games as well as getting your fitness up, it’s also about showing form.
“He fitted in well to our wage bracket and when you come out of the Premiership, you have to look at a different criteria of player. We have to look for lads who maybe haven’t had it happen for them at other clubs, like Tom Walsh at Rangers who had to drop down to Dumbarton.
“When we knew Jamie was available, the deal was pushed forward quite quickly as both parties were happy with it.”
Inverness were pitted against Falkirk on the opening day of the season when the fixtures were released yesterday, with the first Highland derby on September 22 in Dingwall.
Robertson does not think having both Highland clubs back in the same division will galvanise football in the region, as he believes being out of the top flight for too long can leave you easily forgotten.
He said: “You want one if not both in the Premiership but having both back in the Championship now, it’s amazing you quickly you can be forgotten. There will be a few neutrals that will come along in the derby games but you don’t see the media rush to put Inverness against Ross County on television.
“That’s why towards the end of last season we were hopeful of getting back up. The second-best scenario was for Ross County to stay up and people would be galvanised by that, and then wonder how Inverness are doing.”