Caley Thistle defender Jamie McCart insists Inverness cannot let Tuesday’s Highland derby defeat halt their play-off momentum.
Inverness went down 2-1 against the Staggies at Caledonian Stadium in a result which ended an unbeaten streak that had gone to five matches.
Caley Jags remain six points clear of Dunfermline in the final play-off spot, with the opportunity to leapfrog Saturday’s opponents Ayr United into third with a victory at Somerset Park.
McCart insists his side has plenty to play for, with next weekend’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Hearts at Hampden also looming large.
McCart said: “We’ve just got to focus on clinching the play-off spot and obviously the semi-final coming up is a big one for us.
“The priority is Ayr on Saturday and making sure we are in the play-offs. The manager has said he trusts every one of us in the squad and we’re quite a close-knit group.
“Sometimes it can be a bonus having a smaller squad but injuries and suspensions can come into play quite rapidly.
“We’ve just got to stick together over the next few weeks because we’re confident we can beat anybody. We had a lot of confidence going into Tuesday night, which makes the way we started all the more surprising.
“We’ve just got to put it behind us and keep going. ”
Inverness played the second half with 10 men after Charlie Trafford was shown a second yellow card on the stroke of half time, with Caley Jags boss John Robertson claiming Staggies midfielder Ross Draper was fortunate to avoid the same fate.
Despite recording just one win from six derbies this term – by virtue of penalties in the Scottish Cup – McCart does not feel there has been a gulf in class between the sides.
The 21-year-old added: “I think it was a bit harsh. There were a few bad challenges and a few that went unnoticed as well, which is disappointing.
“But we can’t dwell on that. Ultimately, it was our fault we didn’t win the game or at least get something from the game.
“For the first 15 to 20 minutes we never turned up. After that we picked up, but that first 15 minutes or so set the tone for the game.
“It is always hard to lose a derby, especially when you go down to 10 men – it always makes it a lot more difficult.
“Every derby this season has been tight and in some previous derbies, especially, we have performed very well but lost or drawn.
“That’s the bitter disappointment about it, that we played so well in previous ones.”