Caley Thistle defender Brad Mckay says the prospect of playing at Parkhead and Ibrox instead of Gayfield and Recreation Park is the prime incentive to win promotion to the Premiership through the play-offs.
Inverness take on Ayr United in the first leg of their play-off quarter final tie at Somerset Park tonight, before hosting the Honest Men on Saturday. The winner of the tie will take on Championship runners-up Dundee United, for the right to face St Mirren or Hamilton Accies for a place in next season’s top-flight.
Although Inverness must negotiate six matches in the space of three weeks if they are to succeed, Mckay says the exciting incentive of playing at some of Scotland’s biggest grounds can help John Robertson’s men through.
Mckay said: “It’s mad – we are a couple of games away from playing in the Premiership.
“If you can look that far, you are within touching distance.
“You look at whoever it’s going to be coming down, Hamilton or St Mirren, and if you can take the teams above us who we have beaten before, we’ve got to look at the positives and we know we can beat them – home and away.
“That’s the challenge and it’s exciting.
“You’ve got Arbroath coming up and Alloa are still in the league. No disrespect to these teams, they have done amazing.
“But we could be going to Arbroath and Alloa, or we could be going to Parkhead and Ibrox.
“That’s the difference. It’s huge financial gains for the club as well.”
Mckay feels the Highlanders’ performances against the top Championship sides have shown they have what it takes to get through the play-offs, with the 26-year-old adding: “It’s frustrating for us in the dressing room, watching Ross County go up and knowing we have stood toe-to-toe with them.
“There are not been many games they have battered us, and we’ve walked away thinking ‘that’s why they are top of the league.’
“We have always done well against the bigger teams in the league, but it’s the points here and there that end up getting you championships.
“It was the home games we lost that do matter, but we have stood toe-to-toe with all the teams in the top four so I think we can go again.”
Inverness have a fine record against Ayr this term having won three matches and drawn once and Mckay, who netted the winner in Caley Jags’ 1-0 away win over Ian McCall’s men last month, hopes Caley Jags can put themselves in a strong position for Saturday’s return leg.
He added: “We’ve got a good record against Ayr – we should have beaten them at the start of the season.
“We went down there and beat them last time. I came on and scored after two minutes.
“It’s just a one-off game. We can look at all the games before, and it will give us confidence, but none of that matters any more.
“Anything can happen, we just want to give ourselves the best possible start to bring it back here and try to take care of it.”