Coll Donaldson reckons Caley Thistle can be among the Championship title contenders next season.
The Caley Jags improved from fifth to third this campaign and missed out on a play-off final spot to Donaldson’s former club Dundee United.
However, if they are to make that ambition a reality, their home form needs to be rectified, given they won only five league games at the Caledonian Stadium.
United missed out on promotion to St Mirren and they will be joined in the Championship by city neighbours Dundee, who finished bottom of the top flight to end five-year stint in the Premiership.
Inverness head into their third season as a second-tier outfit and it would be the ideal scenario for Donaldson if it was their last.
He said: “There’s always the ambition to play at the highest level possible and hopefully that’s with Inverness after winning the title. That would be the ideal scenario.
“This season was quite strange in that we were closer to the bottom than the top. Partick will strengthen and you’ll have the two Dundee clubs in the league, so I think it’ll be even harder next year.
“Our home record against the two teams above us wasn’t great. If you look at County’s home form, that’s why they won the league. That’s something we need to work on. That’s the base of a league title campaign and we need to have that progression to finish first or second.”
Donaldson was named in the SPFL’s Championship team of the season for 2018-19, alongside his former colleague Liam Polworth who has left for Motherwell. Another key asset lost by the Caley Jags is Joe Chalmers, who has joined Ross County. Manager John Robertson has offered new deals to Tom Walsh, Jamie McCart and Donaldson, who all have another year left on their
Donaldson added: “It’s not something I’ve really thought about. It was quite a hard end to the season, the way it ended so suddenly and have to have some downtime to get away from it.
“I’m enjoying my football just now. I’m working with a manager whose personality suits me and the whole team. It’s not a relaxed atmosphere but we’re all close to the manager and that develops a good working relationship.
“Losing Liam and Joe will be massive. They did so well for us in the way we want to play. But we lost Iain Vigurs and Gary Warren last season and finished two places better off.
“No one at this level is irreplaceable and the manager seems to do well finding players.”