Aaron Doran is convinced Inverness Caley Thistle are ready to mount a major push for Championship title success next season.
The influential Irish winger believes there has been steady improvement and the building of a formidable squad in the first two seasons under John Robertson’s charge.
Despite the loss of Joe Chalmers and Liam Polworth at the end of last season’s play-offs campaign, Doran, right, has no fears for the group given the overall squad stability and the quality at the manager’s disposal.
Keeping Robertson in the post in the face of keen interest from Dundee was a huge boost to the Highlanders.
The former Blackburn Rovers man, now in his ninth year with the club, said: “After relegation from the Premiership, we started pretty poorly in the Championship in that first season under the gaffer.
“But you can see now he’s brought his own players in and I think the club is being run a lot better as well, so everything is on the up at the moment.
“I’m sure they will be signing a few more players so I think this season we will be pushing to try to win the league. That will be the main objective.
“I know it probably was the aim last season as well, but with the players we have and with everything else at the club positive, that’s what we have to be aiming for.
“Even last season, against what the table suggested was the two best teams in the league – Dundee United and Ross County – they were no better than us.
“We were the better team in a lot of those derby games in particular, but I could see why County won the league – they had the knack of grinding out results.
“They deserved to win it in the end and that’s what we need to do.
“We can play all the nice football we like, but we need to kill games off and that’s what we’ll be aiming to do next season.”
In Motherwell-bound Polworth and County signing Chalmers, Caley Thistle have lost a great deal of creative spark.
Doran, while acknowledging the significance of the twin loss, remains buoyant. He stressed: “It will be tough to replace Liam and Joe, but the manager has good contacts and he will do it.”
Meanwhile, Greenock Morton have held off competition from Caley Thistle to sign striker Aidan Nesbitt on a one-year deal.
The 22-year-old was released by Dundee United last month and returns to Cappielow where he spent the 2016-17 season on loan.