Caley Thistle defender Coll Donaldson believes failing to advance through the group section of the Betfred Cup will be an underachievement for the Highlanders.
Inverness have failed to advance to the second round in either of the last two seasons since being relegated in 2017, and play their opening fixture of this year’s competition away to Peterhead tonight.
Donaldson was part of a Caley Jags side which marginally fell short last season, losing 5-0 against Hearts at Tynecastle when a loss by three goals or less would have been enough for John Robertson’s men to advance.
Although Donaldson will not get carried away by his side’s performance in the four-game section, the Edinburgh-born player has made it his expectation that Caley Jags qualify.
Donaldson said: “It can work both ways. You can sometimes get a false sense of where you are if you do well in the groups.
“We just want to win every game that we play and get that winning mentality embedded early in the season.
“We managed to do well in the first few games last year and then were battered by Hearts.
“The Hearts game maybe came at a good time for us last year. We learnt more from that game than from the three previous victories in the group stage.
“We’ll be looking to guard against that this year obviously.
“Our aim is definitely to qualify from the group and I feel we will have underachieved if we don’t.”
Donaldson is wary of Jim McInally’s Blue Toon outfit, who won promotion to League 1 last season, and the 24-year-old added: “It’s going to be a tough game. It is always tough to play teams that are on a high and they were certainly on a high after winning their league and winning on Saturday as well.
“We’re expecting a really hard game.”
Caley Thistle coach Barry Wilson will be in the dugout for Inverness’ Betfred Cup trip to Peterhead tonight, with Robertson serving a one-match touchline ban which carries over from last season.
Wilson is wary of the newly-promoted League 1 outfit, adding: “It’s going to be a difficult game. They will still be full of confidence from winning the league last year.
“They had a good result against Cove Rangers on Saturday, so they will go into it with nothing to lose.
“It’s our first game. We have had a good pre-season, but we know we will have to be at the top of our game to come away with the points.”