Caley Thistle manager John Robertson insists there is no room for any further slip ups in the Highlanders’ Betfred Cup group section.
Inverness opened their campaign with a 0-0 draw away to Peterhead on Tuesday, before going on to lose the subsequent penalty shoot-out to miss out on the bonus point.
With Raith Rovers next up at Caledonian Stadium this afternoon, followed by games against Cove Rangers and Dundee, Robertson accepts his side can ill afford to drop more points if they are to progress to the second round.
Robertson said: “We said the aim was to win the first three games and go down and make it a shoot-out against Dundee.
“Dundee’s result on Wednesday – drawing with Cove and winning on penalties – makes that still possible, but we’ve got a lot of hard work.
“We have to look at the next game and the next game only – and we need to beat Raith Rovers.
“It’s as simple as that – we’ve no wriggle room. No room for error.”
Today’s visit of League 1 Rovers is Inverness’ first home game this term, and Robertson is determined to strike a strong run of form on their own patch.
Robertson, who has a doubt over midfielder Aaron Doran, added: “What we faced on Tuesday is what we’ll face a lot this year in the Championship, especially at home. Teams will sit in and say ‘what have you got?’
“They may sit-in and hit on the counter-attack but we’ve got to press our game. We’re at home and need to improve on our home game from last season.
“This is an opportunity already, in the League Cup, to do that.
“But we expect another tough match. There are no gimmes in this group. People expected us to win at Peterhead and we didn’t and people expected Dundee to win at Cove and they didn’t.
“Whoever wins the group will be worthy winners, because we’ve already seen how tough it.”
Caley Thistle undertook major pitch improvements over the summer and Robertson is confident the new surface will flourish with time, adding: “I’ve walked on it a couple of times and it’s not going to be perfect. It looks great, but there are a couple of areas where we’ve laid the new drains and sprinkler system that are still a bit sandy.
“The thatch will cover that over the next three or four weeks.
“It’s remarkable what the ground staff and Dale Stephen in particular have done because three weeks ago the seeds were going down. To get it to where it is today is very good and it will only improve.”