Caley Thistle manager John Robertson has warned his side must earn the right to mount another challenge at the top of the Championship.
Inverness finished third in the table last term to reach the promotion play-offs, however their Premiership bid was ended by a 4-0 aggregate defeat to Dundee United.
A succession of draws prevented Caley Jags from running eventual winners Ross County closer, with Inverness finishing 15 points adrift of their Highland rivals.
Despite starting the new campaign with a 4-1 loss against United at Tannadice, Robertson hopes his side can pick themselves up for another tilt at promotion.
He said: “Taking it to the wire last season should help, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way.
“If you look at clubs recently that have been in the play-offs, like Queen of the South and Dunfermline, for two or three seasons they were in there but then they seem to fall out of it. That can happen.
“It’s not through bad planning or bad play. Sometimes other teams improve, one or two key decisions go their way. Teams get a bit of luck which can make the difference between reaching the top-four and winning the title.
“We have looked at ourselves last season and analysed it. Most of the season was OK, but what killed us was 14 draws, seven on the bounce.
“It basically halted our progress in staying up among the likes of Dundee United and Ross County.
“We finished strongly, as we usually do. Perennially, Inverness for some reasons have been slow-starters. That’s why we’ve taken on harder pre-season games this year to be playing at a level we need to be.”
Robertson, who brought English forward Miles Storey back to the club ahead of the Tannadice encounter following a spell with Partick Thistle, hopes his side can show more firepower when they host newly-promoted Arbroath in their first home league fixture of the campaign on Saturday.
Robertson added: “I have got confidence in my players, and they have got to have that confidence in themselves.
“We played well and moved the ball well and got into good positions. It’s just that last third which is the most important part of the game.
“It’s about having the quality to put the ball into the box for strikers to attack.
“As a management team, we had a good chat with the players where we talked about what is missing and what is not quite right yet.
“It was a frank discussion and we’ve got one or two things to work on for this weekend, because I don’t think the scoreline against Dundee United reflected some of the spells of the game we had.”