Caley Thistle manager John Robertson feels his side can have a say in what is widely tipped to be a two-horse race for the Championship title this season.
Dundee United have made an excellent start to the campaign, having won all three of their matches so far as they aim to exit the second-tier at the fourth time of asking.
Their city neighbours Dundee are also expected to challenge, having freshly suffered relegation from the Premiership.
Although Caley Jags suffered a 4-1 opening day loss to United, Saturday’s 0-0 draw against the Dark Blues at Dens Park reaffirmed Robertson’s belief his side can contend, despite a raft of high profile summer signings by the Tayside pair.
Robertson said: “People have said already that they feel it’s a two-horse race between the two Dundee teams. The likes of ourselves, Partick Thistle and Dunfermline will all try and tell you different.
“We are all good solid Championship teams who will fight for every point.
“With the greatest of respect to both Dundee and Dundee United, they have never said it’s a two-horse race.
“But other people do – the media, press, radio and television. I don’t think they will be far off the mark because of the budgets both teams are spending and the quality of players they are bringing in.
“You would expect both these two teams to be up there, especially with their big fanbases. There were 5,000 there again on Saturday.
“I would expect that, and I would expect them come January to bolster their ranks once more.
“You don’t have to be the best pundit in the world to think that, given the players they have got at their disposal, they are going to be there or thereabouts.
“You can’t throw it at the two clubs because they have never said it’s going to be between just them.
“It may well be the case, but there are another eight teams in the league who will tell you differently.”
Both sides spurned opportunities to take all three points in Saturday’s Dens Park encounter, with Robertson pleased by the way the Highlanders executed their gameplan.
He added: “I said to James McPake after the game on Saturday that there will be a lot of games like that where teams are going to come and match up and really do their best to stop Dundee playing. You’ve just got to battle it out.”