Caley Thistle manager John Robertson says he has no option but to go the extra mile in order to maximise every penny of his budget.
The Inverness side are now making tentative preparations for the new season after finishing as runners-up to Dundee United in the Championship.
Robertson’s side could be playing Premiership football next season if any plans to create a 14-team top tier are successful, although the Caley Jags boss admits that is a long shot.
His focus is building a squad capable of competing at the top end of the Championship but Robertson admits financial constraints and geography make it a difficult task.
He said: “It is always a big job as we have a limited budget.
“Our biggest problem is finding a pool of players.
“I remember having this conversation with (Dumbarton boss) Jim Duffy who said: ‘I feel for you being up there’.
“In the Central Belt, if Jim Duffy and I go for a player and we both offer him £500 per week, the lad is not going to move to Inverness.
“He will stay there as he doesn’t have to move and his wife doesn’t have to move her job.
“Jim Duffy also knows if he doesn’t get that player there is a pool of up to 500 players he can look at. He will eventually get the right quality for that price.
“If you live in the Central Belt, Fife, Dundee, the Borders, the west of Scotland or Edinburgh, you are in commuting distance.
“We are two hours north of Perth and three hours away from Aberdeen.
“Between ourselves and Ross County there are 60-odd players up here.
“I have had to go down and sell the club to players. It is amazing the amount of players who, once they come up here, realise how beautiful Inverness is. They buy into it and settle down up here.
“I have got to use my reputation as a manager who wants to play good football and have his teams be competitive. I feel I have managed to get good players up here who possibly wouldn’t have come otherwise.”
Robertson says the signing of midfielder David Carson last summer was evidence of how Caley Thistle are willing to explore every avenue to unearth a hidden gem.
He added: “We found David Carson playing for Morpeth Town (in the eighth tier of English football).
“The scouts and people I’ve got in the north of England told me to look at him.
“Scot Gardiner and I drove all the way down from Inverness on Easter Monday last year.
“We thought he was the type of player that Inverness fans would love. He goes and wins the ball. “They absolutely love him. He is a gem from a league that not a lot of people will send scouts to.”