Caley Thistle defender Danny Devine is keen to draw upon the same underdog spirit which brought success during his first stint with the Highlanders.
Devine has returned to Inverness on a two-year deal, following stints with Partick Thistle and Dunfermline since he departed Caledonian Stadium in 2016.
The Northern Irish defender was part of Caley Jags’ side which won the Scottish Cup by defeating Falkirk in 2015, in the same season in which John Hughes’ side finished third in the Premiership and qualified for Europe for the first time.
With Inverness now aiming to win promotion from the Championship, but up against a Hearts side who are strong favourites to win the title, Devine hopes John Robertson’s men can rediscover old traits.
Devine said: “We always enjoyed the underdog mentality when I was here before. A club like this thrives on that.
“They want to prove people wrong and in my first year here, we did that.
“I think John and his team have shown the same in the last couple of seasons. They were very unlucky last season, only just missing out.
“Hopefully we can do the same again and give it a right good push this season.”
Devine, who came up against Inverness in his last two seasons with the Pars, insists he is relishing the challenge of facing Hearts in the second-tier despite the budgetary advantage enjoyed by the Tynecastle club.
Devine added: “If you asked any of the boys in the team, I think they’d rather the likes of Hearts were in the league because you get to go to Tynecastle and prove yourself.
“There will be big crowds once they’re allowed back in and big crowds here against them.
“It’s going to be tough again, with their budget. Dundee United were similar last season.
“But just because you have a big budget doesn’t mean you’re going to win the league.
” know the boys here will be very confident of achieving something this year. Hopefully we can push all the way.”
Devine’s move back to the Highlands has reunited him with a number of former team-mates, and the 27-year-old is confident he will quickly settle back into familiar surroundings.
Devine added: “There are boys here – Aaron Doran, James Vincent, Miles Storey – who were here when I was. I kept in contact with those boys and we’re good friends.
“They had nothing but good to say about the club currently and the ambitions of the club.”