Scott Allardice believes defying storm force winds to beat Arbroath on Saturday was perfect preparation for facing hurricane Hearts at Tynecastle.
Caley Thistle will travel to take on the Championship favourites and Scottish Cup 2020 finalists having just secured their first league win of the season.
It took depths of resolve and determination from the Highlanders to battle back from a 1-0 half-time deficit at the Caledonian Stadium, producing three inspirational moments in atrocious conditions.
After Kris Doolan’s opener, the hosts hit back through Daniel Mackay and Nikolay Todorov, either side of a truly stunning 35-yard strike from Allardice.
With Robbie Neilson’s side flying on the back of early form and their Edinburgh derby semi-final triumph, Allardice reckons the trip would have been even tougher had they remained winless.
The imposing Dundonian midfielder was reared in Celtic Boys Club and Dundee United’s youths, before joining Bohemians and Waterford in Ireland last year.
Eager to return to Scotland, he joined Caley Thistle in August – and has settled quickly.
But Allardice knew Caley Thistle had to turn decent form into a decent result on Saturday.
He said: “The conditions were just crazy against Arbroath, although I experienced that once or twice over in Ireland as well.
“It was difficult to play, but we really had to knuckle down and overcome that to get a valuable result – and we did.
“We’ve been playing well enough and just needing a result to kick on.
“There’s no doubt about it, it was a huge result for us because we didn’t want to be heading down to Tynecastle next weekend still without a win under our belts.
“You can see us coming together as a team and we’re beginning to get a lot more of the experienced players back bit by bit.
“But the amount the players put into the match on Saturday in those conditions was really something and it’s a huge boost to us going forward.”
Daniel Mackay answered manager John Robertson’s call for more end product from his bright young players with a superbly-taken header from young Wallace Duffy’s cross for the equaliser, while Todorov tucked away his third goal in three games.
Allardice, who is only 22, added: “I don’t really see myself as one of the young lads now. I have played a lot of games and need to show I can deliver every week.
“That was only my second senior goal, so I want to add goals to my game and need to shoot more. To be fair, I’ve been doing it in training with a good return.
“It was great to score one like that, but the big thing today was the character the lads all showed after falling behind in those conditions. It augurs well for us going forward.”