Caley Thistle interim manager Neil McCann hopes his newly-inherited squad have done their management team proud after opening his stint with a 1-1 draw against Hearts.
McCann was in the dug-out for the first time after being drafted in to temporarily replace manager John Robertson who is on compassionate leave, with Scott Kellacher also absent due to illness.
Inverness secured a creditable point against Championship leaders Hearts, leaving the Highlanders two points adrift of the play-off places.
McCann was thrilled with his players’ efforts in difficult circumstances, and he said: “I’m very proud. I’m hoping they have made their manager and Scott Kellacher proud at home as well.
“I said to them it’s not easy when a new guy comes in. They have been through so much as a club, they have had to react to losing their manager and assistant, and then a new guy has come in and asked them to do something different.
“I have only had one and a half sessions with them, but I don’t think anybody watching that would deny them a pat on the back for their work-rate. I thought it was exceptional.
“It’s a point, we would have liked three, because we are quite greedy, but it’s a good start for us.”
McCann reckons the understanding between himself and the players will only strengthen in the coming weeks, with Inverness making the trip to Dundee on Tuesday.
He added: “There are things we could do better with the ball. Most people that know me know that I want to play the ball, I encourage them to play the ball when it’s on. We will get better at that.
“People would argue that Hearts are the best team in the league, and I would agree with that in terms of the size of their squad and the club. But I thought we totally matched them.
“It’s all ifs and buts, but if something had dropped for us in the first half we could have got more.
“The biggest compliment to us is the fact Hearts changed to play us. We didn’t have to adapt to play them, they changed to combat us. I can only be proud of them.
“The players just bought into it when we said we would do something different. I think they enjoyed it.
“Although they are knackered because they emptied, they enjoyed it. Boys enjoy hard work when they get a wee bit of reward for it.”