Neil McCann believes Caley Thistle will be well equipped to make a stronger push in the Championship next season.
McCann oversaw Inverness’ final 16 games of the season as interim manager, having taken charge when John Robertson was granted compassionate leave by the club.
The former Dundee manager will now step aside to pave the way for Robertson’s return, with McCann reported to have turned down an approach from former club Falkirk in order to accept a football advisor’s role with an agency.
Inverness’ form initially took time to get going under McCann, with the Highlanders taking two points from his first four games in charge.
There were only two defeats that followed in his final 12 matches in a run which included a six-match winning sequence.
Although McCann will now move on from Caledonian Stadium, he feels the strides made during his short stint point towards a fruitful campaign next year.
McCann said: “I don’t know too much about what they had before, I can only judge what I had in the first four games.
“I can see boys that absolutely have developed and blossomed since I came in.
“That’s me just getting to know them, and what their strengths are as well.
“I’m not saying it’s because they are working under me, by any stretch of the imagination.
“But you get to know people and what their strengths are, so you can develop their strengths and coach them a wee bit.
“I have seen a real growth within the group, and individuals themselves have certainly improved.
“I think next year could be a really exciting year for Inverness.”
Inverness have a number of players out of contract, although they have already secured the likes of David Carson, Scott Allardice and Anthony McDonald on new deals, along with youngsters Ryan Fyffe, Harry Nicolson and Lewis Hyde.
Although McCann will not be part of the recruitment process, he feels Caley Jags already have the basis of a strong squad.
He added: “It’s a great group. There are obviously boys out of contract, and I have taken lots of phone calls.
“Those phone calls got passed on very quickly because I’m not in a position to be making any decisions.
“The decisions regarding team recruitment for next season, players staying and players going, is not my remit.
“There is a right good group of existing players here that I know.
“Inverness is tough for recruitment, because the central belt can offer the proximity of clubs not as far.
“It’s a hardship up here. Even if there’s £100 less here or there in the central belt, or whatever wage it may be, sometimes that is more of an attraction because people don’t want to travel.
“What I would say is forget the travelling. It is a beautiful part of the world.
“I know sometimes you need to do a lengthy coach journey, but it is a great setup with great people around the club.”
McCann was disappointed Inverness missed out on the promotion play-offs, but he acknowledged the efforts of his players in maintaining their charge until the penultimate game of the season.
McCann added: “It’s a wee bit bittersweet because we have missed out. I fully believe they’re good enough and it’s a shame we haven’t been able to follow that through.
“I’m delighted with how they reacted to me though, because it’s never easy when a new manager comes in.
“It took us a wee bit of time, but the reaction from day one has been absolutely brilliant.
“I complimented them on their professionalism, because it’s hard to pick a team, it’s hard to do the job we were doing under the circumstances, but their application has been absolutely first class.”