Billy Dodds says a promotion play-off spot will be the bare minimum he expects in his first season in charge of Caley Thistle.
Dodds has agreed a two-year contract which will see him take charge at Caledonian Stadium, replacing John Robertson who has moved upstairs to become the club’s sporting director.
It marks a return to Caley Jags for Dodds, who assisted temporary boss Neil McCann towards the tail end of last term when Robertson was absent on compassionate leave.
The interim partnership oversaw a strong end to the season in which Inverness lost just one of their final nine matches, narrowly missing out on the promotion play-off spots.
Dodds says improving on that position is a realistic target his squad must be ready to strive for, while holding out hope they can take a step further and challenge for the league title.
Dodds said: “I’d love the title and we’ll be pushing for it. I’ll be saying that to the players.
“We want to be in this to win it. It will be difficult with two Premiership teams coming down, but if you don’t aim for the top then you shouldn’t be in the game. That’s what you should be looking for.
“If we get the play-offs, then so be it, we’ll take our chance. But I’ll be putting it to the players that this is what I expect. I’m not saying we’re going to win the title, but that’s what we’ll be pushing for. Promotion, whatever way you get it.”
Inverness will be joined in the second-tier by Hamilton Accies and Kilmarnock who have come down from the Premiership, while Partick Thistle will have big intentions after stepping up from League One.
Dodds is relishing the challenge that awaits him, adding: “You can talk about all the big clubs, like Kilmarnock, Hamilton and Dunfermline and you can throw in Ayr United, Morton, Queen of the South, Arbroath, Raith Rovers, Partick Thistle so right away I know the challenge.
“I know it’s difficult, the Championship is always cut-throat, but I’m at a club that’s competitive and should be right up there.
“We’re capable of the play-offs and more, so that’s what I’m pushing for.
“I know my remit, I know what I want to do myself before I even heard that, and that’s what I’m trying to do, so it’s simple.”
Dodds will now be tasked with preparing his squad for the new season, however, he hopes the familiarity from his previous spell last season can make his job easier.
He added: “It’s good that I know the players, I know the club.
“I spoke to Scot Gardiner before I was offered the job as number two, and I got a good feeling.
“My in-laws are Inverness fans as well, so that helped make my decision if I put it that way.
“Seeing the players, seeing their performance levels and seeing where they’ve been for the last few years in the league, it’s a great club to work for, simple as that.
“We have got a good bulk of players here. We lost Brad Mckay, Scott Allan and Daniel MacKay.
“There are a few out of contract as well so I will have to speak to them. There is still a good bulk of a squad here to work with, and I’ll be working hard to bring players in.
“The young players are a huge part of the club. We have seen it for years now, with boys moving on. Very recently you just look at Daniel right away.
“It’s a good move for the kid and great for the club. We hope to continue that. There are plenty coming through as you see on the pitch.”