Caley Thistle winger Tom Walsh feels tomorrow’s test of top-flight Hearts can be the ideal preparation for the start of Championship action next weekend.
Inverness are likely to be out of contention to qualify for the knock-out stage of the Premier Sports Cup by the time they kick-off at Tynecastle, having taken just four points from their opening three group matches.
That means Billy Dodds’ side will have an eye firmly on their opening league match away to Arbroath next weekend when they make the trip to Edinburgh.
Although progression in the tournament will be beyond his side, Walsh believes a strong showing against the Jambos can help them to salvage confidence for their league campaign.
Walsh said: “We can make it the perfect game to try and get a result.
“It’s always great to play against a team higher up, because it can really give you confidence if you do well against them.
“We play in the Championship, and we want to go and test ourselves against the champions from last year who I’m sure will be competing well in the Premiership.
“It’s a chance for us to show we can compete at that level. We’ve got good players, and there’s no reason why we can’t put a good performance on and get a result.
“It can really build confidence, and we want to build momentum from that to take into the league.”
Caley Jags have struggled in their last two matches against lower league opposition, taking a point from their 2-2 draw against Stirling Albion last weekend before going down 3-1 to Cove Rangers on Tuesday.
Walsh feels his side must make themselves harder to break down, adding: “There’s a lot to work on defensively. It became a bit of a game of basketball against Cove, I think we were too open.
“That’s something the whole team can work on as a shape, and I’m sure we will. Have to try and put it right.
“Hopefully we can take that into next week and get off to a good start in the league.
“We are creating things, the other night we had three one-v-ones, and one cleared off the line.
“As a whole team we need to be more solid, I think everyone can see that.
“It is early days, but there is stuff we will work on and I’m sure we will get it right.”
Walsh returned for a second spell at Caledonian Stadium earlier this summer, just 12 months after departing for second-tier rivals Ayr United.
Despite Caley Jags’ disappointing group campaign, the 25-year-old is pleased with the way he has settled back into the club.
He added: “It has been quite easy getting back into it and the boys have been great. It feels as if I haven’t been away, a lot of boys who were here before and the new guys are great.
“We just want to get results now, and it’s all about winning. We need to start that soon, hopefully on Sunday.
“I have been pretty impressed with the young boys. When they have come in and trained they have not looked out of place.
“They will be looking to push the first team boys this year. That’s the way it should be.
“They have been great in training and I’m sure they will be trying to break through this season.
“This club should have loads of players in each position, fighting for their place. That’s what it’s all about.
“We have good players here, we just need to hopefully try and get a result, bounce off that and take it into next week.”