Caley Thistle head coach Billy Dodds says midfielders Aaron Doran and Roddy MacGregor have shown their worth to his starting line-up in recent weeks.
MacGregor has held down a starting position since coming off the bench to net the winner in a 1-0 triumph over Raith Rovers on August 7.
Irishman Doran was handed his first league start of the campaign against Partick Thistle last weekend, and scored in Caley Jags’ 3-1 victory.
Dodds has praised the reaction of both players to being left out of the team, and says they have proven they can hold down starting places.
Dodds said: “Aaron has looked sharp since the start of the season. There have been a lot of them that have been unlucky not to be in the team and he is certainly one of them.
“Roddy MacGregor did it, when he came on and scored as a sub, and Aaron Doran is doing it.
“I want the players who are not in the team, I’m not even going to call them fringe players, to keep pushing.
“Aaron Doran isn’t a fringe player, and Roddy MacGregor isn’t a fringe player. You might have labelled them that when they weren’t in the team, but it shows if you do the business you will stay in the team.”
Doran was substituted at half-time in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Dunfermline, while attacker Shane Sutherland was also withdrawn with a knock during the first half.
Dodds will assess the condition of both players ahead of Saturday’s home fixture against Queen of the South, adding: “Both of them had fitness tests on Saturday morning. They both passed, but both were toiling a wee bit as the game went on and their muscles got tired.
“Shane is a warrior for us, but he had to come off, while Aaron’s injury was affecting him too.
“I had to do what was best for the team, but the boys came on, did well and worked away. We are a real team unit.
“You don’t only lose one goal this season through not working hard defensively and we were excellent defensively on Saturday, with a couple of wee chances to win it.”
Inverness had to settle for a draw against a Pars side who prop up the Championship table, having taken only two points so far.
The result ended Caley Thistle’s 100% start to the campaign, however, they remain a point clear of Kilmarnock at the top of the league.
Despite Dunfermline’s position, Dodds says the result was a creditable outcome for his side.
He added: “It is a tough place. I know Dunfermline are bottom, but anybody can beat anybody in this Championship.
“Dunfermline are one of the best teams, so it was tough. My players knew that and that’s why they worked so hard.
“We had chances, but it wasn’t as many as we created in the second half last week.
“It was a good point for us. I’m disappointed not to take three, but being honest I thought a point was fair.”