Caley Thistle first-team coach Barry Wilson reckons going for SPFL Trust Trophy glory can also enhance their push for winning the Championship.
Wilson need only look to when he was part of a John Robertson-led team which won the 2003/04 second-tier title as well as the competition formerly called the Challenge Cup.
The Caley Jags are three points clear at the top of the Championship table, despite suffering their first league loss at Hamilton at the weekend.
All the information for this Saturday’s match vs ICT can be found here https://t.co/5v3ft7Cj6V
Look forward to seeing you all Saturday 🖤 pic.twitter.com/IV7KmE65G7
— Elgin City F.C. (@ElginCityFC) October 7, 2021
Tomorrow’s trip to League Two Elgin City presents an opportunity, according to Wilson, for the team to rediscover their winning habit and reach the last eight of a competition they jointly hold with Raith Rovers.
He said: “It was very much part of the good things that were happening that season in 2003/04.
“It is a funny cup. In the first couple of rounds it is low on your list of priorities, but once you get to the latter stages there is an expectancy and a want to win it.
“Success breeds success – and that’s what happened back in 2003/04.
“The team hadn’t had the best of starts to the season, but then the Challenge Cup came along and they found a bit of form through it.
“You draw momentum from it and then there’s the camaraderie that actually winning it brings, with a couple of nights out or whatever else. Momentum is huge in all sports.”
🎟️ This Saturday we face Elgin in the SPFL Trust Trophy at Borough Briggs
— Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC (@ICTFC) October 6, 2021
Title winners have netted doubles
While winning this competition isn’t the top target for the Highlanders, Wilson feels the knock-on effect of trying to win it can rub off on their already strong league form, with several sides having used one as a “stepping stone” to the other over the years.
He added: “This cup is not the be all and end all to be honest, because our main competition is the league.
“We’re out of the League Cup, so we can’t do anything about that, but we can win this one. We’re in it and we want to win it. We’ve got a good record in the competition.
“What you have also seen in previous years is teams that win this cup have momentum and, on three or four occasions, they have gone on to win the Championship.
“We hope we can use that as a stepping stone, but first and foremost we have to get through Saturday.”
Players eager to respond to defeat
Wilson, who was in charge at Borough Briggs in 2014, believes the Inverness squad have shown the right attitude to their league “blip” against Hamilton, as they shape up for the 2pm showdown with an Elgin side who are seventh in League Two.
He said: “The players were definitely down on Saturday after that defeat. It was a new feeling after eight games into the season. We have to get used to it.
“Teams won’t go through this league unbeaten, because it is so competitive and evenly-matched.
“They have responded well in training and have been really sharp, so hopefully we can bounce back quickly.
“It was a blip, but we know we have no divine right to win games. We have to start better than we did last week.
“You’ve got to earn the right to play. Hamilton were hungrier in the first 20-25 minutes, but we responded well and played a lot of good stuff in the second half, but didn’t get the end product on top of our play.
“It was disappointing, but we go again.”
Always going out to win
Wilson feels, in some ways, the heat was taken off ICT as they’re not going out to protect an unbeaten start when they return to league action next weekend against Morton.
He added: “Being unbeaten also brings its own pressure. A couple of times last year we went on good runs and you felt they were at times protecting an unbeaten run.
“We don’t want them playing for draws. We want them to go and try to win games.
“By trying to win them, occasionally you lose them. That’s the nature of the beast.
“There is that release. You don’t want to lose, but it’s about how you react to it.
“The boys have bounced back well in training and hopefully we can take that into Saturday.”