Caley Thistle striker Shane Sutherland reckons Derek McInnes has heaped pressure on Kilmarnock by challenging them to become a top six Premiership club next season.
The former Aberdeen boss was confirmed as the new Killie manager this week, following the sacking of Tommy Wright.
After being relegated from the top table last term, Killie have struggled for consistency, but are still just two points below second-placed Inverness.
Sutherland appreciates McInnes is a big-name capture by one of their rivals, but insists his own side won’t go shouting the odds about what they can achieve in their bid to win the title.
He said: “It’s a good appointment. He’s a big name and was linked with several big clubs when he left Aberdeen. He’s a good manager.
“We won’t worry about it too much, only when we play Kilmarnock in terms of what he does to the team and the way he plays. He will probably attract a couple more players in, given his reputation and the record he’s had at Aberdeen.
“He will probably make them better. A fresh face in will probably do them the world of good. But it is all about us at the end of the day.
“We can’t worry too much about it. Going by reports, he’s come in and said he wants to be top six in the Premiership next season. He’s put his pressure on himself.
“The new manager there has set his targets high and shown he’s ambitious. If that’s what it is, so be it.
“We’ve got our own ambitions about what we want to do. We will keep that to ourselves and won’t shout it from rooftops. We will just get our heads down and work hard in training.
“The manager has us drilled every day in training, getting ready for the games. Hopefully that will prove itself in the end and we’ll be successful.”
No extra pressure on Inverness
Sutherland doesn’t feel the appointment of McInnes at Rugby Park turns the heat on Inverness.
He added: “They will be confident in their own camp that they can do it, but so will every team in this league. Teams are confident of winning every game, so it doesn’t put any more or less pressure on us.
“We put pressure on ourselves to perform each week and win each game and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”
Sutherland’s goal in a 1-0 win at Arbroath on the opening day of the season has been the Red Lichties’ only home defeat as they sit at the top of the table.
ICT drew there last weekend to remain three points off the pace with a game in hand.
Sutherland rates Raith’s style of play
Today, they host Raith Rovers, who are third and only one point behind ICT, albeit having played one match more.
The experienced forward, who has five goals overall this term, is expecting a tough 90 minutes against Rovers, who he admits have an impressive flair about them.
He added: “There have been a lot of big games in the Championship. We had a top of the table clash last week and a second against third on Saturday.
“You will probably look back at game such as this at the end of the season. They really matter, so hopefully we can win.
“We beat them the first time we played them this season up here and drew down there, so it’s a good record so far and we want to get another three points.
“Raith play good football. They came up here earlier this season and tried to impose their style of play on us. But it’s all about what we do.
“We drew 0-0 at Arbroath on Sunday and we’ll take that. It was a really bad day because of the weather. It turned out to be a good result because I don’t think many teams will go there and win because they’re a good side.
“Raith are a completely different team. They pop it about and we’ll see what their manager John McGlynn comes up with.
“Raith probably play the best football that we’ve come up against this season. They get the ball down and move it about. When you’re watching their games, they’re enjoyable to watch.
“We will give them all the respect, as we do in every game, but we know if we win we can open up a gap over them and hopefully close the gap at the top. I hope it’s a good game of football and we come out on top.”