Aaron Doran believes Caley Thistle’s team was strong enough to give Arbroath a more difficult test in Saturday’s SPFL Trust Trophy tie.
Inverness exited the competition at the third round stage, after suffering a 4-2 defeat to the Red Lichties at Gayfield.
Billy Dodds made eight changes to his side, with vastly-experienced midfielder Doran among those to get the nod.
Although he says Arbroath fielded a stronger team than the Highlanders expected, Irishman Doran says Caley Jags should still have been more competitive against their Championship rivals.
Doran said: “You saw the team we set out with, and we had a bit of a younger squad out. Arbroath played basically their strongest team.
“We didn’t expect that, we thought they would make a few changes as well, but they had a stronger team than we had out.
“The players that haven’t been playing got to play, but we still had enough out there to compete and I don’t think we did that.
“We needed to play better than we did, and I think Arbroath got what they deserved really.
“We need to get back to the training ground, and get a win on the board because it has been a while now.”
‘Not good enough’
After trailing to first half goals from David Gold and Thomas O’Brien, Inverness threatened to stage a comeback after Adam Brooks netted on the stroke of half-time.
Doran had the best chance to level, when he struck the crossbar early in the second half, before Caley Jags substitute Harry Lodovica was sent off just two minutes after coming on for a high challenge on Michael McKenna.
Dick Campbell’s men added to the scoresheet through Scott Stewart and Aaron Steele, with Lewis Hyde pulling back a late consolation.
Doran insists the game ran away from his side, adding: “I think we wanted to go out and put on a better performance than we did.
“We didn’t play to our strengths, we didn’t get the ball down. We started hoofing the ball long and it is always tough at Arbroath with the wind.
“That’s what Arbroath want to do, they are a physical team and they know how to play to their strengths.
“We tried to play a similar kind of gameplan but it didn’t work for us.
“We had a few passages of play. At the start of the second half I had a chance, and I should score.
“Adam Brooks went through one-on-one with the goalkeeper and missed, then big Harry got sent off at 2-1 which really killed the game. They took over and then scored a couple of more before Lewis got one back.
“Overall it’s not good enough, so we need to pick ourselves up.”
Inverness seeking return to Championship form
Caley Jags have now gone eight matches without a victory, and sit bottom of the Championship with one point.
They return to league action away to Raith Rovers on Saturday, before hosting Dundee United the following weekend.
Doran says a return to winning ways must come sooner rather than later, with the 32-year-old adding: “It has happened over the last couple of years, we have gone on runs where we have lost a couple of games.
“It just takes one win to change the momentum but it has to come soon because it has been too long.
“Usually we start the season well, so it’s not like us to be going through this run we are on.
“We need to get out of it quick, because we know it is a tough league and we don’t want to let it drag on too long.”