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Williams driven by Caley Jags’ success of last season

Caley Thistle midfielder Danny Williams is out of contract in the summer.
Caley Thistle midfielder Danny Williams is out of contract in the summer.

Midfielder Danny Williams is hungry for more after helping Caley Thistle record the most successful season in the club’s history.

Inverness lifted major silverware for the first time in their 21-year existence, winning the Scottish Cup by beating Falkirk 2-1 in May, just weeks after finishing third in the Premiership to record Caley Jags’ highest league finish.

The reward for the Highlanders’ achievements was European qualification for the first time, with John Hughes’ side narrowly defeated 1-0 on aggregate by Romanians Astra in the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

Matching such success in the new campaign is unlikely but Williams considers last year’s performance to be a motivation rather than a burden ahead of today’s Premiership opener against Motherwell at Caledonian Stadium.

Englishman Williams said: “It was a good season. We managed to get to Europe and win a cup final but that was last year. It’s gone.

“It’s all about what we do in the new campaign. The lads are working hard in training and aiming to try and do even better.

“I’m looking forward to it and so are all of the boys. On the back of such a good season, it is something we want to do again.

“Everyone’s raring to go. There is a recognition of how difficult it is going to be to emulate that success but there is also a confidence we draw from last season.

“It will be tough to replicate – we put in some superb performances.”

Williams reckons the European experience, which forced Caley Jags to begin their pre-season campaign in June, just 26 days after their Scottish Cup success, will stand the Highlanders in good stead when they kick off against the Steelmen this afternoon.

Inverness lost captain Graeme Shinnie to Aberdeen, wide midfielder Marley Watkins to English League 1 side Barnsley, as well as Nigerian forward Edward Ofere, just six months after last season’s top scorer Billy McKay left to join Wigan Athletic.

Manager Hughes has drafted in five players, adding goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams, midfielders Nat Wedderburn and Jordan Roberts, as well as forwards Dani Lopez and Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo, and Williams is confident Caley Jags can offset the loss of key players.

The 27-year-old added: “We’ve lost a couple of important players in the likes of Marley Watkins and Graeme Shinnie – they’d be a big loss to any team.

“But it was the same when Billy McKay left. People were asking who was going to replace his goals but you look at how we progressed and finished the season. The lads stuck to the task and we all chipped in with goals. New boys will come in and put in good performances.”

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