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Ross Draper eager to replicate last year’s cup success

Ross Draper says Caley Thistle need to get back to basics
Ross Draper says Caley Thistle need to get back to basics

Caley Thistle midfielder Ross Draper is refusing to accept his side’s cup glory is a thing of the past as Inverness begin their League Cup campaign with tonight’s trip to Livingston.

The Highlanders have reached two cup finals in the last two seasons, losing on penalties to Aberdeen in the final of the League Cup in 2014, before going one better by winning the Scottish Cup with a 2-1 win against Falkirk in May.

Inverness have won just one of 10 competitive matches this season after the loss of several key players in the summer, including Graeme Shinnie and Marley Watkins.

Draper is aware of how difficult it will be to replicate last season’s heroics but the Englishman is intent on rising to the challenge of securing another trophy.

Draper said: “In my first season we reached a semi-final, where we lost to Hearts, and I heard it said that was the best we’ll do.

“The year after, we got to the League Cup final and lost to Aberdeen but went one step further – and people were saying we’ll never get to a cup final again.

“Then we went on to win the Scottish Cup last season.

“We’re used to it, so it’s fine. People will say we’ve had our time and that we’ll finish bottom six and get knocked out of the cup.

“It makes no difference to us as a squad or to the manager. We want to see how far we can go in every cup and finish as high as we can in the league.

“That’s the same target we’ve had every season I’ve been here and it’s no different this year.

“People can say what they want and we’ll just crack on with it.

“Another cup run would be nice after the success of previous seasons. It’s a huge effort. You don’t get any easy games. If you look back at last year’s cup run, we played St Mirren, Partick, Raith and Celtic on our way to the final – three of them were Premiership teams.

“There’s no avoiding it. We need to navigate the early rounds.

“We need to treat them with respect and go there and be positive, professional and make sure we come back with a victory.”

Draper is determined to ensure Caley Jags do not fall victim to a cup upset against a Livingston outfit lying bottom of the Championship and still searching for a first win of the season.

The 26-year-old added: “There will always be shocks – there will be one this week. Anyone can beat anyone and we need to be at it. We’ve been better of late and picked up five points from three games.

“It has been a slow start to the season but I feel like we are getting there gradually.”

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