Iain Vigurs insisted football rather than financial motives were behind him leaving Caley Thistle for fierce rivals Ross County.
The 30-year-old agreed a two-year deal to rejoin the Staggies yesterday.
Vigurs, describing his return to Dingwall after a five-year absence as like a homecoming, stressed he needed a fresh challenge after three years at Caledonian Stadium.
Both Dundee United and Dunfermline made the out-of-contract midfielder a concrete offer, with two Premiership clubs also believed to have shown keen interest.
But Vigurs – who reached the 2010 Scottish Cup final under Derek Adams – is convinced he will be re-energised by County’s drive for an immediate return to the top flight.
He said: “Ross County has always been my football home, so to speak. The club has played a big part in my career.
“After leaving Inverness the first time, I had four great years here – successful years.
“Once it became apparent I had the chance to come back, especially with Ketts and Fergie at the helm, it was foremost in my mind.
“It was a hard decision because I have had a great three years at Inverness. I really enjoyed it.
“At the same time, I was really only going to go to one place once I spoke to Ketts and Fergie.
“There were other good offers on the table from the Championship but I was never really too interested in leaving the area.
“My little one is starting school after the summer and we’ve just had a little boy.
“My wife is from here, so it just made a lot more sense to stay in the Highlands.
“I’m settled here and really enjoy it. It would have had to have been something very lucrative to have moved south.
“I’m walking into something very exciting with the ambitions here. I’m already really looking forward to the new season.”
County chairman Roy MacGregor, while warning of budget cuts after a £1.5million hit from relegation, has outlined his determination to help the club bounce back at the first time of asking.
Vigurs stressed: “I really appreciated Caley Thistle doing all they could to keep me. It wasn’t about finance – nothing like that. It’s purely down to me needing a new challenge. I’ve always been the sort of player who has had to move on in my career, just to taste something a little bit different.
“I can’t wait to get started – it’s exciting times.”