Caley Thistle defender David Raven knew he was not wanted at the club as long as 12 months ago.
For much of last season the right back had been prepared for a summer exit – only to earn a late reprieve when John Hughes left last month.
The 31-year-old Raven had been told he had no future at Caledonian Stadium but, following Hughes’ departure, club directors offered the Englishman a new one-year deal with the option of a second campaign, which Raven has signed.
Raven, who scored the goal which took Caley Jags to the Scottish Cup final in 2015, said: “I knew from the start of last season the manager didn’t want me – the writing was on the wall.
“I went to see him in March or April just to clarify what I already knew was coming. I’m not stupid. I’ve been in the game long enough and I just wanted to get it from the horse’s mouth.
“I saw how the manager was acting and I didn’t think he would be here much longer. People at the club did want me to stay and when they offered me a contract, showing how much I was wanted in-house, there wasn’t anything to think about.”
Despite the departure of Hughes last month after a breakdown in his relationship with the board, Raven insists he bears no grudge towards his former manager, although it is clear the relationship between manager and player was strained.
He said: “I can’t really say it was a relationship. We didn’t speak much but that was the same with a lot of the lads. There were no ill-feelings – it was business and it was as simple as that.
“I’m not going to invite him for a pint and I’m sure he wouldn’t invite me for one, either. I don’t expect to be best mates with managers.
“After the manager left I was approached and told not to sign anything elsewhere because there would be an offer on the table.”
The remarkable reversal in fortunes came as a surprise to Raven, who was resigned to the fact he and his family would have to leave the Highlands.
He said: “It’s been a strange few months, from leaving one minute to staying the next.”