Captain Sean Welsh has told his Inverness team-mates they have to believe they can pull off “a miracle” in what will be the biggest game of his career this Saturday.
The cinch Championship side are big underdogs for their Scottish Cup final showdown with Celtic, who are bidding to complete a domestic treble.
Welsh knows it will take a huge effort to pull off an upset at Hampden but the 33-year-old is adamant his team have a chance.
“It ranks at the very top for me,” said the former Partick Thistle and Falkirk midfielder when asked about the size of the game in the context of his career.
“It’s not very often you get to play on an occasion like this, especially at my age getting to the latter stages of my career. I am thoroughly looking forward to it.
“We’ve got to believe, I’ve said that to the lads all week. We’ve got to believe we can pull off a miracle.
“We don’t just want to go there for a day out and get caught up in the occasion.
“We know it’s a massive challenge in front of us, but we’ve got to have belief in ourselves.
“We know we have a good group and we know we are going to be up against it at times in the game but we’ve got to stick together and have that belief that we can do it.”
Celtic won only two of their closing six Premiership matches as they had the title wrapped up with time to spare, but Welsh dismissed any notion that his team can draw encouragement from the champions’ recent form dip.
“I don’t think you can look too much into that,” he added.
“They wrapped up the title early doors and then had a few results they probably weren’t happy with but you saw at the weekend (when they beat Aberdeen 5-0) they can turn it on when they need to. I’m sure they’ll be right up for this.
“It’s not going to make much difference to us, we know how hard the challenge is going to be.”
Inverness will have gone more than four weeks without a competitive game by the time they run out at Hampden on Saturday.
Although Welsh admits it is “not ideal” in terms of maintaining match sharpness, he feels the month-long break has at least allowed them to banish any lingering disappointment after they lost to Ayr in their final Championship fixture and missed out on the play-offs.
“It was good to get some time to get over what happened in the last game of the season,” he said.
“That was a difficult night and we were all very disappointed to miss out on the play-offs so the time away was good for us to clear our minds and get over it.
“We didn’t want that lingering going into this massive game.
“We’ve come back in refreshed and excited and we’re looking forward to it.”