ROSS Draper is determined to build on his initial success at Inverness after agreeing to extend his stay in the Highlands.
The former Macclesfield player has accepted a one-year contract extension after impressing in midfield for Caley Thistle.
The 24-year-old expected to be fighting a relegation battle when he arrived last summer but Inverness are in third place in the SPL ahead of today’s clash with Dundee at Dens Park. And he wants to make sure that their exploits this season are not a flash in the pan.
Draper, whose team-mate Billy McKay signed until May 2015 earlier in the week, said: “It’s been ongoing for a while; it’s always been close to being done, apart from signing it’s a done deal. I’ve enjoyed my time here so I’m looking forward to next year.
“It’s important for the team that we keep the majority of the players together and build on this year.
“We don’t want it to be a one-off year where we finish in the top six and then next year we are struggling again. We want to kick on and turn the club into a solid top-six team.”
Draper has formed an impressive partnership with Owain Tudur Jones and the success of his switch from England’s lower leagues has surprised the midfield man.
“It’s a great dressing room and a great little club and they do so well to get players up with the part of the country that we are in,” he said. “With players signing on it’s really important for the club and hopefully we can kick on and secure that top-six place.
“I’ve always said I was coming up here for a scrap and a relegation battle, but within a couple of weeks you can tell the quality in the squad.
“I didn’t know a great deal about Scottish football, but you can tell the players are technically gifted and I believe we have a real chance to do something. We’ve proved teams wrong and pundits wrong so we’ll just keep doing our own business, what will be, will be.”
Dundee, of course, are certainly in a relegation scrap but interim manager John Brown believes his side can approach today’s game with renewed confidence.
The Dark Blues ended a four-month wait for an SPL victory in midweek when they came from behind to defeat St Mirren 2-1 with last goals from John Baird and Jim McAlister. The Taysiders are still 14 points behind second-bottom St Mirren – and 15 behind Hearts, over whom they have a game in hand – as they battle to give themselves a chance of staying up against all the odds. However, Brown said: “The win has given the lads a big lift. The mood was always good before but getting the three points has helped even further.
“We’re getting stronger by the game and are beginning to believe in ourselves more. We don’t fear anyone. We’ll give it our best shot against whoever we play and see what happens.”