Gary Warren has urged Anthony Stokes to have a second think about snubbing Inverness as the Celtic frontman prepares to return to Hibernian.
The out-of-favour Hoops striker is Scotland’s most wanted man with Easter Road boss Alan Stubbs, Caley Thistle manager John Hughes and Dundee United’s Mixu Paatelainen all desperate to take him on loan.
But Hughes and Paatelainen look destined to be disappointed after Hibs jumped to the head of the queue.
That news is a blow to Hughes after he twice helped to kick-start his career during spells with Falkirk and Hibs.
However, Warren says if Stokes is serious about resurrecting his career he should reconsider the Highlands as an option.
Inverness’ stand-in skipper said: “I’ve played against Anthony a few times and he’s an incredible talent.
“I don’t know what his views are on where he wants to go play next but the manager has worked with him before so he obviously has a good understanding of him. He knows Anthony inside out.
“Inverness is a place where you get your head down and concentrate on your football. It’s a small city. It’s quite calm, chilled and relaxed.
“So if he was to come up here he’d find it totally different to Glasgow.
Inverness is a place where you get your head down and concentrate on your football. It’s a small city. It’s quite calm, chilled and relaxed.Gary Warren
“For me, if people want to concentrate on their football and improving their careers then Inverness is certainly the place to be.”
Warren knows attracting new signings to the northern reaches of Scotland is among Hughes’ biggest challenges.
But the former Newport centre-back insists Caley Thistle have taken him on a journey he never expected.
“It is tough persuading folk to come up here,” admitted the 31-year-old, speakling ahead of Saturday’s Ladbrokes Premiership trip to Kilmarnock.
“We’re at the top of the country and sometimes people are put off by the travelling and going that far north.
“But I have enjoyed my time up here. It has done me no harm and it’s the same for the majority of boys who sign here.
“Just look at how far the club has come in the last three or four years. We won the Scottish Cup last year and finished third in the league. That’s a huge leap forward. That goes for the city too. It’s growing and growing.
“When Terry Butcher signed me I have to be honest, I had no clue where Inverness was. I had to look it up on a map. I stuck it into the route finder and found out it was 10 hours away and my first thought was, “that’s a long way away.”
“But I knew it was in Scotland’s top division so I thought immediately it would be a good level. And luckily for me you can get flights to where I’m from in Bristol to Inverness, so that cut the travel time down to an hour.
“Once you’re up here, you then realise it’s a beautiful part of the world to live in. The lifestyle is easy too so I’d have no hesitation recommending it to Anthony or anyone else.”
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