ANDREA MBUYI-MUTOMBO is amazed to have discovered a "continental-style" coaching regime in a remote northerly corner of the UK after clinching a move to Inverness.

The Brussels-born Congolese international last night eased Caley Thistle manager John Hughes' striking shortage by agreeing a one-year deal ahead of tomorrow's league-opener home match against Motherwell.

Mutombo, who began his career with Anderlecht and Portsmouth as a youth, returned home to Brussels last week without tying up the move to Scotland.

But he had no hesitation in answering Hughes' call to return yesterday and completed a marathon 22-hour journey of taxis and flights from Belgium to Inverness via Aberdeen to finally put pen to paper.

There was no disguising the excitement of the travel-weary 25-year-old, whose career promise lost it's way after a switch to Standard Liege in 2009.

Since then, the versatile attacker has plied his trade with countrymen Cercle Brugge, Croatian clubs HNK Rijeka and NK Istra, and French minnows Frejus Saint-Raphael.

Inverness is a new departure, then, but is proving a surprisingly familiar working environment.

Mutombo said: "It was a long journey, 22 hours, to get back to Inverness – but I'm so excited.

"I love the style of play here. The philosophy of the passing game here is what I really like and what gave me trust to come here.

"I had the chance to train and play one friendly game with the team and I enjoyed it, so I was thrilled to be asked to come back and sign.

"I won't lie to you - I was very surprised to find a philosophy like this in Scottish football. But before I came, people told me that with this coach Inverness have a special mentality.

"Even then, I was surprised to find it was so very different from my idea of UK football, which is kick and rush.

"It's a very nice philosophy and I will enjoy it, I think."

Hughes has also signed Spaniard Dani Lopez to bolster his striking options but, like Mutombo, he is short of match fitness.

The Belgian stressed: "I can't wait to get back to work. I need to get my fitness back to the top level to be ready to help the team achieve what it wants this season.

"Playing behind the main striker is my best position, making things happen and producing something a little bit different.

"But I can also play on the left or right wing or as the main striker up top. To help the team, I will play anywhere.

"I like to be an important player for the team, making an impact, but I am one who also works hard to defend as well."

Mutombo believes the lure of Champions League football in his teens dazzled him and brought a poor career decision when he joined Standard.

He is keen to make up for lost time.

He added: "I played at Portsmouth in the under 18s through to training with the reserves, then I went on loan in Belgium and signed for Standard Liege.

"At that time, they were the best club in the country and played Champions League football - and it was hard to turn down.

"I was young and made a big career decision that didn't work out for me, but it is finished now - I'm here at Inverness. That's all I think about.

"I really like it here - the coaches, manager, players - and this is the best environment for me to improve and move up again in my career."

Hughes, meanwhile, believes he has recruited a talent who, with time, will prove a real crowd-pleaser.

The Caley Thistle manager said: "He was over on trial with us last week did really well. Hopefully, by close of play today, he'll be available for Saturday.

"He's still a wee bit off it fitness-wise, but he's a naturally fit guy and very direct and positive.

"If it works out the way we're hoping this season, he could become a real fans' favourite.

"He's a player that excites you. He's got the double step-over and he has great pace.

"We're delighted to have him because, believe me, in Dani Lopez we have a player who will score double figures.

"To replace Billy Mckay's goals was always going to be difficult because we've not got that kind of cash.

"You've got to duck and dive - and hopefully Andrea gets in the team and does the business.

"He's something and he excites me. Get the ball to him in the final quarter and he can make things happen."