INVERNESS appear a reasonable bet to upset the odds when Celtic visit the Highland capital tomorrow just 72 hours after their European campaign ground to a halt against Ajax.

But John Hughes, the Inverness manager, is not altogether convinced that there is any significant advantage to be gained from playing the defending Premiership champions so soon after their 2-1 defeat.

Midfielder Iain Vigurs believes that the Celtic players will be tired both physically and mentally from their exploits against Ajax, adding that when a team feels under pressure they become “leggy” quicker, allowing any weaknesses to be exploited.

But Hughes is less certain after espousing the view: “Celtic will feel a need to get back to winning ways and will be really up for it. If we are to beat Celtic we will have to be at our very best, stand up to them and have a bit of luck as we know the size of the task facing us.

“I was intrigued to see what shape they would come up with against Ajax but we know Bitton, Johansen and Commons will come back into the side against us.”

However, Hughes feels that the loss of their captain, Scott Brown, for up to three months with a knee injury, could prove significant after claiming: “He has been the best player in Scotland for the past couple of years.

“I have seen him develop from a young, adventurous player to an excellent tactical one who gets about the pitch and his passing has also improved. He has matured into being a Celtic captain and I was really surprised that he did not get into the team of the year.

“It is also a massive boost he is still going to play for the national team as well. I wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him back playing soon.”

Inverness have toiled to rediscover the form that swept them to third in the Premiership before they completed the most successful season in the club’s history by also winning the Scottish Cup.

In their defence, Inverness have had to cope with a crippling run of injuries since the start of the season, but Hughes insisted: “I cannot use that as an excuse as for half an hour at Partick last week we were magnificent and it is very difficult to put my finger on why we can’t do it for 90 minutes.”