Danny Devine admits he has allowed himself to dream about the prospect of becoming a two-time Scottish Cup winner with Inverness.
The 30-year-old defender is one of only two members of the current squad who played a part when Caley Thistle enjoyed the greatest day in their history by defeating Falkirk in the 2015 final.
Aaron Doran was the other player who featured in John Hughes’ triumphant team eight years ago, and now the pair are desperate to experience similar glory this weekend by helping the cinch Championship side stun treble-chasing Celtic in Saturday’s showdown at Hampden.
“What we did in 2015 was massive, especially for the city of Inverness, being up in the Highlands and everything else that brings with it,” Devine told the PA news agency.
“I look back on that day with fond memories. It was historic for the club and there’s no reason why this club can’t push on forward and have more days like that, like we’re going to have tomorrow.
“There’s only two of us left from that cup-winning side. We have the experience of doing it before, which will hopefully help us individually and help the team.
“It was obviously the best point of my career and to go and do it again would be absolutely huge, especially with the opponent we face. It’s going to be extremely tough but with a little bit of luck, you never know.”
Asked if he had allowed himself to ponder life as a two-time Scottish Cup winner, Northern Irishman Devine said: “Of course, yes. You always try and visualise what it would be like if we could go there and pull off a huge upset, then you quickly bring yourself back down to earth by recognising the actual size of the task at hand.
“But of course I’ve thought about it. When the game time comes that will be completely out of my head and I’ll just be focused on the game itself and doing my job.”
Devine hopes the cup-winning experience he and Doran possess can help Billy Dodds’ young squad handle the occasion this time round.
“There’s nothing like experience,” he said. “I think having played in these big games in the past definitely helps, in the lead-up to it and managing the nerves and stuff like that.
“We’ve got quite a young squad here with a few local boys and it’s good for them to pick our brains and find out little bits and bobs of what it’s like on the day. It’s good for us to be there if we can help them in any way.”
Inverness, who were in the top flight at the time, had to conquer Ronny Deila’s Celtic side in the semi-final on their run to glory in 2015.
Devine was sidelined by injury that day and watched from the stand as his colleagues took advantage of a red card for Hoops goalkeeper Craig Gordon to win 3-2 after extra-time. He believes memories of that occasion can give the current side hope as they bid to stop Ange Postecoglou’s formidable side.
“I know this Celtic team is firing on all cylinders but they had some pretty good players back then as well,” said Devine. “Virgil Van Dijk scored a free-kick that day and they were an extremely good side.
“They were no mugs back then so that definitely gives us confidence. I know it’s a bit different this time because we’re in the division below but the belief is there within this squad, we’re a tight-knit group and we’ll be giving it our best shot.
“We’ve played about eight semi-finals and finals in our short history and this is our second Scottish Cup final in eight years, which is absolutely huge for a club of this size, and I think that comes from that underdog spirit and everybody being together up here in the Highlands.”