RICKI Lamie says Morton are looking forward to a new challenge next season with trips to the Highlands to take on recently relegated Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Richie Foran’s outfit finished bottom of the Premiership pile last season and will now square-off against Ton in the Ladbrokes Championship.

Lamie reckons the addition of the Caley Jags — under new management in John Robertson — makes the league all the more difficult.

With Hibs promoted and Thistle on their way down, Lamie believes the Championship remains as challenging as ever. David Hopkin’s free-scoring Livingston and Darren Dods’ Brechin City make up the teams coming up from League One and the 23-year-old is adamant the two promoted sides will be just as competitive.

And having never played against Caley in his career, the defender insists he’s looking forward to pitting his skills against a new club.

He told the Tele: “ A massive club like Hibs departing the Championship, it opens things up to being even more competitive. Inverness are a big Premiership club, Dundee United are arguably a Premiership club as well. 

“So it sets it up very nicely and coming up will be Livingston, who are another good side.

“Brechin are coming up too so it’ll be the most open league in the country. But I can’t see why we can’t keep striding forward, all the boys will be positive and confident.

“There’s no point going backwards at any level in football, if you taste success you want more and more. And as the famous song would say — the only way is up!”

Lamie was surprised to see Inverness drop to the Championship after having established a reputation of being a solid Premiership outfit over the years.

He reckons they’ll throw everything they have at the Championship in a bid to return to Premiership status at the first time of asking.

He said: “With Inverness, you look at their squad and think to yourself it’s not one that you’d think would get relegated. But things happen in football that you can’t always explain, it’s happened, and it’ll be a big blow to them.

“You’ve seen with Dundee United, Hibs, Hearts, they put the finances in in the first season to boost their chances of going directly back up, so I can’t see ICT deteriorating much in terms of quality.

“You would expect them to be there or thereabouts and be up there competing. In terms of the journey there, it’s maybe not ideal when looking at preparation. 

“But it’s a stadium I’ve never played at, against a team I’ve never played against. So it’s a new challenge as well.

“The wee extra trip once or twice a season I’m sure will be enjoyed by many supporters, definitely.”