GARY Warren’s love for life in the Highland Capital already has the popular defender considering extending his stay at Caley Thistle beyond the end of his current deal.
The centre half, who turns 29 today, concedes he had no idea what to expect when he made the switch to Inverness last summer having come from playing non-league football with Newport County.
But as one of the mainstays of the team last season that achieved so much success last season, Warren was rewarded in March with a new two-year deal.
Having recently got engaged to long-term girlfriend Amy, Warren is now looking forward to putting down some roots and did not rule out the possibility of staying with Caley Thistle beyond the end of his current contract in 2015 providing the enjoyment factor is still there for him and his other half.
"I signed a two-year deal, but I love the place that much because you can go about your own personal life as much as you want, but also go and enjoy your football as well," he said.
"I enjoyed my football last season, but you know what it’s like because everything changes all the time.
"However, we’re doing well just now, but it’s important we continue that and we’re not looking at ourselves as one season wonders.
"We want to carry on from the success of last season and if we’re doing that on the pitch then you’re going to be happy off it.
"When I first signed I didn’t know what the future held. I didn’t know how long I was going to stay, or even if I was going to stay at all.
"But to have an amazing season like the last one and for that to continue through this pre-season was great.
"I just love everything about the place itself. There’s a quiet, relaxed feel about the city, which is nice.
"It’s a friendly, family club and I’ve got my fiancée up here, who is also happy and settled, so that means I’m happy as well."
Warren is part of a Caley Thistle defence that has kept clean sheets in both Scottish Premiership games so far in the wins over St Mirren and Dundee United.
It has been a strong start to the campaign by Inverness, but Warren knows that standards must be maintained if that is to remain the case, starting with Motherwell — the visitors to Tulloch Caledonian Stadium tomorrow.
"We’re only two games into the season," he said. "We’re not going to go shouting our mouths off saying we’ve done this and done that.
"We can’t afford to do that because the moment you do that then that’s when you come unstuck and get brought back down to earth quickly.
"It’s important we do keep our feet on the ground and approach the game on Saturday like we did the last two games. If we do that, hopefully we can come away with the points."
Meanwhile, manager Terry Butcher believes Caley Thistle’s way of playing can be likened to one of European football’s current superpowers.
Germany are enjoying success both domestically and in Europe, while their national side is full of some of the world’s top players.
But having had a chance to speak to Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert, who spent a year in German football with Borussia Dortmund, when the pair were pundits for Wednesday’s England versus Scotland friendly, Butcher can see likenesses between the way his side play and what is currently being produced in the Bundesliga.
"I was talking to Paul Lambert about the German way of playing because he was with Dortmund and was at Wembley last for the Champions League final between Dortmund and Bayern Munich," he said.
"He’s an enthusiast for the way German football is played and if you see the shift of power now in Europe when you see two German teams in the Champions League final, then it’s not a bad way of playing.
"They pass the ball well, but there’s also a lot of energy in the team. We’ve got energy in our team.
"They press the ball well, we press the ball well, so there’s a lot of similarities between the German style and us.
"I got a few training tips from Paul about what he does, so it was really interesting."
David Raven is expected to play against Motherwell having recovered from the ankle knock he sustained at Tannadice, but Marley Watkins (ankle) and Curtis Allen (knee) are still out.
Caley Thistle will also be without the services of the suspended Carl Tremarco after he was sent-off in the under-20s 3-2 defeat by Celtic — a game Torbjorn Agdestein scored twice in for Inverness.