Gary Warren was overjoyed to sign a new contract with Inverness ahead of their goalless draw at Highland derby rivals Ross County at Global Energy Stadium.
The former Newport County captain, who had been an ever present in the side this season before missing out in the midweek 0-0 draw with Dundee United though suspension, made a welcome return to Caley Thistle's defence on Saturday.
The 28-year-old gave Terry Butcher's side a boost ahead of the fourth derby of the season by signing a new two-year deal.
Warren said: "I'm delighted to have signed a new contract. It was good to get it done and dusted before the game.
"When I was younger it is what I dreamed of (playing at a higher level), it's taken me a long time to get here.
"It's great playing here in the SPL and being in with a chance of getting a European place."
Warren admitted the game itself was a bit of a 'slog' but felt a draw was a fair result.
Chances were few and far between with the both sides cancelling each other out on a tricky surface.
Warren said: "The pitch wasn't ideal for playing good football on but the teams went toe to toe and at the end of the day a draw was probably a fair result.
"We've proved over the last couple of games to be more resolute at the back and although we haven't scored in either of them you sometimes have to consolidate to keep a clean sheet.
"It's all changed since the start of the season. We didn't perform well and were scrapping for our lives. But look at the way we are now.
"We've got good forward pace, good character and a good blend of grafters in our side, that makes for a good all round unit."
Inverness had gone on a run of four league games without a win earlier this year but bounced back with victory over Hearts and goal-less draws against Dundee United and Ross County.
Warren added: "Even when we weren't winning we were playing well. We've played well in nearly every game. Sometimes you don't get the results you deserve.
"We've just got to take each game as it comes, keep focused and pick up as many games as we can to have a chance of getting a European place."
Ross and fourth and Inverness stand fifth in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, both well placed to be in the top six when the division splits in two.
When asked if he had his sights on a European place, County manager Derek Adams said: "No, we'll try to think of the top six now because we've put ourselves in that position and then take it from there.
"We've got four games to the split. We have Celtic, Inverness, Hearts and Kilmarnock to play - four tough games. We'll do well to finish in the top six but we'll give it a go."