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Aberdeen 0 Inverness 1: Hill of Terror holds no fears for former Hibernian duo with aim of hitting heights in Highlands

THOSE who regularly brave the biting winds and swirling rain that accompany many Saturday afternoons at the Caledonian Stadium may puzzle why Russell Latapy has exchanged Boavista for a club in the shadow of Ben Wyvis.

Adam Evans and John Hughes celebrate their win. Picture: SNS
Adam Evans and John Hughes celebrate their win. Picture: SNS

But if the name of the Highland Munro, snow-capped for much of the year, derives from the Gaelic word meaning dismal and gloomy - while some Gaels know it as the Hill of Terror - the same could not be said of Inverness Caledonian Thistle, the club he will join today as assistant to John Hughes.

Had Latapy been at Pittodrie on Saturday he would have witnessed an energy and crispness of play from his new charges, quicker in thought and swifter in their execution than an Aberdeen side in ponderous mode and outwitted for much of an entertaining 90 minutes.

With the right side of their defence lacking mobility, the home side capitulated to a first-half Danny Williams strike and, apart from spells of speculative lobs, crosses and corner kicks into the opposing penalty area, they rarely appeared capable of breaching a stoic Inverness back four.

Williams, who was brought to Inverness from Kendal Town in the summer by former manager Terry Butcher, has become a regular under Hughes, and is relishing his chance.

He said: "We didn't get the results we were looking for over the tough Christmas period, so I'm absolutely buzzing with the three points.

"The results have been a bit unlucky, especially against Celtic and Ross County at home. We wanted that result and it's perfect for us to kick on into Kilmarnock next week and the cup game the week after. Results elsewhere have all gone our way, but it's all about us. We'll keep working as hard as we did [at Pittodrie] and hopefully we'll stay up there."

The 28-year-old signed a two-year extension to his contract earlier this month. "I always want to play football," he added." That's what I'm here for and I enjoy it. I'm happy that I'm being picked at the moment.

"Terry Butcher picked his team and stayed with it thanks to the wins that we were getting. I've been given an opportunity by [Hughes], and I want to keep hold of my position as long as possible. The more games the merrier for me."

The victory was the Highland club's first win in five games and while Hughes did not admit to relief, he would probably have felt the lightest of weights leaving his broad shoulders with the sense that his recent weeks of work on the training pitch had brought reward.

Neither must it be forgotten that important players such as Richie Foran, a much-missed injured captain, Ross Draper - is there a better defensive midfielder in the SPFL? - and the dependable centre-back Gary Warren have been absent.

James Vincent, back for a cameo role for the first time since a leg break last October, will boost options, while Greg Tansey, brought back to Inverness after 18 months with League One side Stevenage, played 25 impressive minutes as a substitute.

"I decided a while ago I wanted to leave Stevenage," Tansey said. "I had other options, but as soon as I heard Inverness wanted me I wanted to come here as I knew the area, the club and a lot of the players.

"Partick Thistle were interested, but Inverness have been flying this season and we showed against Aberdeen we are a good side.

"We were very dangerous on the counter attack and I thought in spells we knocked the ball about well, created openings, and we could have scored more than one.

"We shouldn't fear anyone. We're solid at the back, hit teams well on the break and we looked dangerous against an Aberdeen team with seven wins from their previous eight games.

"I don't see why we can't finish second. It's up for grabs, we've got two games in hand and this was a massive win for us."

Derek McInnes, the Aberdeen manager, may not admit it, but with Scott Vernon rarely looking like a goal-scoring striker and Josh Magennis and Calvin Zola merely bit-part performers up front - the latter seldom leaves the substitutes' bench these days - it is time for someone to do something meaningful when an opportunity presents itself.

Ryan Jack who, like most of his Aberdeen team-mates, failed to respond to Inverness's slicker passing manoeuvres, admitted to a paucity of innovation on the day.

"We didn't play to the capabilities that we can," he said. "I think we did lack a little bit of creativity in the team, but most weeks we have making and taking chances."

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