• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Dundee v Inverness CT: Butcher buoyed by having plenty in reserve

It has been a bunch of fives for Inverness Caledonian Thistle of late.

Terry Butcher is wary of the challenge posed by a wounded Dundee this evening. Picture: SNS
Terry Butcher is wary of the challenge posed by a wounded Dundee this evening. Picture: SNS

Five league and cup matches unbeaten despite the loss of five key players? That kind of form deserves a high five, surely.

Terry Butcher was always one who embodied the true grit and fighting spirit of the team ethic as a player so it's no surprise that the Inverness manager has been left beaming from ear to ear by the comradeship that has been shown by his own players during their profitable Highland fling.

Butcher's players line up at Dens Park tonight for a Friday fight with bottom-of-the-table Dundee and the 53-year-old is confident that his men can continue the recent resurgence. Back-to-back draws with Aberdeen and Hibernian in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League were followed by thumping wins over Dundee United and Ross Country as Inverness hoisted themselves up to eighth place, seven points clear of tonight's toiling hosts.

That latter contest, against their Dingwall rivals from across the Kessock Bridge, was dubbed 'El Kessocko' by those sharp tools in the press box and Butcher believes the feelgood factor currently coursing through the whole of his squad is more akin to something resembling 'El Clasico'.

"If you look at Barcelona and Real Madrid, you see how active their benches are," said Butcher, whose missing vital sparks this evening will include Richie Foran, Ryan Esson, Simon King and Nick Ross. "They are not miserable, they have a hype and a buzz, and when the team does well they share in that as well.

"There is a tremendous atmosphere within our dressing room. Everyone wants to get into the team but there is no animosity, just rivalry and competition. You can see the reaction of everyone when we score, everyone is off the bench and there is real excitement. It's not nice for those who not part of the starting XI but they still want to watch and encourage those on the pitch. Everybody has helped the team progress."

Butcher will travel down the A9 with his team in optimistic mood and a leaf through the record books on the bus journey will provide him with more encouraging signs. The two sides have crossed swords eight times on league duty over the years and Dundee have won just once, in a top-flight encounter in January 2005. The Dark Blues have also won once amid a tough reintroduction to life at the top table, but Butcher is not going to allow complacency to creep in to the ranks as his side aim for a first away win of the term.

"We know Dundee will be revitalised after the international break," added Butcher, although anyone who watched Scotland's World Cup campaign go up in smoke will have been left feeling far from energised. "It will have given them a chance to work on things and to assess what they have to do. They will see us coming down as a opportunity to claw back some of the gap that has opened up but we have the momentum."

While Inverness bound along nicely, Dundee's season has yet to splutter into life. The patient is not flatlining just yet but Rab Douglas, the veteran goalkeeper, is desperate to see some signs of recovery. The 40-year-old, who has prevented some heavier defeats being meted out to his side with a series of fine performances, has his own ideas on the cure for the Dens Park club's ills. "We've got to start being streetwise," said Douglas. "Most folk have had games in the SPL and they know what it's about, so we've got to start being sharper and cuter and know when to kill the game and know when to go for it.

"It's individual mistakes that are killing us, I've made them myself. Everybody is human and we all make mistakes, but it's just about minimising them. One thing I think I bring to the team is a bit of experience to help the boys through when the chips are down. But we need to start picking up victories."

Contextual targeting label: 
Sport

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

121058