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Inverness improved by Foran influence

His name was read out over the PA system inside the Global Energy Stadium on Tuesday night and it would later echo again through the empty stands.

Richie Foran's return to fitness has reinvigorated his side
Richie Foran's return to fitness has reinvigorated his side

Richie Foran had led Inverness Caledonian Thistle out ahead of a Highland derby win and he would be followed too by effusive praise from team-mates and his manager. Foran is back in attack following a shoulder injury but he is also front and centre.

He did not score in a perfunctory win against Ross County - the goals were shared instead between David Raven, Billy McKay and Marley Watkins. Aaron Doran excelled on the wing and Graeme Shinnie was typically impressive, yet it was Foran who received much of the attention.

The Irishman constantly implored his side to give more, cajoled and inspired them, while also proving an effective link between midfield and attack. He can be an aggressive, unyielding presence on the pitch and he snarled and growled away the prospect of Inverness falling back into the uncertain form endured while he was out injured. His return to the team has coincided with three straight victories.

"Richie was just amazing against Ross County, in that first half especially," said Doran, who crafted his side's first two goals in Dingwall. "On and off the pitch, he's a born leader. You think you're playing well? He'll soon tell you that you're not playing as well as you think. Even at 3-0 up, home and dry, he was pushing me saying he wanted more out of me.

"Richie is the focal point of the team and constantly gets us going. In training, when it's not going well, he'll just grab the ball and start screaming at us. It's a bit scary sometimes when he gets going, but you know he means well. We are always a better side when he is in the team."

That sentiment was repeated by John Hughes, the Inverness manager, who will now prepare his players for a trip to face champions Celtic. In Foran, Hughes has discovered a committed captain and also a kindred spirit.

"Richie lifts the rest of the lads," Hughes said. "He's a leader and drives them on. But he's a humble boy too. He's just someone who always gives his best and it's great to have him back."

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