MARK RIDGERS is convinced Inverness Caledonian Thistle are in a good place more than a year on from the tears and turmoil of relegation.

Past club Partick Thistle, fresh from their own disastrous drop, remind him of Inverness 12 months ago.

But goalkeeper Ridgers is long enough in the tooth to know fortunes can quickly change in football – and is bemused by the supporter backlash facing Alan Archibald.

Caley Thistle have now gone 15 games unbeaten in the Championship, a run stretching back to mid-March.

Today’s opponents Partick have won just four games over that same period, with unrest among the fans evident since last weekend’s Irn-Bru Cup exit to East Fife.

Ridgers, who had a six-month spell at Firhill under Archibald from January 2017, said: “It was really strange what happened to Partick last season.

“When I joined them, the January before, they were second bottom or bottom in the Premiership. I thought I might get a wee opportunity there given the way results were going.

“But from that period they just seemed to click and went unbeaten for a very long spell. To finish in the top six, was amazing, considering where they’d been.

“You get that second season syndrome where the pressure of expectation is on to achieve even more.

“But can a club of Partick’s stature realistically expect that? There is only one space in the top six now, I’d say, with five teams nailed on.

“The way it went last year for them was crazy because they’d kept the majority of players from the season before. It was very strange to see them get relegated.

“I follow social media and after the result they had when East Fife beat them, I saw fans saying the manager should go.

“After relegation, Alan Archibald has taken on the task of rebuilding but straight away the fans turn against him despite his legacy at the club as player and manager.

“It just goes to show what football is about. It’s a results-driven business.

“The fact he stayed this summer was down to the respect in which he is held at Partick and it is really early days for them.

“But as we saw here at Inverness last season, just because they’ve come down from the top-flight people expect them to be instantly challenging to go back up.

“Ourselves and Ross County are up there, but Partick could get a couple of results and be straight up there. It is so tight, and it will be like that right through the season.

“When I came back from America, I found Alan a really good guy and got on well with him, Scott Paterson and Kenny Arthur the goalie coach, who I still speak to regularly.

“It is disappointing to see what’s happening for them at the moment, especially when you see the fans’ comments.

“I wish them well, but hopefully on Saturday the fans are still on their backs and we’ve got the result.”

It is a measure of his own form and the team’s progress under John Robertson that Ridgers, in 2018, is averaging close to a clean sheet every two games.

The former Hearts and Scotland under 21 keeper certainly feels the team has the potential to push for promotion this season.

He said: “That’s 50 appearances I’ve made for the club now – the longest I’ve ever played in any one team.

“My confidence is back. I’m feeling good about myself and I’m back to feeling like I was a couple of years ago.

“In terms of clean sheets and performances, coming from the middle of last season into this one, it is 24 clean sheets in 50-odd games, which isn’t a bad record. I’m happy with that.

“But the team, most importantly, is performing well and the key thing is we know exactly what is expected of us.

“The players this season know what it is all about and that is massive. The sooner you get that awareness of what you’re up against and what you want to achieve as a team, the more chance you have of succeeding.

“It seems like that’s what we have now.”