Rugby Park

Next Game

Kilmarnock v Motherwell

Saturday, 04 April 2015, 15:00

Scots Prem

Last Game

Motherwell 4 - 0 Hamilton

Friday, 20 March 2015, 19:45

Scots Prem

Sweet Caley high

When Terry Butcher changed the make-up of his team at the end of last season, we all wondered if Inverness Caley Thistle would struggle for the flair and goals required to be successful in the SPL.

Last Updated: 01/04/13 at 12:44 Post Comment

Inverness: surprise stars of SPL

Inverness: surprise stars of SPL

How wrong we were.

On Friday night, Butcher's new-look side entertain Steve Lomas' St Johnstone at the Tulloch Stadium in front of the Sky cameras having already amassed an impressive 50 points this season.

Tucked in behind Motherwell, Caley Thistle have every chance of catching Stuart McCall's men and finishing runners-up to Celtic.

I have to say their consistency has taken me completely by surprise.

After opening the new campaign with three draws, I watched them lose 4-2 at home to Celtic and when they shipped another four goals in their next league match at Motherwell, the likelihood was another scrap to avoid relegation.

Kenny Gillet, Johnny Hayes, Ross Tokely and Gregory Tade had all been regular first-choice picks but Butcher chose to change things around by bringing in players who needed a fresh challenge.

Gary Warren and Daniel Devine are just two of Butcher's new recruits and their influence has meant that they're a much stronger defensive unit.

Warren was plying his trade at Newport County before Butcher offered him the chance to shine in the SPL and he's become one of their leaders.

20-year-old Devine initially joined up til the end of the season in January but the former Preston, Fleetwood and Wrexham player has recently penned a new two-year deal.

The truth is that by changing the make up of his squad and having success with a new group of players, Butcher has now reached the stage when he can trust his men to challenge Motherwell all the way to the end of the season.

Andrew Shinnie and top scorer Billy Mackay have also been rewarded with international recognition from Scotland and Northern Ireland, a sign to all the players in the dressing room that if performances are consistently high in the SPL, you can get your rewards.

Consistent

My own view is that Richie Foran has been the most consistent of the lot. Whether as a frontman or as someone playing much deeper, Foran has all the experience to make the rest of them tick.

Qualifying for European football would be a magnificent achievement for everyone in Inverness and naturally, Butcher's success hasn't gone unnoticed.

The Caley boss turned down the offer of a return to management in England when Barnsley came calling in January following the sacking of Keith Hill.

Lengthy discussions took place when the board gave the Yorkshire club permission to speak to the former England captain.

Doncaster Rovers were also keen to lure him back south but Butcher's lifestyle and the happiness he gets from living and working in the Highlands meant he stayed on in the hope of ending a memorable season with their highest place ever.

It won't be easy against St Johnstone though. A win for Steve Lomas and his men will mean they too will fancy their chances of finishing the season on a high.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

S

hould have stayed because we carried him for 6.5 years. And then he has a breakthrough season, and was gone soon after. MU fans, you would be as disgusted had C Ronaldo left in 2007 and not 2009.

godof86
Is Van Persie Slipping Sadly Into The Night?

G

ood grief. Someone guessed that the form English player at the moment might be in his national side with some other players? And that's espionage? Now if they discovered that Emile Heskey was going to be in the starting line up.... at right back.... THAT would be espionage. Give it a rest Roy.

RogerRedHat
Hodgson hits out at Kane leak

H

e may get away with if Liverpool can swap the video with one of Skrtel dancing or something, but if they review the one shown on TV he's screwed.

hump3.
Skrtel denies violent conduct

Footer 365

European Qualifiers round-up: Wins for Germany, Portugal and Romania

Goals from Marco Reus and Thomas Muller gave Germany victory over Georgia while Portugal beat Serbia to go top of Group I.

Luis Suarez rules out joining any English club but Liverpool

Luis Suarez refused to rule out a return to Liverpool and insists he will never play for another Premier League club.

Scotland 6-1 Gibraltar: Steven Fletcher scores hat-trick in European Qualifier

Gibraltar scored their first competitive goal, but Steven Fletcher's hat-trick helped Scotland win 6-1 at Hampden Park.

Mail Box

FA Refusing To Learn From Germany

We have a postcard from Germany in the Mailbox highlighting how Greg Dyke's quick-fix approach is all wrong. Also, the clamour for Kane, and size matters, apparently...

Where's The Love For Walcott?

Theo Walcott is wanted by neither Arsenal or Liverpool fans in the afternoon Mailbox. Also, some good points on the FA skewed priorities, and glorious geekery...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company