Next Game

Motherwell v St J'stone

Saturday, 31 January 2015, 15:00

Scots Prem

Tannadice Park

Last Game

Dundee U 3 - 1 Motherwell

Saturday, 24 January 2015, 15:00

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

O

ne of the conclusions from this list is that Man City should never buy a striker in January - good luck Wilfried Bony....

Savinator
F365's Top Ten Worst January Panic Buys

I

was there, it was embarrassing - the team looked totally unbalanced from the off, the defence was woeful and when Mikel came off injured it got even worse with nobody in front of them. Up front on several occasions we had opportunities and nobody would shoot - it was a complete farse! On the back of Salah's performance I'm glad there is talk of getting shot...

Fly1ngh1gh
Cup defeat shames Mourinho

G

reat to see Tommy Rosicky getting some love. A wonderful player. Such a pity we lost so long to injury. I was so excited when we signed him, this resurgence only makes the absences seem more of a lost opportunity.

cheshire-gooner
16 Conclusions: FA Cup Fourth Round Weekend

Footer 365

Capital One Cup: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says Chelsea's Diego Costa was lucky to avoid a red card

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes Chelsea's Diego Costa was lucky to stay on the field in the Capital One Cup semi-final.

Capital One Cup: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho insists Diego Costa does not deserve retrospective action after Emre Can stamp

Jose Mourinho thinks Chelsea's Diego Costa should be left alone to play football after a controversial outing on Tuesday.

Capital One Cup: Chelsea reach final as Branislav Ivanovic's goal sinks Liverpool

Branislav Ivanovic's extra-time goal gave Chelsea a 2-1 aggregate win over Liverpool and a place in the Capital One Cup final.

Mail Box

The Problem With FA Cup Shocks...

...is that the draw for the next round is pretty shocking. Blackburn v Stoke, anybody? We also have mails on LVG and ManUnited, who drew plenty under Fergie...

You're Man Utd, For Crying Out Loud!

Defending a 0-0 draw with Cambridge on the grounds that other teams lost to lower-league opposition is not befitting of Man United. We're inclined to agree with Mailboxers...

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