Blogs & Opinion


Inverness CT have Europa League fate in own hands, says Andy Walker

Andy Walker - Andy Walker Posted 14th May 2013 view comments

In what would be a remarkable success story, European football is tantalisingly close for Inverness Caley Thistle.

However, they know there's still one last effort to be made to achieve their goal of securing entry into the qualifying rounds of the Europa League by taking all three points against their Highland neighbours Ross County in Sunday's final SPL match of the season, live on Sky.

Terry Butcher's men are on the brink of something special, says Andy

Terry Butcher's men are on the brink of something special, says Andy

In all honesty, it should already be secured for Terry Butcher's men but with just 90 minutes of the league season left to play, they know that St Johnstone also have a chance if they can edge past Motherwell.

Last week, Caley Thistle missed a host of chances at home to Dundee Utd - including a penalty - meaning nerves will play a big part in this tense Highland derby.

Finishing in the top half of the table is a success for Caley Thistle but they must know they now have an opportunity to ensure their efforts over the course of the season can be remembered for a long time.

Andy Walker
Quotes of the week

ROSS COUNTY v INVERNESS CT

12.30pm, Sun, Sky Sports 1 HD

I have no doubt Terry Butcher appreciates that their destiny is still very much in their own hands but he knows his players will have to quickly overcome last week's disappointment to focus on one last crack at glory.

In my view, finishing in the top half of the table is a success for Caley Thistle but they must know they now have an opportunity to ensure their efforts over the course of the season can be remembered for a long time.

It won't be easy against a Ross County side that have also punched above their weight this season. Both Highland clubs have been an absolute credit to themselves and the SPL.

Butcher and Derek Adams have shown that good management doesn't necessarily mean having to spend big sums of money to achieve success. A team ethic of hard work runs through each squad where so much emphasis is placed on what they can achieve together.

Achievement

It's a measure of how far Caley Thistle have come that they have managed to win at both Celtic Park and Ibrox this season. To beat the SPL champions on their own patch takes a lot of courage, skill and ability - qualities they have in abundance.

Even allowing for the fact that Rangers found themselves in the bottom tier of Scottish football this season, they still have a wage bill second only to Celtic and yet Inverness Caley Thistle won as comfortably as the 3-0 scoreline suggests in the League cup.

However, what happened in the League Cup semi-final should serve as a timely reminder of how cruel football can be. Going into the tie at Easter Road against Hearts as favourites, Caley Thistle were again the better side but after passing up glorious chances to score, Hearts won in a dramatic penalty shootout.

They certainly won't get it easy against their near neighbours who love nothing better than coming out on top in a local contest. Matches this season have been exciting, close contests with plenty of goals and needle.

Adams is likely to be without the influence of his captain Richard Brittain after he picked up a serious knee injury last Sunday in County's 2-0 defeat to Motherwell at Fir Park.

It was a defeat that ended Adams' hopes of going into this game with European hopes of their own but a fourth-place finish for the side with the lowest budget in the SPL would be astonishing.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jeff Stelling

Battle for survival

Jeff Stelling hopes Sunderland can scrape to survival like his beloved Hartlepool did this week....

Jamie Redknapp

Double delight?

A year on from 'bite-ban', Luis Suarez should clinch the title and PFA Award, says Jamie Redknapp....

Peter Beagrie

Transfer target

Beags says top sides are after Ross McCormack and picks his Championship boss of the season....

Latest News RSS feeds

Proud Butt expects reaction

Nicky Butt says he is immensely proud to be assisting Manchester United's temporary manager Ryan Giggs.

Four-match ban for Ramires

Chelsea midfielder Ramires will serve a four-match suspension after a charge of violent conduct went uncontested.

Martinez: Moyes will be back

David Moyes will make a successful return to management soon, according to the man who replaced him at Everton.

Sturridge eyes Chelsea return

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has confirmed that he is hoping to feature against Chelsea this weekend.

United face no probe

Manchester United acted within stock market rules over the departure of David Moyes, Sky Sports News has learned.

Features

World Cup countdown

World Cup countdown

With 49 days to go to the World Cup kick-off, can Neymar fulfil Brazil's sky-high expectations?

World Cup: Eight of England's starting XI should come from Everton and Liverpool

World Cup: Eight of England's starting XI should come from Everton and Liverpool

When Roy Hodgson selects England's starting XI for the World Cup D opener with Italy, there should be eight players from Liverpool and Everton on the team sheet.

Squad selector

Squad selector

Pick your 23 to go to the World Cup with England. How does your squad compare to our experts?