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:

Latest News RSS feeds

Chelsea in good shape for PSG

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is likely to have a strong squad to select from for their Champions League game with Paris Saint-Germain.

'Let's throw some punches'

New Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood says he is planning to install a more attacking approach at the club.

LVG: We must sign a midfielder

Louis van Gaal has confirmed that Manchester United will attempt to sign a creative midfield player this summer.

Live transfer updates

Live transfer news as Louis van Gaal makes the signing a creative midfielder his top priority this summer.

Bony trains with new team-mates

Wilfried Bony has trained with Man City for the first time after winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast.

Features

Tim Sherwood's to-do list: Five things the new Aston Villa manager must make a priority if he is to succeed

Tim Sherwood's to-do list: Five things the new Aston Villa manager must make a priority if he is to succeed

As Tim Sherwood settles into his first day at work as Aston Villa manager, the challenge of keeping the Premier League perennials in the top flight begins.

Pogba? Verratti? Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal wants a creative midfielder but who should he sign?

Pogba? Verratti? Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal wants a creative midfielder but who should he sign?

Only a fortnight after the transfer window closed, Louis van Gaal has set tongues wagging again by admitting that Manchester United need to sign a creative midfielder.

Xabi Alonso impressing at Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola and eyeing a third Champions League medal

Xabi Alonso impressing at Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola and eyeing a third Champions League medal

Adam Bate looks at Xabi Alonso's fine form with Bayern Munich and why he can make history this season.