It was ‘do or die’ for Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday, with anything less than a win against Hamilton Academical leaving the Highland outfit with a near-impossible task to avoid the drop.
But the Caley Jags defeated their visitors 2-1, and with Motherwell also losing, the gap between Inverness and the sides above them is down to four points, with three games remaining. So, can they pull off a miraculous escape – or is it a bridge too far?
The case for survival
Inverness do have the comfort of a decent record against two of their remaining three opponents – Kilmarnock and Dundee. They haven’t lost to Killie in four meetings, while their last 16 games against the Dark Blues have ended with eight Inverness wins, seven draws and a single defeat.
Richie Foran’s men can also take heart from the fact the sides directly above them have failed to pick up a point since the split. Hamilton have been comfortably beaten on both occasions, while Motherwell’s pair of losses takes them to 11 defeats in 16 games.
There’s also the confidence boost of finally ending an eight-game winless run. And as we’ve seen with Inverness this season, when they do end a barren stretch, they tend to follow it up with a real flurry.
Earlier in the campaign, a four-game losing streak was followed by a nine-point haul over five games, which included an impressive 3-1 victory over Dundee and a 2-2 draw with Celtic.
The case for relegation
Way back at Christmas 2016, you’d have also said that the Caley Jags have a decent record against Motherwell. But the last two meetings have not been kind to Foran’s men, who have lost both – and shipped four goals to the Well in last month’s encounter, the most the Lanarkshire club have scored in any of their last 25 games.
Put it this way – they probably can’t afford to concede two against Motherwell next Tuesday, let alone twice that number.
But the Highland outfit remain susceptible at the back. They’ve managed one clean sheet in their last 25 games, and have conceded 67 goals in the league this term – giving them the division’s leakiest defence.
And, perhaps even more crucially, they lack a match-winning goalscorer. While the Steelmen are blessed with Louis Moult – who has 13 Ladbrokes Premiership goals this term – Inverness’ top-scorer, Greg Tansey, has the lowest tally of any Prem side’s most prolific marksman (with six in the league).
So, what do our readers think?
Are Inverness doomed for the drop, or can they pull off a great escape?
Let us know in the comments section below.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing