Rewind to the beginning of January, and Inverness Caledonian Thistle were in danger of being cut adrift at the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership table, after taking just three points from 11 games. But that’s all changed in February.
The Caley Jags have now leapfrogged Hamilton Academical into ninth spot, and currently find themselves just two points behind both Motherwell and Ross County, each of whom are really struggling at present – picking up one point in their last eight games combined.
But right now, it seems Richie Foran’s men are unlikely to need their rivals to continue that dismal run for a chance of getting out of the mire – following an impressive run of their own, and a number of promising factors.
The return of Billy McKay on loan from Wigan Athletic has provided a huge boost, with the striker reinforcing his status as a big-game player.
Having first netted in the 2-2 comeback draw away at Dundee with an ice-cool spot kick, the 28-year-old was then involved in Greg Tansey’s equaliser, helping the Highland club take a morale-boosting point from the clash.
And his stunning, flick-over-the-shoulder winner against Rangers on Friday night showed that he’s not just a high-impact player, but also one with the flair that the Caley Jags need.
However, defensive improvements have also been notable, en route to Foran’s men taking five points from their last three league games – against the top-six trio of Dundee, Heart of Midlothian and the Gers.
Conceding a single goal at Tynecastle earlier this month was an impressive feat, as was limiting an admittedly out-of-form Rangers to the same number.
A large part of that lies in Foran finally finding a well-balanced backline, with the experienced Carl Tremarco and David Raven impressing at full-back, while tough campaigner David Warren looks to be enjoying life alongside January arrival Jamie McCart (on loan from Celtic) at centre-back.
That alone suggests that we’re likely to see Inverness worm their way out of a relegation scrap in the coming weeks, but their post-split form of last season also highlights that the Caley Jags excel in picking up points against the sides around them.
Last term, the Highland club took 12 points from their five post-split games, so while a top-six finish does look unlikely with so many contenders for the one spot realistically up for grabs, there’s reason to believe they’ll continue to build their momentum in the coming months.
Next up for Inverness CT is the visit of Celtic to Tulloch Caledonian Stadium on Wednesday night.
The hosts are the only side to take a point from the Hoops in the Ladbrokes Premiership this season, and there’s 19/4 on offer for another draw here, with 1/4 for Celtic to win and 10/1 for the Caley Jags to take all three points.
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