Failure to replace departed stars could hurt Inverness CT
When your side reaches the dizzying heights of third in the Scottish Premiership table and wins the Scottish Cup, it is expected that your players will come in for interest from elsewhere.
But for Inverness Caledonian Thistle, losing three of their best players already in 2015 could see them struggle to replicate last season.
Billy McKay was out the door back in January in a switch to Wigan that has failed to bear fruit, and although they soldiered on the Highlands side were nothing like the force of old in the second half of the season.
Once the 10-goal striker departed, Caley went on a run of just one win in 11 games, improving that to four in 15 at the death.
A key attribute to the chances he received was Marley Watkins.
The 24-year-old was an excellent all-rounder last season, providing assists for nine goals, the second highest in the division, and adding seven goals of his own to top it off.
His departure to Barnsley, alongside that of fellow assist king Graeme Shinnie (seven) to Aberdeen, means the Highland outfit are in urgent needs of reinforcements.
Four players have so far come through the doors at Caledonian Stadium this summer, and even between the four of them there’s little to suggest the Jags are in a stronger position than they were last season.
Dani Lopez was a bit-part player in the Spanish Segunda B last year, while it is an ever bigger step up from the National League with Aldershot to the Scottish Premiership for midfielder Jordan Roberts.
Two other players that were mainstays in teams that were relegated without so much of a whimper Nathaniel Wedderburn (Cowdenbeath) and Owain Fon Williams (Tranmere) have joined, and arrivals coming off the back of such seasons will hardly fill Caley fans with confidence.
The ins and outs certainly won’t see the side that finished third become relegation strugglers overnight, but there is certainly still work to do if they are to have a similar season to the one they have just enjoyed.
Securing a space in the top six is the first of the challenges, and with a number of their potential rivals looking like they have strengthened over the summer, taking the 7/2 that they fail to do even that looks value.
That being said, the acquisition of a top striker and a solid provider could see John Hughes’ men enjoy another strong campaign.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.