From first glance at the team-sheet ahead of Caley Thistle’s game against St Johnstone on Saturday, it is easy to see why Richie Foran is desperate for the January transfer window to come around.
And that was long before his side slumped to a lacklustre 3-0 defeat in Perth, leaving the Highlanders propping up the Premiership table.
Inverness have been left to deal without a host of regulars in recent weeks, with those problems coming to a head against Saints when six players were unfit for the trip to McDiarmid Park.
Lewis Horner was also suspended, although his return for this weekend’s game against Hamilton Accies will be offset by the absence of skipper Gary Warren, who picked up his side’s third red card in their last four matches.
Saturday showed Foran’s squad does not contain the strength in depth to cope with these sorts of problems. Granted, most teams would feel the consequences of so many absentees but only five outfield players could be named on the bench, just two of which had seen any first-team action prior to teenage defender Cameron Gilchrist’s late substitute appearance.
Gilchrist was also the only defender on the bench, while of the back-four that finished the match following Warren’s dismissal, midfielders Ross Draper, who started at centre back, and Billy King, who ended the game at right back, were out of position. They were down to the bare bones.
Too many attack-minded players in the squad, not enough defenders was the verdict of Foran after the match. Inverness have conceded 32 goals – more than any other team in the league – so don’t expect him to hang about when the transfer window opens after the turn of the year.
The reaction of the manager, and players such as Draper after the game, was one of realisation something must change in the coming weeks following four straight defeats. The post-mortem had a very similar feel to that of the aftermath of Inverness’ 5-1 defeat against Hearts at Tynecastle in August, when Foran claimed he had identified the need to tweak his formation. That was also on the back of a four-match losing slump, but the subsequent run of just one defeat from the nine games that followed suggests he was correct in his assessment.
Given he has now spoken with similar assurance about the root of his side’s problems this time around, it will be intriguing to see how the Highlanders react, with Saturday’s encounter against Accies now taking on even more crucial significance as they aim to climb off the foot of the table.