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Andy Skinner: Inverness must show they are still up for the scrap in win or bust encounter

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Having spurned several opportunities to repair the damage that has already been done, Caley Thistle are finally running out of time to revive a campaign that has simply never got going.

As win or bust encounters go, none this season can rival Saturday’s trip to Motherwell. Inverness are currently four points adrift of the Steelmen, who are the nearest challengers in 11th place. It is the proverbial six-pointer.

Arithmetically it sounds doable enough, particularly given Caley Jags will play Well again after the split. The difficulty is finding a convincing reason to believe they will get these key results, with only six games left.

Richie Foran has not found the winning formula, with only four league triumphs all season and one in their last 21 matches. With the pressure now greater than ever before, it is difficult to imagine him doing so now. During that time, the inconsistency of other teams has allowed them to remain within touching distance of their rivals, but that can only go on so long, and they now run the risk of being cut adrift.

Foran has remained upbeat through Inverness’ struggles this season but even he could not find a positive take on Saturday’s 3-0 defeat against St Johnstone. He will have felt the manner of defeat like a stiff punch in the solar plexus given Saints did not play particularly well, yet were the team that missed the better chances to win by an even greater margin. A truly alarming afternoon.

Foran did not shirk the blame after the match, insisting the bulk of supporters’ anger should be aimed towards him, but also demanding his players up their game. Casting aside all that has gone before, this must now be a collective effort from Caley Thistle, as their top-flight future hangs on the brink.

Inverness’ squad contains players who helped to deliver some of the club’s most memorable moments as little as two years ago, but they will need to show a different side to their game in the coming weeks – with no bus parades or European trips at the end of it.

Securing the club’s top-flight safety is crucial given the knock-on effects of relegation both on and off the field. Despite Inverness bouncing back at the first attempt when they last went down in 2009, there are countless examples of former top-flight teams that have been forced to downsize after relegation and have gone on to spend long stints in the lower leagues.

Many supporters would settle for the relegation play-off position right now, as it would buy them at least two more matches as a Premiership side. Even that could be well beyond them if they fall to defeat at Fir Park.

Given what unfolded in the final nine minutes against St Johnstone, Foran’s men must prove they are still up for the scrap.

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