Caley Thistle manager John Robertson feels free-scoring Ayr United have not received the credit they deserve for their defensive record ahead of tonight’s Championship encounter at Somerset Park.
The Honest Men have enjoyed a superb campaign following promotion from League 1 last term, with Ian McCall’s side two points clear at the top of the table ahead of the visit of Inverness.
While most of the plaudits have gone the way of attacker Lawrence Shankland, who has already netted 26 goals this term, Robertson has not failed to take notice of Ayr’s rigid defence which has kept clean sheets in 10 of their 15 matches so far.
Robertson insists his attackers must be on top form in order to make a breakthrough this evening, and he said: “People go on about Lawrence Shankland – and rightly so as it’s a fantastic season he’s had. But there’s a lot more to Ayr than that.
“Michael Moffat is a fantastic foil for him, while the likes of Robbie Crawford, Declan McDaid, Andy Geggan and Mark Kerr have been impressive.
“But their back four and goalkeeper have been tremendous. I think it goes unnoticed how many clean sheets they have had, and they are just a complete team at the moment.
“That’s what we are going to have to deal with.
“They have been in fantastic form – they have done what Livingston did last year and come up with a squad from winning the league, and kept that attitude and confidence going. They are used to winning games, and their enthusiasm has been fantastic.
“That’s before you get into their work-rate and ability.”
Robertson will recall midfielder Sean Welsh to the squad after he was rested for Tuesday’s 6-1 Scottish Cup replay victory over Edinburgh City, with Robertson hoping the emphatic victory can help his side get back on track.
He added: “We have scored eight goals in two games. The fact we scored two goals and lost the Falkirk game on Saturday was hugely disappointing for everybody involved, but we bounced back in the right manner.
“We showed the quality required to see off Edinburgh but we’re going to have to show even more of that.
“It was a good night for us on Tuesday. Jordan White got three, Tom Walsh got two and Aaron Doran got on the scoresheet.
“We have challenged these players to go and score more goals. We need more goals and that is what we are trying to get from them.
“We will freshen the team up again. We have played two matches since Ayr last played, so we will have to freshen up certain positions and be ready to go into battle.”