Caley Thistle manager Richie Foran insists he and his players remain united as they seek to break a three-month run without a league victory.
After a draw with Partick Thistle, the hefty midweek defeat by Hamilton Accies saw the Irishman’s patience snap for the first time since embracing management in the summer.
Calling the players “bottlers” and questioning their appetite for the fight at the foot of the Premiership table, it was a searing attack – and one Foran stands by. But the 36-year-old Dubliner cut a more conciliatory tone approaching today’s home tussle with Dundee and backed the players to prove their mettle.
Foran said: “The boys are hurting, just as I am. It’s in the past now. We had a good chat and we move on. We’re still united.
“I had some hard words for them – I questioned their bottle and mentality. It’s up to them to show I was wrong to question them. I’m not worried it will affect them. I’ve looked after them all season and I can’t keep pampering them.
“We’re all guilty of not doing our jobs. I’m not doing my job and they’re not doing their jobs. I watched the game back and some of them were weak.
“Sometimes, when you have a go publicly, it can work for you because you’re looking for reactions.
“You get quite emotional after games but I stand by most of it. I’ve huge respect for the players and I like them all.
“What they give us from Monday to Friday in training is unbelievable. But they need to bring it into games now that there’s a bit of pressure on them.
“The boys are big enough and strong enough to handle the flak. I want them to show me who the hungry and the brave lads are.”
Foran admits the spotlight is on his stewardship of the club in difficult times but insists there is no imminent threat to his job. His confidence in his ability to steer the club up the Premiership table remains as strong as it was in August.
Foran said: “I was born to lead, that’s what I believe. I was captain, now I’m manager. I’m going to lead from the front and I want the players to follow.
“It’s challenging times, for sure – there’s no hiding from that. We need leaders. Not just one that has the armband, or the vice-captain, or the experienced players. We need everyone to be a leader.”
Now three points adrift of Hamilton at the foot of the table, Inverness can ill-afford another setback.
Today’s opponents Dundee occupy 10th place and are five points ahead. Defeat, then, would leave Foran’s men eight behind the Dark Blues and at least six from that safe berth.