Ross Draper: Caley up for relegation dogfight after Highland derby

Caley Thistle midfielder Ross Draper.
Caley Thistle midfielder Ross Draper.

Caley Thistle midfielder Ross Draper feels his team-mates have shown they are fired up for the challenge of remaining in the Premiership after moving off bottom spot with Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Ross County.

The result saw Inverness continue their fine recent run which has seen them lose only one of their last six league games, with the defeat coming against runaway leaders Celtic.

Englishman Draper feels Richie Foran’s men are responding strongly to the test of character and he said: “It’s been a strange season but at least we are fighting and scrapping at the right end of it and we are still alive. The boys are giving everything to get out us over the line and we’ll do that until the end of the season.

“It’s a boost psychologically. When you’re down there we can only go one way and it’s not as if we are struggling and playing badly and not giving everything. We are doing the right things to get ourselves out of there.

“We moved off the bottom a couple of weeks ago and Hamilton went and beat Aberdeen and moved us straight back down.

“We’ve got nine games and 27 points to play for and that’s a lot. I think the team that gets sixth spot is the only one safe. For the rest it’s going to be a long finish to the season.”

Inverness looked to be on course for all three points after Greg Tansey’s opener but Alex Schalk’s late strike secured a draw for the Staggies.

Despite the late setback, Draper was pleased with the way his side approached the game and the 28-year-old added: “Sometimes when you concede so late it feels like a defeat. But the boys gave everything and we maybe just needed a wee bit of luck to see the game out and over the line. But we have to take a point and move on.

“I thought it was a good physical game and the referee was good. Sometimes you could give out yellow cards wily-nily but I thought he was good. It was controlled aggression and I thought it was a decent game to be involved in. I don’t think there was a very bad tackle in the game.

“The manager wanted it in a controlled manner with a little bit of bite about us and I think we gave that.”

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