Caley Thistle assistant manager Scott Kellacher feels Tuesday’s Scottish Cup victory over rivals Ross County showed the fiery side to the perceived friendly Highland derby.
County midfielder Michael Gardyne branded Inverness defender Brad Mckay a “coward” after taking issue over a tackle deep into extra-time, which sparked an altercation that also saw Coll Donaldson and Kenny van der Weg booked.
Inverness eventually triumphed 5-4 on penalties at Caledonian Stadium after the sides had shared a second successive 2-2 draw in their last-16 replay.
Another derby flash point came when the sides met on Championship duty at Dingwall in December, with County’s Brian Graham and Shaun Rooney of Inverness sent off for a late flare up in which punches were exchanged.
Kellacher feels the five encounters so far this term have shown the goodwill between the sides is not always evident on the park, and he said: “It’s a derby game and you’re always going to get a bit of controversy.
“There were some hefty challenges from a lot of the boys, but if you don’t get that in a derby there is something wrong.
“You expect blood, sweat and tears, and both teams gave a lot of hunger, passion and desire.
“There were a lot of fierce tackles as you’d expect. Ross Draper had a few, but we all know about him – he gets away with a lot to give him his due.
“You get up and you get on with it. A lot of players get caught up between each other in a game and talk away – that’s football.
“It adds a bit of an edge, but something has been said and Michael is not happy – but you are never happy when you are losing.”
Inverness are likely to be without midfielder Tom Walsh for tomorrow’s Championship match against Morton as he awaits news on a groin injury.
Walsh limped off during the early stages of Inverness’ Highland derby encounter against Ross County on Tuesday, which John Robertson’s men won on penalties to progress to the Scottish Cup quarter finals.
The 22-year-old, who has netted nine goals since joining from Dumbarton last summer, recently returned from a foot injury and Kellacher hopes Walsh can make a speedy recovery.
Kellacher added: “Tom is still being assessed. It’s a wee strain in the groin, but we should hopefully know more before the weekend in terms of the outcome.
“I don’t think he will be fit for Saturday, so we will wait and see.
“These boys are magicians sometimes – they can be injured one minute and then the next they are good as gold.
“Hopefully he is all right because he has been a big player for us this year. He has scored nine goals, which is what we are looking for from players in that position.
“He started the game great and it was just frustrating when he came off, but young Anthony came on and did well for us.”