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Nick Ross backs old Caley Thistle colleague Shane Sutherland to deliver the goals on Inverness return

Former Caley Thistle midfielder Nick Ross
Former Caley Thistle midfielder Nick Ross

Nick Ross hopes his former Caley Thistle team-mate Shane Sutherland can deliver the goals on his return to Inverness.

Sutherland returned to the club this summer after seven years away, following fruitful spells at Elgin City and Peterhead, for a final crack at full-time football.

Ross came through the youth setup at Inverness with Sutherland and the two also played together in the first-team.

After signing a pre-contract earlier in the year, Sutherland now comes in to compete with Nikolay Todorov and James Keatings in the forward areas.

Ross said: “It’s good to see Shane Sutherland back and hopefully he can do what he did at Elgin and keep banging in the goals.

“I was surprised when he went to Elgin and Peterhead as I thought he would always come back to Caley Thistle. Particularly when they dropped down the leagues and needed a striker to bang in the goals.

“It would have been interesting to see how the rest of the season panned out. They seemed to be in a decent bit of form and playing some good stuff.

“It’s hard to know how any team is going to adjust with what’s going on. There’s not much money – some clubs can’t afford to pay players.

“You would expect Hearts to win the league, then teams like Caley Thistle have got to go up through the play-offs, which is not easy as you play so many games.”

With the cuts proposed to Caley Thistle’s academy, Ross reflected on his and Graeme Shinnie’s development through the ranks, as well as Ryan Christie when he emerged in 2014.

Nick Ross and Ryan Christie, two products of Caley Thistle’s youth system

“Ryan didn’t get a chance with Terry Butcher but when John Hughes came in, he built around him. He joined in with us straight away and at times, tactics were built around him straight away because he was playing so well.

“I signed a two-year deal for the under-19s, played with them for a season then we got relegated. Because me and Graeme had a year on our contracts, we got told we were staying on.

“We trained with the first-team and worked as cleaners and kitmen. Terry never really said anything special, just treated us as if we belonged in the first-team.

“I remember Graeme going and playing for Forres Mechanics and that helped him, as he was playing games against proper men.

“We did well in pre-season and he liked that side of things, where he could give young boys a chance.”

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