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Nikolay Todorov injury an untimely blow, says Caley Thistle boss John Robertson as striking problems mount

Nikolay Todorov receives treatment.
Nikolay Todorov receives treatment.

Caley Thistle manager John Robertson says the possible injury absence of forward Nikolay Todorov has come at the worst possible time for the Highlanders.

Bulgarian Todorov was taken off with a suspected broken rib after just 19 minutes of Saturday’s Championship defeat to Dunfermline following a collision with Pars skipper Euan Murray.

Todorov had already put Inverness a goal in front by the time he was withdrawn, however the Highlanders went on to lose 3-1 through goals from Murray, Ryan Dow and Declan McManus.

Robertson was already without Miles Storey and Shane Sutherland through injury, which prompted him to deploy Daniel MacKay and James Keatings through the middle.

Although Caley Jags are still awaiting the extent of Todorov’s injury, Robertson says the injury list has left him short of attacking options.

Robertson said: “We only had one fit striker before the game and he had to go off in unbelievable pain with a suspected broken rib. Nikolay going off was a big blow to us. He scored the early goal and he’s a very good focal point for us.

“He does the same job that McManus does for Dunfermline, he holds the ball up and brings other people into play.

“Young Daniel MacKay has played through the middle before and he did fine, he worked away.

“We had to be a bit more accurate with our passes, we had to change the game by going shorter and into feet.

“We did fine, as much as it was a blow to lose Nikolay as a focal point it didn’t stop us getting the ball forward and into reasonable areas.

“We were running out of bodies because of the huge injury list we have got, so we were just throwing kids on at the end to try and get something, but we got caught on the break for the third.

“The lads have worked hard for the last three games. Because of the injuries they have had we have had to put a lot of minutes in, but they have kept going.”

Todorov’s breakthrough goal came from a fine attacking move in which he was picked out from the right flank by teenager MacKay less than 90 seconds into the East End Park encounter.

The goal was Caley Jags’ first of the campaign, with Todorov getting off the mark after netting seven times in 31 outings last season, albeit 25 of his appearances came from the bench.

John Robertson.

Robertson was encouraged by the link up for the goal, adding: “We spoke to the players about the wide position on the right hand side which we wanted to try and utilise.

“We did it really well. We had an opportunity to go into that area before we scored which we didn’t exploit.

“We did for the goal. It was a great ball from Sean Welsh. We had practiced getting balls into the box early, we worked a lot on our crossing and finishing this week after the Cowdenbeath game.

“It was a great ball from Daniel and a great finish from Nikolay. With 15 minutes to go I think both benches would agree the next could would be the decisive one, and Dunfermline got it.”

Robertson was disappointed Murray’s challenge on Todorov did not result in any punishment from referee Willie Collum, adding: “We thought it was a bit of a robust challenge. It wasn’t dirty, it was just a hard challenge which we found incredible there was no free-kick or any other action taken.”

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