Caley Thistle manager John Robertson says the Highlanders’ current injury predicament is the worst he has experienced in his professional career.
Inverness could be without seven players for tomorrow’s Championship home match against Ayr United, with injuries having continued to pile up through the early part of the season.
Robertson had already been without Aaron Doran, David Carson, Lewis Toshney, Shane Sutherland for last weekend’s defeat at Dunfermline.
All five likely to miss out once again, although Irishman Doran has returned to light training.
The depleted squad was even further stretched by a rib injury suffered by Nikolay Todorov, while Kevin McHattie has also picked up a hip injury which is expected to keep him out for several weeks.
Todorov will be assessed ahead of tomorrow’s game after taking part in light training sessions, while on-loan Rangers attacker Kai Kennedy is back in contention following a period of self-isolation, having been with Scotland under-19s when head coach Billy Stark tested positive for coronavirus.
Robertson says the injury situation is the worst he has experienced, with the list of absentees only trumped by a flu bug which ravaged his Hearts squad during his tenure as Tynecastle boss 16 years ago.
Robertson said: “There’s no doubt, it is the worst I’ve seen in terms of the amount of missing personnel.
“We knew there were going to be muscle injuries and we were very careful with the players, but it is once they start playing games.
“Their general fitness was excellent, but matches have seen these injuries start to play up.
“We’ll deal with it – and it gives the younger lads an opportunity.
“Apart from a really bad flu and sickness virus we had at Hearts when, for seven to 10 days, there were 22 or 23 lads off at one stage, it’s the worst.
“It’s the worst in terms of muscle injuries I’ve seen.”
Robertson had feared Todorov had fractured a rib against Dunfermline, after being injured in a collision with Pars skipper Euan Murray shortly after the Bulgarian had put the Highlanders in front.
Robertson is pleased the injury is not as serious as first suspected, adding: “Thankfully for him it is not what we initially thought – it is heavy bruising in the ribs and lung area.
“We had to wait for the swelling to go down to make sure that was all right.
“All the signs were there could have been something broken. Thankfully, that’s not the case.
“He’s done light training with the physios this week to see where he is.
“Nikolay took his goal well after a fabulous ball across from Daniel Mackay. I don’t think you’ll see a better delivery all season.
“We were playing well and Nikolay is a big strong lad and a great focal point for the team.
“The goal had given him a huge lift and it’s just a shame we lost him to a very robust challenge.”
Robertson is pleased to have 18-year-old Kennedy available for the first time following his loan switch from the Ibrox side, and the Caley Jags manager added: “He will be involved, whether he starts or not. We’ll have a look at him, but he will certainly be in the squad.
“He’s fit and has trained the last two weeks while in self-isolation, so in terms of physical fitness and matches he is ready to go.
“We’ll look at everybody and decide on our starting 11 against Ayr.”