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Inverness boss John Robertson knows youngsters are having to ‘learn on the job’ against ‘highly experienced teams’

Inverness boss John Robertson with Rangers loanee Kai Kennedy.
Inverness boss John Robertson with Rangers loanee Kai Kennedy.

Caley Thistle manager John Robertson believes his young side must become more vocal in order to cope with the rigours of the Championship.

Inverness have operated with a stretched squad during the opening weeks of the campaign due to a lengthy injury list which has vastly reduced Robertson’s options.

The Caley Jags boss has handed opportunities to a number of young players, with teenagers Roddy MacGregor, Daniel MacKay, Cameron Harper and on-loan Rangers winger Kai Kennedy featuring prominently.

Although Robertson has been encouraged by the impact made by the youth in his side, he feels they are still developing the on-field communication required for senior football.

Robertson said: “We are a very young side, and a very quiet side. That’s one thing we need as there is not enough talking or communication in the team.

“We are working on it. This is another rebuild, with a brand new back four we are having to work with.

“We’ve got two brand new midfielders, while we have Kai Kennedy and Shane Sutherland up front.

“We are still a work in progress, but it’s work that needs to accelerate quickly over the next few weeks.

“I don’t know if it’s their age, but we are trying to encourage Daniel MacKay and Roddy MacGregor to shoot more often.

“They are learning at the coal face. Normally an 18-year-old or 19-year-old would learn in reserve or development football, or by occasionally dipping into the first team.

“They are having to learn against highly experienced teams. They have played at Tynecastle, they have played at Kirkcaldy and now they will have to learn that at home, teams will sit in and try to hit on the break.

“They have done fantastically well, but there are some games where you need a bit of an experienced, cool head to try and understand what we are trying to do.”

Inverness are gradually welcoming more players back into the fold, with Shane Sutherland having netted two goals in his last two starts, while Miles Storey and Aaron Doran have also been handed game time in recent matches.

Shane Sutherland nets for Caley Thistle.

Saturday’s game against Raith Rovers is followed by nearly a fortnight before the next fixture away to Queen of the South on December 4, and Robertson is hopeful of having more selection options come the trip to Dumfries.

He added: “Miles has looked strong since he came back and we felt against East Fife on Saturday a good half-hour would do him the world of good.

“We can see what he gives us, his pace is frightening – it’s off the charts.

“Aaron Doran made his third appearance in a week and on Saturday I think he looked leggy, but this is his pre-season. He is trying to build up his match time.

“We are hopeful we can get some more back for Saturday and then, if we can get a result, we’ve got a fortnight after that to get players back.

“We are hopeful that by Queen of the South we should have most of our first team squad back in the running for games.”

Robertson handed a debut to young defender Harry Nicolson against East Fife last weekend, with the 19-year-old deputising for Wallace Duffy at right-back.

Inverness defender Harry Nicolson during the 1-0 Betfred Cup match between Inverness Caledonian Thistle and East Fife at The Tulloch Stadium, on November 14, 2020, in Inverness.

Nicolson spent last season on loan with Fort William and was initially released in the summer before being handed a new deal.

Robertson was pleased with Nicolson’s impact, adding: “Harry has been injured and missed a lot of game time.

“We thought we would throw him in on Saturday at home to give him a chance. He made some little errors, which is understandable.

“He’s a centre-half who can play right-back but his main position is centre back. But it will do him no harm whatsoever.

“He acquitted himself well, worked really hard for the team and can be proud of his full debut.”

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