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Mark Ridgers says Caley Thistle can reap benefits of fresh voice during Neil McCann tenure

Mark Ridgers.
Mark Ridgers.

Caley Thistle goalkeeper Mark Ridgers feels his side can benefit from the input of a fresh voice during Neil McCann’s temporary stint in charge.

Former Dundee manager McCann has stepped as interim manager in place of John Robertson who has taken a period of compassionate leave, while assistant manager Scott Kellacher is also absent due to illness.

The temporary reign got off to a promising start in Friday’s creditable 1-1 draw against Championship leaders Hearts, with the Highlanders looking to keep up their play-off push when McCann returns to Dens Park to face the Dark Blues tomorrow night.

Although the rapid turnaround has been challenging, Ridgers says the Caley Jags players must embrace the chance to take fresh ideas on board.

Ridgers said: “I don’t think I have ever seen anything like this before.

“It’s circumstances you wish weren’t the case. The manager has obviously got to take time off and deal with what his issues are.

Neil McCann.

“With Neil coming in, he’s a football guy. He has watched a lot of our games because of the connection he has with Robbo. He knows what he’s getting with the players.

“The circumstances are so strange, but it’s maybe just another voice.

“The manager has been here for so long, so he knows what he’s got there. It’s an opportunity now for Neil to try something different.

“It gives everyone a lift with a new manager coming in. People are wanting to try and prove things.

“He has openly said he’s going to do things his way, and rightly so.

“At the moment, it’s his job and hopefully we continue the positives from the way we started the game.

“Considering the time we’ve had with Neil, it’s a good positive place to start. From this point hopefully we can build on it in Tuesday’s game.”

Although McCann has stressed he will only fulfil the role until Robertson opts to return, the former Scotland international is keen to impart his own ideas on the side during his time in charge.

Former Hearts goalkeeper Ridgers has already taken note of differences in McCann’s approach, and he feels less experienced players within the squad can use the opportunity to their advantage during Robertson’s absence.

The 30-year-old added: “Straight away, he has come in and changed the training schedule.

“We changed the formation against Hearts, and the way we played. For the first half hour of the game we did what was asked, and got the goal from what we wanted to work on.

“These are things the boys will learn. I have experienced quite a lot of that stuff, in my time at Hearts I had many foreign managers who did many different things.

Mark Ridgers

“For the younger players, it’s learning.

“Roddy MacGregor is going to learn a new position, while Cameron Harper is going to learn defensively how to stay in rather than just exploiting himself by bombing up the park for no reason and getting caught out.

“There are points there Neil will see that the manager isn’t looking for.

“It’s a big opportunity for these guys to learn the game a bit more, as it’s a completely different way of doing things.”

The point against Hearts keeps Inverness on the coat-tails of the promotion play-off positions, and Ridgers is hoping to build on a run of three matches without defeat in the coming weeks.

He added: “We’ve still got a long way to go, but considering the way things are, a point was probably fair enough with the way the game went.

“There’s a lot of positive stuff to build on. We came out with a point, and we could have nicked it in the first half with a couple of other chances and a possible penalty. These are the decisions that might come another day.

“It’s a positive point and something to build on.”

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