Caley Thistle defender Robbie Deas feels his side’s gruelling fixture schedule could work to their advantage come the end of season run-in.
Inverness’ hectic run of 12 games in 38 days continues with tonight’s Scottish Cup second round trip to Buckie Thistle, which was originally postponed in January.
Having initially struggled for form after the turn of the year the Highlanders have picked up in recent matches, with the opportunity to rack up a third successive win against their Highland League opponents.
Saturday’s 1-0 win over Dunfermline keeps Inverness within three points of the play-off spots, and Deas feels becoming accustomed to such a heavy schedule could bode well in the push for promotion.
Deas said: “It has been very difficult, but we’re at that stage now where we’ve had that many games after another, your body gets used to it.
“We’ve got to take it as an advantage. Some teams might struggle playing every Saturday and Tuesday, but we’ve had that many now that it should be natural to us.
“We could say it was a disadvantage at the time, but we’re looking at it a bit better now.
“We see teams tiring in midweek games, and then the following Saturday, but we’ve had that many.
“We’ve got the squad that we can change a bit. We can use it as a positive.
“You would rather play games than train. We’ve got to continue that run we are on and try to shoot up the table, which would put us in even better stead for the play-offs.
“A lot of people struggle with the play-offs because it’s that many games, but we’ve just played that many games so it should come natural to us.”
Buckie go into the game having not played since their 3-0 win over League Two side Albion Rovers on December 26, with the Scottish Cup and Highland League having both been suspended in January due to Covid-19.
Deas feels that will only serve to fire up Graeme Stewart’s men even more, with the 21-year-old hoping to advance and set up a Highland derby tie away to Ross County in the third round.
He added: “They will have that fire in their belly, just like we will. It will probably be adrenaline that gets them through the game.
“They will be well drilled and they will be looking forward to it just as much as we will be.
“They must have been pulling their hair out throughout the last few weeks and months having not been able to play.
“I know I was doing it during the first lockdown, never mind the one they have just been through.
“They must be champing at the bit to out and do well. We’ve just got to face up to the challenge.
“The Scottish Cup is a massive part of everyone’s season.
“In the Scottish Cup you get some draws that are massive. It’s definitely something you look forward to.
“Buckie will be looking at the game as being massive, and we are looking at it as a great opportunity to play Ross County and make some statements.”
One of Deas’ first Scottish Cup playing memories came two years ago during a loan stint at Cowdenbeath from Celtic, when the Blue Brazil went down 3-1 to Rangers at Central Park.
The Scotland under-19 international is relishing the prospect of setting up another glamour tie with Inverness, adding: “It was Jermain Defoe’s debut. It was great, I loved it.
“I had all my family and friends in the stand. It was on television as well.
“It felt like a great opportunity to try and make a statement. I was on loan from Celtic at the time so playing against Rangers was massive for me.
“Even though we were 3-0 down in the first half, the manager came in at half-time and told us to win the second half.
“We ended up scoring one goal and won the second half 1-0.
“It was a great opportunity to play in front of a lot of people.”