Caley Thistle legend Russell Duncan reckons doing the double on two Ayrshire sides this month can crank up the heat on their Championship rivals.
The former midfielder, who starred for the Inverness club for a decade until 2011, knows all about the top two leagues in Scotland.
He helped the Highlanders win promotion to the top-flight under John Robertson and Donald Park in 2003/04, and under Terry Butcher and Maurice Malpas six years later after just one year down.
The 40-year-old, who works offshore these days, is the fourth-equal appearance holder in the club’s history, alongside Barry Wilson and only behind Ross Tokely (first), Grant Munro (second) and Richard Hastings (third).
Duncan keeps tabs on his old club and is thrilled by their opening 1-0 league wins over Arbroath and Raith Rovers, which places them on full points with Kilmarnock and Partick Thistle after the first fortnight.
Saturday sees Ayr United head north, seven days before ICT head to strong title favourites Killie.
Aiming to build upon perfect start
Even this early, according to Duncan there’s a chance to add a little seed of doubt in the Kilmarnock camp especially, should they be in a position to take 12 points from 12.
Duncan said: “Inverness have got off to the best start possible.
“I’m sure Billy (Dodds), Barry (Wilson) and Ryan (Esson) are delighted with that.
“Ayr at home and Killie away are a big couple of games. It looks like Killie will be up there from the get-go, so those should be the big games, when they play one another.
“It doesn’t always work out that way. The first time we won that league, the only team we never beat was Falkirk, but we finished 15 points ahead of them at the end of the season, which shows how consistent we were against the rest of the sides.
“Normally, it doesn’t work like that and if Inverness want a chance this season then they have to be taking points from Kilmarnock, or at least not losing against them.
“If they can beat Ayr and then get something at Kilmarnock that builds confidence as well. It would put a bit of doubt in Kilmarnock’s head.
“Killie will fancy themselves this season, but Inverness have proved they can do it in the past and hopefully they’ll push teams all the way this season.”
Late goals are special in title hunt
Young Roddy MacGregor scored a cracking winner late on to see off Raith Rovers just over a week ago and Duncan said winning, or getting a big result at the death, can land an extra blow to promotion rivals.
Roddy MacGregor's two league goals for ICTFC have been quite special! pic.twitter.com/2zObQJybWY
— Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC (@ICTFC) August 11, 2021
He added: “When you get into that winning cycle, you find ways to grind out results.
“We done that lots of times during those two title wins, especially the second time. After Christmas, we were not always great, but we scored late goals.
“I recall we played Raith at home and I was actually suspended, but Richie Foran scored in stoppage time.
“Dundee (their main rivals) would have been back in their changing room thinking we’d dropped points, but then it comes through we’d scored a late goal. It was relentless. It does bite into other teams. There’s no doubt about that.
“Eventually, you then start to play even better and that’s when you pick up even more points.”
Solid base with clean sheets
Duncan, who also won the Challenge Cup with ICT as part of a double in 2003/04, stressed that back-to-back clean sheets shouldn’t be under-estimated.
He said: “Doddsy would maybe want more goals, but to have two clean sheets right at the start of the season is brilliant.
“Being a former defensive-midfielder, I like clean sheets. It’s great for a team if you can do that.
“It’s great for the forwards, too, because they know if they can just nick a goal then, the boys at the back are keeping it tight and you’ll fancy your chances of winning every time you play.”