Caley Thistle legend Ross Tokely reckons the Inverness public should turn out in force to back Billy Dodds’ Championship leaders.
The former defender, who helped the Highlanders win the second-tier title in 2004 and 2010, is part of the club’s pay-per-view commentary team and has been delighted to see the way Billy Dodds’ players have coped with their opening seven league contests.
Six wins, including four on the spin at home, and a draw at Dunfermline has put ICT top of the pack, with their impressive 2-1 victory over Queen of the South on Saturday hauling them three points clear of nearest chasers Kilmarnock.
🗣️ ICTFC Head Coach Billy Dodds has the following message for the Caley Jags fans following our great start to the season!
— Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC (@ICTFC) September 29, 2021
Michael Gardyne cracked home a late winner to down the Doonhamers after Lee Connelly’s wonderful second half goal cancelled out Sean Welsh’s free-kick opener.
The attendance on Saturday was 1184 and Tokely, who racked up close to 600 senior matches in blue and red, would love to see more fans get right behind the table-toppers.
Team deserves higher attendances
In the week where the club has launched an autumn season ticket offer, Tokely said: “To have 19 points after seven games is a terrific return. It’s a great start.
“I have seen a lot of good signs this season. Billy has done a lot of work and it’s paying off on the pitch. That comes from the players.
“I would just like to see a few more punters come through the door. The team’s football certainly deserves more to click through the turnstiles.
Scoring the winner to send @ICTFC top of the table 📈
— SPFL (@spfl) September 28, 2021
“I don’t mean to sound like (Man City boss) Pep Guardiola moaning about attendances, but the quality of their football merits more punters coming to see them. It’s really good to watch.
“On Saturday, no player dropped below a six in the ratings for me. It was a steady performance. David Carson was impressive at full-back and Michael Gardyne capped off his performance with a cracking winner.”
Winning thanks to determination
Tokely, who also played in two Scottish Cup semis, hailed the way the team has proved so far that it can dig deep to ensure they get results when the heat is on.
He added: “I liked the determination and resilience of the team and that’s been shown often this season. They have been winning games that would have, in previous years, been draws. That’s the sign of a good team.
🔴🔵 Saturday saw us get our fourth home league win in a row to start the season!
— Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC (@ICTFC) September 28, 2021
“I have seen all their home games this season and there is certainly a determination to keep fighting until the end.
“It was a terrific goal from Michael Gardyne to win it. He had a very good performance on Saturday.”
Drawing positives away from home
The only league opponents Caley Thistle have failed to beat were Dunfermline, who are at the wrong end the league.
The 0-0 draw in Fife a fortnight ago, however, was well-earned because the Pars looked a constant menace and it took several stops from Mark Ridgers to secure that point.
This weekend, they are off to struggling Hamilton and Tokely said that draws on their travels, allied with home wins, will keep ICT in the mix at the top.
He said: “I didn’t feel it was two points dropped at Dunfermline. I said it was a point gained. Dunfermline’s position is false given who they have in their team, so that was a good point on the road. East End Park is a tough place to go.
“Saturday is similar to the Dunfermline game. If you are picking up points on the road and you have a good home record, you won’t be far away. Their home form is impressive and that sets the foundation if you pick up points away.
“I know it’s early days, but I have watched all their games and winning at Kilmarnock, probably one of the hardest places to get a result, sets them up well for the rest of the season.
“You have to approach each game individually. It’s not about looking at the game the week before, but only about the next opponent.”