Robbie Deas is urging his Caley Thistle team-mates to shut the door on Morton this weekend to ensure they remain the team in front in the Championship.
A fortnight ago, ICT slipped to their first league loss of the season when they went down 2-1 at Hamilton, but remain three points ahead of Kilmarnock, who lost to Raith Rovers on the same day.
At the weekend, the Inverness team had to strike back from two goals down to beat League Two Elgin City 4-2 in the SPFL Trust Trophy thanks to a hat-trick from Billy Mckay and a goal from on-loan St Mirren forward Lewis Jamieson.
Take advantage of our Season Ticket Autumn Offer
Join us for the remaining 14 home games this season, starting this Saturday against Morton!
— Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC (@ICTFC) October 13, 2021
Defender Deas is determined to help the team get their first shut-out in four games against ninth-placed Morton.
He said: “The most important thing is we have to get back to doing the basics when it comes to defending.
“Unfortunately, we have conceded two in each of our last two games. We need to improve and that includes our own individual performances.
“It is good that we are creating chances at the other end, it puts us at ease at the back a wee bit.
“But we need to get back to basics and hopefully get a clean sheet, which will add to the confidence.”
Visitors have won here this year
Morton, who avoided the drop down a division by virtue of the play-offs, might be having another tough term, but 21-year-old Deas warns that the Greenock side can’t be written off, having won at the Caledonian Stadium as recently as March this year.
He added: “Every game is tough in the Championship, so we know what lies in store on Saturday.
“Morton came up here last season and took three points, so we need to put on a performance and I’m sure we will.
“We want to get back to winning ways in the league and finish the first quarter as strong as we can.”
Competition for places is healthy
In recent weeks, Wallace Duffy and Cameron Harper have filled in at the back and Deas believes they’ll have benefited from the match-time, despite the concession of four goals over the past two weeks.
He said: “It has been good for Wallace and Cammy to come in and get minutes. It can be difficult sometimes when the team is doing well and you’re not getting that break.
“The boys have come in and done well and it shows we have that depth and healthy competition, which you need.
“I do think our squad overall is very good this season. There is good, healthy competition all over the park. Everyone is capable of starting. It gives the manager something to think about before picking the team.
“You know squad depth is what winning teams are made of. If someone is struggling with a niggle and they need to come off, you know they’re a quality player coming on for them.”
Fan power can help players push on
The former Celtic youth stopper hopes the ICT fans turn out in force to get right behind the side as they seek to finish the first round of fixtures in pole position.
He added: “I’m sure the fans will be right behind us, which is important for us as players. It can give us a boost. At the end of the day though, it will come down to what we do on the pitch.
“Hopefully we can keep the supporters happy and get the three points. We have done well so far this season and I am sure they’ll give us their backing again on Saturday.”
Elgin tie was always going to be tough
Looking back at the hard-fought victory at Elgin, Deas praised the team for standing strong after falling two goals behind in the first half and felt their display merited a place in the last eight.
He said: “Those games are always difficult. It was a derby and both sets of supporters came out in force, which was good. It was a typical cup game.
“Elgin are a good team. I have played against them when I was at Cowdenbeath and Alloa, so I know that. It was a good chance for us to play against a team that would sit in and play on the counter.
🔜 We're back in home action this Saturday as we face Morton at the Caledonian Stadium
🎟️ Tickets available online from https://t.co/6z5nBMn9qE, from the Club Shop and over the phone on 01463 222880
👊 Looking forward to seeing you at the Stadium this Saturday
— Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC (@ICTFC) October 12, 2021
“They started well by scoring two goals early on, so it was then about the character of the team to bounce back and thankfully Billy came up with the goods with a hat-trick before Jamieson finished it off.
“It was a test and good for boys to get minutes. It helped get their fitness up and a good opportunity after the defeat to Hamilton the week before. Even when we went two goals down, we played really well.”
The Caley Jags will now face joint cup holders Raith Rovers at home on November 30 in a tie where one side will lose their grip on the silverware.