Shane Sutherland is confident Caley Thistle can outgun their Championship rivals with a range of players finding the net this season.
This afternoon, the Championship leaders head to second-placed Raith Rovers, with a five-point cushion over the Fifers and Kilmarnock, who are at home to Hamilton.
The division’s top marksman is Partick Thistle’s Brian Graham, who has netted seven league goals, and 11 in all competitions.
🔜 We travel to Kirkcaldy this weekend as we face @RaithRovers
🎟️ Tickets available now online
🚌 @ICT_STC Bus leaves Stadium at 10am this Saturday
— Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC (@ICTFC) October 19, 2021
Arbroath’s Michael McKenna has also seven Championship goals, with ICT’s top scorer being Michael Gardyne, with four goals in as many games.
Billy Mckay has six goals in league and cup games and he and Gardyne netted in last week’s 2-0 home win over Morton.
Sutherland’s faith in ICT firepower
Striker Sutherland, who has found the net three times, is sure if they keep the door shut at the back then they have a golden chance to see off opponents.
He said: “At the start of the season, we had a lot of 1-0 wins, which are just as important as 4-0 wins. If we can keep a clean sheet, we have got the firepower to score goals.
“You look at the players who came off the bench on Saturday – Manny Duku, Aaron Doran and Lewis Jamieson and we had Tom Walsh on the bench too, so they are all attacking players. If we can keep clean sheets, we fancy our chances of winning games with our attacking threats.
“We didn’t score too many at the start of the season, but the more we played alongside one another, we started to score more.
“Michael Gardyne is on four goals in four games, Billy Mckay has four in his last two games, I’ve got three, so we’re all chipping in.
“You see in other teams, where a player could score 20-30 goals then the next player is on five or six. If we’re not going to have a 20-30-goal striker then it’s important other players chip in and try to get to double figures.
“As a striker, I’d love to be the one to score 20 goals, but whether it’s Billy Mckay or Manny Duku, it is important for the team.”
Forwards battle for starting spots
Fresh from scoring a treble in the 4-2 SPFL Trust Trophy win over Elgin City, Mckay was promoted to the starting 11 last week to partner Sutherland and repaid head coach Billy Dodds with the opener.
Whichever pairing is picked today, Sutherland is confident it can be fruitful.
He added: “It’s easy for me because Billy is an experienced player. He knows the game as well as anyone else. I have enjoyed my time with Manny (Duku) as I will alongside Billy.
🔜 This Saturday we're in action as away from home as we face Raith Rovers
In our meeting earlier this season, we won 1-0 thanks to this strike from Roddy MacGregor 💥
— Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC (@ICTFC) October 21, 2021
“I have nearly been an ever-present this season (Sutherland was an unused sub against Queen of the South).
“Hopefully I can keep myself in the team and, if it is me and Billy again, then we will do our best to help the team. If it’s not me, then Manny will do the same. It’s a team game and not about individuals.”
Swift-moving Rovers will be test
Raith have won eight of their last 11 fixtures in league and cup and 30-year-old Sutherland expects a challenging 90 minutes as they seek to at least maintain their five-point advantage at the summit.
He said: “It will be a really tough game. They move the ball about well. Nine times out of 10 they keep the same shape, no matter what their team selection is.
Tickets for this Saturday's top of the table clash with @ictfc are on sale!
— RRFC Official (@RaithRovers) October 21, 2021
“John McGlynn normally sets his teams out in a 4-3-3, no matter the personnel. They are at home and on a good run as well. They are second in the league and they will fancy their chances of clawing it back to two points.
“We will be ready for that and we’ll have to work hard again and dig in at the start of the match and see what happens.
“We will, of course, give every team respect but we focus on ensuring we do our jobs right first and, if we do, that could help the team to get the result we want.”