You don’t need to warn Caley Thistle head coach Billy Dodds about Arbroath’s Championship title credentials.
The part-time side have been the feel-good story of the season, showing great consistency to lead the league after 19 games.
The Caley Jags were beaten by Arbroath in October and trail the Angus outfit by three points, albeit with a game in hand, and travel to Gayfield on Sunday.
Dodds reckons it would be “mad” not to consider Dick Campbell’s men as title-contenders, given how well they’ve done so far.
“If you don’t take them for face value, for where they are now after the halfway stage, then you’re mad,” he said. “I watched their game against Dunfermline, they were ruthless. Their game was cancelled during the week.
“We’ve not played for a couple of weeks, they played last week obviously. They’re more up to speed probably but I can’t wait for this game. It’s a real chance to get back level with them.
“We know the way Arbroath are and what they bring. We will never underestimate them. They are a top notch team.
“You’d be mad not to realise they’re title contenders. They’ve got too good a team. They work their socks off for one another. They’ve got a couple of really good players as well and they’re there on merit at the halfway point.”
Dodds has been fulsome in his praise of Caley Thistle goalscoring great Billy Mckay, who has returned to the club this season with a renewed purpose.
Mckay came into the season on the back of an injury and had to bide his time before breaking into the team. But he is now into double-figures and Dodds is quick to acknowledge just how important his prowess might be to Inverness’ fortunes.
“I think Billy is getting better with age,” added Dodds. “I said that to him. He’s got game appreciation, game intelligence, but he’s always been a goalscorer. You can’t teach Billy that, even though you can probably give him a couple of points being a former striker.
“I don’t try and tell Billy how to score goals. He’s been fantastic since he came back. Usually after a long-term injury, you’ll have a wee bit where you’re really on the rise and doing well then you plateau. It’s not been like that with Billy.
“He’s been excellent for me since he came back. He could score goals at most levels. He got his chance to go to England – it was Wigan that took him. It didn’t quite work out for him down there and he came back up the road. We’re lucky enough to have him.
“He’s been great and he’ll score plenty more between now and the end of the season. He could be the difference between us winning the Championship and not.”