Tom Walsh takes heart from holding Championship leaders Arbroath – now he’s after a winning surge to knock the Red Lichties from the summit.
The Inverness winger, who has amassed 24 appearances for Billy Dodds’ Championship title chasers this season, lined up David Carson for a close call which skimmed the post in Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Gayfield.
It was their best chance of breaking the deadlock in a testing contest where the hosts also had opportunities.
Caley Thistle are the only side this season to beat Dick Campbell’s part-time high-fliers, with Shane Sutherland’s goal on July 31 getting them off the mark with a 1-0 victory.
Arbroath responded with a 1-0 win of their own in Inverness in October and Sunday’s stalemate in the high winds means ICT are three points off the pace with a game in hand ahead of back-to-back home matches against Raith Rovers and Queen of the South.
Unbeaten at Gayfield is decent return
Winger Walsh was reasonably happy to depart Arbroath with a point in the board, in a game where they could have ended six points behind their rivals.
He said: “When you consider no other side has won at Gayfield (in the league) this season, it maybe was not a bad point for us. To be undefeated at Arbroath over the two games is probably a decent return.
“Arbroath are a good team and they are top for a reason. We gave them respect and we had to battle and fight for every ball.
“We were inches away from scoring with David Carson’s shot, but they had a few close ones as well, so anyone could have nicked it in the end.”
Testing day needed battling qualities
The ball took on a direction dictated to by the wind at times, although both teams created as much as they could.
Dodds explained his team had to play to the conditions rather than their game plan and Walsh felt it was all about rolling up the sleeves and getting the job done.
He said: “The wind was swirling, so you have to adapt to the conditions.
“You have to battle away, win your second balls and hope that bit of quality can win you the game. That didn’t come on Sunday, but Arbroath is a tough venue. We only had one or two moments on Sunday.
“In a game like that, you have to battle away and put a shift in for the team. We just could not, as a team, find the winner, but that’s the way it goes.”
Two teams full of confidence
Walsh, who is in his second spell at Inverness, is determined to help drive ICT on to what would be another three massive points this weekend if they see off third-placed Raith, who are just one point and one place behind them.
He said: “We can only focus on ourselves. We’d like to go on a winning run again now and see where it takes us. Who knows what way this league is going to go, but we will aim to get back to winning ways next week.
“We’re back at home on Saturday and you’re looking to win your home games. Raith will be coming up here with confidence, the same as us.
“We’re all up there fighting, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Walsh aims to enthuse 500 ICT fans
There will only be 500 season ticket holders backing ICT when they host Raith this weekend, due to the Scottish Government’s Covid restrictions.
Walsh insists it’s up to the team to put on a show which helps make them heard, as the Arbroath fans were at the weekend.
He added: “Hopefully our fans will be right up for it, which I’m sure they will be. They will make as much atmosphere as they can – even if it is only 500. It is up to us to help create that by playing good football.”
Raith were held to a 0-0 draw by Dunfermline Athletic on Sunday, having had the chance to leapfrog ICT with a win.
ICT defeated Rovers 1-0 in Inverness earlier this season, with the teams drawing 1-1 in Kirkcaldy in October.
The Fifers knocked Caley Thistle out of the SPFL Trust Trophy at the Caledonian Stadium on penalties after a scoreless draw on November 30.