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Caley Thistle boss Billy Dodds sees benefit of five substitutions if Championship rule is changed

Inverness head coach Billy Dodds.
Inverness head coach Billy Dodds.

Caley Thistle head coach Billy Dodds reckons having the option of using up to five substitutions in the Championship would offer a helping hand at times.

The rule change is on the agenda after Scottish top-flight sides voted to use five subs, as had already been allowed in League Two.

Covid’s impact on player pools prompted FIFA to allow leagues to determine their own rules with regards to substitutions, with clubs in each Scottish division allowed to vote on the issue.

The SPFL is now consulting with clubs in the Championship and League One to gauge whether to offer these sides the chance to beef up their matchday options.

Dodds has mixed views on whether seeing the five-subs rule brought in at Championship level would be a welcome move.

With Covid hitting Inverness’ squad over the festive period, the number of available players would not have allowed the boss to even fill his bench with the normal seven players from which to make three changes.

ICT’s Boxing Day Championship match at home to Partick Thistle was postponed due to Covid in the camp, then only five players including goalkeeping coach Ryan Esson made up the numbers for the 0-0 draw at Arbroath on January 2.  

Dodds said: “I think in certain situations I would have liked an extra sub, but there have been games where we couldn’t fill our bench.

“A lot of clubs will like it who have big squads. We run with a tight squad. Sometimes it would help us and others it would hinder us.

“You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

“We run with a small squad, but a good one. When we have everyone fit and competitive then I think we are as good as anyone.

“We hope to stay injury-free as we have seen with some of our performances, we have been excellent and look a top team.

“We have lost some consistency we had earlier this season, but we have picked up crucial points like last week.

“That’s why we are still in the mix. Every team will say as long as they don’t lose their top players then they will be okay. We hope to stay clear of injuries.”

Dodds delighted by side’s reaction

Inverness drew their third league game in succession when they were held 2-2 by Queen of the South on Saturday, leaving them four points behind never-say-die leaders Arbroath, who beat Raith Rovers 2-1 in Kirkcaldy.

On Saturday, the Caley Jags – who have a game in hand on Arbroath – travel to basement team Dunfermline Athletic, who defeated Hamilton Accies 1-0 at East End Park.

A borderline offside decision fell in favour of Queen of the South as Lee Connelly put them in front against ICT.

Second half strikes from Billy Mckay and Tom Walsh then put Inverness on the brink of victory before another hotly-disputed goal, scored by Ally Roy – who looked to be offside – secured a 2-2 draw for the Doonhamers.

Dodds confirmed after the game the new laws suggest referee Willie Collum was right to award the leveller, with the ball coming off David Carson, before Roy tucked the ball into the net.

The Inverness boss felt it was a “chaotic” finish to the match as his side hunted down what would have been three big points.

He added: “Whatever decisions we made, it cost us. That’s the game it was. It wasn’t just decisions which were all over the place.

“I asked the boys at half-time to show composure, but it’s hard sometimes when you’re desperate to win. We only got one, but the boys are giving me everything and we’re still right up there.”

Fortune favoured Queen of the South

Dodds felt the Doonhamers gained some fortune in the Highlands at the weekend, which was out of sync from their recent games.

He said: “To be fair, Queen of the South have had a bit of bad luck recently with penalties given against them, which I’ve thought were never penalties. They got a wee bit of fortune on Saturday and sometimes you deserve it.

“I am not going to blame the officials for Saturday’s result. My team gave me everything, but we could learn to do the better habits defensively at times, and sometimes when we lose the ball in silly areas and we get punished.

“Overall, I can’t fault them.”

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