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Mental toughness can help drive Caley Thistle to victory, says head coach Billy Dodds

Caley Thistle manager Billy Dodds.
Caley Thistle manager Billy Dodds.

Head coach Billy Dodds wants his Caley Thistle title challengers to show the same mental toughness as Saturday’s hosts Dunfermline Athletic.

ICT will close to within one point of Championship leaders Arbroath if they win the only game in the division this weekend at East End Park.

They are up against John Hughes’ basement side, who are 19 points below them.

However, the Pars, who have taken four points from ICT this term, go into this one on the back of an impressive 1-0 victory over steadily improving Hamilton Accies.

That result, which came courtesy of a Ryan Dow goal, followed hot on the heels of a crushing 5-0 thumping the Fifers suffered at the hands of Morton.

Inverness have won just three of their last 15 matches in all competitions and the 2-2 draw at home to Queen of the South last weekend was their third successive draw.

The clash against the Doonhamers was peppered with talking points as two disputed away goals, allied with ICT coming back from a goal down to lead at one stage, ended in one point when they felt they deserved three.

Dunfermline ‘in a false position’

Dodds knows his team have to take the chance to close the gap at the top, while the main focus is on Scottish Cup action this weekend.

He said: “It’s a great opportunity for us. Dunfermline, for me, are in a false position but they find themselves there and that tells you what this Championship is like.

“We have found it tough against Dunfermline and they’ve beaten us up here. We lost our first points of the season at East End Park, so we know what they bring.

Inverness head coach Billy Dodds.

“They reacted well to their 5-0 defeat at Morton with a win. I don’t need to tell anyone how crazy this league is when you see some of the results.

“They have the confidence after getting the win last week and they have a steel mentality after responding. When you get beat 5-0 that can floor you for a long time.

“That’s the bounce back we need. We’re not bouncing back from a defeat, but from a disappointing two points dropped.

“We need the mentality that Dunfermline showed after their Morton defeat. If we do that, we’re capable of taking three points.”

Victory target after hat-trick of draws

Inverness have not won since they thumped Morton 6-1 at Cappielow on December 11 and draws have been the main outcome in recent weeks.

Dodds knows the Highlanders, who will be without injured midfielders Scott Allardice and Aaron Doran, have the opportunity to make up ground this weekend.

He said: “We have to return to winning ways and three points would be brilliant after three draws on the trot.

“We’re disappointed at drawing games but we’re still up there, right in the mix. Three points after the disappointment of the draw last week would propel us to the place we were earlier in the season.”

‘Victory will get us going’ – boss

Dodds explained his team are putting in the shifts every week, but he still believes there’s room for improvement.

He added: “I never doubt the boys’ effort and endeavour and their mindset as they set out to overturn a deficit. They did it against Raith and Queen of the South.

“We were 1-0 down last week but we got ourselves 2-1 up and suddenly it’s 2-2. We then threw the kitchen sink at them and their keeper had a couple of good saves. Last week’s game had a bit of everything.

“My boys give me their tank every week and I can see the desperation in them at the end to try and win. We were quiet in the dressing room because we knew we’d given everything and it hadn’t gone our way.

“We can still improve and I’m not denying that and we’re working on it. A victory will get us going.”

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