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Caley Thistle’s travel slickness built on team unity, insists defender Danny Devine

Inverness defender Danny Devine.
Inverness defender Danny Devine.

Danny Devine is determined to protect Caley Thistle’s strong away record as they seek to move to within one point of Championship leaders Arbroath this afternoon.

The Highlanders have won just three of their last 15 matches in all competitions, but only lost the same amount as draws have kept them in the title hunt.

In the only game in the division today, ICT head to rock-bottom Dunfermline Athletic looking for their first win since mauling Morton 6-1 on December 11.

This fixture in Fife was postponed on December 29 due to a waterlogged pitch, so with both sides out of the Scottish Cup, it’s game on today at East End Park.

ICT have only suffered one league loss on their travels and that came in a surprise 2-1 defeat at Hamilton on October 2.

Dunfermline manager John Hughes.

Dunfermline, now bossed by former Inverness manager John Hughes, who led to club to the Scottish Cup in 2015, have taken four points from ICT this season. They also defeated Hamilton 1-0 last week to draw level with Queen of the South.

Devine hopes quality will tell in Fife

Defender Devine, who used to play for the Pars, explained why he thinks the team do so well on their travels.

He said: “There is a real togetherness and team effort. We always know it will be difficult at every away ground in the Championship.

“We just need to ensure we’re prepared as best we can be every week and we’re ready.

“The crowd will be right behind our opponents, so it’s about sticking together, battling first and foremost, and letting our quality come through and I think we’ve done that this season.”

Team still within touching distance

Northern Irishman Devine, who joined ICT for a second time when he left Dunfermline in August 2020, is looking forward to facing his old side, albeit with only some of his old team-mates still there.

He added: “It’s always good to go back to one of your old teams. You obviously want to get one over them, but it will also be good to have the fans back in. That will bring a real atmosphere to the game and we’re looking forward to.

ICT’s Danny Devine (right) and Dunfermline’s Lewis McCann.

“A win is long overdue. We’ve had a few draws and a defeat, so we’re desperate to get back to winning ways.

“Luckily for us, we’re still within touching distance. We remain fully confident that we can kick on again, hopefully it will start on Saturday.”

Fans can help in tough match spells

With restrictions lifted and crowds of more than 500 permitted inside grounds again, Devine is sure the supporters backing ICT can spur them on.

He added: “Any player will tell you it brings real atmosphere to the game.

“We didn’t enjoy the smaller crowds during the restrictions, but you just had to get on with it and do the best we could.

“The boys missed not having the fans. The crowd can be a real help in difficult patches of the game when they can really get behind us and help us.”

Not getting caught up in title chat

Devine, who was unfortunate to score on own goal in Dunfermline’s 2-1 win in Inverness in mid-November, insists he’s not fixated by the league table as a five-way title tussle plays out, with Arbroath, Kilmarnock, Raith and Partick in the mix.

He said: “Personally, I try to concentrate on the next game and get the three points on the Saturday. I’m sure other boys keep a really close eye on the league table, but we can’t affect anything else.

“We want to concentrate on our game and hopefully it’s good enough come the end of the season.

“It is so tight and it changes week by week. This league is always so competitive. Anyone can beat anyone on their day.”

Devine enjoying Broadfoot link-up

And the experienced 29-year-old, who played for Partick for two seasons when he first left Inverness in 2016, is relishing playing alongside former Scotland, Rangers and Kilmarnock stopper Kirk Broadfoot.

The 37-year-old has struck up a fine relationship with Devine after signing in the summer as he aims to add a Championship medal to his glittering cabinet.

Devine believes it’s a pairing which works well in line with the other defenders.

Kirk Broadfoot in action against Dunfermline’s Nikolay Todorov.

He added: “We’ve both really enjoyed playing alongside one another. We are two experienced players – him a little bit more than me!

“It has been great and hopefully we can keep building and improving, not just as a two, but as a four or five if you include Mark Ridgers. We want to go from strength to strength and see out the season.”

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