Ross Tokely reckons Billy Mckay is the ideal man to fire Caley Thistle back into Championship title contention – as long as team-mates deliver the ammunition.
The ICT legend, who racked up close to 600 games for the Highlanders, is a youth coach at the Caledonian Stadium and co-commentates with Iain Auld on the club’s TV.
He’s seen all the highs and lows of the season, with the Caley Jags stuck in a stuttering stage since they smashed Morton 6-1 in December.
That said, Billy Dodds team remain firmly in the Championship hunt with 11 fixtures to go, as they are six points behind leaders Arbroath.
Last Wednesday’s stirring 3-3 draw with Partick Thistle saw Dodds’ battlers strike back for a point, with Jags forward Brian Graham netting a hat-trick.
Goals from Mckay, Shane Sutherland then, in stoppage time, Kirk Broadfoot, ensured there was a precious point picked up a few days after a meek 1-0 loss to Morton.
David Carson’s cross for Mckay’s ice-cool finish – his 13th overall this season – was highlighted by Tokely and he said there was a big improvement in order to support Mckay and Sutherland up top.
He said: “To score three goals will be good for confidence. They haven’t scored enough goals, but they created a lot more chances compared to the match against Morton, which was great to see.
“At times, they have to return to what they were doing so well at the start of the season, especially putting in great deliveries.
“It’s about getting the ball out wide and driving in the supplies to Billy Mckay, because he thrives on service and there was far more of that against Partick Thistle.
“I felt Reece (McAlear) and Sean (Welsh) were also getting up in support of the strikers a bit more. You have to get players running to get into areas to create the chances, not just the wide men, but the midfielders as well.
“The delivery from David Carson was terrific and it was a great goal from Billy Mckay.”
Draw can inspire side to kick forward
Tokely, who won the second tier crown twice with ICT, feels the draw can be a key point from which to kick back to winning form, starting against visitors Ayr United this weekend.
He said: “There are 11 games to go and they are still in it. It is definitely a result they could use to springboard a run.
“I know the Inverness public want to see good football. They will back the team if they see the fight and desire with creating chances.
“The main thing is the public want to see the team doing well and I think you have to take positives from it, despite it not being a good run right now.”
Rollercoaster ride in commentary
Social media was buzzing with ICT fans liking and relating to Tokely’s emotional commentary during and after the six-goal thriller with Partick last week.
The former full-back explained his feelings for the club come through when behind the mic, because he cares so much for their promotion push.
He added: “It was frustrating. I coach the youth teams, too, and I want to help to take the club back to the Premiership.
“I want the club to be promoted – they have been out of the top league too long.
“It was nice to get some positive feedback. I always try to give an honest opinion for both teams in the games. You have to give credit to the opposition, too.”
We are all Ross Tokely's audible signs right now 😢 https://t.co/c2B62kIm3b
— The Wyness Shuffle (@TheICTPodcast) February 9, 2022
Strong finish can lead to success
Kilmarnock appointed former Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes in January, replacing Tommy Wright and he set about reshaping the squad in the window.
Former Dons defender Ash Taylor, ex-Inverness winger Daniel Mackay, returning forward Kyle Lafferty and on-loan Aberdeen midfielder Dean Campbell joined last month.
They are ahead of ICT in second spot, and also chasing down Dick Campbell’s Arbroath.
The Caley Jags began this season with seven wins and a draw and Tokely believes there’s a live chance for them to put a similar marker down in the final quarter.
He said: “Kilmarnock are maybe finding they have taken too many players on board. It’s not gelling as well as they’d thought it might. It is very hard to do that.
“Inverness have not taken on so many and they still have the core of their squad. I feel they’re missing (injured duo) Danny Devine and Scott Allardice – that spine of the team. They are two big players missing.
“It’s a decent league, but it’s there for someone to really take a hold of it. For a part-time team in Arbroath to be leading it, it’s testament to them, but there is still a lot of games for someone to challenge.
“If Inverness can replicate the run they had at the start of the season, like a mirror effect if you like, they won’t be far off.”