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Caley Thistle head coach Billy Dodds thrilled fans are on board for promotion push

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

Caley Thistle head coach Billy Dodds is urging fans to keep the noise up as the team target promotion to the Premiership this month.

The Inverness side are getting set for their Premiership play-off quarter-final against Partick Thistle, at Firhill on Tuesday then at home on Friday.

Supporters lapped up the action on Friday as the regular Championship season closed with a stunning 4-0 victory against Hamilton Accies.

Inverness head coach Billy Dodds.

A brace from man-of-the-match Tom Walsh and strikes from Shane Sutherland and Joe Hardy had their opponents down and out in less than half an hour.

A controlled second half didn’t see any further goals, but it was an impressive show, which made it six wins from their last eight matches.

Momentum with ICT for play-offs

The turnaround since beating runners-up Arbroath 3-0 on March 13 has been stunning and arrived at the perfect time.

At ICT’s end-of-season awards after the Hamilton match on Friday, the fan award went to Cameron MacColl, who was pictured with players and management.

That stirring show followed a winless period with six draws and five losses right throughout winter.

Sections of ICT fan-base were more than a little restless, with Dodds and his players under real pressure from the stands and on social media.

However, the turnstiles of the Caledonian Stadium kept clicking and the emergence of the Section 94 singing section opposite the main stand has been mentioned by the players and staff as they’ve helped roared the team into promotion contention.

ICTs’ Shane Sutherland is presented with the players’ player of the year award by former manager and current sporting director John Robertson after Friday’s 4-0 win over Hamilton in which he scored his 11th goal of the term.

Fans rallying round to back ICT

Dodds is thrilled the home supporters have pumped up the volume – as they will be needed on Friday when Partick come calling for the second leg.

He said: “We don’t take big numbers to away games, but they generate some noise. But it really is good to hear our home fans making a noise when we play here. They have been brilliant.

“I’ve had my hard times, but more recently when we’ve given them performances, they have been excellent and roared us on, like in the 2-1 win against Kilmarnock here.

“That was special and they carried that on to Friday’s game. The fans have played their part – home and away.”

Caley Jags have shown steel this year

Dodds is delighted by their strong run of form and is urging the players to keep it up now it has reached crunch time.

He said: “We have the momentum with our current form – but that’s all it is. I just hope we carry that on. We’re capable and I’ve said that all along.

“When we play, we’re one of the top teams in this league. Our position has shown that this season.

“We lost top players such as Scott Allardice and Michael Gardyne and that hurt is, but we have shown some steel to come back and put in the performances we have.”

Injury blow for defender Duffy

The only downside of a fantastic night for Inverness was the calf injury suffered in the first half by defender Wallace Duffy.

Dodds is keeping his fingers crossed the medical assessment shows up in the player’s favour.

Wallace Duffy applauding fans against Dunfermline Athletic earlier this year.

He said: “It was a real gutting moment for Wallace. He got a calf tweak. I am hoping it is just a tweak and not a tear. We will get him assessed.

“Wallace has been doing brilliantly for us. We have good players and good cover, but we hope he will be okay for Tuesday.”

Partick suffer final-night loss at Ayr

Tuesday’s hosts Partick, who finished fourth in the table, ended their campaign on a low note on Friday with a 3-1 defeat at Ayr United, who stayed in the division as a result.

Arbroath finished two points behind champions Kilmarnock thanks to their 3-0 home win against Morton.

Dick Campbell’s part-timers face the winners of Partick/Inverness on May 10 and May 13, with the second leg at Gayfield.

The winner of that semi-final double-header will contest the final against the Premiership’s second-bottom side on May 20 and 23.

Reece McAlear won two young players’ of the season awards on Friday along with goal of the season for his superb strike against Dunfermline on March 26. Here, the on-loan Norwich City starlet is pictured receiving one of his prizes from ICT’s sporting director John Robertson.

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