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Caley Thistle target further signings as they get set for Brora Rangers and St Johnstone games

Caley Thistle head coach Billy Dodds.
Caley Thistle head coach Billy Dodds.

Billy Dodds wants his Caley Thistle hot-shots to keep firing in pre-season as the focus will shift swiftly to the Premier Sports Cup.

The Inverness head coach saw his team hit the net 10 times without reply against Highland League hosts Clach in a midweek run-out at Grant Street.

Dodds ran the rule over a trialist defender in the second half, while two of his summer signings – winger Nathan Boyd and striker Steven Boyd – scored debut goals.

Two different line-ups played a half each and it will be the same again as they head to Brora Rangers on Saturday before they play St Johnstone in a closed-door game at Grant Street, Inverness, on Tuesday.

Winger Nathan Shaw made his Caley Jags debut – and scored – in the 10-0 rout of Clach on Wednesday.

The top-flight Perth Saints were the team who denied ICT promotion last month in the final of the Premiership play-offs.

They will be the Highlanders’ last opponents before next weekend’s Premier Sports Cup opener against League 2 winners Kelty Hearts.

Inverness failed to get out of their section last season, with defeats by Cove Rangers and Hearts and a penalty shoot-out loss against Stirling Albion placing them third in Group A.

The Caley Jags have failed to reach the knock-out stages of the League Cup since 2016/17, which was the season the competition changed to its current quick-fire opening round of group ties.

Fitness and goals vital win 10-0 rout

Dodds is determined to have his third-placed Championship side, with additions Boyd, Shaw and Max Ram, ready to see off Kelty next weekend ahead of ties against Livingston, Albion Rovers and Cove Rangers.

He said: “I want us to be ready for the Premier Sports Cup. We had a disappointment in it last year, but we hope to hit the ground running this season.

“Of course, it was nice to score the goals (against Clach) because it adds to the confidence of the strikers and forward-thinking players, but I just wanted the players to keep working and get their 45 minutes in.

“We move on to Brora on Saturday then play St Johnstone at Grant Street in a closed-door game on Tuesday. Overall, we will have had three fixtures overall and then we will be ready for Kelty in the cup.

“I was pretty pleased as Nathan and Boydy got their goals against Clach.

“The park was in great condition and it was testament to the groundsman (Sion Evan). It was a nice surface to play on and it was a good workout for us.”

Billy Mckay bagged a brace as Caley Thistle defeated Clach 10-0 in midweek.

Despite exiting in the League Cup in July, ICT won their opening six Championship games last year and that was a main reason why Dodds has gone for local preparations once more.

He added: “Because we started the league season pretty well last year, we kept to a similar format, although we have less games because we don’t have as much time.

“It was two 45-minute exercises and I want the players to work hard on and off the ball to condition their bodies. We handled the game properly.”

Dodds determined to bolster squad

Defender Ram officially becomes a Caley Jags player on Friday once his Wycombe Wanderers contract expires.

And Dodds might well strike a deal with another defender who impressed him in the second half against Clach in midweek.

He said: “We have a trialist in, who we are looking at, while Max Ram has signed to offer another option. We’ll bring him along properly.

“We’re in the market for more, so we will see where that takes us over the next couple of weeks as to who else we can bring in.”

Dodds also confirmed, after loaning young players such as Lewis Nicolson and Robbie Thompson to Clach last season, the relationship is likely to continue this year.

 

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