Billy Dodds wants his Caley Thistle players to add an edge to their game – following the lead of Kirk Broadfoot from 2021.
Following five successive competitive defeats, the Inverness head coach is confident his Championship men have the ability to get their season up and running against Airdrie on Saturday.
But he would like to hear more from his players on the park, stressing communication allied with a nasty streak to dig out results can help turn around their fortunes.
Broadfoot arrival was ‘culture shock’
Former Rangers and Scotland star Broadfoot, who is now at Morton, was a key signing for Inverness in the 2021-2022 campaign when they reached the promotion play-off final before being pipped at the post by St Johnstone.
With captain Sean Welsh sidelined with a groin injury, the Caley Jags are light on vocal leaders.
Dodds said: “It’s hard to get leaders on the pitch these days. It’s a society thing where kids come through and ‘how do you talk to them, or approach them?’ Shouting can lead to them being quieter as players.
“Kirk Broadfoot demanded a lot. Some boys didn’t like it – it was like a culture shock, but he was intent on winning.
“A lot of it is football talk. Outwith football, some people take it personally.
“I was at a coaching course in Edinburgh at the weekend and I spoke to a few coaches and they told me they have the same problem.
“It’s more a society issue, rather than just football. It’s frustrating.
“One thing you need to do as a footballer is speak on the pitch.”
‘Shout’ to alert team-mates – manager
And former Scotland, Aberdeen and Rangers forward Dodds insists hearing team-mates in live situations can lead to improved link-up play.
He said: “Sometimes players on the ball can’t get their heads up to see what’s there and who to pass to.
“Sometimes they can play the ball blindly if they get a shout. I’m trying to get that across to the players.
“You have to keep chipping away because there is a way of putting it to the players.
“Yes, there are loud characters and there is bravado but sometimes there’s a dying breed of players with a wee bit of nastiness, a desire to win, a wee edge that gets you over the line.”
Dodds determined to arrest the slide
The 1-0 loss at Ayr United a fortnight ago followed an opening day 2-1 league defeat against Queen’s Park. Viaplay Cup reversals against Dumbarton, Airdrie and Dundee set the poor run off.
Caley Thistle had not lost five on the bounce since 2008-2009 and they are determined to stop that slide as soon as possible.
When asked whether the requirement for a result is now urgent, Dodds added: “It’s not urgent, but we need to give ourselves a base by getting a point or three on the board. That would give us confidence.
“We have shown in the past we’re a good team, but maybe a streaky team, for example going these five games without a win, but we’re capable of putting together a number of games where we’re unbeaten.
“I am trying to get away from that. I don’t want it to become five, six, seven, eight, nine games.
“Let’s cull it and make sure we the most we ever go without winning is two or three. Those high numbers have cost us in seasons gone by.”