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Charlie Christie not anticipating wholesale changes for Caley Thistle ahead of Dundee United clash

The interim co-manager of Inverness calls on the struggling side to find their way past the Tangerines in a bid to secure their first league win of the season.

Interim Caley Thistle manager Charlie Christie. Image: SNS Group
Interim Caley Thistle manager Charlie Christie. Image: SNS Group

Interim boss Charlie Christie hopes some minor can Caley Thistle land three precious points against Dundee United on Saturday.

Caley Jags, who sit bottom of the Championship, take on Jim Goodwin’s Tangerines, who are unbeaten in eight successive league and cup matches.

Former managers Christie and John Robertson have picked up the pieces this week following the sacking of Billy Dodds and assistant Barry Wilson on Sunday night.

Christie believes trying to make sweeping changes within four or five days could backfire and that’s why they have been careful with their messages to the players.

John Robertson, who will take the Inverness side this weekend with Charlie Christie, won the First Division title as the boss in season 2003/2004. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

ICT need to create more chances

However, creating more chances for forwards such as Billy Mckay was one of instructions for a team with just three league goals so far.

He said: “It is difficult to change things in four or five days. You can’t change too much, and you can actually make mistakes trying to change too much in a short period of time.

“The good thing is I don’t think there are massive tweaks required. We need to kick the ball in the net a bit more regularly – that’s a fact.

“But some of that’s because we’re not creating the openings where I played on the park.

“That’s frustrating me a bit.

“I don’t want them playing safe passes when there are forward passes to be played.

“We’ve touched on little things, and worked on things, but there’s not massive changes to be made and I’m glad there’s not.

“I don’t think you can make those kind of changes within four days.

“What I want to see is every single player give that little bit more. It is an easy thing to say, but sometimes a bit harder to achieve.”

Former Inverness playmaker Christie underlined the need for more incisive play at times.

He said: “You don’t need to tell (the club’s record goalscorer) Billy Mckay how to put the ball into the back of the net, it is more about how you create openings that has been the difficulty.

“That has been the frustration, looking at final passes. I would rather take a clever touch to create an opening for Billy.

“He hasn’t missed a barrel-load of chances, I think more clever movement and action is required in the final third.”

‘We need to turn the corner quickly’

As ICT search for their first victory since beating Bonnyrigg Rose 2-1 in the Viaplay Cup in mid-July, Christie believes the team are not far away from netting three league points.

He said: “They’ve had four defeats by one goal. That tells me a story that they’re not a million miles away, but it also says we’re lacking in some departments, which we’ve touched upon in the last three or four days.

“I’ve seen the highlights of the 1-0 defeat at Raith Rovers last week, and they were the better team by some distance in the first half.

“They are not a million miles away, but they need to turn the corner as quickly as possible.”

‘Terrific’ week of training from squad

Christie explained the low feeling within the stadium at the start of the week following Dodds and Wilson leaving was replaced by a determination at training.

He added: “The mood around any club when the manager and assistant lose their job is difficult.

“I can only say the players have trained terrifically well.

“On Monday morning, Billy and Barry came in and said their farewells and then I spoke to them prior to training.

“I just said to them they really had to try to keep your heads up and train well. They have trained terrifically well.”

Dundee United manager Jim Goodwin could see his team top the table if they win in Inverness and leaders Raith Rovers slip up at Airdrie. Image: SNS Group

Players can match Dundee United

Looking at in-form Dundee United, who have won four of their last five visits to Inverness, Christie has challenged his squad to rise to the challenge of tackling one of the Championship’s biggest hitters.

He said: “We’re playing one of the teams you would expect to be challenging for the title – good players, a good side, experienced manager who has managed successfully at this level before.

“It is a good game for the players to come into, knowing they will have to be at their best.

“I’ve basically thrown down the gauntlet to the players.”

Young midfielders impress Christie

Christie’s day job at Inverness is academy director, so he takes plenty of heart from seeing young homegrown talent break into the senior squad, such as midfielders Robbie Thompson, 19, and 17-year-old Keith Bray.

When asked about the duo, the father of Scotland star Ryan, who came through the club, said: “It’s tremendous. We have had good success over the years, and we have known for seven years that these were two good players.

Robbie Thompson in action against Arbroath. Image: SNS Group

“Keith was taken in earlier and seeing him come to the fore so early is a real shot in the arm for everyone at the academy, while Robbie is my sort of player.

“They both are playing in that (midfield) area, looking to make things happen. They need to add goals to their game, but that will come with experience.”