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Caley Thistle’s new-found solidity under Duncan Ferguson can help them avoid third loss of season to Airdrieonians – podcaster

Inverness are looking for climb away from ninth spot in the Championship when the Diamonds come north on Saturday.

Inverness have lost to Aidrieonians twice this season already, including in July's Viaplay Cup meeting. Image: Jasperimage.
Inverness have lost to Aidrieonians twice this season already, including in July's Viaplay Cup meeting. Image: Jasperimage.

Caley Thistle podcaster Sandy Sutherland is confident defensive strength can help the Highland side rise to the challenge against Airdrie when the teams meet in the Championship next weekend.

ICT lost 3-2 against the Diamonds in the Viaplay Cup group stage in July and were edged out 2-1 away in the league in August.

Both those losses came amid a tough spell under previous manager Billy Dodds, who has since been replaced by Duncan Ferguson.

The ex-Everton caretaker boss has only had two matches in charge of the Highlanders – a 3-2 victory at in-form Arbroath followed by a 0-0 draw against Partick Thistle.

They are locked with Morton at the foot of the table on five points. The two struggling sides had been due to meet on Saturday, but the widespread stormy weather put paid to the Cappielow contest.

It means Ferguson’s next fixture comes this coming Saturday at home to the newly-promoted Diamonds, who drew 1-1 with Queen’s Park on Friday night and sit fourth in the Championship standings.

Defensive solidity offers ICT chance

There have been a number of positive personnel changes at Inverness since they last met Airdrie, and fan Sutherland, a regular on The Wyness Shuffle, is hopeful it could be third time lucky as they seek to kick up the table.

He said: “We’ve lost twice to Airdrie this season and they seem to have our number. I’ve been quite impressed with them.

“In saying that, it will be a different team we will have up against them.

The Wyness Shuffle’s Sandy Sutherland.

“When we played them in the league game (in the 2-1 defeat in August), we didn’t have Nikola Ujdur, Morgan Boyes, Max Anderson and David Wotherspoon. I am looking for a different game and a better game from us.

“Our 0-0 draw against Partick recently was as solid as we’ve looked all season. Our back four right now should be our back four for the foreseeable.

“Morgan Boyes – who I know is struggling with an eye infection – and Nikola Ujdur have looked really good.

Nikola Ujdur, right, chases back on Dundee United’s Tony Watt, while Morgan Boyes goes in to challenge. Image: Shutterstock.

“Cammy Harper, at left-back, has rediscovered his confidence, while right-back seems to keep calling David Carson. It seems to work.

“I know we lost the Raith Rovers and Dundee United games, but that was the back four and we actually played well, so I’d stick with it.

Wotherspoon signing was real coup which shows Ferguson’s clout

Like many Inverness fans, Sutherland is thrilled the club have secured the services of ex-St Johnstone midfielder David Wotherspoon on a deal until January.

The 33-year-old, who won two Scottish Cups and a League Cup with the Perth Saints, became Ferguson’s first signing.

Sutherland believes the versatile player can bring many benefits to the squad, while Ferguson continues to run the rule over other free agents, including ex-Aberdeen forward Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.

He said: “David ticks a lot of boxes for what we’re needing. He’s experienced, can play either side of the wing, or as a 10, and is comfortable with both feet.

David Wotherspoon in North of Scotland Cup action for Caley Thistle. Image: Jasperimage.

“He has managed to get himself fit again from quite a serious injury from a couple of seasons back.

“It’s great to get someone in like David, even if it is for the short-term.

“I’m hoping it goes as well as we want it to and he stays a bit longer. We have quite a young team, especially in attack, so having David in could be a really good foil for the likes of Keith Bray and Robbie Thompson, for example.

“It’s a good move for us and the players seem impressed with him. Duncan has seen what he’s wanted to see from him when he was on trial. It’s a great signing.

“He probably won’t be the only one.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we take in Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, who is on trial. He’s also different to what we’ve currently got.

“It’s encouraging to see us being proactive at a time where most teams will struggle to get players in, especially with the calibre of David Wotherspoon.

“Duncan Ferguson is the biggest name in charge at Inverness probably since Terry Butcher. Players used to come up here simply to play for him.

Inverness manager Duncan Ferguson. Image: Jasperimage.

“I like how Duncan comes across. He seems to have a great way about him. The players are responding to him. He could be the difference between us getting some players in and not.

“I’ll also be interested to see what January brings for us, because I think he will want to stamp his own authority on the team.”

Injured players will have welcomed extra break

Injuries were piling up at Inverness last week – with Mark Ridgers, Cammy Mackay, Sean Welsh, Danny Devine and Boyes all struggling.

Sutherland said having an enforced extra break due to Storm Babet might just work in their favour.

He added: “If Duncan had been offered a win and a draw from Arbroath and Partick in his first two games, he’d have absolutely taken that.

“There are lots of encouraging signs and it’s unfortunate it came just before the international break.

“Now we’ve had the postponement of the Morton game.

“While you might worry that would slow the momentum, he was open last week about there being a few players missing with injuries, so we will have another week to get players fitter and ready.”