Midfielder Charlie Gilmour believes Caley Thistle boss Duncan Ferguson is bringing the best out of him as a Championship player.
The 24-year-old, who played for Scotland through to under-19 level, is a key figure at the heart of the action for Inverness.
The former Arsenal youth player, who was on loan at Cove Rangers in the Championship last term, has racked up 17 appearances for ICT this season, only missing the Viaplay Cup game at Dundee in July due to suspension.
He’s started all of Ferguson’s games in charge over the past two months, which has stretched to four wins and three draws so far.
The Caley Jags have moved off the foot of the division and are seventh ahead of Saturday’s home clash with in-form Raith Rovers.
Gilmour ‘loving’ life under Ferguson
Gilmour explained Ferguson is far more than a motivator as a manager.
He said: “This is the best point of my career. Being available for selection, enjoying the playing style and and winning games most weeks now are all contributing to me really enjoying my football again.
“The manager has been excellent since he came in. The way he speaks to people is so good.
“He speaks to you almost like a friend and it makes you want to play for him.
“People think of him in terms of being motivational, but tactically he is right up there. It’s a case of so far, so good.
“He sets high standards and that’s positive for everyone. Even in training, every little thing we do, be it working in boxes or in passing drills, it always has to be at the highest tempo and the highest quality.
“That benefits all of us as a team and as individuals. I’m loving it.”
Raith and ICT impressed Gilmour
Gilmour, who has one goal in Inverness colours so far, believes there is no reason for ICT, in their current form, to think they won’t come out on top against a Raith side now unbeaten in nine games.
He said: “I played against Raith Rovers when I was at Cove last season and I thought Raith and Inverness were the best two teams I played against.
“They have got a number of really decent players. They have been on a good run, as we have, but I don’t see any reason why we can’t put in another good performance and win the game.
“It would be another big result if we were to win, having already drawn at Dundee United. To come away with four points against the top two would be great.”
🔜 It's another home match this Saturday as we return to #cinchChamp action to face Raith Rovers at the Caledonian Stadium
— Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC (@ICTFC) November 27, 2023
Quality from strikers counted in cup
On Saturday, Inverness were made to work for a 2-0 home win against Lowland League visitors Cowdenbeath in the third round of the Scottish Cup.
Last year’s runners-up, who made seven changes to their starting line-up, required late goals from substitutes David Wotherspoon and Billy Mckay to earn the victory.
Gilmour added: “It was a typical cup match. We dominated the ball and they didn’t have any real chances.
“We deserved to win. When we brought Spoony and Billy on, they showed the bit of quality we needed in the final third to win it.
“To be fair to Cowdenbeath, you have to give credit to them. They had high fitness levels and limited us to few chances, so they might have nicked it the longer the game went on. Overall though, we didn’t look under threat.”
ICTFC will face @BroomhillFC at home in the Fourth Round of the Scottish Cup
Fourth Round ties to take place the weekend of Saturday 20 January 2024 pic.twitter.com/dXJGnl6cdQ
— Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC (@ICTFC) November 26, 2023
Broomhill tie will do for midfielder
The reward for reaching round four is another home tie against a side from the Lowland League on January 20 – this time Broomhill from Glasgow, formerly Open Goal Broomhill.
Gilmour was happy to land another favourable team at the next stage to potentially save the big guns for further down the line.
He said: “It didn’t bother me who we got in the draw. People might say we’d have preferred Rangers or Celtic, but if you progress in the earlier rounds, you will meet them eventually.
“You’d rather collect the wins now and draw them later, so it’s ideal. We can now focus on the league.”