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Caley Thistle boss Duncan Ferguson fears relegated Arbroath have ‘downed tools’ with three games to play

The Inverness manager makes the shock claim that the Gayfield side 'have lost their edge' as drop battle heats up.

Inverness manager Duncan Ferguson.
Inverness manager Duncan Ferguson. Image: SNS.

Caley Thistle boss Duncan Ferguson reckons relegated Championship side Arbroath have “downed tools” before facing ICT’s drop-zone rivals.

Ahead of his team’s home showdown with second-top Raith Rovers on Friday, Ferguson believes his men need at least two more wins from their last three games to avoid finishing in ninth spot, the relegation play-off position.

He’s revised his own team’s previous target due to what he’s seeing from Arbroath.

Successive league victories for the first time this season – against Arbroath and Queen’s Park – lifted Inverness above Queen’s by two points. They are now only three points adrift of free-falling Morton.

While the Caley Jags were beating the Spiders 1-0 at Hampden, Arbroath’s fate was sealed with a 5-0 loss at Ayr United.

With just 23 points so far, they are returning to League One after five successive years in the second-tier.

Jim McIntyre’s Angus team lost 2-1 at Inverness the week before, which was the result which as good as sent them down.

Arbroath’s form ‘big problem’ for ICT

Ferguson is worried about the impact relegation has had on Arbroath who face Morton on Saturday then Queen’s seven days later.

He said: “We are certainly in a good place after two successful wins. We need to continue that.

“I did say recently we needed three wins (to stay up). I’d say we probably still need two out of three because Arbroath are in the pot.

“Arbroath are getting turned over now, which is a big problem for us. We have Morton, who are just above us, playing Arbroath this Saturday, while Queen’s Park have also still to play Arbroath.

“We have to put that down as three points for Morton and Queen’s Park, but I hope I am wrong.

“We see Arbroath basically of having downed tools on their club and their manager.

“You can see by Arbroath’s result last week against Ayr United where their heads are at, or not trying for their club or manager. Hopefully I am wrong on that.”

Ferguson expects zero Arbroath tally

When asked to expand on his words about Arbroath, he said: “That edge has gone now.

“I didn’t watch the whole of their game against Ayr, but when you see the result – 5-0 – I’m thinking it is just our luck, isn’t it?

“We had Arbroath up here when they were fighting for their lives. We probably relegated them.

“The next week, it’s just the way it has gone. Teams around about us are playing Arbroath and we’re putting three points on those teams’ tally because we don’t think Arbroath are going to try a leg from now until the end of the season. I hope I’m wrong.”

United on course for title success

An Inverness win against Raith would all but confirm Dundee United as the league champions.

They are already six points and 36 goals better than Ian Murray’s Rovers, so it would spell party time at Tannadice when United face Ayr on Saturday.

Former United striker Ferguson admits the title seems already destined for Jim Goodwin’s club.

He said: “I always felt Dundee United would win the league. I think they have won the league – it’s done, because of their points and goal difference, although it’s not 100% done.

“I had good times at Dundee United and they will win the league, if not this Saturday, then they will win it the week after.

“I am concentrating more on us. We need these points because we feel Morton and Queen’s Park will beat Arbroath.

“If we don’t pick up the points on Friday, we will be back in trouble.”

Jim Goodwin’s Dundee United are close to winning the Championship title. Image: SNS

McAllister make shock ICT return

With defenders James Carragher and Remi Savage poised to return to the fold against Rovers, another player has made a shock comeback.

Sean McAllister, who had been on loan from Everton, returned to the English Premier League side last month after a thigh injury seemed to threaten the remainder of his season.

However, the Northern Ireland under-21 midfielder boosted Ferguson by making a quick return.

Sean McAllister, right, challenges Morton’s Lewis Strapp. Image: SNS

The manager said: “Sean has been rehabbed and is ready to go. He will be added to the squad. It’s good to have one of our loan players back.

“He was out for six weeks, so it is a long-term injury. He just appeared on Tuesday, and we were made up.

“Sean came in and did a bit of light training and then came into the main group today. It was a nice surprise to see him.

“It is nice to get him back with a couple of games to go, so he goes straight into the squad and he is definitely in my thinking for starting on Friday.”