Dundee United may be rock-bottom of the Premiership but Caley Thistle defender Josh Meekings knows former team-mate Billy Mckay will be determined to reverse his team’s slump when the attacker returns to Caledonian Stadium today.
United arrive in the Highlands eight points adrift at the foot of the Premiership. The Tangerines are on an abysmal run of form, having taken just four points out of a possible 24 since manager Mixu Paatelainen replaced Jackie McNamara in October.
United’s main source of hope is former Caley Jags attacker Mckay, who has netted seven goals since joining on loan from Wigan Athletic in the summer, and is the only United player to find the net for the Tayside club since August.
Meekings played with Mckay for three-and-a-half years at Inverness, where the Northern Irishman netted 62 goals in 141 games prior to his £150,000 move to Wigan in January, and the defender needs no warning about the threat posed by his former team-mate.
He said: “We know how lethal Billy is. His goal record speaks for itself, so we’ll have to keep him quiet – and it will be a tough job. We trained against him day in, day out and I’m sure we’ll be able to do that if we approach the game the right way.
“He knows how we play and we know how he plays. It’ll be interesting and I’m looking forward to it.
“He was a special player for us. We’ll have to be right on top of him to get anything from the game.”
Despite Inverness returning to winning ways for the first time in more than a month with last week’s 2-1 win against Kilmarnock, Meekings believes there is room for improvement.
The Englishman was frustrated by the loss of a late goal and has called for his side to tighten up ahead of Mckay’s return to the Highlands.
Meekings added: “We conceded a late goal and need to be more professional – but we can take positives from the result.
“Hopefully, we can do the same again in front of the home supporters and start to make this place a fortress again.
“The manager has high standards and doesn’t expect us to drop below them. If we do, we certainly know about it.
“We have to keep working hard. There will always be points we want to improve on.
“We did look very good in the first half on Saturday but in the second half we could have kept the ball better and been stronger at the back.
“We do prioritise clean sheets and it is a bit frustrating when we let one in like that, and it makes it a difficult last five or 10 minutes as well.”