Caley Thistle manager John Hughes has questioned the character within his squad after Inverness’ latest spate of injury problems.
The Highlanders were without defender Josh Meekings (knee), midfielder James Vincent (knee) and Lewis Horner (foot), along with long-term absentees Aaron Doran (groin), Dean Brill (knee) and Richie Foran (knee) for Saturday’s 2-1 loss against Kilmarnock.
Hughes does not expect any players to return for tonight’s Scottish Cup fourth-round replay against Stirling Albion but has called for some of Caley Jags’ absentees to show more desire to play through the pain.
He said: “We’re hoping these guys can get back but it’s not looking like the case. If it was the Scottish Cup final I wonder whether they would be fit or not. It’s a question of character – are they going to play through a knock or not?
“I used to run a knock off and right now it’s a call to arms. Everybody stand up and get this show on the road. I can understand injuries and you’re under the guidance of the medical team but sometimes you need to be your own man.
“You need to get going. It’s about character, getting out there every week no matter what. We need to be where we were last year, no injuries and everyone at it every week. Everyone wants to be in the team and we’ve just come off that a bit.
“You ask any professional and nine times out of 10, even when they come back on the first day of pre-season, they’re carrying a few aches.”
Inverness were held to a 0-0 draw by the League 2 Binos in their initial tie a week past Saturday, and after the weekend defeat by Kilmarnock he is looking for an improvement tonight.
Hughes added: “It’s going to be very difficult. We get a second chance at it and Stirling deserved their replay.
“What bemuses me is, when I analyse where we are, you look at the way we performed against Celtic, we were fantastic even though we lost 3-1. It wasn’t evident on Saturday at times.
“That’s the standard we’ve set and we need to hit it every week. We have to give Stirling all the respect they deserve and we have to play at a tempo like we did against Celtic. Anything less and we’re letting ourselves down.”