Inverness CT V Kilmarnock at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium : Match Preview

01 November 2013 06:31
Inverness CT V Kilmarnock - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Pascali gets to root of the problem

Skipper Manuel Pascali insists there is a simple reason why Kilmarnock won two successive Scottish Premiership games after a poor start to the season - they stopped losing "stupid goals".

The Rugby Park club failed to win a league game this season until they beat Ross County 2-0 at home before winning by the same scoreline against Hearts last week.

And ahead of trip to Inverness on Saturday, the 32-year-old Italian was asked what the difference had been in the last two games.

"Basically not conceding stupid goals," he said.

"It was the third time in the season we finished with a clean sheet in the league, the first time was against St Johnstone when we drew 0-0.

"We defended well, and performed okay. Everyone is coming back to fitness and it looks like we are ready to perform in every single match.

"It is completely different during the week when you have had positive results but we still have a lot to do.

"We are on a run now but we have a very tough games ahead.

"We have Inverness away and St Johnstone away next week and they are two of the two toughest grounds to play at.

"And if we lose in Inverness, then we haven't done anything.

"But I think the game is coming at the right time because we have won two games in a row and we

have the confidence back."

Pascali joined the growing list of Killie players who believe striker Kris Boyd, whose brace against Hearts last week took his tally for the season to six, is showing the form that could see him return to the Scotland set-up.

"He is like a goal scoring machine," he said. "He is playing fantastically well.

"He has got a tremendous attitude. He is a very good character and it is amazing having him in the dressing room.

"People in the past maybe labelled him as a lazy player but he is not like that.

"You can see him every day in training and last week when we were 2-0 up he made a recovery tackle in our half.

"He hadn't done that before so that shows you how much he wants to do well for the team.

"We know that if you give him half a chance he will score.

"He scored two on Saturday, he has six now and if he keeps doing that he will be back in the Scottish team."

Rabiu Ibrahim remains sidelined for Kilmarnock having collapsed during the win over Ross County a fortnight ago.

The midfielder spent two nights in hospital undergoing tests, however manager Allan Johnston is not expecting those test results to come back until next week.

Inverness boss Terry Butcher has an unchanged squad for the Scottish Premiership clash.

Butcher claims his players are looking "bright" and "fresh" after Tuesday's League Cup quarter-final against Dundee United, which Inverness won after extra-time.

And he is confident his players will be ready for Kilmarnock.

"Winning makes tiredness go away a lot quicker," he said. "They have been recuperating very well.

"I look back to when we played Dundee in the last round and had a long journey after a hard-fought match and had to play Hibs on the Saturday.

"Hibs didn't have a game that week and we ended up beating them, so we have history of doing well after cup victories. But Kilmarnock are doing well and Kris Boyd is doing very well, so it will be a different Kilmarnock side to the one we played at Rugby Park earlier in the season."

Meanwhile, Butcher has criticised the scheduling of the League Cup semi-final draw after his club were the only one of the four teams not to be represented.

Inverness were paired with Hearts on Thursday afternoon while St Johnstone were drawn against Aberdeen but the draw was held in Glasgow, at least an hour's drive from any of the teams involved.

Butcher could not send a player or attend himself without missing training and he felt a 350-mile round trip was excessive to attend a draw.

Butcher, whose team lost to Hearts on penalties at the same stage last season, said: "It's a good one to look forward to. We weren't concerned with who we were playing in the semi-final, it was just great to be in the hat.

"Unfortunately the draw was three o'clock at Hampden, which was impossible for us to train in the morning and get down to.

"Someone in the SPFL should look at where Inverness is and probably have the draw in Perth or somewhere that's more accessible to us.

"But it's nice to play Hearts again. We can park it up and look at it occasionally but we have some football to play between now and then."

Source: PA