Inverness CT V Ross County at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium : Match Preview

15 March 2013 06:01
Inverness CT V Ross County - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Foran backs Inverness for top-six finish

Inverness captain Richie Foran claims clinching a top-six place is the prize at stake for both Caley Thistle and Highland rivals Ross County when they meet on Saturday.

The northern neighbours will go head to head for the fifth time this season with each hoping to boost their respective chances of a top-half finish in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League for the first time.

But Irish forward Foran believes his side - unbeaten against County this season with two wins and a pair of draws, yet still a point behind their third-paced opponents - can come out on top at the Caledonian Stadium by extending their current four game unbeaten streak in the SPL.

He told Press Association Sport: "A top-six place is within touching distance. Another three points out of the next three games would probably confirm our place in the top half. But County are probably thinking the same.

"Reaching the top six is massive for Inverness. For the size of the club, the budget, everything that goes against us during the season, it would be a huge achievement.

"But it can definitely be done. If we keep doing what we are doing, keep being confident, we can get that three points."

County's first season in the top flight has been nothing short of staggering. Derek Adams' side sat second bottom of the table at Christmas but since beating Hibernian on Boxing Day they have won eight of their 11 league matches to rocket up into Europa League qualifying contention.

That run has seen the boss tipped to replace Craig Brown as Aberdeen manager, while Caley Thistle's Terry Butcher has also turned down advances this season from npower Championship strugglers Barnsley after guiding his side to the upper reaches of the SPL and the semi-finals of the Scottish Communities League Cup.

Foran said: "I have to be honest and say I'm surprised at how well things have gone. I'd like to say I wasn't but I am.

"We were in second position for a long time and who would have thought that. Not me.

"But we have deserved it and have played some really good football. We are second top scorers in the league. But County deserve to be where they are. It's a surprise at how well both clubs have done but credit us both for doing it.

"Everyone one in the Highlands should be very proud of what both clubs have done. There has been some great achievements this year and hopefully both clubs can get into the top six.

"We both have a great chance to do it. We will be looking for a win on Saturday but County will probably come here happy to get a draw."

Inverness have triumphed twice on home soil this term, winning the SPL opener between the sides 3-1 and then prevailing in a William Hill Scottish Cup fourth round reply by the odd goal in three.

The two meetings in Dingwall both ended in draws - a 3-3 thriller in the cup and then this month's goalless stalemate - and Foran admits it could just as easily be feast as famine tomorrow.

Grant Munro is determined to end County's wait for victory over Inverness - but he admits the game could be a cagey affair as both sides look to secure a top-six place.

Both sides look set to battle for a European spot but they have still to secure a top-six place and with seventh-placed Dundee United at home to bottom club Dundee on Sunday, Munro admits both sides might be looking over their shoulder.

The 32-year-old, who scored a stunning volley against league leaders Celtic last weekend, said: "There have been some great games but we've lost a few of them which is not great, so it's something we want to put right.

"But with Inverness being at home you would expect them to be favourites on their home patch.

"Every game both teams will be going out for the win with both teams having in the back of their minds that if they lose the game it will be a dent in their hopes of getting a top-six place."

The defender added: "Neither team will want to lose any ground on each other and there's the top six to aim for as well. It's getting closer, you can almost reach it now.

"Both Inverness and Ross County have had a remarkable season so far but there's still plenty more points to play for. Both sides' target is to get a top-six finish and we play each other on Saturday so something's got to give or it's going to be a stalemate again."

Source: PA