Inverness CT V St Johnstone at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium : Match Preview

04 April 2013 03:31
Inverness CT V St Johnstone - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Unchanged squad for Caley

Inverness are set to name an unchanged squad for Friday's Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with St Johnstone.

Defender Chris Hogg is pushing for a comeback following a year out with a knee injury but this game might come too soon.

Goalkeeper Ryan Esson (thigh) and defenders Gary Warren (knee) and Simon King (ankle) remain out.

Manager Terry Butcher believes the surprise make-up of the top six has added to the best SPL season yet.

St Johnstone and Ross County this week joined Celtic, Motherwell and Inverness in securing their top-half status, with Kilmarnock in the driving seat to follow as they prepare for the visit of bottom club Dundee in the final weekend before the split.

St Johnstone's 1-1 draw with Dundee United on Monday night booked their place as well as helping last season's Irn-Bru First Division champions County over the line, and Butcher was full of praise for the Perth club's achievements ahead of their visit to the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.

"I must say congratulations to them and Ross County as well," Butcher said.

"Ross County's achievement is just magnificent, it really is, and St Johnstone for the second successive year are in the top six.

"That's three clubs, including ourselves, with really small budgets and really small crowds. It says how well all three clubs have been run and obviously led, but it says a lot about the quality of the players as well."

St Johnstone look set to be without David McCracken.

The defender missed Monday's draw against Dundee United with a stomach bug and could also sit out Friday night's trip to the Highlands.

Boss Steve Lomas will "wait and see" on both Callum Davidson (hamstring) and Murray Davidson (ankle).

Lomas has hailed Terry Butcher as manager of the year for doing a "miraculous" job at Inverness.

Butcher has enjoyed an impressive campaign with the Highlanders, which sees them currently occupy third spot in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

And, as both teams prepare to go head to head at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium tomorrow night, Lomas had nothing but praise for his opposite number.

He said: "I think Inverness have been brilliant this year, I really do. For me, big Terry is manager of the year.

"What he has done there is nothing short of miraculous.

"Inverness is a tough place to go to so we have to re-focus again for this game."

Asked for his thoughts on Friday night football, Lomas says he believes the fixture provides another opportunity for his own players to impress, having now secured their place in the top half of the table this season.

He said: "It's good that they are trying new things. Whether it brings in a bigger crowd or not, I don't know.

"There's a bit of focus, it's live on television, and it's a good platform for some of the lads to go and play and show what they can do."

Source: PA