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

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

Foran sees bright future for Caley

Inverness captain Richie Foran believes the best is yet to come for the club as they adapt to life after Terry Butcher and Maurice Malpas.

Under-20s coaches Duncan Shearer and Scott Kellacher will take the team for the Scottish Premiership visit of St Johnstone and Foran insists the players are over their management team's departure for Hibernian.

His assertion is supported by the fact that Caley Thistle went to Easter Road and beat Hibs 2-0 24 hours after Butcher told them he was going to Leith on a permanent basis.

Butcher's assistant, Malpas, quickly followed but Foran emphatically quashed speculation that he might join the pair in Edinburgh when he signed a new three-year contract earlier this week.

And Foran is convinced the club, who are second in the table with a League Cup semi-final against Hearts to look forward to, can continue to progress.

The Irishman, who worked under Butcher and Malpas at Motherwell, told CaleyJagsTV: "I wanted to get it done as soon as I could. I didn't want to have that distraction in the dressing room with the players thinking will I or won't I go in January.

"The club is moving forward. I want to be part of that and I still believe the best is yet to come. It's a special dressing room.

"I learned a lot from Terry Butcher and Maurice Malpas but I think I can teach the players some of what I have learned and make us a better squad even.

"They made us better players and better people and they will be missed, but these things happen in football. We put it to bed last week. You have to in football.

"Training has been excellent. Terry probably would have told you many times that those lads manage themselves. They are easy to captain because they do things right, they are 100 per cent professional, motivated players. They have got desire and hunger.

"We are enjoying the challenge. It's an extra layer of responsibility for a few of us, which I love. They boys have stepped right up, as we showed against Hibs, one of our best performances of the season.

"At times like this, you worry about your mental strengths, particularly how the young players are going to react when a big personality like that leaves. But the boys have stepped right up and it's in the back of their minds now.

"We are fully focused on the job in hand and we don't want to let each other down."

Shearer and Kellacher have a near full squad available to them, with only midfield playmaker James Vincent missing as he continues his recovery from a leg fracture.

Saints boss Tommy Wright insists the absence of a manager at Inverness will have absolutely no bearing on the game.

He said: "I don't think it will have any affect on the game at all.

"They are quite similar to us, they have people in the dressing room who lead from the front.

"They have an extremely good captain in their team, Richie Foran, and they have players who know how to win games.

"I'm not expecting the fact they've got a caretaker manager in to have any effect on their performance."

A win for the Perth club would allow them to move to within a point of their hosts.

Wright added: "It's a massive incentive. We also want to keep the run going and win five in a row.

"It would be great to get the victory and go within one point of Inverness."

Saints were on a run of four successive victories before the international break and Wright wants to see them pick up where they left off.

He said: "You don't mind the break at times. It gives players a bit of recovery and a chance to work on a few things.

"But when you don't have a game on the Saturday, you look forward to getting a game. We are all raring to go.

"We had a good couple of weeks before the break and we are on a good run.

"So are Inverness. They just seem to get better and better.

"We are in a similar position in the top six and we want to get as high up the table as possible.

"To do that, you've got to get positive results at places like Inverness."

Meanwhile, Wright will wait until after the weekend before making a decision on whether to offer Lee Croft a deal.

The midfielder has been training with his former club and could make a return to McDiarmid Park.

Wright said: "There has been no decision made yet. It will be after the weekend."

Saints are boosted by the return of defender Frazer Wright from suspension but midfielder David Robertson - who could go out on loan to a Scottish Championship club after recovering from injury - sustained a slight niggle in training and will not be in the squad this weekend.

Steven MacLean (knee) and Steven Anderson (dislocated thumb) are also on the sidelines.

Source: PA