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Inverness CT V Hearts at Easter Road Stadium : Match Preview
Published : 25 Jan 2013 15:01:26
Inverness CT V Hearts - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Shinnie refusing to look past Hearts
Inverness defender Graeme Shinnie will focus on quietly continuing to prove the sceptics wrong against Hearts rather than getting over-excited about the prospect of the club's first cup final appearance.
Caley Thistle go into the Scottish Comunities League Cup semi-final as the surprise package in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League this season.
Only Celtic and Motherwell have this season beaten Terry Butcher's men, who also remain in the William Hill Scottish Cup and sit second in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
Shinnie, an ever-present this season, admits the Easter Road clash is the biggest of his career so far but will not allow that to distract him.
The 21-year-old said: "All the games we play are important but I have never been to a semi-final as big as this.
"I have played in the Youth Cup semi-final and things like that but this is massive and an opportunity to show what we are all about and get to the final.
"There's been a lot thrown at us this season and we have handled it very well.
"People have written us off on numerous occasions and we have come up good.
"So we'll just focus on us performing well on the day and if we can do that then we are confident that we'll get a good result.
"We are preparing like we would any other game. Training has been the same and everyone is just trying to get on with what they are doing.
"It is a semi-final, there is no getting away from that but if we play the way we have been doing this season then we will be fine."
Inverness have signed Leeds defender Charlie Taylor on loan until the end of the season.
The 19-year-old has made four first-team appearances for the npower Championship side and had a spell on loan at York earlier in the season.
Long-term absentee Chris Hogg has been stepping up his recovery in training but the defender is not ready for action.
Fellow defender Simon King remains missing with an ankle injury.
Meanwhile, defender Andy Webster insists Hearts do not have to use their off-field problems as motivation to win silverware again this season.
The Jambos' financial issues have been well-documented, with the club's very future at stake earlier in the campaign.
However, the focus will be firmly on the football this weekend.
And Webster says Hearts' desire to secure a Hampden return after last season's William Hill Scottish Cup triumph is strong irrespective of any off-field factors.
He said: "It doesn't really matter what's going on behind the scenes, it's an opportunity to get to a final and win a cup.
"Everything else gets put to the side.
"When you taste a bit of success with silverware, you're desperate for more.
"It's great to look back and think you have won medals, you've played on the biggest stage, you've given yourself every opportunity to win a trophy.
"Saturday's game is a massive ask for us but we know the incentive is there.
"As a footballer, you want to play in these big occasions and Saturday is a big occasion.
"It's a great incentive to get back to a cup final."
Asked if the Highlanders are favourites for the tie, he said: "Probably, yes.
"Saturday is a different kettle of fish.
"They've shown great form, we've shown inconsistency.
"But, come Saturday at 3 o'clock, it will be the best team on the day."
Liverpool striker Michael Ngoo has completed a loan move to Hearts.
The 20-year-old signed until the end of the season after training with his new team-mates today and will go into the squad.
Hearts manager John McGlynn believes Ngoo could be a secret weapon.
"He'll definitely be in the squad," McGlynn said. "He could be something that Inverness hasn't bargained for. He could be a surprise package.
"I don't want to put too much pressure on him, it's not fair to think that he's going to batter every ball that comes into the box into the back of the net.
"However, we hope that he's going to improve our goal scoring tally."