Prepare For Battle
Derby games always add spice to the football no matter where they are played
Terry Butcher considers Highland derby games as up there in terms of intensity and rivalry with any other he has been involved in. The Inverness manager has played all over the world but he admits he is left breathless after his side meet Ross County. Inverness came out on top against County after a replay in the Scottish Cup as well as meeting the Dingwall side in the top flight for the first time last season . Ahead of the first meeting of the teams this season, at the Global Energy Stadium tonight, Butcher said: "They are very close games, very tense games, very hard-fought games. At the end of the game you are like, 'Phew, what a game that was', irrespective of whether it was 0-0 or 3-1 or whatever. The 3-3 game stands out in your mind more than anything else. But they are wonderful spectacles of football. That intensity, you want to bottle it up and keep it in the Highlands because it's special. I have played in, managed in and witnessed a few derbies up and down the UK and this one matches any one in terms of hatred, intensity and respect and everything else. Before the game everyone will have friendly rivalries, but come the game everyone hates each other. It's just those 90 minutes, they are special. Derby matches add spice to the season. We have had seasons where we haven't had to play Ross County and I wouldn't say it's been flatter but it's certainly great when you have the derby matches. Six last season was a lot, but hopefully we can have four this year and both of us finish in the top six again."County may have only one of the six derbies last season but it proved costly for Inverness as the game on the last day of the season meant Thistle missed out on a place in Europe. Butcher said: "It will be a good pitch we play on this time. The last game of last season was a bit like playing on a car park. That suits both teams and suits football. We have had a debate this week about who is the best passing team but both teams can pass the ball very well. They have some very good players who are very comfortable on the ball too."Caley Thistle may be in second place in the Scottish Premiership, but are only nine points ahead of Ross County after suffering consecutive defeats against St Johnstone and Partick Thistle. However, Butcher was in no mood to contemplate the impending close of his team's first round of fixtures. He said: "There will be no reflection before the game because it will be helmets on, visors down, bayonets fixed".
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