It's another week coming up where we take on Hearts followed closely by Stranraer, sounds familiar. In fact it's the Highlands versus Edinburgh this weekend as Hibs take on County in Edinburgh, but we don't want to bother you with that nonsense!
Hearts come North on Saturday in the fourth meeting between the clubs this season, Inverness having won twice, three times if you count the penalty shoot out at Easter Road.
John Hughes will be hoping to keep eleven players on the park this time as we finished minus Gary Warren and Josh Meekings last time out, although Meekings has since had his red card rescinded.
Hearts are currently occupying the relegation position, hardly surprising given their 15 point deduction at the start of the season for meddling with administration. However, that aside, they would still be bottom, albeit only by two points. The good news for Hearts though, is that their points total is now in positive figures, +5. The Jambos have taken seven points from their last three games with an excellent win at Dingwall, and victory over St Mirren building on a 3-3 draw with St Johnstone. Prior to that, Hearts had gone ten games without winning with only two draws in that sequence. It has been a struggle for Hearts on the park this season, their highlights being two wins against the Dons and victory in the first SPFL Edinburgh derby then knocking Hibs out of the League Cup at the quarter final stage.
They looked reasonable in parts in the semi, but we were the team with more quality and composure on the ball and I felt the game would have been won sooner had we not been reduced in numbers. In Paul McCallum, they have a big front man who showed that he could be a handful at Easter Road and Ryan Stevenson returning from injury will only get stronger. However, as our squad starts to steer clear of injury, then our midfield looks more menacing with Greg Tansey able to give the ball some welly. We now have more depth to our middle with the pacey Marley Watkins and Danny Williams able to run at defenders and the strength of Draper and the returning Vincent and Foran adding some graft to the guile of Doran and Ross then this is an area we should be able to dominate and benefit from. Yogi has choices to make in his squad now and it may be a case of horses for courses over the coming weeks.
Captain Richie Foran will continue his comeback after coming on as a substitute at Stranraer and playing ninety minutes with the under 20 side in midweek, albeit as a centre back. Could be a useful bit of practice for Richie with Warren unavailable for the League Cup final against the Dons. Richie is however still nursing his way through games as he is feeling his age allegedly. Yogi has an otherwise fully fit squad to choose from.
Hearts young midfielder David Smith will be out of action for some six weeks after it was discovered he has a hairline fracture in his knee, sustained in the semi-final defeat. Jason Holt and Jamie Walker are also still out and another further blow leaves Gary Locke with an ever increasing problem as suspensions rule out defender Kevin McHattie and striker Callum Paterson.
tm4tj Prediction:- Hearts did run us close in the cup game, but we were reduced to nine men by the end and I believe had we kept our full quota on the park then we would have gone on to win inside ninety minutes. We won here already this season where 2-0 flattered Hearts somewhat as Inverness missed a raft of chances and should have run up a cricket score. However, they seem to be learning fast but given their injury problems and suspensions I can see a repeat of the early season score.