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  • tm4tj

    Inverness -V- Hibernian - Preview

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    Return of the Butcher

    Inverness will welcome old boss Terry Butcher back to the Highlands with his latest club Hibernian, as Inverness try to cement their place in the top-six at the expense of the Edinburgh sleeping giants.

    It won't be an easy night for Inverness with three players suspended for this one and some players needing some respite before Sunday's League Cup Final against Aberdeen in Glasgow.

    Greg Tansey, Marley Watkins and Ross Draper have all fallen foul of the beaks. The first pair being sent off against Dundee United in that ill fated quarter final embarrassment, and Draper missing his second successive match after accumulating too many bookings.

    With Hughes likely to rest one or two and Gary Warren possibly being replaced by Danny Devine who needs some game time prior to the final, then it could be a vastly weakened side that take on Hibs, who with Butcher at the helm will be out to prove a point.

    I'm not expecting too much from Inverness after the last two maulings. I can put the Celtic one behind me, but the United game was a shambles from start to finish and a repeat of that will see a subdued crowd descend on Celtic Park this Sunday.

    Ginger Jaggy has this to say ahead of Wednesday's league game against our old gaffer and Mo.

    The weather has been brilliant this week and where the sun should be shining over the Caledonian Stadium it has been replaced by black storm clouds after two demoralising drubbings. The biggest week in the clubs history has not gone to plan so far as a hat trick of major achievements has been cropped to a double. This week Inverness could have been in the semi-final of the Scottish cup against a lower league side, guarantee a consecutive top 6 place in the league and win our first major national trophy. But after the battering at the hands of Dundee United, tomorrow’s league game vs Hibs becomes more important than at first thought.

    With Sunday now looming on the horizon thoughts have to be put aside for a matter of 24 hours as we need to complete a little bit of league business first. And what a perfect game we face as Hibernian come north looking to try and continue the misery after successive hammering's. When the fixture was moved again after our replay versus Stranraer forced it back, most people saw this as a major burden just four days before the biggest game in the clubs history so far. But after Celtic and United’s consecutive 5-0 thrashings with the latter being a painful Scottish cup exit leaving a potential domestic cup double in tatters this game could not come quick enough. The result would be huge on four fronts. The first and most important now is to quickly regain some confidence going into Sundays final, the second will be the brilliant achievement of a consecutive top six finish (you wait so long for one to come about and then two come at once), three points will close the gap on Motherwell for the race to the European places and the last and finally not least is the small matter of the return of a certain duo. Yes Terry Butcher and Maurice Malpas are back and I see no better way to regain some form and confidence by seeing the dastardly duo leave empty handed.

    For us changes look likely with Daniel Devine desperately needing some game time for Sunday as Gary Warren is suspended. Ross Draper remains out as he completes his two match ban while Greg Tansey and Marley Watkins will sit alongside Draper in the stands after Sunday’s horror show. Talks of appealing any of the decisions are unlikely with both at risk of missing the final if the decisions are upheld. This game should give some chances for Liam Polworth, Nick Ross, Danny Williams and maybe even Ben Greenhalgh to stake a claim to get into Sundays team with so many first team regulars unavailable. Some fans have called for Dean Brill to be replaced after making some blunders but I think it would be harsh and is a terrible thing to do with Sunday looming – it would destroy his confidence. Hopefully the boys are seriously hurting like the fans that have vented a lot of anger after Sunday’s abysmal performance and will harness that hurt into a positive performance and much needed win.

    Sunday will be a big day for the club but we still have this one league game so I suppose I have to make some reference to Butcher and Malpas’ return in more detail. When Butcher left us in autumn and moved to Easter Road we all thought he had made a huge mistake as he has a massive job on his hands at the capital club. Hibs were very happy to have got there man but it has not been sunshine on Leith as Hibs have continued to underachieve even though they had poached the best coaching duo on form for the early part of this season from us. They got there first sell out of the stadium since the new East stand was built in the New Year Derby, but the crowds have remained fairly poor and defeats to Raith in the cup and St Mirren in the league have left Butcher fighting desperately to sneak into the top six. For them this will be another game but for us this is a chance to shove Butcher's betrayal right back down his throat. His record since he took charge is five wins, six draws and six defeats leaving them 7th in the table and in danger of not making the top six. Butcher helped us to set off at a blistering pace at the start of the season but his move to Hibs has not yielded the same form as Hibs have stuttered towards the split.

    Our last two games have been hard against two really good sides but we will be in serious trouble if we can't beat an inconsistent Hibs. But I back the boys to make a positive impact and get our season back on track. With one game go to before the players can fully focus on Sunday I expect them to have some reaction and defeat a pretty poor Hibs side. I am going to be bold and predict that after shipping 10 goals in 2 matches that we will keep a clean sheet and claim a comfortable 2-0 victory. I hope!


    Inverness are without Draper, Tansey and Watkins through suspension, but have no obvious injury worries although it would make sense to leave out Gary Warren, but with other players out, I wonder if Warren will appear elsewhere on the park. Opportunities for cup final places up for grabs, Ross, Williams, Tremarco and Polworth could feature; over to you Yogi.

    Hibs winger Duncan Watmore remains doubtful despite returning to training. Tom Taiwo returns from suspension, but Kevin Thomson, Scott Robertson and former ICT player Owain Tudur-Jones remain out.

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