Sixth-placed Inverness Caley Thistle host fifth-placed Ross County in a Highland derby after a thrilling mid-week 4-3 win at Hamilton.
Greg Tansey and Liam Polworth both netted twice in a victory that saw three goals in an exciting final two minutes and the fans will be hoping for more of the same against their local rivals.
County, on the other hand, were also celebrating Michael Gardyne’s double that set an all-time club scoring record in a 3-2 success against struggling Kilmarnock so both sides will be going into the game with a winning mentality and belief that they can take the points, so it should make for an entertaining game.
Inverness Caley Thistle’s Richie Foran, Aaron Doran and Ryan Christie are expected to return from knocks to further bolter the side that had been plagued by injury for most of the season and they’re starting to get their act together with a four match unbeaten run that’s seen them take 8 points.
County have won three of their last four and netted 11 times in the bargain so forget about it being as flat as the Irn Bru that the fans on the terraces will be supping as they battle off their Hogmanay hangovers – this one has the potential to go either way and could be a real cracker.
From a betting point of view it looks like Caley Thistle might just have enough to edge the victory and it could be a game packed with incident and goals if both teams decide to go for the jugular.
County just edged it 2-1 in the last meeting between the sides in October but Caley Thistle should have enough personnel back to be a different proposition this time around. Bare in mind that the weather in Scotland has been more atrocious than normal this week and the three games in a few days over the hectic festive period on soft surfaces will have drained some of the energy from the players on both sides.
County’s players have had an extra day’s rest but how much that will come into play is up for debate. Certainly, with the home crowd roaring them on, Caley Thistle’s players might just find an extra breath in their lungs and drag a few more yards of running out of their weary limbs.
And they have that added threat of Tansey’s dead ball skills that saw him fire in two free kicks at Hamilton, so any fouls around the box will present him with an ideal opportunity. With the added spice of the derby atmosphere, you can guarantee that neither side will shirk out of any challenges, so the potential for him to get a chance to line up his sights are high.
A win for Caley Thistle would see them leapfrog County in the table so they will be keener than ever to put one over their fellow Highlanders, while a draw on the road would suit County just fine.
Inverness Stats W7 D7 L7
Recent Form LLWDDW
Ross County Stats W6 D5 L7
Recent Form LLWLWW
27/10/2015 Inverness CT 1 Ross County 2
03/10/2015 Ross County 1 Inverness CT 2
31/01/2015 Inverness CT 1 Ross County 1
01/01/2015 Ross County 1 Inverness CT 3
05/10/2014 Inverness CT 1 Ross County 1
Inverness CT (4-4-1-1) –Williams, Raven, Warren, Devine, Tremarco, Tansey, Wedderburn, Vincent, Polworth, Draper, Storey.
Ross County (4-4-2) – Fox, Foster, Boyd, Davies, Reckford, Gardyne, Irvine, Woods, Franks, Boyce, Curran.
Ross County: none.