CALEY Thistle have been dealt a huge blow with news that Carl Tremarco could be out for six months.
Tremarco was carried off in the 4-2 defeat to Motherwell and fears are that he has damaged his cruciate ligaments.
The club’s top scorer was sent to see a specialist yesterday to discover the extent of the damage but if manager Richie Foran’s fears are proved correct, he could be out until October.
It does appear, however, that Tremarco will not need an operation, which could allow him to make a comeback sooner than expected.
Thirteen minutes into the game Tremarco went down in a heap after a challenge by Chris Cadden and had to be helped from the field. It is the third injury in two months for Tremarco, having picked up knocks against Rangers and Ross County.
“Carl definitely won’t be back this season and unfortunately for us, it looks like it could be a cruciate ligament problem,” said Foran, who should have Billy Mckay and David Raven back for the Highland derby next week.
“We’ll have to wait and see what the specialist says. But it could be six months.”
It means that either Raven or Kevin McNaughton will fill in at left-back for the rest of the season.
Foran, however, has had reasons to be cheerful this week with Maurice Malpas agreeing to return to the club on a short-term basis.
Malpas admits Caley Thistle are the only club at this stage of the season he would have opted to pitch in for.
The former Caley Thistle assistant manager, who led the club back to the Scottish Premiership in 2010 alongside Terry Butcher before they moved to Hibernian three years later, made a shock return to the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium on Wedneday.
He answered the SOS from Foran as the club aims to bridge the five-point gap between them in bottom spot and 11th-placed Dundee, with only five games to go, starting at Ross County next Friday.
It is a role with nothing but a verbal agreement until the end of the campaign, where the Caley Jags somehow need to dig their way out of trouble.
Malpas told the Inverness Courier that he hopes his knowledge of many of the squad can give the side the edge in these five crucial head-to-heads.
“I am delighted to get back in the game. I have an affinity with the club and I am looking forward to the hard work that lies ahead in these coming weeks”, he said.
“Being honest, at this stage of the season I would not have agreed to do this at any other club. I only got the call from Richie on Tuesday night and I didn’t have to give it a second thought.
“All credit to Richie and the club for calling me in and we will do everything we can to turn things around. I can hopefully look at things from a different angle, be that extra pair of eyes to help. I know most of the squad here and they are a good bunch. That makes it easier.
“I have known Richie for umpteen years and I was happy to come in and see what I can do. We have got to exhaust every avenue in the coming weeks to turn the results around. As a manager, you have to take the rough with the smooth and it’s not easy at times, but maybe bringing me back was the club thinking out of the box.
“Every club (in the bottom six) is looking for the edge. Dundee have changed their manager (with Neil McCann this week replacing Paul Hartley) and a new manager can come in and the reaction can be short and sweet.
“Caley Thistle have gone at this from a different direction. I know more than half the squad. They always had a great attitude and desire to win, so hopefully we can kick on.”
Most recently, Malpas was director of football at Championship club Raith Rovers, but he has been itching to get back on the training ground.
“When you are out of football, some things you miss, others you don’t, but I missed the daily training. that’s where I got my biggest kick. I really enjoy it and it’s good to be back, albeit just until the end of the season,” said the 54-year-old.
The former Scotland and Dundee United star will be in the spotlight alongside Foran, assistant boss Brian Rice and coach Scott Kellacher next week when they head to Dingwall for a game they must win to stand any chance of a great escape.
“Highland derbies are great to be involved in and have always been close over the years,” added Malpas.
“Ross County will be looking to win to get a wee bit of space, but we’ll be prepared and go there looking for the victory we need.”