CALEY Thistle manager Richie Foran is calling for his side to show aggression, be nasty and put an end to friendships in tomorrow’s Highland derby.
Foran wants to put an end to talk of the clash with Ross County as a “friendly derby” and questions whether his team have treated the game properly in the past.
In what sounded more like a battle cry than a pre-match press conference, Foran delivered a rousing checklist for his players to follow.
Calling for his players to be in County’s faces, he is determined to lift his players ahead of one of the biggest derby fixtures in recent memory.
“It’s developed into one of the friendliest derbies around over the last couple of years and that’s got to change when we walk onto that pitch,” said Foran.
“After, it’s a different story. You shake hands. We bump into these players almost every day, drink in the same coffee shops, eat in the same restaurants.
“All that is okay but out there, we must be nasty and ready to battle. There can be no friends on that park come Saturday.
“We have to be in their faces from the first whistle because they’ll do that to us.
“It’s a derby – and we must treat it like a derby. Have we treated this game like a derby in the past? I’m not sure. We need to be more up for the fight, more passionate – fair, but a wee bit nasty at times.
“I think we were out-muscled in the last couple of derbies and that needs to change.”
County have got the upper hand on Caley Thistle this season; two wins from two and a superior league position has ensured the bragging rights have remained in Dingwall.
That has to change for Foran tomorrow afternoon. A win over their neighbours could take the Caley Jags off the foot of the table, with Hamilton away to Rangers at the same time.
During his time as a player in these games, Foran admits to being wound up by comments from then-County boss Derek Adams.
He hopes to have a similar effect on his own players ahead of the 3pm showdown.
“When Derek Adams was the manager through there he used to get us going with some of his comments. I’m trying to get my players going now,” said Foran. “There’s not much between the teams in terms of quality, but we need to match their fight and more. We’ve lacked that in the previous two games.
“Derek used to get the best out of me with his comments. He would really get us going. He’d nearly do the team talks for us at times. We really wanted to beat them and we need to be like that now.
“To be fair, Derek did a wonderful job at Ross County but he really wound the game up. He was good at that.
“He was good at getting the best out of their players and ours at times. I know I enjoyed going out there, getting on the ball, making things happen – and beating them.”
Form has been on the upturn for Inverness, losing just one of their last five, with an air of positivity appearing to galvanise the club for a relegation battle.
“We’re on a fine run of form, taking Celtic out of it. We’re looking more solid, better defensively,” he said. “They were beaten by Kilmarnock on Saturday, but played quite well. There’s been little between the teams so we’re in for an exciting game of football.
“Whoever gets the three points, it is going to be huge for them. There’s a great incentive for us to get off the bottom of the table and go a point behind Ross County.”
Jake Mulraney is 50-50 for tomorrow, while Ross Draper and Carl Tremarco are available after suspension. Ryan Esson, Josh Meekings and Aaron Doran sit out.