Inverness Athletic exceeding expectations in North Caledonian League ahead of derby, says manager Golabek
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Jason Golabek believes his Inverness Athletic side are defying expectations ahead of the second Inverness derby of the season tomorrow afternoon.
Athletic are due to travel to Canal Park to take on Loch Ness with the two teams side-by-side in the North Caledonian League Division Two table.
Two points separate them, and when they met in Muir of Ord earlier in the campaign it finished in a 1–1 draw, so it could well be another close encounter this weekend.
As far as Golabek is concerned though, only one of the Highland capital’s teams would have been predicted to be at the top end of the league.
“Nobody expected us to be where we are at this point of the season,” he insisted.
“A lot of people would have been looking at Alness and Loch Ness as the runaway leaders.
“It’s a credit to my players, they’re showing they’re good enough to compete at this level. What I’ve seen from them, I’m happy with.
“If we win on Saturday, then it’s absolutely a great position for us to be in.
“It would be one people probably wouldn’t have thought we would be in, but we are, so we’ll be looking to win and hopefully that will put us one step closer to finishing where we want to finish.”
Golabek is confident that his side can continue their generally good form and take all three points away from their city rivals.
Last time out, they suffered a disappointing 4–1 defeat to Division One leaders Invergordon in the North Caledonian Cup, but after hitting the woodwork twice there were still positives for Athletic to take away, and a derby is the perfect motivation to bounce back with.
The draw between Athletic and Loch Ness first time around was affected by terrible weather, but Golabek is backing his side to come out on top on an artificial pitch.
“It was pretty windy and miserable for the first game, so there wasn’t a lot of football on show from either team,” Golabek recalled.
“Loch Ness play on the astro, so we should hopefully be able to get the ball down and play some football.
“I don’t see why we can’t take three points. We showed against Invergordon that we can compete with the top teams in the league, so if we can play the way we know we can and work hard, there’s no reason why we can’t get a result.
“I’m excited, it’s always a special day when it’s a derby – I’m just counting down the days hoping it’s as good as the last one was.”