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Duncan Ferguson accuses Arbroath of downing tools – and fears it could hand Inverness Caley Thistle’s relegation rivals a boost in the Championship run-in

By Andrew Henderson

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Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager Duncan Ferguson has accused Arbroath of downing tools – fearing it could make the Highland side’s bid to avoid a relegation play-off more difficult.

Arbroath’s relegation from the Championship was mathematically confirmed last weekend, but realistically their bid to stay afloat was sunk by ICT themselves two weeks ago.

Last time out, the second tier’s bottom side lost 5-0 to Ayr United – a result that kept Ayr four points ahead of Inverness with three games to go.

With Arbroath’s next two games coming against another two teams that Inverness can catch, Greenock Morton and Queen’s Park, Ferguson is frustrated at the prospect of rivals benefitting from Arbroath having nothing left to play for.

Defeat in Inverness a couple of weeks ago all but relegated Arbroath. Picture: Callum Mackay
Defeat in Inverness a couple of weeks ago all but relegated Arbroath. Picture: Callum Mackay

The Caley Jags boss had previously said that three wins could be enough to avoid a play-off, and they have since recorded back-to-back victories for the first time this season against Arbroath and Queen’s Park.

However, he feels he may need to revise that target upwards if Arbroath do not put up a fight against other teams battling to avoid the drop.

"Our last six points were much needed and have put us in a reasonably good position,” he explained.

"However, we feel Arbroath have, so to speak, downed tools and won't pick up any more points which will cost us in the run-in.

“When I said we needed three wins, I didn’t realise two teams around about us still had to play Arbroath. If those teams had to play someone else, I’d be more confident.

"You can see by Arbroath's result last week against Ayr United where their heads are at. That edge has gone now.

“It is just our luck, isn’t it? We had Arbroath up here when they were fighting for their lives, and we probably relegated them.

“The next week, it’s just the way it has gone. Teams around about us are playing Arbroath and we’re putting three points on those teams’ tallies because we don’t think Arbroath are going to try a leg from now until the end of the season.

“It doesn’t look like they are trying for their club or manager – hopefully I am wrong on that.

"We are expecting that Arbroath won't win another point, which will cost us in the league, so we need at least two more wins to keep ourselves in this division. That starts on Friday.”

Caley Thistle’s cause will be boosted by the returns to training of defenders James Carragher and Remi Savage, as well as midfielder Sean McAllister.

Duncan Ferguson will have several players back available for Friday night’s match against Raith Rovers.
Duncan Ferguson will have several players back available for Friday night’s match against Raith Rovers.

"James Carragher returned to the training ground today,” Ferguson added.

"Remi Savage, who was concussed, is also back on the training ground.

"Wallace Duffy has been off the training ground and didn't train today as he had a hip flexor problem. Wallace will hopefully train on Thursday, but he is definitely a doubt.

"I also have good news on Sean McAllister. He has been out for around six weeks, but he has been on the training pitch today after coming back from Everton.

"He has been rehabbed and is ready to go, so he will be added to the squad for Friday.

“To be fair, I’d forgotten about him! He was out for six weeks, so it is a long-term injury. He just appeared yesterday and we were made up.

“He came in and did a bit of light training and then came into the main group today. It was a nice surprise to see him.

“I knew he was coming back, obviously, but didn’t know when. It is nice to get him back with a couple of games to go so he goes straight into the squad and he is definitely in my thinking for starting on Friday. It is timely.”

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