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ICT players may have freedom as target seventh spot

By Andrew Dixon

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Caley Thistle manager Terry Butcher
Caley Thistle manager Terry Butcher

CALEY Thistle’s players might have a feeling of liberation now the coveted berth in Scottish Premier League’s top six is beyond them.

That is the view of manager Terry Butcher who wants his men to equal the club’s highest league finish of seventh, starting with victory at Scottish Cup semi-finalists Aberdeen tomorrow.

“There may be an element of pressure coming off now in terms of the top six and it may be something we can talk about to the players to allow them to play with more freedom,” he said. “But I find it exciting now because we are getting players back involved.”

After a two-week break following the 1-1 draw at home to Kilmarnock, Inverness players have returned with high tempo training sessions which have featured Jonny Hayes and Kenny Gillet but tomorrow’s game is likely to come to soon for them as they recover from hamstring injuries.

Gillet’s absence is set to keep Roman Golobart in the frame and the central defender knows the agony and ecstasy of facing north rivals Aberdeen all too well. His shaky debut in a 1-1 draw last time the sides clashed at Pittodrie was followed by a Christmas Eve goal against the Dons when they met at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.

“I know what happened at Aberdeen, but that was a long time ago now,” he said.

“As a defender, you get put in certain situations where you have to react quickly, but people at the club knew I was inexperienced and they gave me a lot of help. It’s not only me, however. This club is very good at looking after it’s young players.

“You have the hunger and you have the desire, but you need others to have confidence in you and that’s certainly the case here.

Roman Golobart
Roman Golobart

“I’m sure we are probably one of the youngest squads in the SPL and we are not in a bad position in the league.

“We could be better, but it shows the good work that is being done here to encourage the young players.”

On loan from Wigan Athletic until this summer, Golobart is unsure what the future holds.

“I’m really enjoying it,” commented the Spaniard, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Wednesday. “It’s a small club, but it’s a family club. Being away from home can be hard, but when you come into the dressing room here, you have that special feeling with being amongst the lads, which is important.

“My contract with Wigan finishes in June 2013, so it’s one year more, but I’m just focused just now on Inverness and not anything else.”

Meanwhile, there are no updates with player announcements for next season although Butcher is keen to build his defence around out-of-contract keeper Ryan Esson. Skipper Richie Foran, Josh Meekings, Graeme Shinnie, Andrew Shinnie, Aaron Doran, Nick Ross, Shane Sutherland and Graeme Morrison are tied up — now he wants the stopper to put pen to paper.

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