Ridgers out for repeat of last season as Caley Thistle look to stop Shankland scoring
Mark Ridgers says Inverness Caledonian Thistle will have to find a way to stop the Championship's top scorer Lawrence Shankland if they are to get a result against Dundee United this afternoon.
The newly-capped Scotland international has 17 goals to his name in the league already this season, and he put four past Ridgers on the opening matchday.
Ridgers played alongside Shankland when the striker was on loan at St Mirren from Aberdeen, so the 29-year-old shot stopper knows first hand how much of a danger Dundee United's talisman can be.
"His record speaks for itself, especially at this level," Ridgers said.
"I've trained with him and you could see that his finishing was there. I think in the last couple of years he's gotten that eye about him now, and rightly he has gotten recognition with the Scotland squad.
"Everybody knows in this league what he can do, but it's up to us to do what we did when he was at Ayr and stop him from scoring.
"If you can get confidence in any position, especially as a striker scoring goals, it's the old saying that the goal doesn't move. It's the same as a goalkeeper, if you go on a run of clean sheets you feel invincible, that's the way he is at the moment.
"He's obviously the biggest threat in terms of goalscoring, so he's one we've got to watch."
As for what makes Shankland such a threat, Ridgers sees some similar traits to some of the best attackers in the country.
"We watch videos, and you'll see certain things that they do, and what Shankland is brilliant at is finding space," Ridgers explained.
"Against us, the goals he scored, he picks up the ball and – having seen the highlights over the last few days – you can see that he picks up space. That's what top strikers do.
"I watched Rangers against Ross County, the boy Morelos just peeled off and scored, he does that all season. The top strikers are able to find space, and in this league especially Shankland is one who has done that."
A win this afternoon could see Caley Thistle move up to second in the league, within one point of United.
Lose however, and suddenly there is a sizeable gap to the top of the table.
There is still a long way to go in the season, but Ridgers believes the Highland side can only focus on themselves and try to pick up points against their promotion rivals.
"I think a lot of people thought United would maybe run away with it, but the results have shown otherwise," he said.
"It's really important that we just focus on ourselves, and if we have a setback like we did the last two Saturdays, we get it right next time like we did on Tuesday.
"It's important, we want to show that we can get results against the teams around us, because it's easy enough to go to certain places and win but when you're not beating the teams that are round about you, that's when it becomes difficult.
"We know we will lose more games this season, they will lose games before the end of the season too. Beating them would put us in a good position in case they slip up again.
"A lot of people still are tipping Dundee United to win the league, but we just have to keep doing what we can do, go about our business and hopefully at the end of the season it will e us and not them that's celebrating."