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Tynecastle memories inspire Caley Thistle striker as they head into final group game with Hearts


By Alasdair Fraser

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MANNY Duku is keen to rekindle his Tynecastle love affair this Sunday as he looks to spark his – and Caley Thistle’s – season to life.

Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness. Inverness CT(2) v Stirling Albion(2). 17.07.21. Stirling Albion win 3-2 on penalties. ICT’s Manny Duku tries to get past Stirling's Jordan McGregor before being taken down on the edge of the box.
Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness. Inverness CT(2) v Stirling Albion(2). 17.07.21. Stirling Albion win 3-2 on penalties. ICT’s Manny Duku tries to get past Stirling's Jordan McGregor before being taken down on the edge of the box.

The former Raith Rovers striker, signed in the summer, held up his hand and shouldered blame for missed opportunities in Tuesday evening’s defeat away to Cove Rangers.

That left his team’s group qualification hopes all but dead and buried, with focus turning to the difficult trip to Edinburgh as last preparation for next Saturday’s Championship opener at Arbroath.

Duku enjoyed a sensational run of 10 goals in 12 opening games for Raith last season, including a cup group stage strike in defeat at Hearts and a penalty kick finish in a 3–2 league win at Tynecastle.

He reckons the disappointment of the 2-2 draw with Stirling and 3-1 loss at Balmoral Stadium will be forgotten if Caley Thistle can hit their stride and fulfil their potential in the league

“Last year in the cup, I scored a few goals. Chances I was taking, I haven’t been taking this year so far, “ Duku admitted.

“I have quite a decent record at Tynecastle and that gives me confidence for Sunday. It is going to be difficult. With them now in the Premiership, they’re going to be even stronger.

“But if we want to achieve our aims this season, we have to look to match up to everything that comes in front of us.”

Caley Thistle must beat Hearts to finish the group on seven points and hope they can progress as one of the better second-placed sides.

“It is going to be hard now to get out of the group,” Duku acknowledged. “We need to finish strongly against Hearts. It doesn’t matter about points, really, but we want to take a performance with us into the league.

“If we win the league, no-one will remember these cup games we lost.

“Causing an upset against Hearts would give us the shot in the arm we need.”


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