Wee cup win can boost Inverness Caledonian Thistle title hopes as they face Elgin City in Trust Trophy tomorrow
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BARRY Wilson is convinced success in the SPFL Trust Trophy can fuel Caley Thistle’s Championship aspirations.
The first team coach, set for a lead role in the Borough Briggs technical area for tomorrow’s tie against Elgin City, knows from personal experience how Scotland’s lesser national trophy can feed into title success.
Back in 2003/04, Wilson recalls how victories in the early rounds sparked Caley Jags’ season to life after a sluggish start in the league.
A legendary team featuring the likes of Wilson, Paul Ritchie, David Bingham, Russell Duncan and Ross Tokely went on to triumph in the old First Division and claim a historic first passage to the Premier League.
“I’ll be honest, the Trust Trophy is not the be all and end all because our main competition is the league,” Wilson said.
“We’re out of the League Cup, but we can win this one. We’re in it and we want to win it and we’ve got a good record in the competition.
“What you have also seen in previous years is that teams who win this cup gain momentum and, on three or four occasions, they have gone on to win the Championship. We hope we can use it as that stepping stone, but first and foremost we have to get through Saturday.
“I remember it being very much part of the good things that were happening in that 2003/04 season.
“It is a funny cup, low on your list of priorities early on, but by the latter stages there is an expectancy and a want to win it.
“Success breeds success – and that’s what happened back in 2003/04.
“The team hadn’t had the best of starts, but then the Challenge Cup came along and we found a bit of form through it.
“You draw momentum and then there’s the camaraderie that actually winning it brings. Momentum is huge in all sports.”
Wilson acknowledged that several fringe players could gain much-needed game-time, with some players favoured repeatedly in the league rested.
“We can freshen things up and get good game-time for some players,” he said.
“On Saturday, we had Wallace Duffy and Cammy Harper coming into the back four and Robbie Deas moved into centre half, so we had three changes in our defence.
“It maybe took them a wee while to adjust and get up to speed, so Saturday offers another chance to let them get up to those levels to be ready if called upon for the Morton game in the league. Some players will have the chance to stake a claim.”
Wilson, Elgin manager for 11 months in 2011, has plenty of respect and admiration for the League Two club.
“It wasn’t the most successful part of my career, but it’s a good club and really good people,” he said.
“You certainly couldn’t call Elgin a one-man team, but you do wonder if it is a coincidence that their form hasn’t been so good with Kane Hester out of the side.
“He’s really impressed me, but they do have other players who are dangerous.”