Inverness Need Home Points
Updated Saturday, 18th September 2010
Caley Thistle may be back in the SPL but they have yet to gain a point at home. That will have to change if they are to stay in the top flight.
Inverness hope that the game against Hearts today will bring them their first league points won at home this season. They have every intention of hanging around the SPL so every point won is important - and home game are key to the points gathering exercise. Caley Thistle picked up a point with the 1-1 draw against Hibs last weekend after opening the season with 1-0 home losses to Celtic and Hamilton and a 4-0 victory at Dundee United. Defender Chris Innes, who moved to the Caledonian Stadium from St Mirren in the summer, is determined to claim a second win of the season in Saturday's early kick-off after missing out on three points against Accies last month. He said: "I think we expected the first home win against Hamilton but it never came and we didn't perform that day so we've got to satisfy our home crowd at the weekend. The home fans will be looking for a win - it doesn't matter how special it is, the most important thing is getting the three points on the board.''
Innes came off the bench against Hibs and boss Terry Butcher could require defensive reinforcements today, with full-backs Kenny Gillet (knee) and Kevin McCann (groin) doubtful. Richie Foran (knee) remains out, but Dani Sanchez and Gil Blumenshtein are optimistic of being fit. Inverness bounced back into the top flight at the first attempt last season and Innes hopes Butcher's side will prove they are worthy of their place. He went on: "This is what it's all about in the SPL - you must win by hook or crook because come the end of the season you'll be glad of having the points in the bag. It's also about making the other sides realise that Inverness are here to stay and after last weekend's result we go into this weekend's game with real confidence.''
Innes, who has also had spells at Dundee United, Stenhousemuir, Gretna, Livingston, Kilmarnock and Falkirk, anticipates a tough game against Europa League hopefuls Hearts, who lost 3-0 to Celtic last weekend. He added: "They've made a few signings over the summer and they're a big physical side who can play some good stuff too. It'll certainly be a battle with big Kevin Kyle up front, they've got Calum Elliot and they have other options. But it's all about what we do and I'm sure the gaffer will have us all well prepared. We don't over-emphasise the physical aspect of our game and it's a big thing at this level especially in Scottish football. But we do have technically gifted players and there will be times this season where we will have the opportunity to be really creative but when you come up against better teams like Hearts, Celtic, Rangers and Hibs you have to stifle them.''
Hearts manager Jim Jefferies fully anticipates his injury-ravaged Hearts squad will face a tough test at Inverness. The travelling party heading to the Caledonian Stadium will not include injury victims club captain Marius Zaliukas, Scotland international Lee Wallace (both knee), Dawid Kucharski (calf), Andrew Driver (knee) and Stephen Elliott (hamstring). It is unlikely that recent signing Rudi Skacel will be fit to play a part in the game. Hearts have a win, two draws and a defeat from their opening four games. Jefferies, though, has been impressed with how Caley Thistle have performed on their return to the top flight and expects a tough encounter as his Hearts side seek to return to winning ways. Jefferies said: "You've got to give them great credit. All you need to do is ask some of the clubs in the First Division now, like Dunfermline, Dundee, Partick, how difficult it is to come back. To bounce back in the first season shows tremendous motivation. They would've been on a great downer, so to pick them up they've done a fantastic job. They've brought in two or three decent players. They're a decent side who all work hard for each other. Maybe the experience of going down is going to act as a spur. They're a decent side and I don't expect them to be struggling near the bottom like some people predicted.'' Midfielder Ian Black signed for Hearts from Inverness after relegation became a reality and is looking forward to linking up with familiar faces when in the north and hopes to cap the game with a win. He said: "It would be great to go up there and score. I'm looking to score goals, but I'd want to take the win before that and I'd be happy with anybody scoring."
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