CALEY Thistle fans’ favourite Dean Brill has lent his support to Richie Foran as he bids to drag the club out of the relegation mire.
Brill, who left Inverness last summer, is saddened by his former side’s plight but believes they are more than good enough to avoid the drop.
Fears of dropping out of the division will be made all the more real over the next few weeks, should the Caley Jags fail to take anything from games against Hearts, Rangers and Celtic. Three points separate them from Hamilton Accies in the play-off spot, which will be the immediate goal.
A winless run, stretching back to October 26, has seen frustrations grow around the Caledonian Stadium, with a run of games against three of the league’s top four bringing little to inspire confidence.
Given his knowledge of the Caley Thistle dressing room, however, Brill, now at Colchester United, will not be buying into the doom and gloom around Inverness’s predicament.
"It’s the same team pretty much that won the cup and did so well over three or four years. They’ve had so much success over the last few years that it’s hard to sustain when a few players leave. But the nucleus is still there," he said. "These are the best games to play in and it only takes one result; the confidence fires up and you can start picking up.
"Maybe it’s confidence that’s lacking, which goes hand in hand with results. I’m sure the dressing room is still as good as it was when I was there. Sometimes you can’t explain these things and after a few bad results, everyone starts doubting you. One or two wins and that feel-good factor comes back.
"It’s a bit sad, especially as Richie was my captain and a good friend of mine. I’m sure he’s learning a lot more in this situation than if everything was running smooth. You learn more when times are tough, that’s certainly what I’ve found. He’s got good players around him and Billy Mckay gives them what they didn’t have before."
Upon leaving the Caley Jags in the summer, after an injury-hit two years, Brill joined fellow Premiership side Motherwell. Come January he had still yet to make a senior appearance for the club and called time on his career in Scotland. During his six-month stay with the Steel Men he returned north to face Caley Thistle and Ross County, even if it was a strange experience.
"Up at the opposite end, Ryan Esson was shouting abuse at me. But I was lucky enough to have a great reception from the fans, which I’m so grateful for and it’s so nice of them. I wasn’t ready to go and neither were my family. But people and clubs move on," said Brill, who now lives back in his native Luton. "I felt it was the right time to go back down south because my wife had left all her friends in Inverness and it was right to get her and Rosie home to be closer to family.
"I’m still in contact with a lot of the lads and Inverness is a home from home for us. It’s probably the only place, apart from where we’re at now, where I could have hung my hat and moved my family permanently. I’ve been back up a couple of times, playing Ross County and Inverness, which was a strange experience. I had three great years there and I’m sure I’ll be back up – it’s where Rosie was born."
A dislocated knee-cap sidelined Brill for the best part of a year, ruling him out of the Scottish Cup final and most of last season. He returned in March but was not given a farewell by manager John Hughes, having to be content with a handful of Development League games.