CALEY Thistle skipper Richie Foran insists finishing 10th in the Clydesdale Bank SPL this season will mean success – even though they are Celtic’s chief challengers.
The speedy, scoring attacking midfielder, speaking ahead of Saturday’s visit of Aberdeen, admits he’s loving this season at the top end of the table.
ICT are in second spot, nine points behind Neil Lennon’s Hoops.
Foran explained: “At the start of the season, you are wanting to just keep away from that relegation zone. It’s great to be in second place right now, but we have to look at the bigger picture.
“I haven’t enjoyed a season like this since we won the First Division when we put a great run together and were battering sides, but it feels much better when it’s happening in Scotland’s top division.
“It’s not as if we’re lucky to be there – we deserve to be there. We have scored the most goals (44) and played some terrific football. For me, that all comes down to the simple thing – hard work.
“Our attitudes have been spot on. We have to, at the same time, look at where we have come from. A successful season for Inverness has always been finishing above 10th position. Everything else is a bonus. Of course, given where we are sitting, we want finish far higher than 10th, but we must not get carried away. We’ve had luck on our side in terms of not having many injuries, but that also comes down to the physios who help to keep us fit. So, overall, a good season would be to finish 10th or above, while a wonderful season for this club would be to finish in the top six. We have good character and leaders in this small squad and that has served us well.”
ICT manager Terry Butcher, who rejected the chance to boss English Championship basement side Barnsley last week, recently said the players made him feel much more chilled this term.
Foran, who has also played for Butcher at Motherwell, knows how his boss feels.
He said: “The manager is enjoying it right now. He can sit back a little more because he has confidence in this team. He doesn’t need to give us a rocket up our backsides every few minutes – he knows that he has a group of winners, lads with the right attitude and grafters. If we are playing the nice football that we want to play then he is happy.
“I think I have mellowed a bit as well. You don’t need to be screaming at these lads to get them going. They have good attitudes, from the moment they walk on to the training park to when they walk on to the pitch. We know what we have to do.”
Due to the Highland derby at Ross County being rained off on January 2, Caley Thistle’s final game before the break was a hard-fought 0-0 draw at Perth – the first time this season the side failed to net.
Foran said: “We have shown that we can grind out a result – that game was a chance to show that we can do that as well as score goals and play fantastic football as we have for most of the season.“That was a game where we were maybe not enjoying the football, but we were willing to put the effort in. It also showed the value in having a very good squad. Philip Roberts and Conor Pepper came on and they did not look out of place. It’s not just about the 11 players who have mainly been playing in recent months, it’s about the entire squad.”