TERRY Butcher had joked that his players were ecstatic he had been handed a touchline ban for last night’s Highland derby, but the Caley Thistle manager was himself ecstatic as his team beat Ross County 3-1.
There was a touch of relief about the Inverness boss’s reaction at the end of his 100th SPL game in charge of the club, as the visitors had fought back from a two-goal halftime deficit and for a time looked like equalising. Over the piece, however, Caley Thistle deserved the three points at the end of a compelling contest.
“If the win means me staying up there [in the stand], I’ll be delighted to stay up there,” he said. “I don’t think the people around me were very happy, because I was shouting and screaming all the time, so I apologise to them.
“But what a fantastic night. What a cracker. Absolute cracker.
“We got a goal, got a second, and it was a strange old lead for us, 2-0. They came back into it very well in the second half and made a right fight of it – they’re a real danger from set pieces. We needed a third goal, and what a goal it was as well.”
If Butcher had been in the mood for nit-picking, he could have complained that his team should have wrapped up the result some time before the end. But he was in a more charitable mood, and gave Ross County some credit for their comeback rather than bemoaning his own side’s failings.
“It’s easier said than done,” he continued when asked if Caley Thistle should have had the game won long before the end. “It was never a free-kick [at the Vigurs goal], in my opinion. But you knew with his quality that when he stepped up you thought ‘My goodness, that’s a goal’.” With their lead reduced to 2-1 and Richie Foran being forced off with a back strain, Inverness were on the back foot for a time before a late volley from Aaron Doran deservedly secured the points. “We failed to turn up against Celtic,” Butcher continued, referring to their recent 4-2 defeat. “But we wanted to show people that we can play.
“We’ve scored in every game and we are the top scorers in the SPL. It’s a strange thing to say given we’ve lost Jonny Hayes and Gregory Tade, Adam Rooney too. But we’ve still managed to pop the ball in and make chances.” Ross County manager Derek Adams was altogether less chirpier, having seen his side lose their third game on the trot following previous defeats by St Johnstone and St Mirren. But he was at least able to reflect on a display in which his team created a lot of chances, and might even have snatched a point.
“I’m very disappointed. We didn’t start the game particularly well, and made errors for their goals. But in the second half we did a lot better and probably deserved to get a 2-2. But we haven’t done enough to win the game. We got a grip of the game and created opportunities, but we didn’t do enough.
“The problem we’ve got is we’re doing well in games and we have to start picking up a point. We can’t just say we’re keeping on doing well: we have to pick up points.
“The support was terrific,” Adams added, more than 2,500 County fans having made the short trip. “Our start was a hard one for them, and we were chasing the game after that.”