TERRY Butcher will get a welcome reminder of the day his side’s fortunes turned this season when he takes Inverness to face Dundee United today.
The Highlanders had failed to win any of their first seven SPL games and were languishing second-bottom when United visited Tulloch Caledonian Stadium at the end of September. A shock 4-0 win for the home side, thanks to a first-half double by skipper Richie Foran and goals after the break by Andrew Shinnie and Philip Roberts, stopped the rot. Inverness have since lost only one game in 16 and, as well as climbing to second in the SPL behind Celtic, have booked a Scottish Communities League Cup semi-final clash against Hearts and progressed in the William Hill Scottish Cup.
Recalling the day when his side’s fortunes turned, Butcher said: “Dundee United started off the game pretty well and for the first half an hour it was nip and tuck and then all of a sudden Richie scored two goals that gave us a good half-time lead and we were able to build on that in the second half and run out 4-0 winners. We actually played well in the first seven games and had five points but hadn’t had a win.
“We played well in some of those draws and were unlucky not to get the first victory but when the first win did come against United it certainly lifted everybody. It made everybody more confident, we had more belief and we knew that we were on the right track.”
Butcher, who has no fresh injuries following the Scottish Cup win over Ross County, is looking to give his far-travelled fans more to cheer about with another win.
He said: “I have a good relationship with my away fans and I am looking forward to seeing them because they are just phenomenal. They are so noisy and get behind the team. Man for man, I don’t think there is a noisier away crowd so we are really pleased with the support we get from the away fans and it has been nice to reward them with some good away victories and points.”
Meanwhile, Dundee United left-back Barry Douglas is aiming to continue his improvement by hitting the goal trail - but he will be content to keep supplying the goals.
The former Queen’s Park player set up fellow full-back Keith Watson for the opening goal in last weekend’s 3-0 derby win at Dens Park and played a hand in several more during United’s 5-0 William Hill Scottish Cup win at Stranraer the previous week. Douglas has not scored since a 3-3 draw with St Johnstone in August 2011 but he is relishing the freedom to get forward and supply Jon Daly and Johnny Russell with crosses.
“Hopefully goals will come as well, I have been unlucky with a few free-kicks,” the 23-year-old said. “But I just need to keep supplying, as long as someone else is scoring the goals.”
Douglas has made the left-back position his own after previously being kept out by Scotland international Paul Dixon, who left for Huddersfield in the summer. “I am happy with the way I’m playing,” he added. “I have always had belief in my ability, I just needed a chance to play and finally I am reaping the benefits and setting up goals.”