Inverness Caledonian Thistle got a pick-me up yesterday following their League Cup final heartache by securing influential midfielder Ross Draper on a new two-year deal.
The 25-year-old ex-Macclesfield player was a member of the side which lost on penalties to Aberdeen at Celtic Park on Sunday. But he put that disappointment aside to pen a new deal until May 2016.
Manager John Hughes said “We are absolutely delighted he has seen that his future lies with our club. He has been an ever-present in the squad since first signing in 2012 and we have now secured the majority of this year’s squad on long-term deals.”
Draper – who has made 71 appearances for Inverness since moving to the Highlands – added: “I am delighted. I am really enjoying my time up here, I love everything about the club and Inverness, so there was no reason not to commit my future to the club.”
After their cup final woe, Inverness skipper Richie Foran insists they will have no trouble bouncing back against Motherwell tonight.
The Highlanders battled through 120 minutes of action before cruelly losing out to Adam Rooney’s decisive spot-kick. It was a painful way to miss out on landing the club’s first ever major trophy but Foran insists the characters in Hughes’ squad are tough enough to shake off their disappointment.
Foran told CaleyJagsTV: “We have got big players, big characters who showed on Sunday how well they can play. But that is that game out of the way now. There are worse things in life. Would I want a family member to be in an accident or get sick? No. This is a cup final, it’s football. Get on with it.”
Meanwhile, Motherwell skipper Keith Lasley insists Fir Park boss Stuart McCall deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Aberdeen’s Derek McInnes when nominations for the managerial prizes are announced.
McInnes is odds-on to sweep the board after guiding his side to their first trophy in 19 years with Sunday’s League Cup win. The Dons boss has also watched his team climb to second spot in the Premiership and they have a William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against St Johnstone to come.
But Lasley insists the job done by McCall is just as impressive. The former Scotland midfielder was named last year’s SPL Manager of the Year after leading ’Well to the runner’s up slot and is on course for a third top-three finish in as many years. Lasley said: “I think the gaffer deserves to be mentioned among the runners for the managerial awards. I thought the same last year. It’s all relative. Derek McInnes has done a great job. There have been plenty of managers who have gone to Aberdeen in recent years with the same budgets and not succeeded, so he is certainly doing something right. They will be favourites to finish second and are still in the Scottish Cup as well, so Derek will be a contender.
“But from my point of view, I know the gaffer here has a tough job in terms of budget constraints and the size of club…we are compared to Aberdeen and Dundee United. So it has to be commended the level of consistency that has been shown here and the gaffer needs to take a big chunk of that credit.”
Lasley does not think the final defeat will stop Caley Thistle from putting up a fight at Fir Park. The 34-year-old said: “Hopefully. going to extra time will have a big effect on the Inverness players but I’m sure they will be up for the game. There will obviously be a lot of disappointment but it would have been different if Aberdeen had run over the top of them and won 3-0 or 4-0.
“They were right in the game throughout and it could have gone either way, so they will recover. In some ways, John Hughes will like the fact his side can get out there again rather than being left to stew for a week.
“Inverness still have plenty to play for and I’m sure Yogi [Hughes] will be reiterating that before the game.
“They are in a great position and having a fantastic season. There will be plenty of motivation there and we can’t take it for granted that, just because they have had a hard time at the weekend, we can turn up and get a result.”