Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager Terry Butcher says he will campaign for a change to disciplinary laws after being told bookings issued during Friday night’s abandoned Highland derby will still count.
The match at Ross County’s Global Energy Stadium was halted at half-time with the game still goalless following a floodlight failure.
But Butcher has been left incensed that bookings shown to Caley Thistle players Ross Draper and Gary Warren will be added to their disciplinary record.
Referee John Beaton also showed yellow cards to Melvin de Leeuw and Kevin Luckassen but the Inverness manager has called for the rules to be changed and the cautions scrubbed.
Butcher – whose side host Dundee United in the League Cup quarter-finals tonight – said: “We are still angry about the game on Friday night. Not so much about the floodlight failure – there was nothing we could do about that.
“However, the fact is that we had two bookings in the game – Ross Draper and Gary Warren – and these bookings carry forward. They are part of the disciplinary process now and they will count.
“If it was a red card, it would also have counted and I would totally agree with that – but not bookings.
“Nothing else counts in the game – the score doesn’t count and if someone had scored a goal, it wouldn’t have mattered either. But these bookings count.
“So in effect for both ourselves and Ross County, our league season will be 38-and-a-half games. How can that be fair?
“From a fairness point of view, these bookings should be scrapped but according to SFA rules they have to be upheld. I will be pushing hard for a change in the laws because it’s absolutely ludicrous that players booked in an abandoned game tally up.”
This evening’s last-eight clash with the Arabs offers Inverness the opportunity to make up for last season’s semi-final defeat by Hearts at Easter Road.
The Highlanders missed out on their first ever major cup final when they lost out on penalties, but Butcher wants his men to use the pain of those memories to inspire themselves to victory.
“We want to go further than last year,” stated the former England skipper.
“It was heartbreaking to go out on penalties against Hearts. We were angry because we thought we should have gone through over the 120 minutes.
“It was really disappointing but we can use that anger and turn it into a winning display against Dundee United and help get ourselves though to the semis.
“A lot of teams will fancy their chances with Celtic being out. There will be a name going on the trophy that wasn’t expected to be there when the competition started out. Hopefully it could be ours.
“Celtic going out has spiced things up. Anyone can beat anyone in the SPL. There has to be a winner on the night. It’s not about wonderful football or making 20 to 30 passes.
“It’s about making sure you are the winner when the ref blows the final whistle.”
United also have reason to go into the fixture in confident mood and their manager, Jackie McNamara, believes his side could not have asked for better preparation.
The Tayside club head north to take on Butcher’s men on the back of Saturday’s 4-0 Scottish Premiership win over St Mirren at Tannadice.
McNamara reckons it was his side’s best performance of the season so far and the ideal morale-booster as they aim for a place in the last four of the League Cup.
He said: “The lads are all looking forward to the tie. We’re entitled to go there with some confidence after Saturday. That was probably the best we’ve played all season as a team.
“There were plenty of positives to take from the game, like the goals and the way everything gelled together. Now we have to take all that into the Inverness game and hopefully we can because we know it will be a very tough cup tie.”
McNamara is full of admiration for Butcher’s side but believes his own team have nothing to fear about their trip to the Highland capital.
He said: “We know Inverness are a strong side. That’s shown by results at home, where they’ve only lost once.
“They have a real team work ethic which has served them well. But, like any game, it’s about what we do and we’ll be concentrating on ourselves.
“We know what we can do on our day and that’s what we have to try and do. It’s a one-off tie and we know what is at stake. It would be great for the club as a whole to progress.”
McNamara has made changes to the side which defeated St Mirren in style and has promised to keep Inverness guessing over his starting line-up.
He said: “I was obviously happy with the way things worked out for us.
“Using the full squad is very important and we did it to decent effect. It’s up to the players who come in to give me something to think about as regards selection and they’ve done that.
“Brian Graham did very well and was unlucky not to get a goal for all his efforts. He worked his socks off and linked the play very well.
“Whoever is chosen to play knows the importance of the tie and we’ll be going there to get into the next round.”
United have no fresh injury worries from the side which saw off St Mirren. Defensive pair Sean Dillon and Keith Watson were both rested at the weekend but could return.
Butcher, too, has no new injury concerns, although James Vincent is definitely out of the cup tie with a chipped tibia.
Meanwhile, away from this evening’s action, McNamara has said that he hopes to open talks aimed at keeping fans’ favourite Nadir Ciftci at Tannadice even longer.
Turkish striker Ciftci has been an instant hit since signing for the United in the summer and hit a double in the 4-0 victory over St Mirren.
Ciftci is contracted until May 2015 but McNamara hopes to extend his stay even further. He said: “I’d be keen to sit down and talk to Nadir about extending things.
“He’s done exceptionally well in his short time at the club and has got a lot of good attributes.”