“For 45 minutes we were in Europe, 45 minutes later we weren't there just yet”. The post match words of Terry Butcher simply put to describe how close ICT were to securing an incredible feat of European football for next season. A mixture of bad luck, missed chances and a sucker punch right at the end means Inverness CT will go to Dingwall next Sunday knowing that anything that betters St Johnstone's result will see the Jaggies finally there.
This game marked the return of defender Chris Hogg who, after 16 months out of the game, finally returned at the heart of defence to partner Daniel Devine with Josh Meekings was pushed out right to cover the suspended David Raven.
"We have a cause now. We feel hard done by.” By three in the afternoon on Saturday, Terry Butcher had taken what he could from a game that neither side deserved to lose and used it as a peg to hang all the motivation he needs for his side in the upcoming home games against Motherwell and Dundee United.
A tough game for ICT as Celtic wrapped up the SPL title with a convincing 4-1 victory. Both sides were well matched in the first half but once Celtic got their first they just looked unstoppable and only a late Aaron Doran goal gave the ICT fans something to cheer before the real celebrations began.
Assured of a top six slot and both in contention for a Europa league spot, these two served up as cagey a performance as has been seen at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium all year. Perhaps it was a drawing of breath before the top six battle that is to come, or perhaps it was two fairly equal sides cancelling each other out, but this game didn’t quite deliver the spectacle and goals that some thought it might.
When the dust had settled the lights dimmed and the crowds had gone, Terry Butcher could reflect on a day when a job was well done. A potentially difficult afternoon was dispatched with authority and that historic top six place was almost palpable. A good day then.