SPFL Premiership prospects
KICK-OFFS 3PM UNLESS STATED
Dundee v Inverness CT Midfielder Paul McGowan is all too aware of the quality of Inverness to start looking beyond today’s mid-table battle.
Dundee secured a Scottish Cup quarter-final spot against Rangers when they beat Dumbarton 5-0 in a replay on Tuesday. Their Ibrox match comes next weekend, three days after a midweek game at Celtic Park. But the Old Firm double header is on the back burner for Paul Hartley’s side as they face a crucial match against Caley Thistle today.
A win would open up a five-point lead over seventh-placed Inverness and put Dundee in the driving seat for the top six, but the Tayside club have not beaten this weekend’s opponents in 13 games and defeat would see them slip into the bottom half.
McGowan said: “It’s a big week for the club. It’s exciting. But we are just looking at one game at a time. We don’t have a good record against them, we have not beaten them since we came up. So it’s going to be a tough game. I’m a big admirer of Caley Thistle, the way they pass the ball and they can roll their sleeves up as well.”
Dundee midfielder Nicky Low is back in training ahead of today’s match.
The former Aberdeen player has missed two games with an ankle problem.
Daryll Meggatt is working his way back towards fitness after a hernia operation while James McPake is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Danny Williams has returned to the Inverness squad for the trip to Dundee. The winger missed last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at Celtic Park following a family bereavement.
Inverness captain Richie Foran (calf) remains unavailable, while it is doubtful Alex Fisher (ankle), Josh Meekings or James Vincent (both knee) will play a part at Dens Park. Long-term absentee Aaron Doran (knee) is still out, but goalkeeper Dean Brill is closing in on a return. Ross County v Dundee United Michael Gardyne reckons his old Dundee United colleagues can save their Premiership status – by copying the escape act his Ross County side performed 12 months ago.
The Staggies looked doomed to relegation at the start of 2015 last term when they dropped six points behind the rest of the pack. But a run of eight wins and a draw fired Jim McIntyre’s men up the table and they eventually finished eight points clear of trouble.
Gardyne’s former Tannadice teammates look in just as much trouble this season, with an 11-point gap separating the bottom-dogs from 11th-placed Kilmarnock.
But Mixu Paatelainen’s team appear to have found some fight at last after being stung by chairman Stephen Thompson’s rebuke last week. They claimed a surprise 2-1 win over Hearts last Saturday and now Gardyne believes that can be the launch pad the Tangerines need.
The forward said: “It’s incredible the situation they find themselves in. I don’t really know what’s going on there. The main thing for them though is they can’t concentrate on what has happened before – it’s about what they do from now on that matters. We were in their situation last season and it was about February time that we turned it around.”
Ross County defender Scott Boyd is 50-50 for today’s match after an absence with a calf problem. Jamie Reckord is suspended following his red card against Hamilton while another full-back, Richard Foster, is also banned. Marcus Fraser (shoulder) and Craig Curran (concussion) remain on the sidelines.
Dundee United midfielder Guy Demel is out of the game after sustaining a hamstring strain against Hearts. Defender Callum Morris suffered a setback after returning to training after a knee injury and striker Henri Anier is suspended.