Published: 19/05/2017 08:00 - Updated: 18/05/2017 15:12

Memories of Caley Thistle's 2009 relegation haunt Richie Foran - tomorrow can right that

Written byJamie Durent

Richie Foran was relegated as a player with Caley Thistle in 2009. Pictures: Ken Macpherson.
Richie Foran was relegated as a player with Caley Thistle in 2009. Pictures: Ken Macpherson.

RICHIE Foran was on the pitch that day. He could have influenced the outcome.

Inverness only needed a point against Falkirk in 2009 to avoid the drop. But Michael Higdon's goal consigned them to relegation.

He still remembers tears in the corridoors of the stadium, from staff who knew they would be losing their jobs.

This weekend, with a victory over Motherwell and the result at New Douglas Park going in their favour, presents a chance to put that right.

The roles from 2009 are reversed tomorrow afternoon, in that Caley Thistle are not in the position of supremacy this time. That honour lies with Hamilton.

"It would be fantastic to put that right. Because, for me personally, I look back on that as a real disappointment in my career," he said.

"I say that because I could influence it. I played – and missed a few good chances.

"I remember the chances. My memory is not great, to be honest. But I remember that game and remember the chances I missed.

"I remember the feeling after it. I remember the tears of the office staff as I was leaving the ground, knowing that they would be losing their jobs. So I know what it means to get relegated. 

Ross Tokely was sent off as ICT went down against falkirk in 2009.
Ross Tokely was sent off as ICT went down against falkirk in 2009.

"It was in our own hands then. That’s why I can talk about Hamilton, who also have it in their own hands. I know what it’s like to have that pressure on your shoulders. It’s an immense, immense pressure.

"That’s when you need your leaders. And, unfortunately, I missed a few chances in that game. I didn’t do my job. And I was definitely feeling the pressure that day – a huge amount of pressure on my shoulders, knowing that it was in my hands, that we had to go out and perform.

"I think a draw would have done us on the day – but we couldn’t even manage that. All because of the pressure on our shoulders."

Spirits now are hugely different to eight years ago. Only Foran, Ryan Esson and Iain Vigurs remain on the playing staff from that day. All three had an influence in Wednesday's 2-0 win at Dundee that gave them this survival lifeline.

While they were outnumbered at Dens Park, the travelling support was never outsung. It was telling to see them move towards the front of the stand, at half-time and full-time, to applaud the players coming off the pitch. They sensed an unlikely escape.

Offers have been put on by the club - season-ticket holders can bring a friend for free and under-16s get in without charge too - to attract as many fans to the game as possible.

Caley Jags boss Foran echoed those calls for a big support tomorrow afternoon, given the importance of the game.

“We need them in their droves. They’ve been there this season and been very patient – we need them to keep being patient,” he said. “It’s a huge game for the club and the city – we need Inverness in the top flight and with their backing, we can do it.

Foran has seen his side give themselves a fighting chance of escaping the drop tomorrow.
Foran has seen his side give themselves a fighting chance of escaping the drop tomorrow.

‘The club does everything they can. There has been criticism of the board at times but these are Inverness people – they’ve got the club at heart.

‘The board and the chairman are trying their best and everyone is together, from the coach to the ground staff, all working to keep this club in the Premiership."

Updates from Hamilton’s game from Dundee will inevitably be filtering around the stadium during the game, but Foran stressed he does not want to know what is happening at New Douglas Park.

Caley Thistle need to win to have any chance of leapfrogging Accies into the play-off place, given Hamilton’s superior goal-difference.

“We can’t influence what happens at Hamilton. But I know they’ll be feeling a hell of a lot of pressure now – that’s lifted off our shoulders,” said Foran. “It’s a huge game for them now and we need the same as last night now. What will be will be.

“I don’t want to know what’s going on there. The focus is on us against Motherwell – we can’t influence anything else.

“Hamilton’s results haven’t been great at home and Dundee will be looking for a reaction; they were disappointed with last night.”

Caley Thistle have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the game, with Scott Boden back available.

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