Inverness Caledonian Thistle have suffered a turbulent few years. Just four seasons ago, Caley were Scottish Cup champions after a 2-1 win over Falkirk in their first ever Scottish Cup final.
Two seasons after the biggest triumph in the club’s history, they were relegated to the Scottish Championship where they still play today.
However, Caley are fighting on two fronts. They’re in the race for a promotion playoff place back to the top tier. But more impressively, they’ve got a Scottish Cup semi-final to look forward to. A 2-1 win at Tannadice over fellow promotion hopefuls Dundee United means Caley will play either Partick Thistle or Hearts at the national stadium.
It was the second time Caley had played United in Dundee in a matter of days. A 1-0 defeat midweek was later bettered thanks to Aaron Doran’s stoppage time winner to send them to the semi-finals.
Cup hangovers have been a recurring theme
What is bizarre is how John Robertson’s team have responded after their cup exploits or indeed played in some of the games to get them to this position.
In the third round, they met League Two high flyers Edinburgh City at Ainslie Park. A 1-1 draw in the capital meant Caley were held to a replay, eventually defeating City 6-1. Sandwiched between the two fixtures was a 3-2 league defeat at home to lowly Falkirk.
Whilst they breezed past Lowland League outfit East Kilbride 4-0 in the fourth round, the Bairns would claim a 2-2 draw from them at the Falkirk Stadium the following week, again in the Championship.
The fifth round saw a Highland derby take place. Caley twice led Ross County in Dingwall but again were forced to play another replay after a 2-2 draw. A defeat to Dunfermline at East End Park followed, their latest main rivals for the final playoff place.
After prevailing against the Staggies on penalties in the replay after yet another 2-2 draw, they did claim a league win against Morton.
So the cup may be of great benefit but that shouldn’t prevent them from picking up valuable points in the league. You can understand fans wanting to reach a final though and if they pay the price for it promotion wise, they’ve always got next year.
With rivals Ross County amongst the potential sides that will be promoted, they may have an easier ride next campaign.