Scottish Championship: Duncan Ferguson’s Inverness CT to derail Dundee United’s title charge?

George Oakley hammered home a hat-trick to inflict Dundee United's second defeat of the season
George Oakley hammered home a hat-trick to inflict Dundee United’s second defeat of the season
Scottish Championship: Inverness CT v Dundee Utd
Venue: Caledonian Stadium, Inverness Date: Friday, 12 January Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Watch on BBC Scotland channel and follow live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app

Outmuscled, overpowered and borderline bullied.

Such words have rarely been fitting for Dundee United this season, but they summed up the defeat to Greenock Morton. Not exactly timely traits to have exposed a week before taking on Duncan Ferguson’s Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Despite defeat, Jim Goodwin’s United didn’t lose any ground on league leaders Raith Rovers, who too suffered their second loss of the season, again to Airdrieonians.

On the flip, Inverness Caley Thistle won for the first time in six with a convincing victory over Ayr United and now former Tannadice favourite Ferguson – ‘Big Dunc’ – welcomes his first club to the Highlands on Friday night live on BBC Scotland.

A win for United would take them top, albeit potentially only for a matter of hours, before Rovers host Queen’s Park in Callum Davidson’s first game in charge.

With a World Cup star set to join the title favourites and the Premiership lying dormant for the winter break, the Championship is the place to be.

‘I’d have a brass neck to look for sympathy’

Seldom do the top two both taste defeat, so last week was an anomaly in the season. United had only been defeated by Ian Murray’s table-toppers, whose sole slip-up had come on their previous excursion to the Excelsior.

A remarkably relentless pair, they have cantered away from the rest but can’t quite shake each other off.

United, who have a game in hand, can pile the pressure on this Friday but will need to dispose of the uncharacteristic mistakes made against Morton.

Goodwin is confident his side are ready to roar back, saying: “The group have always reacted very well to disappointment. I expect no different from them on Friday.”

United’s eye-watering financial losses have amplified their need to get back to the top flight at the first attempt, but Goodwin is not looking for any sympathy and knows his budget, while reduced, is still the envy of the division.

“The board don’t put pressure on me, I am very good at putting all that pressure on myself,” he said.

“We have signed players that work within the budget and the restraints of that. But it would be a bit of a brass neck of me to look for sympathy off the other nine managers because I am pretty sure they would love to have the resources that we have.”

The Irishman has already been active in the transfer window, adding New Zealand striker Alex Greive on loan from St Mirren this week, with another notable recruit poised to arrive…

Wotherspoon’s goodbye & greeting? Wotherspoon on potential Dundee United move

David Wotherspoon’s short-term contract runs out with Inverness CT this weekend. He might have earmarked this fixture as his goodbye to the Highlands but it now could be his greeting with his new club.

The Canada international, 33, addressed his potential move to Tannadice on the BBC’s Scottish Football Podcast and admitted a deal is in the works.

“There’s nothing been signed yet, but there is a possibility by next week there could be something done,” said Wotherspoon, who has contributed four goals and two assists in his 10 appearances for the Caley Jags.

“[Dundee United] are up there as they should be fighting for the title. So, it’s a great opportunity for me and something that I’m really looking forward to if everything gets done.”

ICT eyeing play-offs

From preparing to wave goodbye to Wotherspoon, to welcoming Jamie Carragher’s son, James, to the club, the doormat at the Caledonian Stadium has been well trotted on this week.

Ferguson dipped into his contact book down south to lure 21-year-old centre-half Carragher and he might need to do so again as Inverness CT look to preserve their second-tier status.

Four points clear of the bottom two, Queen’s Park and Arbroath, safety is still the priority, especially since they both have a game in hand on Caley Thistle.

After going six games undefeated when appointed, including a 1-1 draw at Tannadice, times have been tougher of late for former Scotland international Ferguson, though stopping the rot with that win at Somerset could be pivotal.

Should a string of results follow, as is the beauty and bizarreness of the Championship, Inverness CT will soon be looking upwards and pushing for a promotion play-off spot.

Now there’s a thought – Big Dunc back in the big time in Scotland.

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