Football Expert & Columnist
Terry Butcher's work at Inverness is impressive, says Andy Walker
Andy Walker applauds the work of Inverness boss Terry Butcher ahead of his side's Motherwell clash.
Last Updated: 12/11/12 2:43pm
Just a few weeks ago, Terry Butcher enjoyed one of the biggest nights in his managerial career when he led his unfancied players to a comfortable 3-0 victory at Ibrox against Rangers in the Scottish Communities League Cup.
A semi-final against Hearts is now on the back-burner until January with a place in the final against either Celtic or St Mirren up for grabs.
And if more evidence was required as to how far the Highlanders have come in such a short space of time, it was provided when Caley Thistle star Andrew Shinnie was called up by caretaker manager Billy Stark for Scotland's friendly against Luxembourg later this week.
The 23-year old Aberdonian has already scored nine times this season and if he does get on to the park at some stage, he'll become the first Inverness Caley Thistle player to win a full cap.
All of this is a far cry from what was expected of Caley Thistle at the start of the season.
After just a few weeks of the SPL, I found it painful to see Caley Thistle concede four goals at home to Celtic in a shocking defensive display and they followed up by losing another four goals at Motherwell in their next game.
Avenging that four-goal defeat at Fir Park will be on their minds on Sunday.
Everyone in Scotland is used to seeing Caley Thistle fighting for their SPL survival and it was a big decision from Butcher to dispense with the experience of Ross Tokely and Grant Munro in the summer.
With a combined 30 years of experience behind them, the old guard had served the club well but Butcher decided to make changes and has taken his club in a different direction.
He couldn't do anything about losing Johnny Hayes to Aberdeen and it's fair to say that another long fight against relegation was on the cards when the new players failed to gel in the early part of the campaign.
But Saturday's home draw against Hearts made it 10 games unbeaten for Butcher's men and the question now must be if his players can get used to consistent results and being in the top half of the table.
That's a different mindset entirely but one that Butcher and his assistant Maurice Malpas are used to.
But they won't find it easy against Stuart McCall's Motherwell.
If there was one side in the SPL who Inverness Caley Thistle should look to in terms of consistently punching above their weight in recent seasons, it's Motherwell.
Clubs such as Hibs, Hearts, Aberdeen and Dundee Utd have far greater wage bills but Motherwell have shown that you can achieve good results on a weekly basis with players who know what their jobs are and who carry out the manager's instructions.
McCall's side had a taste of European football at the start of the season with a Champions League qualifier against Panathinaikos but with Michael Higdon off the boil in recent weeks, they have struggled for the consistency we know they're capable of.
Inverness v Motherwell, Sun, Sky Sports, Sky Sports 4 HD, 12.30pm.