Friday 4th August 2017

AS part of Sons 24, we are once again taking an in-depth look at the nine teams who stand between Dumbarton and the points they need to achieve their goal this season.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle are the last side to be examined, having come down from the Premiership at the end of last season. We already know that some historic fixtures are ahead when they meet Sons in this campaign, but the Highland side are looking for more than that, as they look to return to the top flight at the first time of asking.

Please note that the views in this article are not necessarily those of Dumbarton FC, its board or any staff.

Dumbarton v Inverness CT: Saturday, September 23; Tuesday, February 27 (evening kick-off).

Inverness CT v Dumbarton: Saturday, December 16; Saturday, April 14.

Previous meetings with Dumbarton:

There have only ever been two – and they have both been in the League Cup. Interestingly, in both games, a striker who went on to play for Dumbarton scored for Inverness CT. There was also a familiar face in goal for the Highland club. Reports from external sources.

Tuesday, September 10 2002 – Inverness CT 2 Dumbarton 0
Wednesday, August 23 2006 – Inverness CT 3 Dumbarton 1

Season 2017/18 so far: Betfred League Cup sectional matches –

Saturday, July 15 – Inverness CT 3 Brechin City 0
Tuesday, July 18 – Stirling Albion 0 Inverness CT 0 (Inverness CT won on penalties)
Saturday, July 22 – Inverness CT 0 Falkirk 2
Saturday, July 29 – Forfar Athletic 1 Inverness CT 2

Signings: John Baird (Falkirk); Connor Bell (free agent); Riccardo Calder (Aston Villa); Joe Chalmers (Motherwell); Alex Cooper (East Fife); Zak Elbouzedi (West Brom); Matt Elsdon (Middlesbrough); George Oakley (AFC Wimbledon); Mark Ridgers (Partick Thistle); Collin Seedorf (RKC Waalwijk); Felitciano Zschusschen (FC Saarbrucken).

First four league games: Dundee United (H); Dunfermline Athletic (A); Morton (H); Brechin City (A).

The run-in (last four league games): Queen of the South (A); Dumbarton (H); Dunfermline Athletic (H); Morton (A).

Analysis: After five years, the top end of the A9 has Championship football to look forward to again. Not at Ross County though, despite the Dingwall club having more recently been in the Championship. Inverness CT, who eight years ago were promoted into Scotland’s top flight, are out of it again, and some trips which have been off the itinerary for many years are back on it.

Dumbarton, though, is not one of them – because it’s a journey they have never made. It’s reasonably safe to bet that Sons View editor Graeme Robertson is looking forward to doing the programme for the meeting on Saturday, September 23, as it’s the first ever which will read ‘Dumbarton v Inverness CT’ on the front cover. The trip north nine days before Christmas will also be Sons’ first trip to the Caledonian Stadium on a weekend, as well as being the first in the league.

Over the past few seasons, Inverness’ recruitment has focused on players from down south. They may find this more of a challenge now that they are in the Championship – are players going to want to head north to play second tier football? There have, though, been some so far, and also some from abroad, most notably Collin Seedorf, the nephew of the more famous Dutch international Clarence. In terms of Scottish talent, the signing of John Baird from Falkirk is a decent one, with the striker well proven at this level. Inverness have also done well to hang on to youngster Liam Polworth, the 22-year-old being a prized asset and tipped to follow in the footsteps of Ryan Christie.

However, Inverness should be under no illusions about what a challenge they face to bounce straight back. In the last two seasons, Dumbarton have taken full points at home to the club which has started the campaign newly relegated – Dundee United last season and St Mirren the one before. Clubs like Falkirk and Dundee United will also be viewing points from Inverness as important and, after a summer of change, the Northerners may take time to adjust to their new environment.

As the team most recently in the top flight, and Scottish Cup winners as recently as 2015, Inverness CT really should be around the play-off places and possibly higher. However, they are about to discover that dropping down a division doesn’t mean things get any easier on the pitch. Interesting times are ahead.

Verdict: A play-off place should be their target, but a positive start and there may be more in this season for them.

Join the debate @dumbartonfc and #sons24

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