Dundee boss Paul Hartley has admitted his forward plan “didn’t work” and insisted it will be altered for Inverness today.
Hartley deserved credit for conceding that his decision to use four attacking players from the start against Kilmarnock at Dens last Saturday backfired, with the Dark Blues losing the match 2-1.
With straight-talking from managers currently fashionable in these parts, Hartley said: “It didn’t work last week, to be honest with you.
“It looked good in training and we had worked on it all week but it just didn’t seem to click in terms of the attacking side of our play.
“We had three main strikers (Rhys Healey, Kane Hemmings and Rory Loy), with Greg Stewart playing off them.
“It was something we tried and it didn’t work.
“I am the first to admit that.
“So we will look at a few things this week in terms of personnel and shape.
“I think we are going to have to adjust the team a bit for Inverness.”
Hartley travelled up to the Highlands in midweek and saw ICT crash out of the League Cup to local rivals Ross County.
Nevertheless, he still feels John Hughes’ side will make it tough for the Dark Blues at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadiium in their Premiership meeting this afternoon.
The Dundee boss said: “I was up seeing their game in midweek and they still have good players.
“They have had a lot of injuries and a lot of their key players have been missing but every time you go up there you know you are in for a difficult match.
“I actually don’t think there is a great deal between the majority of the clubs in the league.
“There are only a few points (five) separating Inverness in ninth place up to Ross County in fourth so it’s definitely bunching up.
“If you can get a run of good results then you can climb the table.
“It is the most competitive league for years. You have Hearts having a good season and Aberdeen are up there. You also have County and Hamilton fighting it out, while St Johnstone have just gotten into the top six.
“We are in the mix, too, and if you can be consistent in terms of winning games then you can get into that top six it’s finding that consistency that is the key.”
Meanwhile, Nick Ross will need to remind himself to head for the away dressing room when he returns to Inverness for the first time as an opposition player.
Having spent six years with Caley Thistle and made 173 appearances for the club during that time, Ross was used to life in the Highlands.
Now a key member of Dundee’s midfield, however, he is be hoping his old side are defeated by the Dark Blues when the sides clash today.
Ross said: “I am excited about going back up the road.
“I found it strange playing against them down here, having been with the club for a number of years.
“It will be different being in the away dressing room having been used to the home one for so long. I’ll need to remember which one to go in!
“So it will be really strange but really good at the same time.
“I am looking forward to it.
“It is a fixture that I looked out for when I came to Dundee because I just can’t wait to go back and play against my former team.
“A lot of the Dundee boys have said to me that no team enjoys going up there because it’s so far away but when I was at Inverness the trip to Dundee was a short journey for us so the distance won’t bother me.”
Given his time with ICT, Ross knows better than most how they will be suffering after losing to County in the quarter-finals in midweek.
Asked if they will be hurting, he replied: “They probably will be, yes.
“The Highland derby is the biggest game for the fans and the players won’t be happy with the manner of the defeat to County.
“So we will need to be aware of that and be right on our game.”
Dundee will be without James McPake, Julen Etxabeguren and Kevin Thomson, although Thomson has been back training this week.
McPake was injured in training on Thursday and Hartley revealed: “James is out because he has hurt his groin. He has gone away for a scan.”