Tuesday evening sees Dunfermline face their toughest opposition so far this season in the third set of games in the Betfred League Cup group stage. Having dispensed of Arbroath and Cowdenbeath by 3-0 in both games, and never having been under any real threat, the Pars now find themselves in the position of being the lower league team.
Inverness have begun the League Cup with a 2-1 win at Cowdenbeath and a 1-1 draw at home to Dundee United, losing the extra point in a 4-1 penalty shoot-out loss. New manager Ritchie Foran has been at the club as a player since 2009, making 205 appearances. His appointment this summer after the sacking of John Hughes could have been seen as the cheap option for the Inverness board, with Foran still contracted as a player. This was how the BBC reported the appointment:
"The appointment of Ritchie Foran as the new Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager was in reality the only realistic outcome available. Why? Money. In this case, a lack of it has conspired to hand the 35-year-old Irishman a fabulous opportunity. His chance has arrived after relations between the Scottish Premiership club and John Hughes descended beyond repair. The termination of that relationship meant the Highlanders suffered a financial outlay for which they hadn't budgeted; with that budget already tight and central to Hughes' exit."
In a summer that has seen many teams make multiple changes to their playing squads, only Celtic and Hibs from the two top divisions have brought in fewer new players than Inverness, who have made 4 signings: striker Scott Boden (who scored the Inverness goal v Dundee United on Saturday), young midfielder Jake Mulraney, on-loan Hearts forward Billy King, and the veteran defender Kevin McNaughton.
Against stronger opposition, it would be a surprise if the nucleus of the Pars team was tinkered with, and there are limited options in what is a small first team squad. David Hutton will be in goal, with Sean Murdoch still out with a wrist injury. Ryan Williamson will be at right back but will have to be at his best defensively. At left back, Jason Talbot was brought in against Cowdenbeath but could be replaced by Lewis Martin (pictured, right) as Inverness are a tall, physical team and additional height might be required.
With Callum Fordyce not yet fully fit, the central defence of Big Ben and Lee Ashcroft picks itself. Midfield: captain Andy Geggan (pictured, left) is an automatic choice, and Kallum Higginbotham has made a great start to his Pars career and will relish playing against top division opposition. Nat Wedderburn will line up against his old Inverness team mates but had it not been a game against such a physically strong team, there is an argument for starting Rhys McCabe, which would mean Geggan playing deeper. Joe Cardle will be an automatic choice on the left. Up front, the Moff and Gavin Reilly are the only natural first team strikers in the squad. Moffat has begun the season in great form, and Reilly, for all his effort, needs a first competitive goal to boost his confidence. Possible starting 11: