Butcher: Thistle will be hurting

Terry Butcher returns to Inverness with Hibs on Wednesday and knows the Highlanders will be hurting after recent hammerings.

Butcher knows the character of his former Inverness players well enough to appreciate their determination to bounce back from consecutive 5-0 defeats.

But he has little idea about the team his successor John Hughes will pick given their rearranged Scottish Premiership game on Wednesday night comes just four days before Caley Thistle's first cup final.

Butcher and assistant Maurice Malpas left Inverness in the semi-finals of the competition and Hughes set up Sunday's Celtic Park clash with Aberdeen when he led them to victory over Hearts.

Given the progress the pair made at Inverness, it is fitting they return for the first time as opposition coaches in the biggest week of the club's history.

And Butcher feels the Caley Thistle players will welcome the distraction of their meeting ahead of Sunday's momentous occasion, especially after their Scottish Cup thrashing by Dundee United.

"They will be hurting after the Celtic game as well but they will always say it's in the past and they have to get on with it," the former England captain said.

"They normally bounce back well from setbacks. I'm hoping they bounce back on Sunday rather than Wednesday.

"But they are good characters, great pros, they have good resilience in the team there. They have players that can win games on their own. We know what we are up against.

"Maurice and I signed the players so we know their characters very well, and they are fantastic guys. But we want to go up there and beat them. We are looking at top six."

Hibs were seconds from drawing level with sixth-placed St Johnstone on Saturday until Motherwell striker John Sutton scrambled home to seal a 3-3 draw at Easter Road.

"Our team is picked, it's quite easy to pick our team after Saturday," Butcher said. "But I don't know what John is going to do. I said to the players that I would guess what John is going to do but I don't know.

"He has done ever so well to get Caley to the final. The semi-final was an epic match - lots of guts and character there and steel got them over the line.

"But it's a great occasion for them to look forward to on Sunday, and I think as professional players you know you have got the game on the Wednesday. You just look forward to it, get on with the job, and then you can really concentrate on the match on Sunday.

"In some aspects it's good to break up the week. It's generally a long week if you haven't got a game before a cup final.

"Caley Thistle haven't certainly haven't had time to really enjoy it this week because of the Dundee United match and our match as well. But I'm sure when the game is over on Wednesday night they will really turn their attention to what they are going to do at Celtic Park."