sport

Hearts the priority for Shinnie

Inverness defender Graeme Shinnie will focus on quietly continuing to prove the sceptics wrong against Hearts

Caley Thistle go into Saturday's Scottish League Cup semi-final as the surprise package in the Scottish Premier League this season.

Only Celtic and Motherwell have this season beaten Terry Butcher's men, who also remain in the Scottish Cup and sit second in the SPL.

Shinnie, an ever-present this season, admits the Easter Road clash is the biggest of his career so far but will not allow that to distract him.

The 21-year-old said: "All the games we play are important but I have never been to a semi-final as big as this.

"I have played in the Youth Cup semi-final and things like that but this is massive and an opportunity to show what we are all about and get to the final.

"There's been a lot thrown at us this season and we have handled it very well.

"People have written us off on numerous occasions and we have come up good.

"So we'll just focus on us performing well on the day and if we can do that then we are confident that we'll get a good result.

"We are preparing like we would any other game. Training has been the same and everyone is just trying to get on with what they are doing.

"It is a semi-final, there is no getting away from that but if we play the way we have been doing this season then we will be fine."

Caley Thistle's belief was encapsulated in a previous visit to Edinburgh to face Hearts, when they fought back for a 2-2 draw in August despite having captain Richie Foran sent off.

Shinnie said: "It was an amazing game and the first half was totally against us. We were down 2-0 and had a man sent off.

"But at half-time we were confident we could get back into the game, as we have been all season.

"Whenever we have been down we are confident we will come back."

That belief no doubt stems from their goalscoring prowess - they have hit the net 58 times this season - and they have added cause for confidence after keeping consecutive clean sheets for the first time this season.

Left-back Shinnie added: "The way we play we are more of an attacking team. As you see from our goalscoring, we throw a lot of boys forward, which can sometimes hamper us at the back.

"But the last few weeks we have been really solid and that's two clean sheets on the bounce.

"The back four know each other's game now and we are all covering for each other."