CALEY Thistle could be just three points off top spot in the Ladbrokes Championship right now.
Instead, they face a home clash against a Livingston team who could pull five points clear of them as the Inverness team seek their second league win of the season.
Cheap goals and lacklustre finishing combined as they crashed 4-2 at St Mirren on Saturday, leaving them in seventh spot with just four points from five games, while the Buddies surged into top spot, two points clear of Dunfermline Athletic, Queen of the South and Dundee United.
ICT John Baird hit the net after just 80 seconds in Paisley, but it was offside and they paid the price after that for not punishing their hosts.
Lewis Morgan’s deflected goal put Saints in front after 31 minutes, but John Baird levelled deservedly on 61 minutes.
In a crazy second half spell, goals flew in all over the place.
Gavin Reilly poked the ball over the line from close range before a smart victory against an offside trap led to Liam Polworth squaring the game again.
However, parity didn’t last long once more and long-range crackers from Cammy Smith then Ian McShane sealed the win for the Buddies.
Caley Thistle manager John Robertson admits their defending has to be better, especially when he considers that a win last weekend would have painted a far prettier picture for the club.
He said: "St Mirren went top on Saturday, yet had we won, which we could have done, we could be sitting three points off the top spot going into a home game.
"That’s the difference between being successful and biting and scratching for every point.
"We’ve scored 10 goals in our last three games, but we understand as a team we have to defend better. That’s not just about the goalkeeper or the defenders. I include the midfielders and forwards because if you defend well from the front it makes it easier for everyone. We haven’t quite it right at both ends in the same game."
On Saturday, they face one of Robbo’s old clubs in Livingston, who battled back for a 2-2 draw against Queen of the South at the weekend and have progressed to the quarter-finals of the Betfred Cup as well as winning a tough Irn-Bru Cup section early in the campaign.
Robertson feels that leapfrogging their visitors would be an important step as they seek to move back towards mid-table.
He explained: "Livingston have had an excellent start to the season. They are a really tough team to break down.
"They play with huge energy and enthusiasm. They have a set formation and we’ll have to man up against them and match their energy, physical edge and passion, which I’s sure we will do.
"Livingston won their Irn-Bru Cup section, which included Partick Thistle and St Mirren, which tells you all you need to know. They also await a money spinner against Hibs in the cup after knocking out Falkirk, so they have done really well.
"They have chipped away in their league matches and are above us in the table. Our immediate aim is to try and beat them and move above them in the table."