Terry Butcher: European knockout may be a blessing

Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager Terry Butcher said missing out on Europe may be a blessing in disguise.

Andre Hainault's 10-yard, first-half volley was enough to win the Highland derby for Ross County and deny Butcher's men third place.

"It's not frustrating," he said. "It's disappointing in many aspects, but I don't think we're a club that's really geared up to go into Europe.

"It would have been a qualification too far for us in many respects."

He continued: "My chairman's not happy, but he's like 'a European adventure cost St Johnstone a lot of money last year', that's what he was worried about.

"We'd need a bigger squad, so he doesn't need to give me more money, so he's quite happy with that."

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It's just incredible where we've come from four years ago to today

Terry Butcher Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager

It was the fourth defeat in five games for Inverness and at McDairmid Park St Johnstone took full advantage with a 2-0 win over Motherwell to clinch the final Europa League spot.

Despite narrowly missing out on third spot in the Scottish Premier League, Caley Thistle supporters stayed behind long after the final whistle to chant their support.

"They're fantastic", said Butcher. "We've had great support all season, away from home especially, and we just couldn't give them that final win today.

"It wasn't for the lack of trying. We had a very, very young side. Just that little bit of experience that was missing I think told in the end.

"We've had four defeats out of five in the top six and we had a great opportunity last week to clinch it and we didn't.

"It wasn't because of last week that we've lost today's game. We lost Tudur Jones on Thursday with a thigh knock and we're missing Ross Draper and Richie Foran. Gary Warren tried to get fit for the game but failed a late fitness test.

"With four men like that who've played the bulk of the season, I would have felt more comfortable coming here, but we had to make do.

"It wasn't about today, it was about the rest of the season. We've had a brilliant campaign, I can not fault my players.

"I said to them before the game they've given every ounce of effort to me and the club."

Butcher looked back to four years ago when his side were relegated on the final day and compared it to the Europa League near-miss.

"We lost 1-0 that day as well and that was unbelievable," he said. "So this is a picnic, this is a party.

"It's just incredible where we've come from four years ago to today. It's just been remarkable and we want more."