Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Robertson was delighted that his side gained a valuable three points at home to Dunfermline Athletic on Saturday in the SPFL Ladbrokes Championship.
The former Hearts striker, who is in his second spell with the Highlanders commented to the media, post-match:
“We saw again, both sides of the match that was needed. I thought in the first half we popped it about well, created chances and got a good goal. Their [Dunfermline’s] keeper [Sean Murdoch] has had three or four terrific saves and you just worry that in the second half you don’t get that second goal to kill things off because you know with the quality Dunfermline have, they will have a spell – and they did have their spell, but, in fairness to them, we showed that we weren’t going to have Mark Ridgers tested. I think the only thing Mark had to deal with was a cross!
I have said it before, they are working their tails off in training and it is now paying off in matches. We have got a good squad coming together, which can be seen by the guys we are bringing on: [Gary] Warren, [Riccardo] Calder and [George] Oakley as well as [Aaron] Doran and [Zak] Elbouzedi to come back from injury too so things are looking good. We needed that because the fans have been starved of a good win against a good team here at home. I think psychologically it is good for the players as well as the fans.”
Robertson understands the fans’ frustrations at the way the first quarter of the season has went after relegation from the Premiership last season, but also values the patience they have shown in the opening 11 matches of the league campaign, too.
“We are building a new team here – we are building from scratch. We have got a lot of good pro’s in there; the back four have been working their tails off – Brad [McKay] and Coll [Donaldson] have been a rock in there and then we have Gary Warren who is going on with 5 or 6 minutes left to make sure we don’t lose anything while Ricky [Riccardo Calder] and George [Oakley] come on up front and make a difference so it was great to give them something good to cheer about here at home. We felt we were going in the right direction and if we keep playing like that, we will continue climbing up the table.”
The ex-striker had praise for his attacking threats, particularly John Baird.
“Connor Bell deserved his goal because he worked his tail off but so did John Baird. Bairdy gets a wee bit stick for not taking chances at times and he deserves a goal because of his work rate – and the players recognise that, as you saw when he got taking off by them going across to him as they understand our defending starts with him. He is a pest; he puts the defenders under pressure which makes life easier for midfield players and he is a player the team appreciate – it is just a shame he couldn’t take his chance which would have made it two nil as his performance merited that. Similarly with Connor: he hadn’t had a pre-season when he came in but he is a guy with terrific movement who will beaver away and again, we saw that the whole front three, if we include Jake [Mulraney], that when they do the simple things, they are a handful.
I felt there was more goals in us today. We had a few penalty appeals that didn’t go our way but I felt we thoroughly deserved our win. We said on Friday to the players that this was the first time this season we could announce a team that is going to play and say “there is no reason for us to change it” or disrupt things; they deserve it as there are players in the dressing room who are desperate to play. Look at Gary Warren, the club captain: he is the first to grab them round the throat, shake them and say well done because of the job they are doing. He understands that – that is why he is a leader. The frustrations and beliefs come from wanting to win – you saw John Baird and Liam Polworth having a wee spat but that is because they want the second goal and to win. Frustration sometimes means passion – they done it in the right way but making up and getting on with it and just about got the second goal by linking up again, so, as I said, it is the players – their appetite for work is tremendous. We asked the fans to stick by us until we got it right and they have been terrific and now we are starting to get it right. Hopefully there is more to come; we will go down to Livingston next week and try claw some points back from them as well as we need to keep targeting the teams above. We have jumped another place in the table – we will now set our sights on Morton and Queen of the South who are the next two ahead of us.”