‘Caley have overturned a huge gap before - we can do the same again’
AARON DORAN insists Caley Thistle only have to turn to the history books for proof they can close a 10-point gap on Championship leaders Dundee United.
In John Robertson’s first spell in charge, the Highlanders looked dead and buried before storming back through a 10-game unbeaten run to pip Clyde on the final day of 2003/04. Then, six years later, Terry Butcher’s relegated team bounced back to overturn a 15-point chasm on Dundee to seal an immediate top-flight return with two games to spare.
Doran, who arrived at the club the following year on loan from Blackburn Rovers, insists talk of
United sailing into the Premiership sunset is premature.
The 28 year-old Irishman, fresh from netting a vital winner against Dundee in Saturday’s revitalising victory, said: “I think the last time the club got promoted they were a good few points behind Dundee.
“I’m told it was similar in the gaffer’s first spell here when they reached the SPL for the first time.
“They went on a big winning run in both those campaigns and we can do it, too – we just need to get our heads down and train well, like we have been.
“We could have scored a few more out there against Dundee, but it is just good to get the win on the board and we look forward to next week now.
“I know it will be tough. Dundee United are a big club and they’ve spent some money.
“But if we play our stuff and every player puts in performances like we did today, it will be a lot closer than it is now.”
Doran admits the players were stung by recent criticisms and determined to prove their mettle after losing three and drawing one of their previous five league matches.
He said: “The past few results in the league weren’t good enough, so to come away with a result like that is brilliant for the team and for the club.
“It was great defending from the lads. You saw some last-ditch tackles from guys like Coll Donaldson and a tremendous clearance off the line by Carl Tremarco.
“Other than that, I don’t think they broke us down too much. Our goalkeeper Mark Ridgers didn’t have too much to do.
“We controlled the game. It was a good day for us.”
Doran’s 16th-minute winning goal was a cracker from the tightest of angles after a cross ball from David Carson, who Doran credited for a huge part in the winning display.
He added: “I remember the ball coming across and I knew I had to put it back across the goalkeeper, there was nowhere else to put it.
“Luckily it has gone in the top corner, just inside the post.
“I should have had another one in the second half really, so that’s a bit disappointing, but it is good to get the winner.
“To get two clean sheets in a row now, it bodes well for us. We can kick on next week.
“We want to be in the mix come the end of the season. We know Dundee United have pulled away a bit, but there are a lot of games to go.”
Dens boss James McPake, stung before the international break by a home defeat to leaders United, admitted: “You can’t paper over it. We’re miles behind where we want to be. It is in plain sight for everybody to see.
“I spoke about it last week, but I didn’t see it pre-empting this. We need to get ourselves in order.
“It doesn’t matter what happens elsewhere because if we can’t come to places and find a way to win games of football then it genuinely is irrelevant what’s going on elsewhere.”
We know Dundee United have pulled away a bit, but there are a lot of games to go
Aaron Doran scores the winning goal against Dundee, inset