Vig­urs brushes off slow start and backs Fo­ran to gain mo­men­tum

The Herald - Herald Sport - - LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP -

WITH Celtic minds on the Camp Nou rather than the Cale­do­nian Sta­dium to­day, there is hope in the High­land cap­i­tal that when Bren­dan Rodgers takes his team there on Sun­day, In­ver­ness will pro­duce a shock for them.

Iain Vig­urs, whose thun­der­ous strike earned Ca­ley This­tle a draw at Aberdeen on Satur­day, be­lieves that he and his team-mates need fear no other out­fit and re­it­er­ated the words of his man­ager, Richie Fo­ran, who in­sisted the Dons “were there for the tak­ing” at Pit­to­drie.

But, if In­ver­ness have found their feet fol­low­ing an in­aus­pi­cious start to the sea­son and are now off the bot­tom of the Lad­brokes Pre­mier­ship ta­ble, Aberdeen seem un­able to shake off their habit of en­joy­ing much of the ball with­out putting it where they want it to be... in the op­po­si­tion’s net.

Wing pair­ing Jonny Hayes and Niall McGinn, whose opener early in the sec­ond half was beau­ti­fully ex­e­cuted, teased and tor­mented the Ca­ley de­fence with­out ac­tu­ally pen­e­trat­ing it while Adam Rooney’s two or three op­por­tu­ni­ties were com­pe­tently dealt with by Owain Fon Wil­liams in the In­ver­ness goal.

Vig­urs, in his sec­ond spell with the High­landers, in­sisted con­fi­dence is high and that the fo­cus on Fo­ran – closely scru­ti­nised be­cause it is his first man­age­rial job – was not un­ex­pected.

“It was early doors,” he said. “It can hap­pen to any man­ager. I think Richie’s been put un­der the cosh be­cause it’s his first job.

“But not a lot has changed from last sea­son. We’ve a good group of lads here.

“He didn’t say much af­ter those first few games. We were lack­ing con­fi­dence in front of goal and we were con­ced­ing stupid goals. When things are against you it seems ev­ery touch is bad or any mis­take leads to a goal.

“It didn’t look great but we have rec­ti­fied that. We got a good re­sult at St John­stone and a good re­sult at Aberdeen.

“But it’s not just about the man­ager. It’s about the play­ers, too.

“We’ve lost a cou­ple of play­ers; a cou­ple have come in. It’s been a bit of a tran­si­tional pe­riod but we are get­ting to grips with it now and we look a lot bet­ter.”

The same can­not be said for Derek McInnes’s side, how­ever. Aberdeen need to be clin­i­cal in front of goal, a fact with which An­drew Con­si­dine, as de­pend­able a de­fender as there is in the league, did not dis­agree. But it is not a new is­sue for the Reds.

“We failed to get in be­hind their mid­field,” he said. “We had pre­pared with a view to get­ting McGinn and Hayes run­ning at their back four but we failed to do that and left them hav­ing to deal with long balls which they were happy to do.

“We were much bet­ter in the sec­ond half with James Mad­di­son pro­duc­ing some good touches and McGinn put us ahead with a fan­tas­tic goal but we were un­able to see it out which is not like us.

“It is some­thing we have to do if we want to chal­lenge at the top again. There was anger from the man­ager at the end and there is anger among all of us as last sea­son we would have seen that out.”

The de­fender con­ceded there is still a vul­ner­a­bil­ity about Aberdeen while there is an ab­sence of any­thing re­sem­bling a killer in­stinct as he sug­gested his side’s first five games of the cam­paign which have brought a pal­try six points should be “brushed un­der the car­pet, have a good week’s train­ing and start our sea­son again at Dundee on Sun­day”.

Those wear­ing red and white scarves on Satur­day may not be ready to ac­cept such a “let’s start again” plea. Cer­tainly, judg­ing by their post-match re­sponse the fans are, at best, won­der­ing when the clin­i­cal side of the team will kick-in.

“We are lack­ing a killer in­stinct,” Con­si­dine said, “and it goes back to the Europa League game against Mari­bor at Pit­to­drie where we cre­ated so many chances. We should have blown them away.

“We had chances against St John­stone too and last sea­son we were tak­ing them.

“Peo­ple ex­pect us to win games and we are ex­pected to pro­duce.”

As for In­ver­ness, they look for­ward to host­ing Celtic with the hope that the Hoops will be weary fol­low­ing their mid­week ex­er­tions in Barcelona.

“You are get­ting from them this sea­son,” Vig­urs added.

“They play with a lot of pace on the wings and go­ing for­ward. They press re­ally high. We know what to ex­pect and we have to be on our game.

“I hope they do a lot of run­ning in Barcelona. But In­ver­ness have done well against Celtic his­tor­i­cally and we ex­pect to take points from any game from any op­po­si­tion.

“We have the play­ers to hurt teams and that is no dif­fer­ent for next week.”

Pic­ture: SNS

HIGH­LAND BAT­TLE: Aberdeen’s Wes Burns (left) and Iain Vig­urs chal­lenge for the ball at Pit­to­drie.

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