Vigurs brushes off slow start and backs Foran to gain momentum
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.”
HIGHLAND BATTLE: Aberdeen’s Wes Burns (left) and Iain Vigurs challenge for the ball at Pittodrie.