Champions League comebacks put Inverness on their guard
● Defender Donaldson wary of two- goal lead after rescues by Liverpool and Spurs
The i ncredibl e c omeback heroics of Liverpool and Spurs have placed Caley Thistle on high alert for Ayr United’s visit today, insists Coll Donaldson.
T h e I n v e r n e s s d e f e n d - er doubts t he r emarkable Champions League matches will alter Ayr’s all- or- nothing approach as they try to reverse a 3- 1 first- leg deficit inflicted on Tuesday night.
But Donaldson acknowledged the staggering Liverpool comeback against Barcelona and Tottenham’s triumph against Ajax had extinguished any t r ace of complacency from the Highlanders’ minds.
The former Dundee United defender said: “It is easy to say ‘ look at results this week’, but it is true. Nobody would have predicted that.
“We have to be right on our guard because if they score early or start pressuring us early it can change quickly. Momentum in football is massive. We’ve just got to go out and try to win the game.
“Weproved on Tuesday night we’ve got what it takes to play in the pressure matches and we seem to actually play a little bit better in them.
“I don’t know whether the European games will give Ayr extra belief, but it will definitely have put our guard up even more.
“We realise it is far from over, especially at this level where teams are just as likely to beat us 3- 1 as we are to beat them 3- 1.
“The gaffer mentioned we’d only lost by one goal all season bar the Dundee United game which we lost by two.
“We are quite a hard team to beat and the game is at our place on Saturday so we’ve got to be confident about going out and winning it, not just seeing it through.
“There’s this massive prize now, s o t he l ast couple of league games were actually harder in many ways. Everyone is raring to go.”
Donaldson believes Caley Thistle, looking to become the first team to win promotion from below the top two, can glean extra confidence from the way they finished last season, with a winning streak amid a high volume of matches.
He said: “I personally really like this kind of schedule – the short, sharp training is quite enjoyable. You do small- sided games and there’s a couple more days off thrown in there because of all the games.
“I relish it but it does take a toll on your body. It is tough coming at the end of a season.
“As hard as it is physically, there’s a mental strain as well.
“We thrived on it last season when we were tr ying to get into the play- offs. With the momentum, we kept winning.
“Winning our last two league
Donaldson, left, vies with Ayr’s Lawrence Shankland during Tuesday’s first leg. games this season, with nothing much resting on them, was important. It meant we
finished third and gave us the deciding leg at our place. We carried the form into Tuesday, winning 3- 1, so we’re all really confident as a squad and getting that know- how to win important games.”
Ayr United manager I an Mccall, meanwhile, wants his side to put the cat among the pigeons by scoring the first goal. The Somerset Park manager is hoping that would put the wind up the Highlanders.
Mccall s ai d: “We s i mply need to score f i rst and see what happens. I am sure every manager that is behind at the moment will be saying the same but events this week on a much bigger stage have shown
that all things are possible. If we can get in front then all of a sudden getting level in the tie does not seem that far away. It would give Inverness something to think about in terms of whether they should go for another goal or shut things down.
“If we can get a head of steam up then we will be dangerous. We don’t need a 5- 0 win like we achieved at Dundee United earlier this season but a performance close to that level would be fantastic.
“We have had two fabulous seasons and have a chance to keep that going. Getting that first goal would make things very interesting.”
“If we can get in front then all of a sudden getting level in the tie does not seem that far away. It would give Inverness something to think about”