In a week of sensational comebacks, Caley Thistle defender Coll Donaldson expects nothing less than an Ayr United onslaught at Caledonian Stadium today.
Inverness take a 3-1 lead into the second leg of their Premiership play-off quarter final against the Honest Men, with Ayr boss Ian McCall admitting his side must score first following the Somerset Park loss on Tuesday.
Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur both dramatically overturned three-goal deficits to reach the Champions League final, and Donaldson believes Ayr will be determined to make one last push.
Donaldson said: “When I was in the play-offs with Dundee United, we beat Falkirk. The manager’s team talk at half-time at 1-0 down at Falkirk was ‘this is the last 45 minutes of your season – just go out and give everything’.
“That’s probably the best 45 minutes we had.
“There is that warning there – they’re just going to throw everything at us, because what do they have to lose?
“We have to guard against that.
“I don’t know whether the European games will give Ayr extra belief, but it will definitely have 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.
“We have only lost by one goal all season bar the Dundee United game where we lost by two.
“We are quite a hard team to beat and the game is at our place so we’ve got to be confident about going out and winning it, not just seeing it through.”
Should Inverness retain their advantage they will have no let up, with Dundee United lying in wait at Caledonian Stadium on Tuesday, before the second leg at Tannadice on Friday.
Donaldson was part of a Caley Jags side which narrowly missed out on the play-offs last term despite an excellent end of season run, and the 24-year-old feels his side is thriving on another intensive programme as they approach today’s game on the back of three straight wins.
He added: “I personally really enjoy this kind of schedule – the short, sharp training in 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 trying to get into the play-offs. With the momentum, we kept winning.
“Winning our last two league 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 are really confident as a squad and getting that know-how to win important games.”
Donaldson joined Caley Jags after leaving Dundee United in 2017, but the Edinburgh-born defender says thoughts of a revenge mission against Robbie Neilson’s side are premature, adding: “We’ve had a few run-ins with Dundee United in the past year and a half. That can be dealt with once we get there. It’s the old cliche but we are genuinely only thinking about this weekend. The manager has us focussed.”