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Aaron Doran calls for Caley Thistle to sharpen up to stop mini-slump in Championship

Aaron Doran.
Aaron Doran.

Aaron Doran reckons Caley Thistle need to make themselves hard to beat first and foremost as the route back to success in the Championship.

The Inverness side’s 2-1 defeat at home to basement side Dunfermline Athletic on Saturday made it five successive matches without a victory.

It also saw Billy Dodds’ team nudged down to third spot, one point behind Raith Rovers and now four points adrift of front-runners Kilmarnock.

A first half Billy Mckay strike was wiped out in the second half by a Danny Devine own goal and wonder winner from Dom Thomas.

With new manager John Hughes watching on back at his old stomping ground, it was a sore day for the Highlanders.

John Hughes enjoyed his return to Inverness with Dunfermline at the weekend.

Wide midfielder Doran believes after similar strong first half displays have failed to lead on to wins, it’s time to consider their approach, starting on Friday away to Queen of the South.

Grinding out results is so vital

And he feels taking a leaf out of the 2019 Championship-winning Ross County side might be a wise move.

He said: “We keep coming in after these games saying how well we’d played and we’re not getting enough from these performances.

“We maybe need to go back to the way we were at the start of the season where we were not as attack-minded and we ground out a few more results.

“It’s similar to Ross County in the Championship a few seasons ago. They didn’t play as good as we did against them, but they ground out positive results. We need to get back to that.

Dunfermline celebrate their equaliser.

“Similar to other games, we were pushing for a goal near the end, but at the start of the second half we need to be better. We need to be winning the second balls and be sharper in the second half.

“That’s a couple of weeks now where that’s happened. We need to carry on our strong first half performances. The fans could see we played lovely stuff in the first half. We need to keep that going. We need to get wins again by preventing our opponents scoring.”

Caley Jags players celebrate after Billy Mckay put them 1-0 up.

Last weekend, a 2-1 advantage at the break ended in a 2-2 draw at Ayr United and creative Doran feels Saturday was another example of failing to finish off their opponents when on top.

He added: “It looked as if we were going to win, especially after our first half performance.

“It was similar to last week. We played some really nice stuff, passed the ball well and got the goal we deserved. We were unlucky not to get a few more.

“At half-time, we were happy with the way we were playing and were just a bit disappointed we hadn’t scored more.

“Last week, we conceded an equaliser, but this time we lost three points. We’re really disheartened by that, but we need to get ourselves going again.”

Hughes would have given Pars lift

Doran is in no doubt Hughes being installed as Dunfermline’s new boss made a difference to their game in the second half.

He said: “The new manager going in will give all their players a lift. They want to impress and show what they can do, and their second half performance showed that.”

Top performance needed in Dumfries

Looking ahead to Friday’s trek to Dumfries to face second-bottom Queen of the South, Doran is calling for a big performance and a big result.

He added: “We need to pick ourselves up at training this week. It’s always tough at Dumfries on their astroturf but we need to do all we can to pick up the win.

“We have to play as well as we can. Other teams have pulled away in front of us, so we need to start climbing the table again.”

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