Reece McAlear hailed Caley Thistle’s never-say-die attitude after they refused to be beaten by Championship title rivals Raith Rovers.
The on-loan Norwich City midfielder, who has just returned from 10 days out through Covid, stepped off the bench at the break and rattled home a late leveller to wipe out a long-range opener from Ethan Ross in Saturday’s 1-1 draw.
It followed a screamer he netted in the recent 6-1 rout of Morton and it kept ICT in second spot, two points behind Arbroath, who lost 1-0 at Ayr United.
He said: “We have a strong team spirit. Everyone’s together and no-one wants to lose. We never give up and keep going until the 90th minute. We could have won or lost. It’s a chance we need to take. We take a point and move on.”
Second long-range stunning strike
The 86-minute equaliser prevented Raith from overtaking the Highlanders into second place and the talented 19-year-old was satisfied with his searing shot which was similar to his effort at Cappielow last month.
He said: “I just saw the goal open up and I shot and thankfully it went in.
“It was exactly the same as against Morton. I just saw it open up and thought ‘why not’ and hit it and it went in as well, so I was happy with that.”
McAlear took chance with leveller
A flat first half team display prompted Billy Dodds to put McAlear and striker Manny Duku on at the start of the season half in place of Wallace Duffy and David Carson.
— Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC (@ICTFC) January 9, 2022
The former Scotland youth player rose to the challenge set by the head coach.
McAlear added: “He asked me to go on and try and make a difference. I came on and scored and I thought we could have nicked it at the end, but we could also have lost it. You have to take chances sometimes.”
It was all the more pleasing for the midfielder to make such an impact, given he was sidelined with Covid and he hopes whenever he’s called upon, he can make a difference.
86' | 1-1
WHAT A STRIKE FROM REECE MCALEAR!
GET IN! pic.twitter.com/jURk4yIyyP
— Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC (@ICTFC) January 8, 2022
He said: “I’m just back from Covid but I’ll just try and go on the pitch and do my best. It is up to the manager to pick the team.
“If he doesn’t pick me, I will try my best in training and when I do come on.”
McAlear watched on from the bench as Raith had the best of the play in the first half.
He felt the team needed to do more to limit their opponents’ threat.
He added: “We need to fix that. Raith had chances, but we need to minimise that and stop them having so many chances. If we do that, it will prevent goals.”