Aaron Doran is asking Caley Thistle supporters to rally behind the team and manager with “everything to play for” in the remainder of the Championship season.
Admitting that Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Ayr United added to “doom and gloom” enveloping the Highlanders’ current form, the Irish winger stressed he understood the discontent in the stands.
But Doran is convinced Billy Dodds’ side can still achieve their minimum target of a promotion play-offs place with 10 league games remaining, with a tilt at the title by no means beyond them.
The weekend defeat left them seven points behind leaders Arbroath who have a game in hand, but still third in the rankings.
It came after the hosts were caught by a sucker punch in a first half they dominated, with Sean McGinty netting with a header at a corner in Ayr’s only attempt in the first 45 minutes.
After the break, Caley Jags clearly lost belief but battled all the way, even after Tomi Adeloye struck the second in 64 minutes and David Carson’s rash challenge reduced the home side to 10 men.
Young Lewis Nicolson netted fortuitously from an attempted cross with four minutes left, but it proved too little, too late.
Doran, returning as a 78th minute substitute after a quadriceps injury, said: “We know it is hard for the fans. We haven’t been great at home and haven’t won for nine games now.
“But we need their support, we need them to try and get behind us, the team and the manager.
“There is a huge 10 games remaining and that’s 30 points still to play for.
“We need to try to win as many as we can and we need to get out of this clump that we’re in.
“We’re capable of doing that with the players we have.”
Doran is convinced the win Dodds and his team need to reignite the campaign is just around the corner.
They face Hamilton Accies and Partick Thistle away now before hosting leaders Arbroath on March 12.
The 30-year-old attacker added: “With that one win, you never know what can happen.
“At the start of the season, we went on a terrific winning run.
“We weren’t always great, but we were getting the results.
“If we can get a bit of steam behind us, nick the wins we need and go on a bit of a mini-run, we’ll be right back in the mix.
“We all want to get out there and do well for the fans and the manager, and we’re going to give it our all.”