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Fighting spirit can take us all the way, insists Caley Thistle defender Robbie Deas

Robbie Deas is eyeing a Premiership return for Caley Thistle.
Robbie Deas is eyeing a Premiership return for Caley Thistle.

Robbie Deas is confident Caley Thistle’s unfaltering willingness to win can carry the club all the way back to the Premiership.

The defender, who played every Championship and play-off game this season, is ready for one last push as ICT head to St Johnstone level at 2-2 in the Premiership play-off final. 

A Reece McAlear masterclass in finishing saw the on-loan Norwich starlet score twice swiftly in the second half to wipe out quick-fire first half goals from former Inverness ace Shaun Rooney and lively creator Melker Hallberg.

Time and again this season, Billy Dodds’ men refused to accept defeat, even after being second best as they were in the first half on Friday before their dramatic fightback.

Rousing response rattled Saints

This was the latest example of it and Deas was thrilled to be heading to McDiarmid Park with it all to play for as the side seek to make a top-table return for the first time since 2017.

He said: “We were delighted to finish at 2-2. The (half-time) message on Friday was to get a goal to give us a chance at McDiarmid Park on Monday and it’s fair to say we done that.

“For us to hit back from 2-0 down might put doubt in their heads. I’m sure they went in very happy at 2-0 at half-time and rightly so. They were playing really well and were creating a lot of chances. We were not good enough.

“I think we came out with the bit between our teeth in the second half and dug deep.

Caley Thistle defender Robbie Deas
Caley Thistle defender Robbie Deas.

“It was two absolutely fantastic finishes from Reece McAlear. We needed a bit of luck and we now go into Monday confident we can turn them over.

“We’re unbeaten in seven games now, so we’re on a good run. We never say never. We’ve hit back when we’re down a number of times.

“We have proven that again, this time against a Premiership side in St Johnstone. I think we deserved the result on Friday, although we didn’t start anywhere near good enough in the first half.

“We were losing the ball too easily with the way we set up, but in the second half we got the ball down and showed what we can do. We just need to believe that on Monday.”

Perthshire family loyal to Deas

Deas hails from Kinross in Perth and Kinross and his uncle Paul played as a highly-rated left-back for Saints in the 1990s.

Despite that background, Deas explained the loyalties within the family lie with the club he’s impressed at these past two years.

He said: “My uncle played for St Johnstone and I’m from Kinross. I was too young to watch my uncle play at St Johnstone but I saw him at Brechin.

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson tried to sign Robbie Deas in the winter transfer window.

“My family were at the game on Friday, here to support me and I will have a big family at friends support at the game on Monday.

“I want to do them proud, but most of all do myself proud – and just kick on now.

“Surprisingly, the family are not St Johnstone fans. They are Caley Thistle fans because I play for them. They’re Robbie Deas fans.”

Saints’ bid failed in summer swoop

St Johnstone failed in a bid to sign Deas in the January window, but the 22-year-old defender is only interested in taking ICT back to the top-flight.

He added: “That was out of my hands, thankfully. I’m a Caley Thistle player and I will do everything I can to win and get us promoted back to the Premiership.”

Down to bare bones – but still in final

ICT boss Billy Dodds admits going three at the back, with Danny Devine and Wallace Duffy suspended, backfired on Friday as Saints bossed the first half. 

However, Deas praised the players for responding in the second half after shape and personnel changes.

ICT head coach Billy Dodds.

He said: “It’s clear we were short on numbers right now because of injuries and suspensions.

“We’ve had two games per week over the past three weeks and we’re down to the bare bones, but as you can see we have the grit and desire to keep going to the last minute.”

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