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Billy Dodds speaks of pride and pain after Caley Thistle lose Premiership play-off final in Perth

Caley Jags head coach Billy Dodds.
Caley Jags head coach Billy Dodds.

Caley Jags head coach Billy Dodds had mixed emotions after their Premiership hopes ended at the final stage with a punishing loss at St Johnstone.

The Highlanders’ bid to reach the Premiership was finished cruelly by a 4-0 defeat against Saints, who remain in the top-flight.

The 6-2 aggregate scoreline was harsh given what ICT put into it after a goalless first half at McDiarmid Park and Inverness boss Dodds was choked with emotion afterwards.

He said: “I am proud and disappointed at the same time if that’s possible.

“We got where we wanted in the first half. My team were exceptional and created the better chances.

“I thought if we kept that shape and belief we would have got something. We lost the first goal when we were a bit out of position and the second goal, a deflection, kills us.

“They scored another two. We had a great chance in between but it was a step too far – not through fitness but by getting caught.”

And Dodds insists ICT will regroup and come back stronger in next term’s Championship.

Time to regroup and come back stronger

He added: “I am so proud of the players who have been great all season.

“We went on a great run when it mattered to get ourselves into the play-offs. We looked like we would be the first team to get through six games and get into the Premiership.

“We just fell short by 45 minutes, but I stress not through (lack of) fitness, but through a switch off then a deflection. It was harsh.

ICT boss Billy Dodds, right, with St Johnstone’s Callum Davidson before kick-off.

“We will take positivity from this season and confidence. We will build another squad to have a go. Dundee are down and we are one of the bigger teams in the league. Hopefully we can go on a run and learn from where we had a mid-season blip – that maybe cost us automatic promotion.

“We were 45 minutes from creating history. I think the fans appreciated that. That’s why they were still there at the end clapping.”

Defender Kirk Broadfoot, meanwhile, confirmed he will be leaving ICT this summer after a season with the Highlanders, despite being based in Ayrshire.

He said: “My time at Inverness has come to an end, I will be moving on and if I do keep playing, hopefully it’ll be more local.”

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