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Team spirit can aid Caley Thistle’s bid for first win, says Billy Dodds

Driving up confidence is crucial for the Inverness boss ahead of crunch Championship clash with Dunfermline Athletic.

Caley Jags head coach Billy Dodds. Image: SNS Group
Caley Jags head coach Billy Dodds. Image: SNS Group

Manager Billy Dodds insists the best chance for Caley Thistle to secure their first Championship win of the season is by standing strong as a group.

Inverness are on a six-match losing run, with their three successive league losses following three defeats in the Viaplay Cup group stages.

They go into Saturday’s crunch home clash against newly-promoted Dunfermline Athletic three points adrift at the bottom of the division. 

Pressure is firmly on ICT and Dodds knows it. He admits confidence within the squad has taken a hit, but explained he’s kept training upbeat and his players now need to raise their levels against the Pars.

He said: “Confidence in football can surge through you and help you get good results, or it can drain from you when you have poor results.

“It’s important that I, as the manager, pick the boys up and it is also important it comes from themselves.

“Once you feel sorry for yourself, you don’t get out of the rut. The players find it difficult, and they wait for someone else to do it.

“Someone else might help get the win and then they join in. I don’t want that.

Inverness manager Billy Dodds. Image: SNS Group

“I want everybody to be together. At football clubs, when it’s not going well, you see who your characters are.

“The boys must realise we’re all in this together. Training gets tweaked, but it never changes from being upbeat.

“That’s the only way you get out of this situation. You don’t get out of it by being downbeat or hard on the players.

“It’s my job to help these boys. But they have to help themselves sometimes too.”

Cheap goals has affected confidence

Individual mistakes have been at the heart of most of ICT’s defeats so far. Yet they have not lost any game by more than a goal.

Dodds said: “We have conceded some really poor goals. It has affected our confidence. There is no doubt about that.

“As players, you must ensure you’re not the one to make the mistake. Always make sure you are on the top of your game, whether you are a striker, midfielder, defender or goalkeeper.

“We need a platform to build from. We’re not giving ourselves that yet and you can see it’s affecting the boys.

“We’re a good team – it just hasn’t started well.”

ICT Aaron Doran scored a double when ICT beat Bonnyrigg this season. It has been the only match where Caley Thistle have taken the lead. Image: Jasperimage

Opening goal would give ICT chance

The only match ICT have won this season was a 2-1 success against Bonnyrigg Rose in the Viaplay Cup group stages in July.

That was also the only time they got their noses in front, and Dodds knows the importance of trying to get in front.

He added: “In every (league) game, we have lost the first goal, and it is demoralising. It isn’t just losing the first goal, it is losing it inside the first minute (as they did at Airdrie) by doing crazy things.

“I know these crazy things will stop and we will go on and win games. We seem to be punished for everything just now. You go through stages like that and there has to be a realisation that is the way it can be.

“When you get the first goal, especially in the Championship, a high percentage goes on and wins games. It is important that we look to score first.”

Dodds: Team must lift supporters

Inverness fans are downbeat at their club’s downwards spiral just a few months after losing to Celtic in the Scottish Cup final. 

Dodds says it’s up to his players to raise the spirits and mood within the Caledonian Stadium this weekend by delivering a big performance and result.

He said: “We must give the home fans something. We can’t lose the first goal or the second goal and try to come from behind.

“The fans get demoralised, as do I. The players and confidence sink. You have to give the fans belief and if you get the results the fans will back you.

“If you work hard, you will give something back to the fans. We have to do our bit for the fans.”

Pars’ chance to extend points gap

Weekend visitors Dunfermline, who were edged out 1-0 by local rivals Raith Rovers last week, are in sixth spot.

James McPake’s League One champions usually play three at the back, are well-drilled and settling into life back in the second-tier.

Dodds knows the Pars will fancy their chances of taking a point or three from the Highlands, but insists his men are determined to get a vital victory ahead of next week’s SPFL Trust Trophy tie at Arbroath. 

Sidelined skipper Sean Welsh has only played two Viaplay Cup ties for Inverness this season. Image: SNS Group

He said: “They were unlucky in the derby, and they had a few formation changes. They will be coming here full of confidence.

“We must stand up against that as Dunfermline will be coming here thinking they can get three points. But we want three points to get the season started.”

Skipper Sean Welsh continues his recovery from a groin injury, while fellow midfielder Roddy MacGregor remains sidelined with an ankle injury.

Window deals secured by Dodds

It was a busy closing week in the transfer window for Caley Thistle.

In came loanees, midfielder Max Anderson from Dundee, defender Morgan Boyes from Livingston, while they await the arrival of new signing, Australian defender Nikola Ujdur, who agreed a two-year deal from Rockdale Ilinden.

The other summer signings have been right-back Jake Davidson, midfielder Charlie Gilmour, winger Luis Longstaff and forwards Adam Brooks and Harry Lodovica.