Duncan Ferguson insists Caley Thistle need to sharpen their finishing – despite doubling their Championship tally in one afternoon at Arbroath.
The new Inverness boss was delighted to see his team race into a 3-0 lead at in-form Arbroath on Saturday, then stand up to a fightback to walk off with a 3-2 victory at Gayfield, to get off the bottom of the table on goal difference with their first league win of the season.
In his first game in charge, it was a massive result for Ferguson’s ICT, and will be something to build upon when third-placed Partick Thistle hit the Highlands this weekend.
A tap-in from Luis Longstaff, a close-range finish from Aaron Doran and a wonderful chipped effort from Billy Mckay earned Inverness their first win since Billy Dodds’ side saw off Bonnyrigg Rose 2-1 in the Viaplay Cup in mid-July.
Ridgers ➡️ Mckay ➡️ Goal
— Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC (@ICTFC) October 1, 2023
Work ethic impresses Ferguson
Before the weekend, Caley Thistle had only netted three league goals, and it was a good step forward.
Ferguson, however, sees room for improvement.
He said: “We need to finish off our counter-attacks better.
“We attacked on a number of occasions and never finished it off. That is something to work on in training.
“We had a chance to score four and we never finished it off. It’s something for us to work on.
“On a positive note, the boys worked extremely hard, so we need to keep that work ethic up.
“I am sure they were working hard under the previous manager, and they maybe just never got the results. They lost 1-0 against Dundee United and Raith Rovers recently.
“They have been very close. The formation was a good starting point, especially in the first half. That was positive, as was the work ethic.
“The players gave everything for the shirt and that’s what I’ll push the players to do. Getting a good tactical set-up is important.”
Team held on after Arbroath’s double
Former Rangers, Everton and Newcastle forward Ferguson, who became Inverness boss on a three-year deal last week, understood why his players began to sweat amid a late Arbroath fightback.
He said: “They gave 100% and showed a lot of resilience. We need to be braver on the ball and keep possession a bit more.
“You could see them panicking – it set in as the game went on, which is understandable because they’ve not won for a long time.
“You start sinking and sinking. I try to push them up.
“It’s human nature to try and protect what you’ve got.
“We have good players and we showed that in the first half in particular. We connected and combined our passes and tried to cut Arbroath open on the counter-attack.”
Billy Mckay showed his experience
Ferguson, who went with a 4-4-2 for much of the match at Arbroath, liked the movement of his attackers as they troubled their hosts for most of the first half to secure a two-goal interval advantage.
He added: “Our shape was very good, and we trusted that in the first half in particular.
“The two strikers worked well.
“Billy Mckay showed his experience with a good finish after having good chances in the first half. He kept at it, and it was a great finish to go three up.
“It was a lovely finish from Aaron Doran, too, at the front post.
“By scoring three goals away from home, you feel you deserve the points.”
This Saturday’s visitors Partick returned to form at the weekend as they defeated Dunfermline Athletic 3-0, one week after losing by the same scoreline against Arbroath.
ICT are above Morton on goal difference and have Ayr United in their sights, with the Honest Men two points ahead before their clash with Airdrie.