Caley Thistle Women manager Karen Mason believes her side must bounce back from a “blip” in their last outing to keep up their promotion hopes.
In their last SWF Championship encounter a fortnight ago, the Caley Jags were beaten 3-1 by league leaders Rossvale, who netted twice in added time.
The defeat, combined with Ayr United’s win over Westhill side Westdyke, saw Inverness move down one place in the Championship table and now sit third with 21 points.
This week they travel to Dundee to face seventh-placed Dryburgh, where Mason hopes her side can show a reaction at the first opportunity and put pressure on the top two, with Ayr sitting one point ahead and Rossvale nine clear of third at the summit.
The ICT manager said: “Not only was it a loss, but it moved us down one place in the table.
“It is an extra incentive this week to make sure we can claw it back quickly and try keep the pressure on the top two.
“If we dwell on it too long and let it affect everything else then it will cause us more problems.
“It was our first league game of the new year, so it definitely is nowhere near crisis point. We just have to put it down as a blip and try get points on the board again at the first opportunity.”
ICT need to be more clinical to boost Championship promotion hopes
Having had chances to nick the win against Rossvale when the score was level at 1-1, Mason wants ICT to be more clinical against Dryburgh.
She added: “It’s something every coach looks for, but we created so much but just couldn’t put the ball away.
“When we score goals and get ourselves ahead in games then our confidence builds. If we concede first then it always tends to be harder for us.
“I want us to go out and get the first goal and not hold up. We have to keep going and take our chances because I know we can create opportunities.”
With the Highland club sitting in third, only one point behind Ayr who occupy second and the promotion play-off spot, Mason knows the run in before the Championship split could be vital.
She wants her side to do the business now in the remaining games to get as many points as possible, rather than relying on encounters against their promotion rivals.
Mason said: “The top four teams are definitely all in amongst it. I think we will all be looking to get even that top spot or fighting for the second place, promotion play-off.
“When it comes to the split as well, those are going to be some of the most important games.
“It’s going to be interesting and we just want to try and keep ourselves up there.
“If anyone slips up between now and the split then life becomes much harder and you’ve only got yourself to blame.
“We don’t want to get to a point where we are relying on having to put in big performances in our last three or four games of the season because we’d shot ourselves in the foot.
“We definitely want to try and cement our place up near the top of the table before it comes to that.”
The other fixtures
Elsewhere in the Championship, Westdyke will be aiming to bounce back from a 6-1 defeat to Ayr United when they travel to leaders Rossvale.
There is a full card in the SWFL North for the first time in 2024 on Sunday – and the fixtures are: Inverurie Locos v Huntly, Dryburgh Athletic v Buchan, Stonehaven v Elgin City, Westdyke Thistle v Arbroath, and Grampian v Dyce.