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Head coach Billy Dodds says Caley Thistle players now believe they belong in the Premiership after coming from behind to draw with St Johnstone in Premiership Play-off Final first leg


By Will Clark


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HEAD coach Billy Dodds says his players have now realised they belong in the Premiership after coming back from 2–0 down to draw 2–2 against St Johnstone in the Play-off Final First Leg.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle head to St Johnstone on Monday. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Inverness Caledonian Thistle head to St Johnstone on Monday. Picture: Ken Macpherson

Inverness looked dead and buried at half time when goals from Shaun Rooney and Melker Hallberg gave St Johnstone a commanding lead.

But two goals from Reece McAlear levelled the game as Inverness now head to McDiarmid Park on Monday looking for victory to send them to the Premiership.

Dodds felt his players didn't believe they were good enough in the first half, but that changed after break.

"Our players believe they belong at this level," he said.

"At the start of the game they didn't, whether it was fitness or belief or taking the ball, scoring the goals or having killer instinct, it was there at the end.

"We don't have to prove it but we did it again. We keep finding a way back and it is an incredible thing to have."

Dodds changed his usual 4-2-3-1 formation to a 3-5-2 which flopped in the first half and he reverted back to his previous shape after the break.

He admitted he got it wrong, but was relieved to rectify the situation to salvage a draw.

"Sometimes you have to hold your hands up, I tried something different, I tried to match up with St Johnstone and go man to man.

"They moved us about and they are used to their system.

"We didn't do the right things well, we forced it when we did get in to good positions and we gave it away.

"I had to do something, but the manager has to take it on the chin as the 3-5-2 didn't work.

"I had to change it and put on some pace and made subs who were great who were the threat. The next goal is so important when the score is 2-0. We nicked it and we spooked them."

Dodds says all he wanted from the first leg was to get a result which would keep them in contention in Perth on Monday.

He said nobody can be classed as favourites going into the second leg.

"I wanted to go to McDiarmid Park and be in the tie, I thought we were out the tie at half time.

"We didn't believe, then we get the goal and we believe and when we finished the belief was showing.

"We can match them if not better them when we're at it.

"St Johnstone are Premier League class, but to turn it around against a Premier League team when you're 2-0 down and turn it around, we proved where we are mentally.

"It is not back in our favour, we have got ourselves back in the tie.

"If it stayed the way it did at half time, St Johnstone would be heavy favourites.

"No favourites, we are level, there is pressure, pressure can do strange things in football. We are where we are."


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