James Keatings: Defeat at Dunfermline was hard to take for Inverness Caledonian Thistle
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James Keatings says Caley Thistle losing their opening game of the season to Dunfermline Athletic was a hard one to take.
Conceding the lead before succumbing to a 3-1 loss at East End Park means Inverness are already playing catch-up in the chase for promotion.
Nikolay Todorov put Inverness in front after two minutes, but Euan Murray’s equaliser midway through the first half, followed by second half goals from Ryan Dow and Declan McManus, gave Dunfermline all three points.
Keatings says the players felt they could have done better defending Dunfermline’s goals, as well as getting their tactics wrong going forward.
“There wasn’t much in the game and I felt that set pieces decided the match, so it was disappointing for us in that aspect,” he said.
“We played well and kept the ball on the ground and got around them.
“But we went long too many times for my liking – me and Daniel MacKay weren’t going to win those balls in the air.
“But when we played, we showed our capabilities that we can play through teams and play good football and get into the final third.
“It is up to us to get that spark and get goals.It was a hard one to take, especially for the guys at the back as set pieces are bread and butter.We should have done better and taken our chances with the set pieces we had as well.”
Todorov was forced off the field after 19 minutes following a collision with Murray and Keatings felt the loss of the Bulgarian may have had an impact on the game.
“The last few games we have lost a few strikers with Miles Storey and Nikolay Todorov, who has a physical presence and occupies defenders.
“We put Daniel MacKay through the middle, who is more of a winger than a striker, and it was a hard ask for him.
“That is the way with the number of people we have out injured, but hopefully we can get them back and we will be stronger.
“Injuries are a blow and we’re missingfour or five players who would be pushing to start every week.
“It would be a blow to any team if you take four or five starters out of the game.
“But we are looking to get them back and that will help to push lads to perform better in the games ahead.”
Caley Thistle will look to get their campaign back on track with two home games coming up against Ayr United and Arbroath.
Ayr, with former Caley Thistle players Joe Chalmers and Tom Walsh in their ranks, are the visitors on Saturday.
Despite not having fans allowed in grounds, Keatings hopes home advantage will be able to count for something.
“It is difficult walking out and nobody is there cheering you on,” he said.
“It is a surreal feeling, but it something we need to adapt to and get used to it.
“We have two home games and we’ll look to make the most of them and get six points.
“We wanted to go to Dunfermline and get points. We came away with nothing, but we can take positives.”