INVERNESS defender David Raven has accused Aberdeen of bad sportsmanship last weekend at Pittodrie.
According to the Liverpudlian, all but three of the Dons’ players left the pitch without offering handshakes following the 1-0 defeat. Raven, while astonished by the behaviour, reckons it served as confirmation that Caley Thistle are on the way back to their best and hopes it stands them in good stead for today’s trip to face Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.
Bad blood between the north rivals had festered from as far back as September’s Granite City win for the Reds. Raven and team-mates felt the Dons had shown particular disrespect in post-match celebrations after winning 4-3 in Inverness just before Christmas. Those memories only fired up John Hughes’ men all the more for last weekend’s impressive victory.
Raven said: “It was a massive win for us last weekend. I felt we played like we had been in the first couple of months of the season. I think we got back to that standard. We got back to being solid, working, breaking, playing good passing football.
“Mentally, it was a massive win for us – especially against Aberdeen. They haven’t really given us the respect we deserve. That was the case when they beat us 4-3 here in Inverness just before Christmas and when they won 1-0 at Pittodrie in September. Their celebrations were disrespectful. Here at Inverness we feel you should win like men and lose like men. I don’t think they did that day.
“There were all manner of shouts and celebrations right in our faces in the tunnel and the dressing room areas. They didn’t even shake our hands after the game on Saturday. A few of our lads were a bit disappointed by that, but it just shows you – we got under their skin. To be honest, when we saw the Aberdeen lads walking off – there were three of them stayed on the pitch – I loved it. I knew we’d got really got to them. They are such a big club, you can’t deny that – a lot bigger than us – so to beat them is brilliant.”
Meanwhile, Kilmarnock have confirmed the loan signing of Brighton and Latvia defender Vitalijs Maksimenko in time for today’s visit of Inverness.
The 23-year-old, who will stay until the end of the season has been capped nine times for his country, but has mustered only two appearances for Brighton this season and hopes to make his first club outing since August today.
Alexei Eremenko is expected to take in today’s clash with the Highlanders as manager Allan Johnston bids to bring him back to Rugby Park. The 30-year-old playmaker made a huge impression when he spent the 2010-11 season on loan at Kilmarnock and is now a free agent following a spell in Kazakhstan.
While the Maksimenko deal has been tied up and Eremenko is close to a return, boss Johnston admits he could be powerless to stop Kris Boyd leaving this month.
Boyd, who has scored 12 goals this season, has been linked with a move to Blackpool to rejoin former Rangers team-mate Barry Ferguson, the Seasider’s new caretaker manager.