Inverness boss John Robertson: My players don’t realise how good they are

Former Hearts striker John Robertson has done a remarkable job guiding Inverness Caledonian Thistle into a Championship play-off position and the last eight in the Scottish Cup with limited resources.

Inverness manager John Robertson. Pic: SNS/Craig Foy
Inverness manager John Robertson. Pic: SNS/Craig Foy

But the Tynecastle legend is adamant that his team has still more to offer – provided his players’ belief matches his own ambitions.

Four years after Inverness surpassed all reasonable expectations by winning the Scottish Cup and finishing third in the Premiership, they must overturn their league defeat by Dundee United in midweek when they return to Tannadice today bidding to reach the last four.

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But Robbo said: “Once you get to this stage, the fans have expectations and so do I. The odds are stacked against you most of the time, but if I don’t believe it’s possible, how can I expect my players to?

“Belief is vitally important and I don’t believe the players realise how good they are and what they are capable of performance-wise.

“We’ve seen them raise their game to another level in all five Highland derbies. But that’s the level you need to attain every week if you want to be successful as a club and to get to national cup finals.

“But the fact we’ve managed to reach that level maybe eight times – against County, Partick, home and away, and Dunfermline away – should be ample proof to the players that we are a really good side, maybe just two or three players away from being a top team.

“We have some real talent and when we are focused and show appetite, energy and desire, with the ability we have we’re a very good 
side.”

A strong defence will be paramount and to that end Coll Donaldson has considerable influence, albeit it was his challenge on Peter Pawlett that led to United being awarded a match-winning penalty kick.

The ex-United stopper was forced to endure a torrid time following his move from Queen’s Park Rangers in 2015 when he was subjected to constant verbal abuse from a section of the home support.

While he had no wish to revisit his past experiences, he said: “When you play against a former club, subconsciously you’ve always got that 5 to 10 per cent extra where you want to do well and achieve a positive result.

“If it was Celtic or Rangers away anything would be a bonus, but playing against a team that is at the same level, we have a real chance.

“The club’s cup record is also very good and that adds to our sense of belief.”