Ruaidhrí Higgins happy with ‘reaction’ from his Derry City players

The Candystripes dug out a draw with leaders Shelbourne on Monday

Ruaidhri Higgins
Ruaidhri Higgins Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins (left) Picture: Margaret McLaughlin (MARGARET MCLAUGHLIN PHOTOGRAPHY )

DERRY CIty manager Ruaidhrí Higgins felt he ‘’got reaction’' from his players in Monday’s scoreless draw at league leaders Shelbourne.

The 39-year-old is pleased that City kept a clean-sheet and believes that the result against Damien Duff’s side is something they can build on.

“All we asked for here this evening was total commitment regardless of the result and I think we got that,” he insisted.

“Listen, it wasn’t a game of many chances but I think we controlled good spells of it and possibly shaded it, but listen it’s a much better performance in terms of commitment levels and what we expect from a Derry City player.

“We wanted to come here and win the game, of course we did, but all things considered it’s not a bad result.

“You never want to draw games but Shels are on an unbelievable run of winning games and I think, particularly in the first half, we controlled the lion’s share of possession and in the second half, with a bit more care, we maybe could have got one.

“We’ll take it and we’ve got players closer to fitness now as well. We’ve got too many not available but there’s a wee bit of light at the end of the tunnel and we’ll hopefully have players back on the pitch soon enough.

“As I said all we asked from the players before the game was to give a totally committed performance and spill their guts out on the pitch. We didn’t beat the door down; there wasn’t a load of chances but I think the players gave everything that they had and as I said there’s a wee bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

“There’ll be a few bodies back soon enough hopefully, fingers crossed and we can get back on the horse again.”

Derry welcome bottom-of-the-table Dundalk to Brandywell on Friday but one man who may miss that game is the Oriel Park side’s all-time leading goalscorer Pat Hoban.

The striker has played in City’s previous two games with a groin problem and he had to be substituted at half-time on Monday.

“Pat has been carrying an injury and it tightened up on him at half time towards the end of the first half so he put himself forward, and wanted to play,” admitted Higgins.

“He trained yesterday (Sunday) so we played him but it tightened up on him and we had to get him out. As for this Friday it’s too early to say.”

The Limavady man also believes that Shels are title contenders, especially as they currently sit eight points clear at the top of the league after eight games.

“Absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt. They deserve to be called title contenders,” he explained. “I don’t know how many points clear they are and they’ve won a heap of games on the spin.

“I think they’re more of an attacking threat now than what they were in the previous couple of seasons so defensively they’re outstanding and they’ve added real quality in forward areas so aye I think that makes them title contenders and they’ve a really good manager and staff there as well.”

Higgins also conceded going into the clash against the Dubliners that he had not slept much after Friday’s loss to Galway United, which was Derry’s second defeat in a row, but he hopes the point at Tolka Park will spur his players on.

“To be honest Friday, Saturday, Sunday I didn’t sleep much at all,” he said.

“To be honest it was terrible; Friday night was the most hurt that I’ve probably been in and rightly so it was a poor performance.

“The players understand that it’s way, way, way below the levels of what this club expects now and absolutely it was the most difficult night.

“The defeat by St Pat’s last year was a really, really bad one but for different reasons Friday night hurt the most.

“It was the first time we’ve been beaten since the first of May last year at home. We started at home with three wins on the spin and then we served that up which wasn’t acceptable and there were a lot of home truths over the last few days.

“I think we’ve seen a more committed performance and hopefully we can grow from this.”