Caley Thistle will take belief into the Scottish Cup final

Billy Dodds insists Caley Thistle will not be there to make up the numbers when they return to Hampden Park for the Scottish Cup final in June.

Inverness coasted into the final, after overcoming League One side Falkirk with an emphatic 3-0 victory at the national stadium.

Caley Jags will face the winner of Sunday’s match between Celtic and Rangers in the final showpiece on June 3.

Although Inverness will be vast underdogs regardless of who they face, Dodds has vowed to send his team out full of belief they can spring an upset to lift the trophy for the second time.

Dodds said: “Since I have been in football as a player, coach and now a manager – I have never turned up to a game and thought ‘we can’t win this.’

Caley Thistle head coach Billy Dodds celebrated following the 3-0 win over Falkirk at Hampden Park. Image: SNS

“That would be madness. Of course we are going to enjoy the day, of course it’s a big ask against one of the Old Firm.

“But we are hoping not to turn up and just take part in it and take our financial reward because we are in the final.

“I’ve got good players, and I think we saw that as the game went on. If we are right at it, we can give anybody a game – as we have proven against Livingston and Kilmarnock.”

Caley Jags was ruthless when chances came

Inverness raced into a two-goal lead at the halfway stage, courtesy of goals from Billy Mckay and Daniel MacKay.

Billy Mckay celebrates netting the opener against Falkirk. Image: PA

Striker Mckay netted his second goal early in the second period, to take his club goals scoring tally to 100 for the Highlanders.

Despite the two-goal cushion at half-time, Dodds says he had to demand a stronger second half performance against the League One Bairns.

He added: “When they are not playing well, they know they are not playing well. They get around one another.

“At half-time I asked them a question, did they think we had been at it? They said nowhere near it, so they knew themselves.

“I have to credit Falkirk who were really good in the first half. They caused us problems with their diamond, and we didn’t pass the ball as well as we could.

“We were ruthless. It was the only part of my pre-match plan that probably did go to plan when we got the two goals.

“We never created much, but the five or six times we passed the ball I thought we really looked like hurting them.

“I thought the boys were really good in the second half. I told them at half-time that we don’t lose the next goal. They were tremendous.”

Inverness rose to pressure of expectations

Reaching the final will bring huge monetary rewards for Caley Jags, who recently posted losses of £835,751 for the previous financial year.

Caley Thistle line-up for their Scottish Cup semi-final against Falkirk at Hampden Park. Image: SNS

Dodds was thrilled with the way his players rose to the pressure of being favorites against John McGlynn’s men.

Dodds added: “As a club it’s brilliant to be there for an occasion. We are not just going to turn up.

“Financially it’s massive. I think everyone looked at the figures when they came out.

“That brings its own pressure. It’s not my remit, but with no respect to them – they would have said the same about us – when you’ve got Falkirk in the semi-finals with the chance to make £800,000 to £1 million plus, it puts extra pressure on you.

“It’s not just a great opportunity to get to a final, it’s against a team in a lower league and it brings some incredible financial rewards.

Inverness are aiming to secure a place in the promotion play-offs, following an excellent run of end-of-season form.

Having faced criticism from supporters earlier in the campaign, Dodds is pleased he has been able to reward the loyalty of the faithful Inverness.

He added: “I like adversity. I don’t know if people wrote us off but the fans were unhappy.

“It’s tough in the Championship with no finance and you build a squad to maybe have three or four major injuries.

“We already had two in Walsh and Sutherland and you can maybe afford one or two more.

“But we lost 10. You saw the team I put out against Hamilton in the SPFL Trust Trophy.

“I couldn’t afford to play any of my first team squad with 10 out.

“To try and get results is extremely difficult so I had to make the fans understand that.

Caley Thistle fans at Hampden Park for the Scottish Cup semi-final against Falkirk. Image: SNS

“They’ve stayed with us. We had 4,000 here and they were brilliant.

“People said there would be no atmosphere at Hampden but it was great.

“Hopefully we’ll bring 15,000 or 20,000 to the final.

“They’ve been rewarded for their loyalty and patience. They can see that when I’ve got my full squad – which I’ve worked hard to build – we’ve got not a bad team.”

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[Caley Thistle will take belief into Scottish Cup final]


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