Inverness’ Scottish Cup final performance can boost confidence – Roddy MacGregor

By Sports Desk June 04, 2023

Roddy MacGregor believes Inverness’ performance in the 3-1 Scottish Cup final defeat to Celtic can boost their promotion confidence for next season.

The Championship side had beaten cinch Premiership outfits Livingston and Kilmarnock on their way to Saturday’s Hampden Park showpiece but had finished sixth in the league.

Celtic proved too tough an opponent as goals from attackers Kyogo Furuhashi, substitute Liel Abada and Jota completed the domestic treble with Caley Thistle replacement Dan MacKay’s header a consolation.

However, MacGregor – a late second-half substitute for Scott Allardice – insists positives can be taken from the performance going into next season.

The 21-year-old midfielder said: “We went toe-to-toe with the best team in the country at the moment and in previous rounds we had beaten Premiership teams.

“It just shows that when we are on our game we can give any team a game and that definitely gives us confidence going into next season.

“We were disappointed obviously, it is never nice to lose in such a big game. It is not a nice feeling.

“Up against a team like Celtic it is always going to be tricky but I think we did reasonably well and limited their chances.

“We genuinely thought we could win the game and that’s the sign of a good dressing room and we are looking to go again next season and hopefully we have a fully-fit squad.”

MacKay, on loan from Hibernian, was pleased that Inverness proved the doom-mongers wrong with their spirited performance.

The 22-year-old winger said: “The boys can be proud of themselves. We put up a really good battle.

“Everyone doubted us and said it would be six or seven nil but we proved them wrong and showed that a Championship team that was midtable was more than a match at times for Celtic but they were clinical at the end of the day.

“If you get a goal you never know what can happen in these games. Pressure happens and chances come and go in games.

“We took our chance but unfortunately we never got another chance and Celtic were clinical.

“But we need to be proud, it was an achievement getting there.”

Asked about his future with Hibs, he said: “I don’t know yet. I wait to see what happens.”

Related items

  • 'Stranger things have happened' says Sctotland's Morgan on potential Germany upset 'Stranger things have happened' says Sctotland's Morgan on potential Germany upset

    Lewis Morgan believes Scotland can surprise Germany ahead of their Euro 2024 opener against the hosts this Friday. 

    Steve Clarke's side travel to Munich in search of their first victory over their opponents since 1999, having failed to beat Die Mannschaft in their previous four encounters.

    The New York Red Bulls winger was a late arrival in Scotland's provisional squad after it was announced Ben Doak had to withdraw through injury, and made it into the travelling group of 26. 

    Morgan ended his six-year absence from the international stage with a substitute appearance in a 2-2 draw against Finland at Hampden Park last week to earn his third cap for his country, 2,193 days since his last. 

    The 27-year-old has scored nine goals in 16 MLS appearances so far this season in the Eastern Conference, and believes his side have every chance of starting their Group A campaign with a victory. 

    "Absolutely, stranger things have happened in football," Morgan said about the possibility of Scotland upsetting the host nation.

    "We've got a really, really talented squad here, a good group of players playing at the highest level in world football.

    "There's no reason why we can't go there and get something, but we can only do that if we give the best version of ourselves and stick to the game plan."

    Following Friday's fixture against Germany, the Scots will face Switzerland before concluding their group campaign in Stuttgart against Hungary, with the hopes of reaching the knockout stages of an international competition for the first time in their history. 

  • Lewandowski not thinking of Poland retirement ahead of Euro 2024 Lewandowski not thinking of Poland retirement ahead of Euro 2024

    Robert Lewandowski has no immediate plans to call time on his Poland career post-Euro 2024 as he battles to regain fitness in time for the tournament.

    The Barcelona striker sustained a thigh injury in Monday's 2-1 friendly win over Turkiye and has been ruled out of Poland's opening match.

    While Lewandowski will play no part against the Netherlands on Sunday, he will hope to be back to face both Austria and France in a tough looking Group D.

    The former Bayern Munich ace turns 36 in August, but he is not yet thinking about retiring from duty with his national side.

    "I cannot say that is yes or not," he told CNN. "It depends on many different things. 

    "Physically, I am feeling very well. I don't see many differences, especially in this year, than before.

    "But if I feel something inside, in my heart, saying maybe it's time to say goodbye, then I know that the time is coming.

    "Until now, I didn't feel this kind of feeling, so it's still not this kind of way that I am thinking about this."

    Poland are competing at their fourth successive European Championship after beating Wales on penalties in their play-off final in March.

    Only once have they advanced through the group stage in those most recent three appearances, but Lewandowski is hopeful his side can make an impact in Germany.

    "I think we can play good football," he said. "We know that we are not the favourites in the group stage.

    "But I remember the last World Cup, we played the first half against France really well. I think we surprised them. I hope that we will also surprise them now at the Euros.

    "[France] are so strong, even if they put a second or third XI out, still they can fight to win Europe. But you have to believe.

    "If we are playing as a team, that are going in one direction, really we can achieve something. I don't know what that means in the end, but in football, everything is possible."

  • Spain's strong bond will be key asset at Euro 2024, says Pedri Spain's strong bond will be key asset at Euro 2024, says Pedri

    Barcelona midfielder Pedri believes a strong bond between Spain's players will be their greatest asset as they aim to secure a fourth European crown. 

    The La Masia graduate will feature in his third international competition for his nation, having become the youngest Spanish player to feature at the European Championships in 2021 at 18 years, six months and 18 days, breaking Miguel Tendillo's previous record. 

    Pedri was named the young player of the tournament three years ago, and new head coach Luis de la Fuente has opted to favour youth rather than experience at Euro 2024. 

    De la Fuente named his 26-man squad, with 11 of the players registered having only 10 or fewer caps, and only Alvaro Morata and Jesus Navas have managed over 50 appearances for their country.

    However, Pedri believes that despite inexperience on the international stage, La Roja have several leaders in the dressing room to help lead them to glory in Germany.

    "I think that these last few days we have talked about it, that the greatest asset we have is that we are a team, we are a family both on and off the field," he said. 

    "The leader is the team as a whole. There are many players that are captains that help us a lot, they act as leaders, but I think the big difference with all the teams is that we are a team and there is no leader who stands out from the rest."

    Spain concluded their preparations for the tournament with an emphatic 5-1 win over Northern Ireland in Mallorca, with Pedri scoring twice in the first half. 

    La Roja kick-start their Group B campaign against Croatia on June 15 in Berlin, before taking on Italy, the defending champions, and Albania. 

    "It's important to get off to a good start. But we've already seen that many teams have won a big tournament despite losing their first game," Pedri said.

    "You don't have to be anxious about that game. It is clear that we are going to go out to win and we are not going to want to leave anything out on the pitch and above all, that, go out with everything.

    "We are really looking forward to it, we are very young and we are really looking forward to it starting now."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.