Derry City: 'I think it's clear that there's real belief growing in this group' - insists boss Ruaidhri Higgins

Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins was full of praise for his players after their deserved victory over Dundalk, at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

Sunday, 15th August 2021, 10:12 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 1:03 pm
Dundalk manager Vinny Perth (left) and Derry City boss Ruaidhri Higgins didn't agree about the penalty awarded to the home side. Picture by Kevin Moore/MCI

Jamie McGonigle's second half penalty sealed the Candy Stripes first victory over the Lilywhites since 2017 and the Limavady man feels Sunday's win will continue to give his side the belief that things are on the up.

"I'm very, very proud as I thought it was a tremendous performance and I think it's clear that there's real belief growing in this group," he insisted.

"We are starting to win home games as well, which is huge and I think our supporters can really identify with this team and I'm sure we'll have sent them home happy, look it's three points but it's a really good three points."

Higgins was also pleased by his teams all round display and their never say die attitude, which meant they were always on the front foot against Vinny Perth's men and while the Derry boss didn't want to singling any player out, he was full of praise for striker James Akintunde and midfielder Joe Thomson.

"We had moments of quality as we created a lot of chances and should have scored more goals, but just the grit and belief that's growing in the group, which I think is evident," he said.

"Even the substitutes that came on the pitch they had a massive, massive role to play and I'm just very proud of the boys.

"In terms of belief and I was at their game on Thursday night against Vitesse Arnhem and I'm not going to lie, the last 35 minutes scared the life out of me, as they were tremendous and in my opinion they deserved to go through, but we have met the challenge head on today and we have come out victorious, which is brilliant for us.

"I was just delighted by the overall performance. Maybe at times we could have passed the ball a small bit better but we are playing against good opposition and without singling anyone out I thought James Akintunde's second half performance, in terms of hold up play, was a master class.

"Joe Thomson's energy was incredible and it's unfair singling anyone out today, because they all played at a high level, but I thought them two at the top end of the pitch carried the fight for us."

While the visitors thought the decision to award McGonigle's spot-kick was a harsh one, Higgins didn't agree and also felt that his team did more than enough to win the entertaining encounter.

"I appealed for it because it looked like a penalty to me," he explained. "But again you can't be sure about these things until you see them back, but I felt over the course of 90 minutes I thought we deserved to win, whether it's a penalty or not, I felt we deserved to win the game and we did."