Derry City players won't be pulling the handbrake insists Joe Thomson

JOE THOMSON insists there's little danger of Derry City pulling the handbrake despite the race for the title hitting the skids against Shelbourne.

The Scotsman came off the bench against Derry's cup final opponents at Brandywell last Friday night to rescue a point with seven minutes of normal time remaining in a 'frustrating' fixture which all but ended their hunt of three-in-a-row seeking Shamrock Rovers.

It signalled the end of their nine match winning run but kept intact an incredible unbeaten domestic record which dates back to May 23rd - an impressive run of 19 matches!

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The 1-1 draw coupled with Shamrock Rovers' emphatic 4-1 win over St Pat's at Tallaght stretched the champions' lead to EIGHT points with the Hoops boasting a far superior goal difference.

Derry City substitute Joe Thomson celebrates after his equalising goal against Shelbourne late in the second half. Photo by Kevin Moore.

Ruaidhri Higgins refused to concede defeat in the race for the title ahead of tonight's trip to the Showgrounds, hoping his team could take it down to the final match of the season when they host Dundalk and Rovers meet relegation threatened UCD. Anything other than a win tonight against the Bit O’Red would end those fading hopes.

And Thomson shares the manager's optimism but regardless of the title race, the midfielder claims the players and staff are intent on finishing the season as strongly as possible and promised they won't take their foot off the gas.

"If we think it's done and dusted there's no point turning up for the rest of the games," said Thomson. "We will be aiming to get maximum points and we'll see what happens from there.

"We're a team that believes we should be winning every game. We're just disappointed to drop points. We have ambitious players in there who want to be competing, want to be winning trophies and winning every game. We want to give it a right go and be right up there."

Four minutes into Friday night's fixtures Rovers were trailing Pat's but Thomson claims the players were unaware of events in Tallaght and were concentrating fully on trying to break down Shelbourne's defensive resolve.

"We just do what we do. Personally I never thought anyone would do us any favours. If we were to do it we would need to do it ourselves. You can only control what you control and we've got to aim to get maximum points from the remaining games and see what happens.”

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If Friday night’s match was a prelude to the FAI Cup Final then be prepared for a cagey, dogged affair.

There’s lots of football to be played before then but Thomson has no doubt the final will be another tough test of Derry’s resolve against a well organised Shelbourne team.

"All the games have been close. They've come here and picked up four points from here out of two games this season. We've gone down there and picked up six.

"So nobody thought it was going to be an easy game. You can see how close the games are and it makes for a right good game.

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"We'll obviously be looking forward to seeing them again when it comes. Before that we have three huge games and we'll put the cup final on the backburner and focus on them first.”

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VIDEO: Check out highlights of Derry City's comeback against Shelbourne