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Danny Devine on marking Celtic star Kyogo, who doesn’t do much…until he does

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Just as Devine and his teammates may have been lulling themselves into a false sense of security though, in a flash, the top scorer in the country had escaped his attentions and the ball was in the back of the Inverness net.

The centre-back was gutted to have lost Kyogo for that crucial opener after the Championship underdogs had limited Celtic and their star striker to very little in front of goal in a stuffy first half, but he says that the genius of the Japanese is that you can never afford to take your eye off him for a second.

“I actually thought the heat affected them as well as us,” Devine said.

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“I thought it was a very sluggish game. Maybe it was because we sat in and they were being patient.

“I thought ‘Kyogo doesn’t do much off the ball’. I think he rests off the ball. Then bang, he’s away and he has that sharpness.

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“Obviously he took his goal well and obviously I’m bitterly disappointed with the first goal. But if you give him that half yard, he will punish you.
“You’re trying to watch the ball then they’ve got other players. I think Greg Taylor found himself in the Number 10 position a few times so you’re trying to watch that.

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“Kyogo is there hanging off the back of you not doing much then he springs into action. That’s his game, he’s very sharp. It was a sore one to take.”
Inverness came into Saturday’s showpiece occasion after a four-week lay-off, and Devine says that was a factor in their defeat, if not the sole reason for it.

“Of course,” he said. “You can’t emulate game situations in training – that competitive edge, the sharpness. You just can’t do it.

“The four-week break isn’t the reason we lost. We could have had games all the way up and could have run out of steam.
“But Celtic are an incredible team. We did ourselves proud in terms of sticking to our task. We would have liked to have been a bit braver and create some more chances but it’s difficult.

“All credit to them. It’s a sore one. It was a great achievement getting here but we look forward to next season.”

Whether Devine, a number of his teammates who are also out of contract and even the management team are around next term remains to be seen, with talismanic striker Billy McKay also one of those whose future remains uncertain.

The forward is hoping he does get the chance to continue his love affair with the Highlanders though, particularly as he is just one goal short of breaking fellow club legend Dennis Wyness’s all-time scoring record of 101 goals.

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“A lot of us are in the same situation,” McKay said.

“There’s six days left on the contract, so we’ll see what happens over the next six days.

“For me I feel I’ve done enough to earn a couple of years contract here. At 34 people might not be willing to give out a two-year contract but I feel like I’ve done enough so we’ll see what the club says.

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“I’m settled and I’d love to say but it has to be right. I feel like I’ve done enough to earn a couple of years so let’s talk and see what’s there.

 “It would be disappointing to leave at this point. If I sign again, I’d be very confident of beating the record.

“A hundred goals for the club is a really good achievement and hopefully we can get something done.

“Of course I’d like to continue working with the management team. I’ve had two seasons where I think I’ve done pretty well and scored a few goals so I’d love to continue.

“I’m in my third spell with Inverness and everyone knows what the club means to me, but I think it’s got to be right for both parties.”

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If the majority of those who got Inverness to Hampden – both on the pitch and in the dugout – can be retained, then McKay sees no reason why they can’t get back to the Premiership next season.

“We missed out on the play-offs but I think in the second half of the season we were magnificent,” he said.

“We’ve had three or four poor results but generally we’ve been brilliant and had this cup run as well.

“We know a couple of players will move on but if we can keep the core of experienced players and add some quality around, I think we’ll have a good season.”

 

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