Charlie Trafford believes Inverness have got the bottle for the play-offs after watching team-mate Jordan White nail Tuesday’s pressure penalty.
Caley Thistle were looking good after White’s opening strike helped put John Robertson’s team 2-0 up away to Ayr in the opening leg of their Ladbrokes Premiership play-off quarter-final.
But their nerves were tested as the Honest Men came roaring back, netting through Michael Rose before bombarding Mark Ridgers’ goal as they chased a leveller.
Ayr’s fight-back was curtailed, however, when White slammed a fearless spot-kick into the top corner to ensure Inverness take a two-goal advantage into Saturday’s return in the Highlands.
White has not always had it easy from his own fans this season but after watching him shrug off the doubters to net their crucial third, midfielder Trafford is convinced Inverness can handle whatever comes their way this weekend.
The Canada international told Football Paradise: “Jordan’s our top scorer and never stops fighting. He doesn’t get credit for a lot of the work he does.
“He missed his last penalty and at times has gotten a lot of stick from the supporters this season.
“But that did not stop him stepping up at Somerset – and what a penalty! Ayr had pulled a goal back and we were having to withstand some pressure.
“The penalty was against the run of play so there was a lot riding on it. But he stepped up and absolutely smashed it into the top corner.
“I had no doubts he would do it. I’ve got full confidence in all my team-mates but the way he took it says a lot about the mental strength of Jordan and this team.
“Him getting the two goals will now take a lot of the pressure off Jordan as he now knows the boys behind him all have full confidence in him and that we’ll fight for him.
“Hopefully we’ll see that belief from all of us once more in the second leg.”
Ayr made a stunning start to the season but their early form tailed off as they picked up just five wins between December and the end of the Championship campaign.
Caley Thistle on the other hand picked up six wins and two draws from their final 10 league games and now have the vital momentum ahead of the second leg.
But Trafford insists his team are taking nothing for granted as they look to tee up a semi-final showdown with Dundee United next week.
“This league is so tight that anybody can beat anyone at any time, so having that extra bit of belief is massive,” he said.
“We’re hitting form at the right time but we can’t be sitting on the result from Tuesday night. We need to go fight and be ready for Ayr, as we know they’re going to come for us on Saturday.
“We definitely can’t get complacent and allow them to build up momentum like they did for a spell the other night.
“If we can stick to our plan and fight like we did the other night we should be all right.”
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