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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Paul O'Hehir

Ruaidhrí Higgins delighted to see Derry City emulate Manchester United's 'Fergie time' habit after another late winner

RUAIDHRI HIGGINS is happy to take a leaf out of Alex Ferguson’s book after delivering yet another late, late show.

League leaders Derry City came from behind in ‘Fergie time’ to floor Bohemians 2-1 at Dalymount Park on Friday.

James Akintunde scored an injury-time header to snatch all three points and maintain the Candystripes’ position at the summit.

And they will extend their lead over second-placed Shamrock Rovers to six points if they win away to bottom side UCD tonight.

Friday’s dramatic finish was the ninth time that Derry City have secured an injury-time win since Higgins took charge 11 months ago.

That was a knack that champions Shamrock Rovers honed to perfection for the last two seasons - and Ferguson’s old Manchester United teams were dab hands too.

And ahead of tonight’s Belfield clash, Higgins said: “It’s a great statistic. You look at teams that have done really well over the years, a lot of the great teams.

“You look at the Man United teams from years ago when Ferguson was manager, they scored late goals.

“It’s important and we drill it into them because the players don’t know when they’re beaten and they keep going and it’s proved to be the case again on Friday.

“If you are to be in any way, shape or form successful you have to score late goals.

“There’s brilliant character and a togetherness in the group and I think that’s evident. We’ve come from behind again and won so huge credit to the players.”

High-flying Derry are unbeaten this season with five wins and two draws from their seven games - but Higgins is still playing down expectations.

“It’s brilliant but I remember years ago Sligo went on a really good unbeaten run at the start of the season and faded away,” he said.

“It happens all over the world so we’re not going to get carried away. The players are too smart for that, they’re grounded.

“They know our wins are based on hard work first and foremost and they can’t let that drop.”

And sizing up the challenge of trying to win back-to-back games in Dublin in 72-hours, Higgins said: “It’s very hard.

“If a Dublin team was asked to do that you would hear about it but it’s part of what we do. We live in a different part of the island.

“We’re used to travelling and I think there’s no better feeling getting on a bus for a long journey than after winning a game.

“UCD have players like (Liam) Kerrigan and (Colm) Whelan who can hurt you in attacking areas but we just have to focus on ourselves.”

Meanwhile, Higgins has revealed why Will Patching was a surprise half-time withdrawal at Dalymount Park.

“Patching got a knock in his eye and was struggling to see out of his right eye so we had to get him out of there.

“But Patrick McEleney (his replacement) looked right on top of his game. He grabbed the game by the scruff of his neck and did what he does best.”

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