Derry City: 'I can only see us going one way' - manager Ruaidhri Higgins

Cian Kavanagh and Daniel Cleary battle for possession
Cian Kavanagh and Daniel Cleary battle for possession during Friday's 1-1 draw at the Brandywell

Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins believes the Brandywell club are "going in the right direction" after they drew 1-1 with leaders Shamrock Rovers in the battle of the top two on Friday night.

The result meant the Candystripes were unable to take the opportunity to close the gap on the league leaders.

City sit four points behind the champions with six games to play.

"As a club, and as a team I can only see us going one way," said Higgins after the game at the Brandywell.

Cameron McJannet's header just after the hour mark gave Derry the lead but Graham Burke equalised late on from the spot with Shane McEleney sent-off for his foul on the Rovers attacker.

"There was minimal contact. He has used all his experience, won his team a penalty and put it away," said Higgins of the decision to award the penalty.

"I think you [the referee] have got to be strong there and know exactly what the player is doing. When I look at the incident in isolation I genuinely don't think it is a penalty.

"The first 45 minutes, bar one or two moments, we were the dominant team, played the game in their half, went after them the way we wanted to go after them - created opportunities, got lots of crosses into the box and put them under pressure, loads of set plays.

"First 15 minutes of the second half, they were the better team, they got a stranglehold on the game, but we recovered from that and got our noses in front.

"I thought we were quite comfortable until the penalty was awarded and I didn't think it was a penalty."

Adam O'Reilly spurned a gilt-edged opportunity to double Derry's advantage moments after the hosts had opened the scoring.

"To be fair to Adam, he has been really exceptional for a period of time. He's been a great signing for the club but I thought if you look at chances created over the course of the game we had the more chances. I felt we deserved three points," argued Higgins.

"It's gut-wrenching but we have dealt with adversity before and for us to have any chance of winning the league we need to win all six games and hope for favours elsewhere. We're well capable of doing that.

"We focus on Sligo next week and try and win the game, then we move on to the next one. We can only control what we can control.

"The players' effort and commitment in recent months has been there for all to see."