Johansson: We showed quality in second half

Manager Jonatan Johansson admitted he was pleased with his team’s performance against Ayr United on Saturday and has stated that his side will continue to improve and build on the positivity he believes is currently running through the squad.

The Ton recorded their second 0-0 draw to The Honest Men this season and Johansson believes that his side coped well with the pressure and revealed how important the next few weeks will be.

He told “Overall I’m happy with how we performed during the whole 90 minutes. We needed to respond after losing to Dundee United a few weeks ago and we certainly did that, putting in a solid performance.

“We were up against a very strong and aggressive Ayr United team who as I mentioned before are confident in how they play but we dealt with that pressure and defended well as a team.

“In the first half we allowed them to press us and we gave away too many set-plays but we came out in the second half and were quicker to the ball and showed a lot more quality.

“There was a lot of encouraging signs, we’re positive at the moment and we’ll continue to work hard. I believe we will get stronger and better with the more games we play.

“The next few weeks are very important for us, we know what we have to do and we know the results we need so we’re going to do everything we can to ensure we build on the progress we have made.”

The Greenock gaffer made two changes to the side that lost to Dundee United with Kerr Waddell replacing Lee Kilday and Charlie Telfer replacing Reghan Tumilty. The latter change saw club captain Jim McAlister move to the right back position and the Ton boss has revealed how pleased he was with the skipper’s performance.

He added: “I thought Jim had an excellent game at right back, he defended well and was organised. He’s the type of player you want in your team, he’s versatile and is vastly experienced.

“I felt that we were too open on the right at Tannadice and Ayr United pose a real threat down that side so with that in mind I decided to change things and Jim stepped up to the challenge and had a really good game.”

Saturday saw another debut for the Ton as Bournemouth loan ace Keelan O’Connell made his first appearance coming on as sub in the second half, and Johansson believes the 20-year-old will continue to impress following an encouraging display on Saturday.

He concluded: “Keelan is an exciting young player and he will add a different dimension to our game.

“He came on in the second half and was confident in taking people on and gave us some real place moving forward.

“It will take time for him to adjust to the physicality of this league but I have no doubt he’ll prove to myself and everyone at the club that he’s got what it takes.

“I’ve said before that I want to balance the squad out and get more young players involved, Keelan being a perfect example, and of the 13 players that played on Saturday eight of them are under the age of twenty three.”

image: Gary Bradley