Closing in on a play-off position
Inverness recorded their first win over Queen of the South this season with a comfortable 3-1 scoreline. First half goals from Iain Vigurs and Joe Chalmers gave us a deserved lead and Aaron Doran added a third after the break. As we eased off, Queens came more into it and got their consolation when Owen Bell headed a fine goal with five minutes left.
This win pulls Inverness level on points with the Doonhamers and within striking distance of the two teams above us although we have played more games than most. Still, it's a healthier position than we were in a few months ago.
Carl Tremarco missed out through injury as did Nathan Austin. Riccardo Calder slotted in at left back with Brad Mckay on the opposite side. Collin Seedorf and Jake Mulraney were fit enough to make the bench.
The Doonhamers had the firepower of 35 year old Stephen Dobbie up front and youngster Owen Bell starting on the bench. On loan Rangers defender Myles Beerman was on the bench along with him. Striker Chris Kane was making his final appearance for Queen of the South before returning to St Johnstone. The 23 year old has now made 24 appearances for the Doonhamers scoring five goals and has benefitted greatly playing alongside the vastly experienced Stephen Dobbie.
The frost of the previous days had relented and it was a brisk day, a tad chilly but nonetheless a decent day for a game of footy. Just over two thousand two hundred fans made the effort to get to this game and they were treated to an excellent start by the hosts who came out of the blocks with all guns blazing.
The two previous meetings this season produced no goals but Inverness were looking to carry their excellent form from the Falkirk game into this one. Queens were confident their excellent away form would continue.
The opening moments were a taste of things to come and captain Gary Warren had a header saved in the second minute as Inverness pressed from the off. The keeper did well to tip his powered header onto and over the bar. Moments later from the resultant corner Iain Vigurs placed a header into the keepers top right corner as he kept a cool head when a loose ball presented itself to him. Great goal and what a start to this game.
Dobbie and Polworth exchanged efforts at either end as the game opened out but it was Inverness that were in control and it was no surprise when a second goal came along, although it was all done in slow motion. Joe Chalmers gathered a ball on the edge of the box and his scuffed effort deceived everyone, including the fans in the North Stand. It wrong footed half a dozen players and an unsighted keeper to roll gently into the bottom corner with Leighfield scrambling frantically across his line to no avail. Take that and a first for Joe Chalmers.
We saw out the half comfortably and our attacking endeavour should maybe have reaped more, but Queens got away lightly.
Half Time 2-0
Gary Naysmith no doubt got them to up their energy levels after the break and with Inverness content to hold what they had Queens came more into it, Stephen Dobbie coming close.
However, when we broke forward we always looked dangerous and Aaron Doran knocked home a third after Polworth crossed into the box from the right.
Dobbie tried his luck again but his curling effort was mopped up easily by Mark Ridgers as Queens began to believe in themselves and we gave up ownership of the midfield.
Beerman and Kerr went close as well but most of the work Queens were doing ended in hopeful efforts rather than guilt edged chances.
Iain Vigurs was yellow carded in bizarre fashion. Shaun Rooney went down when tackled and the ref blew for a foul, albeit a soft one. After the players exchanged pleasantries Rooney shoved Vigurs over. As is the norm these days, the ref calls them both over and booked Rooney then Vigurs. Seems to me that getting pushed over is a bookable offence. How odd.
Mark Ridgers saved a rasping effort as Queens went looking for a goal and we began to look a little edgy at the back but we weathered the storm and it probably was more comfortable on the park than it was watching from the stand.
John Baird had an effort saved but Queens got their reward for not giving up when a superb Beerman cross was briskly headed high into the net by Owen Bell.
Inverness responded and Oakley almost restored the three goal cushion but he shot across goal and wide of the mark.
Full Time 3-1
Fantastic first half again for Inverness. Some really tidy play and a thoroughly deserved win. Coll Donaldson was once again immense, he is some player for a big lad, but for me, he was outshone by Riccardo Calder who doubled as a full back and left winger. Great shift again from Calder who is my MotM. There was some wonderful play all over the park and George Oakley is turning out to be a useful front man using his upper body strength to good effect. Unsung hero Joe Chalmers has come onto a game over the last couple of months playing on the left midfield side. Without the shackles and constraints of defending, the big loon has come into his own and scored a goal into the bargain.
Iain Vigurs, despite his booking tally reaching it's limits, was a class apart in the first half and himself and Polly are beginning to create plenty for the strikers. No failures yesterday and competition for starting berths is hotting up.
So, we are starting to pick up pace and are now pushing for a play-off position, well deserved given our recent form.
Scottish Cup game at Dundee next week followed by an away trip to Falkirk.
Goals highlights from Caley Jags TV
Gary Naysmith was honest as usual accepting his team were second best. Here's what he had to say.