Celtic too strong
Caley Thistle's fine unbeaten run ended with defeat at the hands of Celtic. The match was played in front of a record attendance and, despite the result, the home side put up an excellent show.
A niggling knee injury kept Craig Brewster out of the ICT side and Graham Bayne took his place. Unlike the famous cup match in Inverness two years ago Celtic were at full strength.
Roy McBain shot low from long range in just 26 seconds but Douglas collected easily. A John Hartson 25 yard shot was deflected past in two minutes then Stilian Petrov headed over in nine minutes. Douglas took a Richie Hart cross high at the other end then he also caught a rising Barry Wilson free kick.
Despite pressure Celtic could not find the target as first Craig Bellamy headed over in 19 minutes then Hartson headed wide. A neat ICT move in 34 minutes was engineered by Darren Dods. The big defender ventured upfield, played a one-two with Roy McBain then crossed from the right; it strayed towards the corner flag and Bayne's cross back into the box was cleared.
Two minutes later Dods headed downwards but wide after a Hart corner. The home defence repelled all danger and there was no score at the interval.
Half Time: 0-0
In 49 minutes Alan Thompson came very close with a 20 yard free kick but it was tipped onto the top of the bar by Mark Brown and cleared.. Bellamy raced past three defenders on the hour mark but his 20 yard low shot was smothered by Brown. Three minutes later the Bellamy/Aiden McGeady double act created a decisive goal but not before Wilson hit two 25 yard shots in succession at Douglas' goal, one high and one wide.
Bellamy's goal started when he won possession in midfield, passed to McGeady then took the return wide of goal on the right. He sent an angled ball between Brown and the near post for 1-0. Bellamy then shot inches wide with the Celtic fans already on their feet celebrating. In the push for a second goal Bellamy shot over, a Bobo Balde header was cleared by Grant Munro, Dods took the ball off the feet of Hartson and a Petrov shot was held by Brown.
There were glimmers of hope when Caley Thistle attacked but nothing came off. Douglas did have to be alert to take a Stuart Golabek high cross in 73 minutes then he smothered the ball at Bayne's feet. It was all over in 84 minutes when Tokely was adjudged to have fouled Bellamy in the box and Thompson made his usual fine job of the penalty.
A Thompson free kick into the box a minute from time was headed clear then a Hart run was halted when he passed two men and used a hand to assist passing the third.
Full Time: 0-2
The whistle went and the visitors were content with their well-deserved 2-0 victory. ICT heads were held high but it was a sign of the times that all felt bitterly disappointed.
Inverness CT: 0
Team: Brown, Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Hart, Duncan (Black 89), McBain, Wilson,
Bayne (Fatai 78), Juanjo (Prunty 72).
Subs Not Used: Fraser, McCaffrey, Hastings, Proctor.
Celtic: 2 (Bellamy 63, Thompson 84 pen)
Team: Douglas, McNamara, Henchoz, Balde, Laursen, McGeady, Petrov, Lennon, Thompson,
Hartson (Beattie 79), Bellamy.
Subs Not Used: Marshall, Valgaeren, Pearson, Fernandez, Wallace, McManus.
Attendance: 7,045 - Referee: H Dallas