Almost Mission Accomplished
So near yet so far - so near to the top six yet it is hard to credit how far the team has come this season. Caley Thistle needed to win well and hope that Kilmarnock would beat Motherwell. A four-goal difference had to be overcome but in the event, Motherwell scraped a last minute equaliser against Killie and it was all academic. The three points gained here were however enough to mathematically secure SPL football for next season.
Richard Hastings came in for the suspended Stuart Golabek, Darren Dods took over the captaincy, Craig Brewster came back into the starting eleven and teenager Rory McAllister was rewarded for excellent reserve performances by gaining a bench place.
Caley Thistle started briskly but Dundee could have taken the lead in six minutes when a Callum McDonald stab came off the post and into the arms of a relieved Mark Brown. It was all one-way traffic in the other direction from then apart from a 10-minute spell near the end. After ten minutes a Brewster flick set up Barry Wilson but he shot over.
The opening goal came in 17 minutes and it was a three-man effort. Brewster set Ross Tokely on a run down the right, he rounded a defender and found Roy McBain in the box and from 10 yards the midfielder lofted it into the net. A minute later a Brewster turn and shot came off the post.
It continued in the same vein until the 37th minute when Neil Barrett brought Wilson down and a penalty was awarded. Wilson's spot-kick was pushed away by Derek Soutar then he parried Wilson's follow-up shot. Bryan Prunty saved Wilson's blushes when he headed home the loose ball for 2-0. Seconds before the break Richie Hart's 100th appearance ended prematurely when he suffered a dead-leg and was replaced by David Proctor.
Half Time: 2-0
Another penalty was awarded early in the second half when Prunty was brought down but Soutar guessed correctly and pushed away Wilson's kick. A rare Dundee effort came in 53 minutes when Brown touched over an Iain Anderson shot from all of 35 yards.
Brewster hit just wide in 61 minutes but he had more luck three minutes later when he headed in a Wilson free kick to make it 3-0. Then came a Dundee revival. Bobby Mann hit a 25 yard free kick just wide in 70 minutes, much to the relief of the home fans who had watched him score many goals for ICT from set pieces.
In 74 minutes a free kick from Dundee's Anderson beat Brown but hit the post but Tam McManus was well-placed to touch it in for 3-1. It was 3-2 with 10 minutes left when a low cross from Anderson was neatly flicked in by John Sutton via the post. The attacks on Soutar's goal then resumed but nothing came off; McBain hit over, Russell Duncan did the same, Soutar held two shots from Graham Bayne and the whistle went for full time.
Full Time: 3-2
The pressure is now off and the five remaining games will give the management team the chance to plan for next season.
Inverness CT: 3 (McBain 17, Prunty 38, Brewster 65)
Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Hastings, Black (Duncan 66), Wilson,
Hart (Proctor 45),McBain, Prunty, Brewster (Bayne 73).
Subs Not Used: Fraser; Fox, Fetai, McAllister - Booked: Munro (70), Dods (88), Duncan (89)
Dundee: 2 (McManus 74, Sutton 80.)
Team: Soutar; Kitamirike, Mann, Sancho, McDonald, Fotheringham (Robertson 63),
Barrett (Sutton 76), Caballero, Robb, Lovell (Anderson 36), McManus.
Subs Not Used: Dubourdeau; Larsen, Conway - Booked: Barrett.
Attendance: 4,786 - Referee: Dougie McDonald