The thing about streaks is that they have to come to an end. Caley Thistle lost a couple in this game - 8 SPL matches unbeaten, and 5 games without defeat against the Hibees - after going down 2-0 at Easter Road and having Mark Brown red carded. Ian Broadfoot reports from the Easter Road encounter.
HIBERNIAN 2-0 ICT
|11th November 2006||Easter Road, Edinburgh|
|HIBERNIAN||2 (Fletcher 65, Killen 83pen )|
Team: Malkowski, Whittaker, Martis, Jones, Stewart, Murphy, Brown, Thomson (Beuzelin 59), Sproule (Benjelloun 46), Zemmama (Fletcher 22), Killen
SUBS: Shiels, Glass, Hogg, McNeil
|INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE FC||0|
Team: Brown, Tokely, Munro, Dods, Hastings, Wilson (Fraser 82) , Duncan, Rankin (McSwegan 78), McBain, Bayne, Dargo (Wyness 74)
SUBS: McAllister, Sutherland, Black, McCaffrey
|Man of the Match|
A disappointing end to Caley Thistle’s eight-game unbeaten run at Easter Road. The loss of Mark Brown to a red card ten minutes from the end made it very hard and at that point the game was effectively over. Chris Killen’s goal from the resultant penalty sealed Hibs’ victory after substitute Steven Fletcher had given them a 64th minute lead. It was a disappointing end to Brown’s week after he had been named in the Scotland B squad for their visit to Dublin. Charlie Christie fielded an unchanged side from Monday’s draw with Aberdeen - Ian Black’s two-game suspension was over but he could only make it onto the bench. Hibs also made no changes despite an injury doubt over Michael Stewart.
Steven Whittaker proved to be the main threat for the home side in the first half and he had three good efforts. The first went wide in eight minutes but Mark Brown had to be alert to push away the second just two minutes later. In 11 minutes a Craig Dargo shot was charged down by Rob Jones and there was a forlorn penalty claim from the visitors. Malkowski saved from John Rankin in 15 minutes and Dargo was booked for a follow-up push on the keeper.
Whittaker’s third first half shot could have led to a contender for goal of the season if it had come off. He set off from the half way line and ran past a series of defenders but his final shot was blocked by Rankin. Caley Thistle’s best efforts of the half came a couple of minutes before the break when a Russell Duncan cross from the right was volleyed goalwards by Craig Dargo, touched away by Malkowski, stabbed towards the line by Graham Bayne and saved once more by the keeper.
Half Time: 0-0
Into the second half and Hibs took the lead in 64 minutes through substitute Steven Fletcher. Beuzelin and Scott Brown combined to set up Fletcher via a David Murphy lay off and he netted at the back post. Dennis Wyness replaced Dargo in 74 minutes then four minutes later Rankin made way as Gary McSwegan made his first top team appearance. The three-striker formation nearly paid off immediately when McSwegan’s first touch brought out a fine save from Malkowski and his follow-up was blocked. The game went beyond Caley Thistle with ten minutes left when Killen was one-on-one with Mark Brown and the striker went down as he rounded the keeper. A penalty was awarded (the first against ICT since last March) but there were loud protests from the players who thought that contact had been minimal. John Underhill did not change his mind, Brown saw red and Barry Wilson was sacrificed for substitute keeper Mike Fraser. Fraser’s first action was to face the penalty and he could do nothing to prevent Killen making it 2-0. The ten men battled on and with seconds left Caley Thistle nearly managed a consolation when Graham Bayne headed across goal and Darren Dods headed over the bar from a few yards out.
Full Time: 2-0
The defeat meant a slip to sixth but it is still very tight.