Craig Dargo made a welcome return to the starting lineup and scored the late equaliser that ensured the Caley Jags will finish the season undefeated against Rangers.
It all looked so different in the early stages when Darren Dods was sent off for a 'last man' challenge and Charlie Adam scored from the resultant free kick, but the team regrouped and came away with a point after the late equaliser. Club Historian Ian Broadfoot reports from Ibrox.
RANGERS 1-1 ICT
|31st March 2007||Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow|
|RANGERS||1 (Adam 14)|
Team: McGregor, Hutton, Weir, Papac, Murray, Novo (Burke 67), Ferguson, Hemdani, Adam, , Boyd, Prso (Sebo 81)
Subs: Robinson, Thomson, Ehiogu , McMillan & Shinnie
|INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE FC||1 (Dargo 81)|
Team: Fraser, Tokely, Dods, Munro, Hastings, Duncan, Rankin, Hart (Wilson 72), Paatelainen (McCaffrey 20), Dargo (McSwegan 90), Bayne
Subs: Soane, Sutherland, McAllister & Ridgers
With two wins already over Rangers this season Caley Thistle were looking for the hat-trick. They did not quite make it but a 1-1 draw at Ibrox with ten men was about as close as it gets.
The Caley Thistle side was shuffled as Grant Munro returned from suspension and Ian Black started a three-game ban. Richie Hart came in for Barry Wilson, Craig Dargo and John Rankin returned to the starting line-up and it was back to the bench for Stuart McCaffrey and Gary McSwegan – in McCaffrey’s case for just 20 minutes.
Not surprisingly Rangers came at the visitors from the start and Dado Prso sent Barry Ferguson through in six minutes - Michael Fraser was up to the task and he blocked well. Prso then went down in the box but penalty claims were ignored by the referee. In 13 minutes Darren Dods departed early for a last-man foul on Kris Boyd and Charlie Adam netted the resultant free kick from 25 yards.
Ross Tokely temporarily moved into the middle of the back four but in 20 minutes Markus Paatelainen was sacrificed for Stuart McCaffrey and there was to be a successful rehearsal of the likely defensive line-up after Dods heads for Tannadice in the summer. Ian Murray took a high ball into the box in 25 minutes but his curling shot went over the bar. As half time approached, Grant Munro headed wide of the Rangers’ goal and a Prso volley went wide at the other end.
Half Time: 1-0
Rangers had chances to extend their lead after the break but an Alan Hutton cross was headed wide by Prso then in 62 minutes Fraser blocked a Boyd effort.
Boyd blasted over from eight yards in 74 minutes and the visitors began to create chances at the Rangers’ end. Alan McGregor tipped over a Russell Duncan effort, a curling ball from substitute Barry Wilson went over the bar then the home fans were stunned nine minutes from time when ICT equalised. Richard Hastings crossed from the left, Graham Bayne played it from the back post across goal and Craig Dargo knocked it over the line from a few yards out. Ibrox began to empty of Rangers’ fans as the reality of two dropped points hit home.
Full Time: 1-1
The whistle went and a happy band of away supporters headed back up the A9. With one game left before the split ICT remain tenth but there is a clear gap between them and bottom clubs St Mirren and Dunfermline.