With BBC TV looking on, Inverness and Morton served up a Friday night first half horror show. Thankfully, in stark contrast, the second half was full of entertainment.
In a lifeless first half at the Caledonian Stadium, neither side was able to get the handful of fans inside the ground excited However, just before the interval Aaron Doran made a half yard of space for himself inside the box and fired a wicked shot at Rogers. He parried the shot away and James Keatings guided the loose ball back into the net from ten yards. One minute into the second half and Keatings bagged his second as he rifled the ball home from 12 yards on the right side of the box. The third came about after a good bit of ball retention ended with Jordan White rolling the ball into the net. Mark Ridgers saved a miserable penalty from Nicky Cadden after David Carson handled from an overhead attempt. Coll Donaldson met a corner from Keatings at the front post to nod down into the net to make it four nil. Substitute Nikolay Todorov got into the act and drilled one past Rogers from 18 yards, and there endeth the scoring.
John Robertson made one change to his starting personnel by bringing back Jordan White up front with Miles Storey starting on the bench alongside Nikolay Todorov, Roddy MacGregor and Sean Welsh. David Hopkin threw Celtic loan youngster Stephen Welsh straight into his defence with the dangerous Nicky Cadden up front. Robbie Muirhead and Scottish Cup final scorer Peter Grant were on the bench.
Speaking on BBC Sport
Inverness CT manager John Robertson: "Morton were hard to break down but we got the opening goal. In the end I don't think it flattered us. Some of our attacking play in the second half was superb. "Tonight was tremendous. I was really pleased with the style of play. It's pass and move. We got our reward for our hard work and some of the finishes were first class."
Morton manager David Hopkin: "We tried to get to half-time goalless and we managed to get to 43 minutes. I think it gave the impetus to Inverness and we just continued to give away really sloppy goals. "I'm disappointed with the performance and I'm disappointed with myself. I've told the players in no uncertain that I won't accept it."
The Dundee derby ended up 6-2 to United as they thrashed their near neighbours
Saturdays games are
Arbroath v Dunfermline
Partick Thistle v Ayr United
Queen ot South v Alloa Athletic
A sparse crowd watched on as the proverbial dull as dishwater game unfolded in an instantly forgettable first 42 minutes. With no atmosphere at the ground it was difficult for players to motivate themselves. There was however one shining light and that came from an unexpected source. Shaun Rooney was dribbling his way into the area reserved for Tokely folklore as he danced his way down the right wing on numerous occasions. The big man is putting his heart and soul into the game and was immense in that first half.
His Cruyffesque turns and nutmegs were a joy to behold as the game edged towards the break. The pressure had been mounting on the Morton rearguard and when Tom Walsh pinged a ball into the box, it went as far as Doran. He skipped inside his man and shot at goal but Rogers could only push his shot out and Keatings calmly knocked the loose ball home. Relief at last!
Another moment of magic from Rooney saw him fire another great ball into the box but Dorans wee legs were not quite long enough and his header crashed off the bar. What a finish to the half after such a dull opening.
Half Time 1-0
We started where we left off and within a minute Keatings grabbed his second goal as he shot across the keeper from the right side of the box after Jamie McCart had sent him clear with an excellent ball forward.
We threatened to cut loose now and a Tom Walsh volley from the angle saw Rogers deny him at his near post with a super save.
Morton tried to hit back but a McLean header was cleared off the line by David Carson who popped up in the right place at the right time. McCart made a superb tackle to thwart Salkeld advancing as he threatened to go in on goal.
We toyed with Morton's defence for a bit but there was an end product this time as James Vincent sent a precise ball through a gap which saw White neatly slide the ball through the keepers legs into the net as he bore down on goal.
Two minutes later Morton were awarded a penalty. An overhead kick was sliced onto the flailing arms of Carson who looked as though he was learning the Highland Fling. Nicky Cadden stepped up but he thought he was Messi and chipped the ball straight into the grateful hand of Mark Ridgers.
Up stepped big Coll Donaldson at a corner and he headed down Keatings whipped cross behind Rogers for a decisive fourth goal as Morton looked to have capitulated.
Todorov came on for White in the 80th minute and before the 81st had scored the fifth goal of the night after he was released through the middle by Carson, and that was his second attempt inside a minute as he drove the ball through the keeper from the edge of the box. What an impact from the big Bulgar, at least I thought that's what my mate said!
We saw the game out thereafter and completed a fine 5-0 win.
Who knew after such a poor first half. Never in doubt I hear you say.....
Difficult to knock any players after such a resounding win. James Keatings was given MotM but Shaun Rooney was also superb with his marauding runs. Jamie McCart's defending and pin point accuracy with his long balls was a joy to behold. Good to see Donaldson getting some reward for his attacking prowess in the box and White scored a tidy goal on the end of some great team play. Toddy was also impressive so great competition for the strikers role. If there is any criticism, it's come from a poor first half where we found it difficult to create and were second to a lot of balls in midfield, our passing below par at times. However after we scored we were different class.
RednBlackComeback summed it up neatly: Thought it was quite a scrappy first half, until Rooney made a run from virtually his own corner flag all the way to Morton's penalty spot . It seemed to change the game and we scored shortly after. Second half we got a perfect start and never looked back. Can't remember the last time we won 5-0 at home in the league. Tremendous result!
If you can access BBC iPlayer, the whole game can be seen HERE
Match video will be uploaded when available...............
Robbo is pleased
MotM James Keatings talks after his two goals......