McCann breaks his duck
Inverness beat ten-man Raith Rovers thanks to a tidy second half goal from Dan Mackay who had controlled a kick out from Ridgers before lifting the ball over keeper MacDonald for the only goal of the game. We were never troubled for long spells but struggled to impose ourselves against the ten men after Iain Davidson was sent off after a midfield clash. A welcome three points and a first win under Neil McCann.
After the goalless draw four days earlier, the two sides went toe to toe once more for the fourth time this season. The League Cup encounter ended 3-3 in November, eleven days later at Inverness ended 2-0 for the Caley Jags and Friday's game finished 0-0. Despite the league positions, there was little to choose between the sides at the Caledonian Stadium and both sides were looking for maximum points at different ends of the table. Inverness were somewhat down to the bare bones on Friday and were hoping to have a couple of their missing players back. McCann went with the same starting XI that played the whole game on Friday night and Miles Storey was fit enough to make the bench. John McGlynn had no such problems apart from Fernandy Mendy who is still away on African Nations duty. Ugwu again started up front and there were starts for Armstrong, and Mathews with Duku on the bench alongside Vaughan, Musonda and Tait.
Raith set the ball rolling but it was Inverness that started the fastest. A wonderful Allardice header came back off the corner of bar and post from fully fifteen yards and from the resultant return ball into the box it was stabbed into the hands of Jamie MacDonald from four yards by a hesitant Shane Sutherland.
Ten minutes in and Iain Davidson was given a straight red after a clash in the middle of the Raith half. That started a wee stushie and Davidson was red carded with Sean Welsh also booked.
A great burst down the left by Dan Mackay after twenty minutes ended with keeper MacDonald throwing an arm out to keep the ball out at the expense of a fruitless corner.
It was a much faster start by Inverness after we were slow out of the blocks on Friday night but with half an hour gone we were not making the extra man count. In fact we were more impressive when Raith had eleven on the park.
A great ball forward found Todorov running into the box but the defender stood his ground to usher the ball clear.
Ridgers did well to cut out a great ball in from the left and took a knock as the striker closed in. Some loose passing was restricting our forward play as Rovers dug in. A swift move cut Rovers open but Sutherland was crowded out in the six yard box.
As the interval approached Raith were making their way down the touchline with a number of throw-ins as the game turned untidy but it remained goalless at the break.
Half Time: 0-0
Macdonald was fortunate that Shane Sutherland was not sharp enough to take advantage of a spilled ball at the edge of the box as it bounced back into his hands off the big forward.
Tumilty sent a rasping shot from distance that Ridgers tipped over comfortably.
Less than five minutes after the restart the visitors took the lead after a long ball from keeper Ridgers went all the way to the edge of the Raith box where Dan Mackay did brilliantly to get clear of the defender before cheekily lifting the ball over the advancing Macdonald and into the empty net. Great assist from the keeper who brilliantly cut out the cross and sent the ball forward in the same movement.
We could have doubled our lead but for a weak finish this time by Mackay as he burst into the left side of the box.
From a deep corner, Benedictus lofted a header towards the top of the goal frame and Ridgers took no chances and tipped the ball behind for a corner. Better play from Rovers and their next corner saw a header bounce well wide.
A free kick to the Caley Jags ended with a shot being charged down in a crowded defence and Inverness made their first change with Miles Storey replacing Shane Sutherland.
Gullan dipped a free kick over with Ridgers watching closely. Rovers were pushing for an equaliser as Ridgers fluffed a punch clear for a corner.
A tidy run on the left and cut back by Storey saw a first time effort from Sean Welsh curl just wide with MacDonald beaten.
A Keatings free kick found Deas in space inside the box on the left but his clipped shot rolled across the face of the goal and out for a goal kick.
Ridgers was forced into a good diving save as Vaughan shot from the edge of the box to remind Inverness how precarious a one goal lead can be with five minutes left on the clock.
Full Time: 0-1
However, despite the usual late scares, the Raith ten man challenge petered out and Inverness claimed a valuable three points and manager Neil McCann his first win.
What a crucial three points that could be and with Ayr beating Dundee it's getting very tight in the middle section of the table.
Highlights from Raith TV
Dan's the man
First time winner with the Caley Jags...