Inverness stay put
It was a winner takes all game tonight after a dramatic 2-2 draw at the Caledonian Stadium on Friday night. Inverness were bolstered by the return of Danny Devine and Wallace Duffy to the squad after their harsh dismissals at Arbroath. A big following went down to Perth, alas after a tremendous first half where we created the better opportunities, it was all undone within a minute of the restart by substitute Stevie May. A second goal killed any lingering hopes from a deflected MacPherson shot. The final two goals from Hendry & Rooney mattered not when the game was being chased and the dream ended, but the memory lives on. Fantastic endeavour from the Caley Jags and a magnificent following on the night.
Danny Devine and Wallace Duffy started at McDiarmid Park with Aaron Doran dropping to the bench from the side that drew 2-2 at Inverness. St Johnstone went unchanged.
It was a much more positive Inverness that took to the park amid a tumultuous welcome from both sets of fans and with only one minute on the clock Logan Chalmers had an effort on goal but it did not trouble Zander Clark. Danny Devine headed over and Sean Welsh saw a shot blocked as the visitors took the game to their more fancied opponents. In the twentieth minute Billy Mckay tried his luck from distance but his shot was too straight at the big keeper.
A minute later saw the hosts first half chance when Murray Davidson headed wide of Ridgers' goal frame.
A Wallace Duffy header was blocked en route to goal and at the other end Daniel Cleary headed wide as he Saints came marching on.
As in the first leg, Austin Samuels' pace was causing all sorts of problems down he right and Chalmers was having some success down the left. Clark pulled off a good save to deny Samuels as he cut into the box on the end of a Mckay pass.
Possession began to level out as we approached the interval, but it was the visitors who had the better of the first forty-five and left Callum Davidson with plenty to think about.
HALF TIME 0-0
Davidson brought on Stevie May at the interval for Middleton who had taken a knock in the first half.
That was unfortunate for Inverness as inside a minute he pounced on a loose ball in the box after the keeper pushed out a header from Hallberg to knock the ball high into the net. What a body blow for Inverness who had defended so well in the first half just to see all the excellent work undone in a flash. Worse was to follow in the fifty-third minute when Cammy MacPherson took a shot from outside the box. Ridgers moved to cover it but the ball deflected off Sean Welsh to leave the keeper stranded. 2-0 and virtually game over.
A great chance for the dangerous Samuels on the hour but his shot from the edge of the box was blocked by Clark, alas nobody was on hand for the rebound and the defence cleared. Them's the breaks you have to take, but when you need them, they often don't go your way, unlike the opening goal for Saints.
We went for broke with a spate of substitutions but it was never going to end well, especially after Aaron Doran missed a glorious chance from seventeen yards when he sliced his shot wide when a goal looked a better option.
More substitutions late in the game and we were always going to be caught out on the break as we went gung ho.
And so be it when Callum Hendry ran through onto a great ball from Hallberg to finish with aplomb. During the ensuing exodus, who else but Shaun Rooney did the same to dink Ridgers to complete our downfall. Booked as well for an over enthusiastic celebration. Hey ho.
FULL TIME: 4-0
If ever there was not a 4-0 scoreline, then this was it. But left chasing the game after two adverse moments then who could blame the guys for dropping their guard momentarily. Better team for forty-five, beaten team over ninety, no disgrace and they did their fans proud against a battle hardened St Johnstone who made flares fashionable again.
I thought the back four for Inverness were superb with Danny Devine immense. Wallace Duffy had a tremendous first half and Kirk Broadfoot can be proud of his last game for the Caley Jags. Robbie Deas was solid as he has been all season. David Carson had an eventful night and not even an early booking would stop him from playing his own game. Great effort from him with Sean Welsh also prominent. Up front Austin Samuels was the most effective with his bursts of power and pace.
Overall, heads held high after a gruelling six game schedule in a season that could have been.
From BBC Sport:
St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: "Probably relief more than anything else. It's a fantastic achievement from the players. We were in a really dark place November, December. The chairman backed us and we managed to bring some players in. "All credit to everybody involved. This is probably a bigger achievement than winning the cups. It's mentally really tough when you're losing games. Big thanks to my staff, my players and everybody involved."
Inverness CT manager Billy Dodds: "Proud and disappointed. Proud of the players for the season. Disappointed the way it turned out. We played really well first half. I thought we had them. "The goal changed the game. When they get the goal and then the deflection, we had to chase and then we're open and they catch us. I think 4-0 was harsh on my boys. We gain experience from it and get ready for next season."
St Johnstone secured their Scottish Premiership survival with victory over Inverness in their play-off final! ️ pic.twitter.com/xFmWuoCmd8— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) May 24, 2022
That's it for another season from CTO Editorial Team.
Grateful thanks to Iain for all the PotY Polls and Eric, who despite being unwell has worked tirelessly behind the scenes updating the stats. A truly mind numbing task, especially with nine subs now to be added. With these guys working mostly in the background that enables me to churn out Previews and Reports. If you enjoyed them, I'm tm4tj, if not then I'm CaleyD (Disclaimer. Only joking)
See you next season.