It was an early start for most Inverness fans on the Saturday morning as they headed to the National Stadium to get behind the Caley Jags. The first train out of Inverness saw some weary eyes on the 05:30 to Queen Street. Wiser ones went down the night before to savour the occasion. Falkirk fans? Well they were subject to a gruelling half hour journey before the scheduled kick-off time of 12:15pm. Alfredo's was a popular choice for pre-match aperitif's before heading in the direction of the National Stadium.
Hampden Park was less than a quarter full as these two teams met once again in the Scottish Cup. The winner will go on to the final where either Rangers or Celtic will be the prize for getting there. Inverness were in their first choice home strip and the Bairns were in their dark blue on a brisk but dryish Saturday lunchtime.
With a VAR assisted penalty, Billy Mckay opened the scoring early in the first half. Dan Mackay headed in the second from an inviting Jay Henderson Cross. Falkirk had their moments, Callumn Morrison hitting the post after some defensive indecision on the edge of the box. However, we did our own post hitting and Billy Mckay wrapped up the victory in the second half with a well taken finish, his 100th goal for the Caley Jags. That ensured our progress into the final. Nathan Shaw was unfortunate twice off the post and Falkirk were denied a consolation by some dogged defending. All in, comfortable in the end and Hampden calling once more.
6th minute: Jay Henderson's cross from the right deflects off the hand of defender Leon McCann. VAR went into action and after a quick check Nick Walsh pointed to the spot. Billy Mckay stepped forward to send a clinical penalty high to the keepers left. 1-0
10th minute: A lofted ball over the head of Devine makes him chase back towards Ridgers. Burrell in hot pursuit forces Devine and Ridgers to hesitate and the keepers clumsy clearance falls to Callumn Morrison. He rolls the ball goalward from outside the angle of the box but it bounces away from goal off the base off the post before Duffy and Deas block and the finger wagging begins in the Inverness defence.
24th minute: Maksym Kucheryavyi heads into Mark Ridgers midrift from the centre of the box.
34th minute: Jay Henderson curls a sumptuous cross into the box and Daniel Mackay heads downwards emphatically into the bottom corner. Spectacular cross and finish. 2-0
57th minute: All over bar the shouting. A long diagonal ball to the far post from Dan Mackay picks out a supercool Billy Mckay who calmly guides the ball behind Kinnear for another superb goal. That's 100 now for Billy Mckay.
63rd minute: Nathan Shaw smacks the post with a deflected shot that has the keeper beaten. Unfortunately it bounces clear.
65th minute: Comedy defending as Inverness try to help Falkirk to a consolation goal. Robbie Deas was short with a pass back as he tried to knee the ball back to his keeper. Gary Oliver picked up the loose ball but his cut back was blocked. It came back to him on the byeline but his second effort was headed clear by Danny Devine who was already lying full length on the deck, his head on the byeline to knock the ball away.
68th minute: Nathan Shaw weaved his way into the box and opened up his body to curl a low shot goalwards. It beat the keeper but bounced off the same post before agonisingly rolling along the line and clear of goal.
77th minute: Last throw of the dice from the Bairns saw Ridgers make a comfortable save from Ola Lawal to keep a clean sheet and the wind was now well and truly out of the Bairns sails.
93rd minute: Nick Walsh closes the game with a few peeps of his whistle. Game over at 3-0, Final v Celtic to come on June 3rd after they beat Rangers 1-0 on the Sunday.
Highlights can be seen on BBC Sport
Falkirk manager John McGlynn: "You can't give Inverness a goal start. They are the type of team that lap that up. But you can't legislate for such a soft goal as well. I'm not the first to be in this situation [with VAR].
"We had opportunities. I'm proud of the way the players played. But we didn't have the quality Inverness did."
Inverness CT striker Billy Mckay: "We're delighted, it couldn't have gone much better. Roll on June. I thought we were ruthless. It's a weird feeling because we could've been out. Now we're in the final.
"I knew [the third goal] was my 100th [for the club]. I wanted to stay on for my hat-trick. All round it's a pleasing day."
Whist we were at Hampden, some important Championship games were played out.
So, it's all to play for in the final league games of the season next Friday night.
Dundee 0-0 Cove
Ayr Utd 1-0 Raith
Morton 2-1 Queen's
Partick 2-0 Arbroath
|Couldn't be tighter at both ends of the table|
Friday night 7:45pm
Arbroath v Accies
Cove Ran v Morton
Inverness CT v Ayr United
Queen's v Dundee
Rovers v Partick