Long time since Rooney scored for Inverness
But today it was Shaun Rooney who opened his account for the Caley Jags and paved the way for a tremendous away win at East End Park. Liam Polworth and George Oakley completed the scoring, all goals coming in the second half.
Our first visit to East End Park last season saw us whipped 5-1 by a rampant Dunfermline. The 1-0 defeat against Dunfermline on March 13 was the last time ICTFC had lost in the Championship. Something was going to give.
The hosts had two former Caley Jags players starting in Danny Devine and James Vincent. Late signing Robbie Muirhead was on the bench alongside Kallum Higginbotham and Aidan Connolly.
Inverness made a couple of changes from the Alloa game with big striker Jordan White spearheading the attack and Aaron Doran starting. That put George Oakley on the bench with Nathan Austin nowhere to be seen.
Dunfermline got the game underway in front of a crowd of 5138 shooting towards the visiting fans. The Caley Jags were playing towards the Norrie McCathie stand, and it was the Pars that made the early running forcing Inverness onto the back foot and winning an early corner which came to nothing.
Inverness had a goal chalked off after quarter of an hour and Mark Ridgers did well to tip a fierce shot from Myles Hippolyte onto the bar with Danny Devine lashing the loose ball just wide.
Just before the half hour Joe Chalmers headed just over from a Tom Walsh cross. Soon after a defensive error by Ashcroft allowed Aaron Doran to play in Walsh, unfortunately Keeper Robinson made a good save to deny the Caley Jags forward.
Just before the break Carl Tremarco and Myles Hippolite were booked after a bit of a set-to. There was still time for efforts at both ends, Brad Mckay went close with a shot from distance and Louis Longridge brought out another great save from Ridgers to keep out his eighteen yard volley.
Plenty action at both ends but at the break there was no scoring
Half Time 0-0
Polworth almost got a shot away early in the half but Inverness didn't have long to wait to open the scoring. Ashcroft was booked for bringing down Doran, and from the resultant free kick and clearance Walsh crossed for Shaun Rooney to get his first goal for the club.
Polly stepping up now and he forced Robinson into a fine save moments after the opening goal. Inverness turning the screw now and Jordan White headed over from a Tremarco cross.
El Bakhtaoui woke up and caused some problems around the visitors box but we were able to block and clear.
Dunfermline were starting to press and forced a couple of corners but it was Inverness that hit on the break to double their advantage. Doran put in a lovely ball to the back post where Polly met it first time to volley home, 2-0 to the visitors.
The Pars went close with a shot from Thomson that went just wide, and with ten minutes left Ridgers blocked an effort from Bakhtaoui with his legs.
All action now and Oakley and Polworth bring out saves from Robinson in the Pars goal. However, Oakley would not be denied and he put the game to bed after Ridgers 'kick' out was flicked forward by Doran, Oakley running through to score.
Full Time 0-3
Never saw that one coming, great result and the fans chanting for Polworth in a positive mood this time is a bonus all round. A plus for Rooney as well and the third bonus is we scored three goals. All good.
Rig was chuffed with what he witnessed and here's how he describes the goals and summarises thus:-
A simply stunning ICT performance of yesteryear. A return to the reliable 4-2-3-1 setup and philosophy of sitting in, absorbing pressure and hitting Dunfermline hard on the break. Going into the game and seeing the line up I wasn't expecting much at all but needless to say by full time I was eating humble pie and it tasted great.
The second half saw ICT tear Dunfermline apart by allowing them to come on to them before clinically hitting them on the counter. The opener however came after a free kick found its way to Walsh on the Pars left flank and he stood up a cross to the back post where Rooney ghosted in to steer a header into the net. 1-0
We extended our lead with a quite brilliant counter attack. Dunfermline failed to make one of their many crosses go anywhere useful and Donaldson cleared the ball to Oakley who brought the ball down and quickly fed Doran who galloped down the right wing and picked out Polworth darting into the box with a quite delicious cross which was sidefooted in to make it two. 2-0
The game was killed off when Ridgers partially sclaffed a clearance up the pitch in the general direction of Doran. As the ball sat up nicely for him Doran cheekily backheel flicked it over his head and into the path of Oakley who bench pressed the Pars defender and raced towards goal and coolly slide the ball past Robinson. 3-0
As has been mentioned on here before it may be that this season we are a more successful team away from home than in Inverness where we might be expected to dominate the opposition. Based on today it seems very much like this is a team that would excel sitting in and hitting on the break and we're unlikely to do that much at TCS. Hopefully Robbo keeps the 4-2-3-1 going forward. A 3 - 0 win away from home against a fellow promotion challenger is not to be sniffed at.
Caley Stan still showed some trepidation in his summary:-
That was fun! As RiG says, it was an excellent counter-attacking display after a tetchy first half. Doran's second half performance was particularly pleasing - I've doubted his ability to come back and he's clearly had to change his game but his work-rate was superb today and his class eventually shone through with two wonderful assists. Great to see Polly back in his proper position and the fans did a good job of undoing some of that damage.
We also saw decent games from Donaldson, Tremarco, Walsh and Welsh, and Ridgers made a couple of blinding saves. Our weaknesses, though, remain glaring. Rooney is a huge concern, and while Welsh is an improvement on Trafford, we still aren't strong enough in defensive midfield where Dunfermline found a lot if room to get shots in from the edge of the box in the first half. And we're no closer to finding out who our striker will be - White worked hard and used his body well but Oakley looked far sharper when he came on and took his goal well.
Here's the action from Caley Jags TV.....................