Inverness edged above Dundee in the table after a hard fought 1-0 victory in the Highlands. An Aaron Doran goal in the 16th minute was enough to take all three points in a game that Dundee enjoyed the possession but it was their hosts that created the better chances although we had Carl Tremarco to thank for a wonderful headed clearance to prevent the ball from ending up in the net before the interval. We weathered a Dundee fightback and should have added a second when Doran was clean through but dallied on the ball which allowed Hazard to snatch the ball from his feet when he really should have been bulging the net. However, his early counter was sufficient to move us into third place in the Championship.
With the virus on the wane, we managed to get one or two back on the park but were still without James Vincent, Mitch Curry, Roddy MacGregor, Tom Walsh and Sean Welsh with Shaun Rooney and James Keatings making the bench.
Dundee had Josh Meekings on from the start but there was no room for Danny Johnson who started on the Dark Blues bench.
The hosts brought out the first save of the game when Conor Hazard comfortably denied Aaron Doran in the third minute from a free kick.
Declan McDaid was looking dangerous for the visitors but the final ball was proving to be elusive despite Dundee enjoying the lions share of possession.
David Carson had a shot blocked but in the sixteenth minute he would be the provider for Doran to score from a very tight angle as he met Carson's cross outside the back post. The wee man tucked the ball away brilliantly into the roof of the net to open the scoring.
Carson's next attempt will probably enter the Guinness Book of Records for the wildest sliced shot in the history of the game; ever.
We were living somewhat dangerously at times but the lads were putting in some effort as we kept Dundee at arms length with Mark Ridgers having little to do other than gather a few crosses comfortably.
For all their possession, we were untroubled at the back until captain Carl Tremarco appeared from nowhere on the line to make a diving headed clearance from one of his own defenders (McCart) with Ridgers caught in no mans land a couple of minutes before the break.
Where did he come from???
Half Time 1-0
No changes at the interval and the pattern continued, Dundee with the ball, Inverness with the determination to keep them out.
Around the hour and Inverness passed on a glorious chance to seal the points. Doran was sent clean through on goal from the halfway line, but as he decided what to do, Hazard stole the ball off him before he made his mind up when it looked simple enough to shoot into the net. Great opportunity gone for a two goal cushion.
The flow of the game was changing now as we became more visible around the visitors box and it was Dundee who were now looking to hit on the break as we flashed a number of balls across their box, but no takers for them.
Fortunately our defensive unit was in solid formation and everyone was doing their job which restricted Dundee to fleeting glimpses of our penalty box with some great last ditch tackling preventing Dundee on the few occasions they tried to progress.
It had been an edgy afternoon for the fans in the North stand, but we played out the final ten minutes at the right end of the park and Doran should have made the keeper work but his curled effort from the edge of the box dipped over the bar. Keatings did similar with a free kick as we ended the game on top and claimed all three points.
This was a much improved performance from the one that saw the side slated for a lack of everything against Clyde in the Challenge cup a week ago. Tremendous effort all over the park although it took Miles Story about 85 minutes to burst into life. David Carson won the sponsors MotM, but today there were a few candidates all over the park. Great to see the defence keep a clean sheet and my MotM is going to Coll Donaldson who along with Carl Tremarco put their bodies on the line time and time again. What a captains clearance from Tommy to keep us ahead at the interval and Donaldson and McCart were back to their best and singing from the same hymn sheets today. Aaron Doran put in some shift, especially in the second half when he back tracked numerous times, much better from the wee man who scored his fourth goal of the season. Good all round effort from everyone, but it will be in vain if we can't keep up the same energy levels when playing the Alloa's and Arbroath's of this league. We have played better, but let's not forget that Dundee were expected to be at the top end of the league, so to take all three points from a tough encounter is pleasing. 😀
Doran's goal with Carson's assist
Match reaction from BBC Sport
Inverness CT manger John Robertson: "Our game plan was excellent and we had a real threat on the break. Our tactics were spot on today and we were competitive over the park for 70 minutes.
"If we'd been a wee bit more clinical we could have won by a couple in the end.
"It's a pleasing win. We felt we could keep getting at them. In the end I think we deserved the win and did enough to merit all three points."
Dundee manager James McPake: "There wasn't much between the teams but we just didn't perform to the levels we've shown we can get to.
"I think we were very wasteful. We had a lot of possession but not in the right areas where we should be hurting teams."