Caley Jags open up a gap
Inverness extended their lead at the top of the Championship as the Pars got a late leveller against Killie. The hosts opened the scoring after twenty minutes through Billy Mckay with the credit for the assist going to Mark Ridgers from his quick goal kick. Inverness stepped up a gear after the interval and Michael Gardyne scored the second early in the second half as he crashed a loose ball in the box high into the net. That was enough to see off Morton who battled hard throughout but fell short. It could have been a different story had the visitors made more of their own opportunities. Five points clear after the first quarter: Who knew?
Inverness were looking to bounce back after their miserable performance against whipping boys Hamilton Accies who were ransacked 6-1 by Partick Thistle last night.
The Caley Jags were without David Carson due to a family bereavement and Cammy Harper who took a knock at Elgin last Saturday. That left us a tad short for defenders. Reece McAlear came into midfield with Scott Allardice deputising at right back with hat-trick hero Billy Mckay partnering Shane Sutherland up front. Manny Duku was on the bench.
Despite their lowly league status, the visitors were looking sharp in the early stages and Thomas Allan danced down the left wing and sent a cross into the box which hit the outside junction of post and crossbar with Mark Ridgers keeping a close eye on the ball.
Reece McAlear drove wide with the aid of a deflection after good set up play down the Inverness left, the ball spinning out wide for a corner. Slack play at the other end saw Morton get the ball into the box and two attempts were blocked by last ditch tackles, Devine doing brilliantly to stop Gavin Reilly's effort from going on target from ten yards. Let off for the hosts.
When Kyle Jacobs header went wide from a Morton corner, Ridgers spotted Billy Mckay lurking around the centre circle. His hastily taken goal kicked bounced off a defenders head and Billy anticipated superbly to stride forward before notching his 71st goal for the Caley Jags as he placed the ball into the net with his left peg low across the keeper.
Michael Gardyne was instrumental in offering Mckay another shooting opportunity on the half hour but Billy dragged his shot wide of the goal.
Shortly before the interval, Jimmy Knowles shot across the face of the goal after good build up play from the Ton across the park. Moments later Ridgers dealt with another effort from Knowles. Just before the whistle, a clash of heads led to an extended tea break as Michael Gardyne came back out after receiving treatment. Thomas Allan was not so fortunate and was replaced by Mark Russell.
Half Time: 1-0
Despite his injured head being plastered over, he was alert enough to get onto the loose ball after Roddy MacGregor and Mckay were blocked inside the box, Michael stepping onto the ball to smash home the second goal and his fourth in four games.
McAlear saw an effort saved before substitute Manny Duku should have opened his Championship account. He was fed through on the left side of goal by Gardyne, but caught the keepers legs with his angled shot which ran out for a corner. Likewise, Morton should have scored after a long range shot by Reece Lyon was pushed out by Ridgers, but the follow up header from Gary Oliver was knocked wide.
Lewis Jamieson shot wide as Inverness kept the visitors options down to a minimum and by the end of the game it was another three points in the bag without over exerting ourselves.
Morton did have their moments and should have scored, but thems the breaks.
MotM performances from Michael Gardyne and Roddy MacGregor and another good display at the back from Danny Devine.
From CTO Robert
A deserved win, but on several occasions at 0-0 and 1-0 we did our best to let Morton get into the game by poor passing and some comic book defending. Ridgers’ kicking was not to his usual standards, but the one that counted was great vision and very accurate to set Mckay up for a cool finish into the corner. Gardyne pounced for the second after Mckay could have scored in the same move. We could, and possibly should, have got more against a poor defence, with Jamieson coming closest.
CTO Doofers Dad
The recent games against the bottom 3 have shown there are no easy games in this division, yet we are 5 points clear at the top. We must be doing something right. This season we seem to be managing to win games that are pretty finely balanced. The difference seems to be that the team are all working really hard for each other and when we have those "heart in the mouth" moments there is a real collective effort to clear the danger. Pressing hard and winning the ball back then gives us more chance of creating opportunities up front. Maintaining the level of intensity and the team spirit will be essential if we are going keep the challenge for promotion going.
Doddsy's a Happy Bunny
Match Highlights from ICTV