Best for Inverness on a difficult day was Wallace Duffy. What an invitingly sumptuous cross for Dan Mackay to power in a diving header. Cammy Harper on the other flank was equally impressive against Celtic's wide players and in midfield David Carson and Sean Welsh battled hard to stem the possession that Celtic were always going to dominate. We struggled up front working off scraps but substitute Dan Mackay scored that brilliant late power header to give us hope, albeit only fleeting. In general our defence stood firm for large parts of the game, seemingly working to a plan. Much better than many Premiership teams fared this season. Nobody hid in this game but we were restricted to what we could by a quality treble winning side. Blood, sweat and tears of pride.
As the season draws to a close we will not see so many of these guys here next season, but it has been an abstract pleasure reporting on our once again rollercoaster of a season.
The wait is over: Having lain idle since the 5th of May Championship flop against Ayr United, the long wait for the Scottish Cup Final is over for the Caley Jags. I imagine the stattos amongst us will be searching their Guiness Book of Records to find out the biggest winning margin in the Scottish Cup Final. I'll save you the bother. Renton 6-1 v Cambuslang on 4th February 1888. Or, ominously, Celtic 6-1 Hibernian on 6th May 1972. Are we about to change records?
Win or lose, I hope you all enjoy the occasion.
Semi-Final Joy: 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.
The last time we played Falkirk at Hampden in front of 37,000 fans, it was a history making event. I don't really need to tell you how that worked out, but for those that were on another planet, we won the Scottish Cup by beating Falkirk 2-1. Since then both clubs have underachieved and hit the skids. Falkirk are now trying to get themselves out of league 1 and we are desperately trying to keep ourselves in the Premiership play-off slot after a horrendous season littered with injuries to the whole squad. A third round struggle past Stirling Albion before we went through to the 5th round by default against Queens Park, but since then have comfortably disposed of Premiership opposition in Livingston and Kilmarnock. Falkirk got here by putting six past Wick Academy before a narrow 2-1 win at Alloa. They then dumped media darlings Darvel 5-1 and in the quarter final put out Ayr United. On paper we will be the bookies favourites. That's not something we are normally comfortable with and I fully expect Falkirk will also fancy their chances in this one, and rightly so. Be warned!
Applause for Tommy Cumming set the scene on a dry but breezy afternoon. As it panned out it ended all square. Dundee were quick out of the blocks and pestered Mark Ridgers early on without creating the clear cut chance to open the scoring. Level at the break, the Dark Blues continued in the same vein after the break and made the breakthrough on the hour when Lyall Cameron scored. However we have been resilient of late and substitute Austin Samuels earned us a point with fifteen minutes remaining as we came back at Dundee to quieten their raucous support who firmly believe Billy is a short rotund person born out of wedlock!