Inverness C.T. 1 - 0 Morton

Inverness C.T. 1 - Ross (62)
Morton 0

Att: 2,788

Close, but no cigar:
Caley Thistle youngster Nick Ross tapped in his first senior goal on the hour to break the hearts of a makeshift Morton side who almost managed to grind out the draw the 4-5-1 formation suggests they were looking for.

James Grady switched from the 4-4-2 he's been using recently in an attempt to stifle Inverness Caley and come away with a hard fought point. The formation might also have been about the personnel available. Stewart Greacen was suspened, while Dominic Shimmin and Peter Weatherson missed out through injury, although Peter was deemed fit enough to take a place on the bench. Davie MacGregor, Kevin McKinlay and Erik Paartalu were the players who came into replace the misisng players. MacGregor partnered McGuffie in central defence, and McKinlay came in at left-back, which allowed Alan Reid to move to right-back. Paartalu supported Michael Tidser and Allan Jenkins in the centre of midfield. New signing Donovan Simmonds - and not Shimmin as most newspapers wrongly listed him - ploughed lonely furrow up front.

The big surprise in terms of team selection was the return of Kevin Cuthbert to the starting eleven in place of Colin Stewart, who has been first choice all season.

Inverness Caley manager Terry Butcher described the match as 'horrible', and he was 100% correct - there were only three chances in the entire first half. In form Caley striker Adam Rooney lobbed wide with the outside of his right foot in the 11th minute (pictured, below).

Then, towards the end of the half, Tidser whipped over a couple of inswinging corners that both almost ended up flying straight into the net. The first was headed off the line by Stuart Golabek and the second was tipped over by goalkeeper Ryan Esson.

So the teams went in level at half-time. It must've been brutal viewing for any neutrals, or home fans for that matter, but Morton could've been reasonably happy to have contained the home team at a notoriously difficult venue.

The second half wasn't much better.

Johnny Hayes curled a left footer inches wide in the 53rd minute before 18-year-old Nick Ross scored the winning goal seven minutes later. Russell Duncan's ball over the top caught the Morton defence sleeping and Rooney outpaced MacGregor before firing a shot across goal from an acute angle. Cuthbert stuck out a leg to save but he only succeeded in deflecting the ball out the goalmouth where Ross arrived right on time to tap the ball into the empty net (pictured, below: Ross [number 9] celebarting with Rooney).

Thereafter, Morton rarely threatened as Simmonds became increasingly isolated up front. Sadly, our only chance of note in the second period was Jim McAlister's deflected shot that Esson grasped with ease in the 73rd minute.

This was a result that took Caley to within three points of leaders Dundee and left Morton in deep trouble at the bottom. The frustration and disappointment was exacerbated by the news that Ayr United had scored a 90th minute winner at Airdrie. However, despair had turned to joy by the time we got to the bus as the news that the 10-man Diamonds had equalised in the fifth minute of injury time filtered through. That's our get out of jail free card used up; now it's time to take the bull by the horns, win our midweek games at Cappielow and force our way out of this mess.

Morton (4-5-1):

1. Kevin Cuthbert - 6
2. Ryan McGuffie - 6
3. Alan Reid - 7
4. David MacGregor - 6
5. Kevin McKinlay - 6
6. Erik Paartalu - 6
7. Michael Tidser - 7
8. Allan Jenkins - 6
9. Donovan Simmonds - 5
10. Stevie Masterton - 5 (14. Peter Weatherson - 68 mins)
11. Jim McAlister (c) - 6

Unused Subs:

12. Kevin Finlayson
15. Iain Russell
16. Carlo Monti
20. Colin Stewart

Booked: Masterton.

Reid McGuffie MacGregor McKinlay
Masterton Jenkins Paartalu Tidser McAlister

Inverness C.T.: Ryan Esson; David Proctor, Ross Tokley, Grant Munro, Stuart Golabek; Lee Cox, Johnny Hayes, Russell Duncan, Nick Ross (Robert Eagle, 80), Eric Odhiambo (Daniel Stratford, 88); Adam Rooney.

Unused Subs: Dani Sánchez, Nauris Bulvītis, Kyle Allison

My man of the match: Michael Tidser

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Match Ticket

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Scottish Sun - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

ictfc.co.uk - Match Report

caleyjags.com - Pictures

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