Inverness CT 1-0 St Johnstone: Match Report
Inverness CT 1-0 St Johnstone: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game as it happened.
McKay claims victory for Inverness
Inverness kept up the pressure on Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic with a 1-0 home win over St Johnstone.
A close-range effort from the prolific Billy McKay decided the contest after a matter of minutes as both teams cancelled each other out in the remainder of the game.
The score was McKay's 10th league goal of the season and ensured he would remain at the top of the Premiership's goalscoring charts.
Both sides went into the game unchanged on the back of wins in their previous outings before the international break.
Inverness triumphed 2-0 at Easter Road against in Hibernian, in the last game of the Terry Butcher and Maurice Malpas era, while St Johnstone came out 3-1 winners at home to Kilmarnock.
Duncan Shearer and Scott Kellacher, the club's youth team coaches, were in the dugout for Caley Thistle as they looked to keep up pressure on Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
Dean Brill and Richie Foran, who both penned extensions during the fortnight away, started as the Caley Jags looked to avenge a 4-0 reverse in Perth at the beginning of last month.
They got off to the perfect start three minutes into the game as Carl Tremarco and Aaron Doran combined down the left flank, the former bursting through and laying a cross for McKay to slide in off the far post.
Doran was in the thick of things again as he played a neat one-two with Nick Ross but his long-range effort was straight at Alan Mannus.
Graeme Shinnie tried his luck from distance as he cut in from the right flank and fired a left-footed effort over Mannus' crossbar.
Dutch forward Nigel Hasselbaink had the first opportunity of the game for the visitors as he broke from just inside the Caley Thistle half, only to see his effort deflected behind off Josh Meekings.
McKay came close to adding a second goal as he latched on to a good through ball by Ross Draper but when he turned his effort across goal, Mannus reacted quickest to get a hand on the ball.
Inverness had Tremarco to thank for keeping them ahead as the Saints broke. Hasselbaink played the ball to David Wotherspoon and his shot was blocked by a sprawling Tremarco.
The home side's three attacking midfielders played fluidly and interchanged positions at ease, proving too much for the visiting defence. Doran, Nick Ross and Marley Watkins regularly tested the back line and were ready to pounce on any Saints' errors.
Draper had the first chance of the second half as he latched on to McKay's pass but drilled his effort over Mannus' crossbar.
A ball by captain Foran sent Nick Ross away and he found McKay, who turned and laid on Watkins to curl an effort into the stands.
The away side's best opportunities came on the break through Hasselbaink, Wotherspoon and Stevie May, and the latter outmuscled Meekings to the ball and curled an effort across Brill's goal with no other Saints player in sight.
May was first to react to a quick throw and fired a left-foot cross to the edge of the area but the onrushing Gary McDonald spooned his effort high over Brill in the Caley Thistle goal.
Shearer's side had to live with a more robust display from the visitors in the second half as the front pair of May and Hasselbaink began to apply more pressure on Foran and Draper.
Relief was expressed from all Caley Thistle fans as a late free kick from May on the edge of the area, after he was fouled by Draper, was blocked by the home defenders.
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