The Scottish Mail on Sunday


Super Caley Thistle claim yet another Scottish Cup scalp

- By Jim Black

TWENTY years after causing one of the biggest Scottish Cup upsets of all time, Inverness were at it again yesterday.

A home win over Livingston may not quite compare with a 3-1 victory at Celtic Park at the correspond­ing stage or inspire another memorable headline to match the brilliance of ‘Super Caley go ballistic, Celtic are atrocious’.

But it is another notable achievemen­t nonetheles­s for a club which has made a habit of upsetting the odds against Premiershi­p opposition in their 26-year history.

Sean Welsh’s 61st-minute goal on the anniversar­y of the result that cost John Barnes his job as Celtic coach earned Inverness their place in today’s quarter-final draw and Livingston had no grounds for feeling hard done to.

The gusting wind made it wellnigh impossible for the teams to control the ball and play accurate passes but the Highlander­s coped much better overall.

Semi-finalists 12 months ago and winners of the oldest trophy in Scottish football in 2015, the Caley Thistle players can dare to dream of more exciting times ahead on the evidence of this commanding performanc­e.

They have no reason to feel inferior, regardless of who they are pitted against next, for there was nothing fortunate about the result. The Highlander­s were rarely made to play second fiddle by their rivals from another level.

It was also appropriat­e that Welsh took the honours, given that this was his first full game for four-and-a-half months due to a foot injury.

The Livingston players were quickly disabused of any notion that this would be a relatively straightfo­rward assignment against a team from a division below them.

Livvy were spared from going a goal down after 19 minutes only by Jon Guthrie’s goal-line clearance of Miles Storey’s shot.

This was their second visit to the Highlands in 72 hours after suffering defeat to Ross County in midweek and manager Gary Holt elected to make five changes to his starting XI.

But it was Storey who was again prominent after 31 minutes when he cut inside and shot just over with the Livingston defence in retreat.

It was a measure of the home side’s discipline and composure that it took their opponents until the 38th minute to fashion an effort on target.

But Carl Tremarco retrieved the situation by hooking the ball clear from Ricki Lamie’s header.

Welsh should really have at least hit the target when he ran in on the blind side to receive a cross from Storey early in the second half before shooting wide of the near post.

But he atoned for that miss in the 61st minute when he drilled a curling right-foot shot past Ryan Schofield after Livingston had conceded a free-kick for a foul on Storey.

Caley Thistle manager John Robertson said: ‘After taking a look at Livvy, we decided to go with an extra man in midfield and I felt that worked. We had to stand up to them, and we got the tactics spot on and matched them all over the pitch.

‘I can’t recall Mark Ridgers having a save to make and it was a really good strike from Sean.

‘It was 20 years ago that this club got the result that put them on the map and it’s nice that the team has responded on a day like this.’

Counterpar­t Holt partly blamed the weather for his team’s exit. He said: ‘I don’t think the conditions made it a game of football for either team.

‘We talked at half-time about not making mistakes that cost us and that’s what happened.

‘If the lads think that was pass marks to stay in the team, it’s not. They will have to take a look at themselves.

‘I’m not sure we deserved to lose but we didn’t do enough to win and a simple mistake cost us.

‘We’ve thrown away a great opportunit­y to still be in the cup.’

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 ??  ?? GIANT KILLERS: Inverness players celebrate at full-time
GIANT KILLERS: Inverness players celebrate at full-time

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