141202 stmirren home scup warrenInverness Caledonian Thistle 4 v 0 St Mirren
Scottish Cup 4th Round Replay

Tommy Craig’s full time interview was perhaps the fulsome expression of just how good Inverness were on a cold December night in the Highlands. No excuses, no self-justification, Craig simply told the media the unvarnished truth – Saint Mirren were beaten by a much, much better side.

After Saturday’s draw in Paisley, John Hughes regarded this game with a wee shiver of apprehension and he wasn’t the only one. Potential banana skin or not, the game had to be approached in the right way and boy did his team deliver.

141202 stmirren home scup watkinsBoosted by the return of Watkins and Tansey, Inverness showed their intent and Graeme Shinnie found himself booked after less than two minutes as they tore into Saints. The only surprise was that it then took Caley Thistle another eighteen minutes or so to score. A superb flat ball from a Tansey corner was met by the forehead of Gary Warren and despatched beyond Ridgers.

Three minutes later Watkins was upended by the despairing Jim Goodwin, Tansey converted the penalty kick and the game was over.

141202 stmirren home scup tanseyAs John Hughes said: “It was a good team performance, we were clinical and I'm absolutely delighted. I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive about the game tonight but all credit to the boys, we went about our business in a real good manner.”

Both Hughes and Gary Warren were keen to stress the defenders ability to get forward in the style of play Inverness have adopted, made possible by Draper and Vincent commanding the midfield. That control was absolute last night.

The second half was a continuous wave of Inverness attack, the official statistics showing an astounding nineteen shots on goal. It took until just after the hour for another to count, Danny Williams tucking away the rebound after a Mckay shot rattled off the crossbar. Highly effective all night, he more than deserved his goal.

141202 stmirren home scup williamsAll the while, every Inverness move had the stamp of Greg Tansey indelibly marked on it. The Liverpudlian squeezed everything out of the ball, releasing others, playing killer passes and using his vicious shot to good effect. He grows in stature with every game, and is twice the player he was in his previous spell at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.

It took until ninety minutes to add a gloss to the scoreline that Inverness deserved. A Vincent pass released Graeme Shinnie, who was presented with a space that the late Bill MacLaren would have likened to the Gobi desert. Arrowing through it, Shinnie placed a measured effort past Ridgers to compound St. Mirren’s misery. A fifth round tie against Partick Thistle was duly booked.

141202 stmirren home scup shinnieAfter the match, John Hughes was fulsome in his praise for the opponents manager: "All managers go through a patch where their team are lacking confidence, but now he has Thommo, Osborne and McGinn back. I'm 100% convinced that with Tommy leading from the front, being as positive and enthusiastic as ever, that St Mirren will get themselves up that league."

Paul Hartley, whose Dundee side meet Inverness on Saturday watched on. I wonder what he thought?

 

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