Hamilton Accies 0 v 2 Inverness CT
A visit to the Accies at New Douglas Park proved fruitful for Inverness as they made it five wins on the bounce in the SPFL Premiership and established themselves ahead of Dundee United in third place.
Much will hinge on next week’s game against Ross County but with Celtic, Aberdeen and Dundee United otherwise occupied a win for Inverness could see them back within a whisker of the league leaders.
Two goals were enough to see off Martin Canning’s side on a curiously lifeless surface that looked to have suffered under snow in the last week. It affected the normally fluid passing of both sides, especially in the first half as they sparred nervously.
As John Hughes said: "I didn't enjoy the game, there was a real apprehension before it. We were getting a bit complacent and it showed in the first half. Hamilton were the better team in the first half and played some nice football. In terms of us getting on the ball and making things happen that's the worst I've seen us for a long while.”
Harsh maybe, but there were bright points that would shine brighter as events unfolded. Greg Tansey had come back in and as usual cajoled, prompted and probed as he orchestrated an increasingly dangerous midfield. Lethal with his ability to shoot from distance, he’s a leader and that could be important in the months to come.
The other increasingly bright point is Carl Tremarco. A run of games in the first team has led to the left back blossoming. He was as effective here as he was against Ross County, containing Andreu and Imrie and showing real pace in his frequent dashes forward. This is his opportunity to make the position his own and he seems to be relishing taking that chance.
The second half saw Inverness take the lead in 53 minutes. Graeme Shinnie was played in and lashed a vicious effort at McGovern. As it cannoned off him, the ball bounced straight off the onrushing Gillespie and into the net. You could sense Hamilton deflate at that point and the Inverness captain celebrated in front of an impressive away support who knew the game had swung their way.
If there was an element of luck in the first goal there was none in the second, a sublime strike in 76 minutes from 20 yards by Nick Ross. Another who has had to show patience this year, he glided through this game with an ease that comes with bags of skill and confidence. Set up beautifully by Ross Draper and Billy Mckay, he prompted an exodus amongst the 5 098 fans who had responded to the Accies 10p admission offer and killed the game as a contest.
“It was just a case of getting the lads in at half-time and changing the shape and the tactics a little bit. In the second half we were much better – we scored two goals and kept a clean sheet and if it wasn’t for their goalkeeper we could have had another couple” said John Hughes as he reflected on another job well done.
The fans had to watch on in worry as, near the end of the game, Dean Brill was stretchered off having twisted his knee jumping to collect the ball. We're still awaiting full news on the extent of the injury, but early indications are that it's not as bad as first thought.
He was replaced by the very capable Ryan Esson who was called into action within moments of the restart...but we need not worry, as he looks every bit as sharp as we're sure you all remember.
Ross County are next week’s visitors. Wounded and desperate, they are fighting for their very survival in the top league and you can bet your bottom dollar that they will relish the fight at their neighbours. Don’t miss it.
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