Goals from Shane Sutherland and Martin Laing secured victory for Caley Thistle in a 1-2 match via Buckie Thistle which kicked off our pre-season preparations and marked 10 years of service for Buckie Thistles Jamie Shewan.
Conditions under foot and over head were more than a little damp, but that didn't stop Inverness from starting the sharper of the two teams. Aaron Doran was the first to record a shot on goal after only 2 minutes and Shane Sutherland was also denied shortly after that.
Buckie Thistle were not intent on just making up the numbers though and had the ball in the net from a set piece just after the 20 minute mark, only for the linesman to raise his flag and it to be ruled out for offside.
The ball was in the back of the net again for Buckie only minutes later, but again the linesman adjudged it offside and the score remained 0-0.
Billy McKay and Andy Shinnie were linking well together at the other end and carving their way into the box time and again and attempting a whole array of moves, crosses and shots against a Buckie Thistle Keeper who was standing strong and determined not to concede anything on the cheap.
It was one of these moves that lead to the opening goal when Richie Foran played the ball to Andy Shinnie who flicked it on to Aaron Doran and it was tee'd up for the shot, taken on the turn, by Shane Sutherland who slotted it home.
It could have been two for ICT just after that when Foran crossed the ball onto the head of Andy Shinnie...only for him to be denied by the keeper who, at full stretch, tipped it over the bar. Andy Shinnie had another great opportunity just before the break when, once again, he managed to get the head on the ball from just 5 yards out on the right, but somehow managed to put it away wide on the right.
No shortage of action in the first half which ended Buckie Thistle 0 - 1 Inverness CT
Seven changes for the Caley Jags at Half-Time saw the introduction of Antonio Reguero, Graeme Shinnie, Ross Draper, Nick Ross, Jason Oswell, Martin Laing and Mathew Cooper for Ryan Esson, David Raven, Ryan Watson, Connor Pepper, Richie Foran, Billy McKay and Andy Shinnie.
ICT again started the sharper and an early ball over the top to 16 nearly saw him break clear through on goal but the wet surface created an awkward bounce and allowed the Buckie defence to recover the situation and deny the opportunity.
Billy McKay had a chance from the head about 20 minutes in to the half and just before he and Aaron Doran were replaced by Liam Polworth and Kyle Whyte.
With so many new players in a squad it's sometimes worrying if they will gel quickly, but we got signs that this may not be such a concern in the final 30 minutes of the game. The link up play we had witnessed from Billy McKay and Andy Shinnie in the first half was now happening all over the park with great one touch football denying Buckie Thistle much in the way of possession and getting us bodies forward into their box.....with LIam Polworth and Nick Ross coming close before Martin Laing latched on to a ball that broke to him in the area and was coolly placed into the back of the Buckie Thistle net.
Inverness CT's final sub saw Gary Warren replaced by Kevin Buchan.
A bit of a stramach in the box with only 3 minutes on the clock allowed Buckie Thistle to get the ball into the back of the ICT net for a third time. I'm not sure if the home fans were more delighted to have scored, or that there was no sign of the offside flag which had haunted them all afternoon!!!
Jamie Shewan was subbed with, what turned out to be, seconds left in the game and received a huge round of applause from everyone in attendance. On behalf of Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC and all our fans, we congratulate him on his 10 years of service to Buckie Thistle.
Full-Time: Buckie Thistle 1 - 2 Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC
Next up for ICT is Clachnacuddin on Tuesday night at Grant Street Park. Kick-Off is 7:30pm and we hope to see you all there.
Post Match Video Interviews Courtesy of http://www.buckiethistle.com/