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121201 rcounty_mckay_001Ross County 3
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3

When the dust settled and the smoke cleared after this titanic highland battle, it was the first time in a couple of hours that anyone there could draw breath. The action literally sparked and fizzed from the first seconds to the very last, encompassing a quite marvellous football match that really was a classic and that turned out to only be the opening instalment. The game was settled by goals of breathtaking quality from McKay and Quinn, deflected horrors from Vigurs and Foran and match-winning strikes from Foran again and Brittain.

121201 rcounty_crowd_001It wasn’t a game that blasted off in Cape Canaveral style, but more a slow burner that steadily increased in tempo throughout a first half that Inverness dominated. Their measured style paid dividends in 30 minutes when McKay hit a majestic volley in off Brown’s post. Simple enough until you consider that the ball was behind him, on his weaker foot and needed to be steered rather than belted. Sublime, and it nearly got better as chances fell to Shinnie and Foran as half time approached.

Half time: Ross County 0 Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1

121201 rcounty_warren_001A combination of an effective rallying cry from Derek Adams and a blinding winter sun glaring over the jail end ensured that the second half exploded into action in 49 minutes. Quinn, deciding that County need inspiration, hit a curled shot from the edge of the area that flew past Reguero and belief coursed through the Dingwall side. Prompted to relentless pressure by their captain, it was supremely ironic that the next goal arrived from Caley Thistle’s captain in a move that he knew precious little about. A deflection by the Foran nose put another McKay strike beyond Brown and despite the fact that Foran was being manhandled by Tokely, County were loud in their protests for offside.

121201 rcounty_celeb_001If the luck of the Irish was at work, it ran out in 86 minutes as a blistering shot from Vigurs spun up and off David Raven and Reguero appeared to lose sight of it as it looped into his net. Mind you, he must have thought he was staring into a blast furnace, such was the sun’s effect on the game at this point. Most games would have called it that after all the effort, but what was to follow lifted this from being a good to a great game.

121201 rcounty_ashinnie_001Vigurs was awarded a free kick when the referee adjudged him to have been fouled by Raven and Brittain stepped up and fired a low ball through the Caley Jags defence on 90 minutes. It evaded everyone and landed in the net to the utter consternation of Caley Thistle and the unbridled delirium of the County support. The roof nearly came off, and at this point County were through to the next round of the old trophy.

121201 rcounty_celeb_002However, such is the spirit of this Inverness side that straight from the kick off in added time, Owain Tudur Jones unleashed a 40 yard shot that scared the life out Brown as the County keeper scooped the ball out for a corner. From there, Graeme Shinnie’s cross was directed to the back post by Gary Warren. Foran’s equaliser cued, if possible, even wilder scenes of celebration that left Derek Adams looking utterly spent. His objections to the time added in which Foran scored might have held more credence if they weren’t made up of time for a substitution and that added when his players celebrated off the park with, what they thought was, their winner at the death. The fat lady had most definitely not sung.

Full time: Ross County 3 Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3

121201 rcounty_fans_001It is impossible to select a man of the match, but Billy McKay will possibly want to retire today on the grounds that he simply will never score a better goal than his strike in the first half. Never. And so this match goes to a replay at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium on Tuesday 11th December. If it’s half as good as this one, it will be a real cracker so go along and see what north football can serve up – it should be a feast.

Find all our latest videos at Photos by Report by Davie Balfour


1st Dec 2012 Global Energy Stadium, Dingwall
William Hill Scottish Cup

Ross County 3 - Quinn 49 - Vigurs 86 - Brittain 90 (+3)
rosscounty TEAM: Brown, Fitzpatrick, Boyd, Tokely, Kovacevic, Kettlewell (Fotheringham 81), Brittain, Vigurs, Quinn, Morrow (Ross 79), Glen
SUBS: Fraser, Munro, Cooper
Booked: None
Sent Off: None

Inverness CT
3 - Mckay 30 - Foran 74, 90(+4)
inverness TEAM: Reguero, Raven, G. Shinnie, Warren, Meekings, Tudur-Jones, Draper, A. Shinnie, McKay (Roberts 90), Foran, Doran
SUBS: Esson, Cooper, Pepper, Sutherland, Roberts
Booked: Draper, A. Shinnie
Sent Off: None

Referee  Craig Thomson
Attendance  5077


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