Elgin City 0
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 2
Ross Jack’s side played host to Caley Thistle on another balmy summer’s day as the visitors made it three out of three in their pre-season odyssey at Borough Briggs. Devine dropped to the bench for this one, as the only change in a match that the boss wanted to use to increase game time for the players involved.
A crowd of around 600 turned up, with the ICT faithful using the exercise to mercilessly bait the Elgin ‘keeper Black about his bouffant hairstyle.
This writer is of an age where having any hair can only be a good thing, and so concentrated on the fact that Elgin were doing not a bad job of containing any threat from the visitors as they laboured to translate some neat lead up play into solid chances. First half headers from Warren and Ross Draper were as close as Caley Thistle got to opening their account, and boss Jack had obviously learned of the need to shackle Billy Mckay when he watched the Northern Irishman demolish Forres.
Neither side were done any favours by a pitch that was hard enough to be confused with green painted concrete with a bounce to match, and all too often the final pass fizzed along at a rate that suggest the ball had been burnt....it was certainly warm enough.
Into the second half and Ben Greenhalgh obviously felt at home enough in the heat to produce more and more of his repertoire of tricks and stepovers. He will find the SPFL a more demanding environment, but there’s enough here to suggest the perfect foil to Aaron Doran’s more direct passing style. Inverness kept pressing and eventually made the breakthrough that they warranted as a corner by the impressive Polworth was headed on by Foran to Gary Warren who simply cannot miss when his forehead is applied to a football. Elgin slumped a bit after that, and Foran helped himself for the second, again from a corner seven minutes later. The contest was ended at that point and a useful step up in opposition despatched.
Inverness steam onwards to Brora on Tuesday to face what is seen in some quarters an “ICT Legends” side who will harbour some burning desires to right what they will see as slings and arrows. Approached the wrong way, it could be a potential banana skin but can you see Terry Butcher allowing it? On Saturday he was back to his best, although curiously seated for the majority of the time as he took it all in. Don’t think he’s mellowed though, as any misplaced pass or substandard run provoked a response that could have been heard in Brora and probably was.
It’s going to be a grand old season right enough.
CALEY THISTLE - Esson, Cooper, Shinnie, Draper, Warren, Meekings, Mckay, Polworth, Foran, Greenhalgh, Ross - Subs: Devine, Pepper, Christie, Gorman, Ferguson, Brill, Evans.
REPORT: DAVIE BALFOUR