Brora Rangers 1
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 2
A bright opening from Brora on another fierce pitch bathed in burnished summer light commenced this latest instalment in the Highland tour.
First starts of the year were found for Doran and Raven, and both found the pressing game from Brora a handful in the early stages.
What was obvious from the outset was that Brora were having to expend a lot of energy closing Inverness down – could they sustain it? Doran seemed to be playing the strikers role with Mckay, but both were well marshalled by a Brora defence led by Ross Tokely.
Some of the ICT players incurred the wrath of Foran on 20 minutes as the passing broke down and the captain was picked off in midfield as he looked to make pressure count. Neither side created much in the 1st quarter, until a delicious cross from Doran was converted at the back post by none other than Billy Mckay in 24 minutes. Another fine headed goal from the Inverness striker who has hit the ground running this year.
They didn’t have it all their own way, as Brora forced their first corner after a ball into the box put David Raven under all sorts of pressure. Gavin Morrison won two free kicks in succession as Brora pressed towards half time, but nothing came of them.
Half-Time: Brora Rangers 0 v 1 Inverness CT
As the usual (for pre-season) raft of changes was started at half time, Cooper & Williams replaced Raven & Doran as Brora started brightly, Sutherland forcing a smart stop from Esson.
Of all the ex ICT players on show, possibly the best display came from Andrew Greig as the winger caused all sorts of problems down the left. Brora created another good chance, and Gavin Morrison’s control in the midfield challenge was beginning to pay dividends.
Vincent came on for Greenhalgh as Mckay threatened again. On 54 minutes, Mckay caused consternation in the Brora rear-guard. They dealt with the initial foray but not his lightning pace, and a mix up left James Vincent with the easiest of chances for his first ICT goal.
Fitness and skill was beginning to make a telling contribution to the game as Foran brought a save from a 25 yard pile driver. ICT then forced two corners in a row as they sought to turn the screw, but on 66 minutes, Inverness conceded their first goal of this pre-season as a long ball caught out the defence and the quick thinking Zander Sutherland lobbed Esson from 20 yards out. It looked like a good goal, but the defence will be thinking long and hard about that one. Shinnie was replaced by Tremarco and Ross by Polworth as the game drew out.
In many ways, this was the toughest of the pre-season assignments so far, a well organised and speedy Brora side providing stiff resistance to the ICT machine. It now rolls on to Clach tonight (Wednesday) and Kirkcaldy on Saturday as the build-up continues apace.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle: Ryan Esson, David Raven, Graeme Shinnie, Ross Draper, Gary Warren, Josh Meekings, Billy Mackay, Ben Greenhalgh, Richie Foran, Aaron Doran, Nick Ross
Subs: James Vincent, Danny Devine, Danny Williams, Liam Polworth, Matthew Cooper, Carl Tremarco, Adam Evans, Cammy Mackay
Brora Rangers: Ally Ridgers, James Ross, Ally Macdonald, Ross Tokely, Dale Gillespie, Gavin Morrison, Andrew Greig, David Hind, Zander Sutherland, Steven MacKay, Ryan Watson
Subs: John Campbell, Liam Baxter, Jack MacKay, John Allan.
REPORT: DAVIE BALFOUR
PHOTOS : CALEYJAGS.COM