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Inverness CT Raith Rovers
7:45pm, July 24
Betfred Cup
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Pos Team Pld Pts
3. Dundee Utd 36 61
4. Dunfermline 36 59
5. Inverness CT 36 57
6. Q.O.S. 36 52
7. Morton 36 50
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away stmSt Mirren 1 v 1 Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Scottish Cup 4th Round

A grey old day in Paisley was mirrored by the home fans feelings in what has become a difficult season for the buddies – threatening rain at times and with little to cheer them as the cloudy skies continue. Then on Saturday, a hint of brightness returned as Thomson, McGinn and Osborne all returned from injury. Would it prove to be a false dawn?

141129 stmirren scup rossInverness missed Tansey and Watkins due to misbehaviour in last year’s tournament, Ross and Draper coming back in.

St. Mirren, as you might expect, started brightly and after 17 minutes when McAusland capitalised by loitering in the penalty box after a corner and rifling a loose ball beyond Brill.

141129 stmirren scup hughes 001
The desperation of Tommy Craig’s gamble then became increasingly apparent as Inverness, not St. Mirren, increased their grip on the match. At times, such was their possession, it was hard to fathom out why Inverness weren’t on easy street.

As John Hughes said: “I felt that we did enough to win it throughout the match. We totally dominated the first half but we just weren’t slick enough or quick enough up front. That’s probably down to them defending their 1-0 lead. We just had to speed it up a little in the second half, but we definitely deserved to win it.”

The second half, if anything, was even more one-sided than the first and Ross Draper became the first player booked (more on this later). Just as the doubt that Inverness could play all day and not convert one of the chances that they created, Josh Meekings popped up after Christie and Draper narrowly failed to convert.

141129 stmirren scup meekingsThe big defender fairly crashed the ball past Ridgers, giving the absolute impression that he had had enough of this nonsense and simply finished it.

Hughes again summed it up: “We need to be more ruthless and gamble a bit more. But we’re grateful to have another crack at it. But the most important thing is that we are still in the cup and we’ll have another go on Tuesday. It wasn’t so much bad decision-making that cost us as a lack of quality when it came to our passing in the final third.”

141129 stmirren scup celebThe only sour note came when Draper, who had passed and tackled his way through the midfield in his usual deadly efficient manner, tackled Osborne and referee Murray was surrounded by Saints players baying for a red card. That the referee resisted temptation says much and ensures that a full squad of players are available for the replay on Tuesday night at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. And that’s what we all want to see.

All our latest videos at Photos by Report by Davie Balfour

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