Written By Marko Srsen
Caley Thistle were beaten 3-0 at the Caledonian Stadium by Hamilton Accies.
Second Half goals from Lucas De Bolle, Jean-Pierre Tiehi and Connor Smith settled a first league defeat for Caley Thistle since the end of December away to Partick Thistle.
One major positive for the home side was the return of striker Austin Samuels from a long term thigh injury. Samuels had not appeared in a match day squad since the 28th of October, and had not played a minute of football since the 17th of September.
Despite his return, Samuels was only deemed fit enough for the bench – as Inverness were unchanged from the shock 3-0 victory in the Scottish Cup to Livingston.
Hamilton made one change from their defeat in the cup at the hands of Hearts – with Dylan Stephenson making way for Connor Smith.
First Half –
The home side got off to a great start to the first half – Jay Henderson found David Carson who made his usual late overlapping run on the right. Carson played the ball into Nathan Shaw, and his shot was deflected towards the edge of the box, where Scott Allardice was waiting – lining up a strong right footed shot which Hamilton keeper Ryan Fulton would spill to Dan MacKay, who was offside.
Dan MacKay made multiple threatening runs throughout the half, which Sean Welsh would always be looking to find.
Welsh would first find MacKay in the 8th minute, with a defence-splitting pass – but MacKay’s first touch was heavy and rolled into Fultons hands.
It would be the same combination of Welsh and MacKay again in the 17th. The captain played the pass from a similar position to the first. MacKays touch looked heavy again, however, this time the winger would just be able to square it to Billy McKay who just failed to hit the back of the net – hitting the post.
Nathan Shaw, who had an excellent outing against Livingston last Saturday, looked brilliant again in his new central role, playing some excellent one-twos with his teammates and making some great runs, but the Caley Jags just couldn’t find a way through the rock-solid back line of Hamilton.
Later on in the half, Inverness would slow down a lot and start to look for more balls over the top, rather than the cute and intricate passes played in the first 25 minutes.
This gave Hamilton the opportunity to hit the home side on the counter and create a lot more chances – Reghan Tumilty coming close in the 27th and 28th minutes.
The first chance was a strong block by Wallace Duffy, and the other a header which Mark Ridgers managed to get hands to.
Second Half –
Caley Thistle struggled to find the same rhythm they had in the opening minutes of the game for the remainder, and in the 47th minute Hamilton would capitalise.
A loose pass from Nathan Shaw in midfield would only go as far as Scott Martin who would pass it to Lewis Smith. Smith quickly managed to thread a pass through to Tiehi. Danny Devine thought that his brilliant tackle ended the attack, but the ball would fall to Belgian Lucas De Bolle who saw nothing but net.
Billy Dodds’ men were unable to respond, and the half would become cagey as Hamilton sat back and looked to defend their lead.
This was until the 80th minute – when Wallace Duffy struggled to clear the ball, substitute Dylan Stephenson pounced and squared it to Tiehi in the box who would tap in with his right foot.
Caley Thistle’s day would get even worse in the 86th minute when Scott Allardice would put a stop to Scott Martins impressive run, resulting in a penalty – which was then converted by Connor Smith expertly, hitting the underside of the bar on the way in.