Caley Thistle are through to their third Scottish Cup Semi-Final after edging Kilmarnock to a 2-1 victory on Friday night thanks to a second half strike from captain Sean Welsh.
The victory means that Inverness become the first team to go through to this year’s semi final, giving them a chance to play any one of Falkirk/Ayr, Celtic/Hearts or Rangers/Raith Rovers.
Kilmarnock took the lead early on in the first half through Kyle Vassell – however Caley Thistle responded quickly thanks to a Billy Mckay penalty.
Sean Welsh scored the winner early in the second half with a fantastic finish from distance.
Before kick-off, the Caley Thistle players warmed up sporting Mikeysline t-shirts.
Mikeyline is a local charity in the Highland that aims to prevent suicide, and support those who are in need of help.
If you are struggling to cope and/or suffer from mental health, please visit the Mikeysline website at https://www.mikeysline.co.uk/.
If you need someone to talk to, please text Mikeysline via SMS at 07786 20 77 55,through WhatsApp at 01463 729 000, or contact us via messenger, webchat or twitter
You are never alone.
First Half –
Caley Thistle got off to the worst possible start to the Quarter-Final.
Daniel Armstrongs corner was flicked on at the front post by Liam Donnelly and fell to Kyle Vassell who was right on the goal line. The ball bounced off his thigh and ended up in the back of the net.
Inverness responded well to the goal, showing great fluidity – interchanging positions and covering for each other when needed and pressing high and winning the ball in the midfield area consistently.
Billy Mckay almost levelled things for the home side within 11 minutes.
Sean Welsh played a lovely volleyed pass in the box to find Mckay, who attempted to head the ball over Sam Walker who was in his way to prevent Mckay.
Inverness finally got a reward for all their pressure in 21 minutes after Joe Wright handled Wallace Duffy’s cross from the right hand side. David Dickinson spotted the infringement and awarded a penalty.
Billy Mckay stood up to take the penalty, and got some luck on the way as the ball deflected off the legs of Sam Walker and into the net, levelling the scores at the Caledonian Stadium.
Just five minutes later, Jay Henderson found himself on the end of Billy Mckay’s through pass but failed to slot the ball past Sam Walker to take the lead.
Second Half –
The snow began to fall during the half-time interval, and continued deep into the second half.
Just minutes into the half, Jay Henderson had another big opportunity to take the lead.
This time hitting the post after striking the ball across Sam Walker.
The pressure continued as possession remained with Caley Thistle after Henderson’s missed opportunity.
After many attempted crosses into the box, the ball was swept away only as far as Sean Welsh, who unleashed a perfect shot from 25 yards, which slipped under Sam Walker and into the net making it 2-1!
The Highlanders almost doubled the lead minutes later when Nathan Shaw flashed the ball across the face of goal from the left hand side. Sean Welsh was just unable to get on the end of Shaw’s dangerous cross.
Kilmarnock were unable to find a way through the stubborn Inverness defence for the remainder of the game, having to resort to shots from distance which were also unsuccessful.
Caley Thistle are going to Hampden again!