Inverness put four past struggling Morton
Greenock Morton dropped into the Championship relegation play-off spot following a 4-1 loss at the hands of a potent Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Taylor Murray reports.
The prospect of this meeting at Cappielow was a tasty one, with both clubs coming into the game the importance of a win. Morton were looking to put space between themselves and Arbroath, who are fighting to avoid that play-off place and keep their distance from bottom side Alloa. Inverness meanwhile came into the game in good form of late, winning their last five in all competitions.
Last time the two sides met was on 9th March, where Morton ran out 1-0 winners after a second half strike from Aiden Nesbitt. Morton made five changes from their 2-1 win against East Fife in the Scottish Cup, whilst Inverness were unchanged from their Highland Derby victory over Ross County.
The first half started out passively as both teams tried to maintain possession, and with zero attempts on goal, both side played the waiting game. It took until the tenth minute for the first shot at goal and it came through Inverness’ Robbie Deas. A curling cross came into the box and the defender met it with his head, sending the ball whizzing past the right-hand post.
This seemed to have shaken Morton into life. They worked the ball well down the right-hand side, creating space for Robbie Muirhead to try to curl one towards goal, but his effort hardly troubled Caley ‘keeper Mark Ridgers.
In the opening 20 minutes both Neil McCann and Gus MacPherson were very active on the side lines. The managers were passing on vital information, constantly trying to get upper hand on their counterpart. It was Morton boss MacPherson who almost got the advantage as Michael Ledger got his head to a corner and sent his effort was sent towards the bottom right-hand corner, but Ridgers managed to dive and tip it round the post.
Daniel MacKay was all but certain to have scored the opening goal as he went through on goal. Aidan McAdams did well to save the initial shot from MacKay, but the ball fell back into the path of Inverness player with an open goal, but he rifled the shot high over the bar and sent the ball heading back to the Highlands.
A moment of madness 37 minutes in was what it took to unlock the goals to the game, with McAdams picking up a pass back from his own teammate eight yards out from the goal. This led to Inverness taking full advantage of this as a sea of Morton players failed to block Scott Allardice’s thunder blast of a shot, giving Caley the lead.
Just like London busses, two came along at once. Inverness top goal scorer Nikolay Todorov blasted a poor clearance into the top left-hand corner and doubled the visitors’ advantage as the half drew to a close.
In the opening minutes of the second period, Morton almost got a goal back. Sean McGinty made a driving run into the box; his shot was low and hard but Ridgers kept it out.
Ten minutes later, McAdams nearly made another blunder as his clearance rattled off the back of Brad McKay, the ball was sent high into the air. Both outfielder and ‘keeper left it as they thought one another was going for it, creating havoc in the box, with the danger cleared eventually, much to Caley’s relief.
After a positive start to the half, MacPherson got his rewards as his team got a goal back. Muirhead collected the ball in the box and sent a low and powerful shot into the bottom right-hand corner, giving Morton a chance of getting something from this game.
The hosts now had a lifeline, but Inverness made sure they didn’t capitalise on that as Todorov produced another piece of magic to give the away side a two-goal cushion again. Substitute Shane Sutherland drove towards goal and crossed the ball into the Caley striker. Todorov proceeded to chest the ball before volleying it towards goal, gibing McAdams no chance.
Just under ten minutes later, MacKay decided to get in on the action as he extended his side’s lead further. Sutherland once again was driving towards goal, thinking about the shot, but instead passing it to the left-hand side to the youngster. Mackay then touched the ball to the right and curled it past McAdams, ensuring all three points would be heading up north.
That result meant that Inverness move up into fourth place, having played a game more than Dunfermline, whilst Morton dropped into the play-off place on goal difference.