Ladbrokes Championship



By Iain Martin

CALEY Thistle’s Scottish Cup semi-final may not be until next week, but they will feel as if they have already played in one as they ran out 1-0 winners in a pulsating end-to-end game at Somerset Park on Saturday.

United boss Ian McCall made three changes from the team that started against Greenock Morton as Nicky Cadden, Calvin Miller and Ross Docherty got the nod to run out with the team.

Ayr got the game underway, shooting towards the Railway End with Cadden and Miller fulfilling the roles of the two wingers, and they were to be instrumental in causing Inverness problems all afternoon.

Ayr were in on goal in four minutes as a pass from Daniel Harvie just inside the Inverness half was collected by Calvin Miller on the penalty spot only to be denied the scoring opportunity by the far side assistant referees flag going up to signal offside. Minutes later, Inverness were awarded a penalty. Liam Polworth on the centre circle and he slid the ball through to Nathan Austin who was clear behind the United back line. Ross Doohan came off his line to close down the attacker but his mis-timed dive took out the player rather than the ball and referee Craig Thomson immediately pointed to the spot. Doohan also picked up a yellow card. But zero was to turn to hero seconds later. A powerful spot kick taken by Aaron Doran sent the United keeper the wrong way, but a trailing foot connected with the ball and prevented it going into the net. United had their best chance so far in 15 minutes when Lawrence Shankland slid a teasing ball across the face of the box to Cadden and his left-footed shot was fumbled by Ridgers in the Caley goal. Shankland had continued his run in to the box and looked to get on to the loose ball but was adjudged to have fouled Kevin Mchattie in his attempt and the chance was lost.

United hearts were to be broken just after the hour as Inverness finally broke the deadlock, Ross Docherty gave away a free-kick. Joe Chalmers lofted the dead ball into the heart of the Ayr box and with the defence at sixes and sevens it was left to Brad McKay to poke the ball into the net. Jamie Adams was introduced in 67 minutes with Andy Geggan, having put in a tremendous shift, leaving the fray.

AYR: Doohan; Harvie, Rose, Geggan, Bell, Shankland, Murdoch, Docherty, Smith, Cadden, Miller. Subs: Hare-Reid, Moffat, Crawford, Moore, McDaid, Adams, Kerr.