It was another convincing win by Inverness Caley Jags tonight with 3 goals in the first half and a goal in the second half securing them a place in the next round of the CIS Cup.
It was "Job Done" in the first half and Caley Thistle seemed to step off the gas a bit in the second, being content to hold possession and force Albion Rovers to do a lot of running and chasing.
We have to wait till Tuesday to find out who we get in the next round, and with the SPL teams coming in at this stage then there's every chance we'll finding ourselves heading off to one of last seasons stomping grounds.
Inverness and Albion Rovers met with 2 divisions of difference between the two teams on a cold and clear Tuesday evening, and the gulf in class was evident by the end of the tie.
Both clubs started with strong line-ups, with ICT fielding a 4-4-2 formation and Albion Rovers matching the home side. The only changes Terry Butcher decided to enforce was Tokely replacing Proctor at right-back, and Rooney coming in for Sanchez in attack.
Esson started in goals for Caley, with a strong back four of Djebi-Zadi, Tokely, Munro and Bulvitis. The midfield compromised of Hayes, Eagles, Cox and Stratford, with Rooney and Foran completing the first 11 and leading the line.
The Wee Rovers, as they are affectionately known, started with Gaston in goals. The defence consisted of O’Byrne, Benton, McGowan and McKeown. In midfield, the Rovers boss Paul Martin went with Canning, Tyrell, Reid and young starlet Bobby Barr. Pat Walker and former Clyde striker Marc McCusker started up front for the visiting team.
Albion Rovers started brightly and came close to opening the scoring, the captain Paul Tyrell placing a shot onto the crossbar from 20 yards. Inverness seemed unfazed and took the lead after 8 minutes, Jonny Hayes breaking loose in midfield and pinging a ball across to Eagles, who found himself free on the left hand corner of the box. The winger picked his spot, stroking the ball past Gaston and into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
What was a poor start to the cup tie for the wee Rovers became a disastrous one on the 16th minute mark. Richie Foran found space on the right to cross for Adam Rooney. Rooney outmuscled O’Byrne to volley a shot at goal, going in via Derek Gaston’s flailing hand.
This cup tie was as good as over and for the rest of the match, despite some good passages of play from the visitors, it was a case of 'how many' for Caley Thistle. Both Alan Reid and Ross Tokely were booked for persistent fouling after the second goal, not a surprise to the 681 in attendance, including 3 Albion rovers fans who kept the atmosphere alive within Caledonian Stadium.
Before half-time it was three for the home side. Lee Cox picked the ball up in midfield, and lobbed a nice ball over the Rovers defence, straight to Grant Munro. Munro, beating Gaston to the ball, attempted a shot across the face of the goal, which eventually found its way to Bulvitis to slot home his first goal for the club.
The whistle sounded 4 minutes later, ending a one-sided first half in which ICT had put 3 past the Rovers goalkeeper with no reply. Paul Martin’s team had a mountain to climb in the second half, and it was proving too much to ask for the away side to compete with their 1st division opponents.
Half Time 3-0
Early on in the second half, Alan Reid and Marc McCusker were both substituted, replaced respectively by Cris Boyle and Marc Pollok. The pair couldn’t prevent Inverness extending their lead in the 57th minute, captain Grant Munro benefiting from slack Rovers defending to divert in Stratford’s cross for the 4th goal of the game.
This goal signalled the opportunity for the young players to impress, Shane Sutherland replacing Foran on the hour mark and Nick Ross coming on for Robert Eagle. Both appeared glad for the run-out, Ross making headway out on the left wing and impressing with direct runs, while Sutherland showed neat touches to link with Rooney up front.
Full Time 4-0
In the end, the game petered out with no real opportunities of note for either side. ICT ran out worthy winners, while Albion Rovers had certainly not disgraced themselves against a team finding their feet in the first division. After a 2-2 draw with the league favourites Dundee the previous weekend, another positive result was welcome with the home support and ICT manager Terry Butcher. An away game to Motherwell loomed in the next round.
Match report written by tm4tj