THEY had already proven capable of winning without a manager. Yesterday, Inverness Caley Thistle did it again without their captain.
Scorers: Inverness Caley Thistle - Ross 45pen; McKay 71; 88; Doran 90pen
Richie Foran’s suspension perhaps did hurt the team, but only in a rather lacklustre first 45 minutes when Morton’s spirit shone through.
A half-time blackout and 45-minute wait to restore the lights only seemed to re-energise the hosts, who had laboured to a 1-0 lead through a Nick Ross penalty just before the break.
But a second half resurgence – after the game went two minutes from being abandoned – ensured the Highlanders’ campaign still blazes brightly on three domestic fronts.
For Duncan Shearer, caretaker manager for a second match, there was relief at an ultimately comfortable victory. He fully expects to shake hands with whoever replaces Terry Butcher in the next few days.
“I’m sure they are well down the line to getting the new man in next week – and I’ll be quite happy to hand over,” the former Aberdeen and Scotland striker said.
The half-time floodlight failure was caused by a local sub-station fault but the match was ultimately lit up by further home strikes in the shape of a Billy McKay double and a late Doran spot-kick.
Earlier, with half-time approaching, Morton finally cracked under pressure. Craig Reid was booked for bringing Ross Draper crashing in the box with a flailing leg and Nick Ross rocketed home the spot-kick. A Doran corner should have created the killer second minutes later, with the long, out-stretched leg of Draper diverting the ball on to the post.
The game was far from won, and a reminder came as Dougie Imrie’s excellent free-kick curled in perfectly for a crisp Nacho Novo finish. Fortunately for the hosts, the off-side flag was raised – to Morton’s disgust. But the clincher came in the 71st minute as Marley Watkins’ measured cross was met with a looping McKay header over the keeper.
McKay added the final blow - his 13th of the season – with a neat finish from Doran’s low supply in the final minute and then Doran struck again from the spot after sub Toby Agdestein was felled in the box.
Morton’s Imrie said: “We’re obviously disappointed but we can take a lot of positives from the game.”