ST MIRREN continued an excellent week with a home victory over Inverness in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
St Mirren - Goncalves (26), Thompson (82)
Inverness CT - McKay (pen 45)
Referee: A Muir
Danny Lennon’s side reached the final of the Scottish Communities League Cup with a 3-2 victory over Celtic on Sunday and Steven Thompson’s late header tonight earned the Buddies their second win in four days.
Esmael Goncalves latched on to Paul McGowan’s through-ball to net on his home debut and open the scoring midway through the first-half.
That was then cancelled out on the stroke of half-time when Billy McKay netted his 20th league goal from the penalty spot after Conor Newton felled Richie Foran inside the box.
Inverness enjoyed the majority of the possession in the second half, however they were punished with nine minutes remaining when Thompson beat Antonio Reguero after connecting with Gary Teale’s pinpoint cross.
The opening minutes offered little to warm up the fans who had ventured out on a bitterly cold evening in Paisley.
A wonderful 30-yard free-kick from Owain Tudur Jones after six minutes had both sets of supporters on their feet, though. The Welsh midfielder blazed an effort towards the top corner, which Samson did superbly to claw away.
St Mirren responded quickly and Teale linked with Thompson who saw his effort blocked by Gary Warren.
Reguero was called into action for the first time when he parried Kenny McLean’s low drive away for a corner and the hosts should have profited from the resulting set-piece as Marc McAusland leapt unmarked to head Teale’s delivery wide.
McAusland again failed to find the target from McGowan’s corner five minutes later, however the home fans did not have to wait long for the opening goal, McGowan cleverly chipped the ball through to Goncalves and he composed himself before slotting the ball beyond Reguero.
The confidence was flowing through the home side and Reguero was relieved to see Daniel Devine clear after he had failed to deal with Teale’s low cross.
The home supporters roared for a penalty when Graeme Shinnie appeared to fell Goncalves inside the area, however referee Alan Muir quickly waved play-on.
Inverness had a penalty shout of their own with two minutes remaining in the first half as Foran toppled under the attention of Newton and this time Muir pointed at the spot.
McKay stepped up to take the kick and sent Samson the wrong way to level the scores.
The first chance of the second half fell to the visitors and Andrew Shinnie’s shot clipped the top of Goodwin’s head before looping over the bar.
Suddenly it was Terry Butcher’s side who were enjoying the majority of the possession and Saints reacted by introducing Lewis Guy in place of the tiring Goncalves.0 But St Mirren regained the lead after creating a rare second-half opportunity.
Teale swung over an inch- perfect cross and Thompson’s header sneaked into the net after hitting the inside of the post. Newton almost added a third with a fizzing strike that Reguero did well to keep out.