Inverness manager Terry Butcher and Motherwell boss Stuart McCall both reaffirmed their commitment to attacking football after Caley Thistle edged a seven-goal thriller.
Inverness CT 4 -3 Motherwell
Scorers: Inverness CT - McKay (4,27,84), A Shinnie (25); Motherwell - McFadden (36,64), Higdon (pen 48)
Billy McKay completed his hat-trick in the 84th minute to earn Inverness a 4-3 victory and keep them in third place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League. The action at the Tulloch Caledonian was relentless from the start with McKay opening the scoring inside four minutes. Inverness raced into a three-goal lead inside 27 minutes thanks to two near-post finishes from McKay and Andrew Shinnie’s penalty-box strike but James McFadden got Motherwell back into it nine minutes before the break when he fired into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
After the break Michael Higdon netted a penalty before McFadden levelled in the 64th minute when he finished in off the post 60 seconds after Darren Randolph had saved McKay’s penalty.
Motherwell had the momentum but Henrik Ojamaa was sent off in the 74th minute when a late tackle cost him following an earlier booking for a dive.
McKay had the final say when he followed up Josh Meekings’ saved shot and former Motherwell manager Butcher hailed the flair shown by both sides.
He said: “For the neutral it was a wonderful spectacle. It was a great comeback by Motherwell in the second half. They have a four-man attack which is tremendous. It was a wonderful game of football. Motherwell are a great team, they have had a great season. It’s a fantastic club and I’m glad that they are up there as well. Hopefully they can finish second and we can finish third.”
Motherwell have scored 65 SPL goals this season with Inverness only two behind and neither manager was in a mood to change approach. Caley Thistle could wrap up a Europa League place next Saturday if they beat Dundee United at home and St Johnstone lose at Celtic Park. Victory over United would at least ensure Ross County are out of the equation before the Highland derby in Dingwall on the final day.
McCall said: “There was no ranting or raving at half-time, the boys knew they had underperformed. I still thought at half-time we would go on and win the game. We defended poorly but that would take away from their attacking play. That’s what you get from both sides who are intent on playing attacking football. We could both probably set up differently and have a lot more nil-nils.”
Motherwell remain firm favourites to tie up second place with a six-point and ten-goal lead over Inverness with two games remaining and McFadden is determined to have something to celebrate when Ross County visit Fir Park next Sunday.
“I’m sure it will be a farewell for a lot of the guys and we can do it in front of our own fans,” said McFadden, who took his tally since returning to Fir Park to four goals. “If we play with the desire we had in the second half we’ll be alright.”