ON FRIDAY, Tiger Woods carded a second successive round of 74 at Valhalla and failed to make the cut in the PGA championship, only the fourth time in his career that had happened to him at a major.
Scorers: Inverness CT - McKay (10), Christie (25)
Yet afterwards he put his disappointment to one side and spoke candidly and articulately to the media about his back problems and how they are affecting his game.
Equally, if Rory McIlroy had blown his chances of winning the tournament by taking ten at the 18th hole, he would have explained the whys and hows immediately afterwards.
Compare and contrast with Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Hughes, who refused to speak to reporters following his side’s opening day victory at New Douglas Park. “Why should I?” was his boorish response when a request was made to him to discuss the game.
Well, for one thing, maybe the 193 fans who made the journey south would like to have heard some positive chat about that success. Perhaps even more would travel to their next away game at Motherwell on Saturday if he had been prepared to talk up his team.
Sadly, for reasons best known to himself, he rejected that opportunity when it was put to him. Then again, Hughes perhaps thinks that PR is the big Dutch striker he used to play alongside at Celtic. Fortunately, his players did not share his reluctance to publicise themselves and their sport. Billy McKay, who gave a masterclass in leading the line on Saturday, was happy to discuss Fleetwood Town’s failed bid to sign him last week as well as his contribution to the win over Hamilton.
“I didn’t have a decision to make,” said the 25-year-old, signed from Northampton Town by Terry Butcher. “The first I knew about it was when the bid was rejected. It didn’t cross my mind – I just turned up for training and got on with my game. The manager had a chat with me on Friday.
“He just said that they weren’t going to accept the offer. That was the end of it and we just looked forward to this match. I’m the only real striker on the books just now so I don’t think the club want to let me go. I’ve been top scorer for the last two years and, hopefully, I can do that again.
“I’m learning every day. If it means staying in Scotland and learning more with Inverness then so be it. I’ll just keep my head down, try to score as many as I can and try to help the team. But I’m enjoying my football. If I wasn’t then maybe I’d be pushing to leave but that’s not the case.
“There is no reason for me to go out looking for another club. I’ll just see what happens and keep trying to score goals and help Inverness as long as I am here. Coming up to Inverness has helped my career and helped me get into the international scene so I am thankful to the club for that. What happens is in [their] hands. If an exceptional bid comes in and the club accepts it, then it will be down to me. Until then, I’ll just focus on my football.
McKay broke the deadlock when he lobbed goalkeeper Michael McGovern from 15 yards following a poorly executed passback by Mikey Devlin.
Ryan Christie, the great Highlands hope, doubled their lead with a tap-in after Louis Longridge had cheaply conceded possession in his own half.
It was a crash course in elite division football for player/manager Alex Neil’s young side, although they improved as Thistle eased off in the second half. Making his debut in the top tier at the age of 30, McGovern was Hamilton’s best player but personal satisfaction over his own performance was diluted by the result.
“I don’t think we played to our potential in the first half at all,” he said. “We did better in the second half but we need to start games better. At this level, you can’t afford to do what we did.”