The stage was set for a Scottish Cup shock at Borough Briggs – but struggling Caley Thistle hadn’t read the script. Richie Foran’s side overcame League 2 neighbours Elgin in a Highland derby in front of a 3,624 crowd, but only after the underdogs drew first blood.
A howler by ICT keeper Owain Fon Williams gifted Mark Nicolson a free kick opener and it took some resolve from the visitors to hit back for victory.
Goals by man-of-the-match Larnell Cole and Losana Doumbouya turned the match Inverness’s way and in the end, victory was comfortable enough for manager Richie Foran.
“I think we controlled it, particularly in the second half,” he said. “We got our goals, we hit the crossbar twice and had another one disallowed that I was disappointed didn’t count. The players showed a great attitude and great character to come back.”
Elgin manager Jim Weir was proud of his own team’s efforts. “I couldn’t fault my players,” he said. “They gave me everything but Inverness are a good side and we just couldn’t create enough opportunities to give them problems.”
Kick off was delayed by ten minutes to allow time for queueing fans outside to see the start of the game.
Both sides had early efforts on goal but Inverness forced the first save of the game.
On 25 minutes Borough Briggs erupted when Elgin took the lead. Iain Vigurs was penalised for a foul on Chris McLeish on the edge of the box. Mark Nicolson took the kick and his strike trundled through the grasp of Caley keeper Fon Williams and found the net.
Elgin almost conceded their lead within a minute as a Vigurs corner from the left was headed in by Gary Warren, only for the striker to be penalised for a foul and the goal disallowed.
However, City’s lead lasted just seven minutes as dangerman Cole beat two men before slamming a low effort past Marc Waters.
Finally Doumbouya’s persistence paid off when he got on the end of a diagonal Doran ball to power home a header and put the visitors ahead on 66 minutes.