Footballing resuscitation has come to players like Miles Storey at Inverness for many years now. Only – and here’s the catch – Storey is atypical in one important regard. The 21-year-old has arrived on loan, not permanently, from Swindon Town in a deal that expires at Christmas.
To make matters worse, Ryan Christie, the player who linked so intuitively with Storey as Aberdeen were beaten, is destined to join him through the exit door at around the same time.
Christie’s recent capture by Celtic granted him a loan spell back home through to Christmas or, at most, the summer. Retaining Storey beyond the festivities might well be on the agenda for manager John Hughes, too.
It is a worrying state of affairs for a Caley Thistle side that lost the productive Billy Mckay-Marley Watkins pairing last season. For now, though, the blossoming partnership is there for supporters to enjoy.
It was a stunning performance from Inverness on Saturday, with Storey and Christie in particular at the heart of it.
After only eight minutes, Christie showcased the sublime skills that first attracted Ronny Deila, the Celtic manager, in the last transfer window. There was a moment of class as he spun away from former team-mate Graeme Shinnie. Carving room for himself, he then released a pin-point pass to the right side of the box where Storey was waiting to thrash in the opener.
Christie, sent off for a second petty booking in the final seconds of the match, brought the house down on 29 minutes with a 30-yard strike that rocketed past Dons keeper Danny Ward.
Aberdeen hit back from Niall McGinn’s corner after 35 minutes, with Ash Taylor netting a simple header, but never convinced even amid the steady, one-way traffic of the second half.
For Storey, once an England under-19 international tipped for great things, time in Inverness is certainly proving enjoyable. “I’m enjoying going into a Saturday knowing full well I’m going to be involved, whether starting or on the bench,” Storey, who has hit three goals in four games now, said. “To come here and be involved and start games is just as good for me as getting the goals. I’m looking forward to it continuing.”
Aberdeen offered so little that Derek McInnes, the manager, was moved to describe it as one of the worst displays of his managerial reign at Pittodrie.
Aberdeen’s run of eight straight victories has slumped into successive defeats by Hibs and Inverness. On a day that victory would have taken them seven points clear at the summit, the Dons now sit four above Celtic.
“It was a very disappointing first half – poor all over the park,” said Taylor, the Dons’ goalscorer. “We managed to get ourselves back into the game but the damage was done in the first half. I totally agree with the manager’s assessment and hopefully it doesn’t happen again. We are hurting because, as players, we know that wasn’t good enough.”
Referee: J Beaton