Peter Grant feels Alloa’s Scottish Cup exit may prove a blessing in disguise with his part-time heroes working overtime to stay in the Championship.
The Wasps made it three games unbeaten by holding out for a valuable point in the Highlands, and might even have boosted their survival fight with a victory.
But Caley Thistle, who blew a chance to strengthen their standing in second place, were also kicking themselves after Jordan White’s last-gasp header hit the bar.
Before that, a disputed penalty for Alloa allowed Iain Flanagan to slot in a 30th minute opener from the spot, before White smashed in a 59th minute equaliser.
Alloa’s endeavour was summed up by wing-back Jon Robertson’s appearance after finishing his overnight policeman’s shift at 7am yesterday morning.
Grant, pictured,who saw his team knocked out of the cup by Caley Thistle a fortnight ago, said: “The work the boys have put in over the last few weeks, with midweek games and doing their own day jobs, it has just been phenomenal.
“They have had a really tough run and they’re probably really looking forward to the Scottish Cup weekend off next week. The effort and commitment of them all was fantastic.”
While the first half was dominated territorially by the hosts, Alloa were effective in absorbing the pressure and hitting hard and fast on the break. And while sometimes camped completely in their own half, the Wasps had their chances.
Caley Thistle’s sustained spells of first-half pressure were punctuated with the odd chance but no killer touch. And the home side’s failures came home to roost after 30 minutes. As Kevin O’Hara sprinted into the left side of the box, he was knocked down by Shaun Rooney’s arm across the body. Referee Kevin Clancy pointed to the spot and Flannigan powered the penalty low into the left corner of the net.
The pattern continued into the second period, with home manager John Robertson making his first change before the hour, Sean Welsh, the former Partick and Hibs midfielder, coming on for his first appearance since injuring his knee in early October.
It proved a masterstroke, with Welsh’s chip forward into the penalty box feeding White, who showed great strength on the turn before slamming home from eight yards.
White then headed an Aaron Doran cross against the bar with the last touch of the game.