Niculae gives ideal start to Brewster

Inverness CT 3

Niculae (34,74), Wyness (64)

Arbroath 1

Scott (71)

MANAGER Craig Brewster took a back-seat last night as Inverness Caledonian Thistle eventually came good with victory against stubborn Third Division opposition.

Romanian striker Marius Niculae scored twice as player-manager Brewster, who elected not to pick himself in the squad, enjoyed a winning return to the club he left in January 2006.

Niculae looked eager to break his duck, and having been thwarted twice in quick succession his luck changed after 34 minutes. A short pass from Dennis Wyness allowed the Romanian striker to bag his first goal in Scottish football with a low 25-yard drive.

Wyness then grabbed his first goal since January with the second strike of the night after 64 minutes. The former Hearts striker's predatory talents returned as he collected a cross from the right, turned and fired from close range.

Just as Inverness looked safe, Arbroath pulled a goal back after 71 minutes. Bryan Scott picked up on an error by Stuart McCaffrey to follow up his initial effort and sidefoot past keeper Michael Fraser.

The joy was short-lived for the Red Lichties, however, as just three minutes later Niculae scored a delightful free-kick from 25 yards - his second and Caley Thistle's third.

"I thought we were comfortable," said Brewster. "We passed it really well in the first half. Overall we had three good goals, but we maybe put ourselves under a wee bit of pressure when two-up through sloppy play. In general I'm delighted."

Inverness CT: Fraser, Tokely, Watt, McCaffrey, McBain (Morgan 79), Wilson (Rankin 79), Black, Duncan, Cowie, Niculae (McAllister 85), Wyness. Subs not used: Ridgers, McDonald.

Arbroath: Morrison, Stuart McKay, Ferguson, Raeside (Rennie 77), Bishop, Tully, Hegarty (Webster 62), Scott, Tosh, Sellars, Watson (Reilly 75). Subs not used: Black, Wight.

Referee: S Finnie. Attendance: 1,246