Billy Mckay is hat-trick hero as Caley Jags storm back from 2-0 down to reach SPFL Trust Trophy last eight
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Elgin City (2) 2
Inverness Caley Thistle (2) 4
(Scorers: Elgin - Grivosti 8, Cameron 21; ICT - Mckay 38, 40, 67, Jamieson 72)
Billy Mckay netted a wonderful hat-trick to turn an enthralling north derby battle at Borough Briggs on its head.
The goalscorer’s instincts were at his sharpest as he picked off the League Two side who had stormed two ahead through Ross County loanee Tom Grivosti and Brian Cameron.
McKay’s response, with two in the first half and another after the break, was clinical, with a header and two low finishes.
Lewis Jamieson raced away to net a fourth for the Championship club and set up a November 30 quarter-final between them and Raith Rovers, with whom they shared the trophy last season.
Caley Thistle freshened with six changes against their old pre-merger Highland League foes.
It was a chance for fringe stars to stake a claim for the Championship leaders, but they encountered hosts fired up before a big home crowd.
It was contested like a derby, with on-loan St Mirren striker Lewis Jamieson firing just wide after three minutes.
But Elgin grabbed a shock lead on eight minutes.
Archie MacPhee’s corner from the right found Ross County loanee Tom Grivosti charging in to thump home a close-range header.
The visitors hit a Black and White brick wall - and then fell two behind after 21 minutes.
Conor O’Keefe, stand-in striker for injured talisman Kane Hester, wheeled away cleverly from Robbie Deas on the right.
His cross was perfect for Brian Cameron to blast a ferocious finish high past Caley Jags’ keeper Cameron MacKay.
McHale got a strong hand to a fine Billy Mckay header, but the away side’s predator came good with two replies within 90 seconds.
After 37 minutes, Wallace Duffy’s cross was poorly cleared and Mckay pounced with a superb left foot finish from the edge of the box.
Elgin had barely caught breath when McKay struck again, with Duffy's cross flicked on by Reece McAlear before the striker stopped to head into the net from six yards.
Injury to left-back Cameron Harper early in the second half forced a defensive re-jig by the Championship team.
Elgin had chances around the hour with Grivosti heading wide and MacPhee’s low drive blocked by keeper Mackay’s legs.
But Caley Jags silenced the home support after 67 minutes as Mckay swept a low finish through home legs from eight yards from Shane Sutherland’s cross.
Five minutes later, McAlear clipped the ball through and the flag stayed down as Lewis Jamieson raced through and coolly dinked it past outcoming Thomas McHale for the fourth.
Elgin fought on valiantly but were out of steam by the end.
ELGIN CITY (4-1-4-1): McHale; Spark, Grivosti, McHardy, MacPhee (Peters 85); MacEwan (Allen 76); R. Dingwall, Mailer, Cameron; T. Dingwall (Lawrence 76); O’Keefe (Machado 58). Subs: Peters, Cooney, Sopel, Little.
Booked: MacEwan 26, Mailer 67, R. Dingwall 69, Grivosti 75
INVERNESS CT: (4-3-1-2) C. MacKay; Duffy, Devine (Doran 76), Deas, Harper (Allardice 50); McAlear, Welsh, MacGregor; Sutherland (Sutherland 76); Jamieson, Mckay. Subs: Ridgers.
Booked: McAlear 62
Ref: Barry Cook