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Captain injured as Inverness Caledonian Thistle pay the penalty with shoot-out defeat to Stirling Albion in Premier Sports Cup

By Will Clark

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Premier Sports Cup Group Stage

Inverness Caledonian Thistle 2

Stirling Albion 2

Stirling Albion won 3–2 on penalties.

Scorers: Caley Thistle: MacGregor (28) Sutherland (48) Stirling: Mackin (4) Moore (20)

Caley Thistle captain Sean Welsh.
Caley Thistle captain Sean Welsh.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle captain Sean Welsh was taken off injured in the first half as his team suffered a penalty shootout defeat to Stirling Albion.

The midfielder was forced to come off before half time after picking up an injury in their second group stage encounter.

The hosts suffered a nightmare start going 2–0 down after 20 minutes before pulling one back before half time through Roddy MacGregor.

Shane Sutherland levelled three minutes into the second half but neither side could find a winner in normal time.

Stirling Albion stormed in front after just four minutes when they won a free kick at the edge of the box. Dylan Mackin's thunderous effort cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and went over the line to the despair of goalkeeper Cammy Mackay.

Caley Thistle fell two goals behind when they were caught cold on the counter attack as Kieran Moore connected with a cross from the right wing into the box.

His first shot was saved by Mackay, but Moore guided the rebound into the net.

Inverness pulled one back seven minutes later through MacGregor when he linked up with Manny Duku.

They passed their way through a packed Stirling defence before firing a low drive into the bottom right corner of the net.

Inverness were forced into an early substitute in the first half as Welsh picked up a knock and was replaced by Scott Allardice.

Caley Thistle screamed for a penalty just before half time when Duku claimed he was brought down in the box but the referee waved play on.

But Inverness levelled three minutes into the second half with MacGregor's ball into the box finding Duku, whose strong back heel across the face of goal found Sutherland who fired a low drive into the back of the net from 12 yards.

Stirling almost retook the lead minutes later when Jack Leitch pounced on the ball after a lack of communication in the Inverness defence and his strike hit the right post.

The visitors almost won it in the closing minutes when Dale Carrick unleashed a sensational volley connecting with Nathan Flanaghan's cross which was wonderfully saved by Mackay at close range.

Inverness then almost prevented the game from going to penalties when Aaron Doran latched on to a long ball in the box but fired wide as the match went to a shoot-out.

Tom Walsh saw his penalty saved after Dale Carrick scored to put Stirling 1–0 up in the shootout.

But Jack Leitch's penalty was saved by Cammy Mackay and Scott Allardice levelled the score to make it 1–1.

Natahan Flanaghan made it 2–1 before Reece McAlear made it 2-2.

Rabin Omar made it 3–2 to Stirling Albion with David Carson firing his penalty over the bar.

Kyle Banner missed the opportunity to win the shoot-out for Stirling when his shot hit the post.

But Shane Sutherland saw his penalty saved as Stirling picked up the bonus point.

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