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Inverness Caledonian Thistle into play-off final after narrow victory against Montrose

By Will Clark

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Billy McKay. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Billy McKay. Picture: James Mackenzie.

Scottish Championship play-off semi final second leg

Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1

Montrose 0

(Aggregate 1-0)

Scorer: Mckay (58)

Inverness Caledonian Thistle kept their ambitions of staying in the Championship alive as they saw off Montrose in a narrow victory at the Caledonian Stadium.

Billy Mckay scored the only goal of the game to send them into the Championship play-off final against Hamilton Academical who beat Alloa Athletic 3-2 and won their tie 5-4 on aggregate.

The first leg will take place in Hamilton on Wednesday night with the second leg at the Caledonian Stadium on Saturday with the winner guaranteed to play in the Championship next season,

Inverness made three changes to the team that drew 0-0 with Montrose on Tuesday night.

James Carragher, Wallace Duffy and Sean McAllister all started with Daniel Devine, Luis Longstaff and Samson Lawal dropped to the bench.

In an uneventful first half, nerves appeared to take hold of both teams but Inverness had the majority of possession.

Montrose thought they had taken the lead five minutes before half time when Blair Lyons was unchallenged to connect with a cross from Graham Webster to tap home.

But to the relief of the hosts, the linesman ruled that he was offside.

Inverness started the second half brightly and came close to taking the lead when Cammy Harper’s pass found Billy Mckay and his shot forced a good save from Cammy Gill.

Inverness failed to seriously test to the goalkeeper in the first half as they players were booed off at the break.

Samson Lawal was brought on the start of the second half replacing Max Anderson in an attempt to add some creativity to the pitch.

They were forced to make another substitution 25 seconds after the restart when Sean McAllister fell to the ground in agony in what appeared to be a recurrence of a previous thigh injury.

He was forced off the pitch and was replaced by Luis Longstaff.

Inverness had an encouraging start to the second half and came close to taking the lead as they were denied by the woodwork.

Samson Lawal surged into the box and his pass finds Cammy Harper whose shot hits the left post.

But Inverness broke the deadlock just before the hour mark, Cameron Harper’s corner found Wallace Duffy's header that fell kindly to Billy Mckay in the six yard box to fire home.

Montrose came close to finding an equaliser when Ridgers pulled off a great save to deny Ali Shrive an equaliser after he was allowed to release a shot 12-yards from goal.

However the visitors were reduced to 10 men when Blair Lyons received a straight red card after appearing to strike out at Morgan Boyes.

Inverness managed to maintain possession in the closing stages until the final whistle to reach the play-off final.

Inverness: Ridgers, Duffy (Gilmour 73), Harper, Kerr, McAllister (Longstaff 47), Mckay Brooks 65), Anderson (Lawal 45), Boyes, Carragher, Savage, Samuel (Pepple 73).

Substitutes: Mackay, Devine, MacGregor, Ujdur.

Montrose: Gill, Williamson (Hester 60), Steeves, Quinn, Webser, Gardyne (Shrive 68), Lyons, Dillon, Graham, Callaghan (Masson 68), Machado (Brown 60)

Substitutes: Matthews, Watson, Hermiston, Craig.

Referee: Alan Muir

Attendance 2089

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