McKay injured as Inverness Caledonian Thistle lose opener
Dundee United 4
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1
Scorers - United: Shankland (6, 32, 53, 86) Inverness: Walsh (30)
BRAD McKay was carried off injured as Inverness Caledonian Thistle lost their opening game of the Championship campaign
The full back was stretchered off after 21 minutes after landing awkwardly in a clash for the ball.
Tom Walsh scored either side of a Lawrence Shankland's double as Inverness were behind 2-1 at the break.
Shankland grabbed two more in the second half to score four goals in his first league game for United to condemn Caley Thistle to a losing start.
In a hectic start to the match, Dundee United could have scored in the opening minutes when Mark Ridgers’ parried save saw the ball land into a crowd of players before being cleared from danger.
But Inverness responded immediately when Jordan White beat the offside trap to fire in a cross from the left wing and found James Keatings 12-yards from goal who hit the left hand post.
But it was United who took the lead after six minutes.
Shankland beat the Inverness defence to Louis Appere's cross and nodded the ball into the net from close range.
Caley Thistle responded again with Keatings proving the danger man when his low drive from 25 yards forced a diving save from Benjamin Siegrist.
Inverness was forced into an early substitution as Brad McKay had to be stretchered off replaced by James Vincent after 21 minutes.
The visitors levelled on the half hour mark when Keatings’ corner found Jamie McCart’s whose header crashed against the crossbar.
The rebound fell to Walsh whose low drive beat Benjamin Siegrist to level the game.
But United restored their lead in a sweeping move upfield two minutes later.
Shankland grabbed his second with a diving header from eight yards after connecting with Paul McMullan’s cross from the right wing.
United went two goals ahead eight minutes into the second half when Appere's cross found Shankland in the box and from 12 yards he fired past Ridgers to record his hat-trick.
Inverness almost pulled one back before the hour mark when Vincent beat the United defence to Charlie Trafford’s cross but he fired wide of the left post from six yards.
Miles Storey came off the bench in the 70th minute to mark his return for Inverness since signing for the club this morning.
Cammy Smith came close to scoring in the closing stages but saw his low drive from the edge of the box knocked off the line by Vincent.
But Dundee United made it 4-1 four minutes from time when Shankland scored his fourth of the game after connecting with a Smith cross from the right wing and fired into the bottom left corner from 12 yards.
Dundee United: Siegrist, Smith, Connolly, Reynold, McMullan, Clark (Smith 65), Stanton (Harkes 76), Robson, Butcher, Shankland (Banks 88), Appere.
Substitutes: Mehmet, Chalmers, King, Banks, Watson.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle: Ridgers, McKay (Vincent 21), Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco, Trafford, Carson, Doran, Walsh, Keatings ( Storey 70) White (Todorov 70)
Substitutes: Mackay, McHattie, Harper, MacGregor.