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Alex Samuel hat-trick seals victory for Inverness Caley Thistle away at Raith Rovers in Scottish Championship

By Andrew Henderson

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Raith Rovers 2 (Hamilton, Vaughan)

Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3 (Samuel x3)

Inverness Caledonian Thistle held on for all three points away at Raith Rovers thanks to a hat-trick from Alex Samuel.

Jack Hamilton had put the hosts in front midway through the first half, but three goals in nine minutes from Samuel put the Caley Jags in a commanding position by half time.

Naturally, Raith would come out for the second period determined to find a way back into proceedings, but although they did get one goal back it was not enough to deny Inverness the victory.

Alex Samuel scored a nine-minute hat-trick in just his second appearance for ICT. Picture: James Mackenzie
Alex Samuel scored a nine-minute hat-trick in just his second appearance for ICT. Picture: James Mackenzie

A relatively quiet start to the game saw Raith control more of the possession, but neither goalkeeper get particularly troubled.

That would change midway through the half though, with a flurry of goals coming before the interval.

It would be the hosts who broke the deadlock, with Jack Hamilton converting from close range after meeting Josh Mullin's corner in the 25th minute.

Their lead would not last long though, as on the half-hour mark Nathan Shaw sent a long ball through the middle of the park that Alex Samuel latched on to, before triumphing in his one-on-one with Raith keeper Kevin Dabrowski to equalise.

Samuel would ensure the game completely turned on its head five minutes later, using his chest to cushion the ball then volleying into the bottom corner from just outside the box to put ICT in front.

A dream spell would culminate five minutes before the break when Samuel swung his left foot at Cameron Harper's corner, again finding the far corner to complete a nine-minute hat-trick and give Inverness daylight with their advantage going into half time.

It might have felt like one-way traffic at that stage, but Raith would fight back after the restart.

Zak Rudden was one of three early substitutes thrown on by Ian Murray, and it was his deft flick that set up Lewis Vaughan to finish through the legs of Mark Ridgers to bring the deficit back down to a single goal.

Raith tried to up their intensity levels to speed the game up as they went in search of an equaliser, but they could not find another breakthrough.

With results elsewhere, Caley Thistle did not rise up the Championship standings even with three points – but they did open up a gap over Queen's Park and Arbroath below them.

Raith Rovers: Dabrowski, Dick, Millen, Murray, Connolly, Caughan, Smith, Mullin, Hamilton, Brown, Byrne.

Substitutes: McNeil, Watson, Matthews, Corr, Turner, Easton, McGill, Hannah, Rudden.

ICT: Ridgers, Harper, Kerr, Chilokoa-Mullen, Devine, Gilmour, Mckay, Anderson, Shaw, Savage, Samuel.

Substitutes: Mackay, Duffy, Carson, Doran, MacGregor, Boyes, Brooks, Carragher, Ujdur.

Referee: Dan McFarlane

Attendance: 3387

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