Inverness Caledonian Thistle come from behind with second half flurry to see off Partick Thistle and extend perfect start in the Scottish Championship
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Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3 (Broadfoot, Sutherland, Doran)
Partick Thistle 1 (Tiffoney)
Inverness Caledonian Thistle were made to work hard to preserve their undefeated start to the Championship, but a second half blitz saw off Partick Thistle in the Highland capital.
Partick took advantage of some profligacy from their hosts to go into half time with a slender advantage, but Inverness raised their intensity level and put the Jags to the sword.
Goals from Kirk Broadfoot, Shane Sutherland and Aaron Doran ensured that it was Billy Dodds' men who were celebrating at the final whistle with five wins out of five to show for their efforts so far this season.
The first half was set up for individuals to make the difference, with the two teams generally evenly matched.
Really, it was that bit of quality at the end of solo runs forward that made the difference at the half time interval.
Twice, Shane Sutherland drove Inverness deep into the opposition half, but the first time he was a touch indecisive and lost possession while the second time he was just crowded out by a number of red and yellow shirts.
Scott Tiffoney looked dangerous for Partick with his direct running, and he then responded in kind after getting the ball on the left flank from Stuart Bannigan, only at the end of his run inside of David Carson he managed to pick out the net, beating Mark Ridgers at his near post.
Caley Thistle very nearly hit back straight away through Manny Duku, who tried to flick a header past Jamie Sneddon only to see the ball bounce back off the crossbar and back on to the Partick stopper, who did gather it in on the ground.
From there, though, Partick were the side in the ascendancy. Olatunji Akinola forced Ridgers into action when a free kick dropped to him, while Brian Graham missed the target with a curling effort.
The former Ross County striker will be wondering how he did not make it 2–0 before the break though.
Cammy Smith made another of those bursting runs forward and picked Graham out already in acres of space inside ICT's box. Naturally, he was closed down but Graham went around his man, only to see Ridgers hang on to his shot from eight yards out.
Inverness would have been looking to get back on level terms early in the second half, and that was exactly what they did – albeit through an unlikely source.
After a nice passing exchange between Aaron Doran, Shane Sutherland and Roddy MacGregor did not get them any further up the pitch, the ball came to Kirk Broadfoot who ventured into the final third.
The overload worked, as Broadfoot was allowed to continue into the Partick penalty area unopposed, and so he had a shot that sneaked past Sneddon and inside the post to make it 1–1 in the 50th minute.
From there, Caley Jags' tails went up and they pushed to go into the lead.
The intensity and tempo of their play went up, which got a reaction from the crowd too, but they had to be patient before taking the lead.
As it turned out, goals were like buses in London – they had to wait a while for one, but two more came along in quick succession.
With just under 25 minutes left to play, Sutherland chased a long ball forward that appeared to be a comfortable gather for Sneddon on the right-hand side of his box.
However, the Partick goalkeeper missed it completely, leaving an empty net for the attacker to roll the ball into to give Inverness the lead.
Just minutes later, it was three. Carson played a low ball towards the edge of the box which Doran shouted for Duku to leave before picking out the very top corner with an unstoppable strike to make it 3–1.
Tempers began to flare slightly with a clash between Carson and Graham, but the Partick forward was substituted to bring an end to the matter.
For their own substitutes, Caley Thistle had the luxury of being able to go more defensive to hand on to their lead.
That helped them see out the final stages without conceding any clear cut chances, meaning that they can boast victories over two of the sides expected to challenge for promotion alongside ICT early in the season.
With Partick playing Kilmarnock next week while Inverness travel to struggling Dunfermline, the opportunity is there to extend the gap even further over at least one of their rivals.
ICT: Ridgers, Deas, Devine, Carson, Doran, Sutherland, MacGregor (Welsh 78), Walsh (Harper 74), Broadfoot, Allardice, Duku (McAlear 83).
Subs not used: MacKay, Duffy, Mckay, Jamieson.
Partick Thistle: Sneddon, Foster, Holt, Mayo, Turner (Hastie 71), Tiffoney, Bannigan, Graham (MacIver 74), Smith (Rudden 71), Akinola, Docherty.
Subs not used: Stone, Gordon, McKenna, Murray.
Referee: Euan Anderson
Yellow cards: ICT – Deas (45); Partick – Bannigan (55), Docherty (72).