Team Pd GD Pt
1 Dunfermline 5 7 13
2 Hearts 5 8 12
3 Raith Rovers 5 9 10
4 Ayr United 5 2 8
5 Inverness CT 5 1 7
6 Greenock Morton 5 -4 7
7 Dundee 5 -5 5
8 Queen of the South 5 -3 4
9 Arbroath 5 -6 2
10 Alloa Athletic 5 -9 1
Updated: 24th Nov
Saturday November 21st 2020

Inverness CT 2 – 0 Raith Rovers

CALEY VICTORIOUS AS RAITH FALTER

Raith missed out on the opportunity to take top spot in the Championship table, falling to defeat at the hands of Inverness Caledonian Thistle at the Caledonian Stadium, courtesy of goals from James Keatings and Scott Allardice. Unable to break down their hosts’ rugged defensive line, Rovers did not create sufficient chances to worry the home side, who looked stronger the longer the match went on and deservedly took all three points.

With players returning from injury and suspension on both sides, it was Caley Thistle who settled first and, having opened the scoring with Keating’s fine shot on nineteen minutes, were never seriously threatened thereafter. Inverness also had the match’s stand-out performance in Miles Storey, who attacked with dangerous intent from both left and right flanks, notched an assist for Keatings’ opening goal, and struck the woodwork twice in the first half.

For Raith, the bright spot was a return from injury for gifted full-back Kieran MacDonald who played the full ninety minutes; however much-vaunted striker Manny Duku was unable to gain much traction against a robust Invernesian defence, and Raith’s midfield was too often crowded out before any real attacking flow could be translated into shots on goal. With the chance to rest and recharge before the home Fife derby in two weeks’ time, Raith’s management team have time to re-assess and re-adjust, after Rovers’ successful recent run of results was brought to a halt in the Highland capital.

The match kicked off in blustery conditions, with a stiff breeze blowing across the park. Both long and short passing proved difficult, with neither side able to string more than two meaningful passes together, as the wind coupled with a bobbly pitch resulted in several loose first-touches and regular changes in possession.

Having said that, the weather conditions mattered little to the 300 paying spectators in attendance – with strict conditions in place and social distancing observed, the albeit small home crowd did give the match a more authentic feel, with cheers and jeers in response to the action lending some degree of atmosphere. While grounds across the country this season have often represented echoey cathedrals, muffled in silence amid the heavy atmosphere of wider social restriction, today’s game represented another small step in the long journey back to a degree of normality, and was all the more welcome for it.

With several gifted midfielders on show in both sides, it was the home side who generally enjoyed the better quality of possession in the first period. The experienced pair of Keatings and Sutherland linked well, regularly drawing Benedictus and Musonda into close contact in the Raith defensive third. Despite Hendry seeing plenty of the ball, there was a lack of rhythm and fluency as Rovers’ sought to drive forward, particularly mid-way through the half around the Inverness opening goal – while Ethan Ross and Dan Armstrong had been prominent on the opening minutes, the home side worked hard to disrupt Raith’s progress through midfield.

The first quarter had passed with chances at both ends. The deadlock was almost broken with Miles Storey’s rasping drive which struck the frame of MacDonald’s goal following sharp work in midfield from Scott Allardice. Storey would strike the cross-bar again on the half-hour, with a turn and shot from the edge of the six-yard box – while the midfielder’s first strike would have been a goal-of-the-week contender, his second was a real let-off for the Raith defence, as a better directed shot would surely have beaten MacDonald. Returning after a month-long injury lay-off, Storey was the brightest performer in the first-half.

With nearly twenty minutes on the clock, Inverness put their noses in front, a lead which reflected the home side looking the likelier to that point. With Hendry caught in midfield, Miles Storey had space on the right flank to attack his opposite number – opting for the early cross, the midfielder found Keatings in the penalty box, who used his body to turn Benedictus and divert the cross beyond MacDonald for the opener. The pair should have combined for a second in the run-up to half-time – having turned Musonda on the by-line, Storey’s driven cross through MacDonald’s area would have brought a second but found Keatings on his heels, not anticipating the quality of delivery from his colleague.

As Rovers looked to get back on terms, Dylan Tait became an important figure – playing closest to Manny Duku in the Raith formation, Tait moved left and right in front of the home defence, looking to create space for midfielders to join in the attack. The youngster bewitched Keatings on the right-wing before playing in Armstrong with one attack; picking up a loose ball, Tait’s shot drew a good save from Ridgers in Raith’s next advance.

With the interval approaching, Raith had their best spell. Hendry, Armstrong, and Ross were all involved as Rovers threaded a number of passes together through midfield – upping the tempo, Duku played in Armstrong and ran for the return, with a combination of Danny Devine and Robbie Deas blocking away the Dutch striker’s turn and shot.

With referee Newlands blowing for half-time shortly afterwards, the sides would depart to the warmth of their respective dressing rooms to reflect on a first half in which the score reflected the balance of play – Raith had failed to ignite with some of the free-flowing passing and attacking brio seen in previous fixtures mostly lacking; Inverness had created the better chances, deservedly taking a slender advantage into the half-time interval. Raith’s marauding full-backs Tumilty and MacDonald, so often visible this season as attacking inside-forwards, had been stifled thus far.

John Robertson sent his side out with gusto in the second half – Roddy MacGregor struck the outside of MacDonald’s post with his side’s first attack; moments later, Miles Storey ran at Kieran MacDonald, the Raith full-back diverting the striker’s drive away for a corner.

Goal-keeper Jamie MacDonald performed heroics to keep the deficit at one five minutes into the half – Rangers loanee Kai Kennedy cut inside his man, his cross found James Keatings whose goal-bound header was clawed away one-handed by the Raith goalkeeper, who scrambled to recover his ground before any rebound could be diverted goalwards. Kennedy drew another save from MacDonald minutes later, shooting near-post when Keatings and others were better placed.

With an hour gone, Raith had only an Ethan Ross free-kick to show for their second-half endeavours, but began to come more into the match with the introduction of Lars Lokotsch on the right-side of midfield. Dan Armstrong twisted and turned in the box, eventually going down with Brad Mckay in close attendance – referee Newlands was uninterested. The Raith winger tried again moments later, cutting inside and shooting on target, but without sufficient power to beat Ridgers.

While Raith perhaps edged the match in terms of possession, their lack of shots on goal was partly tribute to a resolute home defence. Young centre-back Robbie Deas has been ever-present for Caley Thistle this season since joining in the summer from Alloa, and the obdurate nature of his former employers was evident here; the more experienced Danny Devine, who had by his standards a poor performance at Starks Park in the sides’ recent Cup meeting, was solid and dependable, as waves of Raith possession broke against the home side’s defensive buttresses.

Raith fell a further goal behind with twenty minutes to go – Storey was onside behind Raith’s high defensive line, escaping down the inside right channel; his cross wasn’t cleared with Benedictus and Kennedy battling in the penalty area, and as the ball broke to him with a yard of space, Scott Allardice showed real composure to finish coolly beyond MacDonald from six yards.

With Lokotsch and Duku both pushing forward in the closing stages, Raith generated several half-chances – a Duku free-kick on the edge of the area struck the wall; Kieran MacDonald reached the by-line on a number of occasions; a Lokotsch header drifted wide. However, it was the home side who were better able to navigate the closing stages – club captain Aaron Dorans was introduced for the closing minutes, and fellow substitute Daniel MacKay drew an excellent save from Jamie MacDonald after a Benedictus clearance had held up in the wind. While Raith continued to press in the final minutes, the home side’s rugged defensive line would remain steadfast, with referee Alan Newlands’ final whistle consigning Raith to their first League defeat of the season.


0
Welcome to today's game where Raith take on Inverness Caledonian Thistle at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium
0
Three changes to the side this week. Jamie MacDonald is back in goals and we see the return of Kieran MacDonald and Kyle Benedictus back in defense.
0
No idea of the weather up north but it sure is cold and damp outside where I am but thankfully I'm indoors in the warmth.
0
The last time these two sides met was not to long ago and it ended 3-3 after 90 min but Raith went on to win on penalties
0
Raith get the game underway
1
Tumilty tries to win the ball from ICT in their box but it results in a foul against him
3
Ross makes the charge forward but he's tackled
4
Armstrong also tries to move the ball upfield but can't find an option early enough before tackled
7
Armstrong's quick throw in to Duku doesn't quite find his man
8
Storey hits a thumping shot and it bounces off the bar
10
Ross cuts it back to K MacDonald who goes for goal but the keeper saves
14
Both teams currently passing the ball around in the midfield
15
Corner Raith as Armstrong gets the ball upfield and ICT turn the ball off the park
17
Tait's ball to Duku is just too much for the latter to connect with
18
Goal ICT Keating with a low shot scores
20
Tait chips the ball into ICT box to find Duku but the ball is cleared
21
Musonda with the long ball to Tait who is tackled. Tait feels he had been fouled but ref says no
23
Great ball from Tait to Tumilty..ICT intercept and ball goes for a Raith corner
25
Armstrong gets the ball into the box, ICT fail to clear efficiently and Tait tries to ping the ball home but the ball goes wide
30
ICT come close again as Storey turns and shoots. Thankfully the ball smacks off the crossbar and out for a goalkick
33
ICT throw in deep into the Raith half
33
ICT go for a shot but it doesn't trouble J MacDonald who collects comfortably
35
Storey tries for goal again J MacDonald collects
37
Free kick Raith in ICT half
38
Armstrong gets the ball into the box but Ridgers charges out and punches the ball clear
39
Storey's cross goes through the box but no ICT player to pounce on it
44
As half time approaches Raith are playing well but they can't seem to break through the ICT line of defence
44
Corner for Raith
45
Ref blows for half time ICT 1 (Keatings 18') Raith 0
45
ICT start the second half.
45
Post! MacDonald looked like he had that covered though.
47
Kieran MacDonald gets in the way of an ICT shot. Corner.
48
Big claim from ICT that the ball crossed the line. The ref says... no!
50
Ross curls a free kick in, misses everyone and just past the top corner. That would have been a strange goal!
51
Incredible save from MacDonald there. Wowsers!
53
Corner Raith.
54
Ross replaced by Lokotsch
54
Another important save from MacDonald, low and to the right. Corner ICT.
54
Misses all and out for a Raith goal kick.
56
Duku down, the ref waves play on.
58
Free kick Raith by the corner flag.
60
Lots of pressure abd ball out for a Raith corner.
60
Armstrong down in the box. No penalty.
61
ICT 1-0 Raith Rovers.
61
Armstrong tries a shot from long distance, but not enough power behind it.
69
GOAL ICT!
69
Allardice calmly slots home from 6 yards after the ball lands at his feet.
72
Chance for ICT, but just past the post.
73
Matthews heads high and wide.
75
ICT 2-0 Raith Rovers
75
Spencer replaces Tait
77
ICT corner.
80
Kennedy goes down in the box. No foul.
81
Welsh replaces Storey
81
Daniel MacKay replaces Keatings.
82
Duku takes a sore one on edge of the box.
82
Duku to take it.
83
Shot hits the wall.
85
Huge cross from 40 yards out ends up on the head of Lokotsch. Clears the bar.
86
Daniel MacKay sent clean through and MacDonald saves well again!
89
Doran replaces Kennedy
90
Armstrong free kick straight into Ridgers hands
92
Full time: ICT 2-0 Raith Rovers
Raith Rovers
J MacDonald Tumilty K MacDonald Benedictus Armstrong Hendry Duku Matthews Musonda Tait Ross

Subs
Thomson Mendy Lokotsch Spencer Ugwe Arnott Coulson

Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Ridgers McKay Devine Deas Harper MacGregor Allardyce Kennedy Keatings Sutherland Storey

Subs
C Mackay Welsh Doran Vincent Nicholson D Mackay Todorov

The match highlights video will appear here the day after the match

Photo © Peter Paul ICT


Interviews will appear shortly

Raith Rovers get back to league duty this weekend, and it’ll be against opponents that they played not so long ago in Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

The two sides met a little over a week ago, playing out an exciting 3-3 draw at Stark’s Park in the group stages of the League Cup, a match which see-sawed one way then the next, before Raith took the bonus point with a win on penalties.

Manny Duku had given Rovers the lead in the 11th minute, only for Shane Sutherland to equalise in the 24th. Rovers enjoyed the better of the play in the first period, but the opposite was the case in the second, with Danny Devine’s own goal probably coming against the run of play.

Back came John Robertson’s side through, and they turned the game on its head with two goals in two minutes, with James Keatings restoring parity from the penalty spot, seconds before Roddy MacGregor tapped in a rebound to put the away side in front.

However, a frantic last ten minutes saw Raith push for a leveller, and they got it through Duku, before prevailing on penalties three to two.

It was Rovers first win over Inverness since 2000, when Raith won 2-1 up at Inverness in the First Division.

Both teams go into the game on the back of 1-0 wins against lower league opposition.

Raith defeated East Fife in the final game of their Betfred Cup campaign, thanks to a goal from Duku, while Inverness won by the same score line against East Fife, with a goal scored by Sutherland.

Raith’s record in this fixture doesn’t make for great reading, with one win and nine defeats from the last 10 meetings.

Saturday’s match referee will be Alan Newlands.

Head-To-Head League Record At Inverness:

Inverness Wins: 7 | Raith Rovers Wins: 2 | Draws: 1

Inverness Goals: 24 | Raith Rovers Goals: 11

Current Form:

Inverness: L-D-W-L-L-W

Raith Rovers: W-W-D-W-W-W

Top Scorers:

Inverness: Nikolay Todorov 3 | Shane Sutherland 2

Raith Rovers: Manny Duku 7 | Daniel Armstrong 3 | Ross Matthews 3

Match Odds:

Inverness: 6/4 | Raith Rovers: 13/8 | Draw: 5/2