Team Pd GD Pt
1 Arbroath 22 19 41
2 Inverness CT 21 12 37
3 Kilmarnock 21 12 37
4 Raith Rovers 22 7 35
5 Partick Thistle 20 14 33
6 Hamilton Academical 22 -13 24
7 Ayr United 21 -15 21
8 Greenock Morton 21 -7 20
9 Queen of the South 21 -12 18
10 Dunfermline 21 -17 18
Updated: 15th Jan
Tuesday November 30th 2021

Inverness CT 4 – 5 Raith Rovers

THOMSON HEROIC IN CUP SHOOT-OUT

In his first start of the season, goal-keeper Robbie Thomson was the hero for Raith with a fine one-on-one save in normal time to deny Lewis Jamieson, and a penalty save in the shoot-out giving Raith a path into the SPFL Trust Trophy semi-finals. With these two evenly-matched teams trading blows for much of the ninety minutes, a penalty shoot-out looked the likely outcome well before referee Barry Cook’s final whistle, and spot-kicks from Tait, Berra, Varian, Connolly, and Liam Dick gave Thomson the platform for his match-winning save.

While Inverness had perhaps the better of the chances over the piece, Raith’s defence was resolute, with a back four including a start for captain Kyle Benedictus and Thomson deserving their clean sheet. While the home side’s MacGregor, Jamieson, and Mckay each had their moments, Raith could look back on chances for both Poplatnik and Varian as evidence that they were fully deserving of their win. While Raith’s long spell without a normal-time win over the Caley Jags goes on, the shoot-out win secures a semi-final against Kilmarnock for a place in the Cup Final next year.

The rare sight of the joint holders of a Trophy meeting in the following year’s completion meant this encounter would be one for future football trivia quizzes whatever the result – with last season’s competition abandoned following the semi-final stage, this quarter-final began with each side legitimately claimed to have one hand on the cup. John McGlynn made a number of changes from the weekend’s hard-earned win at Falkirk in the Scottish Cup, not least with a first appearance of the season in goal for Robbie Thomson, who would have a decisive say in the final outcome. There was a welcome return to the starting line-up for Kyle Benedictus, with Matej Poplatnik also starting in the striker’s role.

With their previous League fixture a win at Palmerston, and the prospect of a Cup replay away to Greenock Morton following a draw at the weekend, Caledonian Thistle made six changes to their line-up for this quarter-final tie. There was a change in goal as the experienced Mark Ridgers made way for Cammy Mackay – who would also have a number of good saves to repay his manager’s faith – while Harper, Welsh, Walsh, Jamieson and McDonald were brought in at the expense of regular starters Devine, Broadfoot, Allardice, Sutherland, and Doran.

Caley Thistle Head Coach Billy Dodds clearly thought his line-up had enough to beat John McGlynn’s men, as the home side started the better of the two. While Poplatnik’s downward header was the first chance on goal, Caley Thistle were the first to start dominating possession, as McAlear Jamieson and MacGregor all had early touches. The distinctive David Carson was prominent on the home side’s right flank.

Aiden Connolly – substituted early in the Cup win on Saturday following Reghan Tumilty’s red card – started as if he had a point to prove. Scuttling infield from the far touchline, Connolly was a real thorn in the home side’s defence in the first half – his drive from an Ethan Ross lay-off in the fifth minute nearly broke the deadlock, with home keeper Cammy Mackay grateful to see the stinging drive find only the side netting. Ross and Tumilty combined well moments later, nearly setting Connolly free, only for a last-minute intervention from the well-maned Inverness defence clearing their lines.

As the match began to settle, it was the home side who were creating the better openings. Reece McAlear fired a shot at Robbie Thomson, although his aim was narrowly awry; a Carson cross was well gathered by the young Raith keeper; another Carson break saw Lewis Jamieson scamper clear, dispatching a crisp strike which brought a fine save from Thomson.

With each side committing numbers in midfield, there were a number of narrow off-side decisions as the respective front-men looked to break the high defensive lines. Christophe Berra and Kyle Benedictus constantly had Cameron MacGregor and Billy Mckay on their shoulders looking to race clear; for Raith, Poplatnik’s wily running had Welsh and Deas constantly on edge.

Mid-way through the half, there was a real let-off for the visitors, as Carson’s deep cross was flicked back across goal by Billy Mckay, only for a retreating Kyle Benedictus to head into his own net – the linesman’s flag saving Raith on this occasion. Minutes later, it was Raith who were denied – Matej Poplatnik raced through and drew a fine save from Cammy Mackay, only for a very late flag from the stand-side linesman to draw a veil of anti-climax over Poplatnik’s run and shot. While the principle of the “late flag” rule makes sense on paper, the rule’s application is often frustrating – Poplatnik clearly felt hard done by on this occasion, trudging disconsolately back to half-way.

There was another injury set-back for Rovers moments later – Ethan Ross broke down defending a Raith corner and was unable to continue; Blaise Riley-Snow joining the fray, the young midfielder sweeping up a Jamieson break with his opening touch. Rovers would have to re-jig, with Tait and Matthews pushing further forward in Ross’ absence.

Despite the reshuffle, Raith created their best opening of the half in their next attack – Benedictus’ high cross-field ball found Liam Dick bursting inside from full-back, with Connolly’s cross eventually headed clear. Benedictus’ firm header was repelled by the home keeper with five minutes till the break as Raith threatened again.

A fairly even first half lead to the home side strengthening their offering after the interval, with the experienced Shane Sutherland and Scott Allardice both introduced – Sutherland particularly was dropping off into midfield to pick up the position occupied by Blaise Riley-Snow, looking to disrupt Raith’s possession and cause problems with his energetic runs left and right. Billy Dodds also gave a first team debut to under-18 midfielder Kenny McInnes, with the youngster given forty minutes to make his mark.

Raith shuffled the pack as well – Kieran Mitchell introduced on the hour for Dario Zanatta, given a good half-hour to gain valuable experience against a robust Inverness defence. Ethon Varian also replaced Matej Poplatnik, as John McGlynn sensed the home side on top and looked to re-assert Raith’s position.

The best chance of the game fell to the home side with twenty minutes to go, as Reece McAlear fired a sublime cross-field pass to Tom Walsh, creating a two-on-one attack out of nothing – Walsh’s square ball gave Lewis Jamieson a clear run in on goal, but Robbie Thomson stood up wonderfully well, winning the individual duel with the Highlanders’ front-man, blocking away with a strong left hand. Sutherland played in Jamieson again moments later, with Liam Dick’s last-minute clearance averting the danger.

Inverness were having the better of possession, with youngster McInnes showing an excellent appetite for the game, but Raith were still a danger. A fine move from right to left, with Tumilty and Tait feeding an overlapping Liam Dick saw the full-back’s cross headed firmly at keeper Cammy Mackay by Ethon Varian – the home keeper held on to keep the scores blank. Connolly was next to try, with a rasping drive on his left-foot whistling just past the post with Mackay at full stretch.

Although by the end of the ninety minutes Caley Thistle’s line-up had a more experienced look to it – with Aaron Doran having joined Sutherland and Allardice as a second-half substitute – the more youthful Raith line-up did itself proud in taking the match the distance. Kieran Mitchell looked bright and energetic upfront, while Tom Lang looked assured and competent as a replacement for captain Benedictus, as he has done in several previous starts this season, benefitting no doubt from the experience of Christophe Berra alongside him. Aaron Arnott also looked combative in midfield. Barry Cook’s whistle brought normal time to a close, in a match where the sides were well-matched through-out.

With no extra time in SPFL Trust matches, it was straight to penalties – Raith appearing to win both coin-tosses, to take the first penalty in a shoot-out in front of the redoubtable band of travelling supporters. Dylan Tait and Aaron Doran each scored their sides’ first; Berra and full-back Cameron Harper followed suit; but Ross Matthews and Robbie Deas each theirs saved. Ethon Varian and Lewis Jamieson made it three apiece; Aiden Connolly’s blast put the pressure on Scott Allardice, but the experienced front-man was a match for the situation. In sudden death, Liam Dick’s finish gave Shane Sutherland a question to answer, and Robbie Thomson pulled off the match-winning save to send Raith into the semi-finals, with a match-up against fellow Championship side Kilmarnock in prospect.


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Welcome to tonight's Quarter Final SPFL Trust Trophy; Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Raith Rovers. Many changes to the Raith team tonight from Saturday's Scottish Cup 3rd round win.
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Inverness and Raith joint holders of this cup. Tonight can Raith put to bed the 21 years of the last win against ICT?
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Raith get the game under way
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Zantta picks up the ball he gets the ball crossed into the box, Poplatnik heads down but Mackay for ICT collects
3
Matthews clears as ICT get the ball into the box
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Oooft, good play from Raith as Ross lays the ball on to Connolly. His shot hits the side netting
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Free kick ICT as Zanatta fouls one of their players
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McDonald for ICT takes it. Gets the ball lifted into the box but it comes to nothing
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Good link up play between Ross and Tumilty. The former tries to get the ball through to Connolly but ICT intercept
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Tumilty with a vital clearance as ICT press
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McAlear pings a shot and thankfully it's wide
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ICT get the ball into the Raith box but it doesn't trouble Thomson who comfortably collects
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Carson gets by Raith, passes to Jamieson who fires in a low shot forcing Thomson to get down to save
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Zanatta from a Raith free kick gets the ball into the ICT box but ball is cleared
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Ball is put through to Poplatnik but he is offside
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Free kick ICT as Tait fouls deep in the Raith half
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Double oooft...ICT get the ball to the back post ball Is headed towards goal...it looks like Benedictus has headed in an OG but thank goodness the linesmen has flagged offside against ICT
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Ross battles through ICT midfield, gets the ball to Zanatta who takes it to near the corner but ICT are there to challenge
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Berra does well to jostle ICT off the ball
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Tumilty clears from an ICT corner
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Looks as though Poplatnik gets through his shot is fired straight at Mackay who gets down but the linesman eventually flags for offside
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Looks like Raith are being forced into an early substitution as Ross is taken off and Riley-Snow comes on
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Dick with a cheeky back heeler to Tait who passes to Connolly his effort is cleared and corner to Raith
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Tumilty chests down the ball for Thomson to collect as ICT get the ball into the box
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Free kick Raith deep in ICT half
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Connolly from the freekick gets the ball to the back post, Benedictus is there to jump up and head the ball down, McKay fumbles a bit but then composes to collect
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Riley-Snow booked for a late challenge
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ICT pushing forward but play ends with offside
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Zanatta tries to feed the ball through to Poplatnik but ICT intercept
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Reg blows for half time Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0 Raith 0. A fairly even first half
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ICT get the game underway. ICT have made a half time substitution off goes Mckay and on comes Sutherland
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ICT with the earlier threat as they push forward but Berra clears
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ICT get the ball to the front of the box but Raith clear
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Matthews intercepts an ICT ball, he launches it upfield but nothing comes of it
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ICT come close as they try to drive the ball home but linesman flags offside
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Riley-Snow gently lifts the ball upfield for Poplatnik but it's a tad too heavy
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ICT try to slip the ball through to Walsh but Berra is there to mop up
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Free kick ICT just at the half way line
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Double substitution for Raith..off go Poplatnik and Zanatta and on come Varian and Mitchell
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Free kick ICt approx 25 yards out
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McAlear takes the free kick..ball skied
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Play halted as Deas receives treatment
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Play back underway as ICT push forward again
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Raith free kick approx 30 yards out
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Tait takes it but ball is well wide
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ICT make a double substitution off go Welsh and MacGregor and on come Allardice and MacInnes
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Berra gets the ball cleared as ICT put the ball into the Raith box
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Connolly tries for a shot but his effort is wide
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Free kick Raith after a foul on Varian
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Long ball to Benedictus who heads it on but Matthews can't get to the ball to keep it in play
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Important save by Thomson as ICT are one on one with him
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Free kick Raith just in their half
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Raith free kick after a foul on Tumilty
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Berra again with the clearance as ICT get the ball into the box
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Raith with a vital clearance as ICT get the ball low into the box
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With 15 min to go Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0 Raith 0
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Corner Raith
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Ball is swung in to the back post, ball headed in to the mix, Mackay punches clear
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Double substitution for ICT off go McAlear and Carson and on come Doran and Carnihan
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Raith double sub off Benedictus and Riley-Snow and bring on Arnott and Lang
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Walsh has a pop but his effort is wide
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Connolly fires a ball towards towards ICT goal but ball is blocked
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Tait gets the ball long but it comes to nothing and Mackay gathers
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Tait gets the ball into the box to Varian but his header comes to nothing
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Connolly this time gets the ball to the centre of the box, Varian is there but again can't convert
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Connolly not far away with his effort there but ball just wide
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Raith with a long ball but it doesn't trouble the ICT defence or keeper
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Mckay collects as the ball falls into the ICT box
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Ref blows for full time Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0 Raith 0.....game goes to penalties
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Penalties will be taken in front of the Rovers away support and Raith will go first
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Tait to go first
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TAIT scores
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Doran for iCT...scores
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BERRA scores for Raith
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Harper for ICT scores
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Matthews penalty saved!!
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Deas for ICT .... goal saved
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VARIAN SCORES FOR RAITH
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Jamieson for ICT scores
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CONNOLLY SCOREA FOR RAITH
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Allardice scores for ICT
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DICK SCORES FOR RAITH
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THOMSON SAVES.....RAITH ADVANCE TO THE SEMI FINALS
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An even game that went to penalties and sudden death...RAITH go through 5 - 4 on penalties and will meet Kilmarnock in the semi final
Inverness Caledonian Thistle: Mackay, Harper, Welsh, Deas, Carson, Mckay, MacGregor, Walsh, Jamieson, McDonald, McAlear

Subs: Ridgers, Doran, Sutherland, Allardice, MacInnes, Barron, Carnihan, Proudfoot

Raith Rovers: Thomson, Tumilty, Dick, Berra, Benedictus, Connolly, Matthews, Zanatta, Tait, Ross, Poplatnik

Subs: Musonda, Lang, Varian, Riley-Snow, Arnott, Mitchell, Young

John McGlynn spoke to RaithTV after the win at Inverness in the SPFL Trust Trophy:

Raith Rovers made it 12 games unbeaten at the weekend, after a fine win over League One Falkirk in the Scottish Cup Third Round.

Despite Reghan Tumilty’s early dismissal, goals from Ross Matthews and Ethan Ross saw off the Bairns at the Falkirk Stadium, to earn Rovers a place in the last 32.

However, if ever a tie was going to test Rovers on an unbeaten stretch, it was always going to be a game against a side which has been the definition of a bogey team.

It’s been 21 years and 25 attempts since Rovers defeated Inverness Caledonian Thistle, their opponents in Tuesday evening’s SPFL Trust Trophy quarter final.

The two teams are currently the joint holders of this competition, after the tournament was curtailed after they both reached the 2020 final, while the tournament was mothballed last year, and for the winners of this tie, a clash with either Kilmarnock or Hamilton await in the semi-final.

The two have met twice already this season, with Kilmarnock coming out on top in the first encounter in August, when a late goal from Roddy MacGregor ensured all three points stayed in the Highlands.

It was even closer at Stark’s Park in October though, despite Rovers being reduced to 10 men in the first half, after Ross Matthews dismissal just before the interval.

Aidan Connolly put the 10 men ahead with half an hour remaining, but Sean Welsh’s leveller meant the teams shared the points on the day.

Inverness’ record in this fixture doesn’t make pretty reading for those of a Raith persuasion, with 7 wins and three draws from the last 10 meetings.

The referee for Tuesday night’s game is Barry Cook.

Inverness wins: 5 | Raith Rovers wins: 0 | Draws: 1

Inverness goals: 16 | Raith Rovers goals: 5

 

Current Form:

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

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

Top Scorers:

Inverness: Billy McKay 10 | Michael Gardyne 5

Raith Rovers: Dario Zanatta 8 | Ethan Ross 5

Match Odds:

Inverness: 21/20 | Raith Rovers: 11/5 | Draw: 12/5