Doran and Mckay help Caley Thistle down the Doonhamers

Aaron Doran celebrates with teammates Charlie Trafford and Liam Polworth after scoring to make it 1-0
Aaron Doran celebrates with teammates Charlie Trafford and Liam Polworth after scoring to make it 1-0

Goals from Aaron Dorran and Brad Mckay earned Caley Thistle a 2-0 victory over Queen of the South at Palmerston.

Doran broke the deadlock with seven minutes played before Mckay headed home in the 20th minute.

Queens improved after the break but could find no way past an inspired Mark Ridgers.

The Doonhamers went into the match on a woeful run of six successive defeats and without a win in the league since completing a Highland double at the start of January by winning 2-1 at the Caledonian Stadium before a 4-0 home win over Ross County.

Caley Thistle, by contrast, arrived in upbeat mood after earning a spot in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup with a 2-1 win at Dundee United last Sunday.

Unsurprisingly, John Robertson stuck with the same team that started at Tannadice, while 16-year-olds Millar Gamble and Fraser Russell were named on the Caley Thistle bench for the first time.

Caley Thistle started well but it was the hosts who created the first shot on goal but Ridgers was equal to Kyle Jacobs’ low drive.

It was John Robertson’s side who broke the deadlock with only seven minutes elapsed when Doran pounced on a slack back-pass from Kyle Jacobs, rounded Queens goalkeeper Alan Martin and slotted home from an acute angle.

Queens slowly came back into the game and went close after 18 minutes when Michael Doyle’s hanging cross was nodded just wide by Lyndon Dykes.

The Caley Jags were playing some entertaining football and they doubled their advantage after 20 minutes when Brad Mckay took advantage of a static Queens defence to nod home from a Liam Polworth corner.

The visitors had the ball in the net for a third time soon after but Jordan White’s header was ruled out for a foul on Doonhamers defender Callum Fordyce.

A brilliant block from Mckay prevented Dykes pulling one back before Caley Thistle went close to a third at the other end.

Polworth was inches away from turning home a Jordan White effort that trickled agonisingly across goal before White somehow volleyed over from three yards out after a Jamie McCart header had bounced back off the crossbar.

Queens, who changed their goalkeeper at half-time with Jack Leighfield coming on to replace Martin, made a positive start to the second half with Dykes almost getting on the end of a Stephen Dobbie cross.

White headed wide at the other end as Caley Jags made their first foray forward of the second period but it was Queens who were enjoying the better of play with Mark Ridgers called upon to make an excellent save to deny Dobbie.

The Caley Jags goalkeeper made another important stop on the hour mark when Dykes raced clear on goal, only for his effort to be pushed wide for a fruitless corner.

The home side’s frustration continued as Ridgers produced another superb save to prevent Dobbie from notching his 39th goal of the season.

White went close to adding a third as time ticked down but it mattered not as Caley Thistle held on for all three points.