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Caley Thistle inflict 3-1 defeat on rivals Ross County in Highland derby to reach Scottish Cup last-16

Daniel MacKay celebrates his goal against Ross County.
Daniel MacKay celebrates his goal against Ross County.

Caley Thistle came from behind to defeat rivals Ross County 3-1 in the Scottish Cup third round.

The Staggies had taken the lead in the first Highland derby in exactly two years courtesy of Billy Mckay, however Nikolay Todorov restored parity within 60 seconds.

Second half goals from Daniel MacKay and Shane Sutherland secured a deserved victory for Neil McCann’s Championship side, who will take their place in Sunday’s fourth round draw.

County made four changes from the side which went down 1-0 to St Johnstone in their last outing on March 20. Oli Shaw, Iain Vigurs, Stephen Kelly and Michael Gardyne were drafted in, to replace Alex Iacovitti, Harry Paton, Jordan White and Jordan Tillson.

Inverness made three changes from the side which racked up a fourth successive win against Arbroath the previous weekend, with Scott Allan handed a first start following his loan move from Hibernian, while Miles Storey and Brad Mckay also came in for Shane Sutherland, Cameron Harper and Roddy MacGregor.

Inverness began the brighter of the two sides, with Danny Devine nodding wide from an Allan corner, while Scott Allardice took aim with a long-range effort which drifted well over.

County took time to impose their threat on the visitors, with Iain Vigurs seeing a free-kick deflected into the hands of Mark Ridgers, who was also off his line quickly to thwart Mckay following a fine Vigurs pass.

The game burst into life with two goals in as many minutes shortly before the break. The Staggies made the breakthrough on 37 minutes, when Kelly’s corner was flicked on at the near post by Shaw, to tee up Mckay for a predatory close-range finish.

Billy Mckay gave Ross County the lead against Inverness.

The lead lasted just a minute however, with Caley Jags making the perfect response from a set-piece of their own. Sean Welsh’s deep delivery was knocked across the box by Robbie Deas, teeing up Todorov to drill a fine low finish past Ross Laidlaw.

Nikolay Todorov celebrates netting for Inverness against Ross County

Inverness had another chance just before the break, with Allan shooting low past the post from the edge of the box.

The visitors turned the game on its head courtesy of a superb solo goal by MacKay on 54 minutes. David Carson released MacKay following a Staggies corner, with the winger striding forward past both Charlie Lakin and Leo Hjelde before slotting past Laidlaw.

Daniel MacKay nets Inverness’ second goal against Ross County

County looked to claw their way back into the tie, with substitute White flashing a header just wide following a Lakin delivery, while Kelly and Lakin were off target with strikes from distance.

Sutherland added a late third goal however, slotting home after MacGregor had played Deas’ free-kick into his path, with the goal securing a deserved passage into the fourth round.

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