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Caley Thistle start season with impressive victory at Hamilton

Hamilton v Caley Thistle
Hamilton v Caley Thistle

Caley Thistle kicked off their Scottish Premiership campaign with a deserved 2-0 win over Hamilton at New Douglas Park.

First-half goals by Billy Mckay and Ryan Christie saw John Hughes’ men overcome a newly-promoted Accies side playing their first top-flight match since 2011.

Despite finding themselves 2-0 down after 26 minutes, the Lanarkshire side showed glimpses of attacking threat, however the Caley Jags were the dominant side throughout and could easily have added more in the second-half.

Youngster Ryan Christie should have put the Caley Jags ahead after just six minutes.

Graeme Shinnie robbed defender Ziggy Gordon of the ball before passing to Billy Mckay, who quickly released the teenager in vast space 14 yards out, but he curled his shot wide of the right-hand post.

However Inverness had only four minutes to wait before they broke the deadlock, with Mckay taking full advantage of a defensive lapse by the hosts.

Caley Thistle started the season away to Hamilton Academical

Mikey Devlin’s attempted pass back fell short of goalkeeper Michael McGovern, allowing Mckay to nip in and loft the ball over his fellow Northern Irishman and give Caley Thistle the lead.

Hamilton should have equalised on 18 minutes however, as Danny Redmond’s free-kick from the left picked out unmarked player-manager Alex Neil, but he steered his effort wide.

John Collins at the Hamilton v Caley Thistle game
John Collins at the Hamilton v Caley Thistle game

Inverness doubled their lead with a brilliantly worked goal on 28 minutes. Ross Draper won the ball in midfield before striding forward, releasing Danny Williams whose shot was tipped away at full stretch by McGovern, but Christie reacted quickly to tap into the empty net.

Danny Redmond was presented with a fine chance to pull one back for the home side on 36 minutes, but sidefooted over Dean Brill’s goal from 16 yards.

Accies stepped up their efforts to halve the deficit before the break, with former Inverness winger Dougie Imrie playing Louis Longridge in, but his shot was palmed wide by Brill.

Caley went in deserved leaders at half time.

Imrie was again at the thick of Hamilton’s first attempt of the second period, but he headed straight at Brill from close range.

Inverness threatened on 58 minutes when Greg Tansey’s free-kick was palmed wide by McGovern, before the resulting corner saw Gary Warren nod wide.

More active forward play by Mckay saw him get the better of Canning on 66 minutes, carving out a shot from the edge of the box which McGovern held comfortably.

Mickael Antoine-Courier replaced Jason Scotland midway through the second-half for the hosts, and he almost made an immediate impact with a powerful shot Brill did well to block at his near post.

Inverness substitute Marley Watkins also came close to a perfect introduction, rasping the bar with a venomous shot from just inside the box, before Watkins’s shot was thwarted by McGovern on 85 minutes following a lovely throughball by Christie.

However, Hughes’ side closed the match out to take the three points back north and ensure a perfect start to the new season.

 

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