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Caley Thistle big noise Michael Gardyne silences team-mates with table-topping goal

ICT's Michael Gardyne's winner sunk his former club Kilmarnock.
ICT's Michael Gardyne's winner sunk his former club Kilmarnock.

Michael Gardyne was thrilled to get his Caley Thistle team-mates off his back by bagging a priceless winner at Kilmarnock.

The former Ross County star, who scored a record 73 goals in an unbeatable 444 games for the Staggies, scorched the net with a wonderful early clincher to put ICT top of the Championship on Saturday.

The evergreen 35-year-old, who joined Inverness in the summer after not being kept out at Dingwall, hopes hitting the net in only his third league outing will silence his Caley Jags colleagues.

He said: “I had a wee feeling that I’d get off the mark. The lads have been on my case – they act like I’ve played 100 games and not scored when I’d only actually played three.

“It was nice to get the goal and get myself off the mark. It was always going to be hard going to Kilmarnock, so to get the win as well as another clean sheet was always a bonus. I was delighted.

“I put quite a lot of power in it. From that angle, you just want to hit the target and hit it as hard as you can and thankfully it’s gone in. It was maybe just a bit too hard for the goalie and a bit too close for him to react quicker.

“For me personally, it’s great to get off the mark and put in a good individual performance, but it was all about the team on Saturday.”I thought we were brilliant. Even the lads who came on, like Welshy (Sean Welsh). He does what he does and keeps us ticking over.

“Killie were on top at times, but we defended brilliantly.”

Feet on ground vital, says Gardyne

Gardyne won the second-tier title twice with County and, after four straight 1-0 wins for Inverness CT, there’s plenty of pride about the surge to the summit at Kilmarnock’s expense.

However, like head coach Billy Dodds, Gardyne insists their feet are planted firmly on the ground. He should know having won this league twice, no one can think beyond the next match.

The ex-Killie winger added: “Kilmarnock’s budget is well documented, but we will take it one game as it comes. I have won this league a couple of times and that’s exactly what you have to do.

The Caley Jags fans backed their team in good numbers at Kilmarnock.

“You can’t look too far ahead. It’s a great start, but that’s all it is. We’re only four games into a 36-game season. We’ve not done anything yet.

“We’ve got a good mixture of youth and experience, but we’ve also got the middle-aged guys who know the game. But it is far too early for us to be talking about winning leagues.

“For us, even in the dressing room, all we’re saying is that it’s a good start. The positive is keeping clean sheets. We are getting the goal to win and it would be nice to get a couple more goals, but the clean sheets are brilliant.

“Mark Ridgers and the back four have been great, but it starts at the front. Shane Sutherland, for example, works his socks off. It starts from there and the lads behind follow up on that.”

Solid defending kept Kilmarnock out

Gardyne was satisfied by the manner of the win as the players kept their hosts at bay to earn their table-topping three points.

He said: “I felt we had a great shape. Kilmarnock are a good team and they’ve had a great start as well. We knew they would come at us, especially at the start of the second half.

“They did that and put a lot of balls into the box, but we defended well and that’s what got us another clean sheet.”

ICT are home to strong Highland League starters Buckie Thistle in the SPFL Trust Trophy this weekend before welcoming second-placed Championship side Partick Thistle to Inverness on September 11.




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