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Airdrieonians 2-1 Caley Thistle – The Verdict: Player ratings, talking points and star man as ICT fall to bottom of the table

Bad luck and poor judgement combine to help the Diamonds on their way to victory - sending Inverness to a sixth successive loss.

Callum Gallagher stays focused to put Airdrie 2-0 ahead against ICT. Images: Craig Brown/SNS Group
Callum Gallagher stays focused to put Airdrie 2-0 ahead against ICT. Images: Craig Brown/SNS Group

Caley Thistle dropped to the foot of the Championship after a 2-1 defeat at Airdrie – making it six successive losses for Billy Dodds’ men.

A Cammy Harper own goal and Calum Gallagher strike had the Diamonds on their way.

Airdrie seemed to cope following a red card just after the break for Adam Frizzell, but Nathan Shaw’s goal on 70 minutes put it all in the balance. However, there was to be no comeback point for the visitors and the horror run continues.

It means they sit on zero points, three points behind Morton, Ayr United and Arbroath after their first three fixtures.

ICT slipped up in their opening league match of the season 2-1 against Queen’s Park before losing 1-0 at Ayr United a fortnight ago.

Inverness manager Billy Dodds.

They were facing a Diamonds side which had pushed Premiership opponents Ross County to extra-time last weekend in the Viaplay Cup and had three points from their recent 2-1 victory over Partick Thistle. 

Rhys McCabe’s team had won five of their seven outings – including a 3-2 cup win in Inverness last month.

And they came out of last week’s 4-3 extra-time Viaplay Cup defeat against Ross County with a lot of credit, thanks to two late goals forcing an extra half an hour.

Inverness could not have made a worse start here. A swift home break down the right ended with Lewis McGregor feeding the ball to Gabby McGill, whose shot deflected off Harper, caught out Mark Ridgers and spun into the net.

Airdrie’s Callum Gallagher celebrates after making it 2-0.

ICT settled into the game and enjoyed some forays forward, probing at their opponents, who were standing strong.

There were appeals from the Diamonds fans on 12 minutes when Murray Aiken went down in the box under a challenge from David Carson, but referee Dan McFarlane let play continue and Calum Gallagher shot wide of the the left post.

The ever-alert Gallagher, however, was the man to cash in with Airdrie’s second goal on 32 minutes and it came from a mix-up at the back.

A heavily-weighted pass from Jake Davidson put Danny Devine in trouble. He was robbed by the striker, who kept his head and guided the ball past Ridgers.

ICT were almost back in the game five minutes later when striker Austin Samuels slammed a shot off the crossbar after Keith Bray teed him up. They needed to find a way back – somehow.

Caley Thistle midfielder Keith Bray goes on the attack.

Luis Longstaff replaced Davidson at the start of the second half and was quickly involved, swiping a fine pass on to Billy Mckay, but his drive was turned behind for a corner by keeper Josh Rae.

One minute later, Devine was appealing that his effort had crossed the goal-line, but those claims fell on deaf ears.

On 50 minutes, Caley Thistle had the numerical advantage when Frizzell was sent off for a second booking after taking down Bray in a challenge.

With 20 minutes to go, ICT were thrown a lifeline as Longstaff’s drive hit the post and Shaw was almost on the line to knock it home.

Caley Thistle pushed forward during the remaining time, but never got a real glimpse at goal, with a long-range Shaw drive off target being the closest call.

Talking points

When you’re luck isn’t in…

Leaking a goal inside the first minute was not in the plan, but when you need a result, luck can escape teams.

It was a bright move that led to the cross for the early breakthrough, but for McGill’s shot to beat Ridgers, it had to change direction.

The ball going into the net via Harper was unlucky, although they responded well to that setback.

Fans and players have talked recently about winning games by any means, but when bad fortune is added to the mix, the task becomes more tricky.

Defensive mistakes again causing big problems

When the team are up against it, mistakes must be kept to a minimum, or at least confined to less dangerous areas than their opponents’ final third.

However, the good work the side put in after the first goal was undone by a lapse in concentration.

Errors were a feature within Viaplay Cup defeats. Having them now is far from ideal and is heaping pressure on boss Billy Dodds, who is hugely frustrated.

Airdrie’s Adam Frizzell is sent off for a second bookable offence. Image: SNS.

Three points only option when the Pars come calling

This defeat dropping ICT to the foot of the table will send alarm bells ringing and supporters are not happy.

Reinforcements in defence, especially with Max Ram joining Gloucester City on Friday, will be expected before the transfer window shuts on Friday.

All eyes will be fixed firmly on the Caledonian Stadium on Saturday when nothing less than a win over Dunfermline will do.

Talking tactics

Billy Dodds made two changes to the line-up which lost at Ayr, with Wallace Duffy in for Zak Delaney and Austin Samuel given the nod ahead of Luis Longstaff. ICT set up in a 4-4-2, with Billy Mckay leading the line alongside Samuels.

Airdrie lined up in their usual attacking 4-3-3 system, unchanged from the 11 who started against Ross County. Former Rangers youth midfielder Gavin Gallagher, who joined on Friday began the afternoon on the bench.

Referee watch

Man-in-the-middle Dan McFarlane’s decision to send off Frizzell was largely uncontested and he was not persuaded Devine had scored either. There were plenty of challenges flying in throughout the match, keeping the official on his toes.

Nathan Shaw wheels away after pulling ICT back into the match at 2-1.

Player ratings

AIRDRIEONIANS (4-3-3): Rae 6, Watson 6 Fordyce 6, Taylor-Sinclair 6, Ballantyne 6, Frizell 5, Aiken 7, McMaster 6, McGill 6 (O’Connor 59), Calum Gallagher 7 (Todorov 59), McGregor 7 (Hancock 83).

Subs not used: Hutton (GK), McCabe, Dunlop, Gavin Gallagher, Cassidy.

CALEY THISTLE (4-4-2): Ridgers 6, Davidson 5 (Longstaff 46), Devine 5, Duffy 6, Harper 6, Bray 6 (Thompson 84), Carson 6 (Delaney 72), Gilmour 5, Shaw 5, Billy Mckay 5 (Lodovica 72), Samuels 5 (Brooks 59).

Subs not used: Cammy MacKay (GK), Hyde.

Star man

Callum Gallagher: His composure for the second goal allied with being the main focal -point made his such a potent player. The only surprise was him being subbed with a half an hour remaining.