Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Duncan Ferguson hails Caley Thistle for reaching play-off final

The Inverness manager is relieved to get through - now they face Hamilton Accies in the final next week.

Celebrations after Billy Mckay's decisive goal for Inverness.
Celebrations after Billy Mckay's decisive goal for Inverness. Image: Craig Brown/SNS Group

Manager Duncan Ferguson praised Caley Thistle for overcoming nerves on a sun-kissed day to beat Montrose 1-0 to reach the Championship play-off final.

Billy Mckay’s 12th goal of the season – his first since mid-March – sealed a precious 1-0 aggregate victory against their League One opponents, who had Blair Lyons sent off late on.

Defeat would have sent ICT back to the third tier for the first time in 25 years, but now they will face Hamilton away on Wednesday before the home leg next Saturday.

Nerves when needing a second goal

Ferguson was delighted the club’s record scorer was on hand to net when it mattered most.

He said: “It is always nervy on an occasion like this. When you are 1-0 up, you will be nervous because you’re looking for the second goal.

“We dominated the game without creating many chances. They sat back on a low block.

“We were not good enough to break them down until Cammy Harper hit the post then we got a goal from a set-play. We were not very creative – but it was difficult conditions.

“Billy Mckay was there to score, as all good strikers are. He was in the right position and got a good run in front of Wallace (Duffy). It was a good first contact from Billy.

“We were worthy winners but until you get the second goal you are always going to be nervous.

“They had their chances (from Ali Shrive) and our goalie (Mark Ridgers) pulled off a good save.”

Nerves on the touchline: Inverness manager Duncan Ferguson. Image: Craig Brown/SNS Group

‘Tough’ final expected against Accies

Looking ahead to taking on League One runners-up Hamilton, who beat Alloa 5-4 on aggregate, the ICT boss said: “It looks like they’ve had a tough couple of games with Alloa, who got a man sent off as well.

“Hamilton were the second best team in that division and they deserve to be there.

“It’s going to be tough – there are no easy games.”

Plenty on the line in bid to beat drop

Four days on from Montrose and ICT drawing 0-0 at Links Park, it was back to the Highland capital for the second leg with it all on the line.

Ferguson made three changes to his starting 11 from Tuesday, with James Carragher, Wallace Duffy and on-loan Everton player Sean McAllister in for Danny Devine, Luis Longstaff and Samson Lawal.

Inverness forward Billy Mckay and Montrose’s Graham Webster. Image: Craig Brown/SNS Group

On-loan Ross County forward Alex Samuel had a crack from distance early on, with an arrowed shot which flew wide of the right post.

Inverness, back on the grass after the artificial surface in midweek, were passing with pace and Cammy Kerr’s shot from the edge of the box was taken wide with a deflection.

Cameron Moyes responded for Montrose, but his header was off target in his team’s first sight at goal.

Offside flag saves Caley Thistle

Eight minutes before half-time, Inverness breathed a huge sigh of relief when the lively Ryan Williamson darted down the right and Lyons tucked the ball past Mark Ridgers into the net.

However, the offside flag cut short the visitors’ celebrations. It was a big moment and Montrose argued that the call was wrong.

And there was time for one last chance in the first half and Ridgers needed to be quick to save from Lyons after Webster teed him up.

Montrose manager Stewart Petrie. Image: Craig Brown/SNS Group

McAllister’s afternoon was over 25 seconds into the second half when he went down with a thigh injury, similar to what he had just returned from. He was replaced by Longstaff.

Ferguson confirmed afterwards it looks a bad one and he’s unlikely to play next week.

Harper then had a chance when sub Lawal lost the ball in attack, but it broke kindly for the home wing-back and his effort came off the outside of the near post.

Close-range clincher from Mckay

The majority of the stadium were on their feet on 58 minutes when that crucial goal arrived.

Billy Mckay scores the winner. Image: Craig Brown/SNS Group

Harper swung in a corner, which Duffy nodded on and Mckay slid in to slam the ball into the net.

With 15 minutes left, a great diving save from Caley Jags number one Ridgers was required to touch a net-bound drive from sub Ali Shrive wide.

Tension was growing. This job was not over.

Montrose ended with 10 men though when Lyons was given his marching orders by referee Alan Muir after he seemingly clashed with Morgan Boyes, who was left clutching his face.

There was a push from Montrose late on, as expected, but ICT held and are Hamilton-bound in midweek.

Player ratings

CALEY THISTLE (3-5-2): Ridgers 6, Carragher 6, Savage 6, Boyes 6, Duffy 6 (Gilmour 75), Kerr 6, Anderson 5 (Lawal 46), McAllister 6 (Longstaff 47), Harper 7, Samuel 6 (Pepple 75), Mckay 7 (Brooks 66).

Subs not used: Mackay (GK), Devine, MacGregor, Ujdur.

MONTROSE (4-5-1): Gill 6, Quinn 6, Graham 6, Dillon 7, Steeves 6, Webster 6, Gardyne 6 (Shrive 67), Williamson 7 (Brown 60), Callaghan 6 (Masson 67), Machado 6 (Hester 60), Lyons 7.

Subs not used: Matthews (GK), Watson, Hermiston, Batchelor, Shrive, Craig.

Referee: Alan Muir.

Attendance: 2,089.

Man of the match: Billy Mckay.