Scottish Premiership
Inverness CTInverness Caledonian Thistle2St JohnstoneSt Johnstone1

Inverness Caledonian Thistle 2-1 St Johnstone

By Rob MacleanBBC Scotland at the Caledonian Stadium

Inverness CT responded to back-to-back defeats with a win that sends them back to the top of the Premiership.

The Highlanders struck twice in five second-half minutes through Marley Watkins and Ryan Christie.

St Johnstone gave themselves hope with Brian Graham's second goal in three games, but their late flurry failed to produce another.

A deserved victory lifts John Hughes' side two points above previous leaders Hamilton.

And the three points were a tonic following a League Cup loss against Rangers and last weekend's humbling at Partick Thistle.

The first half did not have much in the way of goalmouth action, and a deflected shot from Greg Tansey, which flew over the top, was as close as either team got to a breakthrough.

The home side - with Graeme Shinnie and Ross Draper back after suspension - dominated possession in the first exchanges, but they struggled to find enough to unlock the opposing defence.

Alan Mannus
Saints' Alan Mannus punches clear

Hughes' men saw less of the play after the break, but struck twice before the hour mark to put themselves in a strong position and settle supporters' nerves.

First, in a speedy counter attack, the lively Aaron Doran broke down the left and squared the ball for Watkins, who side-footed home his first goal of the season.

That gave Inverness an edge, and the spark that the game had so far been lacking, as they looked to widen the gap between themselves and the deflated visitors.

And their positive work paid off as they managed to find the net again.

After the Saints backline failed to clear when they had the chance, 19-year-old Christie fired in an angled shot, which slipped through the gloves of goalkeeper Alan Mannus and squirmed over the line to double the advantage.

The tie was brought back to life for the travelling side when on-loan Dundee United striker Graham grabbed his third goal for the Perth team with a flashing header from Chris Millar's cross.

But, although it made the closing stages more interesting, Hughes' charges held out for a well-earned win.

Line-ups

Inverness CT

  • 12Brill
  • 2Raven
  • 3Shinnie
  • 6Meekings
  • 5Warren
  • 16Tansey
  • 10DoranSubstituted forRossat 90+3'minutes
  • 8DraperBooked at 47mins
  • 15WatkinsBooked at 73mins
  • 22ChristieSubstituted forWilliamsat 81'minutes
  • 7Mckay

Substitutes

  • 1Esson
  • 11Ross
  • 14Devine
  • 17Horner
  • 18Tremarco
  • 19Williams
  • 20Polworth

St Johnstone

  • 1Mannus
  • 24Easton
  • 2Mackay
  • 6Anderson
  • 5Wright
  • 8McDonaldBooked at 65minsSubstituted forDavidsonat 79'minutes
  • 4LappinSubstituted forO'Halloranat 67'minutes
  • 22Croft
  • 7Millar
  • 10WotherspoonSubstituted forMorganat 70'minutes
  • 14Graham

Substitutes

  • 11Morgan
  • 15Banks
  • 16Caddis
  • 18Davidson
  • 19Miller
  • 29O'Halloran
  • 34Kerr
Referee:
Calum Murray
Attendance:
2,770

Match Stats

Home TeamInverness CTAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home14
Away5
Shots on Target
Home5
Away1
Corners
Home4
Away6
Fouls
Home11
Away15

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Inverness CT 2, St. Johnstone 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Inverness CT 2, St. Johnstone 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Nick Ross.

  4. Substitution

    Substitution, Inverness CT. Nick Ross replaces Aaron Doran.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Aaron Doran (Inverness CT).

  6. Post update

    David Mackay (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  7. Post update

    Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Chris Millar (St. Johnstone).

  9. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Ross Draper.

  10. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Josh Meekings.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Adam Morgan (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Danny Williams (Inverness CT) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  13. Post update

    David Raven (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone).

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Inverness CT. Danny Williams replaces Ryan Christie.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Murray Davidson replaces Gary McDonald.

  18. Goal!

    Goal! Inverness CT 2, St. Johnstone 1. Brian Graham (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lee Croft.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

  20. Post update

    Ryan Christie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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