Scottish Premiership
Inverness CT2St Johnstone1

Inverness Caledonian Thistle 2-1 St Johnstone

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

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

Full Time

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

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Nick Ross.

Substitution

Substitution, Inverness CT. Nick Ross replaces Aaron Doran.

Foul by Aaron Doran (Inverness CT).

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

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

Foul by Chris Millar (St. Johnstone).

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Ross Draper.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Josh Meekings.

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

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

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

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

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

Substitution

Substitution, Inverness CT. Danny Williams replaces Ryan Christie.

Substitution

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

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.

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

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

Foul by Frazer Wright (St. Johnstone).

Booking

Marley Watkins (Inverness CT) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Marley Watkins (Inverness CT).

Brian Easton (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Gary Warren (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

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

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Adam Morgan replaces David Wotherspoon.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Michael O'Halloran replaces Simon Lappin.

Goal!

Goal! Inverness CT 2, St. Johnstone 0. Ryan Christie (Inverness CT) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Graeme Shinnie.

Booking

Gary McDonald (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card.

Attempt saved. Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Goal!

Goal! Inverness CT 1, St. Johnstone 0. Marley Watkins (Inverness CT) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Aaron Doran.

Ross Draper (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lee Croft (St. Johnstone).

Foul by Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT).

Chris Millar (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Chris Millar (St. Johnstone).

Attempt saved. Billy McKay (Inverness CT) right footed shot from long range on the right is saved in the centre of the goal.

Foul by Marley Watkins (Inverness CT).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Inverness CT7511104616
2Hamilton7421115614
3Dundee Utd6411129313
4Kilmarnock732277011
5Celtic5311124810
6Dundee624053210
7Aberdeen63038629
8St Johnstone730458-39
9Partick Thistle621310827
10Motherwell620437-46
11St Mirren6105310-73
12Ross County7007419-150
View full Scottish Premiership table

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