To start with a round of applause for the recorded 76 fans who made it to Somerset Park despite the road conditions in both North and South directions. The records also show that there was 1559 in total attendance although it looked more to me. And we were then treated to the best 9 minutes of the season. The first, in the eight minute, had a degree of luck to it. Superb through ball from Polworth and Nathan Austin took it round Rose and Doohan with a little help from Rose but he finished well which has not always been the case this season. And just as one bus leaves another turns up, three minutes later (certainly wasn’t sponsored by ScotRail). A terrible pass by Smith found Oakley who played in Nathan Austin who again rounded the keeper but knocked it in with his left foot. Not sure how the defender on the line missed the clearance but hey-ho. And as most if not every fan in the ground were shaking their heads we go three up. Liam Polworth sweetly stuck a low 20 yarder which went in via the post. As good a strike as I have seen this season. But any chance of a 7-0 Somerset repeat were soon dashed as Ayr appeared to waken up. They could well have got a goal back before half time. A header came off the crossbar and Cammy MacKay made a fine save just on the half time whistle. In many ways it was fortunate for us that we held out as the second half may have been even more arduous.
Enter Lawrence Shankland for the second half. It felt that the combination of a McCall bollicking, Shankland enthusing the crowd and Ayr lifting their effort made the second half a very, very long one. The first goal in the 53rd minute was made by Shankland and finished off by McDaid. Although I would have given the “assist” to Jamie McCart – although the ball did appear to hit a divot. There were two penalty claims thereafter although I feel that both being denied were the correct decision. The ball clearly played Tremarco’s hand and Oakley had lost the ball in a rumble in the box. Also in the 58th minute Robbo made his first substitution which basically puzzled me. He hooks Austin whos’ pace was the main worry for the Ayr back four and would have been a bonus on the break. And he brings on White ?!! Trafford replaced McDonald in the 70th minute but that was understandable. McCauley replaced Oakley in the 82nd minute and that was one that may have been better happening 15-20 minutes earlier. And three minutes later the inevitable Shankland goal made us fear that another draw was on the cards. And it was – and you could hear a collective sigh of relief from 76 Highlanders when Muirhead headed over in injury time – although I thought that Tremarco’s presence put him off.
Ayr United manager Ian McCall: "You can't give teams a three-goal start. I thought they had 20 minutes, then we dominated, but we couldn't get an equalizer – have to agree.
Inverness CT manager John Robertson: "You know if you lose a goal here, the atmosphere can change and it's a brilliant throw back coming here – spot on again.
Robbo added - "If we win on Saturday, we're back in the hunt going into the break for the cup. We're just targeting whatever team is directly above us. – who can argue against that ?