Ross County go out of the Scottish Cup after defeat to Inverness Caledonian Thistle in Highland derby
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Ross County 1 (Mckay)
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3 (Todorov, MacKay, Sutherland)
Inverness Caledonian Thistle became the first team to put their name in the hat for the fourth round of the Scottish Cup after coming out on top of their Highland derby against Ross County.
Set pieces led to all three goals in the match, with Billy Mckay opening the scoring in the 38th minute only for Nikolay Todorov to square things up again a minute later.
Daniel MacKay put the visitors ahead with a wonderful solo counter attack in the 55th minute, before Shane Sutherland rounded off the result with a late goal to seal the visitors' progress.
Both teams struggled to find their groove in the early going, with passes going astray at both ends of the pitch.
Daniel MacKay looked to be getting a bit of joy down the right flank against Leo Hjelde, only for a blue shirt to come across and cut him off or intercept his attempted pass to a teammate.
He even managed to find the net after latching on to Scott Allan's through ball, only for the offside flag to deny him an opening goal.
To their credit, it was the Caley Jags who looked the more organised and active of the two sides, with Ross County guilty of playing too often for a target man who was not there – as Jordan White started the game on the bench.
Once the Staggies switched to trying to play through balls in behind the Inverness defenders rather than trying to beat them in the air, they found slightly more success, but it still took a set piece routine to break the deadlock.
County won a corner in the 38th minute which Stephen Kelly sent towards the near post, where Oli Shaw had made a run to flick the ball into the middle.
Billy Mckay was there waiting, and thumped the ball into the net from close range to give County the lead against his former side.
If the hosts had believed they would take control of the game from there, they were sorely mistaken, as just a minute later Caley Thistle had equalised.
Once again it came from a dead ball situation, with Sean Welsh sending a high ball into the penalty area from just inside County's half, which was knocked down perfectly into the path of Nikolay Todorov who smacked the ball neatly into the far corner.
With the match evenly poised once again at the start of the second half, yet another Ross County corner led to a goal – only this time it was for the visitors.
David Carson managed to clear Kelly's ball away this time, finding MacKay who charged forward.
Cutting in from the left flank, he squeezed his way between the two blue shirts trying to stop him and coolly slotted past Ross Laidlaw to give Inverness the lead.
Ross County would have been hoping for some late drama to keep their cup dream alive, but instead it was Inverness who added to their lead as substitute Shane Sutherland wrapped up the result just minutes before the full time whistle.