In a worrying sign of things to come the first chance fell to the visitors. Smith half punched a cross but Rankin headed it back over the bar. Dargo then had a smart volley saved before we missed a sitter to take the lead. McDonald cut in from the left and the ball ricocheted across goal. McBride had the simplest of tap ins to open the scoring but seemed to miss the ball altogether. That summed up his day, along with shirking out of two or three tackles on the wing.
The East Stand evacuates
Then we were a goal down. We didn't clear a free kick, Wilson returned it and Smith again cleared with a half punch. This time the ball landed on the head of Tokely and he made no mistake guiding it into the empty net. Smith had another close call when he made a hideous flap at a cross and we were lucky Dargo didn't put the ball in. Amazingly we came close to equalising with an excellent Kerr free kick but Brown did superbly well to get across his line and turn it onto the bar. Right on the stroke of half time Inverness almost doubled their lead but Smith did well to block Wilson's shot and then throw himself on top of the rebound.
Inverness reached half time a goal to the good and with them playing their usual tactic of sitting deep it looked as though we could play all day without scoring. We were denied a penalty shout when McDonald was brought down although the referee probably called it correct in giving the free kick outside the box. However from that attack we lost a goal almost immediately. Kerr was short with a back pass, Quinn salvaged the situation but then made a terrible giveaway. Wilson crossed to Dargo and Inverness scored as easy a goal as they'll get all season.
First half action
We had another penalty shout turned down, a better one, when Elliot seemed to be shoved after Brown fumbled a long ball. Another scramble followed shortly afterwards and this time it was Foran's turn to miss what looked to be an unmissable chance. We finally got one back when McDonald headed a free kick in off the post but despite having fifteen minutes remaining we never mustered a serious effort at equalising. Indeed Inverness scored two late goals from corners – the second of which Smith was again badly at fault – to leave with a 4-1 win.
Once again in a match between two relatively even sides we were shown up to be inferior even by the low standards at the bottom of the SPL. Our defending was embarrassing, the midfield non-existent and in fairness to Scott McDonald, even he could not carry an attack totally starved of service. With Hearts up next things are looking grim indeed for Motherwell and Maurice Malpas.