SPFL CHAMPIONSHIP REPORT : Dundee United 1-1 Inverness CT

It was a point apiece for 3rd and 4th this weekend as the unbeaten highlanders’ late equaliser meant the Arabs drew they’re first home game under Robbie Neilson.

The main focus of the game in the build up was Dundee United’s appointment of Robbie Neilson following the sacking of Csaba László. They had struggled consistently since the tail end of last season and Neilson was set the task of repairing the damage. They’re opponents were the last remaining unbeaten team in the championship, Inverness CT. ICT manager John Robertson saying before the game that they were aware of the struggle they’ll face, and they expected a large crowd supporting their new leader.

The game also saw former United defender Coll Donaldson return to Tannadice yet again, to a villainous reception.

It took a while for the game to get into full swing, both teams playing some great passing play but not creating any chances. Riccardo Calder and Liam Polworth having a few strikes from distance for the visitors, whilst Fraser Aird caused a bit of trouble with consistent crosses.

The game quickly descended into anarchy however, with referee Euan Anderson having a shocker of game. Quickly losing control of the game. ICT midfielder Joe Chalmers could quite easily of been giving marching orders for a reckless challenge, but instead saw yellow. Much to the dismay of the home support. Towards of the end of the first half, the Arabs continued to terrorise the visitors. But a defensive masterclass from Brad McKay and Coll Donaldson meant that they were kept at bay.

If the hosts dominated the end of the first half, then Inverness came out with a strong response. Calder continuously breaking through the defence and putting low crosses into the box. Target Man Jordan White should have put them 1-0 up but instead his header flew over the bar from 6 yards out.

Following this, Anderson’s decisions went from bad to worse. Riccardo Calder recieved a Chop Block in the box and was waved off despite being close to suffering a serious injury.  Shortly after, Fraser Fyvie and Brad McKay came close to starting a brawl following a perceived dive from Fyvie. Both men rightfully swing yellow, however Fyvie continued these antics with ICT’s Shaun Rooney after the Jag’s wing back reacted badly to Fyvie body checking him while he picked up the ball. Neither man saw a booking in the situation, meaning Fyvie escaped what should have been a guaranteed second yellow.

Before the scuffle however, it was United who would break the deadlock, Carl Tremarco losing his man from a Fraser Aird free-kick, allowing Safranko to get on the end of the ball and head it home. A well worked set play, an area where United were very strong throughout the game. Looking threatening from every corner and free kick.

Inverness came back strong though, the introduction of Aaron Doran for Calder providing a different style of play, which was almost rewarded when Doran got on the end of a Shaun Rooney cross. However it was halted when United’s Murdoch swiped his legs out from underneath him. A second penalty claim waved off by Anderson in what was turning into a diabolical showing from the man in the middle.

Inverness would get their goal however. Liam Polworth whipped a cross in from a free kick, and either Shaun Rooney or Jordan White got on the end of the cross to loop the ball into the top corner. A deserved equaliser, and it was almost followed up by a second. Polworth again the creator, played through Jordan White who struck wide from around 10 yards, choosing to try place it in the corner instead of chipping the keeper who was already going to ground.

The game’s momentum flipped when Anderson finally issued a red card after 80 minutes of risky challenges, however this time it was the wrong decision. Substitute Nicky Clark clattering into Donaldson, taking both men down. But Donaldson saw marching orders receiving a second yellow for the altercation. Much to the joy of the home crowd. I can’t quote their chant however, as it did cross the line.

The Arabs failed to take advantage of the extra man, Fraser Aird being the only player to threaten the visitors in the game’s final moments. The points were shared and rightfully so, both clubs had many chances and wasted them. Dundee United definitely has the better of the chances, but they were stopped by what was a terrific display from the Inverness backline.

It’s a simple decision for the Man Of The Match, United’s Fraser Aird had a good game and Safranko scored a good goal. However nobody came close to Brad McKay. Wasn’t afraid to put in a challenge and was the main man behind Inverness’ fantastic goal line clearances.

Final score: Dundee United 1-1 Inverness CT (0-0)

MOTM: Brad McKay