Wednesday 24th August - Scottish Communities League Cup, 2nd Rnd
Ayr United 1, Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0
The Ayrshire Post's Voice of Reason summed it up nicely: "I think we might have a team on our hands here".
Its a long time since I've see Ayr totally dominate a side the way they did Inverness on Wednesday night - the fact it this was a part-time team in from their work up against SPL opposition making it all the more impressive. This was an entertaining performance that showed that United can convert those impressive performances of late into victories.
Even the early departure of Martyn Campbell, who lasted only 10 minutes before a knee problem forced him off didn't phase Ayr, with Gareth Armstrong coming in at right-back and putting a composed display which defied his youth. The midfield battled and pressed and Michael McGowan put in another performance to wow the Somerset Park faithful. Even Chris Smith had a stormer, defending like a man possessed with the importance of a clean sheet.
Ayr's goal came from a set-piece, an area of our game that has notably improved. McGowan played the ball in low to the front post where is was flicked on by Mark Roberts into the path of Malone who neatly side-footed home. Speaking to Kicktalk on Ayr this week, Reid admitted it was an area the side had worked on and with Robertson (both John & Ross), Campbell, Wardlaw and even Geggan able to attack the ball, and some dangerous deliveries coming from the boot of McGowan, Ayr could benefit this season at both ends of the park.
Progress in this competition with the next round seeded guarantees an SPL side in the next side and, notwithstanding some poor attendances in this competition, the potential of a decent pay day that could seriously bolster our chances this season. There's an incredible positivity about the old place at the moment... long may it continue!
Manager Terry Butcher described the game "the lowest point of his managerial career" and playing Ross Tokely as a holding midfielder must rank as his worst tactical decision. The former England international skipper appears to have a massive job on his hands to prevent Caley sliding back into the First Division. His side lacked much of anything in midfield and upfront Foran cut a lonely, frustrated figure with no or little support. What they lacked in ideas and a formula to create chances they didn't even make up for in effort or endeavour. Simply put, Caley didn't fancy this and you've got to wonder if they have enough quality in the squad to turn things round.