Dundee United’s latest signing Darren Dods, inspired Caley Thistle to a 1-0 Scottish Cup victory, which sees the Inverness side progress into the quarter-finals of the competition at the expense of their SPL rivals.
Dods signed a pre-contractual agreement that will see him join Tannadice in June, but the 31-year-old defender used his experience to marshal young Craig Conway out of the match and captain his current side into the next round.
It was a 15th minute wonder strike from Russell Duncan that sealed the 1-0 win for Charlie Christie’s side, but a miserable performance from Dundee United saw them rarely threaten a weak Caley Thistle defence.
Lee Wilkie’s headed clearance out of the Dundee United penalty box, was perfectly met by the right foot of Russell Duncan and the ball sailed into the top right hand corner of Derek Stillie’s goal.
United’s goalkeeper had no chance from Duncan’s magnificent 25-yard volley, a goal which would have been worthy of winning any match, with the visitors looking shell-shocked for the remained of the 1st half.
However, even after a stern word from manager Craig Levein during the half-time interval, Dundee United lacked any sort of penetration in the 2nd half and couldn’t break down the home defence.
Craig Levein had Barry Robson back after a 3 game suspension in the SPL, but Lee Mair was sidelined with a knee injury sustained during training earlier in the week.
Craig Conway returned to Dundee United’s starting line-up at the expense of out-of-form Noel Hunt, but the rest of the squad remained the same side that drew with Dunfermline 0-0 in the league the previous weekend.
Caley Thistle had to do without their top scorer Craig Dargo and Derek Wyness through injury, with Rory McAllister and Graham Bayne starting upfront for the home side.
Dundee United had few chances throughout the match, with a Barry Robson 90min strike being parried by keeper Michael Fraser, but no other United player took a chance and ran in searching for the rebound.
In the 78th minute, Mark Kerr tried to grab a long-range equaliser, but his right-footed shot from 18-yards out was caught by the Caley Thistle goalie.
Collin Samuel drove a 63rd minute right-footed chance wide of the right-hand post, David Robertson volleyed a 36th minute shot wide of the right post aswell, while a rare shot from defender Christian Kalvenes in the 39th minute was fumbled by Fraser – but yet again nobody was their for United to take advantage of the keepers mistake.
Former Caley Thistle player Barry Robson signed a new deal with Dundee United mid-week which will keep him at Tannadice until May 2011, but the home supporter clearly still hold a grudge and booed his every touch.
Robson looked like he was upset by the attention of the Caley fans and made several rash challenges which led to a 51st minute yellow card for a late challenge on Russell Duncan.
On several occasions the Dundee United captain rushed his shots, sending them high or wide, and his crosses and set-pieces were poorly executed on an afternoon he’ll want to forget.
Meanwhile, Caley Thistle had several chances late in the game to score on the counter-attack, with former United player Gary McSwegan and Graham Bayne finding themselves in several 2-v-1 situations, but failed to capsize.
In the 83rd minute Ross Tokely should have put the result beyond doubt, but after beating 2 Dundee United players, he hit the side netting from just 6-yards out.
Caley Thistle rarely got out of 1st gear, happy to just go through the motions and use their single goal victory to progress into the next round of the Scottish Cup.
Dundee United supporters made up almost half of the 3,400 attendance, but had little to cheer about as Craig Levein’s side played out the most lack-lustered performance of the season so far.
Caley Thistle 1-0 Dundee United