Inverness defeated Dunfermline Athletic at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium on Saturday afternoon thanks to a solitary Connor Bell goal.
Both sides came into the game after contrasting opening quarters. The Pars found themselves in the top four while john Robertson’s men struggled to pick up points early doors.
With the Caley Jags having not conceded a goal in their previous 4 matches, it would be an intriguing encounter against the Championship’s top goal scorers.
Sean Murdoch was the busier of the two keepers early doors with the shot stopper tipping a superbly hit volley from Iain Vigurs over the bar,
Fraser Aird fired over inside the box as he registered the first meaningful attack created by Dunfermline, albeit well off target.
However, midway through the opening period and Connor Bell opened the scoring. The tricky Jake Mulraney got by Jason Talbot before placing a low delivery across the face of goal. Both central defenders, Lee Ashcroft and Callum Morris slid to clear the ball but it was the former Kilmarnock player Ashcroft who got a slight, but vital, touch which took the cross away from his defensive partner. This left Bell unmarked at the back post for an easy tap-in.
Then, the best chance of the match for the away side came and gone: Callum Smith managed to turn Brad McKay and races through on goal but the 17-year-old fluffed his lines as his right-footed effort was dragged well wide of Mark Ridgers goal.
The Fifers came out for the second half more energised and almost got a freak equaliser. Aird swung the ball in from the left and keeper Ridgers then ensued panic as he dropped the ball before scrambling it behind for a corner with Higginbotham ready to pounce.
John Baird had a brilliant chance to double the hosts advantage with almost 60 minutes on the clock but the experienced striker saw his shot from inside the penalty area saved by Murdoch.
Then, on 66 minutes, Joe Cardle – Dunfermline, and the Championship’s, top scorer entered the fray and he was joined by Declan McManus, with Smith and Aird making way.
The game became stretched as time wore on. Joe Cardle forced Ridgers into a save after jinking in from the left before Liam Polworth smashed the bar with a close range effort.
Allan Johnston threw Lee Ashcroft up front late on as he searched for a late equaliser but no further goals were forthcoming.
A deserved victory for the Highlanders as they moved up to 7th in table, now only 8 points behind the Pars who sit in third, one win off of top spot.
FULL TIME; Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1-0 Dunfermline Athletic
28. Mark Ridgers
2. David Raven
22. Brad McKay
23. Coll Donaldson
3. Carl Tremarco
15. Jake Mulraney (Riccardo Calder 72′)
7. Liam Polworth
11. Iain Vigurs (Captain)
4. Joe Chalmers
20. Connor Bell (Gary Warren 90′)
9. John Baird (George Oakley 78′)
1. Ryan Esson (GK)
5. Gary Warren
6. Matthew Elsdon
14. George Oakley
16. Riccardo Calder
24. Charlie Trafford
27. Daniel Mackay
1. Sean Murdoch
2. Ryan Williamson
5. Callum Morris (Captain)
6. Lee Ashcroft
14. Jason Talbot
7. Kallum Higginbotham
13. Aaron Splaine (Dean Shiels 76′)
8. Nat Wedderburn
17. Fraser Aird (Joe Cardle 66′)
10. Nicky Clark
23. Callum Smith (Declan McManus 66′)
20. Cammy Gill (GK)
3. Lewis Martin
4. Jean-Yves M’Voto
9. Declan McManus
11. Joe Cardle
16. Andy Ryan
27. Dean Shiels
Referee: Kevin Clancy