Highlanders sink Kilmarnock to book their place in Scottish Cup semi-finals



Posted Saturday, March 11, 2023 by PA

Highlanders sink Kilmarnock to book their place in Scottish Cup semi-finals

Inverness booked a trip to Hampden by coming from behind to see off Kilmarnock 2-1 to seal their spot in the Scottish Cup semi-finals.

Kyle Vassell gave Killie a third minute lead, bundling the ball over the line following a corner, but Billy Mckay replied from the penalty spot a little more than 20 minutes later.

Sean Welsh then stepped up early in the second half to make the decisive breakthrough which earned the cinch Championship hosts a spot in the last four at the expense of their Premiership opponents.

The visitors, with just two away wins since August, got off to the perfect start in the Highland capital with an early goal.

Danny Armstrong’s corner was flicked on by Liam Donnelly and Vassell appeared to get the final touch to force the ball over the line.

The Caley Jags took a while to settle into the game but once they did they created the better opportunities.

Mckay, sent through by Welsh, tried to head the ball over Sam Walker in Kilmarnock’s goal, only to be denied.

Then Jay Henderson picked out Welsh in the middle, with the Inverness captain’s header clipping the bar on its way over.

The home side would get back into the game from the penalty spot, though, as Joe Wright was guilty of handling Wallace Duffy’s low cross into the middle – with Mckay stepping up to convert.

Mckay very nearly turned creator shortly afterwards, finding Henderson who had broken Killie’s offside trap only to produce a tame effort that was easily saved by Walker.

Inverness maintained their momentum after the restart, with Henderson being denied by the post when a low drive from a narrow angle very nearly found a way in to the bottom corner.

Seconds later, though, Welsh went one better, beating Walker from 25 yards out and putting the home side ahead.

Caley Thistle generally remained in control of the game after that, even if they looked more nervous as the clock ticked down.

Their instinct was to drop deeper and deeper, which at one stage allowed Armstrong the chance to shoot at the edge of the box – but he did not come close to the target.

Inverness were able to hold out and ensure their involvement in Monday evening’s semi-final draw.

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