Inverness Caledonian Thistle have stunned their Highland rivals Ross County, the Scottish Championship side easing past their Premiership opposition 3-1 in Scottish Cup third round action.

The Highland derby was back after a two-year absence as Ross County and ICT met in domestic cup competition. Ross County dominated the ball from early on, doing their utmost to retain the passing moves forward. Goalmouth action was rare in the opening 10, with both teams trying to impose their style on the match. 

Ross County v St. Johnstone - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

John Hughes’ side weren’t creating much. (Photo by Sammy Turner/SNS Group via Getty Images)

County grabbed the lead on the 33rd minute mark despite having minimal attacking opportunities. Stephen Kelly whipped in a corner from the left-hand-side, Oli Shaw doing brilliantly to flick a header to the back post where former Caley man Billy McKay was waiting to pounce. He tapped it home to fire the Staggies in front. 

Just 43 seconds later, ICT were right back in the game. As County have done so many times this season, the defence switched off after scoring. A simple pass was played from left to right, straight into the path of Nikolay Todorov, who struck a magnificent volley into the bottom right hand corner. 

It was the Daniel Mackay show in Dingwall as he grabbed Inverness’ second of the match. Caley cleared the ball from a County corner and Mackay showed great pace and willingness to latch onto it. He dribbled what looked like half the pitch, cutting into the box beating two men whilst doing so.

Cutting inside again, the youngster finished a magnificent move under Ross Laidlaw as the underdogs were ahead and thriving. Inverness had well and truly put the game to bed with just three minutes to go, Roddy Macgregor played a pass round the corner to Shane Sutherland, who easily finished into the bottom right corner. 

Here are three things we learned as Inverness eased past their rivals to book a place in the Scottish Cup fourth round draw.

Magnificent Mackay

Mackay was one of the best players for Inverness. He grabbed ICT’s second of the match with a wonderful solo run. Not only did he score, but he was a constant threat to the backline of County, running them ragged on several occasions. 

Worry for County? 

Losing to a Championship outfit, Ross County’s performance was poor. They lost to the better team and it was clear to see Inverness wanted it more. This will create worry amongst some County fans and they now have a monumental challenge to try and stay in the Premiership. If they are to do so, performances must improve.

Rangers v Ross County - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

Hughes’ team must improve. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

ICT looking up 

Inverness had a rough start to their Championship campaign, but they look a completely changed side. They outclassed County in all areas of the park. This should send a massive boost of confidence through the camp and there is no reason why Caley can seriously aim for promotion. 

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