By Blair McNally
St Mirren progressed in their Scottish Cup fourth round tie after a late Marcus Fraser goal proved enough to beat Inverness CT 2-1.
Inverness had taken the lead in the match through Nikolay Todorov but Kristian Dennis and Fraser goals secured a quarter-final spot for Jim Goodwin’s team, facing Kilmarnock or Montrose in the next round.
The visitors were first to threaten through Daniel MacKay. The young winger latched onto a weighted pass down the left flank. He cut inside and flashed an effort towards Jak Alnwick’s near-post, forcing a strong hand out of the Englishman. Minutes later, St Mirren had a similar chance of their own, Dennis finding himself in a favorable position but was unable to convert.
On the stroke of half-time St Mirren cracked the woodwork. The Inverness defence misjudged a Fraser cross, allowing the ball into the path of Dennis. His effort deflected off an Inverness defender and onto the crossbar. The first goal of the match came the way of the visitors soon after the interval.
Slack defending from a corner allowed Todorov to meet the ball free at the back-post, side-footing powerfully into the net. Less than 90 seconds later the Saints were level, Dennis getting the goal he richly merited. He latched onto an Ilkay Durmus pass on the edge of the area, confidently flashing it high past a helpless Mark Ridgers.
— St Mirren FC (@saintmirrenfc) April 16, 2021
Durmus had multiple shots at goal and his second effort of the night crashed against the bar five minutes from time. An inch-perfect cross from the right was met by a glancing header, only to see it bounce off the woodwork.
St Mirren’s persistence was to pay off as they snatched a winner in the 88th minute. Jon Obika saw yet another effort crash off the post but fortunately it landed in the path of Brandon Mason. He found Fraser free in the six-yard box to slot into an empty net, sending the Saints into the next round. Here are three things we learned.
Fraser the hero
Just as it looked like both teams were headed for extra-time, Fraser’s effort means St Mirren are one step closer to a place at Hampden. After Obika saw his effort come off the inside of the post, the defender’s determination to push for a winner was rewarded with a tap-in.
Caley Cup dreams ended
Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s Scottish Cup run is over after the late Saints winner. Caley can hold their heads high, giving a strong account of themselves against a Scottish Premiership side ahead of the Championship promotion push.
Saints go marching on
St Mirren will look to make a claim for a final four place now. Either Kilmarnock or Montrose await in the Scottish Cup last eight with plenty of incentive to make a second semi-final of the season present for Goodwin’s team.
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