Ayr United vs. Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Ladbrokes Premiership play-off quarter-final, 1st leg
Tuesday 7th May 2019. Kick-off 7.45pm
After a season that has confounded all expectations, tonight, we welcome Inverness Caledonian Thistle to Somerset Park with both clubs potentially just six games away from promotion to the Premiership. United closed out their Championship campaign with a draw at home to Alloa Athletic on Saturday which, coupled with Inverness’s win at home to Dunfermline, saw tonight’s visitors snatch third place and home advantage in Saturday’s second-leg.
Dundee United await the winners of the tie over two legs.
Opponents:Inverness finished the Championship season strongly with twenty points from their final ten games, including wins in their last two at Alloa and at home to Dunfermline. John Robertson’s side had the best away record in the Championship during the regular season, taking 33 points from their 18 games on the road this year and losing just three times.
Ayr United – LLLWD
Inverness Caledonian Thistle – WDLWW
Team News: STeven Bell, Jamie Adams, Andy Geggan and Craig Moore are out with injuries.
Ian says: “The league season has now finished and we find ourselves in a spot very few would have expected at the start of the season. None of that matters now and all we are focused on is these two huge games against a very tough opponent. What we need tonight is our fans to create an atmosphere befitting of a game of this size. We need the place rocking and hopefully our fans will be behind both goals we are shooting towards.”
Head to head (at Somerset Park):
Ayr United wins – 6
Draws – 4
Inverness wins – 7
United have just one win in the last 15 meetings between the sides, a 1-0 victory in the League Cup at Somerset Park in August 2011. Eddie Malone score the only goal of the game on the Honest Men’s journey to the semi-finals of the competition that season.
All four encounters between Ayr and Inverness have been close affairs this season, however, Caley have had the upper hand, taking 10 points from a possible 12, including two wins at Somerset Park. Just a month ago, the Highlanders travelled south and earned a 1-0 midweek win courtesy of a second-half Brad McKay goal. Ross Doohan had earlier saved an Aaron Doran penalty after felling Nathan Austin in the box, one of two penalties the Caley Jags have failed to convert against United this season.
Ayr will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the first match between the sides at Somerset Park this season back in January which saw the visitors race into a three goal lead within the first 18 minutes of the game. There were just nine minutes between the first of Nathan Austin’s quick-fire double and Liam Polwarth’s strike; the Honest Men did hit back through Declan McDaid and Lawrence Shankland but were unable to find an equaliser.
Referee – Alan Muir
Assistant Referee 1 – David Roome
Assistant Referee 2 – Sean Carr
Fourth Official – David Munro
Adults – £12
Concessions – £6
(OAPs, students and under 21s)
Under 12s – Free
(must be accompanied by an adult)