Rooney double seals Caley win

The forward netted twice in 10 early second-half minutes, with a

Jonny Hayes goal sandwiched in between, to claim victory in the

Scottish Premier League encounter at New Douglas Park. It was

Hamilton who had taken a deserved lead on 29 minutes when Dougie

Imrie produced an excellent finish against his old team, but the

bottom side had no answer to Inverness’ swift and comprehensive

second-half response which leaves Accies still searching for their

first home win of the season. Hamilton manager Billy Reid handed a

debut to 17-year-old forward David Hopkirk. The teenager’s

inclusion was one of four changes, along with a first start for

Damian Casalinuovo and the inclusion of Jordan Kirkpatrick and

David Elebert. Nigel Hasselbaink was missing with a hamstring

injury but fellow striker Flavio Paixao, Mark McLaughlin and Martin

Canning, who all played in the defeat at Kilmarnock, had to settle

for a place on the bench. By contrast, Inverness manager Terry

Butcher named an unchanged starting XI from the team which

triumphed at Aberdeen in midweek. Hamilton played themselves into

trouble twice inside the opening two minutes, in particular when

Jonny Hayes’ free-kick from the right touchline allowed Richie

Foran to head narrowly off target at the far post. The hosts

responded on five minutes, however, when Hopkirk produced a

promising cross from the right which was met by Casalinuovo, only

for his effort to rise narrowly over the bar. Hamilton then

dominated the attacking play in the opening quarter, notably on 14

minutes when Kirkpatrick showed great skill to turn past Kevin

McCann and bear down on goal, drawing a good reaction save from

Ryan Esson with his rising shot. Team-mate Jon Routledge tried a

hopeful 30-yard shot six minutes later, but it went harmlessly

high. Hamilton took the lead on 29 minutes when Imrie produced an

excellent finish to net against his former side. Accies goalkeeper

Tomas Cerny launched forward a free-kick from just outside his own

area. It was headed on by Casalinuovo to Imrie on the left side of

the box, and he lifted a cool diagonal finish over the goalkeeper

and into the opposite corner. Routledge came close to a second for

the hosts four minutes later, drilling just wide of the left

upright after Andy Graham had done well to keep the ball in play on

the opposite flank. Inverness had their best chance 10 minutes

before the break when Adam Rooney sent a cross from the byline

arrowing towards Richie Foran, but home captain Simon Mensing

appeared with a well-timed header and Cerny then soared clear in

the six-yard box to make an easy save from Hayes’ free-kick.

Inverness wasted little time in restoring parity, doing so four

minutes after the restart when Rooney took advantage of an unforced

Elebert error which gifted him the ball just outside the area, and

the Inverness forward was alert to seize possession and slot home

the equaliser. The Highlanders then forged a 2-1 lead three minutes

later when Hayes converted a cross from Rooney on the left,

blasting home from close range. Accies manager Reid swiftly

responded with a double substitution, replacing youngsters Hopkirk

and Kirkpatrick with striker twins Flavio and Marco Paixao.

Instead, though, it was Inverness who were next on the scoresheet,

Rooney heading home his second and his side’s third. His header

following Stuart Duff’s free-kick on the right and Hayes’ cross

seemed as though it might drift wide of the right-hand post, but

curled in to beat a despairing Cerny. The hosts had a Flavio Paixao

effort blocked on the line in a scramble in the six-yard box, and

the same player ballooned a 12-yard shot over the bar. Imrie tried

a curling shot from outside the box 15 minutes from time as

Hamilton sought a grandstand finish, but his effort was easily held

by Esson at the top-left corner. At the other end, Hayes was

allowed to go on a lengthy run down the right but pulled his

eventual shot wide of the far post. With Inverness looking

comfortable thanks to their two-goal cushion, there was little in

the way of goalmouth action in the closing stages and Hamilton

never looked likely of salvaging a point.