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Falkirk 1-0 Inverness CT

McCann scores the decisive goal at the Falkirk Stadium
McCann scores the decisive goal at the Falkirk Stadium

Neil McCann's 36th-minute goal was the difference between the sides as Falkirk progressed to the semi-final of the Co-operative Insurance Cup.

Jackie McNamara launched a ball over the Inverness defence and, as the visitors looked for offside, Michael Higdon shot against the bar.

The rebound fell kindly for McCann, who headed home.

Inverness had several chances to get on the scoresheet but poor finishing and fine goalkeeping kept them goalless.

When the teams last met at the Falkirk Stadium, on 30 August in the Scottish Premier League, Inverness recovered from going a goal behind to win 2-1.

However, with Burton O'Brien and Scott Arfield stroking the ball about in midfield, and goalkeeper Scott Flinders in no mood to concede, Falkirk never looked like surrendering their lead once they went ahead through McCann.

Prior to the match, Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager Craig Brewster said that his side had not been getting the breaks in recent weeks.

And before veteran McCann's goal, his third since joining the Bairns, the Highlanders were out of luck.

Don Cowie hit the side netting when through on goal, Adam Rooney failed to score with a free header and Gary Wood had a shot saved by the impressive Flinders.

Early in the second half, Inverness were denied a penalty by referee David Somers when Rooney was brought down by Gerard Aafjes.

Brewster, already angered at what he perceived to be an offside goal, was an animated figure on the touchline and was spoken to by Somers.

Inverness piled the pressure on the Falkirk defence for much of the second period, but a terrific display by Darren Barr at the back helped John Hughes' side to a narrow victory.

Falkirk manager John Hughes:
"I felt in the first 20 or 30 minutes we were playing very well and then we switched off and Inverness came into the game.

"We got a bit of fortune with the goal in terms of Michael Higdon hitting the bar and it coming back to Neil McCann.

"We rode our luck at times but we kept a clean sheet.

"Darren Barr's Scotland call-up was due. He never lets anyone down. he wears his heart on his sleeve. He needs to know when to be aggressive and when to play football."

Inverness CT manager Craig Brewster:
"I thought it was a good performance. We lost a goal just before half-time. I would love to see it on television because the supervisor has told my director of football that Neil McCann was offside.

"That's why I wanted to speak to the referee, why it was allowed to stand. He said that Neil McCann was behind Higdon when the initial shot went in, so to be out of the cup for that...

"And the penalty decision in the second half that we never got - the referee apologised to the players after the final whistle for not giving it. What can you say to that?

"I think we can call ourselves hard done by."

Falkirk: Flinders, McNamara, Aafjes, Barr, Holden, McBride, Arfield, O'Brien, McCann (Cregg 90), Barrett (Latapy 62), Higdon.
Subs Not Used: Olejnik, Bullen, Riera.

Booked: McCann.

Goals: McCann 36.

Inverness CT: Esson, Tokely, Duff, Munro, Hastings, Imrie (Vigurs 80), Duncan, Cowie, McBain (Wilson 63), Rooney, Wood (Barrowman 63).
Subs Not Used: Fraser, Proctor.

Booked: Hastings, Munro.

Attendance: 3,007

Referee: David Somers

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