2015 William Hill Scottish Cup
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 2-1 Falkirk
Saturday 30 May
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Watkins (38), Vincent (86): Grant (80)
Inverness Caledonian Thistle became the 25th side to etch their name onto the William Hill Scottish Cup trophy with a 2-1 win over Falkirk at Hampden Park.
Goals from Marley Watkins and James Vincent were enough to seal the club’s first ever domestic trophy in a tense but entertaining Scottish Cup Final.
Caley Thistle went down to 10 men late on and were pushed all the way by a spirited Falkirk side who scored through Peter Grant on 80 minutes.
But John Hughes’ side held on to ensure the famous trophy would be heading into the Highlands for the first time ever.
Inverness made three changes to the side that beat Celtic in the semis, handing cup final starts to Danny Devine, Aaron Doran and Carl Tremarco who replaced the injured David Raven.
The big news from the Falkirk camp was the return of Rory Loy, making his first competitive start since suffering a broken leg in the Quarter-finals.
As is often the case on Cup Final day, the sun shone down on Hampden for the thousands of fans who had descended from all over Scotland. In turn they ramped up the volume to create a fantastic atmosphere for the players who cast aspiring glances at the famous trophy as they walked out onto the pitch.
Inverness captain Graeme Shinnie – playing in his final game for the club – carved up the first real chance of the game on 8 minutes with a teasing cross from the right wing. Marley Watkins was closest to getting get a touch but couldn’t connect with the ball.
Falkirk midfielder Will Vaulks is no stranger to scoring from distance and the 21-year old showcased his talents with two thunderous drives within ten minutes of each other. Both called Ryan Esson into action but neither could find their way past the Inverness keeper.
On the half-hour mark a long ball up to Watkins almost snuck behind the Falkirk backline. Peter Grant – whose dad and namesake lifted the cup with Celtic in 1997 – done well to snuff out the danger with a fine sliding challenge.
Watkins could be forgiven for thinking it wasn’t his day but the big Englishman soon grabbed his chance to enter cup folklore with a finely worked goal on 38 minutes.
A neatly dinked through-ball from Doran sliced open the Falkirk defence and allowed Watkins to take a touch past MacDonald and side-foot into the net for the lead. He won’t forget that one in a hurry.
Shaking off that set back, Falkirk were able to put the Inverness defence under real pressure at the start of the second-half. With John Hughes’ men flooding the box, again it was left up to Vaulks to get the Falkirk fans on their feet. His fizzing drive going just wide.
Peter Houston’s team were given further hope 15 minutes before the end when Inverness defender Carl Tremarco was sent off for hauling down Blair Alston, who was through on goal.
The game was beginning to turn in Falkirk’s favour and it was of little surprise to see the Championship side equalise with 80 minutes on the clock.
Inverness gave away a dangerous free-kick outside the box and Alston stepped up to take. The midfielder swung a fantastic cross for to Peter Grant to head home at the back post and make things all-square.
Just when it felt the trophy might be slipping away from Inverness, they responded in a manner fitting of their never-say-die attitude. With four minutes left, Watkins drove forward on the break and curled a shot at goal that was touched away by Jamie MacDonald but only as far as substitute James Vincent, who struck to send the Inverness fans into heaven.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle: Esson (GK), Shinnie (Capt), Devine, Meekings, Tremarco, Draper, Tansey, Christie (Vincent 72’), Ofere, Doran (Collins 78’), Watkins (Ross 92’)
Subs not used: Mackay (GK), Williams, Polworth, Horner, Kink
Falkirk: MacDonald (GK), Duffie, McCracken (Capt), Vaulks, Taiwo, Alston, Smith (Biobi 62’), Sibbald, Grant, Leahy, Loy (Morgan 94’)
Subs not used: Bowman (GK), Muirhead, Cooper, Blair, Morgan
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