caley thistle 2
Greenock Morton 0
Scorers: Mckay (19) Gardyne (49)
Inverness Caledonian Thistle is five points clear at the top of the championship after beating Greenock Morton at Caledonian Stadium.
Kilmarnock took place 2-2 at Dunfermline Athletic to put the light of day between Inverness and the rest of the league chase squad.
Billy Mckay and Michael Gardyne scored on either side of half-time to keep all three points at Caledonian Stadium.
Greenock Morton started off confidently and almost took the lead in spectacular fashion after eight minutes as Tom Allan spotted goalkeeper Mark Ridgers out of his line and unleashed a powerful left wing shot from 30 yards that went to a few inches from the bar.
Ridgers then almost gave Morton the advantage when a poor clearance from his box was struck by Jimmy Knowles 25 yards to go.
He charged into the box where his shot was blocked and the ball fell on Gavin Reilly whose shot was only denied by a slide challenge from Danny Devine.
Inverness opened the stalemate in the 19th minute with goalkeeper Ridgers throwing a route with a punt across the pitch that surprised Morton’s defense.
Mckay broke the offside trap and recovered the ball 25 yards from goal and charged into the box, keeping his cool to shoot low in front of Jack Hamilton who was advancing into the lower right corner of the net.
It was the veteran forward’s first league goal of the season and added to the five he scored in the Trust Trophy against Buckie Thistle and Elgin City.
Mckay nearly got his second minute later when he hit a cross from former Ross County teammate Michael Gardyne at the edge of the box and landed a low drive just inches from the left post.
Morton could have backed off before half-time when Knowles broke through Inverness’s defense with only Ridgers to beat, but landed his shot well off the post.
The restart was delayed for 10 minutes after Michael Gardyne and Cameron Blues suffered a head collision on the stroke of half-time, but both players were able to return for the second half after being evaluated by the medical staff.
Four minutes into the break, Inverness doubled their advantage as Roddy MacGregor did the hard work charging into the box and passed to Billy Mckay whose shot was blocked and the ball gently ricocheted towards Michael Gardyne who shot in. the net at eight meters.
On loan, Norwich City midfielder Reece McAlear could have done it 3-0 minutes later when the Motherwell teenager saw his 25-yard free-kick heading to the upper right corner, but was fine. saved by Hamilton.
Inverness had other opportunities to extend their lead but were never in danger of conceding victory.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle (4-2-3-1): Ridgers (6), Welsh (7), Deas (6), Devine (7), Gardyne (7), Mckay (8), Sutherland (6) (Duku 57 , 6), MacGregor (7), Broadfoot (6), Allardice (5), McAlear (6) (Doran 62).
Mackay, Duffy, Walsh, McDonald submarines (unused).
Morton (3-4-1-2): Hamilton (6) Strapp (5), McEntee (5), Jacobs (6), Oliver (6), Blues (6), Knowles (5) (Muirhead 62, 5) , Reilly (5) (Lyon 69, 6), Oksanen (7), Allan (6) (Russell 45, 6), Lithgow (6).
Subtitles (unused) Ledger, McLean, McGrattan, King.
Referee: Mike Roncone