JOHN Robertson was full of praise for Caley Thistle striker John Baird as he broke his goalscoring duck.
Baird found the back of the net in the 4-0 drubbing of Brechin City in midweek – his first goal in nearly three months.
The man himself admitted some frustration with his goal-record last week, but also that he was enjoying his football as much as he ever had during his time in the Highlands.
He pounced on a ninth minute miscommunication between Euan Smith and Brechin goalkeeper Graeme Smith, as the visiting defender took the ball away from his goalkeeper and it fell kindly to Baird to finish.
Robertson paid tribute to Baird, whose unselfish work often goes unnoticed by those outwith the team.
Robertson said: “Bairdy has been working his socks off. He’s not scored for a while but he gives us an energy up front. He’s been frustrated himself because he gets a chance every game. He’s been thwarted by good keepers at time.
“You saw what it mean it to the players, who knew what it meant to Bairdy. Connor Bell had one of his quiet nights - nicks a goal. George Oakley came on and got a goal. Brad gets one off a set piece.”
It was a comfortable outing for the Caley Jags, with Mark Ridgers untroubled in the home goal.
Brad Mckay got them on their way in the seventh minute, thumping home from a Liam Polworth. Baird found the net just two minutes later after the two Smiths failed to properly deal with Carl Tremarco’s cross, giving Baird the opportunity to score.
Connor Bell made the most of another Polworth delivery to put the hosts three in front in the second, as he stooped to head in at the near post.
By this stage the Caley Jags were in cruise control and the icing on the cake came with George Oakley – on as a second-half substitute, clipping over Graeme Smith to round off the scoring.
The win was good enough to lift Inverness back up to seventh, leap-frogging Dumbarton after their 2-2 draw with Queen of the South.
Robertson added: “If somebody had told me 4-0 before the game started I would have taken it. How the ground staff managed to get the pitch to play was a small miracle because there was still water lying on it.
“It was difficult for the players. It was a bit of a gluepot at stages. We got a warning early doors, survived it, and then just took control of the game.
“We should have - if I’m nitpicking - scored more. At times we didn’t move it fast enough but Brechin got men behind the ball. We had chances but didn’t take them. But we scored four, kept a clean sheet and moved up the table.”
It was another game played in torrid conditions in the Highland capital, with heavy rain coming down during the evening.
That made it hard to play attractive football on a surface that was struggling to hold up with two games in four days and incessant rain.
A pitch inspection had been called for 12.30pm on Tuesday afternoon, prompting fears that the game could be called off for the second week in succession.
The club’s Scottish FA Youth Cup game against Hibernian, which was due to be played the Sunday after the St Mirren game, was postponed to give the surface chance to recover.
Playing two games in four days on a heavy pitch took its toll on the players, with Robertson also praising the club’s ground staff for managing to get the game played.
Robertson said: “The last two games on that pitch have been hard physically. We’ve tried to freshen up and give Aaron Doran and George Oakley some minutes and make sure we win the game.
“I have to say a big thank you to the fans. Nearly 1900 people coming out on a night like tonight is fantastic. We appreciate their support on a horrible night.
“To come out again was hugely appreciated by the players. Hopefully that sent them home cheered up.
“We’ve got to be delighted with the scoreline, although we could have been tidier and sharper. But that’s nit-picking. The energy they’ve been putting into training and in these last two games has been good.
“It gets us back on the road again and allows us to look forward to Saturday.”
Robertson should have an unchanged squad to head down to Queen of the South on Saturday, with Iain Vigurs, who missed out in midweek through suspension, likely to be back available again.”