FRENCH trialist John-Christophe Ayina scored in Caley Thistle’s 4-0 pre-season opener at Highland League hosts Clach on Wednesday night.
Most recently at Spanish club Racing Santander, the lively 23-year-old took his first half goal in style and showed plenty of nice touches, although he’ll need to play catch-up on his fitness, a point made afterwards by manager John Hughes.
The ICT boss was suitably impressed though, adding: “He has been with us for a week now and technically he is very good. We just need to sit down and see what the next step is.”
It was a good work-out for both clubs, with plenty of game time for their entire squads.
Clach boss Iain Polworth ran the rule over former Caley Thistle and Nairn County player David Watson and he showed up well.
The second half also gave the Lilywhites their chance to field keeper Ally Ridgers, another ex-ICT player.
It was a case of early and late doubles for the top-flight club as they kicked off their preparations ahead of most sides, with the league season not blasting into action until August 9.
The opener arrived on 11 minutes when Marley Watkins set up Danny Williams, who netted with a cool, crisp low finish.
A few minutes later, Ayina set the tongues wagging when he unleashed an unstoppable shot beyond goalkeeper John Campbell after Carl Tremarco’s initial net-bound shot was blocked.
Clach slowly came into the contest then in the second half, with the hosts changing their starting 11 fully and ICT mostly, it was an even contest until late on when Caley Thistle stepped it up.
With 10 minutes to go, Aaron Doran burst into the box and his cross was diverted into the net by Clach’s Gordon Morrison.
The victory was sealed moments later when Graeme Shinnie, playing in attacking mode from left-back, struck a sweet low shot into the bottom left-hand corner.