Tangerines crush Highlanders
Sun 9th Mar 12.30pm
Dundee United absolutely thrashed nine-man Inverness Caledonian Thistle in a five-goal spectacular to reach the Scottish Cup semi-finals at the Caledonian Stadium.
The tie was already over by the interval with Nadir Ciftci grabbing a brace and Gavin Gunning on this occasion taking the responsibility from the penalty spot and adding a third.
Caley had by then seen Greg Tansey dismissed for a challenge on Paul Paton, and Marley Watkins later joined him following further second-half strikes from Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong.
The Tangerines had already lost out in a controversial League Cup meeting at the same venue earlier in the season but were always in charge this time around.
Turkish striker Ciftci nodded John Rankin's forward delivery beyond goalkeeper Dean Brill and slotted in to earn them a sixteenth-minute lead while Billy McKay headed over from close-range at the other end.
However, more woeful defending from the hosts witnessed Josh Meekings underhit a back-pass and Brill clearing directly against his own defender. Ciftci needed no second invitation as he turned into an empty net.
Graham Shinnie at least forced a response from Radoslaw Cierzniak while Keith Watson went close in reply, until the Caley defender took down Gunning inside the area and the Irishman converted the penalty.
Home midfielder Tansey was soon dismissed before Shinnie produced a decent save from Cierzniak. However, Mackay-Steven collected from Armstrong early in the second period and fired in via the far post.
And eight minutes later full-back Watson crossed for Armstrong to head in number five with still over a third of the game remaining.
Caley's numbers were further reduced when Watkins caught Paton, while the visitors continued to search for more reward as substitute Brian Graham twice fired over during the later stages.
Inverness Caledonian THistle: Brill, Raven, Shinnie, Vincent, Warren, Meekings, Watkins, Tansey, McKay (Christie 87), Foran (Polworth 60), Doran (Williams 60)
subs (unused): Esson, Ross, Devine, Tremarco
Dundee United: Cierzniak, Watson, Dillon, Gunning, Robertson, Paton, Rankin (Gomis 59), Armstrong, Mackay-Steven, Ciftci (Graham 60), Dow (El Alagui 54)
subs (unused): Butcher, Wilson, Souttar, McCallum
Goals: Ciftci (16, 28), Gunning (pen 36), Mackay-Steven (49), Armstrong (57)
Ref: W. Collum