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JUMPING JACK FLASH ON ROLL; Ross turns Buds around; St Mirren . . 4 Inverness CT . .2.

Byline: Lindsay Herron

Saints were sitting pretty at the top of the table last night - nine months after being at rock bottom.

And last night boss Jack Ross paid credit to his players for the turnaround in the club's fortunes.

But he warned there are different pressures at the top end as he urged his Buddies to set the pace.

They had to show all of their attacking flair to deal with a decent Caley Thistle fightback.

Yet Ross reckons the way his men coped with the danger is a massive improvement from last season's worst times when the club were staring at relegation to League One.

He said: "It's nice to be at the top - it's a long time since the club have been there - so our aim is to stay there as long as we can and be there at the end of the season.

"It's been a big turnaround and the players deserve a lot of credit for that.

"Last season they had to deal with a real challenge mentally and they are better players for it.

"Now they are enjoying their football and the atmosphere around our ground is very different."

Caley Thistle should have been ahead in two minutes but John Baird was carelessly offside when he converted Riccardo Calder's cross.

And the Caley Jags were unlucky when Lewis Morgan's shot in 31 minutes deflected off Brad Mackay to give Saints the lead.

After missing three big chances Inverness levelled in 61 minutes when sub Connor Bell played in Baird and he slotted a right-foot shot into the left corner.

Saints went ahead again in 64 minutes when Gavin Reilly forced the ball over after Thistle failed to deal with Gregor Buchanan's header.

Liam Polworth equalised for the Highlanders again in 69 minutes but Saints smashed two great goals in two minutes to claim the win.

Reilly darted through the middle in 73 minutes and when Gary Warren got a block in, Cammy Smith was quickest to react to slam home.

Then in 75 minutes Ian McShane blasted a fabulous fourth with a scorcher from the edge of the box.

Ross added: "It was great to see the goals spread around the team and the quality was terrific."

Thistle boss John Robertson said: "When Liam levelled I thought we'd go on to win. So to lose such a poor third goal was disappointing. Our defenders were bullied off the ball.

"The fourth goal from Saints was magnificent - but we should never have been in that position. You need to be clinical at both ends and we're not like that at the back."

CAPTION(S):

REILLY forced the ball home

SMITH restored Saints' lead

MORGAN SPICED Lewis is off and running after Saints' opener

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 10, 2017
Words:458
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