Hamilton Accies eased into the quarter-finals of the SPFL Trust Trophy after sweeping a young Inverness Caledonian Thistle team aside.
The Highland outfit had made it clear in the build-up that their current injury crisis would force them to select a vast number of youth players for the tie, but it was the young guns in the Accies squad who helped put them to the sword.
A Sam Nixon own goal after good work by Lucas de Bolle gave Accies a third minute lead before skipper for the day Reegan Mimnaugh sealed the win inside 33 minutes.
While the talk in the build-up was about Inverness Caley's young team, Accies had plenty of youth startng in their side with Ryan One and Gabe Forsyth 16, Chris McGinn 17 and Fergus Owens 19.
They all showed good flashes, particularly One who is a first team regular, on a comfortable but bitterly cold afternoon in South Lanarkshire.
After their recent league woes, John Rankin's men were rarely troubled and it is they who go into the hat for the last eight on Tuesday, when the semi-finals will also be drawn.
Accies made seven changes from last week's 4-0 defeat to Queen's Park in the Championship. Ryan Fulton, Dan O'Reilly, Brian Easton, Scott Martin, Lewis Smith, Dario Zanatta and Andy Ryan all dropped out as in came Jamie Smith, McGinn, One, Andy Winter and John-Pierre Tiehi alongside Forysth and Lucas de Bolle, who both made their first starts for the club.
The inclusion of de Bolle was a major surprise after his recent struggles with concussion issues, but his incisive passing suggests Accies will need to wrap him in cotton wool if they are to kick on in the league.
Accies had slashed the ticket prices to £3 for this clash after it was announced Caley were sending a young side and supporters had to wait just three minutes to see the opening goal.
Some net build-up play on the right wing opened up space for de Bolle to burst into the box and when he got to the byline, his cross was turned into his own net by Caley defender Nixon.
The visitors almost levelled things up moments later when a deflected cross fell for Keith Bray and his arrowed header towards the bottom corner was superbly tipped away by Jamie Smith. Nineteen-year-old Callum MacKay then slammed a shot into the side-netting as Inverness pushed to get straight back into the game.
One showed his trickery with a turn that left his marker for dead in 17 minutes. That opened up space for a strike at goal but his fine curling effort drifted narrowly wide of the target.
The towering 16-year-old was a danger again moments later when he narrowly headed over at the near post from Michael Doyle's cross, before a Winter drive on the edge of the box deflected just past the post as Accies tried to turn the screw.
In the 33rd minute their second goal arrived in a similar fashion to the opener. Good work again down the right found Andy Winter and he put the ball on a plate for Mimnaugh to knock home inside the six-yard box.
Accies thought they had made it 3-0 just before half-time when Teihi's header from a Mimnaugh corner found the net, only to be ruled out for offside. With seconds remaining in the half, Forsyth was denied a debut goal when Ridgers palmed away his strike in the box.
In the second half, and with temperatures dropping further, it took 20 minutes for the game to warm-up again when One cut inside and is low, curling effort woke Ridgers from his slumber.
Accies introduced 17-year-old Lewis Latona for Mimnaugh in the 66th minute as they gave another youngster a run out.
A fantastic mazy run from One in the 71st minute deserved more, as he weaved his way past three defenders before his cross cum shot went wide and beyond the outsteetched leg of Winter, who was a whisker away from turning it into the net.
Nine minutes from time, One went close agains when he half volley into the ground from Winter's cross was kept out well by Ridgers to deny the teenager a goal his performance probably merited.
Accies saw the game out and next week the sides meet again at New Douglas Park when Inverness return to Lanarkshire for a Championship clash on December 17.
HAMILTON: J Smith, Owens, Shiels, McGinn, Doyle, de Bolle (Newbury 71), One, Forsyth, Mimnaugh (Latona 66), Winter (Morgan 84), Tiehi (Black 84).
Scorers: Nixon 4 (og), Mimnaugh 33
Subs not used: Fulton, O'Reilly, L Smith, Ryan, Zanatta.
INVERNESS: Ridgers (Gillan 88), S Nixon, Strachan, Barrett (A Nixon 72), Walker (MacDougall 84), Bray, Proudfoot (Macleod 72), Bain, Carnihan, MacKay, Nicolson (Mackie 84).
Subs not used:
Ref: Duncan Williams
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