Brewster draws the sting from giant-killing Thistle

Inverness CT 1 Dunfermline 1
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The Independent Football

If you've waited 36 years, what is another 10 days? Craig Brewster kept alive Dunfermline Athletic's dream of winning the trophy they last embraced in 1968 when his goal at Hampden Park yesterday ensured they would not become the latest side to be mugged by Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

If you've waited 36 years, what is another 10 days? Craig Brewster kept alive Dunfermline Athletic's dream of winning the trophy they last embraced in 1968 when his goal at Hampden Park yesterday ensured they would not become the latest side to be mugged by Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

The frayed nerves that preceded the veteran's 66th-minute equaliser in this tight Scottish Cup semi-final underlined that the Premier Division team genuinely feared joining a list of victims that has twice included Celtic in recent seasons.

Paul Ritchie's header in first-half stoppage time hinted at a first Cup final for the Inverness club just 10 years after being formed and though Dunfermline will be glad of a second chance at Pittodrie on April 20, the replay carries no guarantee of success.

Brewster, who scored the winning goal here 10 years ago to win this trophy for Dundee United, was involved in all that was good about Dunfermline in the first half. He contributed a deft exchange of passes with Derek Young after 18 minutes that allowed the latter to curl a right-foot shot from the edge of the box that seemed destined for the net until goalkeeper Mark Brown leapt to touch it wide.

Two minutes later, Brewster's clever backheel again opened up the Inverness defence to allow Crawford a sight of goal from just six yards out but the Scotland forward took too long and Stuart Golabek lunged in to whip the ball clear.

In contrast, Inverness's main threat came from the counter-attack. David Bingham's fine chest control allowed Liam Keogh's surging run to carry him into the box before the half hour but Lee Bullen blocked the shot.

However, the underdogs discovered their bite with the interval just seconds away. Roy McBain's burst released Bingham on the left wing and his perfect cross picked out Ritchie, whose firm header thumped in off the post to an explosion of Highland joy.

Dunfermline's quest for an equaliser took on an urgency in the second-half. Derek Young squandered a fine chance after Crawford threaded a fine pass beyond the defence but if Dunfermline were beginning to have doubts that this was not going to be their day, those fears were crystalised in the 57th minute.

Brown produced a moment of goalkeeping brilliance to deny Crawford, who had made space to meet Lee Bullen's cross and thump an angled header that was heading for the top corner until Brown threw himself to his right to paw it away.

However, 10 minutes later Dunfermline's nerves were soothed and this time there was nothing Brown could do as Darren Young sent over an inviting cross for Brewster to get in front of Bobby Mann and guide a header home.

Inverness CT 1
Ritchie 45

Dunfermline 1
Brewster 67

Half-time 1-0 Attendance: 13,255

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