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  2. All over bar the shouting Despite Richie Foran stating we were ready for the battle, it was Motherwell that came out determined to put us to the sword and after just eight minutes we found ourselves 2-0 down and Tremarco substituted through injury. Foran said on BBC Sport "I'm feeling positive. Three points today can change the whole picture for us." Eight minutes later that statement looked flawed. Alex Fisher deflected one in before half-time and had another couple of efforts well saved by Craig Samson. The Fish lobbed another ten minutes after the break to level matters. However a disputed Scott McDonald goal and a powerful headed finish from Allan Campbell put Well in the driving seat again. 4-2 Final score and the Championship is calling our name out loud. The fears of the visiting fans were quickly realised as Billy Mckay missed out through injury and with Gary Warren and Larnell Cole suspended and Iain Vigurs on the park, the writing was on the wall before a ball was kicked. The results this weekend have virtually relegated Inverness although Dundee are still in free fall five points above us. Old Caley Girl will have a full report for us if she hasn't jumped off the Kessock Bridge yet.................. Nope, she's still with us, and has put together a somewhat sombre report. The Grim Reaper is coming It is with a very heavy heart I start typing this match report. Yesterday was, in all honesty, a final roll of the dice to save ourselves and we failed. There is no doubt this wretched season is grinding to its inevitable conclusion. We are done, finished and down no doubt about it. Any optimism Caleyaway had at the start of the match didn’t last long. Cadden opened the scoring in 7 minutes. He danced into the box and bulleted the ball into the left hand top of the goal. It seemed to catch the wind and curl giving OFW no chance. Yet again all too easy with Cadden not shut down early by McCart. Two minutes later things went from bad to worse. Moult floated a left footed shot over the goal, the ball was fumbled by OFW and bounced into the net. Ryan Bowman could have made it 3 but for a good save by our keeper. At this point we decided to roll up our sleeves, waken up and play. A further blow was Carl Tremarco going off injured and replaced by McNaughton in 11 minutes. For the rest of the first half it was pretty much end to end stuff with Fisher giving the away fans a bit of a lift in 21 minutes with a left footed shot hitting the right hand back of the net. Owain Fon Williams had several fine saves as well. HALF TIME Motherwell 2 Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1 The second half continued as the first had ended with both sides having chances. However in 54 minutes it looked like the great escape was on. Fisher scoring a poachers goal from outside the box into an empty net, one that Iain Stewart would have been proud of. This was the type of fight and grit we had been looking for from the players and there was hope this might, just might be the day we won the must win game. In 64 minutes Vigurs was replaced by Mulraney and unfortunately that led to us losing shape in my opinion. Vigurs had been having a solid game up till this point playing off Polworth. Two minutes later enter the Willie Collum show. Scott McDonald headed the ball towards goal and was saved on the line by Owain Fon Williams. Well we all thought it was until Mr Collum bizarrely awarded a goal!!! Our players were understandably raging and that was that. The players seemed totally deflated and that probably led to losing another goal 5 minutes later from an Allan Campbell header. Anier appeared in 74 minutes replacing Billy King and Brad McKay earned a yellow in 89 minutes. No luck again but that’s been the story of this season. A monumental task now awaits if we are to stay up. FULL TIME – Motherwell 4 -2 Inverness Caledonian Thistle OCG MotM – Alex Fisher, showing fight passion and knowing where the back of the net was. I can’t help feeling he should have been playing more and that if he had we might not be where we are now. At the end of the match he came over acknowledged the fans and gave away his top to a young away fan. Not sure what to read into that but rumours now surface that his contract will not be renewed sadly. Honourable mention to Iain Vigurs, Greg Tansey and Liam Polworth who definitely got pass marks from me. Can’t remember feeling so down as I did yesterday leaving Fir Park. Will be a while till we see it again as our fate is sealed. There will be no great escape after all. Yes Collum changed the match and in all probability that was the killer blow but we have been struggling all season. A lot of chat re Richie Foran, the players and the board from fellow Caleyawayers. Leaving that for another day as still licking my wounds from a miserable day out. Oh dear, not looking so good now as we enter the bottom-six split 5 points adrift of the nearest side, the free falling Dundee. All is not lost yet, but it would be a brave man to bet on us avoiding relegation now. Still, while there are fifteen points still up for grabs, then we can cling on to the Premiership for another couple of weeks yet. Next game is a Friday night derby at Dingwall. Not for the faint hearted I imagine. A forlorn Foran gives his match reaction........... Highlights from SPFL website Date: 15/04/17 Venue: Fir Park, Motherwell Attendance: 3696 Referee: Willie Collum Motherwell: 4 Lineup: Samson, Hammell (Jules 87), Heneghan, McHugh, Campbell, Cadden, Frear, Pearson, Bowman (Ainsworth 59), McDonald, Moult (Blyth 83) Subs (not used): Griffiths, Clay, Ferguson, Gordon Scorers: Cadden (7), Moult (9), McDonald (65), Campbell (70) Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Fon-Williams, Tremarco (McNaughton 13), McCart, Laing, B.MacKay, Polworth, Draper, Vigurs (Mulraney 64), Tansey, King (Anier 74), Fisher Subs (not used): Esson, Ebbe, Horner, Boden Scorers: Fisher (21, 54) Booked: Brad Mackay (89) Sent Off: none a
  3. Good preview again Don and I concur with your prediction. I kept saying that I hope ICT and RF can turn this around but its not happening. Maybe today could be the day for it to start but I doubt it.
  4. On the brink Inverness are on the brink of relegation after a shambolic, hapless and gutless performance against a mediocre St Johnstone, who themselves were without two of their stalwart players after an altercation last week. As it turned out, it mattered not a jot as we slumped to an embarrassing 3-0 defeat after Larnell Cole was sent off for dissent. We crumbled thereafter. Goals from Steve Maclean, and a late Liam Craig penalty were rubber stamped by a Graham Cummins strike to complete a miserable afternoon for the Caley Jags and their supporters who chose to vent their frustration towards the bench and the unseen board who had backed the untried Richie Foran, who is probably the scapegoat in this whole sorry saga. The only saving grace after today's tripe was that only County and Accies benefited by a single point. The rest, like us, losing. We only had around 2500 home fans at this game, what incentive is that for the players to bust a gut, then again, what encouragement are the fans getting after a display like that, it's a catch 22 situation. Richie Foran speaking to BBC said "The main person who is not good enough is me. I am obviously not doing my job right and big apologies to the supporters. I believe we let them down today. "It is not good enough. I pick the team, I pick the shape, I will take 90% of the blame for that but the players need to stand up as well." Just today I hear you all shout........ In a game that was crucial to our Premiership survival barely 2500 Home fans bothered to turn up to witness another grim performance, and another nail in the Caley Jags coffin. Considering what was at stake for Inverness, we showed little urgency in the opening exchanges. We lined up with three at the back and Tremarco and McNaughton slightly ahead although it was basically a back five as St Johnstone pressed us high up the park. Mulraney made the bench but remained on it for the whole game. We started with no width and little expectation, sadly that's how at panned out. Neither side were able to carve out a clear opportunity although we had three snippets that we passed on, Billy Mckay, Alex Fisher and Carl Tremarco unable to make the keeper work as they knocked the ball wide or sclaffed their attempts. Greg Tansey showed plenty commitment and a long range effort was dealt with by Alan Mannus in the visitors goal. St Johnstone offered little to trouble Fon Williams, but when they did, he gifted them an opportunity, one they accepted gleefully as MacLean tapped in almost on the line. The keeper had dived low to cut out a cross, all he succeeded in doing was knocking the ball into the path of two Saints players who contrived to knock the ball behind him from close range. Five minutes before the break and the chilling stench of relegation was overpowering. Half Time 0-1 Undeterred we plodded on in the second period and caused the visiting defence plenty of problems, however, for all our domination until Larnell Cole was red carded in the 80th minute, we failed to make Alan Mannus work, electing to miss the target or see shots blocked by a hard working St Johnstone defence. Even the talismanic Billy Mckay failed to get shots away and found defenders protecting Mannus able to block his efforts. When we did make a breakthrough, Cole could only shoot straight at Mannus who gathered easily. We were pressing at this point without a cutting edge but the game dynamics changed drastically after 80 minutes when Cole was sent off. He appeared to have skipped past a couple of players before being brought down clumsily. However, the incompetent referee, and I use that term loosely, Stephen Finnie saw otherwise and when Cole confronted him all he got for his troubles was a yellow card. The angry Cole never gave up though and Finnie swiftly followed the first yellow with a second followed by a change of colour to red. That started the capitulation and two minutes before the end Tremarco gave away a penalty as St Johnstone broke forward. Cue mass exodus. Game and season over as Liam Craig sent Fon Williams the wrong way again. The icing went on the Perth cake in injury time when Graham Cummins wrapped up the points with Inverness, by now, in total disarray. Full Time 0-3 This was another must win game that brought us zero points and abject failure and misery. The Cole sending off was farcical, but there can be no excuse for Garry Warren getting red carded in the tunnel after the game. He obviously had something to say to the official and saw the same colour as Cole. Well done Gary, you are now out at a critical time when we are trying to avoid relegation. Not a great advert for the captain of our team and certainly not leading by example. In truth, our performance was that of a team in absolute chaos, nobody taking responsibility, nobody able to create the spark needed to ignite the fuse, nobody with the balls to try something different and the harsh reality is that we deserve to be where we are based on too many similar performances over the season. Richie's appointment not looking like the best idea right now and the players look resigned to going down. Shame on the lot of you. We needed other games to go for us and they mostly did. Only County and Accies moved further away from us and only by one point, so the position remains crystal clear at the bottom of the table. I'm afraid the only way out of this is to start winning games, anything other than a win next week at Motherwell and it's Championship for us, unless you believe in miracles. tm4tj MotM:- It doesn't matter anymore. We were well served by the departing Tansey, McCart and McNaughton who must be needing to build on his stamina after his lengthy lay off. Billy continues to work away but you can see his frustration after another fruitless day at the office. Too many passengers in a side that look as if they are already doomed. Apologies if this sounds like a broken record, but I'm afraid the record is well and truly broken. Footage from SPFL website of our humiliation Date: 08/04/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2961 Referee: Stephen Finnie Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Fon Williams, Tremarco, McNaughton (King 57), Warren, Draper (Polworth 57), McCart (Boden 82), W.Mckay, Tansey, Fisher, Laing, Cole Subs (not used): Esson, Mulraney, Brad McKay, Anier Scorers: none Booked: Cole (81) Sent Off: Cole (82), Warren (in tunnel after game) St Johnstone: 3 Lineup: Mannus, Scobbie, Alston (Thomson 82), MacLean (Millar 79), Shaughnessy, Smith, Coulson (Wotherspoon 70), Paton, Easton, Craig, Cummins Subs (not used): Clark, Anderson, Hurst, Hunter Scorers: MacLean (40), Craig (pen.88), Cummins (91) Booked: Alston (65) Sent Off: none a
  5. Relegation battle begins in earnest. St Johnstone bring their own Marquess of Queensberry brand of football to the Highlands when they visit the Caledonian Stadium on Saturday afternoon as the games start to run out for the Caley Jags in our quest to avoid relegation. Here's a wee tune to welcome the Boxers We were at Pittodrie in midweek and came away empty handed after a Garry Warren own goal gave Aberdeen all three points. The Dons had previously hammered Dundee but found Inverness a tougher nut to crack. We had our own moments during the game but the Dons looked menacing when they broke forward at pace. Despite our massive effort, we fell short of scoring a vital goal and that result ensures we remain bottom of the League for now. St Johnstone were at home to Hearts on Wednesday night and won 1-0 courtesy of a Joe Shaughnessy header. That keeps them firmly in 4th place. However, it was their previous game against Hamilton that ended in farce after a boxing bout broke out between two of their own players, Danny Swanson and Richard Foster. The joke was on us though as Hamilton Accies took advantage of nine man Perth and took all three points. Not much going our way just now, what with late goals, own goals, penalties and expected wins for other teams failing to materialise. Sometimes it's just not your season. This appears to be sometimes. One win in twenty League games is relegation form I'm afraid, and with only seven games remaining, it's difficult to see how and when we can rectify that. The odds are stacking against us. We have had too many draws of late that were not converted into wins and that is killing us. Other teams have lost more games than us over the last ten, Motherwell have conceded the most goals and have the worst goal difference, yet it's Inverness that are in danger of being cut adrift. Meh! One of our four wins this season was the first fixture between the clubs in August, 2-1 in the Highlands. Ross Draper opened the scoring but Richard Foster leveled the game. It took a very late Josh Meekings prod to win the game at the death. The return encounter at Perth saw St Johnstone cruise home untroubled, winning 3-0. Liam Craig, Murray Davidson and Danny Swanson scored for Saints and Garry Warren got himself red carded after an hour. Richie Foran will not have Josh Meekings, Aaron Doran or Iain Vigurs available. Carl Tremarco came through his comeback at Pittodrie unscathed, as did Kevin McNaughton. Jake Mulraney missed out at Pittodrie and his pace on the wing was missed, and he might be missing this one as well. David Raven is rumoured to be struggling to make this one with a groin injury. Tommy Wright will have to do without his cage fighters Danny Swanson and Richard Foster. I don't believe they will be exchanging Xmas cards this year. Keith Watson, Ally Gilchrist and Chris Kane will also sit this one out. However, Steven Anderson and Murray Davidson could be fit enough to be included in the Perth squad. tm4tj prediction:- Well, judging purely on statistics we will have little chance of getting something from this. However, with the two scrappers out suspended then that throws us a lifeline as well. Swanson has been a success this season with a dozen goals and they will miss his contribution. We need to turn defeats into draws and draws into wins. Our commitment has been good recently but we lack the quality and direction needed to see us through the final phase of the campaign. We can do this, it won't be pretty, but pretty never won anything, so let's get the job done, starting at home this weekend. Narrow and ugly home win. With Motherwell and Accies drawing and County beating Dundee in midweek with a last minute penalty, that keeps four other teams within six points of Inverness. So, it's up to us now. A win this weekend would be massive and set us up for a six-pointer showdown with Motherwell the week after, the last game before the League split. Remember 15 points up for grabs in the bottom-six games, still a chance to squirm out if the shit yet. Other games concerning teams at the wrong end of the table:- Celtic v Kilmarnock Hamilton v Ross County Hearts v Dundee Partick v Motherwell
  6. Inverness make Dons work hard for the points Aberdeen took the lead after 22 minutes when the ball was bundled home from close range following a corner. It was eventually accredited to Gary Warren (og). The Dons looked eager to please but we had a couple of first half chances, a Mckay shot and a Tansey header. Polworth had an effort tipped away for a corner after the break as Aberdeen continued to search for a second. Miles Storey incredibly missed a sitter late on. Only he knows how. It didn't matter at the end though as we failed to score and find ourselves in more trouble than you could shake a stick at. RIG was at this one and here is his report.......... Went into that game fearing an absolute bumming but came away slightly disappointed we didn't nick something from it. Not saying we deserved a draw but Aberdeen were very flat for most of the match and we grew into it and had some decent chances to get a goal. That said overall Aberdeen definitely seemed to be playing within themselves after their destruction of Dundee on Friday. Very defensive line up to start with from Foran. Warren, Laing and McNaughton all starting at CB with Tremarco and Raven on the left and right. Tansey, Draper and Polworth in the middle and Mckay and Anier up front. The lack of width in the side was evident throughout the opening period of the game. Any time the likes of Tansey got the ball in the midfield we looked to the wide areas for support and Raven / Tremarco were often too far up the pitch or too far back to offer us the chance to stretch the Aberdeen rearguard. When Aberdeen attacked they went down the flanks doubling up on our full backs which often meant that one of the midfield three were having to come across to help defend which opened up space in the middle of the pitch for Shinnie, McLean etc to drive into. Aberdeen goal was pretty untidy from an ICT point of view. Defence struggled to clear a corner and the ball seemed to ricochet in off Warren under pressure from Considine and Taylor. Best chance of the first half for ICT was created by Polworth who surged through the middle and played a nice ball to Mckay inside the box but Lewis was able to save. It was a rare moment of football from ICT in the first half with our main tactic normally consisting of leathering the ball in the vague direction of Mckay or Anier which was easily defended by Taylor and O'Connor. Half Time 1-0 Second half Aberdeen clearly eased off and we started to grow into the game a bit more as time went on coupled with a change in shape. A couple of long range strikes, including a decent effort from Polworth, and some scrambles in the Aberdeen box gave some hope that we might nick a point but our play in the final third lacked a real cutting edge. During a rare period of play where we actually got the ball down and passed it around we had some success getting in behind the Aberdeen defence particularly down their left and once Fisher came on the long ball started to become a bit more effective with Taylor and O'Connor suddenly finding themselves under pressure in the air. However the best chance of the second half fell Aberdeen's way in the shape of the inexplicable miss from Storey. Absolutely no idea how he managed to miss it and then he contrived to take the ball away from goal as he tried to get it under control. Full Time 1-0 ICT players were on the floor at the end. There was certainly no lack of effort from the guys last night but we just don't have the quality to break down teams like Aberdeen and probably most teams in the league just now. Even just having someone like Christie could open up a few goal scoring chances for us which could make all the difference. I thought Polworth did well in his more natural central midfield position. He was burst by the end of the game though. McNaughton was also excellent at the back for us and I felt Laing had a good game. Draper was poor. Distribution well off and again he was used to try and win some of the long balls with varying degrees of success. Tansey was off the boil too. His short passing was mostly good although he often gave the ball away needlessly. Some of his long passes were off the mark too and he showed a real reluctance to try and attack when in possession even when faced with yards of open space. Aberdeen, as I said, were playing in first or second gear. They were competent all over the pitch without any real standout performances I felt. Everyone just did their job well. Nothing flashy. A pretty routine win for them. Whole crowd was very muted. It felt like a post split match with nothing to play for therefore there was zero atmosphere save for one really angry Aberdeen fan in the DD who spent about 20 minutes of the first half calling a bunch of 16 year old ICT fans paedos which was slightly strange. Date: 04/04/17 Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen Attendance: 11507 Referee: Andrew Dallas Aberdeen: 1 Lineup: Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, Considine, Taylor, McLean, Rooney (Storey 79), McGinn (Christie 80), Hayes, O'Connor, Jack Subs (not used): Alexander, Pawlett, Wright, Ross, Anderson Scorers: Taylor (22) Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Fon Williams, Raven, Tremarco, McNaughton (Fisher 86), Warren, Polworth, Draper (Cole 61), W.McKay, Tansey, Laing, Anier (Ebbe 67) Subs (not used): Esson, McCart, King, B.McKay Scorers: none Booked: W.Mckay (40), Tremarco (66) Sent Off: none
  7. High scoring Dons next for Inverness. It's our toughest remaining fixture of a difficult season on Tuesday night as we face our player poachers, Aberdeen. With Greg Tansey jumping ship in the summer, he will join up with half a dozen former Caley Jags players now plying their trade at Pittodrie. We did ourselves no favours in our last outing, drawing with Kilmarnock at home when we really need to be winning these games to get ourselves off the foot of the table. It's one step forward and two back just now as Hamilton benefited from a St Johnstone boxing match to win all three points once Saints were reduced to nine men. Billy Mckay leveled the game with Killie after Kris Boyd had scored from the spot. Plenty of huff and puff, but we failed to blow the house down and it looks like it's going to be a tense finale to the season. The sheep are on fire right now and they pulverised Dundee by putting seven goals past them without reply. Andrew Considine scored a hat-trick in that game as they absolutely put the Dark Blues to the sword with some marvelous interplay as they cut them open time and time again. The Dons are on target to finish the best of the rest. They have only one defeat in their last eight games, (Hamilton) and they have won the other seven. In stark contrast, Inverness have only one win in their last eight (Rangers). The others are five draws and one defeat. The difference in fortunes are reflected in the relevant positions of the teams, Aberdeen on 61 points and Inverness on 25 points. We drew with the Dons back in September at Pittodrie, but when they came North in November we were easily beaten 3-1. A repeat of the Pittodrie draw would be welcome and most fans would bite the Aberdeen hand off right now if offered that outcome on Tuesday night. Our last win at Pittodrie was five games ago in January 2014. Since then it has been two defeats and the last two ended all square. Greg Tansey will be under scrutiny as his soon to be employers will be unimpressed should he score a winning goal against them. I wonder if it might be in everyone's best interest if he should sit this one out. However, we still pay his wages at the moment. Josh Meekings, Aaron Doran and Iain Vigurs are all out. Ryan Esson was on the bench against Killie and he will be on it again at Pittodrie. Carl Tremarco and Lewis Horner could make the squad. It was great to have the classy Kev McNaughton back on Saturday and he will be an asset in the defence should Tremarco not be risked. Aberdeen will be without the suspended Jayden Stockley. But with their depth of talent, mostly ex-Inverness players with more to follow, then I doubt he will be missed. Mark Reynolds is also out. Derek McInnes should have an otherwise unchanged squad from the one that battered Dundee. Other midweek fixtures to keep an eye on are:- Ross County v Dundee (Tues) Kilmarnock v Rangers (Wed) Motherwell v Hamilton (Wed)
  8. Another missed opportunity. Inverness passed up another opportunity to steer away from the foot of the table as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Kilmarnock in the Highlands. It was an entertaining enough game and nobody can have any complaints about the scoreline. Brad Mckay gave away a penalty with a rash challenge inside the box to give Bobby Madden no option but to point to the spot. Kris Boyd converted to open the scoring, but six minutes later Billy Mckay swivelled in the box to hit a low shot in off the post the square matters. With no further scoring thanks to both keepers in excellent form, the game ended level, a better point for Killie than it was for the home side. With Iain Vigurs and Carl Tremarco missing, Richie Foran had to re-jig his outfit and went with five defenders and King & Cole as the playmakers. Aberdeen bound Greg Tansey was given a key role to provide the ammunition for the strikers. Killie had Kris Boyd on from the off with the tricky Jordan Jones the wide provider. It was a fairly cagey opening to the game with neither side settling early. Larnell Cole was prominent early on and he drew a good save from Freddie Woodman as he shot from the edge of the box. One contest that was as one sided as David Haye's last bout was Jordan Jones v Brad Mckay. It was a contest that would see the bedraggled Brad kept in the dressing room after the break. Jones enjoyed the freedom of the wing as he tore Brad Mckay a new one time after time. It was his pace and trickery that led to a clumsy lunge by the bold Brad that Mr Madden had the simple task of awarding a penalty. A stonewaller and Kris Boyd fired the penalty low to the keepers right which makes you wonder why Owain dived low to his left. It may have been Mckay that was the baddie, but the real villain of the piece was Billy King who lost the ball just outside our box. Jones forced Fon Williams into action a couple of minutes later as he waltzed across our defence and shot goalwards. We took that one on the chin and pushed for an equaliser and that came six minutes later. The busy Cole fed David Raven on the left and his cross into the box was partly cleared. Billy pounced on the loose ball, brought it under control swiftly, swivelled and rifled his shot across the keeper and in off the post. Ten minutes later and Gerg Tansey hit a long range effort to the keepers left, but it was at a comfortable height and he pushed the ball away from danger at the expense of a corner. Boyd might have done better as he volleyed a cross from the right, but he miscued and the chance went harmlessly wide. Conor Sammon fared slightly better with a header but Fon Williams saved minutes before the break. Half Time 1-1 With Brad Mckay staying in after the break Kevin McNaughton replaced him to good effect, his first real test since his season long injury problem. He certainly steadied the ship and also found time to overlap on the left. Tansey and Billy Mckay both shot wide as we looked to get ahead and Cole made Woodman earn his crust as the keeper dived low to his left to push away his netbound shot. Gary Warren did well as he out sprinted the bulky Boyd and terminated his run on the edge of the box with a well timed tackle, the ageing Killie striker looking like he might benefit from a long ball over the top. Jake Mulraney came on after the hour and spent the rest of the afternoon being fouled. His wing wizardry seeing him beat players with consumate ease but still the final ball eluded him and his strike partners. Some nifty neat footwork by Tansey saw him feed McNaughton who crossed low into the heart of the box. Billy Mckay hit it first time with his left foot from twelve yards but Woodman produced a remarkable reflex save to deny Billy who must have thought he was about to score. Jones and Sean Longstaff brought out the best of Fon Williams, but he pulled of an equally good save as he dived low to his right and got a solid hand on a flashing shot from Callum Roberts as Killie finished the game strongly. Woodman was in the right place to gather a stabbed effort in a six yard box melee and that was our lot. Full Time 1-1 So, a draw it was and no surprise it was a scoring one at that. Plenty of effort from Inverness today but the story of the season was evident again. Not making the most of the chances that came our way and when we ran out of ideas the visitors ended stronger and we were left clinging on somewhat without looking like getting our noses in front. Richie Foran is not the fans favourite just now as we went with five defenders and an isolated Billy Mckay. Brad Mckay was rightly hooked at half time as he was a liability every time Jones confronted him. Kev McNaughton was excellent when he came on though and oozed class, his reading of the game reminiscent of a young Bobby Mann. Mulraney did one piece of magic to earn a corner when he was hemmed in but was the victim of some rough treatment from the Killie defence. Great goal from Billy Mckay to get us the point and a superb display from Fon Williams. I'm giving my vote to Larnell Cole, but there were great contribuions from a handful of players, namely Fon Williams, Raven, Tansey and Billy Mckay. A couple of names not on that list are the pair responsible for the Killie penalty, Brad Mckay and the anonymous Billy King who must have been wearing Vigurs' boots. These draws are hurting us now as we run out of games and many fans are now fearing the worst with Foran looking like he might be incapable of turning this around. Difficult times ahead as Hamilton sent us to the bottom of the league once more with a very late win against St Johnstone. One win in our last eighteen games does not fill me with confidence going into the vital bottom six games. Difficult game coming up at Pittodrie on Tuesday night and the sheep are on fire after burning Dundee on Friday night. That's the most difficult fixture we have left, let's get it out of the way with as little damage as possible then look for some positives in our remaining fixtures. Footage from SPFL website Date: 01/04/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2780 Referee: Bobby Madden Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams; B.Mckay (McNaughton, 46), Warren, McCart, Raven, Laing, Draper, Tansey, Cole (Polworth 86), King (Mulraney 61), W.Mckay Subs (not used): Esson, Ebbe, Boden, Anier Scorers: W.Mckay (25) Booked: B.Mckay (34) Sent Off: none Kilmarnock: 1 Lineup: Woodman; Wilson, S Boyd, Ayer, Taylor, Dicker, McKenzie (Kiltie 51), Longstaff, Jones (Roberts 78), K Boyd, Sammon Subs (not used): MacDonald, Osborne, Frizzell, Hawkshaw, Innes Scorers: K.Boyd (pen.19) Booked: Dicker (76) Sent Off: none a
  9. Return of the six-pointer It's another crucial match as we begin to run out of games to save our season. Kilmarnock are the visitors on Saturday after the inconvenience of International weekend. In actual fact, they are all crucial now, and after the last outings turnaround in results with County and Killie salvaging draws, then we need to start making the most of home advantage. That means having a go Richie rather than waiting for something to happen. It did last time out, unfortunately at the wrong end. How steep is this learning curve, it's almost vertical now. We lost a vital two points against County that would have dragged them right down into the thick of the relegation tussle. Greg Tansey had given us the lead just after the break but a late goal from Alex Schalk evened up matters. When the dust had settled after another frenetic derby it was a point apiece and no one could grumble if I'm being honest. In saying that, both sides had chances to win the game, but as has been the case for most of the season, we failed to take advantage when on top and our defensive record speaks for itself, abysmal. This result keeps us in the relegation turmoil whilst County still harbour hopes of a top-six slot. (Who are they kidding) Killie salvaged a point thanks to an incredible blunder by Partick's keeper when he failed to stop a trundling effort. The ball seemed to slap off him and squirm it's way into the net. Unbelievable Geoff! Chris Erskine looked to have given Partick all three points but Conor Sammon squeezed the ball home from distance thanks to an horrific cock-up by Tomas Cerny, straight out of the Fon Williams book of blunderful saves. Killie have been a bit Jekyll and Hyde this season, but have surprised many by their league position, sitting eight points above Inverness and only two behind Partick in sixth place. Look away now Tomas................. You have to go back eleven games since Killie last beat Inverness in the Highlands. It was seven years ago in December 2010 when they won 1-3. Craig Bryson, Liam Kelly and Jamie Hamill did the damage Hamill scoring from a rebound after his penalty had been saved by Ryan Esson. A certain Mr Richie Foran scored the Inverness goal that day. Since then, it has been five home wins and five draws. That statistic would appear to make Inverness the favourites on paper, but in reality, Killie have been better equipped this season and their league position is healthier than ours at the moment. They are however the second lowest scoring side in the division with only twenty-eight goals, five fewer than us. Their defence is eight better off than ours. That all adds up to a goal difference of minus seventeen compared to minus twenty for Inverness, which means every goal scored will count double in the goal difference stakes. Iain Vigurs crocked himself in the Highland derby and will possibly miss the rest of the season with ankle ligament damage. Carl Tremarco also took a knock in the derby and will miss another couple of weeks. Ryan Esson, Josh Meekings, Aaron Doran and Lewis Horner are out long term. Jake Mulraney missed the last game but hopes to have recovered sufficiently to be included in the squad for this one. Jamie McCart played for Scotland u21 in midweek and along with Louis Laing could keep his place in defence, although Gary Warren's experience could be vital. David Raven could be used at left back again and Kevin McNaughton is fit enough to be included after his lengthy time out. Brad Mckay will also be pushing for a start and Liam Polworth needs to stand up and be counted now that Vigurs is missing. Killie's interim manager Lee McCulloch will be without the suspended Luke Hendrie. Steven Smith is struggling for fitness although could be available, but Greg Kiltie is not ready for action yet. And finally, the worlds worst kept secret has become public knowledge. It has been announced that Greg Tansey will be leaving in the summer to join the rest of his former colleagues at Pittodrie. Well blow me down. It's a bit untimely given our predicament, but I'm sure Greg will not want a relegation on his CV and will be trying his utmost to get us away from the bottom. tm4tj prediction:- As I said above, Killies season should be seen as a success thus far. They have some flair players capable of hurting the opposition. Greg Kiltie and Rory McKenzie to name a couple and Conor Sammon is always a danger with his pace and eye for goal. He has scored three goals since his return to Killie in seven appearances. We need to be more aggressive at home, but not to the detriment of our fragile defence. We have a scorer in Billy Mckay, but he needs some service. If we can get bodies forward to help him out then I see no reason that we can't take all three points, but given that we don't do nil-nil in this fixture then it could be a scoring draw which will not do us any favours. Killie still have hopes of top-six, we hope to be playing in the top league next season. With Killie playing Rangers, Celtic and Hearts after they come North, they might feel that this is the one they should be winning and will go for the jugular. It could get messy, but let's get behind the guys and give them every encouragement we can. Other games around us that we will be keeping an eye on. Dundee 0 - 7 Aberdeen (Friday) Oooooft, that's a hammering. Looking forward to Tuesday night now! Hamilton v St Johnstone Partick v Ross County Rangers v Motherwell
  10. Derby Draw Disappoints Inverness The Highland derby ended in a disappointing draw as County came from behind to snatch a point with a late Alex Schalk strike. Greg Tansey's deflected strike just after the break gave Inverness an unexpected lead given the poor first forty-five, but they failed to capitalise on some early second half pressure, Billy Mckay hitting the crossbar as he tried to turn a cross home. County were menacing on the counter and Craig Curran missed a sitter when he headed wide when he should have hit the target. Overall, a draw was just about right although either side could have sneaked all three points. Inverness were dealt a blow before kick-off with the news that pacey winger Jake Mulraney was not fit. The converse for Ross County, with big stopper Andrew Davies given the go ahead to play. Richie Foran seemed to go for a formation that was designed not to concede rather than go for glory. Iain Vigurs started with Ross Draper and Carl Tremarco back after suspension. County had Aaron McCarey between the sticks. The game kicked off on a heavy pitch after Friday's constant rain and it was a cagey opening. Vigurs was looking more involved than he has been of late and he curled a ball that skiffed the top of the bar with the keeper beaten. Good effort with his right foot from twenty yards but he was injured soon after and replaced before the break by Liam Polworth. County were looking the more likely as our lack of width allowed them access to the wide areas and they flashed a couple of dangerous low crosses into the box that just eluded the strikers when a touch would have given them the lead. We were devoid of attacking intent in the first half and getting to the break all square was a bonus. Half Time 0-0 However, we exploded out of the blocks after the interval and Greg Tansey smacked a shot low towards the keepers left after indecision in the visitors ranks. The ball took a wicked deflection off County defender Andrew Davies and wrong footed Aaron McCarey in goal to find the opposite corner. We took the game by the scruff of the neck and minutes later Tansey brought out a good save from McCarey from a free kick wide on the Inverness left, the keeper tipping the ball over the bar. Ross Draper drifted a header back towards goal but it went narrowly over the bar from a deep cross as we tried to extend our lead. Carl Tremarco might feel he should have done better as well when presented with an opportunity to score. Costly misses as it turned out. County broke forward and Curran missed a golden opportunity to level matters. A deep cross found him at the back post all on his own but he contrived to miss the target from just six yards. It was Inverness that were still turning the screw though and Tansey hit a thunderous shot from twenty-five yards that McCarey did well to parry. A foot either side and he would have had no chance of touching it. From the resultant clearance, Inverness burst forward again Henri Anier setting up Billy Mckay but under pressure his close range strike cannoned off the bar, the rebound just evading Carl Tremarco's head before being cleared by a grateful County defence. Fon Williams was eventually called into serious action in the 81'st minute as he tipped over a Milan Lalkovic shot from distance. The warning was not heeded and when we failed to deal properly with a County attack, from the resultant throw in Alex Schalk latched onto the ball in the box, turned and fired high behind Fon Williams to make this feel like a defeat. Still time for substitute Dean Ebbe to try his luck from the edge of the box but his shot leaked to the left of goal and that was about it, game over and a better point for County than it was for Inverness. Full Time 1-1 So, the Highlands belong to Ross County for this season, but there will be one more derby to come and neither club are clear of the threat of relegation yet. It could be a season defining game for either club, What did we learn from that game? County are no better than us, but our poor start to the campaign and two derby losses see us in this predicament and not them. Richie Foran didn't cover himself in glory with his team selection and strategy. No width, no pace, no clean sheet and not killing the game off when we were on top all cost us dear. Why did he not bring on the substitutes earlier? We were crying out for fresh legs to further stretch the overworked visitors defence ten minutes before they equalised. Everyone could see that, County shuffled theirs effectively; we paid the price. Not a great crowd for the most crucial Highland derby ever, but those that were there gave the side plenty of encouragement. Overall, a draw was the most deserving of results. It's not the result we had hoped for but it's not a disaster. We climbed above Accies on goal difference and gained a point on Motherwell. Next game is at home to Kilmarnock and we really need to start turning draws into victories. PerfICT posted his Inverness player ratings on CTO. Can't argue with these really and like most, picked out Greg Tansey as MotM. Fon Williams: 6. Apart from a tip over the bar in the second half, I can't remember him having a save to make. Raven: 8. Had Gardyne in his pocket for most of the game. Excellent. Warren: 6. Not so exposed for pace in the 5 at the back formation, but was skinned by Gardyne a couple of times. McCart: 7. Really starting to show his potential. One absolute crunching tackle in the first half was a joy watch. Laing: 7. Solid all game. Tremarco: 8. Another excellent game from our player of the season. Unlucky not to score in 2nd half. Tansey: 9. Without doubt his best game of the season. Deserved his goal. Draper: 8. Always plays well against County and didn't disappoint. Vigurs: 7. Easily his best performance of the season. Excellent right foot shot that clipped the bar early on and good distribution. Anier: 6. Better from him, but first touch let him down quite often. Mckay: 7. Worked his socks off with fairly poor service. Really unlucky with the shot off the bar that would have killed the game. Polworth: 6. Certainly not his best game, but picked out Tansey for the goal. Also wound Gardyne up, which always deserves credit! Foran: 5. Clearly does not like playing with width up front. Did he miss a trick by not playing Cole and King, or was the formation right to nullify County's attack? Personally, I prefer the 4-2-3-1 formation, with pace out wide, but the players almost made the 3 centre halves formation work. His half time talk certainly did the trick. Referee: 6. Did well to keep his cards in his pocket for most of the game. A couple of penalty appeals for County...think he got those right too. . Full Match Available On Demand Now at http://buff.ly/2nmreVu (Site Registration Required) for only £5. Footage from SPFL website Date: 18/03/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 4123 Referee: Crawford Allan Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams; Raven, Warren, Laing, McCart, Tremarco, Draper, Tansey, Vigurs (Polworth, 42), Anier (Ebbe, 89), Billy Mckay Subs (not used): Hoban, Brad Mckay, King, Cole, Boden Scorers: Tansey (48) Booked: Tremarco (88) Sent Off: none Ross County: 1 Lineup: McCarey; Gardyne (Lalkovic, 80), Fraser, Davies, van der Weg, Naismith, Boyce, Chow, Routis (O'Brien, 78), Schalk, Curran (Dow, 85) Subs (not used): Foden, Gobern, Tumilty, Dykes. Booked: Naismith Scorers: Schalk (86) Booked: Naismith (52) Sent Off: none a
  11. So, who does own the Highlands? Ross County make the short trek over the bridge to face Inverness in a crucial showdown as both clubs fight for their Premiership survival in what has become a relegation derby with another one to come before the end of the season. Tough times for both Highland clubs. And they don't come much tougher than this. A local derby at the wrong end of the table with points needed by both clubs. The Highlands were predominantly ours, but this has been a substandard transitional season for Inverness, with County faring marginally better. This could change on Saturday. Is it a must win game? Possibly not, but it's certainly a must not lose game. Inverness took a small step forward last weekend with a scarcely deserved but crucial point at Firhill, Gary Warren scoring with the last touch of the game. It was a vital one though as his header from a deep Billy King cross found the bottom corner to cancel out Kris Doolan's opener for Partick. Foran suffered badly from a lack of available players for this one with Ross Draper and Carl Tremarco suspended and the pacey Jake Mulraney injured and Aaron Doran out for the rest of the season. It showed in his team selection so a point at Partick is not to be scoffed at given our deficiencies. County at one point this season looked good for a top-six place, but their form of late has been that of a relegation threatened side. Their good work at Tynecastle was undone as Killie came North and went home with all three points. A late Kris Boyd counter was the difference between the sides after Conor Sammon and Liam Boyce had scored earlier in the game. That turnaround and our late point at Partick means that there are only four points between the sides now. Both clubs have picked up just seven points over their last ten games, County with two wins and a draw. One of those wins was a 3-2 victory in the last derby with Liam Boyce bagging a brace and Martin Woods notching the other. We toiled that day but goals from Carl Tremarco and Alex Fisher gave us some hope although it was a case of too little too late. County also won the first derby 3-2 with Boyce claiming a hat-trick that day. Scott Boden and Ross Draper scored for Inverness in another game where we fell short of the mark. Strangely enough, we have scored two more goals than County, once more it's the defence that has been letting us down with County conceding five less than us. In truth, there's little between the sides, yet County manager Jim McIntyre is still searching for a route into the top-six. That has long been closed for Inverness as Richie Foran realised avoiding relegation is the priority. Sadly, if neither club find a bit of form going into the final games of the season, then relegation is a distinct possibility for both clubs. Thankfully, Hamilton and Motherwell are still in the mix for that unwanted position. Even a play-off game presumably against either Dundee United or Falkirk would not guarantee safety, so the battle is well and truly on to get to tenth place and avoid the dreaded drop and all the unwanted baggage that goes with it. Richie Foran will be without Josh Meekings, Ryan Esson, Aaron Doran and Lewis Horner. Kevin McNaughton came through a development game in midweek unscathed and took it in his stride. However, a frantic derby may be a bit of a risk given the circumstances. Jake Mulraney missed out last week and we could do with his electifying pace out wide. Hopefully he has recovered fully from his injury. Youngster Jamie McCart on loan from Celtic has been called into the Scotland u21 squad after some promising displays for Inverness, so congratulations to him. Jim McIntyre will be hoping to have Scott Fox back in goal for this one. Chris Burke, Tony Dingwall and Ian McShane are all out for the rest of the season. Jay McEvely will miss this weekend and Andrew Davies, Scott Fox and Martin Woods will be given every opportunity to make the derby. Alex Shalk has a broken bone in his hand but is expected to be included in the squad. So, problems for County on the injury front as well. It will be interesting to see if either boss has placed his cards on the table or will there be any surprises included in the starting line-ups. tm4tj prediction:- County are on a poor run just now and we have shown some battling qualities over the last few games that was missing earlier in the season. Injuries are still causing havoc with our team selections with Meekings and Doran out for the season and Esson struggling. It's great to have Billy Mckay back with us, but if we don't play to his strengths, then he would be as well sitting in the stand. He was isolated at Partick last week but with home advantage I expect us to get bodies forward to give him some assistance. County have won the two previous derby's, but the tide is turning at a crucial stage of the season. Liam Boyce scored his first goal of 2017 last week and if we can keep him quiet, then I will be looking for three points to bring County right down into the relegation mire. Only ten games left to save our season, and on derby day, other games of interest to County and Inverness: Hamilton visit Rangers, Motherwell host St Johnstone and Killie and Partick play each other. Fingers crossed, results favour the Highlands. Richie Foran & Henri Anier look forward to the derby............
  12. Gary has the final say. Inverness snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat at Firhill thanks to a last second Gary Warren header. It could prove to be a crucial point for Foran's men as late goals in other games around the country kept us in touch at the foot of the table. Kris Doolan looked to have given a dominant Partick all three points but Warren answered his critics in the best possible fashion. Immortal Howden Ender ventured North to the bistro's and wine bars of Maryhill and has this report for us. Read on. Gary Warren's last-minute, last touch, injury time (offside ) header saved our bacon in Maryhill. Great sliding celebration and 194 Invernessians went ballistic once again. We don't usually have any luck at Firhill but we got dollops of it yesterday. We didn't deserve a point but WTF Kris Doolan's 10th goal of the season looked to have earned Plastic Whistle their fourth straight Premiership win. They actually looked like a good footballing team but more like a Spanish outfit than from the hipster West End of Glesga. But good old Gary Warren nodded home at the far post for the Highlanders, who had a first-half strike from Henri Anier disallowed with Billy Mckay standing offside. We had the first effort of the match when Greg Tansey fired a 25-yard shot wide and he followed that up with 3 or 4 others which all went off target, other than a tame back-pass free kick. But at least he had a go !!. But that was their our only real threat as the Maryhill Magyars totally dominated possession and we either hoofed or gave them the ball back. "Musthavea Walrus look-alike, sound alike" was proving to be a handful and got the home fans MOM. Warren was the man to mark him but he was played wide right of a three man defence !! Early injuries to Abdul Osman and Lawless should have helped us to but feckin didn't. Lawless hadn't even be replaced and they were down to 10 men when Anier produced his only "effort" of the day and we thought that we had stolen an equaliser. But the flag went up for offside against wee Billy. Need to see the highlights BUT if he didn't touch it that would have been mightily harsh. It would have been great to have gone in 1-0 up but 0-0 was undeserved but happy to take it. But in the 56th minute the DOOLAN inevitably put the Whistle ahead and many of us braced ourselves fer a Hamilton away repeat. Thankfully our shaky defence all of a sudden began to look resolute or did the Whistle sit back on their Laurel or Hardy's. And even the shaky Fon Williams looked safer and produced what I can only describe as a "World Cup save" and it probably also saved our season. AND THEN two minutes into the two minute allotted stoppage time Gary Warren rose at the back post (looking suspiciously offside ) to head in the equaliser from Billy King's cross. 194 Invernessians applauded the sliding celebration an "oh, oh Gary Warren filled the Maryhill air and many Plastic Whistle supporters were either on their way oot or had feckin left already. FON WILLIAMS Still looked shaky and I shudder when anything goes at him but his second half performance literally saved our bacon. WARREN Played on the right of a three man defence for ALL of the game. Give me a break but our saviour once again. LAING Did OK in the central position. He, like many others, didn't seem to understand our system but he stood his ground and can only get better. McCART Bet he never witnessed anything like this at Parkdread !! But as with Laing he stood his ground. BRAD MACKAY Played in yet another position - like a right sided wing back. And he got plenty of space and plenty of the ball. He did OK but he simply didn't know how to play in that position. RAVEN Played in the left sided wing back position but he popped up all over the place. What a gut-busting performance. Eat, Sleep, Raven, Repeat - MOM by a feckin country mile. TANSEY Now that was more like the Tansey of old. Like Raven he was clearly motoring at 100%. Only player who looked comfortable on the ball, passed successfully, looked to shoot and very close to MOM. POLWORTH I thought that he put in a lot of effort and was clearly the runner fer Tansey and Vigurs. He did not deserve to be substituted and appears to have become the whipping boy. VIGURS Best footballer in the team - Most skillful player in the squad - One of my faves - BUT if I could have got on to the pitch and past the stewards I would have slapped him. He feckin gave up. DISGRACEFUL and should have been hooked instead of Polworth. But he still managed to get another yellow card !! ANIER Sorry but why did he even start ? He looks like the mercenary that he is. Except he is sticking his head in the feckin sand rather than fighting. BILLY Mckay If there ever was a player to feel sorry for - enuff said !! Took King on in the 62nd minute and played him where ? Answers on a postcard please. Took Cole and Boden on in the 81st minute for the ineffectual Vigurs and Anier. Probably saved us the point and we pressed Whistle. But Cole in central midfield !! Richie Foran said : "It's a huge point today. (No **** Sherlock). I thought it was a very close game (what !!), but we've played against, for me, a top-four side today (what!!) . They are an excellent team, strong aggressive, can pass the ball and have goal scorers (what!!), so it's a big point. I always believed we'd score (what!!) and we've scored a lot of late goals this season. If you put balls in the box you've got a chance (what!! - when!!). It was a great leap [by Gary Warren] and a great finish. It was a good ball hung up by Billy King. "I'm delighted for the players and we're going in now to two home games. Results have gone our way, so it sets it up for a cracking game of football next week against Ross County." OK lets sum up in a nice, positive manner. We got out of the Jail End yesterday. Any of us would have taken a point. Can see the reason for playing 3-5-2 but why not with King and Cole wide ? Or why didn't we change it earlier ? We were terrible for most of the 92 minutes and 33 seconds. With Draper and Tremarco back and getting back to a well worked system then we can get 6 out of 6 points at the Dump. But I don't feel comfortable singing "WE ARE STAYING UP " YET Match footage from SPFL website. will be available soon. Date: 11/03/17 Venue: Firhill Stadium, Glasgow Attendance: 3082 Referee: Willie Collum Partick Th: 1 Lineup: Cerny, Dumbuya, Booth, Lindsay, Osman (Amoo 33), Doolan, Erskine (Elliott 89), Lawless (Azeez 43), Barton, Keown, Edwards Subs (not used): Ridgers, Nisbet, McCarthy, Lamont Scorers: Doolan (56) Booked: Amoo (83) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon-Williams, Raven, Warren, Polworth (King 62), Vigurs (Cole 81), McCart, W.McKay, Tansey, Laing, B.McKay, Anier (Boden 81) Subs (not used): Hoban, McNaughton, Ebbe, Fisher Scorers: Warren (92) Booked: Vigurs (21), McCart (45) Sent Off: none a
  13. Six-Pointers from here on in! It's all six pointers from here on in as we travel to Firhill to take on Partick Thistle in the Premiership looking for more points to add to the rather unexpected but nonetheless welcome four we gleaned from Hearts and the Rangers recently. Despite those fantastic results, other clubs have not been so keen to help us out and we still find ourselves at the foot of the table, two points behind Hamilton. We suffered a setback in our last outing even before we kicked off against Celtic. Hamilton never read the script properly and defeated Aberdeen on the Friday night to leapfrog us in the table. With County getting a bonus win at Tynecastle on the Saturday and Killie losing to Motherwell on Sunday, Inverness were the big losers going down 0-4 to a rampant Celtic. After a battling first 45, we were the architects of our own downfall, gifting goals like they were going out of fashion. But enough of the doom and gloom. The good news is that we don't have to play Celtic again and our fate is in our own hands over the next eleven games, the most important in our history. There were plenty of positives against Celtic despite the crushing scoreline although they were undone by some calamitous errors that verged on comedy. We were never going to win this game, but after gifting a second and third goal our task was well beyond us and we had to take our punishment as a result. Partick have been one of the success stories of this season and we go down to Firhill with a less than impressive record there in recent years. Only four wins in our seventeen visits, one of which was a Scottish Cup game in 2015, that was a good year if I recall correctly. Others were a First Division game in 2010, our first visit in 1998 and one at the tail end of last season when the campaign was done and dusted (1-4). That was our best ever result against the Harry Wragg's Partick have been a bit of a bogey team for us although overall the stats will show that victories are fairly even. Historically, home advantage seems to prevail and at Firhill we have six defeats, four wins and seven draws. Our last encounter was at Inverness where the sides played out an unspectacular 0-0 draw. The first game at Partick ended in defeat for Inverness by 2-0, Foran's first game in charge. Goals by Chris Erskine and David Amoo gave Partick an untroubled victory. We all knew this early in the season that scoring goals would not be our strong point as we struggled to create anything. What we did not foresee was that our normally reliable defence would be even worse; and here we are today, bottom of the league on merit. Partick's last game saw them limp out of the Scottish Cup in a rather tame affair at the hands of Aberdeen, but in the League they have made their way under the radar into the top-six, ten points above Inverness. Goals for are similar, but once again it's our defensive record that is the main issue. Richie Foran spoke to the BBC after his first game in charge at Firhill back in August. I wonder what he thinks of his comments now? And who is Scott Boden? "It's only early. You don't become a bad team overnight. We're going to stay positive. "I thought we had poor imagination in the final third. With the quality that we have up there I expect a little bit more but we didn't get enough help around Scott Boden. "(It's a) disappointing result but I can't be too hard on the lads. They've been magnificent since I've come in. "I think we're in for a good season. We've got the quality. We just need to work on a few bits and pieces." Alan Archibald has doubts over Danny Devine and Christie Elliott after the pair sustained knocks during last weekend's defeat by Aberdeen. On-loan Crawley winger Jason Banton (groin) could be involved but long-term absentees Sean Welsh (foot), Ryan Scully (shoulder), Stuart Bannigan and Gary Fraser (both knee) remain out. Richie Foran hopes to have Jake Mulraney back after he missed the Celtic game. He will be needed as Aaron Doran is reported to be out for the season after undergoing surgery on his knee. The operation was not on the same knee that has been a problem over the last two seasons. Carl Tremarco will be out, either through injury or suspension and Ross Draper is suspended for one match, he will be a big miss. Josh Meekings and Lewis Horner are long term casualties but Kev McNaughton is making good progress and was on the bench for the Celtic game. Ryan Esson has returned to training and Horner is ready to begin legwork. Other crucial fixtures over this coming weekend that will have a bearing on our destiny. Hearts v Hamilton, Aberdeen v Motherwell and County v Killie tm4tj prediction:- Eleven games left to save our season. Celtic apart, we have shown some willingness to try and stay in this League with credible draws against Dundee and Hearts and an excellent win over Rangers. Unfortunately other results have meant that we are back on the bottom and we will remain there unless we show a real desire to fight for everything. In Billy Mckay we have one man who can almost work miracles, but he needs help and Jake Mulraney if fit could be his provider, with King on the opposite flank. Our creaking back four have been shuffled more than a deck of cards at a Las Vegas casino, through injury, suspension and parent club ruling. We need our best players on the park and they need to be performing at the top level. Owain Fon Williams has been sloppy lately, but he can perform much better as he has done on occasion, let's hope his confidence is not shattered after that Celtic debacle as we have no suitable cover for him with Esson not fully fit. Partick hold the Indian Sign over us, but I'm hopeful of at least a draw if not a rare win at Firhill. Beware the scalded cat!
  14. Fon Williams in Blunderland Cock up keeper Owain Fon Williams was badly at fault as Celtic cruised home 4-0. The keeper who looked to have recovered from a shaky spell earlier in the season gifted Celtic their second goal and was suspect as they scored a third direct from a free kick after failing to cover his near post. I'm afraid he made a difficult job impossible as Celtic took full advantage from his gaffs to run out 4-0 winners. Scott Sinclair scored an excellent opener after riding a couple of challenges on the stroke of half time. Moussa Dembele poked in the second moments after the break after OFW blundered. Stuart Armstrong scored from that free kick and Dembele finished with aplomb as Celtic clinically hit on the counter. The result was never in doubt, but the manner in which we gifted goals was difficult to take and it undid the good work of the last couple of games. Another big away support filled the South Stand as Celtic kicked off playing towards the bridge end where a noisy and spirited young team took up residence and backed the home side who would be facing a difficult task. The first half was void of any real chances, neither keeper being forced into anything too difficult and maybe that was a good thing as events would unfold. Billy Mckay tried his luck with a low effort that Craig Gordon gathered easily after Billy King linked with Mckay and fed him on the edge of the box. It was a resilient display by Inverness, but just when we thought it was safe to go for the half-time cuppa, Scott Sinclair scored a superb goal. He appeared to be fouled by Draper as he made his way across the edge of our box but he stayed on his feet and rode another challenge before curling a shot beyond the outstretched Fon Williams to bring the first half to a dramatic close, The pressure had been mounting but up to that point we were well in the game without causing too much problems for the visitors. Half Time 0-1 We kicked off the second period and within twelve seconds shot ourselves in the foot. From the kick off the ball went backwards, and when Gary Warren decided to put it all the way back to his keeper there seemed little danger. However Fon Williams miskicked the ball, only succeeding in slicing the ball into the path of Moussa Dembele five yards in front of him. He chipped the ball up in the air and prodded it into the empty net with our blundering keeper lying on the deck looking on. It looked as though that goal sucked the energy and determination right out of the home players and from there on in it was one way traffic. Celtic don't usually need gifts, but when they are presented to them on a plate, it would have been rude not to accept it. Moments later the keeper made amends when he stopped a close range effort on his line but, alas, the damage had been done. Dembele and his strike partner Sinclair were causing problems with their sheer pace, skill levels and movement and from one burst by Dembele he left defenders in his wake before setting up Sinclair who blasted just over. His next thrust saw Celtic win a free kick just wide of the angle of our penalty box. Cross anticipated by all apart from Stuart Armstrong who hit the ball well and it ended up in Fon Williams' net at his near post. More shambolic keeping from the Welsh international who did not cover himself in glory. Cheap goal to lose and Celtic well on top. Liam Polworth woke from his slumber and fired a loose ball on target with a volley but Gordon was equal to it and tipped it over for a corner. That was the nearest we came to scoring whilst Celtic carved out another half dozen chances. The final goal came when Billy King ran out of ideas at the Celtic end, loss possession and when Tierney cracked a long ball forward, Dembele left everyone in his wake before dinking the ball over Fon Williams and into the empty net. Quality goal from a quality player. Full Time 0-4 Celtic were good value for their win with Dembele and Sinclair outstanding. Tierney is one of the hottest prospects around and the whole team oozes class from back to front and right through the bench as well. It's difficult for any team to match them at the moment, but we did just that in a keenly contested first half. However the wheels fell off with the errors and the desire to compete visibly ebbed from the players. No disgrace losing to the best Celtic team for years, but disappointing that we contributed to our own downfall after a promising first forty-five. With that game out of the way, Foran needs to lift the squad for the last eleven games with the Aberdeen one looking like the toughest fixture left. Mind you, in our position at the bottom, they are all tough. Richie Foran was as scathing of his side as any of the fans. Caley boss Richie Foran: "It's extremely disappointing. We lacked courage on the ball, we lacked belief on the ball. I'm not even sure Celtic got out of second gear. We never got going. "I find it hard to think of a player that did well. The whole 11 lacked courage. Off the ball we were OK; on the ball we didn't want to pass forward and take responsibility. "On the counter we had the ability but we didn't have the belief to go with it. It doesn't matter how good Celtic were. We had opportunities to play and get forward but we didn't fancy it. "The second goal was comical. It's embarrassing. But we were poor all over the park. At least three of the goals we conceded were avoidable." tm4tj MotM. Not one Inverness player deserved to be nominated apart from Ross Draper who tried his best. The sponsors MotM went to Polworth. Having a laugh maybe, but the real MotM goes to the young team who tried to drum up support as they waved their flags, sang, jumped around and got right behind the team for the full 93 minutes. Well done lads, it's a pity the team don't have your energy and enthusiasm at the moment. Look away now if you are easily upset............. Date: 01/03/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 5948 Referee: Andrew Dallas Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Fon Williams, Raven, Laing, Warren, B.McKay, Polworth, Draper, Tansey, King, W.Mckay (Anier 81), Cole (Vigurs 64) Subs (not used): Hoban, McNaughton, Ebbe, Boden, Fisher Scorers: none Booked: Laing (65) Sent Off: none Celtic: 4 Lineup: Gordon, Lustig, Sviatchenko, Boyata, Tierney, Bitton, Brown (Henderson 78), Armstrong, Mackay-Steven (McGregor 69), Sinclair, Dembele Subs (not used): de Vries, Toure, Izaguirre, Gamboa, Griffiths. Scorers: Sinclair (43), Dembele (46, 73), Armstrong (66) Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  15. It is a tough call against the leaders and I think you're right re damage limitation. Having said that, Celtic will lose a league game at some point I believe so why not tonight? Extremely doubtful I must admit but you never know with football. With Aberdeen Caledonian Thistle losing at Hamilton last night we are now two points adrift at the bottom. With that result in mind, if Celtic win tonight, they can win the title at home in their next match which is against.....The Rangers
  16. Stunning victory Inverness Caledonian Thistle ended their fourteen league game winless streak with a glorious win over Rangers thanks to a spectacular goal from Billy Mckay. In a pulsating game Greg Tansey had smacked home the opener in the first period. Martin Waghorn showed how to take a penalty as Rangers leveled from the spot but Iain Vigurs could not replicate that later in the game, Wes Fodderingham saving comfortably, but he was left sprawling helplessly when Billy scored his stunning acrobatic winner in the last minute of normal time. The hairs on the back of my neck are still standing. This win lifted Inverness off the bottom of the league for now with Hamilton playing Celtic on Saturday. What a climax to the 1000th game in our history! Richie Foran made a bold statement showing faith in the players that worked so hard to get a point at Tynecastle last weekend. Gary Warren, Brad Mckay and Iain Vigurs all started on the bench with youngster Jamie McCart and Louis Laing keeping their place in defence. Liam Polworth started with Larnell Cole and Jake Mulraney providing the service for the striker. The visitors had no surprises in their line-up and were looking to get back to winning ways having only one win in their previous six games and a big crowd were backing them to sort it in the Highlands. It looked like it was going to be a long night for Foran's side as Rangers flew out of the blocks and put Inverness on the back foot for the first ten minutes with slick incisive passing and swift play as they cut the hosts open three or four times during that period. However we are more resilient of late and repelled these attacks with Owain Fon Williams saving twice in quick succession as Kenny Miller bore down on goal after a quick throw in caught us napping, also saving the rebound as Emerson Hyndman shot low and hard. He kept out a Barry McKay effort as well as we were pinned in our own half during a torrid opening period. Three corners in as many minutes bore no fruit for the visitors before we eventually ventured forth. Fifteen minutes in and it looked even bleaker for Inverness as Carl Tremarco had to be replaced by Brad Mckay and Foran had to re-shuffle his under pressure back line. Jake Mulraney had our first attempt but the keeper dealt with his effort as we got to grips with the game and half an hour in Greg Tansey shot narrowly wide. He would do better just before the break. Barry McKay should have done better with a close range header but he got under the ball and it sailed over the bar. A let off for Inverness and we retaliated with Liam Polworth going close, as did Martyn Waghorn at the other end. One minute before the interval, Inverness took the lead in spectacular style. Greg Tansey latched onto a loose ball some thirty yards out after a Polworth shot was blocked. He crashed a low swerving shot to the keepers right and despite a headlong dive from Foderingham the ball fizzed into the bottom corner for a tremendous goal. Still time for Miller to try his luck but at the break it was advantage Inverness. Half Time 1-0 The end to end play continued after the break with Inverness looking comfortable as Rangers struggled to make the breakthrough. Barry McKay saw an effort tipped over by a confident Fon Williams as the pressure mounted on the hard working home defence and Joe Toral went very close with a shot across goal that just rolled past the far post. You could sense a goal was coming and it did. Louis Laing was adjudged to have been late with a tackle on Lee Wallace on the far side of the box as he crossed the ball and Waghorn made penalty taking look easy, Fon Williams going right, the ball flashing to his left on it's way into the net. Jake Mulraney had the Rangers defenders on toast all night but he had to leave the field after stretching for a wayward pass. Needless moment that ended his day and the home fans feared the worst as Billy King replaced him. Tansey almost put Inverness ahead once more after good play down the left by Larnell Cole set up the chance for a shot. His strike looked destined for the top corner but Foderingham pulled off a fantastic one handed save to keep the scores level. Great stop from the keeper. Rangers broke at the other end and Inverness had Fon Williams to thank after he denied Waghorn when he had raced clear into the left side of the box but the keeper stood tall and blocked his shot and the ball stuck as well. Bonus! The pace of the game was unrelenting and a really slick move by Rangers inside the Inverness area ended with a shot blocked inside the six yard box. Frenetic stuff and Billy Mckay forced Foderingham into action again as he shot from an angle inside the visitors box, the keeper up to the task this time getting two strong hands on the ball to push it away from goal after Billy had twisted and turned to create the space for a shot. Billy Mckay was causing all sorts of problems for the Rangers defence with his darting runs and magnificent ball retention and it was another such run that saw him bundled over inside the box. Penalty to Inverness but who would take this one as our success rate from the spot has been poor recently. Substitute Iain Vigurs had the balls to step up but his rather tame shot was comfortably saved low to his left by the keeper. Meh! However, the darting Mckay would not be denied and he scored a stunner to win all three points as the clock ticked down. There seemed little danger when a Larnell Cole cross was knocked high in the air by a defender. However, we are talking about the tenacious Billy Mckay here. Despite being surrounded by three big Bears, he held off the defenders before sending a controlled overhead kick into the corner of the net from ten yards. Wow, a stunning goal fit to win any game and the reaction from manager Richie Foran was a joy to behold, double fist pumps along the touchline as he, the fans and Caley Thistle players rejoiced in style. Still time for Jason Holt to fire a cross into the body of Iain Vigurs with the away fans rising as one to claim for a penalty but that would have been harsh as Vigurs blocked the ball at the expense of a corner, and that was it, game over and a fabulous welcome win for Inverness. Full Time 2-1 Oh boy, what a pulsating game that was and a fitting tribute for the 1000th competitive match for Inverness Caledonian Thistle. You could see what that victory meant to the under pressure manager Richie Foran as his players put in a shift and a half to earn the right to wear the shirt. Fantastic effort from all and let's not forget the part Rangers played in this enthralling encounter. They also displayed some slick football, but with both keepers in excellent form it was Inverness that wrote another slice of history in this landmark game. tm4tj MotM. So many excellent performers out there. Owain Fon Williams has rediscovered how to keep the ball out of the net. A strong display by an overworked defence and a huge effort by the midfield with Tansey outstanding. Jake Mulraney was menacing once we ventured up the park and Larnell Cole did likewise on the other side and seemed to get a second or third wind late in the game to make some lung bursting runs. Great effort. My MotM goes to a wee striker, and not just for his sublime acrobatic goal. Billy (small 'k') Mckay was tremendous and involved in everything when we broke upfield. He is definitely more energetic than the Duracell Bunny and he ran himself to a standstill, as did most of our players tonight. Special mention to Richie Foran. He has been on the receiving end of some tough criticism, but he was absolutely ecstatic tonight and showed some managerial credentials by leaving his experienced players on the bench and went with youth and energy. It paid off big time. Theresa May, Queen Elizabeth, Winston Churchill, Angela Merkel........................your boys took a helluva beating tonight! Check out Richie releasing his pent up frustration after Billy scores his stunner. Here is the rest of the action from the SPFL website Inverness CT 2-1 Rangers And, last but not least, Immortal Howden Ender has put down his legendary smileymometer ratings giving Tansey top marks from his viewing point on his sofa.. SEVCO SMILEYMOMETER FON WILLIAMS : Not wholly assured and I would guess at 80% fit. I still get nervous about / for him. But that performance can only be "confidence medicine". RAVEN : Eat, Sleep, Raven, Repeat - He plays on the right, he plays on the left. Lets just say that he pulled back the years last night. TREMARCO : Hope that the injury is short term - Big, big player for us this season. BRAD McKAY : Literally thrown in at the deep end. Sound if not spectacular LAING : : Lack of match time and fitness showed at times last night but held firm as the Sevco tide threatened. Needless challenge for the penalty and a needless yellow card (although he can afford them !!) McCART : Joint MOM for me. At Tynie he looked "green" and needed the support and guidance of Laing. Last night it was the opposite. Memories of a young Warren. Perhaps it was the Parkhead factor !! DRAPER : Now that was a captains' performance. Hope that the substitution was pre-planned and not due to an injury. Ran his socks off and won almost everything in the air and on the ground, especially from dead ball situations. TANSEY : MOM too. Much maligned by many this season, especially me, but that is two fine performances in a row. Busy, looking for the ball and picking out passes. He benefits from the cover from Draper and Polworth, the width of two wingers and the running of Mckay - but he has always been a "footballer". May be tad cruel but he may also be influenced by the new look Foran and the fact that Aberdire are more interested in Christie. Now really playing for his starting place like all the others. Could not believe that he didn't grab the penalty. And yet another yellow - for "clumsiness" - Paul Scholes timed a tackle better. POLWORTH : ; Another benefitting from being played where he enjoys and where he is most effective. Must have ran miles more than anyone else in the last two games but also a ball player when needed. Another beginning to really play for the shirt and his manager. Needs to learn how to win penalties though !! VIGURS : : WHY was he allowed to take the penalty ? Was it pre-planned ? Did wee Billy and Tansey bottle it ? MULRANEY : : IF he had been more direct and confident from the off he would have totally murdered Wallace. A lad who appears to have confidence issues but that should be a confident booster. Play wide and attack, attack, attack son. Fell out of the game because we were on the back foot but kept tracking back. Shades of a young Barry Robson. COLE : : Just did not get in to the game and overshadowed by Mulraney who was getting all the midfield service. Another who could be more direct. Mckay : : Much improvement in his running off the ball and hold-up play. A born poacher and goalscorer. He scores when he wants FORAN : : Brave, brave selection but overdue and (sorry) but not rocket science. Has taken him 2/3rd of a season to have a "realisation" epiphany - whilst previous being somebody who rhymes with epiphany. That was the "old" Richie Foran on the sidelines. Keep being nasty, keep being aggressive - You are the feckin boss and not one of the feckin boys. Some of his post-match comments : I thought our moment was gone with missing the penalty," admitted Foran ; The boys showed big, big character against a really good side. They [Rangers] have been written off, they're getting criticised from every angle. They're a good side with good players and that's a huge result for us. "I always thought we were a threat in the final third. I knew we'd get a chance again. "I wasn't sure if we'd get a chance after the penalty but that's why you've got Billy Mckay in your team. He can score out of nothing. If you want to have a successful season, you need a striker like that." And as for the future : "We can go on a run," said Foran. "Maybe it's going to be perfect timing for that run, coming to the end of the season ; "Go and win games, go on your run, go eight, nine unbeaten, we can get in that top six." - Shut the feck up Richie. We win one game, against a team in turmoil, and we are Top Six Again - give me a break. It is easy to lift yourself against the top teams and on the gogglebox - the proof rests in going to Firhill and get three points, the trick is to win the Highland Derby and to take another three at home against a struggling but unpredictable Kilmarnock. Cellic up next is a hiding to nothing and to finish : Date: 24/02/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 6415 Referee: Steven McLean Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Fon Williams, Raven, Tremarco (B.Mckay 15), Polworth, Draper (Vigurs 80), McCart, W.Mckay, Mulraney (King 69), Tansey, Laing, Cole Subs (not used): Hoban, Warren, Ebbe, Anier Scorers: Tansey (45), Mckay (89) Booked: Laing (56), Tansey (66) Sent Off: none Rangers: 1 Lineup: Foderingham, Tavernier, Kiernan, Wallace, Wilson, Toral (Garner 92), Miller, McKay, Halliday (Holt 80), Hyndman, Waghorn Subs (not used): Alnwick, Windass, Dodoo, Forrester, Hodson Scorers: Waghorn (pen.67) Booked: Toral (14), Wilson (86) Sent Off: none a
  17. 1000 not out. It's a landmark day as Inverness Caledonian Thistle play their 1000th competitive game. Opponents for this will be the newest side in Scotland, The Rangers. The Caley Jags have come a long way since they entered the big boys leagues in 1994 and their first league game, a 5-2 win over Arbroath at Telford Street. Alan Hercher scored a twenty minute hat-trick for Caledonian Thistle that day and set the tone for Inverness as they would make their way through the Leagues to the present day. Their competitive debut was a 2-0 win over East Stirlingshire in the Coca Cola cup, Wilson Robertson scoring the first ever goal. There is an excellent programme available to commemorate this occasion. 1000th Game We had an unwelcome visitor to these shores this week. Doris day has been and gone and hopefully the weather will relent a bit as Inverness welcome the Rangers to the Highland capital. Scotland shivered in the wake of storm Doris as high winds and snow caused chaos across the land. The Highlands missed the worst of the storms but travel throughout Scotland was disrupted, so take care. Richie Foran saw his beleaguered side battle hard for a well earned draw at Tynecastle last weekend. Carl Tremarco had given the Highlanders the lead with a spanking header before Arnaud Djoum bundled home in the second half. Under fire keeper Owain Fon Williams did his confidence no harm as he held firm and saved a penalty as Hearts pushed for a winner. An unexpected point given our lack of resources through injuries and suspension. The Ibrox side lost their last game going down 2-1 at Dundee. The Dark Blues were two up before Joe Garner scored with a swerving long range effort but it was not enough to deny Dundee a deserved win. Inverness are entrenched at the foot of the table some 24 points behind the Glasgow side. Our goal difference is 12 goals worse off. They have scored 33 goals, 4 more than Inverness. It's in defence where the vast difference can be found as we have shipped 46 goals, 18 more than the Rangers. The Ibrox side have won both fixtures already this season, winning 1-0 in the Highlands thanks to a stunning volley from Kenny Miller and 1-0 in Glasgow, although Inverness were unfortunate not to take something from this game as Brad Mckay put the ball into his own net. Inverness can call on the services of Gary Warren, Brad Mckay and Iain Vigurs, all free from suspension. Aaron Doran is continuing to build his strength after a virus floored him for a couple of weeks and could feature. Josh Meekings, Lewis Horner and Kev McNaughton will all miss out. Louis Laing deputised well last week in defence and could continue with youngster Jamie McCart possibly dropping to the bench to accommodate the return of Warren. The Rangers will have Lee Wallace and Josh Windass back. Clint Hill will not make it after being injured against Dundee. tm4tj Prediction:- An encouraging draw at Tynecastle will give Richie Foran some belief that his side can steer themselves away from the relegation slot. This is the second of three really tough games with Celtic up next and points are at a premium. Nobody thought we stood much chance at Tynecastle given our injury and suspension crisis, but a back to basics work ethic saw us take a point and that is what will be required on Friday night against the Rangers. The elements could be a great leveler as well and it could be that we will take something from this game as managerless Rangers seem to have taken a confidence dent in recent weeks. Clean sheets are a thing of the past at Inverness so I'll go for a scoring draw.
  18. Still life left in Foran's squad. Inverness managed a battling 1-1 draw with Hearts at Tynecastle to show the supporters that their season is not over yet. Carl Tremarco scored with a powerful header to give the Highlanders a first half lead but Arnaud Djoum leveled matters just after the hour. Neither side could make the breakthrough after that as Inverness defended in depth to ensure they took a welcome point back North. Richie Foran's depleted squad fought well considering he had to start without the suspended Gary Warren, Brad Mckay and villain of the piece Iain Vigurs. With Josh Meekings injured that meant a start for new signing Louis Laing and young Celtic loanee Jamie McCart. Immortal Howden Ender was watching from afar and has this TV report for us........ Ní raibh mé ann. Tá mé numpty. Bhreathnaigh mé ar an buaicphointí ar BBC Alba. Toirtíní Jam versus Inbhir Nis. It will be interesting to see how a report from watching on the big screen compares with views from the Gorgie Road Terraces. Only difference to me was that I did not frequent Diggars before the game but at least with a 23.00 start I was probably just as drunk as I would have been at 15.00. For once the comments of the two managers probably very accurately summed up the whole game for me. Many people have criticised Ian Cathro and suggested that he has little idea of the game. But he commented - "[Inverness] worked very, very hard. They stayed strong, they stayed compact and they gave us some difficulties in breaking them down. "However, I think we have dominated the game and we have created enough chances to win one-and-a-half games. Ultimately we suffered the frustrations of having perhaps not been clinical enough when those opportunities arise and defending the set play properly in the first-half. "It's not great (the pitch). Of course it adds another level of difficulty but it is a situation we need to manage with and deal with collectively." Now who would have thought that we would have been described as a hard working outfit - compact - hard to break down But we were, we feckin were. Richie Foran added - That was the old Inverness today I thought. Going forward we have been fine this season, going back we have been lazy. We haven't had enough fight - the fight was there today, that's for sure. "The boys are flat out on their feet and I think it's a deserved point. They've hit the post, we've hit the post. We looked dangerous on the counter-attack, they looked dangerous on the counter. "It wasn't a pitch to play football on. There were a lot of long balls. The most pleasing part was our going back up the park, our spirit, our work-rate. That was the old Inverness." That was more like the old Inverness today but we still have a lot of work to be done. The team today was selected out of need not design. Lets hope we learned some valuable lessons and lets hope that reality sets in. Yes The boys are flat out on their feet and that should be the comment every week but it sadly hasn't. The pitch was horrendous and more suited to an Edinburgh Sunday Football setting but it is the same for both teams - although it probably went more in our favour. Yes - one of the most pleasing aspects was our going back up the park, our spirit, our work-rate. Again that was more like the old Inverness." Only misquote may be the "that's for sure" as I am sure that it would have been "to be sure". Poor OFW has had a lot of stick recently. I still suspect that our Da Vinci has been painting with a dodgy easel. Did the close up clip of his visage after the penalty not paint a fine picture. He looked more composed yesterday and more lithe. He made a couple of other good saves. That can only have gone some way to mend his fractured confidence. Who would have ever thought that our central defence pairing would be Laing and McCart. They looked strong enough. Laing was evidently not match fit but to me his experience and apparent pace steadied the inexperienced McCart who is definitely a "green" prospect. I can see Laing keeping his place against the team who may still be managed by Warburton. I can see him being paired with Gary Warren. That is an experienced pairing, both know the central defending role and Laing's pace may suit Warren.I feel that Gary has been playing too deep in recent games, almost in the old "sweeper" role. He can now relinquish that to Laing who appears more Meekings-esque. I was not at all surprised by the steady performance of Tremarco but Raven stood out as well. There just appeared to be a more compact and high line feel. Tremarco was left unmarked for the goal. That was probably because of his size but Cathro had not done his homework as we know how effective Carl can be in that position. Will Raven keep his place against the team who may still be managed by Warburton? Personally I would take back in Brad McKay but that is not a reflection on the Scouse legends performance at Tynie. The only blot on the defensive copybook was bookings for both full-backs. Bookings that we simply can not afford. What a joy to see Draper and Tansey playing in more favoured roles. I have always alluded that they can not play together in midfield but they appeared to both have been given roles that suited them. Draper as the destroyer with release to go forward and Tansey as the creator. I thought that Tansey had his best game of the season. He was one who ran his socks off, wanting the ball and that has not always been the case. I am afraid that Vigurs will be the sacrifice against the team who may still be managed by Warburton. He may be the "footballer" in our squad but we need workers and, on song, Draper and Tansey are as good as any pairing in Scotland. Polworth surprised me. To me he was given the "chaser" role, almost "in the hole" but in a very defensive manner. He was effective enough but to me wasted. He did however also allow Draper to move forward. We have several players who could do that better. I would put Anier in that role the team who may still be managed by Warburton. He does not look like an out and out forward to me. He is a runner, he is a chaser but he is also more adept at linking with Mckay and could be a real threat in the hole. Playing Cole and Mulraney wide was another acceptable strategy. But did they play wide enough? Did they penetrate deeply enough? I suppose that given our position and the occasion that this was sacrificed to flood the midfield. Mulraney looks more of a finished version than Cole. I am puzzled as to why Doran has not got a run in the team. I would be playing Mulraney and Cole against the team who may still be managed by Warburton. And then we come to wee Billy. Has he learned from his Englandshire experience or not. He always was a clever "mover" but that skill has clearly been enhanced. There was no other option than to play him up front there by himself. That should be different when we are playing at El Dumpo. The only away fixture left that we may have to consider that is at Aberdire. I am really looking forward to seeing him the team who may still be managed by Warburton. As for the actual game it was probably thankful that we scored first. Tansey delivered his "usual" dead ball service and Tremarco surprised the Jam Tarts with a great header at the far post. Bjorn Again then came close when he clipped the bar but it was always going over. It must have been hard to "bear" for him !! Struan then produced a fine save from OFW and the bustling, clumsy Goncalvez missed a bit of a sitter. If he eats more Pie suppers he could end up like Akinfenwa. In the second half they took on Walker, probably looking for more width and a better service. The Akinfenwa lookalike missed another chance but then they threw the Kitchen sink at us and Perry found Djoum who equalised. That will probably just about be his finest moment other than winning the African Cup of Nations. And we really could have stole three points if Draper had put more meat on a header. And then you sensed that our bad luck had sank in once again and was destined to break our hearts. But OFW broke Hearts hearts. It was not a badly struck penalty but OFW chose correctly and pulled off a fine save. That must have boosted everybody. Was a draw a fair result? I thought that it was. The pitch was a leveller, the Jam Tart final product had a soggy bottom, they had a lot more shots on and off target, they missed a penalty but for once we rode our luck and IMHO deservedly so. Lets end with the picture of the day and a fitting tribute to the Man of The Match SPFL website Hearts v Inverness CT Date: 18/02/17 Venue: Tynecastle Stadium, Edinburgh Attendance: 16372 Referee: Bobby Madden Hearts: 1 Lineup: Struna, Hughes, Avlonitis, Sowah, Djoum, Kitchen (Martin, 77), Tziolis, Choulay (Currie, 62), Johnsen (Walker, 49), Goncalves Subs (not used): Noring, Nicholson, Nowak, Smith Scorers: Djoum (64) Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams; Raven, McCart, Laing, Tremarco, Draper, Mulraney (Doran, 62), Tansey, Polworth, Cole, Mckay (Anier, 80) Subs (not used): Hoban, Ebbe, Fisher, Boden, Gilchrist Scorers: Tremarco (24) Booked: Tremarco (15), Mulraney (36), Raven (38) Sent Off: none a
  19. Tough Times Ahead. Our season has been a shambles and it looks like getting worse over the next three fixtures, Hearts, Rangers and Celtic. A raft of players are missing this one through injury, suspension and loan arrangements. With little likelihood of picking up points in these games and time starting to run out, it looks like we are heading one way. We were swatted aside last weekend in the cup by a rampant Celtic side who look to be a good bet for the treble. One-nil or ten-nil, it matters not a jot, the end result is the same, we are not in the next round of the cup. Maybe that's a good thing as we can concentrate solely on one thing now, avoiding relegation. Richie Foran is not adjusting to life in the office as well as we would have liked and the club are sliding into oblivion at an alarming rate. Many managers have lost their jobs for less; fourteen league games without a win is a statistic that has seen managers on the dole, but with Foran on a four year contract there seems to be little chance that he will be shown the door any time soon. The rookie manager appointment has backfired big time on the Caley Jags board and the team look resigned to the fact that they are bottom of the table with little prospect of getting away from the relegation zone in the near future. Our last visit to Tynecastle was a 5-1 thrashing where we were simply overrun as Hearts scored at will. We fared better in a topsy turvey game at Inverness, blowing a two goal lead before eventually earning a point in a 3-3 draw. The Edinburgh side are the second top scorers in the league with 45 goals. That's as many as we have conceded and 17 more than we have scored. Hearts have perked up in the last few games after a slow start in the capital for new boss Ian Cathro. Since losing to Aberdeen and Celtic, they have thrashed Motherwell and Rangers, scoring seven goals for the loss of only one. However, they were held to a goalless draw in the Scottish Cup by local rivals Hibernian last weekend on their tattie field style pitch where fluent football looked difficult. Our results are as poor as they have ever been. Fourteen league games without a win leaves us languishing at the foot of the table. Despite an encouraging fightback against Dundee (2-2), we were cuffed 6-0 at Parkhead in the cup. The previous game was a bigger disappointment, going down 3-0 at Hamilton without a fight. Confidence looks to be at an all time low and games are fast running out before the split. In fact there are only fourteen games left to save our season. If they are anything like the previous fourteen, then it's Championship football for us. Hearts will be without Callum Paterson who is out for the season with knee ligament damage and John Souttar who has ruptured his Achilles tendon. Prince Bauben is also out and former Caley Jag Don Cowie looks like he will sit this one out as well with a rib injury. Inverness have been dealt a blow with player absentees like they are going out of fashion. Gary Warren, Brad Mckay and Iain Vigurs are suspended. Warren for too many players getting the better of him and having to resort to fouling, similar for Mckay, and Vigurs for too many niggly, petty and unnecessary fouls when he can't be arsed getting back to help. Billy King will be missed as a supplier through parent club ruling for loanees and the usual crop of injuries are still wreaking havoc. Kev McNaughton, Lewis Horner and Josh Meekings are out long term. Aaron Doran could return; he has had more comebacks than Lazarus now. To alleviate these problems, Richie Foran has managed to secure former Motherwell defender 23 year old Louis Laing until the end of the season and he is eligible to play on Saturday against the Jambo's. tm4tj prediction:- The next three games are difficult and this one will be particularly harrowing given our list of unavailable players. It's hard to see anything other than a convincing win for Hearts considering we have had only two clean sheets all season. Owain Fon Williams looks like a man short on confidence, having a mare every other week and back up keeper Ryan Esson was unavailable last week through injury. Iain Vigurs is a passenger just now and our back four is in tatters. Midfield is bereft of any pace and drive and up front we couldn't punch a hole in a wet paper bag. Nuff said, another heavy defeat on the cards. Anything less will be a miracle. Not sure if it's Louis Lang or Lois Lane, but I reckon it's superman we need.
  20. He scores when he wants. Unfortunately it's not Billy Mckay but Moussa Dembele as the Celtic striker scored back to back hat-tricks to add to goals from Mikael Lustig, Kieran Tierney and Scott Brown. A not unexpected result and Richie Foran has enough on his plate to worry about after this crushing defeat. As expected, Owain Fon Williams returned to the sticks and Brad Mckay moved into central defence as Foran made two changes from the side that started against Dundee last week. Patrick Roberts missed out as Liam Henderson started for the Scottish Champions who were without Leigh Griffiths and Stuart Armstrong at a less than packed Parkhead. Tremendous start by Inverness inside the first minute as David Raven almost slipped Mckay in after Billy had made good ground down the left and at the other end Liam Henderson fired wide. The opening exchanges were sprightly with both sides having a go and Inverness looking composed on the ball. Ten minutes in and Celtic gradually began to impose themselves on the possession stats with the visitors content to keep them at bay and look for the counter opportunity. Neither keeper had been asked to work in the first fifteen although there was plenty of enterprising play on show, mostly from the hosts as Inverness struggled to hold on to the ball. Twenty minutes gone and Mikael Lustig opened the scoring from close range, brilliantly controlling a through ball from Nir Bitton and slipping it behind Fon Williams. A bit harsh on Inverness who had coped well up to that point. The free kicks were flowing now for Celtic as Inverness tried to stem the flow and the Bhoys were taking full advantage of this causing the Inverness defence plenty of problems but unable to make Fon Williams work. It was constant Celtic pressure now as Inverness failed to link play to the forwards. Ross Draper picked up a booking after a couple of robust challenges as Inverness forced a corner down the left and another as the defence cleared. Warren was adjudged to foul from the second set piece. Iain Vigurs was rightly booked for a clumsy tackle on Dembele to be the third naughtyboy, Carl Tremarco being the first, and as the interval approached we were coming out of our shell and entered the Celtic half a couple of times before the already booked Vigurs offended again. Warren became the fourth villain for upending Dembele who was causing all sorts of problems as he drove at the defence time and time again. A minute before the break Dembele squeezed the ball over the line, Fon Williams failing to keep out his low shot as it crept over the line after James Forrest had skinned Tremarco down the right flank. Fon Williams was on the bench last week for exactly that and it was a disappointing goal to lose. If the plan was to give Celtic total dominance, it was working well as we approached the interval, but with two goals in it, the Caley Jags still had some interest in the cup, albeit very faint. Despite their superiority, Fon Williams had little to do other than pick the ball out of the net twice. Half Time 1-1 Game over just after the break when Dembele slotted home with composure from ten yards. Super save from Fon Williams soon after as Celtic threaten a cricket score and Billy King leaves the pitch through injury with Jake Mulraney entering the field. No fairytale this time for Inverness as Celtic turned the screw and memories of Feb 8th 2000 were quickly erased as Dembele easily notched his hat-track after being set up by Forrest. Forrest was the provider again as he teed one up for Kieran Tierney to nod home and the icing was on the cake when Scott Brown lifted the net off the rigging with a thunderous shot to end the scoring. Full Time 6-0 Oh dear, that went well! A thrashing for Inverness but we have bigger fish to fry with a relegation battle to be won. Nothing we could do about this with Celtic rampant and Dembele in fine form. James Forrest was the architect of most things as Inverness were done by his pace time and time again. It was always on the cards and the killer blow was the soft goal on the stroke of half time that OFW will not want to see again. In fairness he was maybe partially sighted and he just could not get down quick enouh as the ball agonisingly crept under him and over the line. Inverness MotM. Jake Mulraney who looked like he should have been on from the start. The rest need to take a long hard look at themselves. Iain Vigurs was lucky to stay on the park as he pushed the boundaries a few times after being booked. If he wonders why the fans are giving him a hard time, then look no further than his contribution today. It's not a day for criticism though as Celtic were simply too good. All the best players on the park were in green and white hoops. If you can face it, footage of the drubbing can be seen on the BBC Sport website Date: 11/02/17 Venue: Celtic Park, Glasgow Attendance: 25577 Referee: Kevin Clancy Celtic: 6 Lineup: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata (Toure 88), Sviatchenko, Tierney, Bitton, Brown, Forrest, Henderson (McGregor 65), Sinclair, Dembele (Ciftci 81) Subs (not used): De Vries, Izaguirre, Gamboa, Mackay-Steven Scorers: Lustig (20), Dembele (44, 50, 59), Tierney (86), Brown (91) Booked: Lustig (72) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Fon Williams, Raven, Warren, Brad McKay, Tremarco, Draper (Cole 63), Tansey, Vigurs, King (Mulraney 53), Anier, Billy Mckay (Ebbe 63) Subs (not used): Hoban, Polworth, Fisher, Boden Scorers: none Booked: Tremarco (29), Draper (35), Vigurs (37), Warren (42) Sent Off: none a
  21. Mission Impossible? Seventeen years on and the result that shocked Scottish Football still sends a shiver down the spine of Caley Thistle fans. Supercaleygoballistic...... you know how it goes, gets an airing every time these two clubs meet, especially in the Scottish Cup. At the time nobody thought it was possible. Inverness were being dismissed with contempt borne through ignorance. How could a mid-table first division side knock the mighty Celtic out of the Scottish Cup on their own patch. Well, they did, and they did it in style. Celtic were no longer invincible and Inverness wrote themselves into the history books. The damage was far reaching at Parkhead and heads would roll in the aftermath of that game. Feb 8th 2000 is etched on the minds of Inverness Caledonian Thistle fans, just as the Lisbon Lions are for the Celtic faithful. Is it possible for the current crop of Caley Jags players to emulate their predecessors and cause what would be a major upset, considering Celtic's dominance in the domestic game this season and given the transformation made by manager Brendan Rodgers? The simple answer has to be NO and there are a number of reasons for that. Not least the current form of Celtic, sweeping all before them and 27 points clear in the Premiership. The present squad have overtaken the run by the famous Lisbon Lions. The Celtic squad is littered with International players. Brendan Rodgers has moulded his own style into the Celtic team and has brought some excellent quality to the team like Moussa Dembele and Scott Sinclair. They have scored a phenomenal 65 goals in 24 league games whilst conceding only 16. That's 2.7 goals scored per game and a meagre 0.666 against per game. Is that a sign of the devil? But it's not what Celtic have to offer that concerns me. It's what Inverness don't have to offer that is the greater worry. We are bottom of the Premiership on merit alone. We fail to keep clean sheets on a regular basis, only 2 from 24 games. We are scoring goals at a rate of 1.16 per game. We have no current International players on our books, other than a couple of squad reserves in Owain Fon Williams and Billy Mckay and crocked Kevin McNaughton. Our manager is a newcomer to the job, unlike his counterpart who has a proven track record at the highest level. We no longer have the element of surprise on our side. Playing each other three or four times a season has scuppered that. Man for man, our current team could not lace the boots of our Feb 8th 2000 squad. We no longer possess players that play for the jersey, willing to lay it all on the line for ninety minutes and go through the pain barrier just to pull on the famous Inverness Caledonian Thistle strip. All over the park we could replace present players with golden oldies. Jimmy Calder was somewhat unorthodox as a keeper, but he could keep the ball out of the net and saved around 50% of penalties he faced. Ross Tokely was maybe not the most gifted, but was a difficult man to get beyond and solid in the air and worked well going forward. Stuart Golabeck: Toughest tackling full back I have ever seen. Scared of nothing and had enough pace to cover for big Bobby. Richard Hastings, a young fit Canadian International with plenty of energy. Bobby Mann was an absolute colossus. Calmness personified in the face of adversity and on his day the best centre back in the country. Mike Teasdale, always there when you needed him and skillful for a big lad. Mark McCulloch, no nonsense tough tackling midfielder who never shirked a challenge. Barry Wilson, how we could do with him now, a tremendous pacey winger with skill in abundance and a goal threat. Paul Sheerin was able to keep a cool head and fitted the Caley Jags ethics. Charlie Christie was one of the most talented players to come from the Highland League, twinkle toed and dedicated to the cause. Dennis Wyness, legend and goal scorer extraordinaire. Kevin Byers, Martin Glancy and Martin Bavidge all did their bit as well. Every one of them would not look out of place in today's side and most would be certain of a start every week. Let's not forget Pele. His philosophy was score more than the opposition. It worked well most of the time and entertainment value was top drawer. Back to the present day though and we have got to rise to the challenge, albeit a daunting one. Current form shows that Celtic are bullet proof and we are favourites for the drop. The Bhoys brushed aside St Johnstone in their last game thanks to a dubious penalty going their way and ran out big winners, scoring five after coming from 2-1 behind, Moussa Dembele scoring a hat-trick after coming on around the hour mark and bagging a hat-trick in 24 minutes. However, this is cup football and we are forever optimistic. We have to believe that the impossible is possible. Richie Foran never shirked a challenge as a player and this is one challenge he will relish. Let's not forget that we have dumped favourites Celtic out of the Scottish Cup on three occasions now, so maybe it's not such a big deal any more. Thought it might be worth mentioning that Celtic have only dropped one point this season. Now who could that have been against? Tom Rogic will miss another few months of action after an ankle operation ruled him out for the forseeable future. Stuart Armstrong and Leigh Griffiths look set to sit this game out as they near fitness but won't be risked. Why should they be when Dembele and Sinclair are on the books along with a squad of full international players. Josh Meekings will be missing for at least another couple of months. That's a blow as we have struggled defensively from the start of the season. Kevin McNaughton and Lewis Horner are other long term casualties. David Raven played the ninety minutes against Dundee as did Jamie McCart, but he will be unavailable to face his parent club in the cup. Brad Mckay could step in and Ross Draper has been known to drop deep to play in the back line when we have no other options available. Billy Mckay has had two games to get to know the current incumbents and that will benefit him greatly. Billy King came back against Dundee and showed up well. tm4tj prediction:- If I'm being realistic then we should have no chance whatsoever and this could be a rout. But as I said, it's cup football and away from the pressure of gaining league points. It's a difficult place to go and get any sort of result but that's what we have to do. We were not given a scooby in 2000 and it's the same now. Here's hoping we can get stuck in and emulate the class of Feb 8th 2000. However, I'm not holding my breath on that as wins at Parkhead are as scarce as an Iceberg Lettuce. Celtic to be in the hat for the next round leaving Inverness to concentrate on avoiding relegation. Nostalgia is making a comeback. Here's the respective sides that played that famous game 17 years ago. Celtic 1 (Burchill) Jonathan Gould, Tom Boyd, Olivier Tebily, Stephane Mahe, Vidar Riseth, Colin Healy, Regi Blinker, Lubomir Moravcik, Eyal Berkovic, Mark Viduka and Mark Burchill. Ian Wright replaced Viduka at half-time after the Aussie took the huff. It mattered not a jot. Key players such as Henrik Larsson and Paul Lambert were unavailable through injury. Shame! Inverness CT 3 (Wilson, Mann, how dare they say that Moravcik scored it, Sheerin pen) Jim Calder, Mike Teasdale, Stuart Golabeck, Bobby Mann, Mark McCulloch, Richard Hastings, Paul Sheerin, Ross Tokely, Barry Wilson, Charlie Christie and Dennis Wyness. Kevin Byers, Martin Glancy and Martin Bavidge all made late appearances in the game. Key players such as....................erm, they were all on the park beating Celtic.
  22. Bottlers battle back Richie Foran branded his team bottlers after the crushing defeat at Hamilton in midweek but they fought back from the brink to get a deserved draw against Dundee. The Dee were cruising at the break two goals to the good when Inverness showed some of the bottle that manager Richie Foran was looking for despite passing up on a second penalty opportunity. Marcus Haber and Darren O'Dea had given Dundee a scarcely deserved lead at the interval but Billy Mckay notched his first goal on his return from the spot. Unfortunately he failed with a second penalty effort but was involved in the equaliser when Bain blocked his attempt only for Greg Tansey to follow up and knock the ball home. A lively encounter with both sides having plenty chances but at the end of play it was a point each. Under fire manager Richie Foran made a few changes after his side slumped badly at Hamilton. Dropping to the bench were Welsh international Owain Fon Williams who has been culpable over the last couple of months, defender Brad Mckay and midfielders Liam Polworth and Larnell Cole. Ryan Esson made his first start of the season and David Raven was the right back. New recruit Jamie McCart from Celtic started alongside Gary Warren at the heart of the defence and Billy King returned to the wide midfield. Billy Mckay made a welcome return to Inverness two years after his departure and he was partnered up front by Henri Anier. Dundee came North with a trio of former Inverness players but they all stayed on the bench with Henrik Ojamaa making his debut for the Dee. Kevin Holt and Darren O'Dea returned after suspension to bolster Paul Hartley's squad. The Inverness side were smarting after being branded bottlers in midweek and there was a freshness about them as they started briskly. Carl Tremarco was unlucky in the sixth minute as he turned a cross onto the junction of post and bar with his head after a cross from the left. Dundee were not idle though and Marcus Haber was making a nuisance of himself with his power as he headed wide and Paul McGowan, Mark O'hara and Tom Hately all shot wide in quick succession as the Dark Blues came more into the game before Henri Anier tested Scott Bain in goal. Esson did likewise from McGowan at the other end. It was a lively affair and Greg Tansey drew a save from Bain as Inverness looked to get on the scoresheet, but in the 37th minute the visitors took the lead when Haber headed home a cross from Cameron Kerr. A bit harsh on Inverness, but worse was to follow. Two minutes before the break our defensive frailties were exposed again when O'Dea headed in number two. That hurt given our bright opening to the game. Just before the break Gary Warren headed just wide as our winless run looked set to continue. Half Time 0-2 Harsh words must have been spoken at the break and Iain Vigurs hit a post with a free kick five minutes in and Bain made another save from Vigurs moments later. Julen Etxabeguren was adjudged to have fouled Billy Mckay after a corner and it was Mckay himself who took the kick. Never the greatest penalty taker, Billy had the balls to take this one and he managed to put the ball down the middle with Bain stretching out a leg in vain, the ball just missing his studs on it's way into the net. Lifeline! McGowan should have restored the two goal advantage but shot wide from a tremendous position inside the box and Ojamaa almost nicked one from close range but David Raven popped up on the line to scoop clear. Dundee were hitting well on the break and looked dangerous when sweeping forward. Inverness were still having the bulk of the play and Etxabeguren tried his best to help out again, conceding another penalty. This brought about a fit of rage from McGowan who could not believe his stupidity. Undaunted, Billy felt he could cope with a second one and stepped up again. Strange, considering he was not the sharpest of penalty takers first time round and this time Bain came out on top saving his weak effort. Ross Draper saw a shot and follow up header saved as we turned the screw and showed plenty of determination to overcome adversity. Our persistence paid off when a Billy Mckay shot was saved well by Bain, but the ball fell to Tansey on the edge of the box and he buried the ball with precision and power. Game on! The final ten minutes were played out without further scoring, both sides fairly content with holding on to what they had, and that's not a criticism, it was for the best after what had gone on before. Full Time 2-2 Richie looked for a reaction and he got one. We still conceded goals, but instead of crumbling, we came out fighting and a draw was no more than we deserved, so full marks to the guys for not capitulating like they did at Hamilton and at least giving it a go. MotM is a toss up between a pair of Billy's. Mckay and King did well and look as though they could build a good understanding. As opposed to some weeks, it was encouraging to see more than one player stand out and there were interesting cameo's all over the park. We are still vulnerable at the back, but that is also understandable with the enforced changes and new players slotting in. Jamie McCart will only get better with games. An altogether much more positive outlook than there was after the Hamilton abyss. Only downside was that we failed to gain ground on the others at the bottom, although the signs are there that we are not relegated yet. Date: 04/02/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2606 Referee: Nick Walsh Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Esson, Raven, Tremarco, Warren, Draper, Vigurs (Polworth 86), McCart, Billy McKay, Tansey, King (Mulraney 85), Anier Subs (not used): Fon Williams, Ebbe, Boden, Brad Mckay, Cole Scorers: Billy Mckay (pen.53), Tansey (79) Booked: Billy Mckay (58), Tremarco (75) Sent Off: none Dundee: 2 Lineup: Bain, Holt, O'Hara, O'Dea, Hateley (Klok 84), Extabeguren, McGowan, Haber, Ojaama (El Bahktaoui 86), Kerr, Gomis Subs (not used): Mitchell, Vincent, WIlliams, Ross, Wighton. Scorers: Haber (37), O'Dea (43) Booked: O'Dea (48), Extabeguren (52), McGowan (63) Sent Off: none a
  23. Heading for last chance saloon The games keep rolling in and this weekend it's the turn of Dundee to take on the challenge of the six-pointer as they visit the Caledonian Stadium for a 3:00pm kick off, with Billy Mckay sure to pull in an extra few bums on seats to see if he can rescue our season. Midweek at Hamilton was a disaster for us as we turned in an abysmal display and deservedly got turned over by Accies who looked to have the better appetite for a relegation dogfight. Richie Foran drew audible gasps from the Caley Jags fans by re-signing (on loan) our favourite son, the almost prolific Billy Mckay until the end of the season. However, Accies had their own agenda and went about their business in the right manner. We showed Billy how far we have come from the successful team he left two years ago. Sadly that direction is downwards and with little leadership on and off the park, it's difficult to see where and when that will change. So, 3-0 it was to Accies and the most disappointing aspects from our point of view was the lack of quality, leadership and desire on display. We played with no recognised wide players, instead deploying them on the bench and choosing to thump long high balls up to a vertically challenged striker. Can someone tell Richie that isn't working too well. Dundee had a night off in midweek and now have a game in hand, as have Killie and Motherwell from the bottom half of the league. Their last game saw them go down 3-0 at Pittodrie. They were also dabbling in the transfer window and took on Henrik Ojamaa the Estonian ex-Motherwell striker and they also hired former Ross County midfielder Marc Klok. Dundee have lost as many games as Inverness (12), but have won twice as many (6). They sit two places above Inverness in tenth place having accumulated five more points than us. They ended a barren spell against Inverness with a 2-1 victory at Dens Park in November. Since that game, they have lost four and won two with one drawn, gaining seven points. We have failed to win any, losing five and drawing three from eight games. We are on our worst ever league run, no wins from twelve games since we defeated Motherwell in October. The stats don't lie I'm afraid and that's why we prop up the league table. Many fans are beginning to question the judgement of the board in appointing a rookie manager with no credentials whatsoever and giving him a four year contract. Practically everybody was delighted that Richie Foran followed John Hughes and were willing him to succeed. However, it's a results driven business and we are languishing precariously close to the dreaded relegation slot with only three wins from 23 league games. That in itself is a shocking statistic that will only lead to one thing. A lot of fans were coming out of the woodwork after the Hamilton debacle to vent their displeasure at the demise of our club and many are looking for a change of leadership. As results show, we are bottom on merit and the game at Accies was the last straw for many. Maybe in the harsh light of day, we have all had time to reflect on this. We have been talking about six-pointers for a few weeks now and we have failed in every one of them. However, there is still not a huge gap between us in bottom to Motherwell in sixth (seven points). I doubt anyone wants Foran to fail, but unless we start to win some games, there appears little doubt as to where we will be playing our football next season. It shouldn't come as a massive surprise to anyone although it's taken a long time for some to get their heads out of the sand and see the reality of our position. If it's any consolation, the Dundee fans feel the same about their side! Josh Meekings, Kevin McNaughton, and Lewis Horner are all out long term. Aaron Doran hopes to have shaken off this virus that has been going through our dressing room and forced him to miss the midweek game and Billy King is also a doubt. It looks as though a calf injury will keep David Raven out. Jamie McCart could make his debut in defence following his signing from Celtic. Dundee will have Kevin Holt back after injury and Darren O'Dea will return after suspension. Henrik Ojamaa could make his Dundee debut along with Marc Klok. tm4tj prediction:- It pains me to say, but with no confidence, no leadership, no defence, no tactical nous and not enough quality in the squad, I can see Dundee getting their second win over us this season. What can we do to stop this happening. Well, we need to get rid of the players who are not pulling their weight and put players on the park who will display some fight for the jersey. How about some wide players to give Billy Mckay some half decent service that he will thrive on, not rugby style punts that fall on the heads of the towering defenders. If fit, get Mulraney, King and Doran on the park and dump Vigurs, Tansey and Warren onto the bench. Fon Williams needs a break, his goal keeping has been sloppy of late bar the odd game or two. I hope Esson is fit enough to play. Our pedantic midfield needs a massive kick up the arse, let's hope we don't capitulate as easy as has been happening most of this season. Draw at best, but defeat is on the cards. Go on, prove me wrong, I'll be delighted. Don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger
  24. Return of the Mac fails to inspire embarrassing Caley Jags. Prodigal son Billy Mckay returned to Inverness as Richie Foran pulled off a signing coup to set the fans buzzing prior to this fixture and he went straight into the starting XI. Aaron Doran, Josh Meekings and Billy King all missed out for the visitors as Massimo Donati and captain Michael Devlin returned after suspension for the hosts. However, it took Accies only ten minutes to open the scoring when Alex D'Acol scored from a corner with the Inverness defence looking sheepishly at each other. Greg Tansey spurned an opportunity to level the score from the spot but Gary Woods saved. Grant Gillespie scored two minutes into the second half with Fon Williams not looking too clever. Rakish Bingham lashed in a third after more shoddy Inverness play. Shoes have come off for less serious predicaments. It's time for some tough talking at the Caledonian Stadium. Old Caley Girl witnessed this one and it's suffice to say that she was less than impressed with the display from the Caley Jags, despite the introduction of new signing Billy Mckay. Here's her report from the SuperSeal Stadium................ The Caleyaway faithful turned up at New Douglas Park with renewed hope following the morale boosting return of the prodigal son Billy McKay. However, this optimism was to prove short lived and misplaced with a Tuesday night horror show from ICT. Its 8 years since the infamous shoes off protest and to be quite honest if there had been another display of shoes this week it would not have been undeserved. It was clear from the off that Hamilton were well aware how important this game was and it didn’t take us long to see which team was up for the fight and which wasn’t. Ali Crawford had the first chance of the game but shot over the bar and Billy Mckay had a good chance a few minutes later but shot wide. However, just a few minutes later Hamilton were ahead with D’Acol heading home from close range from a Crawford corner. With 26 minutes played ICT were thrown a potential lifeline with Darian MacKinnon fouling Billy Mckay in the box and a penalty was awarded. There was a collective sigh of relief when our usually reliable penalty taker Greg Tansey stepped up, but this proved short lived. He fired the ball towards the right hand corner but Woods went the right way and saved. At that point the writing was on the wall that it wasn’t going to be a good night for us. To be fair to Tansey, Woods did very well in saving his shot but that wasn’t much comfort to the travelling fans. At this point the heads went down and we resorted to punt after punt that rarely got anywhere near Anier or Mckay. Tansey and Vigurs collected first half yellows and Crawford went off injured in 32 mins. Half Time 1 – 0 If we thought things were going to improve second half we were sadly mistaken. Two minutes after the restart Hamilton were 2 ahead, Grant Gillespie firing the ball into the right hand corner of the net. In 58 minutes Draper was replaced by Cole and a few moments later Hamilton were three ahead, Bingham shooting from outside the box into the top right hand top of the net. Ebbe replaced Anier in 75 minutes but this was a shambolic display from ICT. I can’t remember anything of note in any way positive in the second half from an ICT perspective at all. Full Time 3 – 0 With the midfield missing in action and unable to get the ball effectively to the strikers and the defence having a collectively poor night then this had only one outcome. In fact I’d suggest it was the worst display I personally have seen from an ICT team in years. The players looked disorganised and tactics seemed non-existent, headless chickens at times. Another worry, apart from now being adrift at the bottom of the league, is that Hamilton look more than capable of being up for a scrap but we seem to be falling more apart as the games are played. Richie Foran sounded emotional in his post-match interview and was scathing of the players but at last seems to have admitted to himself that we are in a relegation battle. With a four year deal a change of manager is not an option so we just have to hope that somehow Foran and his players can pull off a miracle and get us out of this mess. On this performance the jury is out that they can. OCG MotM – Ok, not sure anyone deserved this award at all but if I have to pick a player I’d have to go with Billy Mckay, who must wonder what he has done coming back to this shambles of a set up. My MotM tho is going to the guys and girls of Caleyaway, all 139 of those present on Tuesday night, who deserve much much better than they spent good money to watch. Here's the SPFL video from the SuperSeal Stadium. Parental guidance is advised as it's another horror show from the Caley Jaggies. Date: 31/01/17 Venue: New Douglas Park, Hamilton Attendance: 1745 Referee: Euan Anderson Hamilton Acc: 3 Lineup: Woods, Devlin, Gillespie, Imrie, D'Acol (Brophy 78), Redmond, Crawford (Adams 32), Bingham (Boyd 72), Mackinnon, Donati, McMann Subs (not used): Matthews, Seaborne, Watson, Cunningham Scorers: D'Acol (10), Gillespie (47), Bingham (61) Booked: Devlin (26), Redmond (31), Mackinnon (54) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Fon Williams, Raven, Warren, Brad Mckay, Tremarco, Draper (Cole 58), Tansey, Polworth, Vigurs, Anier (Ebbe 74), Billy Mckay Subs (not used): Esson, McCart, Mulraney, Fisher, Boden Scorers: none Booked: Vigurs (29), Tansey (38) Sent Off: none a
  25. Time to get the finger out. Things are getting rather tense at the foot of the Premiership as we visit Hamilton Academical in what many fans consider to be a six-pointer with both teams propping up the League table in equal proportions, four points adrift of the nearest club Motherwell, yet only six points short of sixth placed Partick Thistle. Encouraging rumours that Billy Mckay has been suggested as a possible returnee and that will go down well with the home fans, but first we have Hamilton to take care of and Dundee at home this Saturday. ***** NewsFlash ***** Billy Mckay back on loan until the end of this season. Old Caley Girl hits the nail on the head with this hard hitting Preview that will make us all sit up and smell the coffee. He signs when he wants..........Billy Mckay, he signs when he wants. Not sure where to start this preview to be honest except to say that nothing less than a win is going to pass muster. I watched Richie Foran on the STV news tonight and saw him appeal to the support not to lose faith and that he and the players know what is needed to get us out of the drop zone and up the league. Well to be frank Richie the support need some evidence that you and the players can do this and please can you start to show us soon! On the forum pages this week there has been a bit of nostalgic chat re another away game to Hamilton 8 years ago. This game was the beginning of the end for Craig Brewster with the infamous shoes off protest. Tomorrow is a game just as important to ICT as that game all these years ago with nothing less than a win an option. It is a pity this game is not being played on a Saturday to beef up the away support numbers. However, on a January Tuesday night it is. This particular Tuesday also happens to be the one when the transfer window shuts and hopes remain high that new recruits may still arrive. Our record at Hamilton is fairly decent but this is an important game for both sides. Our record on artificial pitches is also not too bad. Owain Fon Williams was back to form against Partick and hopefully this will continue for the rest of the season. Josh Meekings remains out and the press are reporting Tremarco may be struggling as well as Tansey. A lack of fit defenders for this game is not ideal so we can only hope Carl recovers in time. This game was brought forward a day at both clubs request and in hindsight an extra days rest may have been a better plan given that there is illness in the team. With so much chopping and changing lately it’s hard to predict which team will take to the park but my personal preference is Anier up front. Hamilton, have their own problems with talks for fan boycotts and Canning must be also feeling the heat. They do have some decent players however with the ever dangerous Ali Crawford up front and the tenacious Darian MacKinnon in midfield. We also shouldn’t forget how ex-ICT player Dougie Imrie loves a goal against us. I think a lot of Caleyaway would be more than happy if the infamous Hamilton young team are boycotting tomorrow night. Well we can hope. OCG prediction – Nothing less than 3 points will do. A loss would cut us adrift by 3 points and cannot be allowed to happen. C’mon lads give us something to cheer at last! 3 wins in 22 games is relegation form and we need to change this ASAP. 8 years ago we couldn’t do it so let’s hope tomorrow night is different. Great minds think alike and here is my take on the game tonight............... Things are getting rather tense at the foot of the Premiership as we visit Hamilton Academical in what many fans consider to be a six-pointer with both teams propping up the League table in equal proportions, four points adrift of the nearest club Motherwell, yet only six points short of sixth placed Partick Thistle. Inverness drew level with Accies at the weekend thanks to a goalless draw with Partick and Accies going down 3-0 at Perth. There was nothing on show at the Caledonian stadium to suggest that the Caley Jags are in any hurry to leave the basement after another inept performance and had Owain Fon Williams to thank for the point they earned. Hamilton are in the same boat after they were trounced by St Johnstone and there's plenty of unrest amongst the support at the Superseal Stadium. The clubs have an almost identical goal difference, achieved in different ways. Our goals for is greater than Accies by five goals, but our defensive record is six worse off. Four points and no wins from our last eleven League games does not make for good reading. When you check Accies stats, they are almost on a par with ours, no wins in twelve Premiership games and a mere six points from a possible thirty-six, no wonder the natives are getting restless at their respective Stadiums. Hamilton have taken on Greek defender Giannis Skondras until the end of the season as they look to turn round their season. He comes in from PAOK Salonica but might not have the clearance to play against Inverness. Michael Devlin and Massimo Donati will return to the squad after suspension. Inverness are still waiting to reap the rewards of their January sales signings, Henri Anier and Dean Ebbe. Manager Richie Foran has bemoaned the fact that a virus has hindered his preparations over the last couple of games and further injuries are hampering his efforts to get his side away from the relegation battle. Carl Tremarco missed training and Greg Tansey and Gary Warren suffered against Partick. Josh Meekings could be out for a month with a knee injury and Billy King misses out although David Raven made an appearance on Saturday. And, Billy small k Mckay could play tonight subject to clearance. Wooohooooo. tm4tj prediction:- Anything less than a draw for either club will be a crisis. After the weekend games, it's hard to see where a victory will come from and both sets of fans are steeling themselves for life in the Championship. We have a good record at Hamilton, but with only three wins in 22 games there's little confidence around, and the same goes for Accies. The first encounter was a surprisingly entertaining draw in the Highlands, however, I will go for a complete and utter shitfest of a game played out in freezing conditions in front of a paltry crowd as Accies fans begin to boycott the Canning experience and Inverness fans are losing the will to live, especially for a Tuesday night game in deepest South Lanarkshire. Going for a Score draw, probably 1-1.
  26. Clean Sheet, but no wins in eleven. Inverness and Partick served up a bit of a borefest with a no score draw at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium at the weekend. If anything, Partick just shaded it and the only positive for Inverness was our second clean sheet of the Premiership Season. Partick had the better of the clear chances but Owain Fon Williams upped his game after recent lapses with a tremendous display to deny the Firhill Jags. In his post match interview, manager Richie Foran mentioned some players were struggling with fitness and that showed as we struggled to create enough clear opportunities. The only other positive worth mentioning was that we pulled level on points with Hamilton at the bottom of the table and Tuesday nights encounter with the Accies is being labelled a six-pointer this early in the season. Full Report to follow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlHJSYsrPdk Date: 28/01/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2823 Referee: Stephen Finnie Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Fon Williams, Raven, McKay, Warren, Tremarco, Draper (Doran 80), Tansey, Polworth, Cole (Mulraney 60), Doumbouya (Vigurs 37), Anier Subs (not used): Esson, Ebbe, Boden, Gilchrist Scorers: none Booked: Warren (65), Anier (72) Sent Off: none Partick Th: 0 Lineup: Cerny, Booth, Welsh, Lindsay, Erskine, Lawless, Barton, Elliott, Azeez (Doolan 66), Keown, Edwards Subs (not used): Ridgers, Dumbuya, Amoo, McDaid, Nisbet, McCarthy Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none a
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