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