2014 begins with a derby
It's the Highland Derby once again as struggling Ross County make the short trip over the bridge to first foot neighbours Inverness on the 1st of January. That's nice!
The last derby in Dingwall suffered at the hands of the Staggies floodlights as darkness fell across the stadium leaving the not only County in the shadows, but everyone else as well. Seething! That fixture still has to be replayed with the game being abandoned at half-time scoreless.
County are struggling with second season syndrome, unable to reach the dizzy heights of their debut year in the top flight. The table shows that they would be sitting bottom but for Hearts being deducted 15 points before the season started.
Inverness have faltered slightly in the last month, but the decline was hitting before Butcher left as other clubs started to get the hang of our style. Maybe Butcher left at the right time for him with Inverness reaching second spot, as high as could be expected. It's certainly a tough start for John Hughes and despite the lowly position of Ross County, this is a derby and nothing can be taken for granted.
Young Ryan Christie was blooded against Celtic and he has plenty of talent, I'm not sure the derby is the right moment to throw him in at the deep end. However, David Raven is surely in Yogi's thoughts for a return to right back with Shinnie swapping flanks, with maybe Tremarco retaining the full back berth. Danny Williams has come in for plenty of fan criticism, but with Foran and Vincent still out our wafer thin squad has it's limitations. Ben Greenhalgh, Toby Agdestein and Liam Polworth will also be looking for some game time.
The fans choice for this one would see Hughes select this favoured formation, the bring back Raven campaign is in full swing......... if only:-
Raven Warren Meekings Tremarco
Mihael Kovacevic will not play for personal reasons, returning to Croatia to look after his father. Derek Adams is desperate to strengthen his squad, but will have to run with the same squad that lost at Pittodrie. Adams is hopeful that Steven Saunders will be fit after a minor illness.
tm4tj prediction:- Sometimes the occasion gets the better of the finer points of the game during these derby's. Few chances, plenty of blood and guts, a raft of bookings, but sadly quality goes out the window. A Charlie Christie would be handy right now, but the next best thing would be son of. Lo and behold, the saviour could be just round the corner. I wonder................. However, it may be too soon for young Ryan and I'll hedge my bets and go for a tough tackling no scoring hangover draw.
Merry Xmas and have a good New Year from all at Caley Thistle Online