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    2006-07 - A First win over Rangers


    Scotty
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    SPL safety, a top six finish not quite achieved, dramatic and traumatic Old Firm matches and a new chairman.

    The prelude to 2006/07 was dominated by the choice of pursuing an Intertoto Cup spot or making a pre season trip to Italy's Tuscany region. Hibs took one Intertoto place but ICT were named on the reserve list. Danish club Odense withdrew when they qualified for the UEFA Cup then a financial scandal in Italy led to the withdrawal of Palermo. It took until 9 June before things became clear. The extra place was allocated to France and ICT firmed up on Italy. They returned for pre season training on 21 June and left for Italy on 3 July with the World Cup in full swing. ICT easily won two matches against local sides then found themselves in the right place to share the excitement as Italy beat France on penalties to take the World Cup on 9 July.

    There was the inevitable movement of players over the summer but in line with tradition this was kept to a minimum. Juanjo had struggled to regain a place in the team following injury and, after a loan spell at Hamilton, he went back to Granada CF in his native Spain. Chris Finnigan moved to Elgin, Dennis Wyness completed his signing from Hearts and John Rankin arrived from Ross County after protracted negotiations. There were three further departures in August as Tom Parratt went to Hamilton, David Proctor joined former manager Craig Brewster at Dundee United and Liam Fox moved to John Robertson's Livingston. Mike Fraser was primed for a loan move to Livingston but the deal foundered when no way could be found to bring him back at short notice should the need arise. His patient stint as understudy to Mark Brown was to be rewarded when Brown headed for Celtic in January. Darren Dods had been linked with a move south on many occasions but on 9 August it came to a head when he submitted a transfer request for family reasons - this was turned down but in January he signed a pre-agreement contract with Dundee United.

    The highlight of the pre-season programme was Ross Tokely's testimonial against Sheffield United on Friday 21 July. 2500 turned out to honour the ten years' service of the full back and watch the Premiership side beat ICT 3-0. It is a measure of the respect held for Ross that former team mates Paul Sheerin, Paul Ritchie, Steve Hislop and Barry Robson came north to play a part in the celebrations. The pre-season also included a testimonial match for Clach's Bruce McCraw and matches at Elgin, Huntly, Peterhead (the only defeat) and Deveronvale. There was also a 3-0 home win against Ross County.

    Newly-promoted St Mirren opened the SPL programme in Inverness on 29 July and celebrated their return to the top flight with a 3-1 victory. This did not auger well for Caley Thistle but, despite a difficult programme, August proved to be much better with draws against Aberdeen, Hibs and Celtic. The latter was played in Inverness in front of the Setanta cameras and Celtic took a 26th minute lead through Stephen Pearson. An excellent second-half performance led to a deserved equaliser from defender Grant Munro ten minutes from time. Three days later Caley Thistle beat Dumbarton 3-1 to move into the third round of the CIS Insurance Cup and August finished with a 4-1 away defeat to Hearts. The score flattered the Tynecastle side and there was a further blow when late in the first half Dennis Wyness dislocated his shoulder which put him out of action for seven weeks. September's highlights were a 4-1 away win at Motherwell and 1-0 at home to Dunfermline. The low point was a 1-0 CIS Insurance Cup defeat at Falkirk.

    There was drama at Ibrox on 14 October when Rangers were beaten for the first time by ICT. Rangers' keeper Lionel Letizi was reinstated to the side after injury at the expense of youngster Allan McGregor, who had filled in admirably. The move backfired on manager Paul le Guen as Letizi became the villain of the piece when he dropped a Craig Dargo shot in the 71st minute and Graham Bayne was there to take advantage with a neat touch into the net. It was another ‘Ballistic' moment and it lifted ICT up to fifth in the league. This was perhaps not quite as amazing as the Celtic victory in February 2000 but it was without doubt the finest moment in the club's short SPL history. A home win against Falkirk and a 1-1 draw away to St Mirren led to a climb to fourth and to Charlie Christie being named SPL Manager of the Month for October. Heady days indeed and the highest spot achieved since SPL entry, apart from a very brief second spot in July 2005. The vagaries of football were amply illustrated by the contrasting fortunes of Christie and his predecessor Craig Brewster - on 29 October Brewster and assistant Malky Thomson were sacked as the Dundee United management team after just ten months. Coincidentally 24 hours later Steve Paterson was appointed Peterhead manager with former Ross County manager Neale Cooper as his assistant.

    November was a disappointing month with defeats to Hibs and Celtic as well as draws with Aberdeen and Hearts - but it was a difficult run of games and little was expected. The 2-0 Hibs defeat included a penalty goal after Mark Brown had brought down Chris Killen and been shown a red card. Substitute ‘keeper Mike Fraser came on for the last nine minutes and, with Brown suspended, he also played at Celtic Park a week later - the 3-0 win for Celtic was no reflection on Fraser's performance and he set himself up well to take his chance when the goalkeeping spot became vacant in January. The early matches in December extended the poor run with defeats to Motherwell, Dundee United and Kilmarnock before a 0-0 draw at home to Dunfermline. None of this gave confidence for the visit to Inverness of Rangers - but football is a funny old game.

    The home SPL match against Rangers on 27 December 2006 was another classic that will be talked about for a long time. Rangers were in the midst of a revival when they came north to play this live Setanta TV match. Caley Thistle went behind to a Nacho Novo penalty but captain Darren Dods equalised just before half time. ICT were the better side throughout the second half but it looked like ending 1-1 until John Rankin struck in added time with a dipping shot from over 25 yards that completely fooled Rangers ‘keeper Allan McGregor. A second victory over Rangers this season and a major blow to the Glasgow side - one game and eight days later manager Paul Le Guen left ‘by mutual consent' to be replaced by Scotland manager Walter Smith. For Caley Thistle hopes of a top six finish were once more raised. The year was not quite over and the vagaries of the game were well illustrated when Caley Thistle lost 3-1 away to Falkirk on 30 December (with Ian Black sent off) and ended the calendar year in tenth spot. This changed just two days later with a New Year's Day home 2-1 victory against St Mirren and a move up to eighth. With Dunfermline 13 points behind at the foot of the table, relegation was beginning to look very unlikely. A Spring revival for the Pars under new manager Stephen Kenny was to lead to an unexpectedly tight finish at this end of the table but Caley Thistle were never to be realistically drawn into the struggle.

    The January transfer window opened to usual ICT speculation but this time some of it was real - Mark Brown left for Celtic and Darren Dods signed a pre-contract agreement to go to Dundee United in the summer. Ally Ridgers came back from Clach (on loan) to act as back-up to Mike Fraser and teenage ‘keeper Jonathon Smith replaced him on loan to Clach. Liam Keogh left for Peterhead, Stuart Golabek went to Livingston on loan and Markus Paatelainen joined from Cowdenbeath. Don Cowie was linked with a move from County and he signed a pre-contract agreement. Attempts to lure him south of the Kessock Bridge during January failed and his arrival had to await the close season.

    The last Tennent's Scottish Cup campaign started on 6 January with an emphatic third round 6-1 win against Second Division high-fliers Stirling Albion. After 18 years a new sponsor is required after Tennent announced a switch of financial backing to the Scotland international side. January continued to be a good month with a 1-1 draw at Aberdeen in ICT's 100th SPL match. John Rankin scored in the 86th minute and a first victory over the Dons looked to be coming until Stevie Lovell equalised in the dying seconds. A 3-0 home win against Hibs preceded the league highlight of the month on the 28th - home to Celtic with Setanta in attendance. Caley Thistle matched Celtic all the way but went behind in 37 minutes to a Derek Riordan goal. Graham Bayne headed an equaliser in 57 minutes and Caley Thistle pressed hard for a winner. Instead of that Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink grabbed a winner right on the ninety minutes then promptly earned a second yellow card for his exuberant celebrations in front of the visiting fans. January was a bad month for injuries to strikers when first Craig Dargo dislocated his shoulder against Hibs then, 30 seconds into the Celtic match, Dennis Wyness did exactly the same thing for the second time this season. Dargo was to be out for eight weeks and Wyness would not return until the final match of the season.

    With the striking pressure now on Graham Bayne and Rory McAllister, backed up by Gary McSwegan, February started with an important home Scottish Cup tie against Dundee United. Russell Duncan scored a wonder goal to earn a 1-0 win and a money-spinning home draw in the quarter final against Celtic. 1-0 defeats to Hearts and Motherwell were not the best build-up to this important cup tie on 25 February but Caley Thistle turned in a five-star display. Graham Bayne's 18th minute goal was all that separated the sides until the last couple of minutes and the headline writers were preparing imaginary headlines to highlight Caley Thistle's third Scottish Cup victory against Celtic. This all changed in dramatic circumstances with two minutes of regulation left when Stephen Pressley headed an equaliser. A replay was now on the cards but into added time Kenny Miller stunned the home camp when he netted a winner. There was disbelief, and not a few tears, but ICT were out of the cup in cruel circumstances.

    It was back to the league and into March. A late Barry Wilson goal broke the deadlock at home to Dundee United on the third and led to a move up to seventh place - with a ‘top six' finish still possible. This hope vanished a week later at Kilmarnock with a 3-2 defeat. It would then have taken a mathematical miracle to reach the top six and it never happened. It may have been a reaction to this but one of the most disappointing league results came a week later when basement side Dunfermline came north and won 3-1. Not for the first time things were at a low ebb prior to an Old Firm match - this time away to Rangers on 31 March. Charlie Adam gave Rangers a 1-0 lead in 14 minutes but Craig Dargo struck nine minutes from time to keep ICT undefeated to Rangers in the SPL for the season. A 1-1 home draw against Falkirk on 14 April was not a match to write home about but defeating Motherwell 2-0 at home a week later, in the first post-split match, removed any lingering relegation doubts. A ‘game of two halves' at Tannadice on 28 April led to a 1-1 draw then three May matches were played for pride and places. A 1-0 defeat at Falkirk was disappointing, 2-1 at home to Dunfermline finally sealed their relegation fate then the season ended with 1-0 away win against St Mirren - this could have been vital to the Saints survival but that had been settled the previous week and this was of less moment. It was however good for ICT and for Stuart McCaffrey who came into the side at the expense of the departing Darren Dods and scored the winner.

    Caley Thistle ended the season in eighth place with 46 points - one place below last season but well above relegated Dunfermline. Graham Bayne was the only player to feature in all 43 matches - 38 league (including nine substitute appearances) and five cup. Craig Dargo was top goalscorer with 12 goals (10 league and two cup). A number of players passed important milestones - Ross Tokely became the first player to reach 400 appearances and he finished the season on 401. Barry Wilson reached the 300 mark (and ended the season on 310) and Richard Hastings made his 300th appearance on the last game of the season - both players over two spells at the club.

    The club was represented on the international front by five players. Mark Brown was capped at Scotland B level on 14 November 2006 when he came on for the second half in Dublin against the Republic of Ireland. The match ended 0-0. After a three year gap Richard Hastings was recalled to the Canadian international squad for their 3-0 victory in Bermuda on 25 March. Rory McAllister made three substitute appearances for the Scotland under 20 side with the highlight being a two-game tour on the west coast of Canada in preparation for the under 20 World Cup in that country in summer 2007. Preparations for Canada continued with a match against Northern Ireland on 24 March and McAllister scored in the 4-0 victory after coming on at half-time. His ICT colleague Zander Sutherland was brought on for the last 20 minutes to make his debut. In the event neither was chosen for the final World Cup squad. Youngster Iain Vigurs completed the international quintet with a 35-minute appearance for the Scotland under 19 team in their 2-0 victory over Austria at Firhill on 1 May.

    Off the field a new chairman took over the reigns in August. Alan Savage, managing director of engineering recruitment consultants Orion, took over from David Sutherland with the latter pledging to transfer Tulloch's shares to a new Inverness Sports Trust and to top this up with a £200,000 donation. Lifescan Scotland's Mike Crowe also joined the Board. The AGM on 24 August ratified these appointments and a pre-tax profit of £220,000 for year ending 31 May 2006 was announced. This compared with a loss of £102,415 the previous year with the outgoing chairman highlighting an increase in season ticket holders and average attendance. The Members Club, which had been formed in 1994 to represent the interests of the two constituent clubs, dissolved after an EGM vote and its minimum 10% voting rights passed to the ICT Supporters Trust.

    Towards the end of the season discussion took place on the possibility of once more submitting an application for an Inter Toto Cup slot. The confusion of last season had left management wary and the answer came from an unexpected source. As part of the ‘Highland 2007' celebrations an Elton John concert was arranged for the stadium on 15 July and there would have been no time for the pitch to recover before round one of the cup. This settled the matter and it was decided to repeat last season's successful training camp in Tuscany. The players thus headed off for a well earned break then a trip to Italy and back to the challenge of the SPL.

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    1. Scotty
      Latest Entry

      By Scotty,

      03-05-2016 2-27-22 PM.pngIts that time of year again .... time to go through all the polls and calculate who is winning the race to be the 16th recipient of the CaleyThistleOnline Player of the Year award. The CTO - POY award was started in season 2000-2001, and other than the Supporters Club / Trust Player of the Year award, it is the only external award recognised officially by the club and included in their year on year stats, a fact we are very proud of. 

      An interesting fact about our award is that in the 15 years of its existence it has never been won by the same person twice, although, to be fair, it has often been won by a player who has made such an impact with ICT that he has moved onward and upward at the end of that season or the next. Ryan Esson, who won the trophy in 2010-11 is the only player still on the books who has won it before. 

      Last year Marley Watkins was like a runaway train in this poll. He amassed the highest quantity of votes and points for 4 out of the first five months of the season as well as the last two months of the season and won it with 79 points. His closest rivals were Graeme Shinnie - looking to be the first ever player to win it for a second time - and Greg Tansey who both amassed what would normally be a respectable total of 44 points each. Ryan Christie and Josh Meekings rounded out the top five with 36 and 29 points respectively. 

      So onto season 2015-16 and with several of the top points scorers from last season gone, it was a question of who would step up and take the challenge this year .... The season started early with our Europa League debut and Gary Warren was the front runner that month winning the Player of the Month and grabbing maximum POY points in both games against Astra Giurgiu.  In August, with a heavy six game schedule, Danny Williams grabbed the monthly honours on number of votes received, closely followed by Ryan Christie and Owain Fon Williams. Christie however jumped into the points lead in the standings courtesy of more of his votes being first place votes. September and October belonged to Miles Storey and it was beginning to look like he "might do a Marley" but up stepped CTO sponsored player Liam Polworth to grab the honours for November and December. Miles was back at it again in January winning the Player of the Month again, but Ross Draper, Owain Fon Williams and Carl Tremarco have all taken it in the last three months. With one month, and three games to go, so a maximum of 15 points up for grabs, there are still 5 players who can win it. Miles Storey currently leads with 51 but he is only 5 points ahead of Ross Draper. Gary Warren, Owain Fon Williams and Liam Polworth are a little further behind, but not out of it by any means. Click on the graphics below to view the current standings. 

      03-05-2016 2-56-49 PM.png     03-05-2016 2-56-10 PM.png    

            

       

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      I was watching a quiz show the other night when they asked the question "What is the most commonly used letter in the English language?". The answer given, and accepted as correct was the letter "E".

      But is it really? Even setting aside the ever increasing use of text speak and it's tendency to drop vowels the ever increasing use of social networking sites seems to have brought with it new habits which would might mean the statistics might need a little revision.

      For a start, the letter "X" which is currently ranked third from the bottom can be seen at the end of most communications...several times in some instances. Surely that would move the letter far further up the table than it is currently given credit for? Then you have "LOL" which seems to have a foot on both the TLA and Text Speak camps. Currently ranked mid table (11th place), you would think that the letter "L" must be due a promotion.

      These are just examples that spring immediately to mind, I am sure others also exist....but nothing I can think of would suggest that "E" deserves to be holding the crown for most commonly used letter....certainly not if you take a true reflection of how the English language is communicated in this day and age.

      I have no idea where the statistics are drawn from, but it would appear that currently used (and apparently accepted) tables are in need of a bit of revision.

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      blog-0891453001328648252.pngGot into a discussion with a Rangers supporting (Scottish) workmate earlier today about Rangers' financial woes, The Celtic fan spitting on a steward at the TCS at the weekend, and the general malaise surrounding Scottish Football. We didnt have time to really mention the stabbing that also happened at this weekend's game, but it would just have been the cherry on top ...

      It got me thinking, and I sent him back a fairly lengthy email about where I thought Scottish Football was going wrong, where I think it still has its head up its ar*e, and where it may even be possible that Major League Soccer in the USA and Canada may be getting things right and where the Scottish game could learn from it !!!

      It pains me to say it, but Scottish Football is indeed dying on its feet ... or perhaps on its knees whereas the often sneered about "Major League Soccer" is slowly but surely building its brand and developing as a major player in a continent obsessed with "Pointy Ball" (American Football / NFL), Baseball (MLB), Basketball (NBA), and Ice Hockey (NHL) ... the last one being obsessive for Canadians at least, but maybe less so for our friends south of the border. In Canada of course there is also Lacrosse (the official national sport) as well as CFL Football (like NFL but 3 downs instead of 4) to contend with ....

      so here is the email I sent him ......


      The biggest problem for me is that the powers that be at some clubs and certainly within the SFA/SPL still think the Scottish game is up there with the top leagues in Europe …. It’s not, and has not been for years. Both halves of the OF have tried to cling on for years, spending money they don’t really have to maybe get a good run in Europe every once in a while, but even if they are successful one year, they have to stand by and watch how even mediocre teams in England get £10s of millions in sponsorship the following year just by being the best in the championship or even the worst in the premiership … not an even playing field.

      We simply cannot compete with the EPL, La Liga, Serie A, or any of the other big, or even moderately sized leagues. The interest, and therefore the sponsorship is just not there. I don’t want to see any team go bust or into administration, but the whole thing needs torn up and rebuilt ! I know you probably won’t like this, nor would anyone of the green persuasion, but maybe financial hardship (as opposed to administration, which benefits no-one, and certainly not the big two) could be a good thing for Scottish football…. It will force Celtic and Rangers to cut their cloth to suit, it will allow other teams to be more competitive against them, it will force more Scottish teams to try and build from youth, and in the end it could turn the downward spiral on its head …..

      I have always been an advocate for expanding the SPL. I don’t buy the argument that it should be 10 or 12, it puts way too much pressure on the teams at the bottom who are trying to avoid relegation from day 1, means games are no longer anticipated when you know you will play the same team 3, 4, or even 5 or more times a season if you draw them in the cups, and it stifles youth development as teams are scared to go with youth …. That lack of interest, and relegation avoidance tactics makes for a turgid game and an unexciting league (for most).

      When we were relegated, SFL division 1 was a refreshing return to excitement where there were 8 or 9 good teams, all of whom had been in the top flight, and all of whom on their day could get a result against the other, and none of whom would look totally out of place in the SPL …. To my mind, it should be 16 minimum, in fact the Scottish leagues should be 3 leagues of 16 …. The 42 existing teams plus the 6 most ambitious teams from the Juniors, South/East of Scotland or Highland leagues. 2 up 2 down in each division with relegation to/from the bottom league to allow non-league teams a chance to progress and the perpetual under achievers to find their true level. Caley Thistle and Ross County are good examples of what can be achieved by letting in ambitious non-league teams even if Peterhead, Elgin and Gretna are not !

      Prices are another issue too ! Was speaking to a few friends recently and for 2 adults, 2 kids to go to a (non Old Firm) game was about £70, add on pies, programmes, and petrol and the day out cost them over £100 and that was before any of them had a few beers ! All of this to sit in a ground where new laws or rules have deemed standing is a capital offence, singing/chanting in even an innocuous fashion is frowned upon, and looking the wrong way at a steward or cop can get you a football banning order … its no longer fun, it’s “duty” !!!!!

      I actually enjoy (prefer) going to MLS games these days, and I think the SPL/SFA could learn from them … they (MLS) had their flame that burned bright in the 70s/80s and which fizzled out when they didn’t have the infrastructure to develop home grown talent, or the revenue to sustain the wages for players like Beckenbauer, Pele, Best etc ….. the “new” MLS formed as part of the agreement in getting the 94 world cup in the USA deems it mandatory for new sides to have an academy, has a wage cap to stop silly money being paid, and a few other squad/roster rules that help … It wants to develop the league, but it seems to have learned lessons from the past and is doing so slowly .. adding TFC in 2007, Vancouver in 2011, and Montreal this year as well as a few American teams in the other years too …. And better still, my season ticket, in the supporters section (cheap seats), where standing or chanting is encouraged rather than banned only costs me an average of about $20 a game.

      For me, however, the most exciting part is the academy. Toronto FC already has 5 young graduates in the main first team squad, some of whom have already been capped by Canada, and they are not there just to make up the numbers, these guys look pretty good … and there is more to come (Vukovic, the top scorer in CSL last year may make it into 2012 squad).

      The rules allow for some exciting designated players to come in (Frings, DeGuzman, Koevermans etc at TFC as well as the likes of Beckham and Henry in LA/NY, and a rumour of Michael Ballack to Montreal!) but rather than blindly follow the 70s/80s model of players coming over the pond for a last big paycheck, it also gives both the youth and college kids an avenue to progress …. and for the transfers to start going the other way (Edu from TFC to Rangers for example).

      I have no doubt that the Canadian national team will soon start to see the benefit of these policies, and this in turn will raise the profile of the game in Canada as they climb the FIFA rankings, and this will eventually trickle back to benefit the club sides …. A nice upwards spiral where development breeds improvement and improvement feeds further development. It’s a bit like a strong Scottish national team that used to qualify for all the world cups was able to showcase how Scotland produced players with heart and passion, and sometimes with skill, and which made the Scottish game good, or at least interesting, to watch and desirable for some to play in …… Oh to see another Scottish team produce a Dalglish, Souness, Bremner, Jordan, Cooper or even a McCoist !!! just not happening these days as we do everything we can to price the game out of the working man’s reach, do nothing to promote youth development, and allow jumped up traffic wardens to stifle what’s left of the enjoyment of it !


      So there you have it .... some points for discussion perhaps. You may agree with me, you may disagree but its my personal assessment from watching both Scottish Football and Major League 'Soccer' over the last few years .....

      Sneer all you want at "soccer" in (North) America, but its a league on the rise, a league that is fostering grass roots development as one of its core principles, a league that has put checks and balances in place to try and make sure it doesnt overstretch itself in terms of finances and one which embraces fan culture in an effort to encourage crowds to grow with the game in this continent .....

      there are plenty of little things about Major League Soccer that I dont like, or take issue with, and I may go into those in later blog entries, but as an organisation with a focus on development from the ground up, and with a keen sense of community development, there is plenty to look at and perhaps learn from them .....

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      Joonya
      Latest Entry

      THIS WAS TYPED BEFORE THE VISIT OF CELTIC IN THE SCOTTISH CUP

      Well, what a difference a festive break and a little confidence can do to a team, hey? Eight weeks have passed since the last edition of Gringo's Gossip and there's certainly a lot to catch up on. What better place to start than our current form and league standing...

      Eight weeks ago, our team was sitting in 9th in the league, having previously spent the entire start of the campaign rooted to the bottom. Despite being tenth at the moment, the gap between ourselves and bottom side Dunfermline has grown to 9 points. More importantly, with results continuing to go our way, ICT now sit just 3 points (and 7 goals) of a top 6 place - of which is currently occupied by Aberdeen, who have also played a game more.

      The festive period had indeed been kind to Caley Thistle, and that 'panic button' which was ever present at the start of the season has since been gathering dust in the ICT boot room. An away day at Ibrox was the last time we suffered defeat, and even then the team was unlucky to end the game without a single point following a late strike by Kyle Lafferty. Since then the team have advanced to the 5th round of the Scottish Cup after a replay with Dunfermline, kept three clean sheets in as many league games, and have also seen their first 0-0 draw since an away day in Motherwell just over 12 month ago.

      Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad, summed up by the horrific injury that Chris Hogg suffered in our December fixture against the Arabs. Following a challenge with Dundee United's Gary Mackay-Steven and former ICT loanee, David Davis, Chirs Hogg suffered a serious knee injury and was stretchered from the field of play after just 15 minutes of play. Guarenteed to be out for the remainder of the season, Hogg started an online blog called The Fightback, which can be seen here- http://chrishoggthef...k.blogspot.com/ - It's well worth a read, and all credit to Chris for putting his experiences into words as he goes through rehabilitaion. We all wish him well and welcome the fact he has been offered a new contract.

      The month of January throws up many an issue for clubs as the transfer window begins. Already ICT have lost David Davis; Loaned out to ICT from Wolves in August, Davis made good of his time here after a slow start and was an asset in the midfield, and Aiden Chippendale; A Huddersfield loan signing who rarely featured during his time at the Tulloch Caledonian Staduim, mostly because of injury. Now it looks like Lee Cox, somewhat a fans favorite who signed from Leicester in 2009, seems likely to be heading South to Paulo Di Canio's Swindon Town. (Since inititally typing this out, Cox has indeed signed for Swindon, noted in the Highland News as being a figure in the region of £50,000)

      Coming up to ply their trade at TCS are two loan signings in the form of Claude Gnakpa (from Walsall) and Sam Winnell (from Wolves). Two strikers who, judging by their debuts against St Mirren recently, could add a little extra spice to our current strike force.

      With the transfer window comes transfer rumours, and no rumour has been more talked about around Inverness than that of Johnny Hayes to Celtic. It must be something to do with him being Irish?

      Johnny has been magnificent for Caley Thistle since his return from injury, culminating in gaining the captains armband for our away fixture against Motherwell. A game from which we captured our first clean sheet of the season by securing a 1-0 win thanks to a fantastic Gregory Tade effort.

      I personally can't see Johnny Hayes going anywhere, and the fact the Terry Butcher has started talks of an extension to his current deal can only suggest Hayes is going nowhere. Let's hope that's the case!

      Away from the teams highs and lows of the past 2 months, there have been a few happenings off the park that perhaps deserve a mention. Firstly the new look CTO website, which came live shortly after the last edition of Gringos Gossip was published. Credit must go to CaleyD and Scotty for their continuous hard work behind the scenes, and also to the rest of the monderation team for their efforts in keeping the site fresh and well managed.

      I'd also like to say a well done to my step-son, Marc Hurst, who raffled off his signed Ryan Esson shirt and gloves (given to him by Ryan on the final day of our Chamionship winning season) to raise funds for the Archie Foundation just before Christmas. I know how much I love and enjoy my own memorabilia and how hard it would be to part with it, so credit to Marc for parting with his prized posessions to help a very worth cause.

      With Caley Thistle having to play Celtic twice in as many weeks, both in the League and the Scottish Cup, as well as Rangers at the back end of February, it'll be very hard to maintain the unbeaten run that we currently see ourselves on. I guess it's probably too soon to be taking about the unbeaten run of 2010, but even so, it's nice to dream. Who know's, with the spirit and momentum the team has at the moment, it's probably a dream that could well become a reality...we'll see

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    • We lost 2-1 to a late penalty.
    • Hi Grant - I realise this post is quite old now and I apologise for not seeing it at the time I was writing. My brother, Mike, inadvertently came across your post while doing some research on our family shop, Skinner's, and realised it was in reply to one of mine so I'm really hoping you are still active on these boards as we're very interested in the fact you're related to Tom and Ray.  Tom was my Dad's uncle and originally had the baker's shop in Stephen's Brae. We think it might have been a baker's before this but are not sure. Tom was a hard-working, no nonsense, fairly strict man who took no prisoners but when we realised how much tragedy he had gone through in his life we understood him better. His wife, Fanny, died on Christmas Day (I'm not sure of the year) and he lost both of his sons to diphtheria, one dying on Boxing Day. Rumour has it that he ran through the streets of Inverness with the body, unable to bear his grief.  It was no surprise then that he became very close to his surviving daughter, Ray, whom he lived with in Auldcastle Road until he died.  Ray ran a cafe at the bottom end of Church Street called, I think, Strattons, or something similar.  (I need to check that out.) She never married and looked after her father until he died, still living in the same house in Auldcastle Road when she herself died. We know of no-one named Grant on Tom's side of the family so wondered if you were connected to Fanny's family?  We know almost nothing of her family at all so it would be really interesting to find out.  Dad sadly died in 1976 but Mum lived until 2015 when she died at the ripe old age of 94!  My sister still lives in Inverness as do 2 of her daughters and their families.  I myself am in Aberdeen and my brothers, Ian and Mike, live in Fort William and London respectively. Let me know if there's anything else you would like to know - I may not know the answer but can find out. Margaret
    • Charles - I was at a family meal on Sunday as my brother, Mike, was up from London and we were talking about the shop when my Uncle Tom had it. He mentioned that he'd seen me posting something about the shops and I had no idea what he was on about but luckily he remembered the website had something to do with Caley Football Club and that rang a bell!  All 4 of us were at the Academy - I can remember you being there when I was so I think Ian & Mike would have passed through its portals by then but you were right - Ian went on to become a geography teacher and had a successful career at Lochaber High School for many years. He has now retired and still lives in Lochaber.  We did have another shop in Kenneth St (No.79) on the corner of Attadale Road but the Stephens' Brae one was the main one and very popular with the Academy pupils as you so correctly pointed out. I personally haven't found any better cakes than Dad used to make and I loved working in the bakehouse with him but then I suppose I'm slightly biased!!  He took the BBs in the East Church and the Young Brothers and also ran the badminton club - in a different life he would have loved to have been a minister and often did lay preaching, standing in for Donald McFarlane, the minister of the East Church. He also took services in the old Barn church out at Culloden - the original one.  Sadly Dad died prematurely in 1976 of a heart attack. Mum carried on the business for several years afterwards but eventually sold it to a hairdressers initially then to Girvans. My apologies if I've already posted this - I haven't read the whole thread - but I seem to remember my posts were back in 2012/13 (which is why I couldn't remember them when Mike mentioned it!) and as your post here is 2015 I probably haven't.  Mike had inadvertently come across the postings when doing some research of his own on the shops at the time our great-uncle had them.  That old photo of the Stephen Brae one we think was around 1920ish - Dad's uncle, Tom, had it then - Dad came up to Inverness to work for him then eventually took over the shops when Uncle Tom became too infirm to do so. Tom's daughter, Ray, ran a cafe near the Old High Church end of Church Street - can't remember what it was called but think it started with an S? Strath something maybe? Now I'm away to search for a post Mike found from someone who said they thought they were related to Tom and Ray which we found really interesting. We think that may be from Tom's wife side of the family whom we know nothing about so I hope I can find out more.  Hope you are well - loved your books on the Academy - brought back many great memories!
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