Opportunity to bounce back. Game On!
We head for Glebe Park Brechin on Saturday, our last game of 2017 to play The City at their quaint venue, where a hedge forms one side of the stadium. I suppose it's more picturesque than our own, where a defunct singing section, tea shop and toilets mark the touchline on the Bridge side of the stadium.
It's an opportunity to bounce back after the disappointment at Morton where we went down to a Gary Harkins spot kick, and ended the game with ten men after David Raven was red carded at the penalty incident.
There was some consternation surrounding the playability of the ground despite the City grounstaff and volunteers covering the surface. Heavy frost had penetrated a couple of area's and that was giving some concern. Brechin City have issued the following statement.
"PITCH UPDATE In the main the pitch covers have done their job despite overnight frost with the vast majority of the pitch soft and playable. Unfortunately despite a double layer of covers the frost has got into an area of about 3 metres square in the bottom goalmouth. However, taking the current forecast into account and depending on overnight conditions, our ground staff feel this area can be worked on to make it playable for the game. In any case an early decision will be made tomorrow morning with regard to a pitch inspection."
It matters not now as no inspection needed, Game On!
So far this season, Brechin have been our whipping boys despite their results against other more illustrious opponents being very close affairs. We have played them three times already this season. A 3-0 league cup victory was followed by our first league win of the season, 0-4 at Glebe Park back in August. We repeated that scoreline at the end of November with a 4-0 win at the Caledonian Stadium and that brings us to the final game of 2017 matchday 18 for both sides.
Brechin are without a win this season and that is shown in their league position, only three points from 17 games. With that in mind, their goals against tally is the worst in the league. They have conceded twice as many as Inverness with 38 against. If you thought that goal scoring is a problem for Inverness (18), then spare a thought for Brechin fans who have witnessed only 12 league goals. They are not the worst though. That accolade goes to Falkirk who have only scored 9 times.
Our optimism is justified given our dominance over City in previous fixtures this season, but we are not exactly setting the heather on fire ourselves and this could be a tough game. Last time against City we won 4-0 with goals coming from Brad Mckay, John Baird, Connor Bell and George Oakley. We were always in command, but the game was somewhat flat at times and four nil possibly flattered us, a late dinked goal from George Oakley putting some shine on the dull proceedings. For the visitors that day, Isaac Layne ploughed a lone furrow, but he is a robust fellow and was a handful for our defenders who ultimately coped well with his powerful bursts forward. He is a bit like marmite, you either love him or hate him. On that day he looked decent, alas many Brechin fans think otherwise.
Inverness will be without David Raven who may well have played his last game for Robbo's side. The stalwart right back was reinstated after the John Hughes era and has been a fans favourite, especially after his stunning goal that helped knocked Celtic out of Scottish cup. However, a red card at Cappielow means he will miss this one although he could possibly feature against Livingston on 2nd January before he leaves after turning down a new deal. That has been on the cards for some time and the end is nigh, but best wishes to David in his future career. Collin Seedorf will probably take Raven's place. Some fuel to the rumour that Nathan Austin will be joining us from Falkirk to add some competition to the main strikers berth. Much needed if you ask me.
Darren Dods last squad for the 2-1 defeat to Dunfermline:- Smith, McLean (Dale 46), Crighton, Fusco, Spark, Watt, Smith, Lynas, Sinclair (Graham 77), Orsi (McLennan 55), Layne.
Further detail can be found on Official Site
Here's Robbo's reaction to the defeat at Cappielow