Renewing old rivalries as Bairns come North
Falkirk come North on Saturday for our third Betfred League Cup game this season.
We opened with a comfortable 3-0 defeat of Brechin City. That same day Falkirk cuffed Stirling Albion 4-1. In midweek we struggled to create many clear cut opportunities against the same Stirling Albion at Forthbank as Falkirk enjoyed a night off. We crept through on penalties to gain the extra point in a shoot-out made famous for it's lack of goals. It's reputed to be the lowest winning score recorded in a penalty shoot-out, Inverness winning 2-0.
Given that both clubs have played the Binos, they will be the benchmark for deciding who is best placed to succeed in this encounter, and you would have to say that the Bairns look like the favourites here. Here's a worrying stat for you. In each of our last four games against Falkirk, we have had a man sent off. In fact, out of the last ten games, Inverness have only two wins, Falkirk have seven. The one win that did really matter won us the Scottish Cup. However, they will struggle to recognise our squad since we last played them in the Scottish Cup Final two years ago. Ryan Esson is still in our squad, Ross Draper and Liam Polworth could be on the park, and that's it!
Plenty alterations at Falkirk as well, who have taken on Rory Loy from Dundee, Alex Harris from Hibs and David Mitchell, a goalkeeper from Dundee. They have an extensive list of players who have left this summer: Craig Sibbald, midfielder; Bob McHugh, forward (Greenock Morton); Luke Leahy, midfielder (Walsall); David McCracken, defender (Peterhead); Lewis McMinn, goalkeeper (Stenhousemuir); Cameron Eadie, defender (Elgin City); Fraser Aird, midfielder; Kyle Johnson, defender; Cameron Eadie, defender. Loan ended: Danny Rogers, goalkeeper (Aberdeen), and of course John Baird who joined us.
So, the new season has brought plenty of personell changes at both clubs, but it looks like it has hit us harder than most, that's what comes with relegation I suppose. Falkirk are perennial battlers in the play off's, but once again they failed to go up in a sort of Groundhog Day. However, I would expect them to be one of the serious contenders once more. Tough game ahead and it will provide us with something to gauge ourselves against in the coming Championship season.
Inverness could be without captain Gary Warren who is rated 50/50 for the Falkirk game. Zak Ebouzedi is out. Aaron Doran and Carl Tremarco are not expected to be ready for action until November. Josh Meekings is going or injured or both. Owain Fon Williams and A N Other, (possibly David Raven), have been told to look elsewhere for their football as their wages will free up resources for a few more signings.
Felitciano Zcheuschen could make his home debut in this one. Robbo reckons he will be a tremendous asset once he and his team mates get to know each other. Mitchell Foy could return to the squad. He looked an exciting prospect in the short time he played at Forres in pre-season. John Baird will be looking to get one over his former club. He scored 36 goals for the Bairns in just over 100 games but will be wanting to impress his new gaffer if he gets a chance.
For Falkirk, new signing Rory Loy will be a big danger, but Joe Mckee will be one to watch at set pieces as he certainly packs a punch from distance. Watch his stunning free kick in the play-off game against Dundee United at 3.23 in to the video