Robbo's first game back at the helm was a low key pre-season friendly at New Mossett Park Forres against Highland League opposition.
With a distinct lack of signed players in our squad after the shambles of last season, we fielded no less than five trialists as Robbo looked to get a semblence of a squad together capable of playing in the Championship this season.
We started the game with what looked like this XI. Esson, Raven, Trialist, Mckay, Warren, Trialist, Polworth, Draper, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist. Even the regular Caley Jags fans were struggling to grasp who the newbies were, but some made a good stab at it and I'll do my best to put names to add them to the report. And true to form, someone came up with these names:- trialists are Chalmers, Leitch, Davidson, Oakley and Elbouzedi. Ridgers on the bench, so that makes the team something like this
1 Esson, 2 Raven, 3 Chalmers, 4 McKay, 5 Warren, 6 Leitch, 7 Polworth, 8 Draper, 9 Davidson, 10 Oakley, 11 Elbouzedi
Subs:- 12 MacDonald, 14 Lawton, 15 Stark, 16 Chalmers, 17 Foy, 18 Wilson, 19 Ridgers (GK)
As you would expect, it took a while for our players to get to know a little about each other and we struggled to make much headway in a first half dominated by the Mechanics who could have scored a couple but for some timely interventions.
The second period saw a massive swing in the favour of Robbo's squad who dominated for long spells, but it took until the 75th minute for Brad Mckay to power a deep corner home. A late free kick saw the ball smack off the bar and that was it as far as the action was concerned.
Young trialist striker Scott Davidson was carried off and reports suggest he has broken a bone in his foot.
For Robbo, it will be about finding out more about the players he will need for the coming campaign. Good luck with that.
From Forres, we went North to Brora. The Cattachs had taken the lead through Kyle Macleod, but a John Baird hat-trick which included a penalty and two assists from Draper saw Inverness take control before George Oakley ended the scoring from an Alex Cooper cross. 1-4 the final score.
There's an excellent and detailed report up on the Brora Rangers website Brora 1-4 ICT
From our own forum, Bughtmaster went North and summarised neatly, so I nicked it:- "Watching the first half at Brora the doubts in my mind were synonymous with what I felt last year at the same match. Even in the warm up the lack of cohesion and ambition was obvious, however it did pick up when Rice went across to them and got them organised. Notables in the first half were Raven, Draper, Baird, Mulraney (though his play was sussed out and made too obvious at first) Oakley showed some promise but ran offside too often. Ridgers I am afraid filled me with dread with his mishandling of crosses in front of goal, flapping personified I would call it, positioning and drilling were much better. Esson however will have to find a solution to his handling of crosses, Ridgers is a tall lad and should be able to do an awful lot better in removing danger.
Second half for the team was a different story, organisation and cohesion came into play and we suddenly looked a very much better side, confidence grew as the goals went in and we started to look hungry. All in all comparing last year and this I am more confident of getting something out of this season, whereas last season I could not see any promise. Cheers Bughtmaster.
After Brora, we had a run out at Station Park Nairn with our squad made up with mainly trialists and Clachnacuddin players.
Starting XI in Nairn:- Esson, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, Stark, Trialist, Trialist, MacDonald, Trialist, Trialist,Trialist. Bench:- Foster, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist. If you ask me, that's an awful lot of trialists. Rumour has it that Alex Cooper played as did Joe Chalmers (ex Motherwell). As it turns out, we had this XI starting:- Ryan Esson, Adam Blake (T), Joe Chalmers (T), David Ferguson (T), Jack Leitch (T), Chiedu Ikeme (Clach), Aiden Wilson (T), Liam Shewan (Clach), Alex Cooper (T), Eddie Barton (Clach), Rorie Macleod (Clach), Liam Ross (Clach).
Game ended in a 1-4 win for Inverness. Goals came from Liam Shewan, Joe Chalmers with a thumping 30yard strike, an Alex Cooper tap in and Aiden Wilson. Kenny McKenzie scored for the hosts.
The main squad were kept back for Elgin on Saturday. Maybe we would have been better with Friday nights squad as Elgin won convincingly 2-0 with goals from Cameron and Reid after dominating the second half.
ICT:- Esson, Seedorf, Calder, Elbouzedi, Warren, Eldsdon, Polworth, Draper, Duffy, Vigurs, Mulraney. Subs: Ridgers (GK), Raven, Stark, MacDonald, Wilson.
There's a full report in the local press Elgin 2-0 ICT
There will be a game against Clach at Grant Street on Tuesday night with a 7:45 kick off Clach game cancelled.
After that, there's no hiding place and the season kicks off in earnest with a home League Cup game against Brechin City next Saturday. The action starts at 15:00.