May 02 2015 02:14 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15
Inverness had to settle for a point as St Johnstone came from behind to share the points in a tousy game at McDiarmid Park. Aaron Doran side-footed the visitors ahead with an excellent finish off the bar from fifteen yards. Perth levelled the game near the end when Brian Graham rose above Josh Meekings to head home Tam Scobbie's cross. Inverness finished the game with ten men as cup hero David Raven was sent packing by card happy referee Andrew Dallas after picking up his second yellow card, one of nine waved around.
Ten league games since we last won is the disappointing statistic that is threatening to undo our season as we stumble towards the finale. John Hughes rested Ryan Christie and Aaron Doran got a rare start. James Vincent also played from the kick off with Ross Draper missing out due to serving his second match ban as Inverness tried to end their drastic league slump and clinch the third Euro slot ahead of St Johnstone and Dundee United.
It was a low key event with little for the fans to get excited about in the freezing conditions. Danny Swanson almost broke the deadlock in the eighth minute when he curled a brilliant shot from outside the box that beat Ryan Esson but crashed back off the bar and James Vincent and Danny Williams hit decent thirty yard efforts that warmed Mannus' palms. Michael O'Halloran burst free in the box but was unable to work the keeper.
Raven picked up his first booking on the stroke of half time after being scythed down by two Perth players. After remonstrating with them referee Dallas intervened and harshly booked Raven, something he would regret later in the game.
Half Time 0-0
St Johnstone should have scored at the start of the second half but O'Halloran scooped a shot over from five yards after the ball would not leave the Inverness box.
They paid for that eight minutes later when a Raven cross rolled out to the edge of the box and Doran met it first time to side foot the ball home off the underside of the bar.
Josh Meeking burst forward past four or five tackles and when the ball eventually reached Doran, he could only direct his long range effort over the bar this time.
Yogi tried to hold what we had and introduced Danny Devine at the expense of Aaron Doran but the move back-fired as St Johnstone snatched the equaliser with nine minutes left. Great work down the left side saw Scobbie curl an inviting cross onto the head of Brian Graham and he flashed a powerful header into the net with Meekings unable to put any pressure on him.
Raven went for the proverbial early bath three minutes later after a rash challenge on the halfway line which saw him collect his second yellow and ultimately red, but Inverness saw out the game to earn their point.
Full Time 1-1
A draw was probably the right result, but it's still frustratingly disappointing to miss another opportunity to seal the third spot and with United beating Aberdeen it is getting a bit congested at the top end of the table below Champios Celtic and runners up Aberdeen.
Date: 02.05.2015 Venue: McDiarmid Park, Perth Attendance: 2986
Referee: Andrew Dallas
St Johnstone: 1
Lineup: Mannus, Mackay, Anderson, Scobbie, Miller, Swanson, Davidson (Graham 75), Millar, O'Halloran, Wotherspoon, MacLean (McFadden 72)
Subs (not used): Banks, Lappin, Wright, Caddis, Kane
Scorers: Graham (82)
Booked: MacLean (36), Davidson (61), Anderson (77), Wotherspoon (88), Swanson (91)
Sent Off: none
Inverness CT: 1
Lineup: Esson, Raven, Warren, Meekings, Shinnie, Doran (Devine 75), Vincent, Tansey, Williams, Ofere, Watkins
Subs (not used): Mackay, Ross, Tremarco, Polworth, Christie, Kink
Scorers: Doran (55)
Booked: Vincent (26), Raven (45), Ofere (52)
Sent Off: Raven (84)
Apr 29 2015 06:31 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
The Race for Third
Thoughts of the Scottish Cup final will be on the back burner this weekend as Inverness travel to Perth to take on fast finishers St Johnstone who have clawed their way into the race for third place after overtaking Dundee United last weekend.
The Perth side are once more making a late run for the finishing line and are now within four points of stuttering Inverness, having beaten the Dark Blues in last weeks Tayside derby.
It is now nine games since Inverness last won a league game, the worst stat in the Premiership. That win was against Championship bound St Mirren. We have only won four points out of a possible twenty-four over the last eight games. St Johnstone have taken fourteen points over the same period which has included four wins, the pick of the bunch being that 1-0 win at Parkhead.
It's not the first time we have allowed St Johnstone back into the frame right at the end of the season. They pipped us at the post two years ago as we went down in Dingwall on the last day of the season and the Perth men made a strong run on the blind side, winning at Motherwell to grab the last available Euro slot.
Last week, Inverness played well enough but without the clinical finishing, it was always going to be a difficult task to take all three points from a miserly resolute Aberdeen. In the end we paid for some poor attempts at scoring, especially Watkins and Ross and suffered at set pieces. Lady luck deserted us and a Raven own goal got Aberdeen back in the game after a supine Edward Ofere scooped home the opener. McGinn knocked in the second following a corner but we lacked the cutting edge to get back on level terms. Not for the want of trying, and we can't fault the guys, especially after the previous weeks exertions.
St Johnstone leap frogged Dundee United after beating their neighbours Dundee 2-0 at Dens Park. Second half goals from Swanson and Wotherspoon were enough to edge them past ten man Dundee, their second win over them in a fortnight.
John Hughes has been nominated for Manager of the Year after guiding Inverness to their first ever Scottish Cup final and heading for our highest league finish, all that after persevering with the possession play that got us off to a flier at the start of the season. Tough competition for Yogi though with Championship winners gaffer Robbie Neilson also in the frame, alongside Derek MacInnes and Ronny Deila. All worthy winners in their own right. Good luck with that.
After his cup heroics, David Raven has given Inverness fans more reason to cheer by extending his contract for a further year, that's adding to Greg Tansey who had already signed on for another two years.
Ins and outs for this week
Inverness will be without Richie Foran and Dean Brill for the rest of the season and Ross Draper misses out as he serves the second of his two match suspension
St Johnstone can call upon the services of Steven Anderson and Simon Lappin as both are now free of suspension. Brian Easton could miss out after his injury against Dundee.
tm4tj prediction:- We do, of course, have that minor distraction of the Cup Final to think about, but securing our highest finish in the top flight should be enough motivation to drive us onwards. However, we have been here before and blown it. Difficult to put the Cup game completely out of the mind and that could be enough for St Johnstone to narrow the gap to one point, but I will be looking for at least one point from this game.
Remember, the official ICT Facebook site has more video and audio right here https://www.facebook.com/ICTFC?fref=ts
Apr 25 2015 01:52 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15
Heroes to Zero's
Cup heroes Inverness were once more upstaged by Aberdeen, despite taking the lead. Last weeks heroes turned to zero's with David Raven being credited with an own goal and Marley Watkins missing a sitter, but he was not alone as profligacy allowed Aberdeen to stay in the game before they eventually stole the points.......... again. Edward Ofere did it lying down as he despatched a rebound into the net but second half goals from Raven and Niall McGinn sealed the points for the Dons who are on an impressive run at the moment. They have been difficult to break down and are not in the habit of losing many goals. Today they rode their luck at times aided by poor finishing and this result confirms Aberdeen as second best with Inverness needing to pull their socks up if they want to remain in third.
This report comes to you courtesy of RIG
Massively disappointing result. Felt like a bit of a smash and grab by Aberdeen to be honest who looked poor for much of the match until we shot ourselves in the foot by conceding two shoddy goals again from set plays (something that needs to be sorted out). After they went ahead Aberdeen comfortably saw out the rest of the match. It may be clichéd by the sign of a good side is when they are playing poorly but still winning and that appears to be true for Aberdeen today.
We started brightly enough. Some of our passing play in and around the Aberdeen area was fantastic. Clever and intricate one touch passing which carved open the Dons defence on a few occasions. Watkins and Ross both found themselves one on one with the keeper only a few yards out but each time they were denied by superb stops by Brown in the Aberdeen goal. Watkins had another good chance before half time when he scurried in behind the Aberdeen defence but blazed his effort well over.
Whilst the Aberdeen defence wasn't looking too clever, the Dons attack, whilst quiet on the whole, still looked threatening on occasions. A clever lobbed ball by Hayes found Rooney in some space but, under pressure, he dragged his shot wide. Rooney then headed past the post from an Aberdeen corner as he ghosted in unmarked and fortunately ICT escaped on that occasion.
Half Time 0-0
ICT took the lead shortly after the break when Watkins was able to send a cross in from the left flank which Ofere headed towards goal. Scott Brown failed to hold onto the ball and fumbled it to Ofere who, whilst lying on the ground, hooked his foot round the ball to fire it into the net to give Inverness the lead.
The equaliser for Aberdeen was an exceptionally poor goal to concede from an ICT point of view. A McGinn free kick on the Inverness right side was whipped across goal and it seemed to evade everyone in the box before ending up in the back of the net. No idea if it came off Raven (confirmed) as some are reporting regardless it was still a very disappointing goal to give away. Worse was to follow five minutes later when Aberdeen took the lead. Esson had initially saved well from a Rooney effort but the ball fell to McGinn who netted the winner from a few yards out. I might be wrong but I think McGinn actually took the initial corner and he followed the ball in with no ICT player picking him up. Again, very poor defensively from ICT on a set piece.
After that Aberdeen easily controlled the rest of the game and looked comfortable for the remainder.
Full Time 1-2
Definitely not their finest performance but it says something that they can play poorly and still emerge with the three points in a 2nd v 3rd battle. ICT showed some great attacking play at times but poor finishing let us down badly today along with our well known problems defending set plays. The subs by Hughes were odd. I thought Ross and Christie were playing well when they came off but perhaps they were struggling after last weekends exploits.
Definitely feels like a point or three thrown away as we now move on to eight league games without a win a run of form that drastically needs to be reversed if we want to finish third this season. The Scottish Cup run is fantastic but we can't lose focus on what we are trying to achieve in the league.
There were two big(-ish) penalty shouts for handball in this game. The first was when an ICT player slid across goal to block a shot and, with his arm trailing along the surface behind him as he slid, blocked the shot / pass. Logan then looked like he may have moved his arm to control a bouncing ball in the box. Neither was given and the referee was, coincidentally after last weekends shenanigans, Crawford Allan.
Cheers RIG, great report as always.
Date: 25/04/15 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 4530
Referee: Crawford Allan
Inverness CT: 1
Lineup: Esson, Raven (Kink 86), Shinnie, Warren, Meekings, Williams, Tansey, Ross (Vincent 71), Christie (Doran 71), Watkins, Ofere
Subs (not used): Mackay, Devine, Tremarco, Polworth
Scorers: Ofere (48)
Sent Off: none
Lineup: Brown, Logan, Considine, Taylor, Reynolds, McLean (Smith 46), Flood, McGinn (Daniels 90), Hayes, Jack, Rooney (Goodwillie 78)
Subs (not used): Langfield, Pawlett, Low, Shankland
Scorers: Raven (og.69), McGinn (74)
Booked: Considine (51)
Sent Off: none
Apr 24 2015 07:24 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
Joshtice hash been sherved
Well, that was the week that was. And what a week it turned out to be. Inverness reached their first Scottish Cup Final, but the shine was taken off that when Celtic wrote to the SFA looking for help. The compliance officer tried a new trick and cited Josh Meekings, offering a one match ban. You couldn't make this up as the spineless suits that run our game took Josh back to Hampden to face the music, despite most of the world including Neil Lennon, Ronnie Deila and FIFA backing Justice for Josh. Even Sean Connery backed him, and said after the victory for common sense, Joshtice hash been sherved. Yes, Josh Meekings is free to play in the Scottish Cup Final against Falkirk. I wonder if we can get Gary Warren off.
Saturday has Aberdeen visiting the Highland capital as the top-six games kick off. It looks a foregone conclusion that the Dons will secure second place before the end of the season. In fact, they could even do it this weekend, such is the gap between Aberdeen and Inverness, although the gap between the quality on the park is not so obvious.
The Dons are on a great sequence in the league. The last team to beat the Dons in a premiership game outside of Celtic was Hamilton Academicals back in the middle of October. Aberdeen are six games unbeaten since losing 4-0 to Celtic on the 4th of March. They have beaten Inverness in all three games this season, although they have all been keenly contested, only one goal separating the sides on each occasion.
Our own form has suffered in the League as we put our efforts into securing a cup final spot. With that achieved, we can look ahead to maintaining our push for third place. No wins in our last seven games is not the best form heading into the final games of the season, but as we showed at Hampden, we can be a match for anyone when we put our mind to it. The previous week we also played Celtic and drew with them on League duty. A fete Aberdeen have been unable to do having lost all three games to the champions, whilst we have taken four points off them so far and ousted them from the cup.
Dean Brill and Richie Foran are out injured and Ross Draper is suspended for breaching the yellow card threshold. He also misses the next league game as well.
Barry Robson is suspended for the Dons. He had a hard neck appealing against his red card after he elbowed/assaulted Dundee United's Charlie Telfer. Russell Anderson is fit again but will be a bit rusty after his long lay off.
tm4tj prediction:- If we can't be buoyed by last weeks performance then we might as well give up. It was a fantastic effort last week and I would expect that to give everybody at the club a massive lift along with the news that Meekings will be available to play in the final. Aberdeen have the greatest depth of squad outside of Celtic and that is the only difference between the teams. Edward Ofere proved he can be a handful for defenders as he led the line well and held the ball up to allow others into play. Marley Watkins is coming back to form and Ryan Christie is the hottest prospect in the land. Aberdeen fans will be smiling to themselves when they see the quality that Graeme Shinnie will bring to their squad. What an engine that boy has. Of course we need to keep old boys Adam Rooney and Jonny Hayes quiet and Shay Logan is adept at surging forward. All in all, I expect another close encounter, but this time I will be looking for nothing less that at least one point, albeit we are good enough to take all three.
Apr 19 2015 11:02 AM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15
The Day Football Died
It was third time lucky for Inverness as they reached their first Scottish Cup final after beating treble chasing Celtic in extra time at Hampden Park. Sadly other events since then have overtaken the wonderful achievements of Yogi and his men.
The game was not without controversy. Five goals, penalties, or not penalties, a crucial sending off and a tremendous display by the men from the North was just enough to tip the scales in favour of Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
At the end of the day, one song was lingering in the head: It's all about the Ness, no treble!
Great weather greeted the fans at Hampden and Inverness were as expected. Ryan Esson replaced the injured Dean Brill. Danny Williams was back in the starting X1 and big Edward Ofere would be the target man.
Celtic were without the suspended Anthony Stokes, and Gary Mackay-Stevens and Stuart Armstrong were cup-tied. They did though field a potent attacking threat with Leigh Griffiths and Kris Commons starting with John Guidetti on the bench.
From the kick off, Inverness got quickly into their stride and took the game to their more illustrious opponents, moving the ball around with precision and pace. Celtic found it difficult to get a hold of the ball in the first ten minutes as Inverness kept possession without any real threat.
That changed though just after ten minutes into the game when Celtic broke forward. Nir Bitton latched onto a loose ball 25 yards out and his sweetly timed tackle/shot smacked off the woodwork with Esson beaten. A bolt from the blue, and a lucky escape for Inverness who had dominated the proceeding thus far.
Celtic had woken up and Inverness were pushed onto the back foot as the Glasgow club surged forward. Ryan Esson saved well, diving full length to his left to push away a fierce Griffiths shot from thirty yards.
Gary Warren was booked for pulling back James Forrest as he cut across the face of the box, a card that will see him miss a major final once more. From the resultant free kick, Virgil van Dijk lashed an unstoppable shot high past Esson from 22 yards and in off the top of the post. A spectacular opening goal, but there would be better to come.
Ofere missed the best chance of the game after a Greg Tansey corner. Similar to his goal against Celtic in the league, the ball broke to him some eight yards out but he could not wrap his foot round it properly and this time his shot bounced down and then up over the bar. A warning to Celtic that we were still in the game.
Esson stood up well as Celtic countered through the middle and Johansen stung his palms with a fierce shot that was beaten away, another important save from the stand in keeper.
Greg Tansey was mugged on the halfway line as Celtic stormed forward again looking to add a second before the break. Forrest sprinted forward and fed Johansen on the left side of the box. His shot was deflected away from goal by Esson. The ball fell nicely for Griffiths who headed strongly goalwards, but the ball seemed to come of the hand of Josh Meekings who was no more than four feet from the head of Griffiths. Amazingly, the only people that never saw this were the officials who waved play on. I'm not as convinced as Celtic that this was intentional. I'm sure they will write a letter of complaint though.
That was about the last action of a frenetic first half and Inverness were still within one goal of the treble chasers.
Half Time 0-1
No changes at the break and Inverness started the second period with confidence once more, and Ofere was too high with a corner. At the other end Forrest went wide with a shot that Esson watched carefully.
Ten minutes after the break and Inverness drew level. No doubt about the penalty and sending off for Craig Gordon. Watkins raced through on goal outmuscling Welsh international Adam Mathews. As the ball got touched back towards Gordon, Watkins got there first but the big keeper went right through him and red card it was. Tansey remained the coolest man on the park as Lukasz Zaluska put on the gloves. He took his time and waited for the keeper to make his move before directing the ball in the opposite direction and into the vacant net. Game on!
James Forrest was the man sacrificed as Celtic made the change at the sending off, a blessing for Inverness and in particular David Raven who had been getting a tough time of it from the Celtic wide player. Could this mean that Raven might get further forward now? More on that later in the report.
The ninety minutes produced no more goals and the game moved into extra time. 1-1 after 90 mins
The game was now stretched and it ebbed and flowed, Inverness sharing the bulk of the possession. Johansen tried to catch Esson off his line, but he back pedalled and tipped the forty yard flighted shot over the bar. Inverness surged to the other end and Ryan Christie danced his way into the box and it took a fantastic save from the substitute keeper to deny Christie a goal after his thumping 16 yard shot was clawed away.
Inverness were now enjoying their best spell of the game and when they worked the ball down the left, the ever willing Graeme Shinnie curled a ball into the box. Watkins brought the ball down and it broke kindly for Ofere, who steadied himself before firing a low ball to the keepers left with sufficient power to find the back of the net.
Celtic were stung by this and when they got a free kick thirty yards out it didn't look like it would be a major problem. Guidetti struck it well and the ball whistled goalwards. It landed in front of Esson and he misjudged the bounce as it spun over his despairing arms and into the net. He won't want to see that one again, such a shame after a commanding performance up to that point.
The second period of extra time showed that the referee's were once again flawed. Zaluskas barged into the back of Ofere and completely flattened him. I hope the compliance officer was watching. The ball was cushioned down for Nick Ross, but he half volleyed over with the goal gaping.
With five minutes of extra time left, Inverness scored the decisive third goal to end Celtic's treble hopes. And what a goal it was too. Nick Ross battled to retrieve the ball outside the Celtic box. Aided by Marley Watkins, Ross got the ball back and threaded a great ball into the box where Shinnie left two defenders standing before rifling the ball across the goalmouth. David Raven made a great run to get on the end of it and still had plenty to do. He did it like a seasoned striker though, guiding the ball firmly into the net for what proved to be the winner before running round the back to celebrate with Shinnie who came round the other side.
We played out the remaining minutes fairly comfortably and deservedly won the game, but committed the cardinal sin of denying Celtic Football club the chance to win the treble.
He might be going to Aberdeen, but Graeme Shinnie was captain marvel. He was everywhere and the driving force behind what was a fantastic team effort. He was my MotM and it is pretty unanimous on CTO that he gets the nod. There were no failures in this performance, everyone played their part. Watkins looked revitalised and Warren and Meekings ensured that we restricted Celtic to taking long pot shots. David Raven only scores important goals. His last one for us was in a derby win at Dingwall, this one surpassed that. Ryan Esson was outstanding, despite the blip for the second goal. Edward Ofere led the line well and his hold up play was excellent. Ryan Christie came into the game more after half time and was inspirational. This kid is going places. Can't fault anyone after that display to be honest.
Remember, you can access audio's with some of the Caley Jags players after the Hampden Park game right here https://www.facebook.com/ICTFC?fref=ts on the Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC facebook page.
Scenes of joy at full time would remain with those fans for a couple of days at least before Celtic would write their letter of complaint and the SFA would buckle at the knees by pandering to the needs of the majority. It's now official, the SFA are the laughing stock of football and should hang their heads in shame, brought about by the incompetence of their own officials.
Josh Meekings has incredibly been cited by the compliance officer who feels the need to punish him because Celtic can't take defeat without dragging everyone else through the mud. They have short memories and if this goes through, then football, as we know it has just ended. Instead of Inverness enjoying the greatest moment in their history, controversy has overtaken the scenes of joy and instead of celebrating a wonderful performance, it might be better known as the day football died. RIP football, 19/04/2015.
Date: 19/04/15 Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Attendance: 28643
Referee: Steven McLean
Inverness CT: 3
Lineup: Esson, Raven, Shinnie, Meekings, Warren, Draper, Tansey, Watkins, Williams (Ross 73), Christie, Ofere
Subs (not used): Mackay, Vincent, Doran, Tremarco, Polworth, Kink
Scorers: Tansey (pen.58), Ofere (96), Raven (117)
Booked: Warren (17), Williams (66), Ross (102), Watkins (105)
Sent Off: none
Lineup: Gordon, Matthews, Izaguirre, Van Dijk, Denayer, Biton, Brown, Commons (Tonev 90), Johansen, Forrest (Zaluska 56), Griffiths (Guidetti 98)
Subs (not used): Ambrose, Scepovic, McGregor, Tierney
Scorers: Van Dijk (17), Giudettit (103)
Booked: Brown (20), Tonev (97)
Sent Off: Gordon (55)
Apr 17 2015 06:15 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
Third time lucky
Could it be third time lucky for Inverness as we head towards our third Scottish Cup semi-final against hot favourites Celtic, a club that has reached that stage of the competition fifty-four times and won the cup on 36 occasions. Our last two semi's ended in defeat to Dundee and Dunfermline (after a replay at Pittodrie).
The competition has opened up this season and one Championship side will be in the final as Falkirk play Hibs in the other tie.
Inverness' progress to the semi has been steady if unspectacular. We entered the competition at the 4th Round and drew 1-1 away to St Mirren. In the replay we trounced them 4-0 at home. Celtic hammerd Hearts 0-4 at Tynecastle to book their place in the next round. Another away tie in Glasgow saw us beat bogey side Partick Thistle 1-2 whilst Celtic disposed of Dundee in the City of Discovery by 0-2. In the quarter finals, we struggled past the Rangers conquerors Raith Rovers when a late Danny Devine header put us through, the first attempt to play the game ended in misery when the heavens opened and caused a late postponement to the scheduled tie on the Saturday. Celtic were paired with Dundee United and that sparked a series of ugly clashes between the sides with red cards galore coming over the next couple of weeks. A 1-1 draw at Tannadice was followed by a 4-0 drubbing at Parkhead, and all this amidst playing two league encounters. The sides were sick of the sight of each other but it was Celtic that prevailed in these games.
And that brings us up to date as we got the short straw when the balls came out of the hat, Inverness V Celtic and Falkirk V Hibernian.
Last weekend we served notice to Celtic that they will have a fight on their hands to reach their 55th final. Not a dirty game but referee Craig Thomson saw fit to dish out seven yellow cards as the sides drew 1-1 in the Highlands. Inverness have now gone four games without a win since beating Raith Rovers a month ago. Not counting that cup game, it would be eight games without a win, not great statistic leading up to this game for Inverness it has to be said. Celtic's stats are somewhat better. Only St Johnstone and Inter Milan have beaten the Hoops in their last 21 games, where 15 of those ended in wins for Celtic. Wow, imagine Inter Milan being mentioned in the same sentence as St Johnstone; the mind boggles!
However, it's not statistics that win football matches, it's what happens on the park. Remember February 8th 2000?
Have a look on the official Caley Thistle Facebook page and you can listen to some audio interviews from the players in the run up to the semi-final. https://www.facebook.com/ICTFC?fref=ts
Celtic warmed up for the cup game by thrashing Kilmarnock 4-1 on Wednesday night. Killie had taken the lead against the run of play but Celtic stormed back and a Leigh Griffiths hat-trick was the highlight. He may be a player of great ridicule, but his scoring prowess is very impressive. Leigh also scored Celtic's goal in the recent draw at Inverness and it would be advisable to keep a tight rein on him. The Hoops came through this game unscathed, although they had the luxury of resting a couple of players with Gary Mackay-Stevens and Stuart Armstrong playing. They are inelligible for the cup game as they were cup-tied with Dundee United.
Another hat-trick that's possible to achieve this Sunday would be the third time we have knocked Celtic out of the cup. It's certainly difficult, but it's not impossible. Our near neighbours and good friends did it a few seasons back when they went to Hampden and beat Celtic 2-0 to reach their first ever Scottish Cup final, a milestone that we hope will be attained on Sunday.
Dean Brill will be pulling a sickie after that horrific knee injury that will see him out for months. He was due to have a knee operation in London on Thursday and all Inverness fans will wish him a speedy recovery. Maybe Richie Foran will be back before him, but I'm no holding my breath on that. Other than that it's a full squad for Yogi with Ryan Esson taking over once more at No 1. Young Cammy Mackay will be the reserve keeper and that will be a tremendous occasion for him.
Celtic have Charlie Mulgrew nearing fitness but will be without the duo of cup-tied Arabs, Thurso's Gary Mackay-Steven and Invernesian Stuart Armstrong. Anthony Stokes is suspended after his red card in one of the United battles. Mikael Lustig is also out. It's immaterial really as Celtic have the luxury of calling on some quality players throughout their multi million pound squad.
tm4tj prediction:- Oh dear, I was hoping you would not ask. I'm glad I got it wrong last weekend as Inverness dug deep and kept Celtic quiet for most of the match although the Glasgow giants probably held the upper hand. A good fighting spirit amongst the Highland squad saw them go toe to toe with Celtic in a fairly scrappy match, mainly attributed to the blustery conditions and the bobbly pitch. I would like to think Hampden will be in better nick and that would suit us as we could get back to our possession game which would unsettle Celtic. It's a big ask though and with Leigh Griffiths scoring for fun it wont be easy. Kris Commons is another striker on fire just now, let's hope he burns out before Sunday. I wonder if Yogi will set out his stall looking to contain and hit on the break. That could go
ti pear shaped if the hoops score early, although we did get back on level terms pretty rapidly last week. However, it's not often Celtic falter two games in a row. Edward Ofere will be a big player for us on Sunday, but he will need some assistance. Marley has pace to burn and if he is switched on, he will be a threat to Celtic. Ryan Esson will be in goal after Dean's injury but I have no worries over that. It's a big game for our younger stars like Ryan Christie. I hope the game will not pass him by as he has so much to offer, and Aaron Doran could be a match winner if he gets on the park.
My heart says Inverness, my head says Celtic, but I will go with my heart, although it might take extra time and penalties to do it.
I caught up with a club legend today and this is what Bobby Mann had to say when I asked him if he enjoyed beating Celtic in the Scottish Cup.
"Haha which time.
When I signed for ICT they were definitely on the up and the club was going places. There was a very good mix of players, some youth with potential and a few experienced players. I really enjoyed myself at the club and met and still keep in touch with many of the squad I played with over the years all good lads and a real family club.
Obviously people will always remember the first cup win versus Celtic. Steve encouraged us to play attacking football and as you know over the years there was plenty of goals in our games. He was no different that night wanting us to attack.
Even at half time when leading 2-1 he was at us to get at them as there was more goals in it for us. Probably as a one off game that was the highlight, but overall my favourite was winning the 1st division title. John and Donald came in after Steve left and they just made us more street wise, more difficult to beat".
When asked for his thoughts about the game Bobby said "Got to hope it goes well. The team are more experienced at that level now compared to us all them years ago".
I'm not nostalgic................... but
I couldn't resist it!
Apr 11 2015 11:24 AM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15
Inverness gave starts to Danny Williams and Edward Ofere as they looked to halt their alarming dip in form. Dean Brill also started but he has unfortunately dislocated his knee cap in a nasty injury early in the game.
Celtic opened the scoring after only three minutes. A long ball from Brown saw Griffiths get there ahead of Gary Warren, and as Warren never got close enough, Griffiths fired across Brill from the edge of the box and in off the base of the post.
Inverness had looked lively though and an equaliser soon came along. A cross from the left reached Raven. His shot back into the mix eventually found Christie and his close range shot was cleared on the line by Denayer but Ofere knocked home the rebound.
Dean Brill was stretchered from the park after less than 15 minutes when Gary Mackay-Steven collided with him as he cleared a pass back. The extra touch from Brill invited the challenge and unfortunately Brill came off worst. It looked as though he has twisted his knee again. Tough on Brill on his first game back after injury and the cup semi-final looks to be gone. Ryan Esson took over between the sticks.
Josh Meekings earned a booking with a late tackle on Johansen, Josh carded after play was eventually halted. Edward Ofere was harshly booked as Scott Brown had the ball nicked off him as the game went into a midfield battle with Celtic holding the upper hand without threatening substitute Ryan Esson too much.
With half an hour gone, play had deteriorated to a scrappy level, but Graeme Shinnie broke well on the left, however his cross found no takers. Shinnie involved again with another burst down the wing but the Celtic defence cleared for a throw in.
Ross Draper joined the list of yellow cards for taking down GMS unnecessarily with another defender about to take the ball away. From the resultant free kick Esson made a fantastic tip over save from a close range header by Ambrose.
Ryan Christie almost guided a ball through on the break but a defender blocked it as the game opened up again. It was the visitors who were now having the better of the possession, but openings were hard to come by.
Watkins took the next booking as Isaguirre sprinted towards the edge of the box. Tansey took Brown out in the next attack and half a dozen Celtic players lined up to take it, however Griffiths won the battle but he floated his free kick high over to bring the first fifty minutes to an end.
Half Time 1-1
Stuart Armstrong became the sixth player carded for catching Christie as he skipped past him on the halfway line as the second period began.
Great pressure from Inverness resulted in a Tansey cross being cleared for a corner with Watkins lurking and from the corner too many players got in the way as Meeking mistimed his header.
It was a better start to the half from Inverness as they kept Celtic on the back foot for spells, but Esson made another spectacular save from a Denayer header, replicating his tip over in the first half.
Great back tracking by Watkins denied Izaguirre as Celtic began to press the game and biggest cheer of the day came when Scott Brown was yellow carded trying to win a penalty after 66 minutes. Moments later Celtic did get a free kick in a dangerous position but van Dijk smacked it off the wall for a corner. Another followed in quick succession, but Meekings ushered the ball out comfortably.
Esson had a Brill moment but got away with it after a bobbly pass back saw him take an extra touch but the clearance was charged down for a goal kick.
Inverness were by now defending too deep and there was no outlet for them whenever the ball was cleared from defence, Ofere cutting a lone dash up front.
A throw out from Esson saw Shinnie release Williams on the left but he was blocked at the expense of a corner. From that, David Raven blasted the loose ball just over Gordon's bar.
Celtic's scorer Leigh Griffiths was replaced by John Guidetti for the last fifteen minutes. John Hughes was keeping everyone guessing when he might make a change as the game entered the final ten minutes.
Commons' determination saw him eventually get a volley away but it was too high. Inverness went up the other end and Watkins got the better of Denayer. When the ball arrived at Tansey, he swivelled and liffted a shot just over the bar.
Celtic were trying to draw the home side out of their defensive shell but the hosts were having none of it. Aaron Doran and James Vincent entered the fray as Christie and Williams exited the battle.
Commons did some fancy footwork but his thirty-yard drive flew well over the bar. The few chances that Inverness had to make any headway were quickly thwarted by poor passing from the back and it was mainly Celtic advancing as the game entered time added on. Every free kick was now crucial as two minutes of stoppage time was added, Inverness content to hack the ball anywhere and Esson crouched to gather an Armstrong effort comfortably.
Last chance for Inverness as Doran fed Shinnie on the corner of the box but he was easily eased off the ball. One last chance for Celtic but a woeful cross went behind and that was it.
Full Time 1-1
One win in nine now for Inverness, but a gritty performance will be forgiven by the fans and sent out a semi-final warning to the Hoops that we will be turning up next week, whatever the weather, whoever the opposition.
Not for the first time this season Graeme Shinnie put in a MotM performance willing to drive forward on the left and still able to get back and defend when required. Great engine Graeme has and we will miss him next season. Esson did well when he came on for the unfortunate Brill and Watkins put in a busy shift tracking back to hold up the eager Celtic forwards. Ofere did well for an hour until he wilted. Good to have Doran on the bench to spice things up over the vital last few minutes when teams like Celtic surge forward. We were under the cosh for long periods, but stood firm and could have scored more, but it was a hard earned point.
Date: 11/04/15 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 6059
Referee: Craig Thomson
Inverness CT: 1
Lineup: Brill (Esson 20), Raven, Shinnie, Warren, Meekings, Ofere, Draper, Watkins, Tansey, Williams (Vincent 84), Christie (Doran 84)
Subs (not used): Ross, Devine, Tremarco, Kink
Scorers: Ofere (4)
Booked: Meekings (21), Ofere (28), Draper (39), Watkins (45+1)
Sent Off: none
Lineup: Gordon; Ambrose (Matthews 62), Denayer, van Dijk, Izaguirre; Brown, Bitton; Mackay-Steven (Commons 62), Johansen, Armstrong; Griffiths (Guidetti 78)
Subs (not used): Zaluska, Stokes, McGregor, Tierney
Scorers: Griffiths (3)
Booked: van Dijk (31), Armstrong (47), Brown (67)
Sent Off: none
Apr 10 2015 10:06 AM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
The Bhoy's are back in town
The games are coming thick and fast now and hot on the heels of our midweek trip to Pittodrie comes the visit of treble chasing Celtic to the Highlands in the prequel to next Sunday's Scottish Cup semi-final.
Both sides played in midweek with Inverness losing once more, this time to Aberdeen at Pittodrie. That's only one win in eight games for Inverness and no signs as to where our next points are coming from. Only Hamilton, Dundee United and St Mirren can boast worse runs than us. Celtic kept on track for the treble by beating Partick Thistle 2-0 and are well on their way to retaining the title.
The enormity of the season appears to have caught up with Inverness as we can't buy a win just now. The only team we have beaten in our last eight games has been Championship bound St Mirren who have suddenly become the Premiership whipping boys. That's just seven points from a possible twenty-four and a measely nine goals scored, just over one per game. Playing without a recognised striker does not help the cause, but such is the plight of those that can't afford to buy their way out of trouble.
Celtic come North on the back of five straight wins without conceding, and the League Cup already in the trophy cabinet at Parkhead. The league table says it all really. 63 goals scored and only 14 against from 30 games has the Bhoys in a league of their own. They can be beaten though and St Johnstone did just that six weeks ago, but it took a stunning goal from Danny Swanson to do that.
The two previous games this season show a win apiece, but we are now in reverse gear while Celtic are at full throttle. Eoghann O'Connell helped us out with an own goal back in August and a John Guidetti strike reversed the scoreline at the beginning of November. August seems like a long time ago now, and it would take a brave man to bet against Celtic slipping up, and given our recent form then it could be a tough week to be an Inverness fan.
Ronny Deila has been singing the praises of the Caley Jags boss this season. However, as the games keep coming, our sparkling start to the campaign has been overtaken by some rather tentative football. Given our resources, it's hardly surprising, and without the option of a Billy Mckay, the wheels seem to have come off. How is the bench at Wigan by the way?
Carl Tremarco missed the Pittodrie trip with an arm injury and Richie Foran is still being rebuilt. Dean Brill has been on the bench recently and many would like to see him start, however Esson is not the real problem here. Maybe Yogi is keeping his attacking options for the cup game; I wish!
Ronny Deila has a wealth of talent to choose from, therefore any missing players will not impact on his side unfortunately. Scott Brown could return after suspension and Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong are available for league duty, but will miss next weeks cup game. Charlie Mulgrew and Mikael Lustig remain sidelined.
tm4tj prediction:- It pains me to say it, but I can't see past a convincing win for the visitors. Like them or not, but they are head and shoulders above the rest of the division and get stronger as the season progresses when all around them stumble towards the summer break. Our lack of goals is getting frustrating and given the way Hughes sets the team out I can't see that changing this season now. It may seem to be a tad pessimistic, but I am only going by recent results and they are not showing us in a good light. A goal for us would be a bonus, but can we stop the green machine in full flow? I'm not holding my breath on this one.
Apr 08 2015 06:38 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15
A not unexpected result at Pittodrie considering our fortunes over the previous eight league games. We lacked any ambition and it was only a matter of time before Aberdeen got their noses in front knowing that it would be highly unlikely we would be able to respond. Ash Taylor did the damage just after the break and that was sufficient to all but guarantee Aberdeen second place with the faltering Inverness and Dundee United grimly clinging on to hopes of third.
Date: 08.04.2015 Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen Attendance: 11319
Referee: Calum Murray
Lineup: Brown, Logan, Considine, Taylor, Reynolds, Flood, Rooney, McGinn, Hayes, Robson, Pawlett (McLean 69)
Subs (not used): Langfield, Daniels, Low, Smith, Goodwillie, Shankland
Scorers: Taylor (47)
Booked: Robson (44), Logan (87)
Sent Off: none
Inverness CT: 0
Lineup: Esson, Raven (Devine 82), Shinnie, Warren, Meekings, Draper, Tansey (Christie 76), Williams, Doran, Ross (Ofere 66), Watkins
Subs (not used): Brill, Horner, Polworth, Kink
Sent Off: none
Apr 07 2015 08:02 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
Dons looking to cement second place
The best of the rest battle it out at Pittodrie on Wednesday night as the race to finalise Euro places hots up before the top-six kicks in.
Inverness travel to Aberdeen eight points behind the Dons as both sides stutter their way towards the top-six games clear of fourth placed Dundee United. A home win would surely cement Aberdeens position in second place and defeat for Inverness would put the cat amongst the pigeons for the third Euro slot.
Neither side were able to steal a march at the weekend with Aberdeen being held by our bogey boys Partick Thistle and Dundee coming North to take a point off us in a dour affair. It was 0-0 at Pittodrie with Derek McInnes relieved that Partick had not taken all three points given the opportunities they had. Inverness had to settle for a point with Dundee and Graeme Shinnie earned that point showing great tenacity to drive home the ball. The draw was the right result however, after David Clarkson had opened the scoring barely two minutes earlier, but it was clear to see Dundee's game plan was to keep us out with less emphasis on using their own ability to create something. It worked and 1-1 was the result.
The sides have met twice already this season and Aberdeen have won both games. The first game in September saw Inverness level twice before Jonny Hayes scored what proved to be the winner in an even contest. The other scorers were Rooney and Logan for the Dons with Meekings and Watkins countering for Inverness. The return fixture in the Highlands was another tight tussle and Peter Pawlett scored the only goal. Despite being under the cosh for the rest of the game, Aberdeen held on for all three points. Inverness should have taken something from this game and had the better opportunities, but they paid the price for their inability to stick the ball in the net.
Inverness have struggled to create recently since the departure of Billy Mckay. Marley the stop gap striker although scoring initially, has not filled that void. It's not his fault, but he is not the natural finisher we would have liked. He is a better provider and it's possible that big Edward Ofere will get a start at Pittodrie as he looked more threatening when he came off the bench against the Dark Blues. Nick Ross and Aaron Doran also showed up well and could start again. That would be tough on the likes of Danny Williams who has been one of our more consistent performers in recent weeks.
Aberdeen are the new buyers in the Premier division snapping up players to bolster their squad when almost every other club are just breeding grounds. Adding Kenny Maclean and Andrew Driver to their squad will not do them any harm, and with the likes of Hayes, Rooney and soon to be Shinnie at Pittodrie then they are assembling a useful squad which looks like maintaining their high profile over the next couple of years.
The Scottish weather takes it's toll on the pitches at this time of the season and going from soft surfaces to hard and bobbly ones in the space of a few weeks is not conducive to fluent passing moves, something we were able to implement earlier in the season. It is however the same for everybody, but it's a great leveller and we are being caught up in the kick and rush style more suited to council parks and pub leagues.
John Hughes has a full squad to tinker with. Richie 'forever injured` Foran being the exception. I think he was born injured to be honest. It's possible that they are replacing him bit by bit and like the six million dollar man, maybe we can rebuild. We have the technology. Aye, if only he could run at 60mph...........
Derek McInnes has a long term ansentee as well in the shape of Russell Anderson. Coincidentally, both are the current captains of their respective clubs. But apart from that he too has no other doubts, not even a suspension to interfere with his team selection.
An audio interview with Yogi can be listened to on the official Inverness Caledonian Thistle facebook page right here
tm4tj prediction is predictable this week and I can see both sides stuttering to a no scoring draw at best. The last few weeks have brought out the worst of the season and points have gone abegging. There is plenty at stake, I hope someone tells the players because some of them look as though their season has ended already. Here's hoping we can end this winless sequence, but it looks like it could be another long night.
Apr 04 2015 01:31 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15
Dundee came, they saw and almost conquered, but a quick reply by Man of the Match Graeme Shinnie ensured that the clubs shared the points. Dundee seemed intent on not losing and Inverness had little clue how to win all three points. In the end the draw was the right result given the ineptitude of both sides. David Clarkson scored in the Dark Blues first serious attempt before Shinnie scored moments later. Edie Ofere almost added the winner, but the ball squirmed agonisingly wide of the post, but that was about it.
Inverness blew another chance to close the gap on Aberdeen as they were held to a draw by mid-table Dundee in a rather scrappy affair where Paul Hartley will be better pleased than John Hughes.
A bright afternoon for the game saw Inverness attack the South end of the stadium from the start, and Dundee showed their intent by defending deep from the off, not looking interested in getting bodies forward.
Whilst Inverness had the bulk of the play in the opening half, few clear cut chances were created. What we did best in the first forty-five was have a go from distance. Greg Tansey fired a free kick through a gap in the wall but Scott Bain gathered easily. Tansey then danced across the Dundee defence some 25 yards out but his shot was once again too close to the keeper and he clutched the ball comfortably again. Aaron Doran made him work harder with a rasping thirty yard shot but again it was not far enough away from the alert Bain who punched the ball clear as Inverness held the upper hand.
Dundee were rarely seen in the first half and Esson could easily have sat on the bench with Brill, such was their lack of adventure.
Half Time 0-0
The second half began in stop start fashion as free kicks were being dished out like nobody's business. However, ten minutes in Dundee went over the half way line. Despite being in unfamiliar territory, they carved out a chance and when the move between Mark Stewart and Paul McGowan broke off Josh Meekings, David Clarkson tucked the free ball beyond Esson to give the visitors an undeserved lead.
This stirred the home side into a bit of a frenzy and two minutes later they were level. The ball was worked down the right flank with a long ball from Tansey. Watkins held it up and played a one-two with Nick Ross. His telling cross found Shinnie coming into the box at the back edge of the box. Graeme's tenacity saw him get the break of the ball under the defensive challenge and he slammed a left foot shot low into the far corner for a deserved equaliser.
In fairness to Dundee, after realising that they could cross the halfway line the game became more open and possession levelled out, but the goal threats still came from the home side, although they were not as frequent as the home fans would have liked.
The best chance went the way of substitute Edward Ofere after Watkins had nodded a long ball into his path. He stuck a leg out to divert the ball as the keeper came out but it bounced just the wrong side of the post. The right side if you were a Dundee fan and the spin took the ball just wide. Meh!
Doran had an opportunity on the left but he chose to blast the ball into the side netting when a cut back would have been more productive and that was the end of the incidents.
Full Time 1-1
In truth it was another disappointing game and performance on a tired pitch. It's just that time of year I'm afraid when our wafer thin squad fails to grind out results. On a bright not, the rest of the contenders are struggling to cope as well, but it's getting very difficult to see where our next win is going to come from. Nick Ross and Aaron Doran did their prospects no harm as did Eddie Ofere who almost nicked the winner. MotM though was captain supreme, Graeme Shinnie who showed great determination to score his goal and led the team forward at every opportunity. The lack of a proven striker was sadly evident though as we found it difficult to create clean space in a packed penalty box time and time again. We miss Billy making those runs across the defence to create the openings.
It's a tough couple of weeks coming up for us, with Aberdeen away and a double header against Celtic, one in the league and one in the cup and a game against the Arabs to come as well.
Date: 04/04/15 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3362
Referee: Willie Collum
Inverness CT: 1
Lineup: Esson, Raven, Warren, Meekings, Shinnie, Doran, Draper, Tansey, Ross (Kink 84), Christie (Ofere 71), Watkins
Referee: Willie Collum
Inverness CT: 1
Lineup: Esson, Raven, Warren, Meekings, Shinnie, Doran, Draper, Tansey, Ross (Kink 84), Christie (Ofere 71), Watkins
Subs (not used): Brill, Vincent, Devine, Williams, Polworth
Scorers: Shinnie (55)
Booked: Draper (57), Raven (66)
Sent Off: none
Booked: Draper (57), Raven (66)
Sent Off: none
Lineup: Bain, McGinn, McPake (Davidson 61), Konrad, Dyer, Thomson, McGinn, McGowan, Ferry (McAlister 71), Clarkson (Harris 81), Stewart
Subs (not used): Letheren, Gadzhalov, Wighton, Heffernan
Scorers: Clarkson (53)
Booked: McGowan (54), Dyer (79)
Sent Off: none
Booked: McGowan (54), Dyer (79)
Sent Off: none
Apr 03 2015 07:49 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
A visit from the dark side
Inverness play host to Dundee on Saturday after a timely International break which was badly needed. We have been running on empty and the break has given us the opportunity to recharge the batteries and get some zest back into our play.
Last time out we succumbed once more to Partick Thistle after a late goal from Steven Lawless earned Partick all three points, with Inverness barely troubling their opponents. That's the third defeat of the season to the Firhill side who seem to have sussed us out big time.
The dark blues last game was an encouraging draw with second placed Aberdeen which leaves them on the verge of a top-six place. Steven McGinn levelled after Adam Rooney had given the Dons an early advantage.
Dundee's last visit to the Caledonian Stadium was an early season game played out on a midweek. Neither side managed a goal in that game, but we were victorious in the City of Discovery at the start of December. Inverness came from behind to win 2-1 after Greg Stewart had given Dundee a first half lead. Goals from Billy Mckay and Ryan Christie took the points North, but there was little between the sides.
Willie Collum is the man in the middle for this game and that in itself should provide plenty of talking points.
There's little between the sides in terms of scoring goals, but the Inverness defence has been stronger than Dundee's and that is the difference between 3rd in the league and 7th. Unfortunately we have run out of ideas of late and other teams are pushing on. Our policy of little change in pre-season has paid dividends though with our early season form getting us off to a flier, it's getting more difficult to maintain that poise as the teams below us gather round for the kill.
Who's in and who's out?
Inverness should have no main worries. Dean Brill has been back in the squad and could be ready to start. Richie Foran remains absent.
Dundee have Gary Irvine, glorious Gary Harkins and Luka Tankulic out, but Greg Stewart and Jim McAlister will be in the squad.
We don't do anything easy and our form of late has taken a nose dive. No wins in four for us while Dundee have won two of their last four. I'm not brimming with confidence over our lack of adventure and with goals at a premium for us then we will do well to take anything from the game. Maybe a share of the spoils would be about right given our mediocrity at the moment.
Mar 21 2015 03:16 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15
Partick Thistle completed the hat-trick of league wins over Inverness this season. They now get to keep us after a late strike by Steven Lawless sealed the points in a dreadful encounter at Firhill. Inverness seldom threatened as the poor surface ensured that slick passing would not be on the agenda. The only good news for Inverness was that Dean Brill was deemed fit enough to make the bench.
John Hughes fooled everybody by going with three at the back in a side that incorporated Danny Devine and Gary Warren, but Marley Watkins cut a lone figure at the front.
Ryan Christie had our only attempt of note in the first half as he flung himself at a cross from the left curled in by Greg Tansey, but his header was easily smothered by Scott Fox in the Partick goal. Ryan Esson did likewise at the other end as he turned a shot round the post for a corner.
Other than that, the pitch was the real winner as both sides failed to create much.
Half Time 0-0
Partick were the livelier side after the break and Esson tipped a Stevenson rocket over the bar after Christie had been harshly adjudged to have committed a foul.
The hard bumpy surface was ruining the game as a spectacle and chances were at a premium, especially for the visitors.
The winner came about when substitute Lyle Taylor held off a defender as a hopeful ball came into the box. It came back off him and fell nicely for Lawless who drilled a low ball beyond Esson from eighteen yards.
Full Time 1-0
A drab game with little to enthuse over that looked like it was heading for a no scoring draw which would have suited the fare on display, but a crisp strike by Lawless was enough to win the points as Inverness lacked any penetration whatsoever. Confidence looks to be at a season low with only one win in the last six league games. It looks like it's going to be a long finale to the season at this rate.
Date: 21.03.2015 Venue: Firhill Stadium, Glasgow Attendance: 2603
Referee: Steven McLean
Partick Th: 1
Lineup: Fox, O'Donnell, Booth, Balatoni, Craigen, Bannigan, Doolan (Taylor 65), Stevenson, Lawless (Richards-Everton 90), Frans, Osman
Subs (not used): Gallacher, Fraser, Wilson, McDaid, Keenan
Scorers: Lawless (84)
Booked: Taylor (90)
Sent Off: none
Inverness CT: 0
Lineup: Esson, Raven (Ofere 86), Shinnie, Warren, Meekings, Draper, Devine, Watkins, Tansey, Williams (Doran 68), Christie (Kink 64)
Subs (not used): Brill, Vincent, Ross, Tremarco
Sent Off: none
Mar 21 2015 11:27 AM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
Can Inverness eclipse Partick
We had a solar eclipse this week, but can third place Inverness cast a shadow over Partick, a club we have struggled to get the better of in recent games, although we did eventually send them out of the cup, but not before a nervy last twenty minutes.
Inverness had last weekend off as our intended victims staged another battle with Celtic. These battles are taking it's toll as players are being sent off as if red cards are going out of fashion. That's good news for both clubs rivals as their squads are being punished for lack of discipline on the field, well, unless you are Scott Brown or Nadir Ciftci.
Whilst we were idle, Jekyll & Hyde club Partick Thistle ran out convincing victors over St Johnstone by 3-0. First half goals from Kris Doolan and Conrad Balatoni had Partick cruising and they completed the scoring in the second period with a long range shot from Stuart Brannigan that sealed the points.
We need only remind ourselves of the earlier league clashes this season where Partick trounced Inverness twice, scoring seven goals in the process and conceding only one. Their in your face style and high pressing game accompanied by poor defensive decisions saw us fall apart all too easily, but the cup win showed we can do it if we apply ourselves properly, and that coupled with some injury and suspension worries for Partick should give us some optimism for todays game.
Inverness have given debut's to both recent signings and both will add new dimensions to our forward play. Ofere's height an obvious advantage and as shown in his cameo against Raith, Tarmo Kink has quick feet and once he reaches full fitness will be an exciting player to watch.
Both the newbies will feature in the squad and Garry Warren returns after his suspension, the one where Ciftci taunted him into retaliation and Gary walked. But he will be back which is tough on Danny Devine who has not done much wrong and scored the winning goal against Raith in the cup. Dean Brill has been out of action for over a month since wretching his knee at Kilmarnock and is nearing fitness, but with Esson a reliable replacement, there's no need to rush Deano back.. Richie Foran, well, surprise surprise is still out and one wonders if we will ever see him back.
Alan Archibald has a major doubt over Lyle Taylor who picked up a knock in training. Kallum Higgenbotham is suspended and Dan Seabourne, Sean Welsh and Christie Elliot are all reported to be out.
tm4tj Prediction:- The Jekyll & Hyde nature of Partick's season has seen them become the unpredictables. They have had some wonderful result, we should know better than most, but have also suffered some abject and unexplained performances and that's why they sit just above the relegation group in ninth place, but slightly adrift of the safety zone. On paper we look good for three points, but the game is not played on paper and we need to concentrate for the full ninety minutes if we want to keep our Euro hopes going strong into the last quarter of the season. It's usually around now that the word Euro brings on a decline in our play, almost as if someone has applied the brakes. With United faltering, we can only throw this advantage away all by ourselves. I am, however in optimistic mode considering Partick's woes and will be looking for a narrow win.
A point won't be too shabby, but all three would be nice.
Mar 10 2015 06:17 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15
Cup run continues
Inverness did just enough as they eased into the semi-finals after beating a resolute Raith Rovers 1-0 thanks to a headed goal just after the hour by Danny Devine from a Greg Tansey corner. The performance was secondary and the aim of the game was to get into the next round. That was achieved without too much hassle, although Inverness tried their best to throw Rovers a lifeline with a couple of loose passes along the defensive line. Man of the Match Danny Williams came closest in a drab first half with a scorching shot that cracked off the bar, and Graeme Shinnie could not convert when through on goal, but that apart, not too much to get excited about. The pace was upped in the second half and Raith were mostly on the back foot, but Inverness struggled to create clear cut chances. The goal came from a deep corner and Devine rose high at the back post to get good power on his header which entered the net via the post for the only goal of the game.
Full Time 1-0
Dancing in the streets of Inverness
After the horrendous storms of the last few days, few people were expecting a flat calm for this re-scheduled quarter final tie, but that's exactly what we got, thankfully. The Wind had disappeared and the pitch had dried out sufficiently to allow the game to go ahead.
Considering the timing of the game and the original postponement, a sizeable away support bolstered an otherwise apathetic home crowd for the tie which saw Inverness kick off and immediately hold the upper hand, taking the game to their Championship opponents. Greg Tansey had the first stab at goal as he curled a ball high and wide as it broke to him some 25 yards out.
Inverness' corner count was rising as the half continued, without either side threatening too much although Edward Ofere was unlucky to have a goalward header barged down as we penned Raith into their own quarter.
With quarter of an hour gone, Watkins might have done better or have been less greedy as he shot across the face of the goal when a pass would have been more productive.
There followed a series of corners and goal attempts by Inverness which should have resulted in the opening goal. Ofere, Williams, Shinnie and the pick of the misses from Raven as he tried to poke a ball towards the goal. Unfortunately, he stabbed it as high as the stand.
Ofere was causing problems in the box with his height and he brought a save out of McGurn, then flashed a header just wide as a goal looked imminent. Shinnie then missed the best chance so far after bursting into the box on his wrong foot, the keeper able to block his attempt as he bore down on goal. Williams is coming into his own these days and he unleashed a ferocious shot that smacked the crossbar from long range but that was about the best of the action and Raith held out for their 0-0 at the break.
Half Time 0-0
Inverness appeared after the break and straight away there seemed to be more urgency about their play as they attacked the North end. Watkins missed a sitter as he stuck out a foot at a ball in the six yard box, but he lifted it over the bar when it looked easier to score and a minute later he had a header saved under the bar as Raith were pegged back. Draper also had a header saved and the corners were totting up.
Rovers replied with a couple of corners of their own but the home defence looked comfortable dealing with them.
In the 63rd minute, the home pressure paid off. Tansey whipped a corner to the far post and Devine rose high above his marker to power his header in off the post with McGurn stranded. No more than Inverness deserved really but tough on the Rovers who had denied the Premiership side for over an hour.
A second goal would certainly kill the tie off, but Raith dug deep and tried to get back into the game, although the home defence were in no mood to let the lead slip.
In truth, Inverness were always a step ahead of their Championship rivals and Raith never did enough to warrant a replay, and after a flurry of subs the game became more fragmented. One of the subs brought some merriment to the North Stand as Tarmo Kink came on for the last fifteen minutes of play. He showed some quick feet and looks like he will do well for us.
Watkins, Tansey, and Christie all squandered further half chances and at the other end Ryan Esson had to pluck a last minute header from Conroy away from danger, but Inverness it was that went forward to a Hampden semi with either Dundee United or Celtic.
Full Time 1-0
Raith did well in the previous round, but found out that Inverness were a tougher nut to crack and offered little creativity although their defensive qualities were difficult for Inverness to break down. Danny Williams has come good recently and he was a good choice for MotM, and he was ably supported by Danny Devine, Graeme Shinnie and Marley Watkins who got his second wind after the break and worked harder in the last half hour. Ryan Christie will have better days and David Raven got us into bother a couple of times when some poor link play gifted the opportunity for Raith to counter attack. However Meekings and Devine coped with that and at the end of the day we deserved our win and 1-0 flattered Raith somewhat. We haven't seen any official figures for the tie yet, but Raith looked as though they had around 300-350 and the North and Main Stands looked to be half full, so maybe around 2,500 to 3,000 in attendance, but I never counted them and I doubt the accountants did either.
Date: 10/03/15 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: ????
Referee: Crawford Allan
Inverness CT: 1
Lineup: Esson, Raven, Shinnie, Meekings, Devine, Draper, Tansey, Williams (Kink 79), Watkins, Christie (Ross 90), Ofere (Doran 79)
Referee: Crawford Allan
Inverness CT: 1
Lineup: Esson, Raven, Shinnie, Meekings, Devine, Draper, Tansey, Williams (Kink 79), Watkins, Christie (Ross 90), Ofere (Doran 79)
Subs (not used): Mackay, Vincent, Tremarco, Polworth
Raith Rovers: 0
Scorers: Devine (63)
Sent Off: none
Sent Off: none
Raith Rovers: 0
Lineup: McGurn, Thomson, Watson, Fox (Conroy 88), Anderson (Vaughan 76), Stewart, Callachan, McKay, McKeown, Nade, Barr
Subs (not used): Cuthbert, Hill, Moon, Scott, Matthews
Sent Off: none
Sent Off: none
Mar 06 2015 08:31 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
They'll be dancing in the streets of ...........
Another of those lifelong quotes could be trotted out this weekend as Inverness face the banana skin that is Raith Rovers in the Quarter Final of the Scottish Cup. But which streets will they be dancing in after this cup tie.
It's not that long ago that headlines like SupercaleygoballisticCelticareatrocious were all the rage, February 8th 2000 in fact, a date etched on all Caley Thistle fans minds. However, back in the day, Raith Rovers carved their own little niche in Scottish Football. The infamous dancing in the streets quote is often known as a Colemanballs, but was actually quoted by the then editor of Match of the Day, Samuel James Leitch who implied that Raith was a town in Scotland where Rovers plied their trade after they had won another match. Another gaff from the BBC, no surprise there. Or did Scottish born Samuel have a twinkle in his eye when he said those immortal words.
Raith play at Starks Park Kirkaldy and can boast a larger capacity stadium than Inverness, 8473 all seated. They have played in the Uefa Cup, courtesy of winning the Scottish League Cup when they beat Celtic on penalties in 1994. Their Uefa journey ended the following season when Bayern Munich won 4-1 on aggregate, but they achieved a creditable defeat in Germany, going down 2-1 having taken the lead against the German giants. Danny Lennon had scored the Raith goal in that game at the Olympiastadion in Munich in front of 27,000 fans, but goals from Jurgen Klinsmann and Marcus Babbel saved the German clubs blushes. Great effort though by the Kirkaldy club. In the previous round, none other than our very own Barry Wilson had scored one of the goals that saw them beat Akranes 3-1. Danny Lennon got a brace in that game as well. In 1951 Raith reached the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup only to lose 3-2 to Celtic. That game was played at Hampden in front of 84,640 fans. Aye, nostalgia, it's not what it used to be.
Back to the future almost and the last time Rovers were here it took an injury time overhead kick by Richie Foran to give Inverness the win by 4-3 in a bit of an epic encounter. Raith had taken an early lead through Iain Williamson, but goals from Richie Foran, Adam Rooney and Eric Odhiambo put Inverness in easy street. However, a blast from the past, as Gregory Tade did his prospects no harm and scored Raith's second before Jamie Mole equalised. It took until the 94th minute before Foran's dramatic winner brought about scenes of joy. We would go on and win the title that season and Raith finished 7th.
In the previous round Inverness knocked out our bogey side Partick Thistle at Firhill. Marley Watkins and Greg Tansey had Inverness all but into the next round, but Partick rallied and a Lyle Taylor strike made it a nervy last quarter for Inverness, but we held on to progress to the draw for the quarter finals. Raith got to darts world champion Gary Anderson's draw by beating the Rangers 2-1 at Ibrox. Ryan Conroy had curled in a beauty of a free kick but Haris Vuckic levelled. However, Raith have gone from Tade to Nade and Christian scored a scrambled effort to put Raith into the hat. Gary Anderson did the rest and the first names out of the hat were Inverness and Raith Rovers. So that's us right up to date now, and Saturday will see the clubs slug it out for a semi-final slot.
Inverness have signed Tarmo Kink to add to Edward Ofere's signature. Ofere scored on his debut last week in the loss at Motherwell and Kink was added to the squad this week. He has previously played for amongst others, Spartak Moscow and Middlesborough. The Estonian forward has signed until the end of the season.
Latest team news
Inverness have some squad problems after last weeks battle at Tannadice. Garry Warren is suspended and Dean Brill has not played for a month now. Foran is forever injured but Aaron Doran and James Vincent are ready for action. Marley Watkins is free to play in the cup game and Edward Ofere and Tarmo Kink could find themselves on the park.
Raith Rovers striker Calum Elliot is out after surgery, but Christian Nade is back after suspension. Loan Ranger Barrie McKay is back in contention for a start. Former Inverness super sub Liam Fox will be in the Rovers squad. Another familiar face will be that of ex-County midfielder Martin Scott who will be looking to get one over his olde rivals.
For what it's worth is that Inverness will get into the semi's, but as the Rangers found out, this Raith side are no pushovers and we can expect another stern test as Raith look to get to the semi-finals. Christian Nade is built from the same mold as Josh Magennis and he shoved us around like rag dolls. Never mind, Willie Collum is here to save us, or should that be God save us all. Inverness through after a last minute overhead kick from David Raven
Edward and Tarmo chatted after signing on the dotted line........
With the original game being called off due to inclement weather, this tie will now be played this Tuesday night. That means that we now know our fate should we get past Raith Rovers. The draw could have been kinder, but the winners have been paired with either Celtic or Dundee United who scrapped out a 1-1 draw in a game that saw Celtic finish the game with ten men, whilst United ended up with nine. The other semi is more clear cut and it is an all Championship tie with Hibernian playing Falkirk.
Feb 28 2015 06:21 PM | tm4tj in Reports 2014-15
A not unexpected reverse at Motherwell, a side buoyed by the return of prodigal son Scott McDonald and Stephen Pearson, saw Well win their first game in nine. Inverness were down to the bare bones and fielded new signing Edward Ofere, but it was Motherwell that took the game to Inverness who turned in a shocker of a first half. Louis Laing headed the opener only for Ofere to score on his debut after 76 mins. With Inverness looking the most likely to go on and win the game, substitute Lionel Ainsworth scored with the aid of a deflection off Ross Draper after a corner and secured the points for struggling Motherwell.
Inverness have disappointed in the last few games where it was feasible that we could have all but seen off Dundee United, whilst Motherwell will be happy to get their relegation battle off and running.
Full report to follow..........................
Feb 27 2015 08:38 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
Old heads back for Well
Motherwell are the victims this weekend as Inverness take their unbeaten 2015 to Fir Park in a top end versus bottom clash.
Inverness will be making the journey without the red carded Garry Warren and threshold breaker Marley Watkins as a result of their fiery midweek encounter with the aggressive Arabs, who managed to convince the referee that Inverness are a bunch of hammer throwers. Shifty Ciftci used all his continental flair to sneakily and blatantly shove and smash Inverness players behind the refs back in an attempt to even up the numerical advantage. However, the camera never lies and he has been hauled over the coals by the SFA for his nasty tricks. Unfortunately Warren reacted and his card sticks at the moment.
As mentioned, Inverness are unbeaten in their last ten games and are pushing for a top three finish. Motherwell, on the other hand are in free fall. It's nine games since The Steelmen won a game, beating Partick 1-0 at the end of December. Since then they have picked up only one point in a home draw with St Johnstone, and that form has seen them hit the bottom of the league with County and St Mirren all level on points, but Well's goal difference worse than both.
Motherwell are having a torrid time of it injury wise and have moved to strengthen their squad in the battle to avoid relegation. Former players Scott McDonald and Stuart Pearson have been drafted in to help the cause and they have been fantastic servants of the club in the past. McDonald has scored 45 goals for Motherwell and will be a threat to our makeshift back line and his experience will be invaluable as Well look to get off the bottom.
Inverness have signed Nigerian striker Edward Ofere until the end of the season. His most prominent role was at Malmo where he played 85 times, scoring 24 goals over a five year period. Not certain whether clearance has arrived yet or not.
Pulling a sickie for Motherwell are Steven Hammell, Iain Vigurs, Zaine Francis-Angol, Paul Lawson, Jack Leitch and Bob McHugh.
Inverness are a bit threadbare just now and the two suspensions will hit us hard. Foran has been out forever and Dean Brill is still suffering from his knee injury. Aaron Doran and James Vincent are badly needed back in the squad and have returned to training and Danny Devine will be drafted back into the squad in the absence of Gary Warren.
tm4tj prediction:- With Motherwell strengthening big time, this could be a tricky game to negotiate and with us understrength we will do well to come away with a point.
Feb 24 2015 09:02 PM | tm4tj in Reports 2014-15
Fierce Stuff for a Fiver
A fiercely contested game at Tannadice saw United's keeper Michal Szoromnik sent off after fouling Marley Watkins and the resultant Greg Tansey penalty had Inverness going in at half time with a one goal advantage. Referee Calum Murray also saw fit to yellow card United's Paul Paton and a trio of visitors, David Raven, after 10 seconds, Graeme Shinnie and Gary Warren in an ill tempered encounter. Maybe we could have done with Murray last Saturday to tame the Killie rowdies.
Marley Watkins and Ryan Christie joined the yellow card express along with Ryan Dow as players from both sides showed poor discipline in the second half as United tried to rescue their predicament. The ten men took the game to the visitors and United deservedly equalised after 74 minutes, Ryan McGowan banging the ball home after a corner at the second attempt. No surprise that Gary Warren was red carded in time added on as Inverness completely lost the plot with Ciftci also yellow carded. It would appear that Ciftci new exactly what he was doing as his forearm smash to the back of Warrens head sparked an angry reaction from the big defender which ultimately led to his dismissal as he went head to head with the Turk.
Inverness would rue their missed chances in the first half and numerical superiority as once more we failed to build on an early advantage and the battle ended in a 1-1 draw, with two and eight
Dundee United - 1 Ryan McGowan (74)
Szromnik, Dillon, McGowan, Fojut, Dixon, Paton, Butcher(Anier 84), Connolly (Muirhead 76), Dow, Erskine (Cierzniak 7) Ciftci.
Subs:- Souttar, Rankin, Telfer, Spittal,
Inverness CT - 1 Tansey (pen 9)
Esson, Raven, Warren, Meekings, Shinnie, Ross, Draper, Tansey, Williams, Christie, Watkins
Subs:- Mackay, Horner, Tremarco, Polworth, Sutherland, Ferguson
Referee:- Calum Murray
Feb 24 2015 06:34 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
The Fiver Game
The race for second, third and fourth hots up tonight despite the inclement weather of the last few days where hopefully, Dundee United will take on Inverness in a game rearranged from the 17th of January, when strangely enough, inclement weather caused the postponement of the game on a rather wintry Saturday afternoon.
It was a rather late call off considering the distance between the two clubs, but the good news is that United recognise the issues and have reduced admission prices for this game. We have had the pay what you can game at Inverness, the 10p game at Hamilton and now we have the Fiver game at Tannadice to compensate for that late call off, so cuedos to the United board for taking that route.
It's an important game for both clubs though with Inverness moving above the Arabs in recent weeks. Both sides suffered in the transfer window with prized assets moving on. Billy Mckay off to Wigan, and a triple bow for United with Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong both moving to arch enemies Celtic, probably the biggest disappointment of the lot.
The first encounter this season saw Inverness win 1-0 in the Highlands thanks to an early Marley Watkins strike. In truth though, the score was kind to United who managed to keep it to one goal. Billy Mckay missed a few chances that day, I'm not so sure he is in the same mood right now after his clinical display at Rugby Park.
United reached the final of the League Cup at the end of January by beating Aberdeen 2-1 and followed that up with a convincing Scottish Cup win at Stranraer. Since then, their last two league games have ended in defeat. A last minute free kick by Kilmarnock saw them lose 3-2 at Rugby Park and a Tayside derby defeat to near neighbours St Johnstone at the weekend has seen a seven point gap open up between the sides. Inverness are unbeaten since the turn of the year with seven wins and two draws. The last game saw Kilmarnock come from behind three times to earn a point at Inverness in a less than exiting 3-3 draw. Maybe exciting if you are a Killie fan, but frustration was the order of the day for Inverness as we lost the lead rather tamely and fortuitously so soon after going ahead. Our defence had been pretty secure prior to that game, but an off day by one or two allowed Killie back in and a point apiece it was. Danny Williams scored a thumping goal though and along woth Ryan Christie looked the likeliest to get the winner, but it was not to be. Inverness are still without Dean Brill and Aaron Doran. James Vincent also missed last weekends game against Killie and there's no news suggesting he is ready to play. Dundee United midfielder Charlie Telfer should be fit, but striker Mario Bilate has not yet recovered from a hamstring injury. John Souttar and Radoslaw Cierzniak are struggling for fitness and could miss out.
United reached the final of the League Cup at the end of January by beating Aberdeen 2-1 and followed that up with a convincing Scottish Cup win at Stranraer. Since then, their last two league games have ended in defeat. A last minute free kick by Kilmarnock saw them lose 3-2 at Rugby Park and a Tayside derby defeat to near neighbours St Johnstone at the weekend has seen a seven point gap open up between the sides.
Inverness are unbeaten since the turn of the year with seven wins and two draws. The last game saw Kilmarnock come from behind three times to earn a point at Inverness in a less than exiting 3-3 draw. Maybe exciting if you are a Killie fan, but frustration was the order of the day for Inverness as we lost the lead rather tamely and fortuitously so soon after going ahead. Our defence had been pretty secure prior to that game, but an off day by one or two allowed Killie back in and a point apiece it was. Danny Williams scored a thumping goal though and along woth Ryan Christie looked the likeliest to get the winner, but it was not to be.
Inverness are still without Dean Brill and Aaron Doran. James Vincent also missed last weekends game against Killie and there's no news suggesting he is ready to play.
Dundee United midfielder Charlie Telfer should be fit, but striker Mario Bilate has not yet recovered from a hamstring injury. John Souttar and Radoslaw Cierzniak are struggling for fitness and could miss out.
Feb 22 2015 06:03 PM | tm4tj in Reports 2014-15
Rugby Park, Rugby Players.
They came from Rugby Park and some of them looked more suitable for the game of Rugby. Kilmarnock's Josh Magennis barged his way around the park ably supported by one or two others who were left to knock over Inverness players at will without fear of repercussion by Steve McLean, who put in a performance ranking high on the Willie Collum scale.
It was a frustrating afternoon for the home support as Kilmarnock pegged us back three times to share the points in a disappointing 3-3 draw. Aberdeen bound Graeme Shinnie opened the scoring but the lead lasted just two minutes before a fortuitous leveller from Nathan Ecclestone squared the game. Nick Ross is credited with scoring the second for Inverness but a dubious lead up to Killie's free kick saw them level the game right on half time, the ball coming off the post and Essons back before dropping over the line. Nothing lucky about our third. Danny Williams whistled home a glorious strike from 25 to 30 yards across the keeper but a frustrated home crowd saw us gift Killie yet another goal to end the scoring when Obadeyi knocked home from a corner.
Less than 3000 fans were in attendance as Inverness and Killie served up a six goal thriller................Erm, no that's not quite right. There was six goals scored but it certainly wasn't a thriller, more gripping than thrilling and frustrating than exhilarating.
I'll cut to the chase. Inverness opened the scoring when Marley Watkins teed up Graeme Shinnie who crashed the ball home from fifteen yards, but the lead was short lived. Nathan Ecclestone latched on to a wickedly deflected shot to drive the ball under Esson a couple of minutes later.
There was only one team playing football as Killie resorted to hustle and bustle, but they went unpunished for too long. Josh Magennis was the main perpetrator and he would have been better employed at Murrayfield as he shoved his way about the park.
Once again it was the home side that were intent on getting back ahead and they deservedly took the lead after great work by Christie who released Watkins. He picked out Nick Ross at the front post and the ball eventually found the net after a couple of ricochets.
However, in time added on before the break, Killie were handed a goal by the incompetent MacLean who ignored Nick Ross being bundled over by man mountain and then had the temerity to award Killie a free kick for a similar challenge as they sped towards the home box with Ross lying on the turf nursing a sore body. Nothing wrong with Craig Slater's strike which Esson seemed to tip onto the post, but the ball bounced back onto Esson to enter the net, the last act of the half and unbelievably the visitors went in at the break level.
Half Time 2-2
Not too much goalmouth action too report but Danny Williams lit up a chilly afternoon with a tremendous goal. He gathered the ball inside the Killie half and drove goalwards across the defence. He unleashed a sweetly struck shot on the run that brushed the hair of a Killie defender as it sped beyond an outstretched Samson in the Killie goal and deservedly once more put Inverness ahead.
But, as Inverness failed to kill off the game despite a couple of goalmouth scrambles Killie showed their new found grit once again. David Raven, who has had better games, lost the ball in a forward position, not for the first time, and Obadeyi raced free only to be blocked, the ball going for a corner. Danger averted we all thought. Not so. When the corner came in the ball broke to Obadeyi off Raven's head and he lashed the ball high into the net from close range to end the scoring.
Full Time 3-3
In truth, it was a game of few chances. Those that did come along ended up in the net. Killie's rough house tactics paid off as we were shoved around, MacLean not stifling this until late in the game. It ended with both sides grateful for a point as one more error would have meant nil points for either side.
A couple of worthy mentions for actually playing football and that goes to Ryan Christie for a MotM performance. Great vision and touch from him and great energy from Danny Williams and a super goal to boot. And a special mention to Calum Ferguson as he made his first team debut before the end.
Inverness CT 3-3 Kilmarnock
Inverness CT: Esson, Raven, Shinnie, Warren, Meekings, Draper, Ross (Ferguson 74), Watkins, Tansey, Williams, Christie. Subs not used: Mackay (GK), Devine, Horner, Tremarco, Polworth, Sutherland.
Kilmarnock: Samson, Barbour, Connolly (Syme 43), Johnston, Eccleston (Kiltie 79), Obadeyi, Slater, Westlake, O'Hara, Magennis, Pascali. Subs not used: Brennan (GK), Smith, Hawkshaw, Liddington.
Referee - Steven McLean
Crowd - 2912
Feb 20 2015 11:03 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
Taxi For Christie
Visitors Kilmarnock arrive in Inverness on the back of an excellent couple of recent results, notably beating Dundee United last week with a last gasp winner. The Killie result was welcomed at Inverness as it kept Dundee United off our backs in the meantime as we opened up a six point gap over the Arabs, albeit having played a game more than the Taysiders.
Inverness continued their fine form with another win at Paisley. Their current theme of getting ahead comfortably then hanging on somewhat was evident once more. A first half that saw numerous chances go abegging was almost undone as St Mirren fought back to get a foothold in a game that should have been beyond them at half time. However, we are also fairly resillient this season and goals by Greg Tansey and Ryan Christie were good enough to beat the Buddies who scored through Jim Goodwin.
Iain Auld thrust a dishevelled looking mic towards Ryan Christie at a blustery Caledonian Stadium and asked the young star about his return to the side..........................
Inverness are now undefeated in seven league games, winning six and drawing the derby clash with County. We are on 51 points, 19 ahead of 8th place Kilmarnock. Whilst not amongst the top five scoring sides, our defensive record has been the backbone which our season has revolved round, only Aberdeen and Celtic have better goals against.
The Ayrshire side are well clear of the relegation battle just now and are looking to get into the top six. Their form has been rather erratic thus far, hence their mid-table position, showing only five wins. Three of Killies five wins have come on the road, at Ross County, St Mirren and St Johnstone.
Since we last played Killie, they found out that 'Magic' Johnston was not magic after all and relieved him of his duties with another former Jambo, Gary Locke the man they have put their trust in just now. Locke's first game in charge was a nil nil draw at Hamilton, followed by last weeks excellent win over the Arabs, so his tenure has got off to a great start, and that could be the catalyst they have been looking for.
Killie lost Robbie Muirhead to Dundee United, a move that sparked Johnston's withdrawal from his post. They acquired Nathan Ecclestone after he was released by Partick Thistle, the striker becoming a journeyman at the tender age of 24, having turned out for Huddersfield, Charlton, Coventry and Blackpool, as well as the Harry Wraggs.
James Vincent misses out with a hamstring injury. Man of the moment Aaron Doran has sought specialist help over a groin problem, while goalkeeper Dean Brill and captain Richie Foran remain out. That will give Ryan Esson another turn in goal, and Ryan Christie will be looking to get another start after scoring last week. Marley Watkins is coping with being the main threat although it's not his forte, but is getting great support from the rest of the team.
A bonus for Inverness is the news that Alexei Eremenko is suspended, adding to a couple of injuries that Locke is keeping close to his chest.
Feb 14 2015 02:23 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15
Early bird catches the worm
Greg Tansey scored inside three minutes to give the visitors an early lead, but despite creating plenty, it took until the hour mark before they eventually nabbed a second goal through Ryan Christie. The Buddies looked down and out at this point but the home side were thrown a lifeline when Jim Goodwin scored with a header after a corner. With the bulk of the possession, Inverness did enough to claim all three points as they held on for a 1-2 victory.
RIG was at the game and he has posted his report on CTO
In the first half I thought we were excellent. Our passing was quick, crisp and positive. We carved Saint Mirren apart on numerous occasions and, as many have said, could have been out of site by half time. Watkins passed up a couple of good chances. One, similar to those against Partick the other week, where he burst in behind the defence but sent his effort wide. The other he tried to lob Ridgers who blocked his initial effort and then from the follow up Watkins skewed the ball wide.
Meekings had a header come off the bar. Some folk said that it might have gone in but even from the normally non conclusive highlights it doesn't look like it's anywhere near going over. Draper also had a good chance as well but his effort was blocked by the backside of a Saint Mirren defender.
Luckily we did find a way through and it was from great build up down the left and, more incredibly, from a throw in which we are normally dreadful at. Shinnie played a neat interchange with Christie (I think), receiving the ball back and headed goal wards before cutting the ball back to Tansey who was arriving at the edge of the box and he coolly passed the ball into the net. Great goal from an ICT perspective. As above we dominated the first half but seemed to lose our way in the second half somewhat. Similar to games against Ross County and Partick Thistle in recent weeks it looked like we might pay for not holding a bigger lead. Our passing seemed to become less adventurous and more focused on keeping the ball but minus the attacking intent we had seen in the first half. Saint Mirren looked a lot livelier and more resilient in the second half and we struggled for a time to break them down. Fortunately we did grab a second goal when Raven managed to break down the right and play in Christie who, after what looked like an amazing piece of skilful miscontrol, sent Ridgers the wrong way and doubled our lead.
Saints struck back when a corner was met by Goodwin as he out muscled Warren and steered a header past Esson. After that we had our backs to the wall for most of the rest of the game and MccAusland passed up two great opportunities to draw Saint Mirren level. The first, again from a corner, found him free towards the back post but he couldn't quite bring the Buddies back on level terms. The second chance, perhaps the better of the two, came fro ma free kick which evaded everyone and found its way to MccAusland who seemed somewhat taken aback that it had gotten as far as him, and he couldn't adjust his body to get a header on target.
A fine result which should have been more emphatic than the scoreline depicts but thankfully we got away with passing up some of those great chances. It will be interesting to see how we rectify the apparent easing off in games after a good start. Hughes seems to be aware of this (based on his post match interview) but we haven't seen any changes yet to stop this from happening. We dropped a vital two points against County because of it so hopefully it won't happen again.
Date: 14.02.2015 Venue: St Mirren Park, Paisley Attendance: 3154
Referee: Bobby Madden
St Mirren: 1
Lineup: Ridgers, Naismith, McAusland, Goodwin, Kelly, Dayton (Wylde 71), McGinn (Sonupe 61), Osbourne, Mallan, Arquin (Mclear 46), Thompson
Subs (not used): Kello, Reilly, Tesselaar, Baird
Scorers: Goodwin (68)
Sent Off: none
Inverness CT: 2
Lineup: Esson, Raven, Shinnie, Warren, Meekings, Draper, Ross, Watkins, Tansey, Williams (Polworth 90), Christie
Subs (not used): MacKay, Devine, Horner, Tremarco, Sutherland, Ferguson
Scorers: Tansey (3), Christie (60)
Booked: Draper (82), Watkins (85)
Sent Off: none
Feb 13 2015 08:08 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
West side story
Inverness are on the road again with a day out at Paisley to visit struggling St Mirren on Saturday. That will be our fourth trip to the wild west in a month, having also toured Maryhill, New Douglas Park and the scheme down Kilmarnock way. All wins, incidentally.
The Buddies are having a torrid time of it but that does not mean this will be an easy ride for Inverness as they will now be scrapping for every point available to help them climb away from the relegation battle with County and Motherwell.
Inverness received a massive boost late in the week. Not the news that 50 shades of Grey was being shown at the cinema, but when Josh Meekings signed on for another two years. Josh has been a mainstay at the heart of our defence over the last couple of seasons and his partnership with Gary Warren is one of the reasons our defence is normally pretty miserly. Still a young lad with plenty of pace and power he will certainly gain more by staying at Inverness for another couple of seasons before heading on to pastures new. Great investment by the club.
Another bit of good news, and I say this with some trepidation is that Yogi has been named Manager of the Month for January. That accolade normally brings with it a curse and we will be watching with interest to see if it affects Inverness.
This season we seem to be poles apart in terms of quality and teamwork, certainly the league table will vouch for that. However, we do have something in common. St Mirren lost top scorer Kenny McLean to Aberdeen during the January sales and at the same time Billy Mckay went to Wigan.
We have played St Mirren four times already this season. A 0-1 league win in October was followed by a draw at the same venue in the Scottish Cup. The replay up North saw Inverness win comfortably by 4-0, but the league game in January was a much tighter affair which Inverness won 1-0, thanks to a Billy Mckay goal, (where is he when you need him?).
St Mirren have failed to win a single home game in the league so far this season, although they did manage to beat Dunfermline Athletic in a league cup game in August. 20 goals for and 41 against sees them sit second bottom of the table whereas third placed Inverness can boast 35 goals for and only 22 goals conceded.
St Mirren added a couple of players in the transfer window, attacking midfielders Emmanuel Sonupe from Spurs academy, and Kieran Sadlier, an Irish u21 international. Both could feature at some stage this weekend and Yohaan Arquin returns after suspension.
Inverness will have to do without Richie Foran and Dean Brill, and a similar starting line up to last week is anticipated. A new name for the injured list is Aaron Doran who has a groin strain.
Prediction for this one is another narrow win for Inverness to pile on the woe for the Buddies.
Feb 07 2015 01:56 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15
Inverness moved into the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup after stinging this seasons bogey side Partick Thistle. First half counters by Marley Watkins and Greg Tansey were scant reward for a brilliant first forty-five from the visitors. Partick needed to up their game in the second half and they did just that. Returning striker Lyle Taylor scored to open the door for the hosts to make it an anxious last twenty-five for Inverness. They almost got the replay they were seeking but for a tremendous save by Dean Brill's replacement, Ryan Esson, who tipped away a netbound header from Danny Seabourne as the game drew to a conclusion.
Great result for Inverness who enter Monday's draw along with Celtic, Hibernian, Queen of the South, Falkirk, Dundee United. Spartans and Berwick have a replay to contend with and the Rangers play Raith Rovers later today.
Immortal Howden Ender had this to say :– A game of two halves or probably two quarters and a half. As I suspected Yogi had wound them up to the hilt in a pre-match “forget wee Billy” address. They came out of the traps like greyhounds on heat and nearly caught the stuffed rabbit at the first corner. We completely and utterly dominated the first 20-25 minutes and sailed through the remainder of the half.
Just before the quarter hour Marley Watkins should have opened the account but fluffed the finish. Marley was not to be denied and slotted in a well taken finish hardly a minute later. It was however fashioned by the very impressive Ross Draper. Thistle defender Stephen O'Donnell played a terrible to pass to Abdul Osman in the middle of the park who was robbed by our feisty Ross. The ball fell to Marley who held off Frederic Frans before clipping it low past Paul Gallacher to put us 1-0 up. Moments later Watkins was one-on-one again after Nick Ross sent him away but this time his low effort slid inches past the post.
Now at this point we should have been 3-0 up and before the inevitable comment of “But if wee Billy was there he would have scored a hat trick” – NOT – Watkins may not be, and sorry never will be a centre forward, but he fashioned the chances through strength and pace. Wee Billy would not have got himself in those positions.
And then I recalled our previous league visit to Firhill when we cruised for 20 minutes, went 1-0 up and then imploded and left 1-3. There was a slight PTSD feeling but that was well and truly therapised by Greg Tansey and what has to be a major contender for Goal of the Season. Good old O'Donnell again lost possession in midfield and Greg Tansey picked the ball up 30 yards from goal. Tansey advanced forward, like a modern day Archie Gemmill, shimmied past Frans like a Scouse ballerina and struck a superb right foot shot into the bottom left hand corner of Gallacher's goal.
Half Time 0-2
And then came the second half, possibly as long a second half as I have witnessed in a long time. Thistle came out like a bunch of Taz’s and our back four must have felt that they were starring in a remake of the Alamo. To be fair they stood firm – too feckin deep for my liking – but Warren and Meekings were immense and there was a true Churchillian feel to the determination – ably abetted by one Ryan Esson. He first produced a fine diving save on the hour to deny Stuart Bannigan. His handling was awry at times but he is more than a capable stand in for Deano.
Lyle Taylor then threw the Jags a massive lifeline – and got a MotM from the home support for it !! -when he latched on to O'Donnell's long ball over the top and he appeared to out-muscle Josh Meekings, TV evidence seemed to show that Taylor fouled Meekings but he got away with it.
The Alamo then joined forces with the Mafeking. It was boering and nerve tingling to watch but we deservedly survived. And thanks for that go to Ryan Esson who produced a “world class save” in the 90th minute with a superb diving save to earn us a place in Monday's draw.
Full Time 1-2
Ginger Jaggy agrees and added:- Same sentiment as everyone else about the game. Great first half helped by a very disjointed Partick defence where we should have been out of site and Marley could have grabbed a load of headlines with a great hat trick. He was brilliant running the defence ragged but he isn't a natural scorer and that was shown in his first chance that he hit straight at the keeper. If we are to continue with him front we have to give a couple of the young lads a chance or bring in one or two because he will run himself into the ground he had to come off 10 mins before the end. I don't think the second half was as bad as people make out as I think we could have scored more but we lacked a final ball. We did become hemmed in after a dodgy goal by Taylor that looked a foul and we were left hanging on. With Watkins running out of steam we lacked an out ball but we got through and deservedly so. The away support was great and fingers crossed we get a decent draw we could get at least one trip to Hampden hopefully two.
Well Ginger Jaggy got his wish as we drew Raith Rovers at home in the next round. Ties to be played on 7th or 8th March.
Inverness CT v Raith Rovers Queen of the South v Falkirk Hibernian v Spartans or Berwick Rangers Dundee United v Celtic
Highlights can be seen on the BBC Sport web page http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/scotland/31221061
Date: 07.02.2015 Venue: Firhill Stadium, Glasgow Attendance: 2915
Referee: Willie Collum
Partick Th: 1
Lineup: Gallacher, O'Donnell, Seaborne, Bannigan, Stevenson, Lawless (Doolan 62), Frans, Elliott, Higginbotham (Taylor 46), Osman, Fraser (Craigen 46)
Subs (not used): Fox, Balatoni, McDaid, Keenan
Scorers: Taylor (67)
Booked: Elliot (75)
Sent Off: none
Inverness CT: 2
Lineup: Esson, Raven, Shinnie, Vincent, Meekings, Warren, Draper, Ross (Christie 75), Watkins (Devine 89), Tansey, Williams.
Subs (not used): Mackay, Horner, Tremarco, Polworth, Ferguson
Scorers: Watkins (16), Tansey (27)
Sent Off: none