Aug 28 2014 06:53 AM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
High Flying v Flying High
High flying Caley Jags take on this seasons surprise package Kilmarnock on Saturday with kick off back to normal time at 3:00pm.
Inverness had a splendid win over Celtic last weekend courtesy of an own goal and Kilmarnock took the honours after a 2-0 victory over Motherwell. Allan Johnston has been waxing lyrical since that performance and the quality of the strikes from the powerful Robbie Muirhead and Sammy Clingan. Muirhead's strike was a belter and their shoot on site policy saw Dan Twardzik pull off a string of saves from distance, with former Don Josh MaGennis in particular making the keeper earn his corn.
Killie were also in action in a midweek Ayrshire derby in the League Cup where they ousted the Honest Men with a solitary strike from Rory Mackenzie. They always held the upper hand against League One side Ayr United but derbies can be fiercely contested although Killie showed the better quality to get themselves into the third round where they have a home tie against St Johnstone. Incidentally, Inverness face The Rangers in a second round tie after the Ibrox side defeated Queens Park by the odd goal in three. Should Inverness prevail, then another away game at Falkirk awaits.
Meanwhile, back in the Premiership, Killie make their second trip North of the campaign. Their last trek saw them beat Ross County in Dingwall by 1-2, Magennis and Obadeyi the scorers before County got their consolation. Killie's only defeat was at home against Aberdeen where they lost 0-2 the week after an opening day draw with newly promoted Dundee.
We, of course, are undefeated and sit on top of the League, three points ahead of Kilmarnock. Like them, we also drew with Dundee and beat Motherwell by the same scoreline, so there are similarities in our seasons so far.
Kilmarnock have added shrewdly to their squad after a dismal 2013/14 season. The major signings have been Josh Magennis (Aberdeen), Jamie Hamill (Hearts), Michael Ngoo the former Hearts loanee and Lee Miller, the former Scotland international and ex-Falkirk, Hearts, United and Aberdeen striker. Miller was released by Carlisle United after their relegation, and Johnston also snapped up defender Chris Chantler from the Brunton Park club. With former Hearts manager Gary Locke now second in command to Johnston it looks like Kilmarnock are setting themselves up for a decent season after the last few years in the doldrums.
It's almost four years since Kilmarnock won in Inverness. Craig Bryson, Liam Kelly and Jamie Hamill scored for the visitors and Richie Foran countered for Inverness who had Ryan Esson in inspired form in goals to keep the score respectable. Since then it has been two home wins and three 1-1 draws. These used to be high scoring entertaining games but recent encounters in the Highlands have been won by tight margins or have been drawn matches. Inverness won the head to heads last season with two wins to Killie's one.
This game is nicely set up for an open encounter with both sides having players capable of doing something out of the ordinary. Inverness will be looking to Billy McKay to return to scoring form amid speculation that Peterborough have had a bid rejected for his services. It's encouraging to note that others are chipping in with goals this early in the season and our defence has been on top since day one. 508 minutes without conceding is miserly in the least and as long as we can keep it tight then new club records look like being broken this weekend. I'm sure Jamie Hamill will get a rapturous welcome, he of the infamous Derek Adams barging incident, still one of the most hilarious football clips ever. Legend.
Latest Team News:-
Inverness are still without Richie Foran; Richie who I hear you say! Danny Devine is also still out but nearing a return having played a bounce game in midweek. James Vincent is fit enough to return and gives Hughes another option, although the squad seems to be managing fine without him.
Kilmarnock can call upon Lee Miller who came on as a sub in midweek after an injury hit start to his Kilmarnock career. Tope Obadeyi will be assessed prior to the journey North after tweaking his hamstring against Ayr, and Nichael Ngoo has shaken off an ankle knock and could be added to the squad.
In keeping with recent years, I reckon we will do well to win all three points and might have to settle for a share of the spoils if Killie dig deep. I don't see us losing this one, but a point is not a disaster although all three will be more than welcome.
And it's all happening over the bridge. There's only one thing more irritating than the Ice Bucket Challenge and that has now been resolved. Derek Adams has been removed from his post at Dingwall along with his father George, as Roy MacGregor has had enough with County's poor showing last season and a dismal start to this campaign which sees them prop up the League with zero points from their opening four games. Maybe it's the constant changing of County's squads that has been Deek's undoing. Danny Lennon is willing to throw his hat into the ring and would target that area as something that needs addressed. Oh well, one door closes and another opens. Terry Butcher is another name doing the rounds and that would not surprise me after his fingers were burnt in the downfall of Hibernian. And why not. He has always professed his love for the area and he knows how to get the best out of low budget players, the market that County share with most other Scottish clubs.
Aug 23 2014 11:45 AM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15
Bhoys Own Goal
Inverness kept their clean sheet intact and thanks to an own goal from Eoghan O'Connell managed to deservedly keep all three points in the Highlands despite enduring a late push from the visitors which had the home fans watching the clock for the final ten minutes.
James Vincent failed to make the squad and Hughes went with the same eleven that started at Motherwell. Celtic, as expected, made wholesale changes to their team and Deila had ten changes from his midweek starters at Maribor. In saying that, they still had the likes of Ambrose, Mulgrew, Commons and Griffiths on the park.
Inverness started briskly moving the ball around with precision to frustrate the visitors and restrict them to chasing shadows for the first fifteen minutes. Zaluska had a rare start for the Hoops and looked a little edgy early on flapping at one or two crosses as Inverness controlled the pace of the game and lurked with intention around the visitors box. However, despite early dominance, opportunities were not forthcoming and Celtic eased themselves into the game.
Tansey tried his luck from distance twice but could not get enough swerve on the ball and it whistled a yard wide of either post as Inverness probed for an opening.
The first action for either keeper came at the North Stand end when Brill tipped a dipping Ambrose guided effort over the bar. He would be called into action more frequently as the half wore on and when Pukki darted into the box he bravely blocked two angled strikes from the Celtic man who would have been better advised to shoot a stride or two earlier. The save of the match followed when Brill foiled Commons as he looked certain to score from around the penalty spot, but the big keeper stuck out an arm to divert the ball away from the goal.
Nir Bitton came closest to opening the scoring as Celtic enjoyed their best spell of the game. Turning just outside the box he wrapped his right foot round the ball only for it to cannon off the bar with Brill stranded. Close call for the hosts and it seemed to force Inverness to get to grips with the game once more. The last ten minutes of the half were more even and less eventful, although Mulgrew had to head a Warren effort away from goal.
Half Time 0-0
Celtic made a change at the break with Stefan Johansen replacing Filip Twardzik and soon after Callum McGregor replaced Teemu Pukki. The changes suited Inverness better as we asserted ourselves on the ball once more, Gary Warren headed over from six yards following a corner.
Griffiths broke clear on the left side but his low shot was easily gathered by Brill. That was just about Leigh's last act as Stokes replaced him soon after. For once Celtic managed to slice through the Inverness defence when Stokes slid a ball through the middle and Commons beat the offside trap but his shot was stifled by an outstretched Brill.
In 65 minutes Celtic scored the only goal of the game. Unfortunately for them, it was at the wrong end of the park. After a midfield battle, Marley Watkins broke forward at pace and his cross was arrowed into the box. The ever alert McKay was about to pounce on the ball but Zalukas got there first and his rushed clearance crashed into the hapless O'Connell and the ball bundled itself into the net for what will go down as an own goal, but caused by the persistence and pace of Watkins.
Ten minutes later and Ryan Christie almost snatched a second goal for Inverness as he shot from the edge of the box. Possibly the wrong option as he went for the narrow gap and his shot almost taking a coat of paint off the base of the post with the other side of the goal unguarded.
The game opened up again and as Celtic tried in vain to get back on level terms Inverness almost punished them with a swift break from defence. Williams had carried the ball forward and cut across the box where he squared the ball into the path of the incoming sub, Nick Ross. He met it on the run and was favourite to score but Zalukas pulled off a tremendous save to keep Celtic interested and keep the home fans on the edge of their seats.
Watkins left the field in the last minute to a standing ovation as the game went beyond Celtic.
Full Time 1-0
The pinnacle for Marley was a double spinning stepover dragback which entertained the crowd no end and he was my MotM with Brill a close second, saving the day when it looked like Celtic were beginning to get on top halfway through the first half. Make no bones about it. This was a thoroughly deserved win for Inverness and it keeps us on top of the table with no goals conceded after 508 minutes of football.
No bad like!
Date: 23/08/14 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 5862
Referee: Bobby Madden
Inverness CT: 1
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Shinnie, Warren, Meekings, Mckay (Polworth 79), Draper, Watkins (Doran 89), Tansey, Williams, Christie (Ross 78)
Subs (not used): Esson, Horner, Tremarco
Scorers: O'Connell (og.65)
Sent Off: none
Lineup: Zaluska, Ambrose, O'Connell, Mulgrew, Twardzik (Johansen 46), Henderson, Biton, McGeouch; Griffiths (Stokes 67), Commons, Pukki (McGregor 46)
Subs (not used): Fasan, Berget, Denayer, Kayal
Sent Off: none
Aug 22 2014 05:07 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
Champions head north
First stern test of the season coming up on Saturday as Inverness host champions Celtic in the lunchtime kick off at 12:30. Two of the top young talents in the Scottish game will be on display in Callum McGregor for the visitors and our own Ryan Christie likely to get his fourth start of the campaign.
If there's ever a good time to get Celtic, then this could be it with this game sandwiched between their quest to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League, after their reinstatement to the competition when Legia Warsaw fell foul of the regulations and were removed from the event. They faced a tough away game at Maribor last Wednesday and the return game follows this Tuesday at Parkhead. Cheat Derk Boerrigter will miss this one after his blatant dive against St Johnstone was spotted by the beaks and he serves a two match ban.
May 2011 was the last time we defeated Celtic in Inverness and our last two games against the Celts saw us ship eleven goals without reply at Parkhead. Our only home game last season was much tighter with Celtic edging it 0-1, thanks to an early Kris Commons goal. Young Christie came tantalisingly close to securing a point in that game but was just unable to direct a header on target in the final minute.
Ginger Jaggy has been busy sorting this preview for us.........
The league champions head north for their first domestic test against the League leaders up in the highland capital. John Hughes’s new look side took apart the runners up of the last two seasons last weekend, now we have our eyes firmly set on the champions and favourites to retain their title.
There is no better time to play Celtic with the situation going for us to pull off another of those famous victories. We have picked up 7 points from our 3 matches without conceding. Celtic has played a game less and although they have won comfortably in both outings so far they have looked far from convincing. Their 3-0 opening win away to St Johnstone only came after a mistake and a dodgy penalty award got them out of a hole. For the first hour they looked devoid of ideas to break down an organised and stubborn Saints side who grew in confidence and had chances of their own to put even more misery on the hoops after their embarrassment in Europe. The score line was a surprise against a table topping Dundee Utd side that put up very little resistance, but looking at the goals it was less of one of those Celtic performances but more about mistakes and some abysmal defending from set pieces.
The Celtic side is as weak a side that Caley Thistle will have played in the top flight. There have been better which we have beaten in the past so we shouldn’t be daunted about the challenge. Players are gone and with Fraser Forster another high profile player away, Scott Brown injured, a lot will rest on the talent of Kris Commons as Ronny Deila tries to stamp his authority on his new club. But for all this we still must not underestimate as they still have the largest resources and budget in the league.
As for us, well it looks like the penny has finally dropped. Last season Yogi tried to implement the start of his philosophy but it failed to work with a lack of preparation work in training due to the fixture congestion we suffered. There were still complaints after a disappointing 0-0 draw against newly promoted Dundee just under 2 week ago but last weekend showed the potential of this new style if the players do click. 2-0 was a flattering score line for the Steelmen as it could have been potentially close to Celtics demolition of United last Saturday. But scoreline aside it was a complete performance where Motherwell never got a sniff. Our boys kept the ball so well and pressed with such efficiency that you could be mistaken for watching a Barcelona match from a few years ago. Seriously though Motherwell, a side that has been a bogey side for us were given a footballing lesson. Hopefully we can continue that form as we face the hardest challenge this season.
Celtic will start favourites but as long as we don’t end up anywhere near the hiding we suffered at Parkhead last season then it will be an improvement. But I think we can rise to the occasion and get a result after Celtics travels to Slovenia.
Yogi has this to say ahead of the big game
Inverness will be without Captain Richie Foran who is reported to be a few weeks from returning and Danny Devine is short of fitness after recovering from his injury. There is a doubt over the fitness of James Vincent but like last week, we never missed him and have players of equal calibre to step in, with Watkins, Doran, Ross and Williams looking to start.
Celtic are without naughty Bhoy Boerrigter, and Scott Brown is out along with James Forrest and Adam Matthews. Not a major problem for the Hoops with their depth of squad, and one which Deila might tamper with anyway as the money spinning Champions League Qualifier is more important for them in the bigger picture with the Premiership a mere sideshow.
tm4tj Prediction:- Early season interfering with European games is usually the best time to tangle with the big Bhoys although Dundee Utd came a cropper last week. Our defence is key to taking anything from this game and so far they have been excellent. Will we get a result. Yes, anything is possible but I am going for a draw, although we might lose our defensive clean sheet. 1-1 for me as long as we concentrate for ninety plus minutes.
Aug 16 2014 02:19 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15
Yogi's ball retention paid dividends as Inverness passed the ball around Motherwell and won in convincing fashion. Spanking goals from Greg Tansey and Aaron Doran at the end of each half decided where the points were going and Stuart McCall's men can have no complaints.
Inverness had struggled to gain points at Fir Park in recent times and little was expected to change for this encounter, but the visitors built on their clean sheets and added a couple of goals to send them to the top of the table. This was a thoroughly deserved win for Yogi's side and if anything, the scoreline flattered Motherwell somewhat.
Some might say we had some good fortune prior to kick off with James Vincent not making the game, Marley Watkins stepping in to the breach. This would have been many fans first choice as Vincent does not appear to be suited to the wide midfield berth, with Watkins having pace to burn being the masses preferred option.
Full report to follow...............
Date: 16.08.2014 Venue: Fir Park, Motherwell Attendance: 3732
Referee: Steven McLean
Lineup: Twardzik, Reid, Kerr, McManus, Ferguson, Ainsworth (Ojamaa 46), Carswell, Lasley (Leitch 85), Law, Sutton (Vigurs 72), Erwin
Subs (not used): Lawson, Nielsen, McHugh, Cadden
Booked: Reid (37), Vigurs (86)
Sent Off: none
Inverness CT: 2
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Shinnie, Warren, Meekings, Mckay (Ross 81), Draper, Watkins, Tansey, Williams (Doran 73), Christie (Polworth 73)
Subs (not used): Esson, Horner, Tremarco
Scorers: Tansey (42), Doran (89)
Sent Off: none
Aug 15 2014 07:06 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
After less than favourable midweek results for either side, Inverness visit Fir Park to take on last seasons Premiership runners up Motherwell, not something we have relished over the last few seasons.
While Inverness were unable to break down a determined Dundee at home, Motherwell were slipping to defeat against pace setters Dundee United. Inverness, however, can build on the two clean sheets and unbeaten start so far and the continuity of last years squad will breed familiarity.
Stuart McCall has been quick to add loan signings to his squad. Henrik Ojamaa and Mark O'Brien could feature in the Motherwell squad if they receive international clearance in time. Ojamaa has been loaned back to Motherwell from Legia Warsaw in a six month deal. The pacey Estonian had a good 18 month spell at Fir Park before joining Warsaw last summer and was a fans favourite with his direct style. O'Brien is a tough tackling defender brought in as cover with Well's established back line injury hit at the moment.
John Hughes is sticking to his game plan of ball retention and it worked well enough at Hamilton on the opening day, but at home the fans impatience is audible and sometimes a more direct approach might create more openings. Nonetheless the manager and players seem content to pass it around in their own half looking to create an opening, but how long the fans will put up with this remains to be seen.
Fir Park has not been a happy hunting ground for Inverness of late. It's five visits since Inverness won 0-1 on the 14th January 2012. Gregory Tade scored the winner with a fierce shot from 25 yards that day as Inverness recorded their sixth win in nineteen attempts. We used to be regular winners at Motherwell in our early visits there, but that has been our only Fir Park victory since 2006. Last season Motherwell got the better of us with three wins to our one, where we caught them cold in August before their season took off properly.
Zaine Francis-Angol took a knock in midweek and is struggling to make this one. He could be added to the growing injury list that boasts Adam Cummins, Steven Hammell, Simon Ramsden, Iain Vigurs and Craig Moore among it's members.
Inverness defender David Raven has shrugged off a groin problem and James Vincent could feature after being substituted in midweek. Many fans wonder if Vincent is the right choice anyway and Marley Watkins is pushing hard for a start. Richie Foran and Danny Devine remain sidelined.
tm4tj Prediction:- With one of our tormentors in chief sidelined (Iain Vigurs) Motherwell will be less able to take control of the midfield where we should be reasonably strong. The main concern will be whether to play the largely ineffective James Vincent or go with the livelier Marley Watkins who has shown up well in his two substitute appearances. If Ojamaa gets clearance he will be one to watch and we would be well advised to limit his time on the ball. I'm going against the grain here and am looking for a cheeky wee win if we can get some service to McKay and Christie. 0-1 for me if we can avoid the draw.
Aug 11 2014 07:02 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
More points up for grabs
First home game of the new season pairs Inverness against another of last seasons Championship sides, winners Dundee who opened their campaign with a flag unfurling and a point against Kilmarnock.
Dundee usually come forth in good numbers and will be a welcome addition to the Premiership bringing with them a swagger amongst their ranks that is hard to ignore as they tell you that there's only one team in Tayside and us Teuchters should be put back where we belong, amongst the sheep and cattle and keeping it in the family etc etc etc.......
RossP has been weighing up the opposition and he has penned this excellent preview for us, so without further ado, read on.
My Maths teacher Mr Morrison regularly used the phrase “empty barrels make the most noise”; a comment that has come into my mind since the re-emergence of Dundee fans on the Premiership sub forum of Pie and Bovril. Unfortunately it seems many of these fans have learned very little from their spectacular collapse in the race with ICT for the first division title and their financial troubles in the seasons prior to that. It may be a minority of Dundee fans that embarrass their club online like this, but there is a definite feeling of optimism swelling through the more sensible members of the fan base thanks to Hartley’s new look team.
Hartley, who was unsuccessful in his interview(s) for the ICT job will be looking to release any feelings of rejection with three points on Wednesday night. A young, ambitious and hardworking manager who the majority of ICT fans (including myself) wanted at the helm following Terry Butcher’s departure to relegate Hibernian FC, Hartley cut his teeth in the lower leagues, gaining successive promotions over 3 seasons with Alloa and then Dundee. During this time he quickly gained a reputation for instilling professionalism into his teams where modern methods of preparation and recovery were adopted and embraced with part-time players. His teams were extremely hard to break down, with clean sheets and marginal wins being the regular outcome each weekend. I would anticipate a similar approach to this week’s fixture, where the onus will be on ICT to take advantage of the few chances that Dundee will look to limit us to.
ICT come into this fixture with a comfortable and impressive victory away to Premiership newcomers Hamilton, using a starting eleven who all played at the club last season. This is a stark contrast to the Dundee team who drew 1-1 with Kilmarnock with a large contingent making only their first or second competitive appearance.
The new look Dundee side will feel aggrieved that they couldn’t match the expectations of the near 7,000+ home supporters on Saturday, after passing up several opportunities to get the three points that their possession and play deserved. Positive performances from new signings Tankulic, Harkins, Ferry and McGowan will be cheered by the fanbase, whilst some may remain sceptical about former Hibee James McPake, who conceded the foul that Killie scored from.
John Hughes has said in pre-season that he will mix his formation, playing style and players to suit the match they are playing and that could have been the reason behind leaving Watkins and Doran on the bench. Williams and Vincent filled the wide roles with both receiving positive reports from fans attending the match. Williams provided the shot to set up Christie’s goal and gives the team natural width on the left hand side, whilst Vincent broke the Hamilton play up operating as a narrow right midfielder. Whether both are in the starting eleven for the upcoming fixture remains to be seen, but both perhaps deserve to continue in these positions. Another player with a fight to cement a regular spot is Ryan Christie, who continued his rich vein of scoring as a starter and provided excellent foil for Mckay with intelligent runs and defence splitting passes. Not one ICT fan will want him dropped to the bench any time soon, but we will have to protect him at times during the season to avoid burnout. Shinnie also saw a welcome return to his natural position at left back and was immense by all accounts, both in defence and in his attacking runs.
Recent matches between ICT and Dundee have favoured the highland team, holding a seven match unbeaten run since the 3-2 Challenge Cup final defeat in 2009. There has been a dominance at home in particular with the five fixtures resulting in four wins and a draw. The most recent match was last season in the League Cup 3rd round, a 1-0 win with a trade mark Billy McKay close range finish. Such is the turnaround in Dundee’s personnel that only five of their match day squad from that fixture were in their squad for last weekend’s draw with Kilmarnock.
John Hughes will be pleased to have all his players come through Saturday’s match unscathed, in addition to being provided a selection headache after the performances of Doran and Watkins from the bench. Team captain Foran remains unavailable following knee surgery and Devine is no closer to a comeback from injury in pre-season. Whilst the transfer window remains open, clubs will continue to enquire about players such as McKay and Shinnie. The club have made it clear though that it would only be an exceptional offer that would see anyone depart. Fans remain concerned about the lack of signing(s) coming in, especially in the forward area but Hughes looks likely to persist with the position flexibility approach that he adopted last season.
Inverness have also added ex Hibernian versatile midfielder Lewis Horner to the squad and he spoke to Iain Auld after the victory at Hamilton.
Paul Hartley will likely keep a very similar team to Saturday but could alter the formation to swell the midfield and combat ICT’s strongest department. There is a chance Hartley’s preferred goalkeeper Scott Bain could come back in to side following injury, but there is no chance former ICT player Phil Roberts will face his former employers due to a hilarious incident with a water cooler earning him a lengthy ban last season.
RossP prediction – This will be a low scoring game in which the cliché of the importance of getting the opening goal will be prevalent. Whoever goes 1-0 up will look to defend their lead and slow the match down. This will be an ugly game, but one that we should be looking to get three points from.
Aug 11 2014 11:30 AM | tm4tj in Reports 2014-15
Accies were taught a sharp lesson on their return to the top class as Inverness showed them why they have been lingering around the top-six for the last couple of seasons with a clinical display. First half goals from Billy McKay and Ryan Christie were enough to send the points North and the newly promoted club will need to up their game if they are to make an impact this season.
Aug 08 2014 06:24 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
Well, that's pre-season done and dusted and newly promoted Hamilton Academical await Inverness in the seasons opener at New Douglas Park. Accies have come a long way since being formed by the rector and pupils at the local school in Hamilton in 1874.
May 11 2014 11:22 AM | Scotty in Reports 2013-14
Fifth it is
Inverness ran out comfortable winners eventually after a first half to forget. There was little evidence that anything would change as the teams trudged off at the interval in what was a complete non-event. However things picked up after the break and Ryan Christie was alert enough to head home a rebound from Aaron Doran's shot. Greg Tansey ensured we remained fifth with a thunderous shot. Lashing the ball home from just inside the box after creating the space for himself. Pick that one out ya dancer!. This was a great way to end a season that promised so much but fizzled out somewhat, but overall it has been a good season all round, unless your name is Terry Butcher.
Early morning rain gave way to a bright sunny afternoon and the game was preceded by the now traditional march past by our nutters known as the Highland Marchers. Great effort from these guys once more.
For Inverness it was another makeshift back line with Josh Meekings and Gary Warren missing out and regular deputy Danny Devine pairing up with Ross Draper at the heart of the defence. James Vincent started along with rising star Ryan Christie, and Marley Watkins, Danny Williams and Nick Ross all began on the bench. St Johnstone's own hot shot Stevie May was not risked from the start with Nigel Hasselbaink on from the beginning.
Our own nomadic superfan Johndo made the sojourn from Chorley to see off the season and partake in some light refreshments around the local hostelries and he will be penning his thoughts for us once he relaxes on the train back to Englandshire.............................
The Chorley Brief
It was the last game of the year and the powers that be decide to play a nothing at stake game at 12:15 on a Sunday morning; or perhaps it may be a Subway morning in the near future?!!
The last game of the season, to moi, gives far more positives than many have given credit to. The first half was drab but the passing, to me, was nowhere near the negativity that has been posted on here recently. Both teams were negative and it was as if we were both looking for a 1-0.
The first half was totally bereft of any real skill and was as dull a 45 as I have ever witnessed. But we stuck to a very defensive system and we changed it after half time. GAWD if we had nicked a goal we may have gone ballistic!
Brill was forced to save with his legs because it was hit straight at him and we never looked like scoring, the nearest we came in the first half was when Christie fed McKay who screwed a shot just over the bar.
But the second half was SO much better and, like at Motherwell we could have rained goals IMHO.
After the break we relaxed and if we had scored a second early doors we may have hammered Perth. McKay, Watkins, Raven and Tansey could easily have added to the tally. Doran had one cleared off the six yard line with Mannus stranded, but Christie got a poachers goal and anyone of four could have snatched the second but Tansey did dispatch it with force.
So here we go with the critique :-
Brill:- 6 Not tested but never troubled. Still not convinced.
Raven:- 6 More subdued offensively which was a slight concern
Tremarco:- 6 Better game than usual - still not good enuff going forward but solid defensively.
Devine:- 6 Could really be one fer the future and I would love to see at left back
Draper:- 7 Did he look the part there or what ? Draper and Warren ?
Vincent:- 4 Totally wasted on the wide right.
Shinnie:- 8 MotM for me and maybe we stick with him in there.
Tansey:- 7 Tackles like Paul Scholes, shoots like Bobby Charlton
Doran:- 6 Jhesus if he was fit ???!!
Christie:- 7 Green but such a potential talent
McKay:- 6 Poor Billy was crocked but will prosper with the Portuguese hitman
Watkins and Wiliiams 6: Both upped the pace and added something.
Ross 5: On too late but did nothing wrong
Final words from tm4tj...........
Well that's the season over folks and it's been a pretty decent one overall. Top highlights for many include the League Cup Semi-Final win over Hearts, a fantastic exhilarating experience coming back and beating them with nine men, Nick Ross' goal kicking of joyous scenes. The Final itself was a superb occasion with a less favourable scoreline. Others thought that stuffing the village pub team from Dingwall 3-0 was high up on the list and who can forget the comedy moment when Derek Adams thought he could halt Jamie Hamill's celebration jaunt along the touchline; wrong Derek. A late entry in this categories is the trouble and strife happening at Hibernian to someone who was once adored at Inverness by most Inverness fans. Yes, Terry Butcher blotted his copybook and turned his back on us at Easter Road by hobnobbing with his Hibernian chums whilst still in employment at Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Well well Judas, not going so well now, hope you are enjoying your Marks and Spencer cakes while Yogi dunks his Tesco ones in his tea.
Made me laugh anyway...............................
That's about it from the editorial team for this season, we'll be back for the start of the new season, enjoy the break.
Date: 11.05.2014 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3121
Referee: Alan Muir
Inverness CT: 2
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Draper, Devine, Tremarco, Doran, Tansey, Vincent (Watkins 68), Shinnie, Christie (Ross 82), McKay (Williams 72)
Subs (not used): Esson, Polworth, Brown, Sutherland
Scorers: Christie (59) Tansey (90)
Sent Off: none
St Johnstone: 0
Lineup: Mannus, Miller, Mackay, Anderson, Easton, Wotherspoon (Croft 60), Millar, Dunne, O'Halloran, Hasselbaink (Iwelumo 65), MacLean (May 74)
Subs (not used): Banks, McDonald, Brown, Clancy,
Sent Off: none
May 10 2014 11:56 AM | tm4tj in Previews 2013-14
Finish with a flourish
This Sunday sees the last game of a traumatic season being played at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium with 5th place up for grabs and the £80,000 that goes with it. Our rivals for that place are St Johnstone and it's them that pay us a visit early on Sunday afternoon. For Inverness a draw will be enough to secure the money, for Perth, nothing but a win will be sufficient to climb above us.
The finale to the season has been something of an anti-climax for Inverness since the league cup final with only two wins since that day, and those were against struggling bottom six clubs Ross County and Partick Thistle. Over the same period the Perth club have totalled five wins, beating Dundee United twice and a sparkling Scottish Cup semi-final triumph over Aberdeen.
Our last game saw Motherwell hold on for a 2-1 win in midweek. Inverness were somewhat overgenerous in the first half and presented Motherwell with a two goal cushion at the break. Graeme Shinnie's deflected effort gave us some hope and despite creating the better chances in the second half we failed to level the game, and with defeat, our chances to climb to fourth in the league ended.
St Johnstone fared better against a Celtic X1 in a see-saw game that ended all square with the sides sharing six goals. One disappointment for Tommy Wright was an injury to hot-shot Stevie May and he will be assessed before Sunday's game. The Perth side have bigger fish to fry in a weeks time when they take on Tayside rivals Dundee United in the Scottish Cup final and Stevie May will be crucial to St Johnstone's hopes of winning the cup. It's made for him surely. He wears No 17. The games on the 17th, it's an omen I tell you.
In the three meetings this season, Inverness have come out on top twice by single goal victories. The first game though saw St Johnstone thump us 4-0. May, Mackay and Maclean (twice) scoring the goals that knocked Inverness off the top of the Premiership. At the turn of the year, Inverness were eight points ahead of the Saints. The points gap is now down to one.
Our quest to play like Barca has not always had the desired effect and has in fact contributed to a number of squeaky bum moments where we end up rushing pass backs and clearances as the opposition suss out our ball retention tactics. This has resulted in at least half a dozen freebies for our opponents, Dundee United being particular benefactors on a few occasions where Brill and the defence fell short with pass backs and clearances. Yogi's determination to see this through has not gone down well in some quarters but on the other hand I saw no complaints when we beat Ross County twice in Dingwall. Those games were played with a bit more swashbuckle and panache. Let's see a bit more of that and see if we can finish with a flourish. Swashbuckle and panache.................sounds like a dodgy firm of solicitors.
Inverness defender Josh Meekings and captain Richie Foran remain out through injury.
St Johnstone striker Stevie May and defender Gary Miller face late fitness tests after picking up knocks against Celtic although they are not as seriously injured as originally feared. Tam Scobbie and midfielder Murray Davidson remain out.
tm4tj prediction:- The season is dying on it's feet now and despite a fantastic start to the campaign and great cup runs it's all gone a bit flat as speculation surrounding the squad and management suitabilities abound. Still, it could be worse. Look at the village pub team from Dingwall just managing to stave off a relegation play off game thanks to the haplessness of Terry Butcher's Hibernian. You couldn't script this could you! As for our own game, maybe a scoring draw to keep everybody happy. 1-1.
We have our annual nutters out walking and cycling across Scotland and they will make the stadium before kick off having marched/cycled around 160miles from Motherwell..........as I said, nutters.
To end the season on a more poignant note, and put all of this season into perspective. It was with great sadness that the announcement of the passing of Elena Baltacha was met at Inverness Caledonian Thistle and St Johnstone FC. Bally sadly passed away after battling liver cancer at the tender age of 30. She had reached the top of her chosen sport of tennis and was British number 1 for three years. The link of course with both clubs was her father, former USSR international footballer Sergei Baltacha who played for St Johnstone making 90 appearances before moving to Inverness Caley in the Highland league and then when Inverness Caledonian Thistle came to fuition, Sergei was the first manager of the newly formed club.
Rest in Peace Bally, our thoughts go out to your family and friends.
May 07 2014 06:49 PM | Scotty in News 2013-14
Inverness come back falls just short
It only took Inverness three minutes to concede at Fir Park when John Sutton scored from the spot after he had been fouled by Ross Draper. Inverness struggled to make much headway and Motherwell doubled their lead from an unexpected source, Gary Warren heading home an own goal superbly after half an hour. Graeme Shinnie took the bull by the horns and drove at the Well defence before firing the visitors back into the game ten minutes into the restart. This sparked Inverness into life and they took the game to Motherwell, but despite dominating the second half they just failed to get back on level terms, and it was summed up When Billy McKay hit the post deep into injury time..
A crowd of 4482 saw Motherwell's last home game and that included 80 Inverness fans, and one snare drum, and they also saw Iain Vigurs and Stephen McManus have a go at each other to add to the occasion .......................................
ICTRoughi will tell us how it all unfolded
CaleyAway has closed the curtains for the final time of season 2013/2014. What a memorable season it has been for the CaleyAway troops with many highs and some lows. The final destination was Fir Park against high flying Motherwell who had secured European football for next season after Aberdeen beat Dundee United 3-1 at Tannadice. Well done to Motherwell!
The Caley Jags made two changes from the side that got a draw against Dundee United last Saturday. Caley Thistle welcomed back stand out right back David Raven to the team also stalwart defender Gary Warren returned. Josh Meekings was still struggling for fitness meaning that Danny Devine was given another chance to impress Yogi adding to the defending options. Danny Williams and goal scorer from last weekend Ryan Christie were dropped to the bench.
Stuart McCall named an unchanged team from the side that got the victory over St Johnstone last Saturday.
I got into Fir Park and read the programme only to be disappointed to see who the referee was for the game and you guessed it, Willie Collum. What a nightmare. If I knew a couple of days ago I would have made a trip to the bookies to stick on an Inverness red card, he seems to have something against us. The last two games he has refereed he has sent off three of our players in the two games!
Motherwell kicked off the first half and we played with very nice passing football until Willie Collum decided that the headlines weren't about him and decided to give Motherwell a penalty - shock horror. Ross Draper tripped John Sutton in the 3rd minute in the box gifting the 'Well an early chance to gain an advantage over Inverness. Sutton converted very convincingly to send the Motherwell faithful into jubilation mode.
To further the disappointment, Iain Vigurs crossed the ball into the box from a corner; unfortunately Warren sends the ball in to our net.
Lionel Ainsworth came close to adding to the woes with a great effort, smashing the ball off the crossbar in the 36th minute of the game. At this point you just got the feeling it wasn't going to be our day.
HT Motherwell 2-0 Inverness CT
A special mention to CaleyThistleOnline’s young member ‘CaleyCalum’ who participated in the half time entertainment of rolling a giant inflatable ball into the goal from the half way line. Calum was against a Motherwell fan to see who could roll it into the goal the quickest with the winner receiving a whopping £150. Calum was unfortunately beaten to it by roughly 15 seconds but it was a valiant effort by him nonetheless.
The Caley Jags got the game restarted and we seemed to play with more urgency about us which we were sadly lacking in the first half.
Stand in captain Graeme Shinnie drove through the middle leaving Craig Reid in his trail. Shinnie went for a long ranged shot from 20 yards which took a deflection to reach the middle of the goal past Lee Hollis to make it 2-1.
The goal gifted the team a ray of hope to show there was still life in Caley Thistle and we seemed to be well up for a fight. Game on!
In the 58th minute Greg Tansey had a well struck shot from distance needing Hollis to get both his hands to it.
Tansey again delivered the ball into the box in the 61st minute for Warren to get a head to it to try and redeem himself from the earlier own goal but it was agonisingly close over the crossbar.
We continued to dominate the possession and never gave Motherwell a look in – we looked like we should have been 3-0 up!
Aaron Doran tried to get the ball into the box in the 80th minute with a really strong case of handball when the ball connected with Shaun Hutchinson’s hand but the claims were denied and Inverness were given the corner instead. Tansey delivered a decent cross to be met by a rushing Gary Warren but it was déjà vu for the Caley Jags defender
Greg Tansey had a well struck free kick through the middle in the 85th minute which rocketed at goal only for Hollis get his feet to save it from going in to the ‘well net. – Lucky bar stewards!
Billy Mckay was fed the ball from a header by Tansey only to hit the ball off the post in time added on. I give up with football!
The annoying thing that I took away from Fir Park last night was the fact the best team didn’t win.
FT Motherwell 2-1 Inverness CT
My overall thoughts of the game is that I felt the first half we were sitting too deep and passing about at the back too much meaning we were inviting too much pressure to gift Motherwell two easy goals. The second half was pretty much a replica of the first half of last Saturday and that's how I really want us to play with great intensity getting the ball forward causing trouble for the opposition. I really don’t understand this Jekyll and Hyde thing we have going on at the moment! We gave it a right good go right enough but the effort of the lads should be applauded rather than looking at the defeat. I am most definitely looking forward to the final home game of the season on Sunday with St Johnstone with the fight for fifth place at stake – you don’t want to miss it!
Brill - 6 - Made some really good saves to keep us in the game
Raven - 7 - Good to have Raven back and made some timely tackles
Warren - 6 - Scored an OG but was still making good tackles and couple of decent headed chances
Devine - 6 - Had a good game but at times we were missing Meekings although I really like how Devine plays the game
Tremarco – 6 – Played his usual game, got caught out at times, had a headed chance in the second half
Draper - 6 - Solid enough through the middle, caught out giving away the penalty but good through the middle
Tansey - 7 - I am really liking Tansey in this team. He has been a good signing but just needs to start cracking the ball outside the box more than he does because he can score from distance – very close last night
Watkins - 6 – Overall good performance from Watkins being a general pest for the ‘Well defence
Doran - 6 – Same as Watkins, a pest for the Motherwell defence.
Shinnie - 8 – Stand out performance from Graeme. Attacking and defending I just thought he was superb – Good goal too!
Mckay - 6 – Again the lack of support up front hindered Mckay but he gave it his all as usual and nearly scored but unfortunately the ball hit post instead of the net.
Williams - 6 – He shown some good pace at times as he usually does and brought some good attacking options when he came on
Christie - 6 – Same as Williams, helped with the attacking options the role behind Mckay and shown some nice touches.
MOTM: Graeme Shinnie – His overall game was just superb both in attacking and defending. Good chance outside the box and scored a good goal to boost the morale within the squad. I just really hope we keep a hold of him over the summer – very consistent player!
Date: 07.05.2014 Venue: Fir Park, Motherwell Attendance: 4482
Referee: Willie Collum
Lineup: Hollis, Reid, Hutchinson, McManus, Hammell, Ainsworth (Anier 78), Lasley, Vigurs, Francis-Angol (Moore 79), Sutton, McFadden (Kerr 55)
Subs (not used): Nielsen, Erwin, Murray, Leitch
Scorers: Sutton (pen.3), Warren (og.32)
Booked: Vigurs (75)
Sent Off: none
Inverness CT: 1
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Warren, Tremarco, Shinnie, Watkins (Christie 75), Devine, Draper, Tansey, McKay, Doran (Williams 65)
Subs (not used): Esson, Vincent, Ross, Polworth, Sutherland
Scorers: Shinnie (55)
Booked: Tansey (22)
Sent Off: none
May 06 2014 06:38 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2013-14
It's Tough at the Top
Last chance saloon for Inverness if they harbour any hopes of catching Dundee United in fourth place and the extra £80,000 that goes with each position gained. While we are looking to claim fourth spot, Motherwell can still secure second place currently occupied by Aberdeen, so plenty still to play for in these last two games of the season. United play Aberdeen ahead of our game at Motherwell so we will know what to do prior to kick off.
We earned a good point at home to Dundee United at the weekend considering Yogi had to make late changes to the starting eleven. Our back four was decimated and we were without David Raven, Gary Warren and Josh Meekings with Graeme Shinnie swapping flanks to accommodate others. Carl Tremarco made an appearance as a makeshift centre back alongside Danny Devine and Danny Williams found himself in the full back slot normally occupied by Shinnie. Ryan Christie got his second start and scored the opener before United's second half pressure eventually paid off when Farid El Alagui bundled the ball home after Brill had been put under some heavy handed attention.
Motherwell kept the pressure on faltering Aberdeen by defeating our challengers for the fifth position, resurgent St Johnstone by 2-1 at Fir Park. That was an excellent victory for Well as the Perth outfit had been on a seven game unbeaten run. First half goals from Lionel Ainsworth and Stephen McManus were enough to see off Saints and edge Motherwell to within one point of the Dons.
Our recent thrashing at Parkhead was maybe put into perspective on Saturday when second place Aberdeen suffered a similar fate with Champions Celtic ending the season on a scoring frenzy, putting five past a normally resolute Dons.
Motherwell have scored 61 league goals this season but their defence has let them down at times which leads me to think this could be an open game with a few goals in it given the defensive frailties of both sides recently.
The two sides have met twice in the last six weeks and Motherwell came out on top on both occasions securing a 2-0 win at Fir Park and more recently a 2-1 win at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. Our only success was a 2-0 home win way back in August when Foran and McKay scored the goals that gave us the three points.
Since our blistering start to the season and the departure of a man in turmoil, we have slithered from second to fifth and our season is almost at a standstill as the goals dry up from our one man attack. One bright spot in the recent gloom has been the introduction of one of the hottest properties in the game, Ryan Christie who scored his second first team goal last weekend.
We have been hit by some sort of bug over the last couple of weeks that has kept Marley Watkins and Josh Meekings out at some stage and late Injuries to Raven, Warren and Vincent has made life difficult for Yogi. Carl Tremarco filled the central defensive role very well against United despite his lack of height and Danny Devine once more fitted in very comfortably. Hughes will have a tough choice to make whether Warren and Meekings return to the starting line up if they have recovered sufficiently or does he keep faith with those who deputised so effectively. Vincent and Raven should return after injury, but Foran is out for the season.
Award winning Graeme Shinnie looks forward to tonights game..........
Stuart McCall has had another tremendous season with Motherwell and his master plan in securing James McFadden will see them play in Europe again. Iain Vigurs' move to Well looks like paying off for him as well and with McManus and Sutton in the side there is plenty of experience to draw on. McCall will have an unchanged squad from the one that faced St Johnstone which means that Paul Lawson, Stuart Carswell and Simon Ramsden are still out.
Here's what McCall and Sutton think ahead of the game........................
tm4tj Prediction:- Tough one to call once more although given recent form Motherwell should be favourites to take all three points. They have conceded plenty of goals though as have we, and considering what's at stake then we could take something from this game if we can cope with the threat of Ainsworth, Sutton and McFadden. Our old chum Iain Vigurs will also be a threat, especially at set pieces where his left foot seems to work particularly well against us. I'm looking forward to Ryan Christie having an impact on the game and being able to supply Billy McKay who needs to finish with a flourish after his free scoring early season form. 1-1 if we get our game plan right, if not, it could be a long night.
Hello down below.............
If we thought it was tough at the top, spare a thought for our near neighbours and Highland compatriots Ross County. They had a tremendous season last year and it looks like second season syndrome is catching up on them. Hearts are the form team in the bottom half and removing their fifteen point deduction, then one or two teams would really be in the mire. As it is, our olde gaffer Terry Butcher is having his worst nightmare as his current side Hibernian are in freefall and might yet fall right into the first division. These two meet tonight in Dingwall (Tues) and this result could have a massive say in who goes into the play-off game against high scoring Hamilton Accies, although Kilmarnock are doing their level best to keep everyone else in the SPFL.
County kept the Highland Derbies going by leaving Terry Butcher and Hibs staring into the abyss. Aberdeen beat United so that also gives Inverness the chance to close in on 4th place.
May 04 2014 09:40 AM | tm4tj in Reports 2013-14
Draw Right Eenuff
Dundee United came from behind to earn a point in the proverbial game of two halves. Ryan Christie had put the hosts ahead early in the match but Farid El Alagui levelled later in the second half and a point each was probably right eenuff mun.
ICTRoughi was on hand and he has produced this excellent thorough debut report, enjoy......Video to be added when available..........
Saturday, 3pm, Tulloch Caledonian Stadium - what a rare experience. Jackie McNamara had taken his United side up to Inverness on the back of an impressive 5-1 victory over Motherwell last Saturday at Tannadice whereas Caley Thistle were handed the opposite result in a 6-0 defeat at the hands of champions Celtic. As tm4tj said in the ‘United preview’ today was all about regrouping.
John ‘Yogi’ Hughes made changes from the side that played at Celtic Park with Ryan Christie replacing Nick Ross who dropped to the bench. Gary Warren and Josh Meekings both missed today’s game through injury and illness which meant that Caley Thistle had a makeshift back four with Danny Devine and Carl Tremarco at centre back and Danny Williams filling in at left back. Under 20s Alistair Sutherland and Jordan Brown made the 5 man bench for Caley Thistle.
Jackie McNamara made only one change from the team that beat Motherwell. Stuart Armstrong left out through injury, Ryan Gauld replaced him with youngster Aiden Connelly drafted onto the bench for Dundee United.
Caley Thistle got the game started and played the game with a high intensity. We passed the ball smoothly along the deck very fast and almost found the net after a mere 40 seconds from an attempt from local lad Ryan Christie fizzling past the right hand side of the goal.
Whilst continuing the same intensity and short passing, Caley Thistle managed to find a breakthrough in the 7th minute of the match. Marley Watkins gathered the ball wide right and placed a very accurate cross into the box where Ryan Christie stood out and you just knew there was only one outcome. Christie got a head to Watkins’ cross and coolly headed it into the bottom right of the goal past Rado Cierzniak - 1-0
Caley Thistle almost doubled their advantage in the 13th minute when Greg Tansey played a through ball to Billy Mckay giving him a one on one opportunity but Gavin Gunning made a crucial defenders tackle to ensure the score was kept to a one goal deficit.
Still having the advantage Caley Thistle kept going and plodded away and on the 16th minute Tansey cleanly struck the ball right down the middle with all his might from roughly 25 yards out with Cierzniak getting two hands onto it.
Nadir Ciftci nearly equalised for the away side in the 21st minute but his attempt at goal was denied by Dean Brill. Ryan Dow also had a similar chance but again Brill stood tall to keep the home side in a winning position.
Caley Thistle continued to impress with the passing and attacking movement enjoying most of the possession but nothing was being transferred into a goal. Gary Mackay-Stevens nearly scored from 12 yards out but it just didn’t go his way.
HT Inverness CT 1 – 0 Dundee United: Christie (7)
Caley Thistle the first team to re-enter the pitch and Dundee United duly followed a couple of minutes later. Skilled Dundee United starlet Gary Mackay-Stevens was forced off through injury therefore Brian Graham was introduced just before the restart of play. Dundee United got the game started again and it seemed like the tide had turned with the away side turning up the pressure and Caley Thistle trying to weather the storm.
Dundee United almost got an equaliser in the 47th minute from a wicked shot by Nadir Ciftci roughly about 35 yards outside the box hitting the ball into the south stand of the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.
Substitute Brian Graham almost made a perfect start after being placed on for Dundee United with soft shot into the body of Dean Brill.
Brian Graham again finding space to annoy the Caley Thistle back four after a nice ball from Paul Paton into the box only for Graham to put the ball over cross bar – the search still continued.
Dundee United introduced their loanee from Brentford Farid El Alagui to bolster their attack and were now playing with three established strikers.
Farid El Alagui almost got the golden opportunity in the 67th minute when Paul Paton delivered in a ball into the box for El Alagui to get a head onto it but again it didn’t find the net. It was turning out to be a frustrating afternoon for Dundee United.
Dundee United kept their heads up and finally got what they were looking for all afternoon – a goal. A defensive free kick from Paul Paton into the area lead to a massive scramble in the box where Caley Thistle failed to clear the ball from danger and Farid El Alagui got the goalden touch for the Tayside team. There was a strong case that Dean Brill could have been fouled but the match officials ignored the calls for a foul – 1-1
Nothing really noteworthy happened heading towards the end of the game. A couple chances here and there but I think that Yogi was happy enough for the draw and to be honest on the reflection so am I. Caley Thistle showed some good passing today and I hope we play with the same intensity v Motherwell on Wednesday it should be a cracker – I can’t wait!
FT Inverness CT 1 – 1 Dundee United: Christie (7) – El Alagui (71)
Brill– 8 – I thought that Dean Brill made some absolutely crucial saves and made sure Caley Thistle stayed in the match.
Shinnie- 7 – A good home performance from the stand-in captain
Devine– 8 – A call up for the team I thought he done really well and I like how Danny Devine plays in the central defence. He was very composed and he plays with a good footballing brain
Tremarco- 8 – Despite being a left back Carl Tremarco filled in at centre back and put in a really good performance. He is an old fashioned styled defender and his strength helped him play the central defence role really well.
Williams- 7 – Despite being a left winger and has been played in central midfield I thought he done quite well. He often got caught out at times but still done really well when needed. Good versatility about the boy.
Tansey- 9 – I was really impressed with Greg Tansey today especially his short and long passing were exceptional.
Draper- 7 - He done really well holding the midfield and the strong force that kept Dundee United’s midfield at bay.
Doran- 7 – He had his moments on the ball. He came close towards the end but no end product.
Christie- 9 – Fully deserved his goal. His passing and movement was really impressive – Bright Future beholds
Watkins- 8 – Got the assist for Ryan Christie and was a nuisance for the Dundee United defenders but toiling towards the end and subbed for Liam Polworth
Mckay- 6 – Poor Billy Mckay has tremendous work rate but I feel that he needs to be supported but unfortunately didn't produce much today.
Subs:- Polworth- 5 – Didn’t really do much in the 10 mins he was given - Ross- 5 – Small cameo from Nicky today
Roughi's MOTM:- Despite giving Ryan Christie a rating of 9, my man of the match is going to go to Greg Tansey. I was really impressed with him today and he had shades of a fit and youthful Richie Foran about him in terms of both defending and attacking.
Inverness CT: Brill, Shinnie, Mckay, Draper, Doran, Devine, Watkins (Polworth 81), Tansey, Tremarco, Williams, Christie (Ross 90).
Subs not used: Esson (GK), Brown, Sutherland.
Dundee United: Cierzniak, Dillon, Gunning, Paton, Mackay-Steven (Graham 46), Watson, Dow (Connolly 78), Gauld (El Alagui 66), Ciftci, Robertson. Subs not used: McCallum, Wilson, Souttar, Gomis.
Referee: Brian Colvin.
May 02 2014 05:54 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2013-14
Time to Regroup
Our season is slowly petering out as we approach our third last game of the season on the back of another hiding from the big Bhoys.
Having reached our peak in early December and sitting in second place in the league, three points ahead of Dundee United and Aberdeen and eleven points ahead of St Johnstone with a positive goal difference of +12; it's been all downhill from there.
Yogi's quest to play a passing game at all costs is not always bearing fruit and has been the subject of much debate on the forums, many fans doubting if his search for perfection will see him out of a job before we storm Europe. There are as many fans being more lenient and willing to give him time to blend his own style into the more robotic Butcherus horribilis formations and tactics and the rest are simply sitting on the fence waiting for nature to take it's course.
The question is how long do we wait. Hibs are not the only side in freefall. Butcher's replacement has split the fanbase and the long knives are starting to appear, although some were already out before Yogi signed on the dotted line. He needs a good finish to the campaign to give the doubters something to ponder over the close season and after last weeks hammering to nothing it doesn't get much tougher than the visit of high scoring Dundee United, a team who have already put five past us in the cup game.
United are second top scorers in the league with 62 goals, that's 20 more than us although the defences are almost identical in goals against. They sit four points above us but have a vastly superior goal difference of +19 against our -1. United can of course blow a bit hot and cold. Their 5-1 thrashing of Motherwell preceded by defeats to St Johnstone and Celtic and a drawn game with Aberdeen.
The last game between these two saw United just edge it with a 2-1 win. Ryan Gauld opened the scoring and Ryan Dow capitalised on a now familiar poor passback and keeper cock-up combination. Inverness were always in this one though and United had to cling on after Liam Polworth scored a spectacular 35 yarder to set up a tense finish. That was a fabulous strike from Polworth, one of the best goals of the season. Billy McKay almost rescued the game for Inverness but a late diving header just missed the target and United kept all three points.
Inverness have been heavily criticised by their own fans for their dismal showing at Parkhead last week, seemingly not learning from the previous spanking, a 5-0 doing a month ago. However, in mitigation, we were dealt a poor hand prior to the game when Raven pulled out injured and Watkins called off with a bug. James Vincent was also not fit enough to play and Richie Foran had already played his last game this season being injured a month ago. So, it's possibly not as bad as it appears on the surface, but for many fans, it was another nail in the managers coffin and the shoes could be off if we fail to produce in our last two home games. It could make for a long close season if things go awry.
Yogi is hinting that our budget for new faces could be minimal for next season. So, nothing new there! With exciting talent like Ryan Christie breaking into the first team squad along with Liam Polworth and Nick Ross then maybe all is not lost. Along with SPFL nominees Ryan Gauld, Stuart Armstrong and young Player of the Year Andrew Robertson, this weekend could display the way forward for Scottish football with plenty young starlets in both teams.
Inverness should have David Raven and James Vincent back in the squad as both have been training this week, and Marley Watkins has recovered from the bug that kept him out of the Celtic game. Richie Foran is out.
Dundee United will have an unchanged squad and teenagers Ryan Gauld and John Souttar could be recalled, having been rested in the 5-1 win over Motherwell. This means that on-loan Newcastle defender Curtis Good and centre-back Calum Butcher are still out.
tm4tj prediction:- Well, United can be scary at times and we will need to be at our best to keep them at bay. Nadir Ciftci has been in tremendous form lately and when United are in full flow then there's no finer sight in Scottish football. Inverness can be scary too, unfortunately not in the same way as United, although we do have our moments. We need our defence to get back to basics and our midfield to regroup. It has been posted missing recently and Billy McKay is often left isolated. When we do get men forward to help him, we reap the rewards and if Doran and Watkins can stay fit and wide then maybe, just maybe we can put ourselves back in the hunt for fourth place, but it will not be easy. I'm going against the grain here and looking for a 1-0 home win with United possibly having one eye on the Scottish Cup Final.
Apr 27 2014 01:22 PM | Scotty in Reports 2013-14
Inverness were turned over once more by Celtic as the big club thrashed the wee club.
Yogi said before the game that he did not want a repeat of the last game, a 5-0 hammering. Well, he got what he wanted. This time it was 6-0.
Inverness were dealt some late blows when David Raven was injured in training, Vincent pulled out and Marley Watkins was ill. All this on top of Foran being out for the end of the season, meant we only had four players ready for bench duty.
Mathews and Mulgrew were both fit enough to start the game and Celtic started with as strong an X1 as they could muster.
Inverness looked to spoil the Celtic advances and this worked for the first half hour, but once they scored, the desire to defend deserted Inverness and we suffered our heaviest defeat in the SPFL.
I don't see any point in elaborating over this and suffice to say that Anthony Stokes scored a hat-trick with Griffiths, Ambrose and Pukki completing the embarrassment.
Two nil at half time quickly became six nil by full time, thankfully the referee only adding one minute of additional time. We even had the cheek to pass up a scoring opportunity when Doran inevitably stroked a penalty into Forster's body to ensure we completed the bagel.
6-0 it finished with Celtic totally dominant and Inverness in tatters, Yogi's Barcelona plans seemingly not working very well and if truth be told, Dean Brill did his best to keep the score down, but it was too much to expect one man to stem the flow and Celtic cantered to an all too familiar doing in Glasgow.
Ach well, Celtic and Airdrie have achieved the same score against us, but Dundee United are next up for Inverness. I'm scared to watch.
Date: 27.04.2014 Venue: Celtic Park, Glasgow Attendance: 45712
Referee: Craig Charleston
Lineup: Forster, Matthews, Lustig (69) Ambrose, van Dijk, Izaguirre, Brown, Johansen, Mulgrew, Henderson (72) Commons, Stokes, Pukki (71) Griffiths
Subs (not used): Zaluska, Samaras, Balde, Pukki, Lustig, Kayal, Henderson
Scorers: Stokes (34, 45,53 Pen) Griffiths (68) Ambrose (78) Pukki (88)
Sent Off: none
Inverness CT: 0
Lineup: Brill, Shinnie, Warren, Meekings, Tremarco, Doran, Draper, Polworth (79), Tansey, Williams, Ross, Christie (69) Mckay
Subs (not used): Esson, Devine, Polworth, Christie
Sent Off: none
Apr 27 2014 09:55 AM | tm4tj in Previews 2013-14
Into the Lions Den
On our last visit to Parkhead we drew 0-0 after ninety minutes. Unfortunately it wasn't Celtic we played that day but Aberdeen in the League Cup final. This time it's the real thing on Sunday as we play our second of five top-six fixtures.
Our first Parkhead game this season saw us take a two goal lead but we were pegged back and the game ended all square. Doran and Foran were scorin', but Mulgrew and Mathews earned Celtic a point. The second visit is one to forget as Leigh Griffiths scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 rout, a game that could have ended up in double figures.
Richie Foran will not be scoring this time. His knee injury and clean up operation will see him miss the rest of the season, and Mulgrew and Mathews could suffer the same fate as Foran, both struggling with hamstring injuries, but likely to be included in the squad.
Our form of late has been patchy to say the least and in our last ten games we can only boast three wins, and two of them were against County. The other a 1-0 win over Partick Thistle. Twelve points from a possible thirty over that series of games is the weakest in the top half of the table.
Celtic are somewhat imperious, only one defeat to show in their last ten and gaining 23 points during that spell that also saw their only league defeat, a 2-1 reverse against the Dons. We could of course take heart from neighbours Ross County who drew at Parkhead at the end of March. Celtics last game was an exciting 3-3 draw with high flying Motherwell while we were drawing 0-0 with Aberdeen on the Friday night.
Dundee United are the first team to make a hugely positive step in the top-six race for points with a 5-1 hammering of a sorry Motherwell. That moves them to within three points of third place which means we must win at Parkhead to harbour any hopes of overtaking them. St Johnstone move to one point behind us, sounds familiar.
It's D day for our old gaffer as Hibs play Hearts in what is now a crunch game at the relegation end of the table. How times have changed.
Inverness will be without Richie Foran and David Raven is a possible non starter having picked up a groin injury in training. That's our only worry as Graeme Shinnie will return from suspension.
Celtic hope Mathews and Mulgrew will be fit enough to join the squad along with Mikael Lustig after his operation. Nir Biton, James Forrest and Derk Boerrigter remain out.
tm4tj Prediction:- Let's get this game over and done with. Not one I look forward to with great relish and the form book does not lie. It's a big ask to take all three points, but if we can dig deep and hope to catch the champions on a relaxed Sunday afternoon jaunt, then the possibility of a point is there. 1-1 if we keep it tight.
Apr 18 2014 06:38 PM | Scotty in Reports 2013-14
Keepers on top
Inverness were held to a goalless draw by Aberdeen in an entertaining top-six encounter where both keepers and the woodwork ensured that the score remained blank.
A sizeable away support bolstered the coffers of the Inverness treasurer and they would have been surprised at the inclusion of Jonny Hayes who had returned after injuring his shoulder in the League Cup final, McInnes keeping his inclusion close to his chest in the lead up to kick off.
Inverness were without their captains, Foran and Shinnie with Warren deputising, and no place in the starting X1 for starlet Ryan Christie. Tremarco replaced Shinnie and Ross Draper returned after suspension.
Summer came early to Inverness and a beautiful evening for football saw the teams run out onto the turf for the first game in the top-six after the split.
Inverness continued with the Barcelona theme playing the ball out from the back at all costs, often frustrating the home fans as Aberdeen were quick to latch on to this and shut us down early. The first quarter being dominated by the visitors as our midfield pairing of Vincent and Tansey appeared to be on their Easter holidays already leaving Flood and Robson the freedom of the park.
But, it was Inverness who almost snatched the lead when a sweeping move from the back saw McKay test Langfield. Raven took a short throw in to Warren who returned the ball. Raven then dodged a couple of tackles before hooking the ball to Watkins who one-two'd with Raven. The return ball saw Watkins burst forward at pace despite the best attempts of the Aberdeen marker to pull the jersey from him and when he bobbled the ball to McKay he placed a shot to Langfield's left, but the in form keeper dived full length to get a strong wrist on it and palm the ball away for a corner.
Aberdeen continued to have the bulk of possession, but it was Inverness that were more incisive, although Dean Brill had to replicate Langfield's save when a long free kick was directed from the head of a defender towards the corner of the goal, Brill fingertipping the ball to safety.
Aaron Doran almost duplicated his County scorcher, but this time the ball ruffled the top of the net and McKay pushed a shot wide from a good position as Inverness were content to hit on the break, still creating more than the possession obsessed Dons.
Robson was having a controlling effect on the game along with Flood as the home midfield were marked absent and he chipped a ball into the path of Pawlett who had no hesitation in running at the Inverness defence. As he whizzed across the edge of the box he fed McGinn who rattled the underside of the bar with Brill beaten. A let off for Inverness and misfortune for McGinn.
Madden appeared to be content to let play continue, but seemed to fail logic when Vincent had the legs swept from in on the halfway line. Hayes burst down the left but his low fizzed cross was well held be Brill with players lurking with intent behind him.
Just as folk were heading for the half time steak pie that wasn't there, McKay was once more denied by Langfield, this time with his legs after he blocked the strikers close range shot having been put through one on one by Doran's exquisite ball.
Half Time 0-0
No changes at half time although many wondered if the ineffective Tansey and the incapable Vincent would re-appear, sadly both did.
The second half continued in the same pattern for the next twenty minutes, Aberdeen dominating without creating, Inverness creating without dominating.
Draper ruffled the net with a glancing header from a corner. So close to the opener as the hosts looked to up the ante with Aberdeen content to control the pace of the game.
That would change when the expected departure of fall guy Vincent, replaced by superkid Ryan Christie. There was now a buzz of anticipation in the crowd. Aberdeen brought on Cammy Smith prior to this with Hayes leaving the scene.
Suddenly, the game became more open and Inverness switched to positive mode. Two minutes after Christie's introduction he was heavily involved in the move that saw Tansey Rattle the same bit of woodwork that McGinn hit earlier. This time the ball was brilliantly saved by Langfield, tipping the ball onto the junction of the bar and the ball looped across the goal about to fall onto McKay's head for a simple nod in. Unfortunately for us, Reynold's appeared from nowhere to hook the ball from right under Billy's nose, remarkable clearance. Watkins was the man responsible for setting up Tansey after dashing down the right and clipping a great cross into the path of Tansey who volleyed first time. Great move worthy of better result.
Aberdeen woke up once more and McGinn was denied by Brill after good work on the right by Flood and Smith dragged a shot across the face of goal from the right side of the box.
That was about it as the game petered out and both sides had to settle for a point.
Full Time 0-0
Bobby Madden looked as though he had left his cards at home, but fair play to him as he let play rage on, well as much as it can rage on in a goalless draw. Better than average game though with plenty talking points and a couple of near things either way which will show that the point apiece was about right, although Inverness had the clearer opportunities and Langfield the busier keeper. Vincent had a complete off night miscontrolling the ball all over the park and caught in possession all too often. Tansey was anonymous apart from the excellent volley that brought out an equally excellent save from 'Clangers', who certainly did not live up to his nickname tonight. Good away support and I had no complaints when the usual what a sh**ey home support rung round the stadium.
tm4tj MotM:- I'm going for Ross Draper tonight. The big man has been superb recently and it was great to have him back after suspension. Breaking up a lot of play and tidying up in general but also adding, a threat at set pieces and almost scored with a glancing header, rising high above the Aberdeen defence. Good support from one or two others, Warren doing well as makeshift captain and Billy McKay running himself ragged, ably assisted by Doran and Watkins. Special mention for Ryan Christie. Get your cheque books out now and offer him a massive contract. This lad is electric and gets the crowd motivated whenever he is on the ball.
Date: 18.04.2014 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 4224
Referee: Bobby Madden
Inverness CT: 0
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Vincent (Christie 65), Warren, Meekings, Mckay, Draper, Doran, Watkins (Ross 79), Tansey, Tremarco.
Subs (not used): Esson, Devine, Williams, Polworth, Evans.
Sent Off: none
Lineup: Langfield, Anderson, Considine, Reynolds, Flood, McGinn, Hayes (Smith 62), Robson, Pawlett, Rooney (Zola 85), Logan.
Subs (not used): Weaver, Shaughnessy, Robertson, Vernon, Low.
Sent Off: none
Apr 17 2014 09:01 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2013-14
Barca style to continue
Inverness get the chance to exact some revenge over Aberdeen after their League Cup final defeat at Parkhead some five weeks ago, and Yogi will persevere with his Barcelona dream in his quest for total football and world domination.
It's the first of five final games to be played in the top-six as the I's are dotted and the T's crossed to end the season and with it the formalities of who plays in Europe next season.
Aberdeen are in pole position for the first European spot although Motherwell lurk only three points behind them. Dundee United have a couple of options as have St Johnstone as they battle it out in the Scottish Cup final, with United also trying to close the gap on Motherwell for third place. That leaves Inverness with only one option. Keep winning our last five games and see if we can usurp any of the teams above us. A long shot, being eight points behind Well, but if you don't have hope, then you have nothing left to play for.
In all honesty, there is not a lot to choose between any of the top six clubs, with seventh placed Hibernian the nearest a massive 14 points behind the Perth club. Celtic, of course are in a league of their own having retained the title. Surprise surprise.
Inverness won the final Highland derby of the season beating Ross County 2-1 in Dingwall, Yogi's second win there this season. Aaron Doran firing home a superb opening goal and Billy McKay scoring a typical McKay strikers goal after Kiss had breathed some life into the Dingwall outfit. Despite a dismal refereeing performance by Calum Murray, Inverness were worthy winners and that set us up nicely for the final five games.
Aberdeen ended a run of three League draws when they easily disposed of Butcher's hapless Hibees with a 2-0 win at Easter Road, showing the gulf between the two mini divisions within the Premiership. They did however miss out on a second cup final when St Johnstone knocked them out of the Scottish Cup after coming from behind last weekend to put the Dons fans back in their boxes for now. It would appear that the sheep are not on fire any more.
What can we expect from Yogi's team in this one?
Will he be looking ahead to next season, or will he see an opportunity to narrow the gap on those above us? After all, United are only two points above us and they play out a full dress rehearsal for their Cup final against St Johnstone at Perth. Let's face it, all of these last five games are going to be tough and with fifteen points up for grabs by all the teams then the show is not over yet. With that in mind, I expect our strongest line up to start against the Dons and that will see Ryan Christie start on the bench, but this is a lad going places and next season will be massive for him.
Inverness captain Richie Foran is out after minor surgery on his damaged knee and Graeme Shinnie is suspended. Aaron Doran started against County and has had another week to regain full fitness and will be OK for this one. Ross Draper returns after suspension and the big midfielder should go straight back into the starting X1. Carl Tremarco will fill Shinnie's boots but he needs to calm down a bit as he is fast becoming a liability with some rash challenges. That should see Christie, Polworth, Williams, Ross and Devine all making for a strong bench with Watkins and Vincent getting the nod, although Vincent will be looking over his shoulder at some of these fearless youngsters.
Aberdeen will definitely be without Jonny Hayes, injured in that League Cup final encounter. Ryan Jack is out through suspension. Peter Pawlett is a doubt and many Dons fans feel the ageing legs of Barry Robson and Willo Flood need a rest after their recent hectic schedule.
Here's what the managers have to say............
tm4tj prediction:- There is little to choose between the two sides and as Stewart Milne said after the final, it took 120 minutes and fu**ing penalties to find a winner. There won't be extra time on Friday night, but I'm not ruling out penalties, especially with Tremarco around. This has all the makings of another tough encounter as two of the meanest defences try to keep the score down. Adam Rooney, Niall McGinn, Aaron Doran and Billy McKay will be doing their utmost to break the deadlock and with both sides still looking to secure European football then there is enough at stake to make this an interesting game. I'm not sure we will see a repeat of the 4-3 fixture earlier this season, but maybe another terse game with a solitary goal being enough to win the points. Failing that, a draw seems like the next best option and maybe that's where my money will be. Scoring draw.
Apr 04 2014 06:18 PM | Scotty in Reports 2013-14
Kept in the Dark again
Inverness won the last Highland derby this season with a deserved victory over struggling Ross County. Aaron Doran curled in a beauty on the stroke of half time after a Tansey free kick was parried by Brown, but Kiss scored just after the break when his shot deflected through Tremarco and bounced over Brill. Billy McKay rediscovered how to score as he latched on to his own shot to score a typical poachers goal from close range and almost scored with a sublime chip which hit the bar in the last minute. What a goal that would have been.
A couple of odd refereeing decisions bemused both sets of players and fans, but overall Inverness had the quality and County took the more direct options, but Hughes' players stuck to their orders and sealed their second win in Dingwall this season.
The players and fans were kept in the dark once more at the Global Energy Stadium in the Highland derby. No problem with the lights this time, but referee Calum Murray kept everybody in the dark with his ludicrous indecision and error strewn display, culminating in Shinnie being booked for not fouling Kiss inside the box and County getting the free kick some seven yards away from the non free kick. Totally baffling, what the hell was that all about?
Inverness had Josh Meekings returning at the heart of the defence and the even more exciting prospect of Aaron Doran playing out wide, something we have badly missed in the last month. Ross Draper also missed out due to illness with tough tackling Carl Tremarco coming in at left wing back with Graeme Shinnie moving into midfield to accommodate him. With Marley Watkins starting, there was no place for starlet Ryan Christie in the starting X1 and he began on the bench.
County, not surprisingly, started with the same eleven that did so well at Parkhead, and a less than full stadium saw the game kick off on a pitch heavily watered by a day of constant rain. With the game live on telly, it was no surprise that many chose the comforts of their own home to watch the last Highland fling of the season.
It was a cagey opening to the game with neither side getting the upper hand. It was clear to see that Yogi was sticking to his Barca masterplan as we moved the ball around swiftly without penetrating the County rearguard. County on the other hand were looking to exploit any weaknesses in our defence and hit on the break when our passing game eventually gave the ball away.
Marley Watkins was harshly yellow carded before the third minute had gone and that might have subdued him slightly, but he had the first effort of note when he headed tamely at goal with Brown saving. De Leeuw headed a Brittain through ball wide of the post after thirteen minutes as the game started to open out a little, but it was all a bit subdued.
First clear chance fell to McKay after Watkins burst forward at pace. Billy McKay ran off the defender on the edge of the box but his shot was similar to his penalty in the cup final and lacked conviction, Brown just managing to stretch a leg and divert the ball from entering the net.
Inverness were now having the better of the half and Watkins tested Brown, the ex-Inverness stopper diving full length to his right to turn the low thirty yarder round the post. Gary Warren headed over and James Vincent shot at Brown as the visitors got on top.
First incident that woke the home crowd up came in the 36th minute. Tremarco tried to control a ball on his chest, but he's no Bobby Mann, and when the ball broke towards Kiss he lunged forward with studs showing and caught the County player. I've seen red cards for less and Tremarco was lucky to escape with a yellow. Adams seething at this decision.
Raven and Watkins served the ball to Shinnie who cracked a beauty from thirty yards and once more Brown saved to his right.
County responded and Brill saved high from an Evangelos Oikonomou shot just before the break, but the best was yet to come as Inverness won a free kick thirty yards out.
Now, we are not renowned of late for getting free kicks on target, but we now have Greg Tansey back. He exploded this one to Broonies right and he replicated the save he made five minutes earlier from Shinnie's thunderbolt, but this time McKay diverted the loose ball back out of the box to Doran. A bit of a tale of the unexpected here as Doran looked up and curled a tremendous effort high over Brown from the left corner of the eighteen yard box into the opposite corner for a fantastic opener right on the stroke of half time. A not undeserved lead for Inverness.
Half Time 0-1
County re-jigged their formation after the break and it paid dividends after only five minutes. A bit of fortune in the goal, but maybe it was justice after Tremarco had remained on the park. De Leeuw did well on the left to cut back and get his cross into the box with the outside of his left boot, Songo'o tried an overhead kick with Meekings turning his head away and as the ball fell to Kiss, his shot bounced down from Tremarco's tackle and then up over the stranded Brill for the equaliser.
Now, David Raven is not noted for scoring goals, although he did score on his last visit here, but two minutes after the leveller, he almost restored Inverness' lead as his deflected shot from range forced Brown to tip the ball over from right under the bar.
The game looked to be heading for a draw and Murray denied Inverness a penalty as Watkins tumbled in the box. The next penalty claim was bizarre for many reasons. Kiss lowered his head towards the ball inside the penalty area as Shinnie was clearing the danger. Boot, ball and head all made contact at the same time with the ball cushioning the blow. Kiss eventually falls over some seven yards away clutching his head. Shinnie remonstrated with Murray who looked to have lost the plot by this time and Booked Shinnie. Now then what would he do? If it was a free kick then surely it was a penalty, but in all honesty it never was a foul in the first place, unless Kiss could be seen to be using dangerous play by putting his head where the boot was. The bold Mr Murray made the worst ever decision by awarding County a free kick where Kiss had fallen, miles outside the box to the amazement of everybody, and people wonder why Scottish referees get so much stick. Unbelievable. Adams in seething overload at this one.
Inverness lived dangerously as the game entered the last quarter and were glad to see a whipped cross from Oikonomou be turned away for a corner by Warren and Meekings.
Boyd might have done better with a header and Tansey and Shinnie shot wide as both sides searched for the winner and it came with twelve minutes left.
Persistence paid off when Billy McKay netted from close range at the second attempt. Tremarco, remember him, nodded a ball back to Doran who dinked a ball onto the penalty spot. This is McKay territory and his first volley was blocked by the hand of Boyd, but Billy made no mistake from six yards as he slammed the ball high into the top corner to score a strikers goal.
Billy was not finished yet and he almost scored a brilliant solo goal after turning Boyd inside out on the edge of the box then chipping Brown. Unfortunately the ball smacked the bar with the keeper beaten for what would have been simply sublime.
That was the straw that broke the camels back and it was game over in what turned out to be an entertaining game after a cautious start.
Full Time 1-2
Full credit goes to Hughes for sticking to his game plan, although the part the wide players played in this victory was crucial and something we have lacked when Doran was out injured. County might feel aggrieved on a couple of occasions, the Tremarco tackle and the crazy incident where Murray lost the plot, but overall Inverness provided more quality and County looked to hit on the break, which floundered on our once more reliable back four with Brill being a spectator for most of the game, unlike Mark Brown who made half a dozen excellent stops.
tm4tj MotM:- A few contenders but difficult to see past Doran who scored the spectacular opener and had an assist for the winner, all so soon after coming back from injury. McKay was back to his best, but can only display that if we create chances for him and his goal was a typical McKay finish, sharp as a tack in the box and lethal with his follow up. The heart of our defence was solid and Raven and bad boy Tremarco always willing to overlap provided outlets for us with Tansey showing up well in central control room.
Date: 04.04.2014 Venue: Global Energy Stadium, Dingwall Attendance: 4433
Referee: Calum Murray
Ross County: 1
Lineup: Brown, Cikos, Boyd, Kiss, Brittain, de Leeuw, Tidser (Quinn 81), Carey, Ikonomou (Slew 86), Arquin, Songo'o
Subs (not used): McCarthy, Gordon, Glen, McLean, Saunders
Scorers: Kiss (49)
Booked: Tidser (71)
Sent Off: none
Inverness CT: 2
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Shinnie, Vincent (Christie 68), Warren, Meekings, Mckay, Doran, Watkins, Tansey, Tremarco
Subs (not used): Esson, Ross, Williams, Polworth, Evans
Scorers: Doran (45), Mckay (79)
Booked: Watkins (2), Tremarco (36), Shinnie (64)
Sent Off: none
Apr 04 2014 09:57 AM | tm4tj in Previews 2013-14
Just Like Barca
The last Highland derby of the season is played tonight as local rivals and bottom six club Ross County host top six Inverness Caledonian Thistle at the Global Energy Stadium with a quarter to eight kick off.
It's how Yogi sees the way forward (or backwards) for his charges, unfortunately the only thing we have in common with Barcelona is that they are also a wee Messi side. Maybe a return to the stripes is on the cards.
It's one game apiece this season with the away sides having the upper hand so far. County triumphed at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium in the first encounter that was played to a finish. Scott Boyd and Alex Cooper scored two quickfire goals in the first half and Inverness left it too late when Aaron Doran scored in the last minute to give County the bragging rights when they first footed the Highland Capital on the first of January.
The first game that kicked off never went to completion as the lights went out in Dingwall. That was also a Friday evening. With the score at 0-0, the darkness descended on the, ahem, Global Energy Stadium during the interval and the game was called off after three attempts to shed some light on the subjects failed to rectify the problem.
The last derby saw Inverness crush County 3-0 in Dingwall when many thought the County winter sales would be a key factor in the outcome of this game. Inverness were fired up for this one and took the game to County from the start. John Hughes achieved something that Terry Butcher never did at Dingwall whilst in charge of Inverness in a league game. His side were in control and Billy McKay scored, sandwiched between a couple of firsts as David Raven scored the opener, and substitute Marley Watkins put the icing on the cake by clipping home the third.
However, that was then, and this is now. Although Inverness comfortably reached the safe haven of the top six, results have been somewhat patchy and many fans are questioning the managers mindset. We appear to have gone backwards, literally, as we strive to keep the ball at all costs and look to be playing without any recognised wingers, instead choosing to clutter up the middle of the park and leave McKay isolated up front. This has not made for pleasant viewing and results of late have seen us crawl towards the end of the season. Only one win in our last nine matches has the fingers wagging and Yogi needs to pull out a result tonight if the doubters are to be staved off in the meantime. These nine games have seen us score only five goals, just over half a goal a game.
John Hughes insists that he will persevere with the passing game, akin to Barcelona. Well John, I've got news for you. It's not working too well at the moment and this passing game seems to be passing by the supporters at the moment who are not best pleased that we have slipped from second to fifth during his tenure. The good honest laddies are being trained by Yogi's bibles, I hope he has got it right for his sake.
County, for their lowly league position, have scored only one goal less than us. It's the defence that has let them down. They have conceded twenty goals more than us, although our own once watertight back line has been leaking like a sieve recently. County's form over the same period has been similar to ours, but the one thing in their favour tonight will be desire. Who wants it most. They are still trying to steer clear of the dreaded play off place that could see the second bottom club relegated along with Hearts, and that could give them the impetus to make it difficult for Inverness tonight.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle captain Richie Foran has undergone a minor knee operation. He would have been unavailable through suspension anyway, but has had his knee cleaned out. Aaron Doran has been missed recently and may be out again, but a late fitness test could see him included. Josh Meekings returns after his red card against St Mirren, which will see Danny Devine make way once more, and he is also nursing an injury. Ross Draper will not play which is a pity as he has been brilliant recently with Foran absent.
Derek Adams has Marc Klok returning to training, but Stuart Kettlewell will have a scan on a hip/groin problem and remains out along with striker Darren Maatsen and ex-Inverness keeper Michael Fraser.
tm4tj Prediction:- A close encounter with maybe a solitary goal separating the sides either way, and with our dismal run of late, that might favour the Staggies tonight as they have more to play for with our season virtually over.
Apr 01 2014 06:35 PM | Scotty in Reports 2013-14
Vigurs has last laugh
Motherwell proved too strong for Inverness as they went second in the League with a 2-1 victory at the expense of our hopes of climbing higher in the table.
Goals from Henri Anier and Iain Vigurs meant that Ryan Christie's first senior goal was not enough to earn a point for Inverness, who took too long to transfer the ball from back to front allowing Motherwell to break up our attacks with ease. Once more, it was too little too late from the home players who sent the fans home disgruntled and frustrated by our lack of urgency until it was too late.
Ryan Esson replaced Dean Brill in goal and Liam Polworth started along with Carl Tremarco and Danny Devine with Graeme Shinnie pushed into midfield. Meekings, Doran and Foran missed out and Billy McKay ploughed a lone furrow up front as usual.
Another chilled night and stiff breeze welcomed the players onto the park with around 80-100 Motherwell fans making the effort in a crowd of around 2360.
Little of note happened in the early exchanges but Motherwell held the ascendency as Inverness frustrated their own fans with a lack of imagination and forward drive, finding it easier to turn across the park or pass back into defence, even from good forward positions and this was not going down well with our own fans.
Esson dealt well with a Vigurs free kick from the Well right, punching the ball well clear of trouble and comfortably gathered a long range effort from the same player who was looking to silence the boo boys in the home crowd.
Graeme Shinnie is the one player that can't be accused of lingering on the ball and he drove at the Well box before unleashing a powerful shot which was deflected just wide.
However, it was the visitors that were dictating the pace of the game and Esson palmed away a vicious swirling shot from Reid. It would not be long before they took the lead. A weak left footed cross from Raven was easily mopped up by the Well defence and three passes later a long ball from Kerr found Henri Anier muscling his way into the box and he clipped his shot in off the post from 18 yards to open the scoring, not against the run of play you have to say.
Half Time 0-1
Vigurs ruffled the top of the net with a free kick early in the second half with a curling shot from 25 yards which had Esson scrambling across his line.
Watkins introduction gave us more directness along with Christie and the passes became crisper with more purpose, Tremarco finding plenty space on the left wing.
Greg Tansey rattled the post high up with a brilliant shot from range with Neilson beaten.
Draper was having another solid game for the hosts and when he fed a ball forward to the edge of the Well box, Ryan Christie picked up the loose change and dug the ball out from under his feet brilliantly. His half volley finding the bottom corner of the net from 25 yards, his first goal for the big side, and a beauty it was too.
Inverness now looked the likeliest to go on and win the game and a Shinnie cross was almost directed into the Well net, but Neilson was well placed to gather with McKay lurking with intent at the near post.
But, the aforementioned Iain Vigurs had the last laugh. Route one seemed to be the order of the day for the Steelmen and when another long ball was launched out of their own box, three one-two's later between Moore and Vigurs saw the latter nonchalantly stroke the ball beyond Esson with he outside of his left peg to nick the points.
Harsh on Inverness who had started to take the game to Well in search of their second home league win under Hughes, but caught out twice by the long ball.
Full Time 1-2
A win that all but finishes Inverness' season bar the away game on Friday night in Dingwall, but for Motherwell it's second place for now and another top finish for McCall's side in prospect.
tm4tj MotM:- Another sterling performance from big Drapes, with one bone shaker of a tackle that could be felt in the main stand. Great introduction for Christie though and cracking goal.
Moan of the Match:- Our reluctance to take the ball forward, always looking to go square or backwards was really getting on the fans wick. Yogi needs to address this sharpish and get the fans back onside or it is going to be a long pre-season coming up.
Date: 01.04.2014 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2366
Referee: Craig Thomson
Inverness CT: 1
Lineup: Esson, Raven (Watkins 66), Shinnie, Vincent, Warren, Mckay, Draper, Devine, Tansey, Tremarco, Polworth (Christie 60)
Subs (not used): Brill, Ross, Williams, Evans
Scorers: Christie (74)
Sent Off: none
Lineup: Neilson, Reid (Francis-Angol 46), Hammell, Hutchinson, McManus, Sutton, Vigurs, Lasley, Kerr, Anier (Moore 67), Leitch (Cadden 87)
Subs (not used): Stewart, Murray, Ainsworth, Thomas
Scorers: Anier (40), Vigurs (82)
Booked: Vigurs (41), Sutton (56), Hutchinson (75)
Sent Off: none
Mar 31 2014 09:13 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2013-14
Punishing Schedule Continues.
Blimey! No sooner have we blown the final whistle against St Mirren than we will we kicking off against Motherwell in another SPFL top-six encounter.
Good news is that season ticket holders can bring along a friend for nothing and under 12's also get in free.
Inverness drew with St Mirren at the weekend in a dour encounter spoiled by a poor pitch and bitterly cold and windy conditions. Billy McKay blew a great chance to score but the pitch played as big a part in that as anything McKay did.
On the bright side, Ryan Christie and Liam Polworth started and both youngsters were keen to get involved. With Foran and Doran out again then they can look forward to another start surely as Hughes will be looking to next season after the setbacks of the last few weeks.
Motherwell took a surprising punch on the chin on Saturday as Killie struck very late to snatch all three points with a 2-1 win. Former Ross County and Inverness player Iain Vigurs scored for Well but Rory McKenzie levelled before Craig Slater struck after the fifth minute of time added on to stun the Fir Park crowd.
Well won the recent midweek game in Lanarkshire with an ultimately comfortable 2-0 score, but it was far from one sided and Inverness on another day could have taken something from this game, but our lack of punch in front of goal saw us draw a blank, something all too common recently.
An Inverness win would see them get to within five points of third placed Motherwell and close the gap on United to two points while Motherwell would jump above Aberdeen if they should triumph, so plenty to play for really.
Josh Meekings' red card at the weekend will not be appealed and he misses this game after the club decided not to challenge his last man sending off against St Mirren. Captain Richie Foran and Aaron Doran miss out again through injury. Danny Devine will deputise for the missing Josh, a similar role he occupied when Warren missed the League Cup final, and a role he played very well in.
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall has hinted at two unnamed possible casualties. Forward James McFadden and midfielder Stuart Carswell remain on the sidelines along with goalkeeper Lee Hollis, defender Simon Ramsden and midfielder Paul Lawson.
tm4tj Prediction:- If the last few games are anything to go by, we will find it difficult to get amongst the goals, something Motherwell don't normally have a problem with. The likes of Lionel Ainsworth is a difficult opponent to shackle and John Sutton will be a handful for our makeshift defence although Devine slotted in well in the cup final so he should be able to accompany Gary Warren for this one. I'm sitting on the fence again, 1-1, and it might be chilly once more with a hard playing surface to contend with.
Mar 29 2014 02:25 PM | Scotty in Reports 2013-14
Inverness and St Mirren played out a 2-2 draw on a brisk Spring afternoon. The visitors took the lead soon after the start and the home fans feared the worst but they went in at half time ahead. It was a lead they could not build on and the Saints equalised with Inverness playing the final twenty five minutes with ten men.
It was a bright afternoon, but don't cast yer cloot till May is oot. A biting North East wind and a pitch more suited to playing kerbie killed any hopes of watching a classic encounter.
Ryan Christie and Liam Polworth started for Inverness who had Doran and Foran out.
St Mirren stunned the home fans after only three minutes when slackness allowed Naismith to rattle the ball home from close range following a driven cross from John McGinn, David Raven seemingly getting the final touch.
That hurt the home fans and it was looking grim as St Mirren kept the early pressure around the Inverness area and our defence seemingly never learned the harsh lesson from Tannadice by passing the ball back to Brill on a hard and bumpy surface, not the best option if you ask me.
After ten minutes Chris Dilo tipped over a powerful header from Meekings as Inverness looked for a way back into the match.
A goal was coming and it came from the head of Ross Draper when Shinnie played a deep cross for the big midfielder to nod home. This one as I thought at the time might go down as an own goal with Draper reluctant to accept the plaudits, rather sheepishly celebrating the fact the defender probably scored it. Oh well!
Billy McKay can't buy a goal just now and he passed up a glorious chance to put Inverness ahead. Slack defending on the half way line saw McKay sprint clear with only the keeper to beat. But Billy scores when he wants, unfortunately he didn't want to do it yesterday and the wee striker sclaffed his shot high and wide to put the home fans back in their seats holding their heads in utter dismay. I believe a nasty wee bobble was the reason for the error.
McKay bounced back though and he set up Greg Tansey with a header from Polworth's cross for Greg to fire Inverness ahead from ten yards with a low drive. This was a brilliant move involving the boys in blue and set up nicely for Tansey to score.
It was a somewhat towsy affair not helped by the pitch and the swirling wind and Inverness went in at the break nursing their lead.
Half Time 2-1
The quality in the first half was low, and the second half was probably even poorer with the surface playing havoc, but Shinnie tried his luck just after the break but his shot missed narrowly.
Nick Ross replaced Greg Tansey after he went down injured and that seemed to give St Mirren the urge to try and create more with Inverness almost content to hold what we had.
The game was opening up now and just after the hour St Mirren equalised after our defenders rode their luck a bit. Sean Kelly headed high past a helpless Brill.
Our run of red cards continued. Josh Magennis powered forward and Josh Meekings had little alternative but to bring him down just outside the box as the burly Buddie burst goalwards. Willie Collum saw that as a foul and last man challenge and promptly sent off Meekings.
Down to ten men the game looked beyond us now and St Mirren sensed a welcome three points were on offer.
Nick Ross almost stole it for us after a scramble in the box, but the ball would just not fall for us.
Dean Brill has been the butt of some joke keeping recently but he saved the day late in the game with a tremendous block to keep the game level and that's how it finished.
Full Time 2-2
A bitterly cold afternoon with the wind chill and bumpy pitch ensuring that defenders had to be on their toes. A big well done to Brill who got on with the job today despite some edgy back passes early on, maybe that was the plan. Willie Collum is off most peoples Xmas cards list, for reasons I will keep to myself.
tm4tj MotM:- Is going to Ross Draper. The big man did plenty of grafting yesterday and popped up to nod a goal into the bargain. Solid display from Ross who held the midfield together in the absence of Foran. Moan of the match for me was Vincent remaining on the pitch when substitutions were being made, I thought he was a prime candidate for being replaced. Note to Yogi; he is not a winger.
Date: 29.03.2014 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3032
Referee: Willie Collum
Inverness CT: 2
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Shinnie, Vincent, Warren, Meekings, Mckay (Watkins 71), Draper, Tansey (Ross 50), Polworth, Christie (Devine 68)
Subs (not used): Esson, Tremarco, Williams, Evans
Scorers: Draper (16), Tansey (34)
Sent Off: Meekings (67)
St Mirren: 2
Lineup: Dilo, McGregor, Goodwin, McGinn (McAusland 49), Thomson, McLean, Campbell (Magennis 63), Kelly, Naismith, Newton, Wylde (Teale 63)
Subs (not used): Mathers, Van Zanten, Reilly, Djemba-Djemba
Scorers: Naismith (3), Kelly (62)
Booked: McAusland (73)
Sent Off: none