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Inverness CT -V- Dundee Utd - Report - SPFL

Oct 25 2014 06:37 PM | tm4tj in Reports 2014-15

Inverness back on top



Inverness leapfrogged over Dundee United to draw level with Hamilton Accies at the top of the table after a deserved win over the Arabs, despite the tight scoreline.

United started the brightest with some slick interplay, pressed Inverness onto the back foot and rattled the home post, but once Marley Watkins opened the scoring after eleven minutes, there was no looking back as Inverness took the game to their much fancied visitors.

Inverness should have added a couple more but United defended bravely and blocked a number of goalbound efforts and that resulted in Watkins strike being the only goal of the game.

James Vincent returned to the starting X1 with Ryan Christie suspended, but Aaron Doran, Ibra Sekajja and Nick Ross all began on the bench. United as expected were minus Paul Paton and Mark Wilson, both players involved in an internal investigation at Tannadice after an altercation on Ashton Lane that left Celtic's Lukasz Zaluska with a black eye. Ryan Dow started in Paton's absence.

A cold blustery autumnal afternoon saw United out of the blocks quickest and they looked likely to score with a series of tidy interplays and flicks around the hosts penalty area, opening up the home defence rather too easily for my liking.

United squandered a couple of early opportunities, Erskine shooting over and Fojut missing with a header. However, after five minutes, Chris Erskine cracked one off the base of Brill's post as the keeper dived full length to his right and got a fingertip to the ball, United getting a corner as a result. The visitors looked as though they meant business at this point as the home fans puffed their cheeks, but that was about to change.

Inverness worked the ball out wide on the right to David Raven and his low cross was cleared. Vincent battled to retrieve the ball and Greg Tansey picked it up as it broke back to him, his diagonal cross to the front post was brilliantly knocked home by a sliding Marley Watkins who was first to react as he beat his markers to the ball.

Danny Williams tried his luck with a dipping volley from distance after the ball sat up nicely for him, but it looped just over the bar. Meekings should have scored with a header from a Tansey corner, but it was cleared off the line by Rankin with the keeper beaten and turned away to safety.

It was Inverness that were now in control and Tansey shot wide as the hosts turned the screw, but the cushion of a second goal was not forthcoming. Just before the break, Meekings thundered a pacey cross behind Brill and just outside the posts, an important intervention to keep Inverness ahead at the interval.

Half Time 1-0

It's not happening for Billy McKay so far this season and the fans frustration was evident as he fluffed his lines when through on goal. He should have taken a leaf out of the Iain Stewart book of lobbing goalies, but instead appeared to kick the ground or possibly even fresh aired and Cierzniack gathered the ball. But Billy is a trier if nothing else and he soon was at it again, firing an angled drive from the left, the keeper saving at the expense of a corner.

Although we were almost in total control, we got lucky when Ciftci escaped down the left, but with Brill in no mans land, he gathered Ciftci's attempted strike to keep us ahead.

Inverness were soon back in charge but United were getting bodies in the way as we tried to double our advantage. We appeared to choose the wrong option at times and our shooting boots were left in the dressing room as players slid around on the soft surface. Shots were raining in around the visitors goalmouth but too often they were charged down or wayward, McKay again being unfortunate to draw a blank as he swivelled and volleyed, but hit the marking defender.

Vincent almost marked his return with a goal after rushing into the box, but he poked his effort just wide when it looked simpler to score, the fans in the North stand returning to their seats in disbelief.

United tried to salvage something from the game but in all honesty Inverness saw out the game pretty comfortably despite not being able to add to their tally.

Full Time 1-0

A game that started brightly for United, but they were well beaten long before the end, although Inverness could have been out of site sooner had they made more of their opportunities. Some shooting practice required this week in training and Billy needs a goal soon to get his confidence back. Sekajja never got on the park today, I suspect that was due to our inability to get a second goal. Nick Ross was the sub for Billy as Hughes held on to what we had.

   

tm4tj MotM:- With Billy not scoring, it's reassuring to have Marley Watkins finding the back of the net and he was my MotM. Greg Tansey won the midfield battle and Josh Meekings made some timely interceptions and still found time to assist the attack. James Vincent made a telling contribution on his return to a more familiar central midfield role; he had been wasted playing wide previously.

Another man worthy of mention is Scotty. All the way from Canada to see his team record this win. Enjoy the rest of your break boss.   

Oh, there was one more. Shoot for the boot was accomplished in the half time entertainment. Well done that man and 300 smackeroonies for your troubles.                     

 

 

 

 

Inverness CT: Brill, Raven, Shinnie, Vincent, Warren, Meekings, Mckay (Ross 76), Draper, Watkins, Tansey, Williams. Subs not used: Esson (GK), Doran, Sekajja, Devine, Tremarco, Polworth.

Dundee United: Cierzniak, Dillon (Townsend 57), Fojut, Ciftci, Rankin, Armstrong (Bilate 66), Mackay-Steven, Watson (Spittal 66), Morris, Erskine, Dow. Subs not used: Szromnik (GK), Bilate, Telfer, Connolly, Smith.

Booked:- Townsend, Rankin

Referee: Kevin Clancy.

Attendance: 3,508.
 





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Inverness CT v Dundee United - SPFL

Oct 23 2014 10:58 AM | RossP in Previews 2014-15

Bring along a friend for a fiver

 

 

A tough home fixture this weekend as Inverness prepare to face the Arabs in what promises to be an entertaining game for only a fiver (if you have a friend). They are the second top scorers in the division although they have conceded four more than Inverness. Based on that we should be looking at goals this Saturday.

Dundee United can be a handful when they are in full flow as we have witnessed before, circa the 0-5 cup thrashing meted out less than a year ago. On closer inspection, we shot ourselves in the foot that day with some comedy defending and ended the game with nine men. Not a good idea playing the free scoring United. Strangely enough, Willie Collum was referee that day as well, he was the man in the middle last weekend where he booked eight and sent off Ryan Christie. We are spared that ignominy against United as Kevin Clancy is the man in charge come 3:00pm on Saturday. Let's hope he allows the game to flow better than the stop start affair last weekend and the fans can enjoy a footballing extravaganza instead of an ego trip for the man in the middle. He has not refereed us yet this season, but he did dish out seven yellow cards last Friday in the Hamilton Aberdeen game.

Ach well, you pays your money, you takes your chance!

 

As the heading says, bring along a friend for a fiver. Here's a wee fun quiz ahead of the Arabfest...........

 



RossP has scoured the internet and has scribed this preview for us

 

It’s second against third this weekend, with both teams keen to catch Hamilton Accies who are currently marching towards Champions League football in style. There will be plenty of interest in this game from fans and media alike, but unfortunately it’ll be due to the front page stories that have this week clouded Dundee United’s solid start to the season. I will avoid talking about those issues though by focusing on the game in hand. Inverness will look to attack from the very start, to strike a blow to United’s good form and keep pundits talking about how we are punching above our weight. A win would also give us some revenge for United knocking us out of the Scottish Cup last season.

 

Previous meetings/current form

As a betting man, I’ll be putting my money on there being goals in this game. In the last 27 meetings between the sides there has only been one 0-0 draw, with 15 of those games having both teams scoring. United are currently the second highest scorers in the division with goals being spread around the team, indicating that it will be a tough ask to get a clean sheet. Despite their lofty position in the league table, their players and fans have spoken openly about the below par performances that they are putting on the pitch. Their recent 1-0 win at home to Partick Thistle was a particular worry for the team, where they were very fortunate to escape with three points. Both teams flooded their midfield which perhaps nullified any creative, free flowing football and that unfortunately could be the order of the day on Saturday as well, given our likely formation.

 

Inverness have also been inconsistent with performances since our fantastic early season form dipped. A defeat to Aberdeen and draw to Ross County preceded last weekend’s 1-0 win away to a toothless St Mirren. We were perhaps unlucky not to be further ahead at the break with several chances dropping to a hardworking (but currently goal shy) Billy Mckay. The second half saw one of our best defensive displays, with the organised two banks of four restricting the Buddies to wayward long range efforts. That result was essential considering the magnitude of getting results from this weekend’s game and our next game against Celtic.

 

Dangermen

Nadir Ciftci  is a player who likes to take a game by the scruff of the neck to influence it… just ask Graeme Shinnie in last year’s League Cup win! There is plenty of evidence to suggest he is a player who could be perceived as lazy or petulant, but the moments of brilliance he’s shown on the pitch since joining in 2013 have lit up the SPFL. His close control and ability to hold the ball up as a lone striker has allowed United to play with a very attacking midfield who are all capable of scoring goals. Highland lads Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay Steven are offered a lot of space when Ciftci is marked closely and with Chris Erskine and Ryan Dow, they have contributed to most of their team’s goals in recent seasons.

 

John Rankin in between his jobs as a Herbalife salesman, PFA Scotland chairman and football commentator has been outstanding with Paul Paton at the centre of Dundee United’s midfield. As an ex-Inverness and Ross County player we are well aware of his abilities to spread play quickly up the pitch, in addition to being able to score the odd spectacular long range effort, but it has been in his latter years that his defensive abilities have shone. ‘Mopping up’ in front of his defenders and giving the ball to the more attacking players ahead of him has given his team a counter attacking, direct style that has suited their blend of pace and skill. He will be operating in the area of the pitch that Ryan Christie would have played, so perhaps Hughes will consider going with a two man attack to either move Rankin further back or give him licence to wander further forward, which would then create spaces for us to utilise.

 

Latest team news

Inverness Caledonian Thistle like last previous weeks are only missing club captain Richie Foran through injury. This weekend will see Ryan Christie and Ross Draper miss out however, due to suspension. John Hughes will have plenty to ponder over who to utilise to replace the creativity of the former and the battling qualities of the latter. I would like to see Vincent or Polworth brought into the Draper position – however I fully expect Hughes to move Williams or Shinnie into that role, perhaps in an effort to match the running of Stuart Armstrong. I have longed for a return to the side for local lad Nick Ross who is one of the best passers in the team and Saturday’s game provides an excellent opportunity for him to have an impact. Again though, I anticipate Hughes moving one of our wider players, like Doran, into the Christie role. ***Update on availability is that Ross Draper has not quite passed the bookings threshold, not for the want of trying some might say, but he will be available for selection this weekend.

 

Dundee United are hopeful that Hull City loanee Conor Townsend, John Souttar and Mario Balati will all return to the squad following injury layoffs. Paul Paton and Mark Wilson have both been ruled out whilst the club carries out an internal investigation into their recent off the pitch antics. At least Stuart Armstrong is getting some practice for the law degree that he is currently studying…

 

 

RossP Prediction: For ICT to get anything from this game we are going to have to put on one of our strongest defensive performances of the season. The direct running of Dow, GMS, Armstrong and Ciftci is one of the league’s most prolific attacking forces and will provide a strong test for the likes of Raven and Shinnie, who have struggled with similar attacking style recently against Partick Thistle. This may be the game that Hughes changes our formation to a 4-4-2, to force the Dundee United defence of former ICT trialist Callum Morris and recent signing Jarosław Fojut deeper than they would like to be. I would like to see us pepper Radosław Cierniak’s goal with shots and crosses, as it will be through his poor handling that we will have our greatest opportunity to score. Polworth and Tansey are vital to this tactic with their long range shooting accuracy and I could see Billy Mckay getting back on the goal trail tapping home any scraps in the box. In terms of a result, I can see us being backed into the ropes for much of the game, but should we get the first goal I can see that being a big body blow to Dundee United’s chances of getting back into the game – hence my prediction of a 2-1 win with us conceding from an attack late on in the lane. Game, I mean game.  



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St Mirren -V- Inverness CT - SPFL

Oct 18 2014 04:37 PM | tm4tj in Reports 2014-15

Willie's Yellow Fever

 

 

 

Inverness took all three points North despite the best efforts of the incompetent Willie Collum who ruined the game as a spectacle with a treble hat-trick of bookings culminating in the sending off of Ryan Christie. What on earth was Collum thinking about? Was he trying to get into the Guiness book of records as yellow lit up St Mirren Park. 26, 27, 28 - 36, 41, 42 - 44, 47 and 49. No, that's not the lottery numbers, it's the times within a 23 minute period that the clown in charge flashed his cards and stifled the willingness of players from both sides to get too enthusiastic about the game, resulting in a dour stop start affair with a Greg Tansey penalty just before half time sealing the win.

If the SPFL want to encourage fans to go and watch live football, then they need to have a word with these egomaniacs and get them to understand that without spectators, we won't be needing referees. Bring back the men from Luxembourg, our lot could certainly learn something from them.

RossP will have a full report when he returns...................erm, assuming he is returning from somewhere.

 

Honesty is the best policy
This match report will be slightly different to my usual pieces of writing, in that I’ll be reviewing a match that I didn’t actually manage to attend! Having made plans to travel to the game once I’d picked up wedding rings from Glasgow in the morning, the missus and I were gutted to be told that (despite assurances) the rings had not arrived – which then led to us cancelling the car journey down on the morning of the game. I remember once reading about a journalist getting sacked after fabricating a glowing review of a Meatloaf gig that unbeknownst to him was actually cancelled… so rather than going down that route I’ve pieced together my account of the dedicated MFR2 radio coverage I listened to, the match highlights I’ve watched and the reviews from the various message boards which cover the match.

Team lineups
Inverness sprung a surprise by replacing Aaron Doran with Danny Williams on the left wing, a move that has led to fans suggesting a link to Doran’s frustration shown when substituted against Ross County. Hopefully this is not the case as with suspensions and injuries likely arriving very soon we need every player pulling in the same direction. The rest of the team were as predicted, playing in the familiar 4-2-3-1 formation.

St Mirren kept a winning team together, with the only change being Drury replacing the injured Wylde in the midfield.

On the pitch
The first half was interrupted with Willie Collum wearing his pencil down from persistent bookings – 7 in total for 45 minutes! Reports from fans range between a shambolic performance from the man in the middle, giving cautions for very little, to some saying that it was our own players naivety and persistent fouling leading to Collum’s firm approach to the match.

In amongst the card issuing, the game was reduced to St Mirren shooting waywardly from distance and a more direct approach from Inverness than usual leading to several chances in the penalty area. First a Billy Mckay goal was chalked off as offside following a cross from Shinnie in 20 minutes. Looking at the replays it seems a very marginal decision where perhaps only his body leaning forward took him into an offside position. Mckay was thwarted again soon after, with his touch altering the direction of a Ryan Christie shot into the keeper’s body. We soon took the lead though after Marc McAusland wanted Gary Warren’s shirt before the full time whistle. An easy decision for the referee to award a penalty, as the top was nearly over his head by the time the ball arrived in the box. Greg Tansey stepped up and powered an unstoppable shot wide to the keeper’s left. One final important piece of action was where Ryan Christie picked up his first booking for persistent fouling, a decision that most fans online have agreed with.

Half Time 0–1

St Mirren were straight on the front foot from kick off, carving out an opportunity for Drury at the corner of the penalty area where he drove the ball into the side netting. Collum was also quick to get involved again with his notebook as he issued his 8th card of the day, this time to St Mirren’s Marwood before then changing the nature of the game by giving Ryan Christie his marching orders. Looking at the challenge several times online I actually agree with Collum’s assessment of the incident, where the cliché of Christie’s ‘youthful exuberance’ led him to make a rash challenge on John McGinn from a near seated position after winning the ball initially from Kenny McLean. Despite going for the ball, the challenge looked dangerous and would have resulted in potential injury for McGinn had his leg been planted.

St Mirren immediately looked to get on the front foot with the ineffective Reilly being replaced by former Hibee Ross Caldwell, followed by Brown coming on for Man City loanee Drury. In response Inverness adopted a 4-4-1 formation with the two banks of four moving extremely well as a unit, restricting St Mirren to long passes to the strikers or shots from distance. Dean Brill saved a deflected drive from McGinn very well and Carl Tremarco managed to block a shot directed at goal by St Mirren right back Jason Naismith. Looking at the replay it appears the home players and fans who claimed for handball may have had a point, with Tremarco appearing to stop the shot with his legs but his arms then definitely stop the ball’s momentum once it was on the ground. One final chance came the Buddies way with an additional time goal mouth scramble, which Inverness cleared by the unusual method of Shinnie battering the ball off David Raven’s face.

 

Full Time 0-1

RossP review: I’m delighted with the 3 points against a team coming into form, at their own ground. These points are especially welcomed when we have games versus Dundee United and Celtic coming up. It’s disappointing to lose Christie and Draper to suspension, but hopefully the likes of Polworth, Ross and Doran bust a gut to compete for their positions whilst they are missing. Glowing praise has been heaped on the organisation shown by the defence after the red card, by home and away fans and rightly so. We should count ourselves lucky to have such a talented backline and it can only be a matter of time before Josh Meekings and Graeme Shinnie move on. Billy Mckay showed some good touches to bring others into play and was unlucky not to get himself back on the scoresheet. His challenger for the lone striker role didn’t impress as we had hoped, with a lack of confidence noted when one on one with the less mobile Jim Goodwin and then a poor unorthodox finish when he should have used his weaker foot to get his debut goal.

 

 

 

   

 

 

Date: 18/10/2014   Venue: St Mirren Park    Attendance: 3109    Referee: Willie Collum

 

 

St Mirren: 0
Lineup: Kello, Naismith, Kelly, McAusland, Goodwin, McGinn, McLean, Drury (Brown 65), Marwood, Reilly (Caldwell 56), Ball
Subs:- Ridgers, Caldwell, Tesselaar, Brown, Baird, Williams, Mallan
Scorers: -
Booked: Naismith, Reilly, McAusland, Marwood
Sent Off: None
 
Inverness CT: 1
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Meekings, Warren, Shinnie, Draper, Tansey, Watkins (Vincent 66), Williams (Tremarco 69), Christie, McKay (Sekajja 78)
Subs:- Esson, Devine, Tremarco, Vincent, Doran, Ross, Sekajja
Scorers: (Tansey, 43 Penalty)
Booked: Watkins, Draper, Meekings, Christie
Sent Off: Christie (second yellow)


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St Mirren -V- Inverness CT - SPFL

Oct 16 2014 03:39 PM | RossP in Previews 2014-15

New start for Ibra

 

 

 

Paisley is the destination this weekend as we return to domestic football. Our last 45 minutes were highly entertaining as we clawed back Ross County in the Highland derby to snatch a point. The first half was instantly forgettable as we never turned up and our neighbours deservedly took the plaudits. At the end of the day a point apiece was about right and it was a tale of two keepers, both in outstanding form in each half.

 

Inverness have signed Ibra Sekajja until the New Year from Crystal Palace and John Hughes has challenged the pacey forward to earn himself an extension to his contract by helping Inverness to get back on track and add some goals to the account to take the load off Billy McKay, who has been finding it hard going this season as defences keep a close eye on him.

 

RossP is your author this week and he lays it out neatly for you to ponder over.

 

I wrote ahead of the Partick Thistle encounter that following an international break, ICT tend to under perform. This was swiftly followed by a 3-1 defeat which could have been greater had it not been for Dean Brill saving a late penalty. Perhaps any momentum prior to the break is lost, concentration takes time to return or maybe the likes of Billy Mckay and Ryan Christie suffer fatigue from the travels across the continent? Whatever the reasons are it is essential that this pattern is broken for our season to progress and this weekend’s fixture at St Mirren will provide a stern test for our side.

Previous meetings/Current form
Games against St Mirren generate memories of Ross Tokely getting pelters from a clamorous Buddies support, Gary Warren being awarded the Nobel Peace prize for correcting a referee’s decision to caution Steven Thompson and on regular occasions - a victory for Inverness Caledonian Thistle. A record of only 10 defeats in the 47 matches between the sides, with only one St Mirren win in the last 12 meetings is a fantastic return and one that our opponents will be desperate to alter.

After a horrible start where they were rooted to the bottom of the table with our Highland neighbours, there appeared to be no turnaround in sight. Their new look strike force of Marwood, Ball and Caldwell couldn’t fill the Thompson sized hole in their attack and that showed with their return of 0 goals from the first four SPFL games this season. New manager Tommy Craig was already under pressure from a support who felt that his appointment was a cheap and easy option, which would not take the club any further forward. Results have picked up in recent weeks however, with points picked up against St Johnstone, Aberdeen and Partick Thistle that have perhaps given Craig some respite from his critics. What’s notable is that many of these points have been won very late on in the game – an 87th minute winner, an 86th minute equaliser and a 90th minute winner. I for one will be biting my nails entering the final chapter of the game.

After a fantastic start to the campaign, we’ve suffered since the first international break winning only 4 points from a possible 12. The once formidable defence that didn’t give an inch to the opposition has been shipping goals and our main source of goals Mckay hasn’t scored since his opening day strike against (league leaders!) Hamilton. The first half in the 1-1 Ross County game a fortnight ago saw us have a performance that many would bill as our worst under Hughes, or perhaps any manager! What was more reassuring was the response in the second half, where the players reacted well to a formation change and different approach to moving the ball up the pitch. More chances were created in that 45 minutes than we had created in several games added together, and an unlikely 3 points was only thwarted by former player Mark Brown’s heroics in goals.

Dangermen
Kenny McLean – Eyebrows rose at McLean’s decision to re-sign at St Mirren this summer, as many people in Scottish football felt this was his time to make the step up to one of the many English Championship clubs reported to be interested in him. A naturally attacking centre midfielder, he will be a real threat in and outside the box as he is very capable of scoring from distance. His energy and workrate will also suit this game where he will be expected to harry our midfield pair of Tansey and Draper when they have the ball.

John McGinn – Another young midfielder who has been tipped to move onto bigger and better things, he will also be a vital part in any plan to press our defence and midfield when they have the ball. He more than matched Scott Brown in St Mirren’s recent game against Celtic and won’t shirk challenging a player as strong as Draper.

Jim Goodwin – Despite being a yellow card waiting to happen, Goodwin has been a formidable opponent in any Inverness v St Mirren games I’ve seen. He is able to break up play and show excellent positional sense when operating in the middle of the park. I’ve seen him be a bombscare at centre half though, so I hope he will be operating there at the weekend.

Latest Team News
Inverness Caledonian Thistle have no fresh injury concerns for the visit to Paisley, with only Richie Foran missing through injury. New signing Ibra Sekajja will come into the match day squad on a high after his goal in the Under 20 development league match against Motherwell. It remains to be seen whether Hughes sees him as a partner for Mckay or someone to challenge for the sole striker role however. The personnel will likely be the same eleven that started against Ross County, but only Hughes knows if it will be as the usual 4-2-3-1 formation or the 4-4-2 that worked so well in the second half in that game.

St Mirren:-There are contrasting comments online regarding the injuries of Gregg Wylde, Jeroen Tesselaar, Isaac Osbourne and Eli Plummer but even with their potential return, Tommy Craig may opt to keep the same side that won against St Johnstone. The latest word on the street is that Wylde is out for a couple of weeks after having surgery on a groin problem. Tesselaar and Plummer are in contention for a return to the team. Steven Thompson remains out for the long term.

RossP prediction:- It is a tough one to predict given the unpredictability of which ICT team will turn up. This is a game where we need to play the ball to the wings in my opinion, as St Mirren have a lot of energy and skill in the middle of the pitch. If the likes of Doran and Watkins have positive performances I can see us scoring goals past an unspectacular St Mirren defence. I don’t see us keeping a clean sheet however, so I will go with a late equaliser for St Mirren in a 1-1 draw. I can also see there being a penalty in this game, since we haven’t seen a converted one for or against this season - law of averages n' that.



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Inverness CT -V- Ross County - SPFL

Oct 05 2014 12:10 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15

Roasted for 45 mins each side



Inverness were like Turkey's in the first half as County held the upper hand and roasted us. Stuffing would have completed the menu but Inverness managed to turn the heat up after the break and once Marley Watkins levelled Yoann Arquin's opener, there was only going to be one winner, but Mark Brown was in sensational form and single handedly kept the score level and a share of the points it was.

We can't complain really after a hideously poor first half where Dean Brill kept the score respectable as County outplayed their shambolic hosts.
 
What is it about us and first half rubbish. Maybe it's the South side of the park that's the problem. Whatever it is it's starting to grate as we continually turn in terrible performances over the first 45 and end up chasing the game. Never before has there been such a contrast between the two halves. County v Brill first half, Inverness v Brown second half.

Inverness as expected were unchanged and James Vincent was on the bench with Danny Williams and Nick Ross. Ross County had a late change with Michael Gardyne failing a fitness test and he missed out, but Scott Boyd was back at the heart of the defence.

The early kick off and live TV coverage ensured there would be a low turnout of fans at this one. Our Dingwall visitors alleged dislike of our stadium was stronger than the lure to support their side as a less than half full stadium saw Inverness kick off in the first Highland derby of the season.

The first few minutes gave a false impression that Inverness were going to take the game to the travelling side as Billy McKay danced towards the box, but he shot tamely at Brown and the former Inverness keeper saved easily.

Thereafter, it was Brill who would be the busier keeper as County outplayed Inverness for the next forty minutes making a mockery of their lowly position as they made the home defence look laboured. The possession game has been monitored closely by most clubs now and as in the Dons game, we fluffed our lines on more than one occasion.

Rocco Quinn should have done better as he tried to guide a volley goalwards after a poor headed clearance from Gary Warren who would soon be involved in the next goalmouth action. He played a poor ball to Draper in the possession game and he was woefully short with an attempted pass back to Brill. Kiss took advantage but Brill blocked his shot and the rebound was knocked back at the goals but Kiss was left offside. A let off for Brill who was none too happy with the guys in front of him.

Lesson not learned as County grew in confidence and Inverness were being made to look like the team at the bottom. Another poor clearance eventually made it's way to Quinn on the left. His looped cross was met by Yoann Arquin and he attacked the ball seven yards out with the static home defence spectating. First blood to County as Inverness struggled to cope with the powerful running and drive of the basement club.

Brill blocked another angled drive from Quinn after he was set up by some tidy skill from Jackson Irvine who had flicked the ball over the hapless tackles to tee up Quinn on the left edge of the six yard box.

A few seconds later and another chance for County. We continued to concede possession too easily and in the next surge forward Kiss laid it on a plate for Arquin who should have scored, but Brill pulled off a magnificent save as the big lad whacked the ball from ten yards, Brill diving to his left to palm the ball away, the struggling Meekings completing the clearance.

A rare foray forward saw Ryan Christie flick out a boot at a bouncing cross and Brown tipped the ball over the bar, but other than that it was practically all one way traffic.

The Inverness turkey's had been well and truly roasted and they almost fell two behind before the interval, but once more it was Brill who came to the rescue as he dived full length to his left to make a finger tip save from a netbound Carey free kick. Superb execution from Carey and equalled by Brill's save.

I doubt many home fans applauded the team off at the interval, and they left the field with boos ringing in their ears.

Half Time 0-1

It only took County ten seconds to carve open the home defence again and once more Arquin was the danger. He latched onto a long ball on the edge of the box, skipped inside Warren and hit a curling effort with his left peg, but it dipped just over the bar.

The home support started groaning again and there was little evidence that anything was about to change. However, it did. The short passing was binned and the longer ball became fashionable once more. Maybe the boos had the desired effect for that was the last time in this game that County would threaten the home goal.

A Brown clearance was wrestled away from the County midfielders by Christie and Tansey. The youngster sprinted towards the box and whipped a cross towards the far post. Boyd stooped and deflected the ball but only succeeded in teeing up Watkins who coolly prodded the ball past a wrong footed Brown.  Game on!

Inverness had woken from their slumber and began to believe in themselves. The tide had turned and Inverness now surged forward at every opportunity with the visitors looking ragged and throwing bodies in front of the ball, blocking with any part of the body they could get in the way. Warren was denied by a combination of Brown and Boyd and Doran shot wide as we searched for the winner.

Watkins chased a ball wide on the right and deftly back heeled the ball into the path of McKay who sped into the box. He held of the bulkier Frempah but he slid his angled shot across the face of the goal and just the wrong side of the post. Heads in hands all round.

Christie, Doran and Draper all came close as we pressed County back and Mark Brown saved the day with a miraculous acrobatic stop as he twisted and clawed away a point blank flick from McKay after Warren had headed on a long ball.

Ross Draper hit a piledriver at Brown and once more the keeper knocked the ball away from danger. Draper turned provider on the touchline as he slipped a ball into Christie. His quick feet flummoxed the defence and he burst into the box only to be thwarted once again by the brilliant Broonie.

County were clinging on and put up the shutters as Inverness marauded forward, the visitors offering nothing in attack in a role reversal of the first half. It was probably a fitting tribute to both keepers that no more goals were scored and the game drew to a close with Inverness desperately trying to get forward one more time, but after 94 minutes, Thomson closed the game by sounding the final whistle in a tale of two keepers.

 

Full Time 1-1

Not sure if the highlights do the second half onslaught justice, but have a deek.............

   

tm4tj MotM:- Two contenders for this accolade and it was a joint award this week with Dean Brill and Mark Brown taking the plaudits. Fantastic saves from both keepers . Brill kept Inverness in the game in the first half and Brown did likewise for County in the second period, that instinctive save from McKay drawing some disbelief and applause from the North Stand. Others who showed up for Inverness in the second half were Watkins and Doran. Christie also came alive in the second half and his twinkle toed runs are becoming suitable for the showboating videos on Sky Sports' Soccer AM.

Can't complain really about a point apiece with both side having their moments. It would have been some game if it all happened at the same time instead of separate half's, but, it's a funny old game as they used to say.
 
 
 
 
 

Date: 04/10/14 Venue: Caledonian Stadium    Attendance: 3741
Referee: Craig Thomson
 
Inverness CT: 1
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Warren, Meekings, Shinnie, Watkins, Doran (Williams 68), Draper, Tansey, Christie, McKay
Subs (not used): Esson, Vincent, Ross, Polworth, Devine, Tremarco
Scorers: Watkins (49)
Booked: Tansey (19)
Sent Off: none
 
Ross County: 1
Lineup: Brown, Toshney, Boyd, Irvine, Carey (Barr 68), Brittain, Frempah, Quinn (Jervis 48), Cardle, Kiss (Boyce 77), Arquin
Subs (not used): Reguero, De Leeuw, Maatsen, Balk
Scorers: Arquin (21)
Booked: Kiss (7), Carey (52)
Sent Off: none
 
 


 



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Inverness CT -V- Ross County - SPFL

Oct 04 2014 11:33 AM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15

Roast County for Lunch?



First Highland derby of the season comes along this Sunday at 12:45, an opportune time for our dear neighbours and good friends over the bridge coming on the back of their first League win of the season and another defeat for us at the hands of Aberdeen.

Early kick off so you'll have to wait for your choice of dinner, come three o'clock, let's hope it's Roast County.

It could have been oh so different last weekend had we not been so generous in front of our own box as we gifted Aberdeen possession which enabled them to capitalise fully and score on two occasions. Gary Warren had also smacked the post with a close range header moments after gifting Adam Rooney the Dons first goal. However, it's not a good idea to give teams like Aberdeen any help and we paid the price for it.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the league, a goal in time added on secured County's first three pointer, and they can no longer be labelled Loss County. Darren Maatsen added to Michael Gardyne's scrambled opener as County beat newly promoted Dundee, a result which unfortunately for them still shows that they occupy bottom spot, with St Mirren salvaging a surprise point at Pittodrie in midweek.

It's all change at Dingwall since we last played them and the Caley Jags fans favourite pass-time, Adams baiting, is no longer available. Yes, Derek and his dad have left the building. Jim McIntyre is now the man in charge, along with Billy Dodds as his number two. County fans could have been forgiven for thinking they had signed Michael McIntyre and Ken Dodd as results remained the same after their dismal comedy start to the campaign. But despite their lack of points, County have allegedly been creating plenty, just not making the most of their opportunities, (sounds familiar). Let's hope that continues, but derby's are funny old games.

Adams' departure was somewhat acrimonious with County maintaining they want to try a different direction. Downwards seems to be their chosen path with the bold Derek having a few swipes at the Dingwall establishment. Wee man big chip syndrome springs to mind.

The arrival of McIntyre on the 9th September saw him quick to add to the cosmopolitan squad left by Adams and he signed former Celtic youngster, defender Lewis Toshney who made his debut in the win over Dundee. Both Hibs and Hearts had turned down the chance to sign Toshney who has been plagued with injuries in his career so far, but he comes North on a 4 month contract. Michael Gardyne has also returned North on loan.

 

Enough nonsense from me though and read Ginger Jaggy's preview ahead of the big game, but here are some flashbacks to whet your appetite from the http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCguu8aUIctvMnNurpNHXW4w YouTube site.

 

 

 

  

Ginger Jaggy has been busy and instead of twiddling his thumbs, he has written this Preview for you, read on...............

Derby Day

The first highland derby is upon us with the caravans coming across the Kessock Bridge for the Sunday lunchtime kick off. This is the first time in a while that the Caley Jags fans will have someone else to taunt other than Derek the seethe Adams who was given his marching orders a few weeks back. Jim McIntyre is now charged with trying to keep the Staggies in the big time after a dreadful start to this season. On the other side of the coin Caley Thistle continue to go from strength to strength although we suffered a slight hiccup at the hands of an inconsistent Aberdeen side.

To our neighbours, and it has been a pretty rough start to the new season with them and St Mirren slightly adrift at the bottom of the table after only winning one game so far. Derek Adams has already paid the price for a second successive season of major overhauls to the playing squad with the team very slow to gel. Adams has now been relieved of his duty by his father who has also ended up on the County scrapheap. Now it is Jim McIntyre at the helm, and a small glimmer of hope has arisen with a last minute winner to beat Dundee last weekend. They still have problems at the back with the worst defensive record in the league; six goals worse than any other side.  But the first win of the season may give them the confidence to put a run together to get them back up the table, just not this weekend.

For John Hughes, life isn’t to bad with the Caley Jags again showing Scotland that we are no pushovers. And even though a couple of defeats on the road have happened since the first international break we hope to go into the second one with a good win over our rivals. A win in the derby will propel us back up to the top of the table after Dundee Utd failed to win at Kilmarnock. By the time the game kicks off we could be as low as sixth with the top six looking very congested as six points covers the Arabs at the top to the Dons making up the top six. Only Dundee has come away from the Highland capital with anything. The others including Celtic sent back down the A9 without a point. Home comforts have been the main reason why we sit so high but as we know anything can happen in a derby. Last season we lost 2-1 to County in the New Year derby at home when all the stats would suggest a home win. Last time out mistakes cost us against Aberdeen so cut them out and continue to play this possession football then we will win more than we will lose.

Ginger Jaggy Prediction:- I feel it will be a good win for us although after last week’s last minute winner, County will be buoyed coming into this one.  Defensively they are very suspect and I feel we will be too much for them although it would be very nice for Billy to get a goal or two to re-kindle his scoring touch. Many people would not be surprised if County return across the bridge with a second win in a row but I can only see one winner and it is the team wearing red and blue.

Crocks Corner:- Inverness have no fresh worries with Richie Foran taking his time to recover the only major absentee. County, on the other hand have Uros Celcer and Steven Saunders out and defenders Scott Boyd and Darren Barr looking to recover in time for the local derby.



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Aberdeen -V- Inverness CT - SPFL

Sep 27 2014 11:38 AM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15

Old boys benefit from Highland Hospitality

 

 

Former Inverness players Adam Rooney and Jonny Hayes were the benefactors as Inverness dished out presents at Pittodrie. Shaleum Logan scored in between these two and Inverness had Josh Meekings scoring his first for the club and Marley Watkins adding a second just after the break, but it was never going to be enough if you give away goals to a side of Aberdeen's calibre.

Aberdeen having scored seven goals in their last two games unsurprisingly went with Rooney and Goodwillie up front as they looked to climb into the top six and Inverness went with continuity which meant no place in the starting eleven for James Vincent, Nick Ross or Danny Williams.

Blustery conditions at Pittodrie saw an even start to the game as both sides settled into the match and Adam Rooney had the first snippet but he headed over after five minutes from a Goodwillie cross.

Marley Watkins was first to trouble the Dons defence but his run was crowded out before he could pull the trigger as Inverness settled down for a testing afternoon.

Goodwillie did have the ball in the net, however his acrobatic overhead strike was ruled out as the whistle had already gone. However it would not be long before a legal goal was scored and it came from an unlikely source. Watkins was fouled some thirty yards out and Tansey took the free kick perfectly as he found Josh Meekings unmarked and he powerfully headed his first goal for Inverness from around ten yards.

Goodwillie had a chance to level things but he shot weakly at Brill who stopped his effort low down to his left. Inverness were starting to sit deeper as the Dons went looking for an equaliser and they didn't have to do too much to get it as Warren was woefully short with a headed pass back and Rooney needed no second chance as he tucked the ball away after rounding the keeper to bring parity to the proceedings.

Gary Warren almost made amends immediately but his header crashed back off the post from a Doran corner as Inverness responded to that set back.

As the game went into the second phase of the first half Aberdeen were beginning to look more dangerous and Inverness had to deal with a series of swift attacks, Pawlett and Hayes looking in the mood to have a go. It was probably no surprise then when Aberdeen got their noses in front after Hayes did the spade work. The ball eventually being fed to Logan by Goodwillie and he fired home with aplomb to turn the game around with five minutes to go before the break, somersaulting his way towards the fans in gymnastic celebration.

Still time for Brill to make a save from an angled Rooney strike, the keeper turning the ball over the bar to keep Inverness interested just before the interval.

Half Time 2-1

No changes at the half time cuppa but it took Inverness only five minutes to get back on level terms. Ryan Christie played a big part driving at the Dons defence and feeding McKay. He was blocked and the ball broke to Watkins who slipped into the box and knocked the ball calmly over Langfield.

Barry Robson and Ross Draper come together as things got a bit tasty. Brave lad Barry, or maybe just the old Robson niggley whinger showing through and he would eventually get booked for continually having a go at Draper.

McKay sets Watkins into the box and he finds Christie but he was unable to get a shot away as the move breaks down.

However, we don't do anything the easy way and gave away another sloppy goal. Draper lost possession in a tangle with Warren and the ball broke for Goodwillie who forced Brill to make a great diving save, but the palmed ball landed neatly for Jonny Hayes and he ends up with a simple goal to restore the Dons advantage. Two bloopers from Inverness that they won't want to see again. Meh!

Hayes was prominent again as he raced forward from the half way line, seconds after a Christie snapshot went wide but Inverness recovered to block as Rooney lurked with intent at the near post.

Draper seems to be a target for the Aberdeen thugs and Logan brought the big midfielder down to earn a booking, but Tansey crashed his free kick straight at Langfield.

The game is still open at this point with over an hour gone and our ball retention has turned into ball give away, Inverness need to be more careful, considering the way we have conceded a couple of the goals.

Alleged Aberdeen target Graeme Shinnie is doing his utmost to drive the Highlanders forward in search of an equaliser as Yogi makes a double substitution, replacing Ryan Christie and Aaron Doran with Danny Williams and Nick Ross with fifteen minutes left. Maybe a ploy to keep the width to the Inverness attack which had become too narrow.

Aberdeen make their first changes with Cammy Smith coming on for Goodwillie with twelve minutes left.

The Dons seem content to hold what they have as Inverness play the game in the final third without any real penetration though, but it's not for the lack of trying, although the home defence look fairly comfortable.

Dead ball expert Barry Robson forced Brill into a good save with a superb free kick as the Dons tried to extend their lead going into the last ten minutes, the keeper diving low to save.

Draper gets a ball into the box but it lands at the feet of the wrong man if you like and Nick Ross scoops his shot high, no, very high over to the joy of the Aberdeen fans. Another surge by Inverness as the clock runs into over time. Shinnie almost squared the game in the ninetieth minute but he pulled his shot wide and the game ended with Inverness' generosity enabling Aberdeen to keep all three points in the Granite City.

Full Time 3-2

This was a tremendous opportunity for Inverness to cement their position at the top of the table but I'm afraid we gifted Aberdeen a couple of goals and in the end we never did quite enough to get back on level terms. Disappointing result given the manner of the gifts considering Yogi has built the team around ball retention and playing it out from the back. Today that backfired and our once reliable defence is creaking as the goals continue to be difficult for Billy to find. On the plus side, Meekings got off the mark and Watkins scored again. We never played badly if you remove the errors, and on another day could have left Pittodrie with something.

   

tm4tj MotM:- Dons target Graeme Shinnie was always available to drive the team forward and he was well assisted by Marley Watkins, but Graeme just shades it for sheer effort.

This result hoists Aberdeen into the top six and Inverness drop to third in the table behind surprise chasers Hamilton who trounced Motherwell in the Lanarkshire derby. But, top of the table goes to the impressive Dundee United who beat St Johnstone in the Tayside derby.

Highland derby next week as County travel to Inverness on the back of their first win of the season. Should make for an interesting Sunday brunch. Keep the faith.
 

 

 

 
Date: 27.09.2014 Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen Attendance: 11414
Referee: John Beaton
 
Aberdeen: 3
Lineup: Langfield, Logan, Taylor, Reynolds, Considine, Hayes, Pawlett (Jeffrey Monakana 90+), Flood, Robson, Rooney (Lawrence Shankland 90+), Goodwillie (Cammy Smith 78),

Subs (not used):  Scott Brown, Craig Murray, Nicky Low,  Craig Storey,

Scorers: Rooney (24), Logan (40), Hayes (59)

Booked: Robson, Logan
Sent Off: none

Inverness CT: 2

Lineup: Brill, Raven, Warren, Meekings, Shinnie, Draper, Tansey, Watkins, Doran (Ross 74), Christie (Willliams 74), McKay

Subs (not used):  Esson, Devine, Tremarco, Polworth, Vincent, 

Scorers: Meekings (16), Watkins (50)

Booked: Draper, Tansey
Sent Off: none

 



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Aberdeen -V- Inverness CT - SPFL

Sep 26 2014 06:43 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15

Back to our roots



After getting back to winning ways last Saturday, Inverness travel to Pittodrie to take on a stop-start Aberdeen who have yet to get up to speed in their Premiership campaign.

It was at Pittodrie that Inverness started their SPL life before we managed to change the rules, and where we recorded our first win. Oh my, how times have changed as we sit at the top of the table some ten years on from Stuart Golabeck's goal that started it all.

Ach well, nostalgia; it's not what it used to be.

The Dons breezed past Livingston in the League Cup in midweek thanks to an Adam Rooney hat-trick, but the gloss was taken off that win when Ryan Jack was stretchered from the park after 70 minutes with a serious looking knee injury. Inverness had the week off after losing to The Rangers the previous week.

Aberdeen's league form has been consistently erratic. LWLWLW, which means they are due a loss this weekend. If only it were as simple as that. They are seven points behind Inverness, having played one game less. In terms of goals scored and goals conceded, there's not a lot between the sides. Aberdeen trounced Loss County last Saturday, scoring three going on eight, whilst Inverness were getting the better of St Johnstone after a rather lethargic first half.

Aberdeen's big signing coup over the summer was David Goodwillie's return to Scotland after a less than auspicious spell over the border at Blackburn and Blackpool. Goodwillie was back on loan at Tannadice where he scored six goals in twenty two appearances last season. A mini exodus at the end of last season saw Josh Magennis go to Kilmarnock, Scott Vernon leave for Shrewsbury Town and Calvin Zola head for Stevenage. Others no longer at Pittodrie are keepers Nicky Weaver and Craig Burns, defenders Scott Rumsby and Joe Shaughnessy (loan to Falkirk), and midfielders Matthew McMahon, and Alan O'Sullivan. Defender Alan Tate has returned to Swansea. To counterbalance those departures, in came goalkeeper Scott Brown from Cheltenham, defenders Ash Taylor (Tranmere), Shaleum Logan (permanent signing Brentford) and midfielder Jeffrey Monakana (Brighton).

Who's turning it on for the Dons: A trio of former Inverness hero's are playing a big part. Adam Rooney scored his second Dons hat-trick in the game against Livingston, that's four goals in two games and is worth keeping a close watch on, along with wide player Jonny Hayes and the evergreen Barry Robson who exudes class and can strike a dead ball as sweet as anyone. David Goodwillie is starting to return the faith shown in him by Derek McInnes and has scored a couple of goals this season as he gets up to full speed.

Crocks Corner
Aberdeen
will be without experienced defender Russell Anderson who had minor knee surgery a few weeks ago and is not ready to return and fellow full back Clark Robertson. Ryan Jack is out after his injury in midweek and Niall McGinn is doubtful, but will be given every chance to make the squad. Jack's injury is not as serious as initially thought although he will be out for a few weeks,

Inverness are still without the services of Richie Foran. Aaron Doran has been treated for a slight knock, but is expected to be fit enough  for the trip this weekend. James Vincent could be added to the squad.

 

Derek McInnes looks forward to the game...............

 



tm4tj Prediction:- It's another tough one to call this week but Inverness could get the better of Aberdeen as the Dons struggle to put two results together which leaves them seven points behind their Highland opponents. Our passing game has been our strength this season and if we can cope with the Aberdeen strikeforce which has scored seven goals in their last two games and get Billy McKay back amongst the goals then it could be a good day out on Saturday. 1-2 is my my best guess.
 



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Inverness CT -V- St Johnstone - SPFL

Sep 20 2014 01:27 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15

Second Half Show

 

 

 

An instantly forgettable first half where nothing happened was soon erased from the memory banks with decisive goals from Marley Watkins and Ryan Christie setting Inverness on easy street, but we gave St Johnstone a glimmer of hope allowing Brian Graham a free header and ended up hanging on to our slim lead to claim all three points.

Ross Draper and Graeme Shinnie returned after serving their suspensions in the League Cup game at Ibrox pushing Tremarco and Williams onto the bench and Simon Lappin started for St Johnstone who had Murray Davidson on the bench as his return to full fitness gathers momentum.

The first half was memorable. Memorable for the fact that it was a total non-event where both keepers could have gone to Tesco's for some shopping and nobody would have noticed.

Small crowds are part and parcel of the Scottish game just now and a paltry 2,770 turned up to watch nothing happen. People were staring around in silence trying to generate their own entertainment as the folk on the pitch moved the round thing about the park. It was a weird experience and the two way de-motivation continued until Calum Murray had enough and ended the first half with unsurprisingly, no goals scored.

Half Time 0-0

Words must have been exchanged at the interval and we showed a bit more purpose after the break. Draper was cautioned inside two minutes of the restart.

Still it took until the hour mark for the game to ignite when Inverness broke rapidly down the left flank. Aaron Doran did all the leg work sprinting down the flank and his low cross picked out Watkins who took a touch before squeezing the ball through Mannus in the Saints goal. No more than we deserved really but it took a long time coming.

We looked to have more buzz about us now and Billy started running again instead of forlornly kicking blades of grass as pass after pass were going astray in the previous hour.

Doran was buoyed by his successful rampage and hit a dipping shot which Mannus turned over the bar as we now had the bit between our teeth.

Five minutes after the opener, we scored again through Ryan Christie. Some comedy defending from St Jojnstone helped to set up the next goal. Doran held the ball up well right on the bye line. The defenders seemed to nick it off him then parted like the Red Sea which allowed Shinnie to set up Ryan. Again, Mannus won't want to see too many repeat videos of this as Christie hammered a low shot goalwards from the left edge of the box, the ball once more going through the normally reliable keeper and into the net.

Christie was starting to run the show up front for Inverness and the goals prompted a double substitution by Tommy Wright as he introduced O'Halloran and Morgan for Lappin and Wotherspoon as we looked like going on to increase our lead.

Unfortunately our defence had other ideas and on more than one occasion we managed to carve out openings for St Johnstone who were finding it difficult to create their own.

Christie had won a free kick in a dangerous position but Shinnie showed that we need to do more practice on the training ground as he fired it well over.

We created our own downfall after 77 minutes as slack play on the left allowed Millar to send in an innocuous looking cross, but big Brian Graham was unchallenged as he nodded the ball low past a diving Brill.

Game on again and Perth sensed that we might create another opportunity for them and they weren't wrong. David Raven was caught out a few times today, losing the ball cheaply but he wasn't alone and Brill's rushed clearances were none too clever as we sat deeper and deeper as the game neared a conclusion.

However, despite having to give away a series of corners in the last few minutes we did hang on and the home fans were able to remove their fingers from over their eyes to applaud as the final whistle sounded.

Full Time 2-1

The highlights show that maybe something did happen in the first half, but it was all a bit Sunday League for my liking, more urgency after the break though and that has to be applauded .........

   

Similar to the Kilmarnock game, the first half was dire, but having kept a clean sheet we then moved up a gear and should have won this game without conceding, so one paced were St Johnstone. However we gifted them an opening they greatly accepted and we looked a bit rattled and relieved as the game ended with St Johnstone trying to get a point they barely deserved. We rightly won the game and I am thankful for the three points, but we will need to perform for ninety minutes against better teams. And can we please stop faffing around at the back, it almost cost us. That's all.

tm4tj MotM:- It's not often that the sponsors get it right but they managed to pick the right boy today, and that boy was Ryan Christie, one of only three contenders today. He looks a class apart and his creativity is starting to even baffle his own team mates. He was best assisted by Aaron Doran and Marley Watkins. I have to say, that the award is only for the second half as the first half never happened.
(what first half I hear you say)

Here's the view from the Perth camp....................

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 20/09/14 Venue: Caledonian Stadium    Attendance: 2770
Referee: Calum Murray
 
Inverness CT: 2
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Shinnie, Warren, Meekings, McKay, Draper, Doran (Ross 90), Watkins, Tansey, Christie (Williams 80)
Subs (not used): Esson, Polworth, Devine, Horner, Tremarco. 
Scorers: Watkins (61), Christie (66)
Booked: Draper (47), Watkins (72)
Sent Off: none
 
St Johnstone: 1
Lineup: Mannus, Mackay, Lappin (O'Halloran 67), Wright, Anderson, Millar, McDonald (Davidson 78), Wotherspoon (Morgan 70), Graham, Croft, Easton
Subs (not used): Banks, Caddis, Miller, Kerr
Scorers: Graham (78)
Booked: McDonald  (64)
Sent Off: none

 

 



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Inverness CT -V- St Johnstone - SPFL

Sep 19 2014 06:00 AM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15

Oh No !


Oh yes. Big news this week as a yes vote at the home of golf ensures that women will be allowed to join the once men only domain at St Andrews. It was a week where voting was all the rage. Despite the battle for Independence being lost, the war has been won by the people of Scotland who stood up for their country and ensured that changes will be made to the way that not only our country is being organised, but the whole of the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, football still goes on, and Inverness will be looking to get back on track after two defeats in a row, both away games in Glasgow, and both tricky ties in their own right for different reasons.

Perth are the visitors this weekend and that should provide Inverness with the ideal opportunity to bounce back after the disappointment of Ibrox where a deflected strike by Lewis Macleod was the difference between the sides as Inverness offered too little too late in the League Cup.

Our last Premiership game was at Partick, and we surrendered our unbeaten start to the campaign and with it our first goals after a great start to the season. One encouraging aspect was our ability to create chances, but the downside of that was our inability to take them with Billy McKay firing blanks once again although it's good to see Aaron Doran scoring freely.

St Johnstone without Stevie May is like Yes without No, Marks without Spencer, Laurel without Hardy, Vodka without coke, mince without tatties; I rest my case. It's no coincidence that they have been somewhat erratic since the young striker departed for the English Championship club Sheffield Wednesday. May has scored twice for the Owls since signing in the summer.

With May gone, Tommy Wright has acquired the services of Brian Graham on loan from Tayside rivals Dundee United. Graham has plenty of aerial presence and will be a useful addition to the Perth squad. Former St Mirren midfielder Simon Lappin has signed a two year deal after leaving Cardiff City where he never made a first team appearance.

Three wins and three defeats for St Johnstone see them sit in seventh place with nine points having scored just four times in six games. Their three victories were impressive enough, away to Ross County and Motherwell and at home to Aberdeen. Their last match was a 0-1 home defeat to newly promoted Dundee.

It is also worth noting that St Johnstone will be fined around £14.5k after a fan was reportedly waving a Palestinian flag at their recent UEFA Cup game against Spartak Trnava. That's a lot of dosh for provincial clubs to fork out for something outwith their control and maybe a lesson for all clubs and fans to ensure it is not repeated at other stadiums.


Who's throwing a sickie this week
Inverness will be able to recall captain Graeme Shinnie and powerful midfielder Ross Draper after both missed the cup game through suspension. Richie Foran will be out until around Xmas time and James Vincent is not fully fit. Draper was also carrying a knock after the Partick loss and will be assessed prior to the game.

Tam Scobbie and Steve MacLean will be out long term, possibly three to six months, both players suffering serious knee injuries and requiring operations to repair the damage. Good luck with recovery for both players. In MacLean's absence, Tommy Wright is hoping youngster Adam Morgan can push into the first X1 while the gaffer tries to secure another striker to help out. The unfortunately named Scott Brown is out after twisting his ankle against Dundee last week. Murray Davidson has not been to the barbers yet so I doubt he is fit enough to start, although he did play and score for the u20's against Hamilton this week.

 

Perth's Alan Mannus is confident St Johnstone can get something from this game

 

 

tm4tj Prediction:- It's not been the best of weeks for various reasons. Losing our clean sheets, unbeaten record and tumbling out of the League Cup to a team from the Championship makes for grim reading. But wait, it's not as bad as it looks. We were always going to concede and lose at some stage, so that particular monkey is off the back. We could have had a different outcome at Partick but need to take our chances as they come along. The Rangers was always going to be a tough game and so it proved, but there was very little between the sides and in fact it took a wickedly deflected shot to beat Brill and send us tumbling out of the cup. So, here we are now awaiting the presence of Perth, a side we will be vying for a top-six place with come the end of the season one would have thought. Given their loss of personnel in the shape of marksman Stevie May and our continuity, then I will be looking for a decisive win over injury hit St Johnstone. Anything else will be a disappointment. I'm looking for at least a 2-0 home win.
 



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Rangers -V- Inverness CT - LC

Sep 16 2014 06:40 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15

No Cup Run For ICT



Two days to go in the Yes No and the Union Jacks were out in full force at Ibrox. Many Bluenoses had disguised themselves as plastic seats as the game kicked off. As suggested, Ross Draper and Graeme Shinnie were suspended and Liam Polworth and Carl Tremarco filled the gaps with Ryan Christie resting on the bench, his place taken by Danny Williams.

The Rangers fielded the same team that crushed Raith Rovers, which meant that Jon Daly and David Templeton were on the bench.

Inverness were comfortable to play a containing game and keep the ball away from the home side which seemed to be working well in the early stages.

If I'm honest, it was an instantly forgettable first half of few opportunities. Kris Boyd probably had the best chance when after Inverness lost the ball in midfield, he found himself one-on-one with Dean Brill, but the big keeper stuck out a leg to block the ball and the chance was gone.

As forgettable as the game was, it was also interesting as Inverness frustrated The Rangers for long spells and our best chance of note saw Watkins latch onto a ball as he ran towards the box but his effort was easily stopped by Simonsen.

Half Time 0-0

The second period  began with Inverness keeping good possession and Tansey had a long range shot saved in the top corner. Mohsni almost got in a fankle as he dithered on the ball, losing concentration allowing Watkins to almost find a way through, as he clipped a ball to McKay who was also losing interest in the move, but it was just out of the strikers reach.

It was Inverness who were controlling the pace of the game with the Ibrox club chasing shadows, but as the score remained goalless, then the game was finely poised with The Rangers relying on breakouts from defence.

Midway through the half and still neither side were able to make the breakthrough, Inverness mopping up any sporadic attacks comfortably and forcing The Rangers into changing their plans. They did this by bringing on Templeton and Daly for Boyd and Aird in a double substitution, putting their cards on the table . Inverness reacted by bringing on Ryan Christie for Williams.

Templeton hit a rasping shot from the left corner and Inverness never heeded the warning as The Blues attacking intent became clear and a loose ball fell to Macleod whose shot was wickedly deflected behind Brill for the opener.

Inverness responded by forcing Simonsen into action, saving from McKay, with the game hotting up and at the other end Brill gathered a header from Daly with ease.

Inverness now had to throw caution to the wind and almost paid the price as Templeton surged forward, after Watkins appeared to be tripped outside The Rangers penalty box, but Brill managed to claw the ball away superbly.

A long range effort from Tansey trundled wide as the game slipped away from last seasons beaten finalists, the game now raging from end to end.

Another superb save from Brill as Black struck from outside the box and Inverness went up the other end, McKay winning a corner which was wasted as the game entered the last couple of minutes.

Mohsni gave away a free kick in the last minute but again the wee team held on as Black cleared off the line from Christie and a Warren headed 'goal' was ruled out, the cup shock was still on.

Despite Inverness' best efforts, it was all too little too late and they could not take the game to extra time as the referee blew for full time to end the ICT interest in the competition for this season.

Dean Brill did his best to keep out a keen Ibrox side and it took a wicked deflection off Meekings to beat him and he is my MotM.

Full Time 1-0

So there you go, cup shock at Ibrox as Championship side go into the next round at the expense of Premiership challengers. Four bookings in a game that took a while to ignite and a miserable crowd for Ibrox that won't best please the accountants.

 

 
Date: 16.09.2014 Venue: Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow Attendance: 15208
Referee: Crawford Allan
 
Rangers: 1
Lineup: Simonsen, McGregor, McCulloch, Mohsni, Wallace, Aird (Templeton 72), Black, Law, Macleod, Clark, Boyd (Daly 71)

Subs (not used):  Robinson, Smith, Peralta, Shiels, Zaliuskas

Scorers: Macleod (78)

Booked: Black (25), Macleod (43)
Sent Off: none

Inverness CT: 0
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Warren, Meekings, Tremarco, Polworth, Tansey, Williams (Christie 72), Doran, Watkins, Mckay

Subs (not used): Esson, Devine, Horner, Ross
Scorers: none
Booked: Doran (29), Tansey (41)
Sent Off: none
 



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The Rangers -V- Inverness CT - LC

Sep 15 2014 06:12 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15

Yes or No?



The Yes No debate gets into full swing on Tuesday night when Scotland take on England at Ibrox. The Saltire versus the Union Jack, the Highlanders versus the Lowlanders, Charles Edward Stuart versus William Augustus or simply Inverness Caledonian Thistle versus The Rangers.

Scottish League Cup action as Inverness travel to Ibrox on the back of a 3-1 pumping from the Kelvinsiders at the weekend, whereas The Rangers managed to overcome Kirkaldy by a whopping 4-0.

Inverness suffered their first defeat of the season at Partick. A rather untimely one with this league cup game at Ibrox coming along just three days later, and with Rangers on a high after moving to within one point of the top of the Championship table.

I suppose the monkey is off the back though after we lost our unbeaten start to the season and conceded our first goals of the campaign into the bargain. Make no bones about it, this is a tough encounter at the best of times, but more so after the weekend results. The Rangers are starting to click and will be a threat with their throngs of fans baying for the blood of a Premiership scalp.

One disappointing aspect of our defeat at Firhill was the inability of Billy McKay to hit the target once more, a rather worrying trend to be honest. Coupled with our poorest defensive display of the season and a lack of domination in midfield, then maybe Yogi will be looking to freshen things up a little. The league cup is not the most glamorous of competitions until the semi's and finals when all of a sudden it becomes worth winning. We enjoyed our run last season and it would be fun to emulate that again, but it won't be the end of the world if we fail to progress. We managed to get out of Ibrox with a result last year, but The Rangers are a different beast now, tailoring their squad to suit their predicament.

The bad boys of Govan are still in financial turmoil off the park and the Sons of Struth were voting to boycott Ibrox with Interpol connections and the naming rights for Ibrox being sold at Poundland not best pleasing the 'Bears'. Former commercial director Imran Ahmad is off most Gers fans Xmas card list but better news at the end of the week as they raised £3.13m from share issues.

Aye, it's no easy running a big club, but Inverness will get by on a shoestring.

Unfortunately for Inverness, The Rangers are in better shape on the park. Their bench against Raith Rovers would be the envy of most Premiership clubs with players such as Jon Daly, Marius Zaliukas, Dean Shiels and David Templeton able to assist first choices like Lee McCulloch, Lee Wallace, Nicky Law and Nicky Clark, and in Kris Boyd one of the most lethal strikers in the Scottish game. Let's not forget they also have former Inverness scallywag the tough tackling hothead Ian Black in their engine room and the size of the task can not be underestimated. Get past these players and the formidable Cammy Bell has to be beaten for us to make the next round, so it's not going to be a stroll in the park by any means.
 

Yogi and David Raven looked back to the defeat at Partick and ahead to the cup tie at Ibrox
 

   
 

Latest team news
Inverness:-
Ross Draper and Graeme Shinnie are both suspended for this cup game. Richie Foran is out and James Vincent is struggling to recover. Better news for Danny Devine though. He has played in recent development league games and could step in if selected.

The Rangers:- Retired International striker Kenny Miller is out of this game along with Cammy Bell who won't be risked as he recovers from a shoulder injury. Simonsen will continue between the sticks for the Glasgow club.

tm4tj Prediction:- Not an easy game to predict as the teams are playing at different levels, and the weekend results favoured the Ibrox club. Inverness will have to re-jig with big Ross Draper and captain Graeme Shinnie suspended. Billy McKay needs to get his boots on the right feet and he still looks as though he needs an assistant to help him out at times. Carl Tremarco will fill Shinnie's boots and possibly the more defensive minded Devine might be the preferred option to replace Draper for this tricky tie. Lewis Horner is another option for a place in midfield. We will need to keep Kris Boyd quiet as he does not faff around in front of goal and Lewis Macleod is proving to be an effective wide player. Bilel Mohsni has shown to be culpable at times and the fiery Ian Black can be a liability and maybe we can put some pressure on these players looking for a chink in the armour. This might take penalties to separate the sides and it would be a braver man than me to suggest we might go through after 90 minutes. Scoring draw and penalty shoot out win for the big team.


 



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Partick Th -V- Inverness CT - SPFL

Sep 13 2014 02:08 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15

Just Like Buses

 

 

Absolutely. You see none for long enough then three come along at the same time. Partick rubbished their recent poor form to hand Inverness their first defeat of the season. Not only that, but our first goal conceded, then another, and another in a 3-1 reverse.

 

Aaron Doran had given Inverness an early lead but before the interval Partick had ended our goals against record with strikes from Steven Lawless and Abdul Osman. Danger-man Kallum Higgenbotham completed the scoring with a second half goal which was sufficient to knock Inverness off our perch at the top of the table and hand the onus to Hamilton Academical. Partick had the luxury of missing a late penalty, but were never threatened by Inverness who were obviously afflicted by the curse of the Manager of the Month award.

 

RossP has a full match report ready for us...................

 

 

Manager of the Month curse strikes...

In a week where many of the country have filed complaints to the bias reporting of our BBC (with regards to a certain vote coming up), I would anticipate a similar level of grievance from the ICT fans watching today's refereeing performance. John Rowbotham lookalike Stephen Finnie spent the game awarding a variety of baffling decisions, from turning a blind eye to Partick players' dangerous challenges and time wasting tactics; whilst also strangely letting the likes of Watkins and Warren away with very physical retaliation! This was a game that reminded me of the semi-final against Hearts last season where we were naive, conceding cheap free kicks and allowing Partick to disrupt the tempo of the match.

Inverness began in a positive fashion however, where we took an early lead - an outstanding interchange between Raven and the forward players, leaving Doran with a chance to sweep the ball into the bottom corner. An excellent goal where we moved the ball up to the final third quickly and incisively. Unfortunately that was one of the very few times we showed that level of urgency.

Partick were soon on level terms with an equaliser from the diminutive Lawless. Shinnie was hugely at fault for not noticing early on that Lawless only had a left foot. This lack of a awareness led to him giving the right midfielder the freedom of Firhill to come inside and aim a shot into the bottom corner of the net. Incredibly disappointing to lose such a cheap goal after so many minutes of resolute defending.

A few minutes later ICT had an excellent opportunity to equalise with Tansey dithering over a shot from outside the box, with Fox stranded after a failed attempt to dispossess Mckay. Immediately following this chance, Partick won a corner and edged ahead with a powerful header from Abdul Osman who rose above his markers. Several children in the crowd voiced their dismay at the lack of cover on the post... I'm sure there was a tactical reason for Hughes to leave it empty that us armchair tacticians (and infants) wouldn't understand.

Chances for both teams came and went before the end of the half, with Mckay failing to convert Doran's wayward chip and fashioning a weak overhead kick. The whistle to complete the half was met with boos from the away crowd, directed at the antics of Higginbotham and the reluctance of Finnie to discipline his behaviour.

 

Half Time 2-1

ICT came onto the pitch early for the second half, eager to atone for the poor first half. It was clear however that Draper was not fit to continue, feeling his right knee/thigh while he moved. Despite this, it took 10 minutes for Williams to take the place in the centre of midfield. This was the moment that ICT then lost the middle of the pitch, allowing Partick to collect the loose balls and keep the majority of play in our half. The writing was further on the wall with Osman losing control of his legs after getting an elbow injury, Higginbotham not able to move one metre to the byline when grounded and Fox time wasting from the very beginning of the half.

Partick sealed the result with an opportune 3rd goal, where villain of the day Higginbotham converted a cut back following a wild clearance from our defence. Chances to get back into the game were few for ICT and tended to come from the cross field passes from defence to the wide midfielders. Watkins had a goal rightly ruled out for offside and Shinnie was one of many players to dither too long on the ball near the 18 yard box. A cheap penalty was conceded by Warren in the final moments, with Brill saving well from the Partick No. 9, Kris Doolan.

 

Full Time 3-1

 



A deserved loss, where Partick were by far the more effective team. We were lackadaisical in possession and when closing down the opposition. Christie found himself dropping very deep to get possession and Mckay didn't display the same kind of movement and sharpness he'd shown earlier in the campaign. Naive defending and reaction to 'sportsmanship' led further to our demise. Very few players achieved pass marks today, with only perhaps Raven and Watkins on the right hand side performing to our high expectations.

This was the game for Hughes to use the likes of Ross, Williams and Polworth to freshen up the team. Now he has a selection headache for Tuesday v Rangers in the cup, where he has to decide whether to keep a team that showed lethargy today or bring in fresh legs against a team full of confidence. Whatever his decision, this game will likely have a huge baring on getting our season back on track.

 

 
Date: 13.09.2014 Venue: Firhill Stadium, Glasgow Attendance: 2917
Referee: Stephen Finnie
 
Partick Th: 3
Lineup: Fox, McMillan, Seaborne, Balatoni, Carroll, Higginbotham (Elliott 84), Bannigan, Osman, Lawless (McDaid 90), Doolan, Stevenson (Craigen 76)

Subs (not used):  Gallacher, O'Donnell, Muirhead, Wilson

Scorers: Lawless (19), Osman (23), Higginbotham (72)

Booked: Bannigan (45), Higginbotham (51)
Sent Off: none

Inverness CT: 1
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Warren, Meekings, Shinnie, Watkins, Draper (Williams 56), Tansey, Christie (Polworth 72), McKay, Doran

Subs (not used): Esson, Tremarco, Devine, Sutherland, Ross
Scorers: Doran (13)
Booked: Draper (11), Watkins (80)
Sent Off: none
 




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Partick Thistle v Inverness CT - SPFL

Sep 08 2014 11:33 AM | RossP in Previews 2014-15

“One Glasgow team beaten, two to go”

 

 

A tough away fixture this week as Inverness take on Partick Thistle at Firhill, a ground that we are not overly familiar with being victorious at, with only two wins in ten attempts.

Inverness received a boost prior to heading south with the news that the club scooped all three awards from the Scottish Premiership for the month of August. John Hughes, Ross Draper and Ryan Christie picked up the gongs as Manager, player and young player of the month. Fantastic recognition for Yogi's new style of play and just reward for the players carrying out their orders and executing it to perfection so far.

 

Iain Auld chats to Yogi about the awards and RossP picked out Kallum Higginbotham as a threat, check out this clip to see a tale of the unexpected.

 

   

 

RossP has been studying form for this game and his preview is ready for your viewing....................

 

Partick Thistle v. Inverness Caledonian Thistle
 
Saturday’s match v. Partick Thistle is the first of two trips to Glasgow in quick succession, with the League Cup game v. Rangers taking place three days after. Our trips south this season have been profitable thus far, following wins against Motherwell and Hamilton. John Hughes will look to continue this good form after the unwelcome interruption of the international break, unlike the previous season when we returned to club football with a 2-1 defeat at home to Partick.
 
Previous meetings/Current form
Partick and Inverness have played each other 24 times competitively and have shared the spoils evenly, with both teams earning 8 wins and drawing 6 times. Such is the close competition between the teams, which the last 8 games have not seen either side win by more than one goal. With this in mind it is essential that Inverness continue their flawless defensive record, where Dean Brill has gone 598 minutes without conceding in the SPFL; a record only bettered by Celtic’s former goal keeper Fraser Forster.
 
The last game between the sides saw Inverness earn a 1-0 home win with Billy Mckay getting the only goal. What jumped out when I looked back at the team that day is that every player in the match day squad has been retained this season, further highlighting our efforts in ensuring personnel continuity.
 
On the topic of continuity… Partick Thistle got their season off to a flier with a comprehensive 4-0 win v a Ross County side that featured more than half a dozen players making their debut. After having to wait until February for a home win last season, Alan Archibald will have been delighted to come up against such a poor team as County that early in this campaign. Partick’s form has dropped somewhat since that emphatic win however, with only a point being earned from their next three games v. Dundee, Hamilton and Aberdeen.
 
 
Dangermen
Kallum Higginbotham – A diminutive winger, who scored an impressive 9 goals last season and topped the assist table with 11 goals created. He is a skilful player, who drives at opposition full backs and looks to cut inside to get a shot at goal. Higginbotham’s goals tend to be long range efforts, so expect him to strike the ball early whenever he gets a sight at goal. Referees have also taken note of his tendency to anticipate challenges, as demonstrated by his yellow card for diving earlier this season.
 
Ryan Stevenson – Striker/midfielder, recently joined from relegated Hearts. Stevenson will likely be fired up for this game following a humiliating semi-final defeat to Inverness, where he is remembered for high-fiving Hearts fans as he went to take a corner, seconds before Nick Ross scored our dramatic equaliser. Like Higginbotham, he is capable of scoring spectacular goals.
 
Gary Fraser – A player who has excelled this season, where he’s provided steel in the middle of the pitch, in addition to a goal threat. His excellent start to the campaign has somewhat buried his negative early days at Partick where he was given a lengthy ban for "punching a player on the opposing team" and "thereafter kicking him repeatedly on the head and body" in an under 20 game. I don’t think he would be stupid enough to try a similar approach to Ross Draper…
 
Latest Team News
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
ICT should have a near fully fit squad to choose from, with only Richie Foran still missing. Warren, Devine and Vincent have all missed some games this season but all are back in training and looking to get back into the first eleven. Billy Mckay returns in high spirits from his match winning contribution in Hungary for the Northern Ireland national team, whilst Ryan Christie may require some rest after his travels to Slovakia and Luxembourg this week with the Scotland Under 21 squad.
 
Partick Thistle
It should be a full strength squad for Partick, who will want to get their season back on track as soon as possible. They have added to their team with the signing of Nathan Eccleston prior to today’s game; a striker who has spent much of his career on loan to various lower league teams from Liverpool and Blackpool. His scoring record of 5 goals from 60 career games in the English Leagues won’t be giving Dean Brill too many nightmares, should he start. Goalkeeper Scott Fox also returns from suspension following his absurd red card v. Dundee, and Archibald may be tempted to restore him between the sticks following their recent SPFL defeats. Whoever Archibald picks in goals, Partick fans will be concerned about their defenders in front, with Balatoni and Muirhead delivering unconvincing performances so far and some indecision on who their strongest fullbacks are. Latest news coming from Firhill has Gary Fraser out for a possible three months with a knee stress fracture, and he is not alone as Sean Welsh misses out as well.  


RossP Prediction:-
I don’t see there being too many goals in this game and with the recent matches between the sides keeping them at most 1 goal apart, I would anticipate a similar outcome in Saturday’s game. Straight from the football cliché looker – the first goal is vital. If Inverness open the scoring, most bookies would provide extremely high odds for us then coming away without any points. However, I worry that the international break has broken our momentum somewhat and would not be surprised if the match finished a draw. My heart says 1-0 ICT win, but my head (and bookies slip) will say 1-1. I hope that Hughes gives Ryan Christie a rest for this game, to recover from what has been a physically draining start to the season for the young star. In his place I would like to see Nick Ross make a start as he will do the necessary closing down of opposition players and still be able to provide the creative passes that Christie has given the team since he burst into the side. Ross would also go into the team in good form, having scored against Aberdeen in a recent Development League match.
 
                                 How I think John Hughes will line up:                                                       How I would line up:
 
               080914103001.png     080914103207.png



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Inverness CT -V- Kilmarnock - SPFL

Aug 30 2014 01:26 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15

Another Clean Sheet

 

 

Inverness eased past a lifeless Kilmarnock with relative ease as they built on another clean sheet to pull away in the second half with a superb team goal from Aaron Doran and a thunderous strike from Greg Tansey that eventually found the net off the keepers back. The first half was verging on tedium with Inverness always holding the trump cards, but defences were on top and chances were at a premium. The second period saw Inverness move smoothly through the gears whilst Kilmarnock remained in neutral and there was only going to be one winner.

 

This result sees Inverness sitting on top of the league, unbeaten, unbreached, and understandably chuffed.

 

Capital Caley will have a report for us before he turns into a Heed Army disciple............Or maybe not, you'll have to put up with me again.

 

A miserably wet night and early morning gave way to some rays of solar luminance and by the time kick off arrived at 3:00pm the ground was swathed in bright sunshine for what promised to be an entertaining game.

Dean Brill and the defence are setting new standards at Inverness this season with their fourth clean sheet in a row, could they make it five and total 600 goal free minutes.

Still no Richie Foran or Danny Devine for the home side and James Vincent was also absent again. Aaron Doran featured from the start, but Gary Warren pulled a late sickie and Ross Draper dropped into a defensive role. Kilmarnock had the giant Michael Ngoo on from the start with the impressive Robbie Muirhead dropping to the bench alongside former Scotland International Lee Miller and the elegant but somewhat overweight Alexei Eremenko. Aaron Doran has a long way to go to catch up with 'Tubby' Eremenko.

To say this game took a while to warm up is a bit of an understatement.

Inverness weaved some pretty patterns around the pitch as Killie seemed intent on not conceding. Neither side made much headway to be honest and it was about ten minutes before half time when Doran curled an effort just over from his trademark position on the left side of the box.

Five minutes before the break and Ngoo headed over from a good position but he had been well marshalled by makeshift defender Ross Draper and his partner Josh Meekings.

Half Time 0-0

Right from the restart there looked to be more urgency about Inverness and Doran raced onto a long through ball but the keeper just beat him to it.

The passing was slicker and more direct with Killie struggling to get a hold of the ball and a good passing move ended with Shinnie firing a 25 yard effort on target, unfortunately too straight at the keeper who palmed the ball to safety.

The passing game was in full flow now and a slick combination saw Watkins skip into the box and although there appeared to be a tangle of legs, no penalty was given with Watkins spread-eagled on the turf.

An eight man move ended with Doran clipping a tidy ball to the back post where Raven met it with his head only for Letheren to dive full length to turn the ball round the post for a corner.

Better was yet to come and a ten man move started on the edge of Brill's box ended with Shinnie threading Doran through on goal and the cheeky chappy deftly dinked the ball through Letheren's legs for a sensational team goal. Doran seemed delighted by this and celebrated with the fans behind the goal at the foot of the North Stand which earned the Irishman a yellow card, but it was worth it.

Another swift move saw substitute Nick Ross involved, but not in the way he would have liked. Watkins sprinted into the box and teed up McKay who hit a shot towards the top corner, however it was nasty Nick this time as he blocked the ball with his chest sending him onto the turf. But wait, fortunately for Nick, the ball eventually rebounded to the feet of Greg Tansey some forty five yards out. Now Greg, as we know likes to crack the ball pretty hard. He looked up, took a few strides forward and absolutely leathered the ball towards the postage stamp corner of the goal. Letheren flew across his line but the ball crashed of the junction of bar and post and ricocheted onto Letheren's back, from there it bounced behind him into the net for a stunning second Inverness goal.

Full Time 2-0

A comfortable and comprehensive win for Inverness after a slow start where both teams jostled for possession. Inverness upped the anti after the break and Killie were second best from there on in. Two stunning goals and another clean sheet, not a bad afternoon for Yogi's slick side. Kilmarnock never looked like scoring and can have no complaints about the manner of the defeat which leaves Inverness sitting on top of the league with thirteen points from five games.

 

Highlights can be seen here and Calum Tomato put Yogi through his paces after the Killie game......

 

  

tm4tj MotM:- Plenty of good performances once more from the home side. Ross Draper could have a career as a centre back when he gets fed up of being a midfielder. Greg Tansey is spraying the ball around and his goal was a belter. Josh Meekings showed once again that he is one of the best centre backs in the division and some of the interplay between midfield and front was a joy to behold in that second half. For me, Ross Draper just nicks it for a tremendous display in an abnormal position, but what a great team performance in that second period.

One man who gets few points from today's game was Dean Brill who could have sat in the North Stand for all he was asked to do, but the fifth clean sheet has set a new club record and that is fantastic reward for solid displays from Dean and the defence.

 

 

 
Date: 30/08/14 Venue: Caledonian Stadium    Attendance: 3830
Referee: John Beaton
 
Inverness CT: 2
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Meekings, Draper, Shinnie, Watkins, Tansey, Williams, Doran, Christie (Ross 76), McKay
Subs (not used): Esson, Devine, Horner, Tremarco, Polworth 
Scorers: Doran (75), Tansey (80)
Booked: Tansey (67), Doran (76)
Sent Off: none
 
Kilmarnock: 0
Lineup: Samson, Barbour, Connolly, Pascali, Chantler, McKenzie (Johnston 46), Hamill, Clingan (Miller 78), Slater, Ngoo (Eremenko 55), Magennis
Subs (not used): Brennan, Cairney, Ashcroft, Muirhead
Scorers: none
Booked: Eremenko (86)
Sent Off: none


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Inverness CT -V- Kilmarnock - SPFL

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.



tm4tj Prediction:-

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.

 



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Inverness CT -V- Celtic - SPFL

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)
Booked: none
Sent Off: none
 
Celtic: 0
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
Scorers: none
Booked: none
Sent Off: none



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Inverness CT -V- Celtic - SPFL

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.



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Motherwell -v- Inverness CT - SPFL

Aug 16 2014 02:19 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15

Well Done


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
 
Motherwell: 0
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
Scorers: none
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)
Booked: none
Sent Off: none
 



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Motherwell -V- Inverness CT - SPFL

Aug 15 2014 07:06 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15

Passing Time



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.



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Inverness CT -V- Dundee - SPFL

Aug 13 2014 06:23 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15

Inverness should have been on a high after their opening day win as Dundee unfurled their Championship flag in a draw against Kilmarnock before coming North for this midweek fixture

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Inverness CT -V- Dundee - SPFL

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.

Form
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.

Player availability
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.

 

@RossP_ICT



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Hamilton Accies -V- Inverness CT - SPFL

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.

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Hamilton Accies -V- Inverness CT - SPFL

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.

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Pre-Season 2014-2015

Jul 19 2014 06:08 PM | tm4tj in News 2014-15

Here's a brief round up of our pre-season ahead of the 2014-2015 campaign which begins in earnest on Saturday 9th August with a tough away trip to newly promoted Hamilton Accies

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