Dec 19 2014 08:11 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
Time to Regroup
Last weeks result showed that nothing is certain in football, and with an away trip to Perth on the cards this weekend then it would take a brave man to be confident about predicting the outcome of this one. This encounter is traditionally a tight affair, although last October St Johnstone did what Partick did to us, hammered us 4-0.
It was a game to forget in the Highlands as Partick did their homework and pressed us so hard they squeezed the ball into the net four times in what turned out to be a disastrous afternoon for Inverness where nothing went right. It might have been different had Marley Watkins been able to take full advantage when he muscled into the box early on, but he shot across the keeper and past the wrong side of the post. It went from bad to worse and Dean Brill will have better days. In fairness to him, his defenders let him down badly and the retention passing game was non existent as we handed possession over to Partick. They needed no second prompting and deservedly cuffed us.
However, that was last week and Yogi has been busy trying to address the issues. Partick had our cards marked and their pressing game forced us to make errors. Maybe this week we might make one back pass less and that could help to raise the tempo. Whatever was the problem, I hope it's fixed before we take on St Johnstone with half the league bunching up a point or two below us.
Ryan Christie and Aaron Doran could make the starting eleven this week. They have been playing great wee cameo's recently coming on late in the games. We were crying out for some creativity and tenacity against Partick but by the time they entered the fray the game was lost. Carl Tremarco is another who could be pushing for a start.
Since that 4-0 defeat at Perth, we have won the last four encounters, scoring six and conceding only once in the process. We sit second in the table on 32 points, 9 points above St Johnstone in sixth place. Our goal difference is 10 better than Perth's, but another heavy defeat will eat into that quickly.
LAM, that's life after May, has seen the Perth Saints struggle to get into their stride at the start of the season. However, they are unbeaten in their last six league games, and three wins on the bounce has seen them clamber into the top six. They see this as a springboard to challenge for a Europen place with winnable games coming up over the festive period. Michael O'Halloran and Brian Graham are men on form right now scoring seven times over the last six games and will be looking to add to their tallies for the season. Murray Davidson is getting back into the swing of it after being out injured and St Johnstone will be looking to consolidate their place in the top-six.
Inverness are smarting after the Partick debacle and Hughes is threatening to shuffle the pack a bit to freshen up the side. Christie and Doran spring to mind as well as Tremarco, but others like Polworth, Devine and Ross could play a part. Dean Brill will be looking over his shoulders after last weeks poor performance and Ryan Esson is another who is experienced enough to play without letting the standards of the team drop.
Not much team news from Inverness apart from that age old story about Richie Foran being in rehab. More interesting information coming from Perth and the news that James McFadden is out with a hamstring strain. That has to cheer up the Inverness camp surely. Tommy Wright has no squabbles over his replacement though as David Wotherspoon has filled the role effectively, but he is hoping to have Faddy back for their Tayside derby next week.
tm4tj prediction:- If we have gotten over last weeks mayhem, then we could get back on track with a win at Perth. It's not one of our favourite grounds to take points from but without McFadden, then that's one danger man eliminated. However, I'll err on the side of caution and settle for a share of the points in a scoring draw. 1-1 should see both camps happy enough for Xmas.
Dec 13 2014 04:15 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15
Inverness fans took a sore one as they watched their team being dismantled by an energetic Partick Thistle in the battle of the Jags.
It was a day to forget for the Caley Jags side as their unbeaten home run was ended in spectacular style by a team that have sussed us out big time. While we tapped the ball around the back quarter in tentative style, Partick's cut and thrust won the day and they deservedly crushed us 4-0. Much of this was down to our own error ridden display, but take nothing away from Partick, they took full advantage of the situation and trounced us with their high intensity pressing game.
Two first half goals from Ryan Stevenson were added to after the break by Gary Fraser and Conrad Balatoni. Inverness had a couple of strikes ruled out for interference by Billy McKay from a Raven shot and a couple of interlopers who took to the field to relieve the boredom. (naughty boys, don't do this at home children).
Rig has posted this excellent report and it's too good not to use..................
That performance and result! How else can you react to something like that? Abysmal from ICT today and what a way for the unbeaten home record to go. Our normally reliant defence was all at sea today. Midfield never got going and we struggled to create anything up front. Every player, maybe except Tansey, should be pretty disappointed with how they played today.
First chance of the game went the way of ICT when Watkins sprang the offside trap but his low shot went wide of Gallachers right post. We perhaps started the better of the two teams but Partick took the lead thanks to a mistake at the back which set the tone for the day. Elliot was able to send a cross in from the ICT left side and as Brill waited to collect the low ball Stevenson stole in just in front of him and poked the ball into the net. Rotten goal from an ICT perspective but it was excellent anticipation from Stevenson to nip in and grab the opener.
ICT tried to get back into things but Partick were all over them pressing Inverness high up the pitch. Partick had clearly cottoned onto the desire to play the ball around at the back or, at goal kicks, short to either the centre backs or wide to Shinnie or Raven sitting on the left or right touchline. At one goal kick, when most players tend to congregate on one side of the pitch on the half way line, Partick had around six players inside the Inverness half anticipating a short ball from Brill to his defenders or a short lofted pass to the flanks. Time and time again Partick chased and harassed the Caley players who tried to pass it out from the back and each time the Inverness players were forced back or conceded possession.
The second goal was a direct result of this intense pressing game. A short ball from Brill to Warren was closed down and the ball won back by Higginbotham who turned and fed the onrushing Stevenson who coolly placed a shot beyond Brill. Having the luxury of watching the second goal again, I didn't realise that we had struggled to clear the ball so badly. I had initially thought we played it short to Warren but we were hemmed in by Thistle, ball back to Brill, clearance gets headed back towards our goal and Higginbotham wins a header which is then flicked into the path of Stevenson. Still not great from our point of view. For the rest of the half ICT were restricted to long range efforts with Tansey being denied twice by Gallacher. Brill then stopped it becoming 3 - 0 when he produced an outrageous save from a Seaborne header. it was a bit like the save Mikey Fraser pulled off in a win over Celtic.
Half Time 0-2
Into the second half and ICT started well but Partick made it 3 - 0 when a cross came in from the ICT left and Fraser leapt highest to nod in via the bar. It looked like Brill should probably have come to claim the cross as he didn't look too far away from it but that may be harsh as my view from the other end of the ground may not be the best. Game over.
Caley tried to at least get on the score sheet and there followed an incident packed couple of minutes. Draper burst into the Partick penalty area and tried to find a team mate to pass to but pressed on towards goal before tumbling over under pressure from a couple of opponents. It looked like a reasonable claim for a spot kick but I wasn't completely convinced and, more importantly, neither was Beaton and he waved play on. Tansey struck another wide range effort not long after which Gallacher was equal to as he sprang to his right and pushed it round the post. From the resultant corner Warren went tumbling over in the box and there were more claims for a penalty and again Beaton waved them away. The ball was cleared to Raven who smashed the ball into the net from about 30 yards but Beaton ruled that Mckay was offside and as he ducked out of the way of the ball he was interfering with play. Will be interesting to see that one again but alternative maryhill who was at the game said Mckay also tried to the flick the ball on so perhaps it was the right decision.
Partick grabbed a fourth with another cross from the ICT left which was headed in this time by Balatoni. After this the game pretty much fizzled out. Partick had done their job and sat back and defended for the rest of the game. ICT prodded and probed but struggled to break down the Partick defence. The only incident of note was when Gallacher tried to take a goal kick and two young ICT fans ran onto the pitch, one tried to pull down his shorts and the other 'scored' a goal. Gallacher seemed to take it well and when I asked him after the game what he thought of it he said that he was raging he hadn't kept a clean sheet.
Full Time 0-4
Partick just seem to have our number this season and I can't say I am looking forward to the Cup game in February. We need to try and find a way to combat the apparent high intensity, pressing game that they employ against us otherwise we will be getting thrashed again in a couple of months.
Rig has it spot on. We were the architect's of our own downfall. Brill won't want to see some of the goals again although he did pull off a tremendous save just before half time. Our only threat, albeit from long range was Tansey who struck at least four on target that Gallacher was able to keep out and he get's my MotM, just ahead of the two rogues who 'invaded' the pitch.
Date: 13.12.2014 Venue: Caledonian Stadium, Inverness Attendance: 2723
Referee: John Beaton
Inverness CT: 0
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Warren, Meekings, Shinnie, Vincent (Doran 65), Tansey, Draper (Christie 65), Williams, Watkins, McKay
Subs (not used): Esson, Ross, Devine, Tremarco, Polworth
Sent Off: none
Partick Th: 4
Lineup: Gallacher, O'Donnell, Balatoni, Seaborne, McMillan, Osman, Bannigan (Wilson 82), Elliott, Fraser, Higginbotham (Lawless 74), Stevenson (Eccleston 80)
Subs (not used): Fox, Craigen, Lindsay, McDaid
Scorers: Stevenson (12, 40), Fraser (49), Balatoni (56)
Booked: Elliot (35)
Sent Off: none
Dec 12 2014 08:42 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
Tale of two Jags
Inverness face one of only three teams to have taken all three points off them so far this season. It's the Harry Wraggs who come North, weather permitting on Saturday for week 16 of the SPFL Premiership campaign, almost half way to the dreaded split.
The league table does not normally lie, but Partick sit ninth on sixteen points, exactly half the total of their hosts tomorrow. That's hard to explain really, considering they gave us a doing at Firhill in September. Aaron Doran had given Inverness an early lead but ten minutes later Partick turned that around to go 2-1 ahead with goals from Steven Lawless and Abdul Osman. Partick were buzzing around and despite Inverness getting to grips with the game in the second half, they fell further behind from a stunning strike by Kallum Higginbotham. They even threw away the opportunity of a fourth when Kris Doolan missed a late spot kick. What made this result hard to bear was the fact that Inverness had not conceded any goals in the previous five league games since the start of the season, but Partick destroyed that run in what was an excellent result for them.
Since then, we have gone on a decent run, winning six and losing two (Dons & Celtic away), and a derby draw with County. Partick have lost five league games over the same period, the lowlight being a 3-0 defeat at Rugby Park. They also suffered badly at the hands of Celtic in the League Cup quarter final, losing 6-0, but they fared better in a recent premiership game losing 1-0.
Partick on their day can be as adventurous as the best of them, their Achilles heel has been defensive frailties which is something Inverness can capitalise on, especially at home. We are unbeaten at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium this season, the only blemishes being the draw with relegation candidates Dross County, and the midweek draw with Dundee. One complaint from the home fans is that it usually takes half a game to get into top gear, but early goals in the cup replay against St Mirren showed that we can start early and finish strong as well.
Inverness' only concern is the permanently injured Richie Foran.
Partick Thistle have worries over defenders Frederic Frans and Jake Carroll. Jordan McMillan is back training and Nathan Eccleston looks set to return.
John Hughes has been singing the praises of his squad after his subs made an impact at Dens Park and his main conundrum is whether any of the substitutes warrant a start ahead of the regular X1. It's a luxury we have not always been afforded, and having explosive guys like Aaron Doran and Ryan Christie on the bench is always a plus agaist tiring defences. Yogi has also been fending off other clubs who are reported to be showing an interest in hot property, Ryan Christie. Not for sale is the message from Yogi.
tm4tj prediction:- I'm taking Inverness to exact revenge on the Harry Wraggs with a reversal of the September scoreline. We have been consistently solid at home and our second half surges are getting reminiscent of the olde Pele days. Home win for me, by 3-1.
Dec 06 2014 02:23 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15
Late show at Dens Park
A late counter from Ryan Christie nicked the points for Inverness in a close encounter at Dens Park. Greg Stewart tapped in at the back post to open the scoring after 21 minutes, but who else, Billy McKay squeezed in the equaliser before the hour with Christie's goal coming just before the ninety minutes were up.
On form David Clarkson failed to keep his sensational scoring spree going and Inverness came from behind to take all three points back up the A9. This result tucked Inverness in below Celtic in second place and Dundee slipped just out of the top-six.
Reporters were in short supply this weekend, but our own Inverness fans have their say on how the team performed at Dens Park.............
Rig thought we were a bit below par, but still went home chuffed:- Fantastic result for us. I don't think we played that well but to not perform that well and still get the three points is a great outcome. Good chances for both sides seemed to be few and far between. Dundee, as others have said, edged the first half whilst we had the better of the second.
Disappointing goal to concede for the opener from an ICT perspective. Free kick looped to the back post and we seemed to lose track of the ball and the Dundee players which let Stewart steal in at the back to side foot home. We didn't really get going in an attacking sense in the first half. Perhaps our best chance was from a Tansey corner which was met by Meekings and his header crashed off the bar.
I'm still not sure how we equalised to be honest. Mckay found himself with space to pick a shot which Bain seemed to save then it came off Mckay and or a Dundee defender and ended up in the net.
After this we upped our game and the substitutes swung it for us. Doran and Christie gave us more of a spark up front and the latter grabbed the winner when Watkins beat McPake to a ball down the touchline and crossed for Christie and it looked like he stuck out his foot to poke the ball in beyond Bain.
Aside from our goals and the Meekings header I felt we were relatively toothless going forward. Especially after our recent attacking performances against Motherwell, Hamilton and St Mirren. Dundee marshalled us pretty well and I felt we did likewise with the likes of Clarkson barely getting a sniff.
AJS observed the proceedings similarly:- Game was not a classic in terms of quality. We struggled to keep our shape and found it hard to get in behind Dundee in the first half. They are not much of a team to watch themselves, relying heavily on set pieces to create chances which they got their goal from, players like Tansey and Williams were struggling to get time on the ball to knock it about.
2nd half saw us making better use of the wings, huge chunk of luck for Billy's goal but when you play well you get the breaks like that, the introduction of Doran and Christie was well timed, we really took the game to Dundee late on and grabbed the chance that came our way, good ball in and a great finish from Ryan to create some late scenes in the away end.
Given his current form Clarkson was in the thinking im sure but thought Warren and Meekings did well to keep him quiet. He showed some decent touches but never got a sniff at goal.
Signs of a great team when you play poorly but win, we ever stopped trying and got rewarded for our efforts. Yogi deserves credit for the double change. It's what won us the game.
Davie added:- Pace of the game was a bit slower, mainly because Dundee had to overload the midfield to snuff us out. That and the fact that it was really windy out on what was a pretty scabby looking lumpy pitch. We did really well to win this one. It seems Ryan Christie got booked for leaving the field of play whilst celebrating. Presumably Mr. Collum didn't see how greasy that area of the pitch was and if Ryan had tried to stop or turn he would have been on his arse in double quick time. Never fear.
Here's the proof that we can come from behind
Yogi and Billy chat after the Dens Park win..............
CTO fans had Marley Watkins once again as our most valuable player with Danny Williams also producing another busy performance. Warren and Makay were others who got nods of approval. John Hughes though is gaining more fans as the season grows and it's hats doffed for Yogi as humble pie gets scoffed in copious amounts every week.
Date: 06.12.2014 Venue: Dens Park, Dundee Attendance: 5400
Referee: Willie Collum
Lineup: Bain, McGinn, Konrad, McPake, Irvine, Thomson (McBride 71), McAlister, Boyle (Tankulic 62), Harkins, Stewart (Ferry 39), Clarkson
Subs (not used): Schenk, Dyer, Roberts, Wighton
Scorers: Stewart (21)
Booked: Ferry (60), Tankulic (85)
Sent Off: none
Inverness CT: 2
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Meekings, Warren, Shinnie, Vincent (Christie 71), Draper (Ross 84), Tansey, Williams, Watkins, McKay (Doran 71)
Subs (not used): Esson, Devine, Tremarco, Polworth
Scorers: Mckay (55), Christie (88)
Booked: Christie (88)
Sent Off: none
Dec 05 2014 08:07 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
Dens Draw on the Cards
A tough day is anticipated ahead of the visit to the City of Discovery to play Dundee, a team on the up and playing with confidence right now. The news that the incompetent Willie Collum will be in control (that's a bit of a misnomer) makes everyone's task even more difficult. The previous encounter this season saw Dundee earn a point in a midweek fixture in the Highlands with a goalless draw.
One man to watch on Saturday is former Motherwell striker David Clarkson. He is on a run just now having scored eight goals in eight games and will be worth keeping an eye on. That's a great return for the Bellshill lad whose last season at Bristol Rovers was plagued by injury
Dundee are without midfielder Paul McGowan, still suffering from a knee injury, (aye right), and Peter MacDonald who will miss out as well. Scott Bain will keep the goalies jersey with Kyle Letheren still out. Bain performed heroics last weekend in the cup win over Aberdeen.
Inverness are at full strength with captain Richie Foran the only exception to the rule.
Ginger Jaggy has been doing the homework for this Preview.............
Celtic have hit top spot and the likelihood is that they will stay there until the end of the season but Caley Thistle have a duty to push the champions all the way as best of the rest. John Hughes’ charges have been fantastic so far and will go out to prove to Celtic that surprises come in small packages. Next up is a tricky away game in the City of Discovery against the dark blue side of Dundee. Dundee is one of two teams in the league who have come North and taken anything away from the Caledonian Stadium, so Saturday is our turn to take the points along the A9.
Paul Hartley has had a great start to his management career. After successive promotions with Alloa Athletic, he then promoted Dundee to the top flight to make it three on the trot. With this record comes an exciting brand of football which has seen the Dark Blues climb into the top six currently.
The signing of David Clarkson has been remarkable as he has scored in 8 successive games including a last minute winner to knock fancied Aberdeen out of the Scottish Cup. Dundee has recruited well in the summer and since the signing of Clarkson it has all come together to make Dundee almost safe already. The good times could be returning to the city with Neighbours United starting to compete up the table on a more regular basis. James McPake has added steel and experience at the back while additions of Paul McGowan (injured) and Gary Harkins (in his 3rd spell at the club) have added flair and guile. Harkins alongside Leigh Griffiths were the main protagonists in their side when we humiliated them by overturning a 16 point lead to win the 1st division by 12 points. Griffiths may have gone and Harkins has aged somewhat since his period as a prolific goal scoring midfielder, but he still has the class and quality to cause us problems. A lot of what is good about Dundee’s football comes through the Greenock born midfielder so if Inverness can keep him quiet then that is half the battle won.
It could have been oh so different with Hartley in the away dugout instead of the home one tomorrow. Most fans at the time were bewildered that the club let such a bright and promising young manager slip through our fingers after the Butcher fiasco. To then add salt in the wounds the club go and appoint a man with a very mixed record. But Yogi has quietened the dissenters and although there has been one or two hiccups, it has largely been one continuous rollercoaster. The players have been performing brilliantly and we go into this game on the back of a brilliant run of form with 3 wins and one draw in both league and cup. Tuesday’s 4-0 thrashing of St Mirren will have given the guys confidence but we know this will be a tougher test.
The first game finished 0-0 back in the first week of the season. That game was tight and pretty turgid but both teams are flowing now and are playing some really entertaining stuff. With lots of attacking talent on both sides I expect goals tomorrow let’s hope it will be on the right side. This will be a tough match but I still think Inverness have enough to win the game and make sure we continue to keep the pressure on Celtic as best of the rest.
In Friday nights game, Dundee United held on to beat bottom club Dross County, who finished with ten men. That result cements County at the basement, but more importantly, Dundee United jump into second place, two points above Inverness. So that makes it all the more important that Inverness overcome the Dens Parkers and tuck themselves in behind Celtic once more.
Dec 02 2014 07:43 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15
Buddies Hammered in the Cup
Inverness dismantled St Mirren in the cup, scoring four and in reality letting St Mirren off lightly. First half goals from Gary Warren, and a Greg Tansey penalty put Inverness in control and strikes from Danny Williams and captain Graeme Shinnie completed the rout. after the break. The score flattered the Paisley outfit and Tommy Craig's peg is a bit more shoogley.
As expected, Marley Watkins returned to the starting eleven along with Greg Tansey. Nick Ross stepped down from the side that started at Paisley with Ryan Christie joining him on the bench. For St Mirren, Jim Goodwin came back into the defence with Thompson, McGinn and Osbourne starting again.
A sparse crowd of just over 1300 attended the game on a chilled evening after a bright winters day.
It was a fairly level opening to the game with the home side dominating possession and playing the passing game, often frustrating the fans as much as the St Mirren players. Indeed Dean Brill had more touches than the whole Paisley side. The retention policy would pay off soon enough as Inverness won a corner after 20 minutes. Tansey whipped the ball to the near post and Gary Warren bulleted a header behind Ridgers for the opener.
Three minutes later and Watkins latched onto a long ball that curled round the defence. As he forced his way into the box, Goodwin went to ground and appeared to bring Watkins down with his arm. Penalty no doubt and Greg Tansey hammered the ball to the keepers right, the goalie going the opposite direction.
We then squandered three great opportunities before half time. These were glaring misses and should have seen St Mirren buried before the break. Danny Williams trundled the ball into the keepers hands from ten yards, straight at the keeper when either side would have seen him score. Vincent did likewise from even closer range, cushioning a header into Ridgers' midriff. The third was more down to misfortune, Warren's back post header netbound until the defender threw himself at the ball, blocking it under the bar with part of his body.
Half Time 2-0
St Mirren were more stubborn for around fifteen minutes after the interval, and after 56 minutes Thompson headed over unchallenged. A warning for Inverness that there was still work to be undertaken.
Just before the hour, Meekings almost added to his seasons tally of three, but he was off balance as he tried to smash a shot with his right foot on the turn, the ball slicing well wide. The pressure was mounting now on the St Mirren defence as Inverness saw off their mini-revival.
Surging breaks forward were becoming more frequent and in one such surge, Williams fed McKay who smashed a close range shot off the underside of the bar, but when the ball came back out to the edge of the six yard box, Williams crashed a low shot into the back of the net.
This goal ended all hope of a St Mirren comeback and it was shooting practice for Inverness thereafter, The visitors goal leading a charmed life.
The arrival of Doran just added to the Buddies misery as he jinked and spun his way around the Paisley defenders. Doran, Christie and Tansey all missed efforts, but none moreso than sub Nick Ross who dallied before trying to get a shot away and the chance was lost.
However, captain courageous Graeme Shinnie showed his strikers how to finish, running onto a through ball to curl it beyond Samson and complete the scoring on a night to forget for the Buddies.
Full Time 4-0
In truth, Inverness crushed a toothless St Mirren side, scoring four and missing another half dozen great chances. The worrying aspect is that none of the forwards found the back of the net, but hey ho, as long as the rest are contributing it's onwards to the next round of the cup, where Partick Thistle will provide a sterner test. For Tommy Craig, your taxi awaits,
tm4tj MotM:- Garry Warren scored one, could have scored another couple and showed some fleet footed touches akin to Pele. Great all round performance from the big central defender. Ably assisted by most of the others, but notably Watkins, Williams, Shinnie and Draper.
Date: 02.12.2014 Venue: Caledonian Stadium, Inverness Attendance: 1326
Referee: Calum Murray
Inverness CT: 4
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Meekings, Warren, Shinnie, Vincent, Draper, Tansey, Williams (Doran 76), Watkins (Christie 73), McKay (Ross 83)
Subs (not used): Esson, Devine, Tremarco, Polworth
Scorers: Warren (20), Tansey (pen23), Williams (67), Shinnie (90)
Booked: Shinnie (2)
Sent Off: none
St Mirren: 0
Lineup: Ridgers, Naismith, McAusland (Brown 62), Kelly, Tesselaar, Goodwin, Reilly (Drury 52), Osbourne (Ball 72), McLean, McGinn Thompson
Subs (not used): Kello, Marwood, Teale, Caldwell
Booked: Goodwin (22)
Sent Off: none
Dec 03 2014 06:28 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
Inverness and St Mirren go head to head after a 1-1 draw at the first time of asking left the clubs with this replay on Tuesday night at Inverness. The Buddies had opened the scoring in the first half when Marc McAusland scored from close range. Inverness took control after the break and the draw was no more than they deserved, the equaliser from Josh Meekings who fired home through a ruck of players after a stramash in the home goal area.
So, here we are, it's been a brisk December day in the Highlands and Inverness will be boosted by the return to the squad of the man of the moment Marley Watkins and shoot on sight Greg Tansey. Nick Ross will likely make way for Watkins, but it's a tougher choice for Hughes to make with Tansey available. Inverness have no fresh worries.
St Mirren saw Thomson, McGinn and Osbourne return to the side at the weekend and that gave them more presence on the park. Footballing thug Jim Goodwin is available.
tm4tj Prediction:- This should be a stroll for Inverness with the Buddies struggling in the league and Tommy Craig doing his best to get sacked. With Watkins back he will be able to get behind the St Mirren defence and the goals will come. Bring on Partick, that's what I say.
Nov 29 2014 02:16 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15
Replay required after cup stalemate
Inverness and St Mirren have it all to do again after a 1-1 draw at the first time of asking left the clubs looking at a replay this Tuesday night at Inverness. The Buddies opened the scoring after 17 minutes when Marc McAusland scored from close range. Inverness upped their game after the break and they deservedly equalised through Josh Meekings who fired home through a ruck of players.
St Mirren had a boost prior to kick off with the news that Steven Thomson was fit enough to start along with John McGinn and Isaac Osbourne. Alas, not even that was enough to entice the Paisley fans away from the Xmas shopping as less than 2000 turned up to watch shot-shy Saints take on high flying Inverness.
Inverness were without the suspended duo of Greg Tansey and on form Marley Watkins. Nick Ross surprisingly got the nod ahead of Aaron Doran and Ross Draper returned after suspension. Talking to the press seems to work then.
It was a low key opening to the game but that changed after seventeen minutes when McAusland scored. Inverness never dealt convincingly with a corner and the ball was cut back by Jason Naismith to McAusland who turned and fired home from close range. A novelty for the Buddies fans this season, some just staring in disbelief before they realised just what they had accomplished.
Inverness tried to respond but Billy McKay shot just wide from outside the box. Kenny McLean did likewise at the other end some ten minutes later as The Mirren looked to add to their lead.
Ross Draper headed narrowly wide from a corner as Inverness looked to get back on level terms before the break and his next action was a booking right on half time for fouling.
A poor forty five all round and not enough effort being put in by the visitors as they struggled to make much headway.
Half Time 1-0
The half time pep talk seemed to add a bit more urgency to Inverness but not before Brill was forced to make a save from Thomson's shot that was heading for the keepers right corner.
Christie was starting to threaten and he shot wide from outside the box as Inverness asserted themselves on the game. David Raven was next up and he missed the target as well, but a goal was coming as St Mirren found themselves penned in for long spells.
McKay shot over from a free kick and Danny Williams tested Ridgers as the pressure mounted. However, the goal came from an unlikely source. Josh Meekings has netted twice already this season and he notched his third after St Mirren lived dangerously from a corner. Tom, Dick and Harry had a go but it was Meekings who delivered, driving the ball through bodies from around 12 yards to level the tie.
Raven had a defenders attempt that sailed over and substitute Aaron Doran fared no better. McKay and Christie ended the off target shooting as Inverness finished the game well on top, but unable to find the quality or finesse to get the winner.
The game petered out and both sides will be pleased to enter the draw for the fifth round. I suspect Inverness will be the happier of the two though as St Mirren will be heading North in midweek for a tie that will only cost £15 to watch.
Full Time 1-1
Overall a fair enough result with neither side getting the clear cut chances to bury the tie. St Mirren were rarely seen as an attacking force after the break and Inverness deservedly equalised, so it's all to play for on Tuesday night. The good news for Inverness is that Watkins and Tansey will be back and that should make a difference.
MotM is going to Ross Draper. Just back from suspension and not afraid to put himself about. In fact he got his yellow just before the break and was content to take over the Ross Tokely villain role right up to the final whistle, so if it annoys the Paisley fans, then that's good enough for me.
Well done to Spartans FC who put out Morton with a last minute winner. They took care of Clyde in the previous round and a big draw would be just reward for their efforts. Dundee advanced at the expense of Aberdeen in the early kick off. Motherwell, Hamilton and Ross County also ended their interest in the cup, as did Brora and Bo'ness who shipped five by the Smokies.
Date: 29.11.2014 Venue: St Mirren Park, Paisley Attendance: 1957
Referee: Calum Murray
St Mirren: 1
Lineup: Ridgers, Naismith, McAusland, Kelly, Tesselaar, Reilly, Osbourne (Teale 80), McLean, McGinn (Drury 60), Thompson (Ball 74), Marwood
Subs (not used): Kello, Brown, Caldwell, Baird
Scorers: McAusland (17)
Sent Off: none
Inverness CT: 1
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Meekings, Warren, Shinnie, Draper, Williams, Christie, Ross (Doran 74), Vincent, McKay
Subs (not used): Esson, Sekajja, Devine, Horner, Tremarco, Polworth
Scorers: Meekings (63)
Booked: Draper (45)
Sent Off: none
Nov 28 2014 09:21 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
The magic of the Cup
Inverness are on their travels in the Scottish Cup this Saturday with a visit to Paisley.The last time these sides met here in the Cup in February 2004, a solitary Darran Thomson goal amid heavy snow storms and a Saint Mirren blizzard saw Inverness advance to the next round. First division Inverness then beat Motherwell in the quarter finals with a Barry Wilson goal from 70 yards (it gets longer every year) before losing out 3-2 to Dunfermline Athletic after a replay. That semi-final replay was played at Pittodrie after a 1-1 draw at Hampden.
How times have changed. Inverness sit joint top of the Premiership, St Mirren are struggling at the foot of the table and Darran Thomson was last heard of playing for Vale of Lethen. Ross Tokely was an item of hate for St Mirren fans, and the news on the street is that Rossco is off to Angola for a bit of work. So, not much for the locals to boo tomorrow. Mind you, Tommy Craig will be there.
The Cup brings it's own magic to the football season. Inverness should know as they produced one of the greatest shocks ever in that memorable game at Parkhead. Brora Rangers are the only Highland League side left but the draw was less than favourable for them as they make the long haul from Dudgeon Park to Palmerston to face Queen of the South. The romance lives on for Bo'ness United and they have been given every chance of an upset with a home game against Arbroath. The final non league side are Spartans FC who face Greenock Morton at Ainslie Park, Edinburgh. Five Premiership sides will not make the next round and with Rangers playing Hamilton and Celtic facing Hearts then another two prominent clubs will miss out as well. So, in general, it's a great draw for the lesser clubs and maybe the magic will go on a bit longer for one or two of the minnows.
Marley Watkins has been a key player for Inverness this year and his absence will benefit the home side. His strength on the ball and blistering pace cause problems for defenders and he has added goals to his game. I would expect Aaron Doran to fill his boots, his cameo last week deserving of more air time. Ross Draper should return after suspension and he will be a direct replacement for Greg Tansey. A rejuvenated James Vincent is showing his worth and Ryan Christie has the skill and energy to turn a game quickly. Others staking a claim for a starting berth are Carl Tremarco, Nick Ross, Liam Polworth and Danny Devine.
St Mirren could welcome captain and seasoned striker Steven Thompson back, although he might not be fit enough for a start but would be a useful addition to the bench. Jim Goodwin is out, the ruthless defender has beaten up one too many players and is banned.
Latest Team News
Inverness pair Greg Tansey and Marley Watkins are both banned after going through the bookings threshold, while captain Richie Foran is out long term. Ross Draper returns.
Captain Steven Thompson could return after a long spell out for this Scottish Cup meeting with Inverness. Midfielders John McGinn and Isaac Osbourne are also pushing for a start since their return to training. Bad boy Jim Goodwin is suspended and Ellis Plummer and Gregg Wylde miss out through injury.
tm4tj Prediction:- John Hughes reckons the law of averages could come into play in this game. "The law of averages says they have got to win sometime so we need to make sure we are at our best or we could be the side to suffer", said Yogi. I tend to agree with him on this one. St Mirren are having a torrid time just now and Tommy Craig does not seem to be able to lift the team, but the Cup often releases some of the tension in struggling sides and with Watkins and Tansey out we will need to be at our sharpest to avoid missing out on a decent Cup run. Might need a replay to sort this one out, but it won't be as easy as the bookies are making out.
Nov 22 2014 02:56 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15
Inverness stretched their unbeaten home run to nine games as they swept Motherwell aside in a stirring second half rout. In fact, Motherwell were the last team to win at Inverness back in April. Billy McKay opened the scoring only for Henrik Ojamma to reply almost immediately. After the break Inverness upped the pace and Well had no answer to the waves of attacks on their goal. No surprise that Inverness took control of the game and goals from Marley Watkins and Josh Meekings sealed the win on a mild November afternoon.
James Vincent dropped deeper in midfield in place of the suspended Ross Draper which saw Ryan Christie start in an advanced role as Hughes men looked to keep the pressure on Celtic at the head of the table.
Motherwell had little options with a few players out injured and were set up to stifle us and try and hit on the break, something they achieved in a low key first half.
Inverness were dominant in the first half and appeared to be playing well within themselves as Motherwell were content to sit deep and hold out as long as possible. Best chances that came our way fell to Tansey with a curling free kick thirty yards out that whistled just wide and a left footed strike from twenty yards that missed the other post by inches.
The deadlock was broken on the half hour after a fabulous threaded pass from Raven put McKay through on goal and he slid the ball past Twardzik as the keeper came out to narrow the angle.
The deserved lead lasted barely two minutes. The home support were still texting their glee to their stay at home mates when a long ball down the left was neatly chested forward by Reid. His cross looked to be covered by Warren and Meekings but they made a hash of attempting to cut it out and Sutton forced the ball back into the path of Ojamma who hammered it high past a stranded Brill.
That would be the last we would see of Motherwell as an offensive force.
Ryan Christie almost scored with a curling shot from the edge of the box after being set up by Shinnie and McKay, but Twardzik brilliantly dived to his right to deny Christie what would have been a superb goal.
Half Time 1-1
The second half has just begun when Warren almost stabbed home after being teed up in the box. McKay then showed us that he is not quite bang on form as he missed a sitter. He did the hard work, flicking on a through ball, rounding the keeper and creating room to score into an empty net, then he sliced his shot high and wide with his left peg from the corner of the six yard box.
Twardzik then pulled off a couple of TV saves, denying Watkins as Inverness took the game by the scruff of the neck. Christie then crossed well for Watkins to produce a diving header, but the keeper grabbed it just in time with Vincent lurking with intent on the goal line.
A goal was coming though and after Christie had an effort charged down, the ball broke to the left. Graeme Shinnie swung over an inviting cross and Watkins nipped in between the Motherwell defenders to glance the ball low into the bottom corner. Great goal and no more than we deserved.
Seven minutes later and Meekings sealed the win as he drifted in at the back post to poke a Tansey cross into the net to complete the scoring. This goal seemed to completely deflate the visitors who had struggled to get out of their own half after the break.
It could and should have been even more as Watkins twice hit the frame of the goals. Aaron Doran had come on and the extra width was paying dividends. He set up Watkins with a darting run down the left but Marley crashed the ball off the bar from six yards.
Another darting run and turn from Doran once more saw him tee up Watkins who met his cross at the front post, unfortunately the ball smacked the post with the keeper clutching thin air, but that was how it finished with Inverness well on top and Motherwell staring at the bottom end of the table.
Full Time 3-1
Another great win for Inverness who dominated throughout and looked to be the only team trying to win the game. Great effort from all the home players particularly Graeme Shinnie who put the signing-gate affair on the back burner and showed great attacking qualities. Watkins could have had a hat-trick and his strength and pace is causing all sorts of problems for defenders week in week out. Greg Tansey held the midfield firm and his passing and crossing were excellent today, but no better pass than the one from Raven that set McKay through on goal for the opener as Well held a high line. Great wee cameo from Doran as well when he came on.
tm4tj MotM:- Marley Watkins is revelling in his role just now and just gets better every week. He could have scored three or four today, but his single goal was important. All this after writing his car off this week in an altercation with a deer allegedly
Date: 22/11/14 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3037
Referee: Bobby Madden
Inverness CT: 3
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Meekings, Warren, Shinnie, Christie (Ross 76), Tansey, Williams, Vincent (Doran 66), Watkins, McKay (Sekajja 85)
Subs (not used): Esson, Devine, Tremarco, Polworth
Scorers: Mckay (29), Watkins (71), Meekings (77)
Booked: Doran (80), Watkins (82)
Sent Off: none
Lineup: Twardzik, Kerr, McManus, O'Brien, Reid (Law 57), Ainsworth, Ramsden (Erwin 73), Lasley, Vigurs, Ojamaa, Sutton
Subs (not used): Stewart, Francis-Angol, Thomas, Cadden, MacLean
Scorers: Ojamaa (31)
Booked: Reid (49), Vigurs (81)
Sent Off: none
Nov 21 2014 12:44 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
Managerless Motherwell make the journey to Inverness this Saturday with caretaker boss Kenny Black still at the helm since the departure of the popular Stuart McCall. That's not the only issues at Fir Park as the club's owner John Boyle has placed his 70% shareholding in trust in the hope that the Well Society can raise the necessary funds to buy them, although other interested parties are monitoring the situation. Off-field concerns may be clouding the on-field problems, but Motherwell generally perform well up here and an entertaining encounter is anticipated.
It's been a mixed international break for Scotland with an important win over Ireland in the Euro Qualifying campaign offset by a lesson from an impressive England in a 'friendly'. Ryan Christie also came on as a substitute in the u21 international draw away to Switzerland, but it's time to turn our attention back to the domestic scene for the visit of Motherwell.
The Steelmen have had a horrendous season by their own recent standards, winning only three of their first thirteen games with one drawn, but that was against Celtic. They ended a run of five straight defeats by beating Dundee United in their last game, an Iain Vigurs goal deciding who won the points. That victory was too late for McCall who had resigned on the 2nd of November after that losing streak. Kenny Black will be the man in charge and he has done his CV no harm with that win over the Arabs as he looks to steer the Well away from the bottom end of the table.
Our last game before the break saw us jump above Hamilton after a well deserved 4-2 win over the Accies. It was an important win for a number of reasons. Billy McKay learned how to score again, James Vincent notched one and we went top of the league for a few hours. We still managed to concede a couple of preventable goals, but our goals for was the best so far this term.
There has however been some concern in the camp as the outstanding Graeme Shinnie does not wish to sign a new contract, according to his agent Clive Hart, and that has upset the apple cart. John Hughes was less than pleased after the revelation and Shinnie's agent has been blamed for stirring the pot citing "unprofessional and disrespectful" conduct towards Inverness Caledonian Thistle. It's fair to say that Shinnie will more than likely be playing elsewhere next season with a number of clubs interested in the 23 year old, Aberdeen and Rangers allegedly amongst the domestic clubs keeping an eye on the situation. Shinnie signed for Inverness in 2009 and is currently captaining the side in the absence of Richie Foran.
Carl Tremarco will be pushing for another start, and if he does, then I would expect Shinnie to play his part further up the park in left midfield. Aaron Doran played in midweek in the development league when a Callum Ferguson goal saw Inverness beat Dundee United. It's fair to say he (Doran), along with Nick Ross and Danny Devine will start on the bench as Marley Watkins continues to impress. James Vincent scored and looks to be getting back into the groove and the goal will be an added boost for the much injured James. All in all, similar line-up to last outing is on the cards. Happy days!
Who's throwing a sickie this week
Inverness captain Richie Foran seems to have been out forever and will miss out again. No fresh concerns for Inverness, although Ross Draper has a one match ban to serve. Ryan Christie returned from Switzerland unscathed after coming on as a sub in the u21 international.
Motherwell have loaned defender Adam Cummins to Ayr for a month. Steven Hammell requires a minor operation to resolve his groin problem. Likewise Jack Leitch has undergone surgery on his cruciate ligament and will be out until Spring. Craig Moore has recently recovered from similar surgery, but is unwell. Former County man Paul Lawson, Bob McHugh and Stuart Carswell all picked up knocks in recent Development matches and won’t travel this weekend.
tm4tj prediction:- Looking at the table you could be forgiven for imagining that this could be anything other than a comfortable home win. I don't buy into this though. Motherwell are not that far removed, personnel wise, from the side that performed so well last season. Yes they have had a disastrous start to the season but the tide has possibly turned with last weeks battling win over United. Iain Vigurs has always been a threat to Inverness. The fans love to hate him, and he seems to accept the challenge and usually comes up with something to shut us up. Billy McKay got back on track last week with a couple of poachers goals, but his all round play was mighty impressive. With Draper out, that opens the door for Tremarco at full back with Shinnie in midfield. Hughes has other options though, and a keen bench champing at the bit. Four goals against Hamilton has whet the appetite, let's hope the international intermission has not put us off our food. I'll go for a narrow home win.
Nov 08 2014 02:51 PM | Scotty in Reports 2014-15
We're TOP of the league and you're no....
Not a reference to the Accies but a wee reminder to County that there's only one team in the Highlands, regarding an ongoing post on CTO. Thanks Jailender, This could be long topic. Super result for County though, 0-3 at Killie
Inverness hopped onto the top of the table after disposing of Hamilton in a game that came alive in the second half. Accies opened the scoring in the first half when a deflected free kick wickedly wrong footed Dean Brill. Billy McKay restored parity before the break though. It all happened in the second 45 as the game opened up, thankfully, the first half had been somewhat scrappy. Garry Warren powered home from a corner kick and McKay added another (he sores when he wants) as Billy completed his double. I kid you not, James Vincent scored a goal and well done to him. Andreu tucked away both Accies goals, the first via a huge deflection, the second Brill seemingly unsighted, the ball going under him.
Ginger Jaggy has a full report for you, read on..................
Lest we forget
It was a beautiful day for football in the highland capital on Saturday which helped produce an entertaining game between two teams flying high in the premiership.
The match itself was a slow burner but it rapidly burst into life in the second half with 4 goals being scored as Inverness climbed to the top of the table for 24 hours with a magnificent 4-2 win.
It was a poignant start to proceedings as the stadium stood to observe an impeccable minute silence on remembrance weekend as we remembered those brave men 100 years ago.
When the game did get started it was the home side that had the early opportunity as Caley Thistle looked to capitalise on some Hamilton misfortune.
The Accies defender looked comfortable as the ball came to him but slipped allowing Billy Mckay to run to the edge of the box before squaring to the waiting Greg Tansey who’s shot curled wide of the post. But it wasn’t long before the deadlock was broken.
Again an air of fortune as David Raven was punished for his foul just outside the box and Accies star man Tony Andreu fired the free kick into the bottom right hand corner with the help of a massive deflection of the head of the Scouse full back leaving Brill wrong footed and unable to do anything about it.
From that moment on Inverness took control and never looked back.
It didn’t take long for an equaliser to come and it was met with euphoria and a sense of relief all round.
Billy Mckay couldn’t stop scoring this time last season but this season he had just notched the one goal against the same opponents on the opening day. His goal was a sign that the Northern Ireland hit-man hadn’t lost any of his composure as he finished coolly into the left hand corner after a brilliant cross from Marley Watkins was taken down by a fantastic first touch.
The game drifted after that although Mckay almost had a second with a curling shot that narrowly bent wide of the far post.
Half Time 1-1
But if that was a tight first half, the second was open with end to end attacks and goals galore.
We took the lead just before the hour mark as a brilliant Greg Tansey corner found the head of Gary Warren who bulleted the ball into the corner to give us a deserved advantage..
Ten minutes later and it was like London Buses as Mckay who couldn’t buy a goal scored his second of the game. Where his first was exquisite this was a more routine tap in after a period of pressure on the Hamilton goal. Graeme Shinnie forced Michael McGovern into a decent save from a rasping thirty yarder that he parried wide for a corner. Although it was cleared the ball was lobbed back in with the impressive Watkins beating the offside trap but McGovern blocked at close range only to see it fall to the grateful little striker.
However, the Accies hit back five minutes later as Andreu fired a shot under the legs of Josh Meekings and the ball trickled over the line as an unsighted Brill failed to stop the ball squirming underneath him.
It was a minor set back, but we again opened up another two goal cushion, this time James Vincent getting his name on the score sheet for the first time this season. It was that man Watkins again who flicked a long ball into the path of the on running Vincent who ran in on goal and finished immaculately into the bottom corner.
The Lanarkshire club tried to press and force their way back into it but ended up giving space to the fresh pair of Doran and Christie who were late substitutes.
Full Time 4-2
In the end it was a comfortable victory for the home side and a brilliant performance over a team playing with confidence after a great start to the season. Great to see Mckay re-igniting his scoring duties with a poachers brace and he must want to play Accies every week. Gordon Strachan continues to ignore one of the best left wingback's in the country, but for how long? Another impressive display by our young captain. Solid display from our midfield again and our back line can consider themselves unfortunate to lose two goals today. Tansey needs to kick the habit of, well, kicking people. He was lucky to escape a booking as he lashed out which resulted in a minor flare up when he was lying on the deck. Naughty boy. James Vincent is another who can sleep well. He capped another decent display with a goal this time, well done that man.
Ginger Jaggy's MotM:- although I understand why Mckay was given the sponsors award, my MotM for the game was Marley Watkins who set up three goals and used his pace to run in behind and be a constant threat to the Hamilton backline.
Date: 08/11/14 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3022
Referee: Willie Collum
Inverness CT: 4
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Warren, Meekings, Shinnie, Draper, Tansey, Vincent (Christie 86), Watkins, Williams (Doran 81), McKay
Subs (not used): Hoban, Ross, Sekajja, Devine, Tremarco
Scorers: Mckay (25, 68), Warren (59), Vincent (78)
Booked: Tansey (71)
Sent Off: none
Lineup: McGovern, Gordon, Devlin, Tena, Hendrie, Crawford, Routledge (Ryan 64), MacKinnon, Redmond (Imrie 52), Antoine-Curier (Scotland 82), Andreu
Subs (not used): Currie, Canning, Neil, Longridge
Scorers: Andreu (17, 72)
Booked: Mackinnon (71), Imrie (93)
Sent Off: none
Nov 06 2014 11:06 AM | Proctor in Previews 2014-15
INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE welcome fellow high fliers Hamilton to the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium this Saturday. Both teams will be keen to forget recent losses and continue to compete at the top end of the table. A win for Inverness would see them jump above Hamilton on Saturday in the season long game of leapfrog.
Caley Thistle currently occupy fourth in the SPFL table, following a one nil loss against Celtic at the weekend. John Hughes’ men have been ever present in the early stages of the title race having gone undefeated in October. Hughes felt his side were unlucky not to have gained any points against the Hoops last Saturday.
Hamilton have been the surprise package in the SPFL this season and recently topped the table. However a recent dip in form has resulted in dropped points against Partick Thistle and Dundee as well as an exit in the League Cup at the hands of Aberdeen. Despite this, the Accies still sit in second place in the SPFL table. Hamilton's last game saw them secure a last minute point against Partick in a topsy turvy game after losing a two goal advantage, something that did not best please Alex Neil, citing defensive lapses as the reason behind the mini collapse.
Caley Thistle have been effective in shutting out attacking opposition so far this season, having only conceded 10 goals in 13 games. Hamilton are not only flying high in the SPFL; their players occupy 1st, 2nd and joint 3rd in the leagues top scorers table. Saturday will be a test for the Accies goal machines.
IN THE PAST
These two sides are no strangers to facing each other in top of the table clashes, ICT and Hamilton headed up the table after one game in the 2008/2009 season. The sides met in Inverness on match day two. Recently promoted Hamilton were an unknown commodity in the Highland capital having never played a competitive league match against ICT. Hamilton’s Richard Offiong capitalised on a Jamie Duff mistake to score the only goal of the game. Inverness would be relegated at the end of this campaign.
Six years later, the teams met each other in the opening game of this campaign. ICT comfortably dispatched the newly promoted Accies at New Douglas Park after goals from Ryan Christie and Billy McKay. Hamilton travel to Saturday’s game having never lost a league game in Inverness. They will be eager to continue this streak and gain ground over a team who can continue to challenge them throughout the season.
We did of course knock Hamilton out of the Scottish cup on the 22nd February 2003 in Inverness winning 6-1 after going behind to a Martin Bonnar goal in the second minute (I see a theme here). A shock looked likely but a brace from the prolific Dennis Wyness and a couple from Barry Robson along with a Paul Ritchie strike and a Stuart McCaffrey header saw 1st division Inverness progress at the expense of the then 2nd division Accies. It was merely revenge for Accies coming North in January 1997 and dumping Inverness out of the cup by 3-1. Iain Stewart had headed the opener after 12 minutes, but Sean McEntegart equalised soon after. The Accies took over in the second half and a certain Mr Ritchie scored twice to put Accies into the next round.
Ahh, those were the days..............
Inverness will be without long term absentee Richie Foran. The Irishman is yet to feature for the Caley Jags this season. Other than that it's a clean bill of health for the Highlanders.
Hamilton appear to have no new injury worries ahead of the game and Jesus García Tena is back in training, but Grant Gillespie is suspended.
Josh Meekings (Inverness CT) – The 22-year-old is set to make his 100th appearance for the club on Saturday. The back line for Inverness will be key to shutting out a Hamilton side capable of scoring goals.
Billy McKay (Inverness CT) – The stuttering striker scored his only goal of the season against Hamilton. With the recent addition of Ibra Sekajja to the squad, McKay will need to start scoring to ensure he continues to start.
Anthony Andreu (Hamilton) – The Frenchman tops the SPFL scoring charts with six goals. Andreu has first hand experience of working under John Hughes during his spell at Livingston. The midfielder’s late strike salvaged a point against Partick Thistle last weekend. A player of his calibre could certainly be a thorn in ICT’s side.
Dougie Imrie (Hamilton) – The former Inverness CT player is in his second spell at Hamilton having left Morton in the summer. The 31-year-old has a habit of scoring in Inverness and will need to be watched closely.
This will come down to Inverness’ ability to take their chances in front of goal. While Hamilton have proven that they are a side capable of scoring, ICT have been solid at the back all season. If McKay can find his goal scoring form again then another home win is on the cards.
Nov 01 2014 06:00 PM | tm4tj in Reports 2014-15
Bhoys just edge it.
Celtic jumped over Inverness with a narrow win at Parkhead thanks to an early second half goal from in form striker John Guidetti. The hosts were well on top in terms of possession as expected but with the game drawing to a close, Inverness squandered two or three guilt edged chances to level the game as our out of form striker fluffed his lines and Watkins and Tremarco were denied by Zaluska who clawed away an injury time effort. The game ended with Celtic claiming all three points and Inverness maybe ruing the fact that they never took the game to Celtic earlier as we finished on the front foot but just short of taking something from the game.
John Hughes sprung a wee surprise before a ball was kicked by putting under fire striker Billy McKay on the bench and promoting Carl Tremarco into the starting X1.Graeme Shinnie moved to left midfield to accommodate Tremarco as Yogi looked to deny Celtic room to move around our box. Celtic had a stronger line-up on the park than they did in the first encounter this season, but Craig Gordon was carrying a niggle and Lucasz Zaluska deputised for the big Scottish keeper with Mubarak Wakaso earning a start over Callum McGregor.
It was clear from the off that Inverness would be looking to frustrate the Hoops for as long they could and this would mean a busy afternoon for our back four, and a lonely day out for Marley Watkins.
Despite our intent, it was Shinnie that had the first pot at goal but Zaluska saved easily before Celtic went into attacking mode. We lived somewhat dangerously as the green machine surged forward and swarmed around our penalty box but Tremarco was showing his worth at the back and Shinnie was able to carry the ball forward when we broke up Celtic's play. However our forays forward were sporadic to say the least although we did win a couple of corners in a first half dominated by the hosts,
John Guidetti headed over after twelve minutes as we dug ourselves in and Wakaso had a shot deflected by Tremarco as Celtic looked for an opener. With half an hour gone, Virgil Van Dijk unleashed a long range shot which stung Brill's hands, the keeper standing tall to deny the Dutch player. Stokes was next to shoot at the target but his effort fizzed wide as Celtic piled on the pressure. It was now one way traffic as the visitors buzzed around our half with menacing intent.
Brill was left looking like a subbuteo goalie as a Scott Brown shot whistled just the wrong side of the post, the keeper stranded and wrong footed, but relieved to see the ball flash behind.
However, Yogi's tactics seemed to be paying off as half time approached. Celtic dominating possession, Inverness stubborn in defence and the last chance of the half, like the first one, fell again to Shinnie, but his curling strike from just outside the box dipped just over the bar and at the break it was so far, so good.
Half Time 0-0
Four minutes after the break and Inverness fell behind to a disputed goal. Nothing wrong with the finish from Guidetti as he jinked into the box and wrong footed Brill, but it all came about as a result of a dubious challenge in the Celtic half where Inverness stopped for a second expecting a free kick for a challenge on Williams. Stokes needed no second invitation as he headed down the left before feeding Guidetti who scored in style. Rough justice for Inverness who had stood up well to the onslaught of the first half.
Guidetti was soon involved again, trying to claim a penalty after tumbling in the box, his claims waived away much to the annoyance of the home players and crowd, Guidetti and Draper booked for arguing the toss over the incident as Inverness survived this and the next few minutes as Celtic pushed for a second goal.
Unperturbed, Inverness were still in the game as Celtic's one goal lead started to look catchable. Inverness almost levelled as they burst forward but Williams could only dig the ball out and over the bar when he should have made the keeper work. This gave Inverness fresh hope and they soon carved out another swift break forward and should have done better when they were five on three, but one too many passes saw the ball being difficult to tee up and Shinnie's shot was deflected just wide. From the resultant corner Watkins blazed one over from a promising position.
The tide was turning though and the game became more stretched.
Inverness went for broke in the last quarter with attacking substitutions as McKay, Christie and Doran entered the fray. It almost paid off as we took the game to Celtic who had been unable to kill of their visitors. Tansey shot over after Doran unselfishly set him up and Celtic's lead was beginning to look fragile.
As the ninety minutes neared Celtic had a triple let off. Tremarco headed over from six yards and took a clash of heads at the same time as van Dijk challenged him. Billy McKay couldn't score in a brothel right now and that showed as he mishit a shot when he should have blasted it home from five yards and right at the death a Watkins header was saved at point blank range and Tremarco had Zaluska clawing the ball away when it looked as though we were about to snatch a point from the jaws of defeat.
Full Time 1-0
tm4tj MotM:- Marley Watkins once again played well, and in the lone strikers role, but with the defence working overtime in the first half especially our defenders stood firm. Tremarco slotted in brilliantly and almost scored but for his ability to keep the talented Celtic front players in check, Josh Meekings gets my vote.
Carl chats to wee Davie after the game, & Yogi dispels some myths ................
Date: 01/11/14 Venue: Parkhead Attendance: 42,553
Referee: Craig Thomson
Celtic : 1
Lineup: Zaluska, Izaguirre, Van Dijk, Brown, Guidetti (Griffiths 80), Stokes, Mulgrew, Denayer, Lustig (Matthews 63), Johansen, Wakaso (McGregor 70).
Subs (not used): Fasan, Ambrose, Scepovic, Kayal.
Booked: Mulgrew, Wakaso
Sent Off: none
Inverness CT : 0
Lineup: Brill, Raven, Shinnie, Vincent (Mckay 70), Warren, Meekings, Draper (Doran 82), Watkins, Tansey, Tremarco, Williams (Christie 70)
Subs (not used): Esson, Ross, Devine, Polworth,
Booked: Tremarco, Draper
Sent Off: none
Oct 31 2014 07:57 PM | tm4tj in Previews 2014-15
Inverness looking for the double
Inverness make the arduous trip to the East end this weekend to face Ronny Deila's resurgent side in a game that could see Celtic hit the top spot if results go their way.
Inverness had a free midweek as Celtic rampaged into the semi-finals of the League Cup with a 6-0 win over ten man Partick Thistle to join the Rangers, Aberdeen and Dundee United in the hat for the draw. John Guidetti scored a hat-trick against the hapless Jags. I wonder if the Glasgow clubs will get the mandatory safe passage into the finals or will we break from tradition and get an Old Firm derby semi? Mickey Mouse cup anyway this season.
Last week saw Inverness overcome Dundee United with a Marley Watkins goal settling the game. United had started the brightest but before the end, Inverness were well on top and the only gripe is that they should have made more of the opportunities that came their way. However, three points off the Arabs will do and that result moved us level on points with the Accies at the head of the table, the first quarter of the season already over.
Celtic limbered up with a comfortable 2-0 win over Killie last Sunday, and they also had a player sent off. It was an emphatic win with Killie doing well to minimise the damage after the sending off of their captain, Manuel Pascali ten minutes before the break.
Celtic are the top scorers in the league with 22 goals compared to our 15. There's little between the defences though, Celtic conceding 1 less than us having played one game less. Celtic's goals for has been boosted by two games in particular. A 6-1 thrashing of Dundee United and a 5-0 pumping of Ross County. We have failed to score more than two in any league game so far, although we did come out on top when the sides met at Inverness in August, courtesy of an own goal. That day, Celtic were off the back of Euro football and a much changed squad faced Inverness. I doubt we will be afforded the same opponents this time as Celtic look to climb the table.
Inverness are as near full strength as they can be. Ryan Christie is clear of suspension and Ross Draper kept a clean sheet last week so he is still available. Richie Foran is the only skiver with his long term injury. Ibra Sekajja never made it onto the park against United but could be an option given the lean spell for Billy McKay at the moment. James Vincent filled the gap well last week with an industrious performance in central midfield and looks a good bet to continue.
Celtic gave Leigh Griffiths some air time in the League Cup and he scored a couple after coming on as a second half substitute. Kris Commons is close to a return but James Forrest and Derk Boerrigter remain out. Aleksandar Tonev is unavailable for Celtic as the club's appeal against his alleged racism remark has not been lodged on time.
tm4tj Prediction:- The humiliating defeat handed out to Partick in midweek has made our task all the more difficult and nobody will be expecting anything other than a cakewalk for Celtic. It's difficult to see past a home win as the Bhoys go on a scoring spree. They dished out big licks to us last season scoring eleven in two months without reply at Parkhead. That was a far cry from the encouraging 2-2 draw we started last season with. So maybe it's not all doom and gloom as results can be achieved at Parkhead, but pay them too much respect and they will be all over you like a rash. I'm going for a cheeky point in the hope that our defence concentrates for the whole game and blunts Celtic's sharp attack. We haven't scored three at Parkhead since Feb8th 2000 and it seems unlikely that we will this week given the disparity in the squads. But then again, there was plenty of distance between the sides then.
The Caley Jags were not the only winners last weekend. Shoot for the boot dished out £300
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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)
Booked: Watkins, Draper, Meekings, Christie
Sent Off: Christie (second yellow)
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.
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.
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
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...............
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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)
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.
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
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
Scorers: Graham (78)
Booked: McDonald (64)
Sent Off: none
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.