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Bucharest to Brechin in two years. It's only taken two years, but Inverness have swapped European football in Romania for the Scottish Championship and the more sedate, but ever so enchanting surroundings of the Glebe Park stadium Brechin. Inverness venture forth into Angus to face Brechin City at Glebe Park, a ground we have not visited on league busines for thirteen years. Our last League game there saw us come out on top 2-4 en-route to winning the First Division title in 2004. That game saw a rare goal from Darran Thomson, a trademark Paul Ritchie strike, a tidy finish from David Bingham and a belter from Russell Duncan. They were enough to see off a brace from Daryll Duffy. John Robertson was manager that day and it's his task to revitalise a side that has lost it's way recently. Last week a Gary Warren strike was cancelled out by a Robbie Thomson header as Morton left the Highlands with a deserved point in the proverbial game of two halves. It looked good early doors for Inverness but Morton grew into this game and deservedly levelled. They looked the likeliest to go on to win the game but Inverness passed up on the best chance when George Oakley should have scored with a close range header near the end. Still, a point is better than none, but it keeps us bottom of the league just now, level with Brechin and Falkirk. Our opponents, Brechin went down narrowly at Tannadice as they showed they will be no pushovers, and by all accounts were deserving of a point. It took a late strike from Scott McDonald to seal the points that left Brechin with one point from three games. City had hit the woodwork earlier in the game and Jordan Sinclair saw a great effort tipped over. Like us, a narrow defeat to Dundee United who are maybe not as good as many predicted. We have of course already played Brechin this season. We came out on top in the Highlands with a 3-0 win in the group stages of the League Cup. Two goals from Gary Warren and one from George Oakley secured the win. I fully expect Brechin to be a much sterner test this time round as they were struggling for numbers in that one and Dods has a more balanced squad to choose from this time round. Ricardo Calder limped out of the Morton clash and is doubtful for this encounter. He's not the only one with Gary Warren and Brad Mckay both struggling with ongoing niggling injuries. Charlie Trafford, pictured on the left had a decent debut last week, but he also took a knock against Morton. The big Canadian will improve with more game time with his team mates. He looks to be a solid replacement for Ross Draper. (Who? I hear you say already). Up front, Connor Bell is champing at the bit for a start, and he could well get his opportunity as neither George Oakley or John Baird are exactly firing on all cylinders yet. Collin Seedorf will be suspended after his red card and that could open the door for out of favour defender David Raven to play. All this on top of our long term injured of Carl Tremarco, Aaron Doran and Zak Elbouzedi with Felitciano Zschusschen joining them on the missing list. The Morton casualties will be given late tests on Friday to assess their chances of playing. Brechin gaffer Darren 'Machine' Dods will be without Ryan McGeever and Gary Fusco is a doubt. Last time out Brechin City fielded this XI :- Graeme Smith, Aron Lynas (Chris O’Neil 86), Sean Crighton, Paul McLean, Willie Dyer, James Dale, Jordan Sinclair, Kalvin Orsi, Finn Graham, Euan Spark (Liam Watt 72), Andy Jackson (Isaac Layne 81). A clear the air meeting with fans was held at the stadium this week and new Chairman Graham Rae responded to some challenging questions directed at the club. It was mainly felt that the club were beginning to take the fans grievances on board and are making the right noises and looking to move in the right direction. Another statement came from the board after the meeting and can be found on the official ICTFC Website So, positive movement off the field and there were positive signs on it last week as well. It's maybe time to cut the club a bit of slack and get right behind the team. Remember, they might be down a division, but it's our team, through thick and thin. This is the thin end, time to put that right. I'll start of the positive vibes and go for a hard earned point at Brechin.
We do have a team after all! Inverness eased their way into this League Cup game and ended up with a comfortable 3-0 win over Championship newbies Brechin City, thanks to a brace from Gary Warren and a first for new signing George Oakley. After an indifferent low key pre-season, some heads were already dropping slightly but this was just the tonic they needed to get back behind the team as we kicked off Betfred League Cup Group A with a decisive win over fellow Championship side Brechin City. Robbo gave five newstarts their debut with another two on the bench but it was stalwart captain and center back Gary Warren that stole the show with a couple of goals from set-pieces. Jake Mulraney was showing a clean pair of heels to the Brechin defenders and was the target of some rash challenges before being replaced in the second half. Apart from a Layne free kick early on and a Spark header that went over, City offered little in the way of forward momentum and after Oakley had headed home the third, they were looking rather bedraggled with Inverness stroking the ball around comfortably. Hardly surprising given the number of players the visitors had missing, only four on the bench including the Machine. So, we do have a team after all. However, it's difficult to judge considering the opposition were struggling to get players on the park and the fact that they have just come up from the first division. Collin Seedorf looks to be a class act and Oakley took his goal well. Oooooh Gary Warren led by example and Jake Mulraney looked to have the freedom of the wing, this could be a good season for him. Not much for debut keeper Mark Ridgers to deal with in a comfortable afternoon all round. If there could be any criticism levelled at the team, they could and should have scored more goals against a weakened Brechin, but it's good to get the opening game out of the way without any mishaps. Onwards and upwards. Despite being stunned to be back in charge, Robbo was delighted with the win and looks forward to the challenge ahead. CALEY THISTLE: 3 (Warren 21,34, Oakley 57) Ridgers; Seedorf, Mckay, Warren, Calder, Polworth, Draper, Vigurs (Elsdon, 83), Mulraney (Chalmers, 72), Baird, Oakley. Subs unused: Esson, Raven, Stark, Wilson, MacDonald. Booked: Warren. BRECHIN CITY: 0 Smith; McLean, Dyer, Fusco, Crighton, Spark (Ford, 84), Orsi, Lynas, Jackson, Layne, Love (Sinclair, 78). Subs unused: O’Neil, Dods. Booked: Love, McLean. Referee: B Cook. Crowd : 1419
Dawn of a new Era The new season kicks off with the visit of Brechin City to the Caledonian Stadium for a Group A Betfred League Cup encounter, Robbo's first competitive game back at the helm. Brechin did well to win promotion having finished fourth in the first division, but they pipped Alloa in the play-offs to send them into the Championship. It's over thirteen years since we last played a competitive match against The City who now have former Caley Jags machine Darren Dods as their player manager. The last game ended in a narrow 1-0 victory for Inverness in the Highlands. John Robertson was our manager that day and Barry Wilson grabbed the only goal from the penalty spot. When we first entered the Leagues, Brechin held the upper hand over Inverness, winning two and drawing one, with ICT taking the last encounter in 1996. Since then, Inverness gradually got the better of the Angus club and in season 2003/2004 we won all five games against Brechin, scoring 17 goals in the process. However, although the manager remains the same at Inverness, it's all change on the park and there was little given away in pre-season to give us any indication of what to expect this campaign. Signings were arriving at the double with striker George Oakley coming in from AFC Wimbledon and Inverness lad Mark Ridgers via Partick where he was back up keeper last season. Collin Seedorf a nephew of the great Clarence Seedorf arrived from Dutch football and Ricardo Calder and Mathew Elsdon were next to wave the Red'n'Blue scarf above their heads whilst proclaiming their lifelong ambition was to play for Caley Thistle in the Championship. There is also an exciting prospect in Zak Elbouzedi coming in from the West Brom set-up, a flying winger similar to Jake Mulraney, so that could be interesting. Former Motherwell defender Joe Chalmers has been added to the squad gaining a two year deal. Alex Cooper has also been linked with a move to Inverness having featured in a couple of pre-season games. A lot has changed since the end of the season, chairmen, directors, managers, players, ball boys, tweeters and ticket sellers have all been removed. Some have been replaced and it's not easy to keep tabs on. Notable faces out or on their way are Richie Foran, Kevin McNaughton, Scott Boden, Alex Fisher, Larnell Cole, Josh Meekings, Owain Fon Williams and another as yet unnamed high earner (if there is such a thing at ICT), an endless list really. Struggling for information this early in the season, but apparently over the close-season Dougie Hill, Ross Caldwell, Gareth Rodger, Alan Trouten and Darren McCormack have all left the Hedge at Brechin. No doubt due to cuts and trimming the squad. However, Willie Dyer, Liam Watt, Aron Lynas, Finn Graham, Chris O'Neill, Gary Fusco and Elliot Ford are all staying. Top signing appears to be Ryan McGeever ex-Falkirk who has signed on as has Isaac Layne, defender Ewan Spark. Late arrivals from Livingston are midfielder Jordan Sinclair and defender Sean Crighton and winger Kalvin Orsi from St Mirren. All are expected to be in the squad for tomorrows game. We begin the season with a lengthy injury list. The aforementioned Zak Elbouzedi is out (he'll be just Zak from now on), his crutches a bit of a giveaway. Strikers John Baird and George Oakley are struggling with knocks, Carl Tremarco and Aaron Doran have longer term injuries. After that it's anyone's guess who Robbo will be selecting for this seasons opener. Brechin have Liam Watt out with a broken wrist. They also have a few suspended, allegedly, Chris O'Neill, James Dale and Finn Graham. Star signing Ryan McGeever is reported to be on holiday at the moment. Over to you Dods, you're on the bench, so who are the other two subs? Name yer team Machine.