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  1. On the brink Inverness are on the brink of relegation after a shambolic, hapless and gutless performance against a mediocre St Johnstone, who themselves were without two of their stalwart players after an altercation last week. As it turned out, it mattered not a jot as we slumped to an embarrassing 3-0 defeat after Larnell Cole was sent off for dissent. We crumbled thereafter. Goals from Steve Maclean, and a late Liam Craig penalty were rubber stamped by a Graham Cummins strike to complete a miserable afternoon for the Caley Jags and their supporters who chose to vent their frustration towards the bench and the unseen board who had backed the untried Richie Foran, who is probably the scapegoat in this whole sorry saga. The only saving grace after today's tripe was that only County and Accies benefited by a single point. The rest, like us, losing. We only had around 2500 home fans at this game, what incentive is that for the players to bust a gut, then again, what encouragement are the fans getting after a display like that, it's a catch 22 situation. Richie Foran speaking to BBC said "The main person who is not good enough is me. I am obviously not doing my job right and big apologies to the supporters. I believe we let them down today. "It is not good enough. I pick the team, I pick the shape, I will take 90% of the blame for that but the players need to stand up as well." Just today I hear you all shout........ In a game that was crucial to our Premiership survival barely 2500 Home fans bothered to turn up to witness another grim performance, and another nail in the Caley Jags coffin. Considering what was at stake for Inverness, we showed little urgency in the opening exchanges. We lined up with three at the back and Tremarco and McNaughton slightly ahead although it was basically a back five as St Johnstone pressed us high up the park. Mulraney made the bench but remained on it for the whole game. We started with no width and little expectation, sadly that's how at panned out. Neither side were able to carve out a clear opportunity although we had three snippets that we passed on, Billy Mckay, Alex Fisher and Carl Tremarco unable to make the keeper work as they knocked the ball wide or sclaffed their attempts. Greg Tansey showed plenty commitment and a long range effort was dealt with by Alan Mannus in the visitors goal. St Johnstone offered little to trouble Fon Williams, but when they did, he gifted them an opportunity, one they accepted gleefully as MacLean tapped in almost on the line. The keeper had dived low to cut out a cross, all he succeeded in doing was knocking the ball into the path of two Saints players who contrived to knock the ball behind him from close range. Five minutes before the break and the chilling stench of relegation was overpowering. Half Time 0-1 Undeterred we plodded on in the second period and caused the visiting defence plenty of problems, however, for all our domination until Larnell Cole was red carded in the 80th minute, we failed to make Alan Mannus work, electing to miss the target or see shots blocked by a hard working St Johnstone defence. Even the talismanic Billy Mckay failed to get shots away and found defenders protecting Mannus able to block his efforts. When we did make a breakthrough, Cole could only shoot straight at Mannus who gathered easily. We were pressing at this point without a cutting edge but the game dynamics changed drastically after 80 minutes when Cole was sent off. He appeared to have skipped past a couple of players before being brought down clumsily. However, the incompetent referee, and I use that term loosely, Stephen Finnie saw otherwise and when Cole confronted him all he got for his troubles was a yellow card. The angry Cole never gave up though and Finnie swiftly followed the first yellow with a second followed by a change of colour to red. That started the capitulation and two minutes before the end Tremarco gave away a penalty as St Johnstone broke forward. Cue mass exodus. Game and season over as Liam Craig sent Fon Williams the wrong way again. The icing went on the Perth cake in injury time when Graham Cummins wrapped up the points with Inverness, by now, in total disarray. Full Time 0-3 This was another must win game that brought us zero points and abject failure and misery. The Cole sending off was farcical, but there can be no excuse for Garry Warren getting red carded in the tunnel after the game. He obviously had something to say to the official and saw the same colour as Cole. Well done Gary, you are now out at a critical time when we are trying to avoid relegation. Not a great advert for the captain of our team and certainly not leading by example. In truth, our performance was that of a team in absolute chaos, nobody taking responsibility, nobody able to create the spark needed to ignite the fuse, nobody with the balls to try something different and the harsh reality is that we deserve to be where we are based on too many similar performances over the season. Richie's appointment not looking like the best idea right now and the players look resigned to going down. Shame on the lot of you. We needed other games to go for us and they mostly did. Only County and Accies moved further away from us and only by one point, so the position remains crystal clear at the bottom of the table. I'm afraid the only way out of this is to start winning games, anything other than a win next week at Motherwell and it's Championship for us, unless you believe in miracles. tm4tj MotM:- It doesn't matter anymore. We were well served by the departing Tansey, McCart and McNaughton who must be needing to build on his stamina after his lengthy lay off. Billy continues to work away but you can see his frustration after another fruitless day at the office. Too many passengers in a side that look as if they are already doomed. Apologies if this sounds like a broken record, but I'm afraid the record is well and truly broken. Footage from SPFL website of our humiliation Date: 08/04/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2961 Referee: Stephen Finnie Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Fon Williams, Tremarco, McNaughton (King 57), Warren, Draper (Polworth 57), McCart (Boden 82), W.Mckay, Tansey, Fisher, Laing, Cole Subs (not used): Esson, Mulraney, Brad McKay, Anier Scorers: none Booked: Cole (81) Sent Off: Cole (82), Warren (in tunnel after game) St Johnstone: 3 Lineup: Mannus, Scobbie, Alston (Thomson 82), MacLean (Millar 79), Shaughnessy, Smith, Coulson (Wotherspoon 70), Paton, Easton, Craig, Cummins Subs (not used): Clark, Anderson, Hurst, Hunter Scorers: MacLean (40), Craig (pen.88), Cummins (91) Booked: Alston (65) Sent Off: none a
  2. Relegation battle begins in earnest. St Johnstone bring their own Marquess of Queensberry brand of football to the Highlands when they visit the Caledonian Stadium on Saturday afternoon as the games start to run out for the Caley Jags in our quest to avoid relegation. Here's a wee tune to welcome the Boxers We were at Pittodrie in midweek and came away empty handed after a Garry Warren own goal gave Aberdeen all three points. The Dons had previously hammered Dundee but found Inverness a tougher nut to crack. We had our own moments during the game but the Dons looked menacing when they broke forward at pace. Despite our massive effort, we fell short of scoring a vital goal and that result ensures we remain bottom of the League for now. St Johnstone were at home to Hearts on Wednesday night and won 1-0 courtesy of a Joe Shaughnessy header. That keeps them firmly in 4th place. However, it was their previous game against Hamilton that ended in farce after a boxing bout broke out between two of their own players, Danny Swanson and Richard Foster. The joke was on us though as Hamilton Accies took advantage of nine man Perth and took all three points. Not much going our way just now, what with late goals, own goals, penalties and expected wins for other teams failing to materialise. Sometimes it's just not your season. This appears to be sometimes. One win in twenty League games is relegation form I'm afraid, and with only seven games remaining, it's difficult to see how and when we can rectify that. The odds are stacking against us. We have had too many draws of late that were not converted into wins and that is killing us. Other teams have lost more games than us over the last ten, Motherwell have conceded the most goals and have the worst goal difference, yet it's Inverness that are in danger of being cut adrift. Meh! One of our four wins this season was the first fixture between the clubs in August, 2-1 in the Highlands. Ross Draper opened the scoring but Richard Foster leveled the game. It took a very late Josh Meekings prod to win the game at the death. The return encounter at Perth saw St Johnstone cruise home untroubled, winning 3-0. Liam Craig, Murray Davidson and Danny Swanson scored for Saints and Garry Warren got himself red carded after an hour. Richie Foran will not have Josh Meekings, Aaron Doran or Iain Vigurs available. Carl Tremarco came through his comeback at Pittodrie unscathed, as did Kevin McNaughton. Jake Mulraney missed out at Pittodrie and his pace on the wing was missed, and he might be missing this one as well. David Raven is rumoured to be struggling to make this one with a groin injury. Tommy Wright will have to do without his cage fighters Danny Swanson and Richard Foster. I don't believe they will be exchanging Xmas cards this year. Keith Watson, Ally Gilchrist and Chris Kane will also sit this one out. However, Steven Anderson and Murray Davidson could be fit enough to be included in the Perth squad. tm4tj prediction:- Well, judging purely on statistics we will have little chance of getting something from this. However, with the two scrappers out suspended then that throws us a lifeline as well. Swanson has been a success this season with a dozen goals and they will miss his contribution. We need to turn defeats into draws and draws into wins. Our commitment has been good recently but we lack the quality and direction needed to see us through the final phase of the campaign. We can do this, it won't be pretty, but pretty never won anything, so let's get the job done, starting at home this weekend. Narrow and ugly home win. With Motherwell and Accies drawing and County beating Dundee in midweek with a last minute penalty, that keeps four other teams within six points of Inverness. So, it's up to us now. A win this weekend would be massive and set us up for a six-pointer showdown with Motherwell the week after, the last game before the League split. Remember 15 points up for grabs in the bottom-six games, still a chance to squirm out if the shit yet. Other games concerning teams at the wrong end of the table:- Celtic v Kilmarnock Hamilton v Ross County Hearts v Dundee Partick v Motherwell
  3. Another missed opportunity. Inverness passed up another opportunity to steer away from the foot of the table as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Kilmarnock in the Highlands. It was an entertaining enough game and nobody can have any complaints about the scoreline. Brad Mckay gave away a penalty with a rash challenge inside the box to give Bobby Madden no option but to point to the spot. Kris Boyd converted to open the scoring, but six minutes later Billy Mckay swivelled in the box to hit a low shot in off the post the square matters. With no further scoring thanks to both keepers in excellent form, the game ended level, a better point for Killie than it was for the home side. With Iain Vigurs and Carl Tremarco missing, Richie Foran had to re-jig his outfit and went with five defenders and King & Cole as the playmakers. Aberdeen bound Greg Tansey was given a key role to provide the ammunition for the strikers. Killie had Kris Boyd on from the off with the tricky Jordan Jones the wide provider. It was a fairly cagey opening to the game with neither side settling early. Larnell Cole was prominent early on and he drew a good save from Freddie Woodman as he shot from the edge of the box. One contest that was as one sided as David Haye's last bout was Jordan Jones v Brad Mckay. It was a contest that would see the bedraggled Brad kept in the dressing room after the break. Jones enjoyed the freedom of the wing as he tore Brad Mckay a new one time after time. It was his pace and trickery that led to a clumsy lunge by the bold Brad that Mr Madden had the simple task of awarding a penalty. A stonewaller and Kris Boyd fired the penalty low to the keepers right which makes you wonder why Owain dived low to his left. It may have been Mckay that was the baddie, but the real villain of the piece was Billy King who lost the ball just outside our box. Jones forced Fon Williams into action a couple of minutes later as he waltzed across our defence and shot goalwards. We took that one on the chin and pushed for an equaliser and that came six minutes later. The busy Cole fed David Raven on the left and his cross into the box was partly cleared. Billy pounced on the loose ball, brought it under control swiftly, swivelled and rifled his shot across the keeper and in off the post. Ten minutes later and Gerg Tansey hit a long range effort to the keepers left, but it was at a comfortable height and he pushed the ball away from danger at the expense of a corner. Boyd might have done better as he volleyed a cross from the right, but he miscued and the chance went harmlessly wide. Conor Sammon fared slightly better with a header but Fon Williams saved minutes before the break. Half Time 1-1 With Brad Mckay staying in after the break Kevin McNaughton replaced him to good effect, his first real test since his season long injury problem. He certainly steadied the ship and also found time to overlap on the left. Tansey and Billy Mckay both shot wide as we looked to get ahead and Cole made Woodman earn his crust as the keeper dived low to his left to push away his netbound shot. Gary Warren did well as he out sprinted the bulky Boyd and terminated his run on the edge of the box with a well timed tackle, the ageing Killie striker looking like he might benefit from a long ball over the top. Jake Mulraney came on after the hour and spent the rest of the afternoon being fouled. His wing wizardry seeing him beat players with consumate ease but still the final ball eluded him and his strike partners. Some nifty neat footwork by Tansey saw him feed McNaughton who crossed low into the heart of the box. Billy Mckay hit it first time with his left foot from twelve yards but Woodman produced a remarkable reflex save to deny Billy who must have thought he was about to score. Jones and Sean Longstaff brought out the best of Fon Williams, but he pulled of an equally good save as he dived low to his right and got a solid hand on a flashing shot from Callum Roberts as Killie finished the game strongly. Woodman was in the right place to gather a stabbed effort in a six yard box melee and that was our lot. Full Time 1-1 So, a draw it was and no surprise it was a scoring one at that. Plenty of effort from Inverness today but the story of the season was evident again. Not making the most of the chances that came our way and when we ran out of ideas the visitors ended stronger and we were left clinging on somewhat without looking like getting our noses in front. Richie Foran is not the fans favourite just now as we went with five defenders and an isolated Billy Mckay. Brad Mckay was rightly hooked at half time as he was a liability every time Jones confronted him. Kev McNaughton was excellent when he came on though and oozed class, his reading of the game reminiscent of a young Bobby Mann. Mulraney did one piece of magic to earn a corner when he was hemmed in but was the victim of some rough treatment from the Killie defence. Great goal from Billy Mckay to get us the point and a superb display from Fon Williams. I'm giving my vote to Larnell Cole, but there were great contribuions from a handful of players, namely Fon Williams, Raven, Tansey and Billy Mckay. A couple of names not on that list are the pair responsible for the Killie penalty, Brad Mckay and the anonymous Billy King who must have been wearing Vigurs' boots. These draws are hurting us now as we run out of games and many fans are now fearing the worst with Foran looking like he might be incapable of turning this around. Difficult times ahead as Hamilton sent us to the bottom of the league once more with a very late win against St Johnstone. One win in our last eighteen games does not fill me with confidence going into the vital bottom six games. Difficult game coming up at Pittodrie on Tuesday night and the sheep are on fire after burning Dundee on Friday night. That's the most difficult fixture we have left, let's get it out of the way with as little damage as possible then look for some positives in our remaining fixtures. Footage from SPFL website Date: 01/04/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2780 Referee: Bobby Madden Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams; B.Mckay (McNaughton, 46), Warren, McCart, Raven, Laing, Draper, Tansey, Cole (Polworth 86), King (Mulraney 61), W.Mckay Subs (not used): Esson, Ebbe, Boden, Anier Scorers: W.Mckay (25) Booked: B.Mckay (34) Sent Off: none Kilmarnock: 1 Lineup: Woodman; Wilson, S Boyd, Ayer, Taylor, Dicker, McKenzie (Kiltie 51), Longstaff, Jones (Roberts 78), K Boyd, Sammon Subs (not used): MacDonald, Osborne, Frizzell, Hawkshaw, Innes Scorers: K.Boyd (pen.19) Booked: Dicker (76) Sent Off: none a
  4. Return of the six-pointer It's another crucial match as we begin to run out of games to save our season. Kilmarnock are the visitors on Saturday after the inconvenience of International weekend. In actual fact, they are all crucial now, and after the last outings turnaround in results with County and Killie salvaging draws, then we need to start making the most of home advantage. That means having a go Richie rather than waiting for something to happen. It did last time out, unfortunately at the wrong end. How steep is this learning curve, it's almost vertical now. We lost a vital two points against County that would have dragged them right down into the thick of the relegation tussle. Greg Tansey had given us the lead just after the break but a late goal from Alex Schalk evened up matters. When the dust had settled after another frenetic derby it was a point apiece and no one could grumble if I'm being honest. In saying that, both sides had chances to win the game, but as has been the case for most of the season, we failed to take advantage when on top and our defensive record speaks for itself, abysmal. This result keeps us in the relegation turmoil whilst County still harbour hopes of a top-six slot. (Who are they kidding) Killie salvaged a point thanks to an incredible blunder by Partick's keeper when he failed to stop a trundling effort. The ball seemed to slap off him and squirm it's way into the net. Unbelievable Geoff! Chris Erskine looked to have given Partick all three points but Conor Sammon squeezed the ball home from distance thanks to an horrific cock-up by Tomas Cerny, straight out of the Fon Williams book of blunderful saves. Killie have been a bit Jekyll and Hyde this season, but have surprised many by their league position, sitting eight points above Inverness and only two behind Partick in sixth place. Look away now Tomas................. You have to go back eleven games since Killie last beat Inverness in the Highlands. It was seven years ago in December 2010 when they won 1-3. Craig Bryson, Liam Kelly and Jamie Hamill did the damage Hamill scoring from a rebound after his penalty had been saved by Ryan Esson. A certain Mr Richie Foran scored the Inverness goal that day. Since then, it has been five home wins and five draws. That statistic would appear to make Inverness the favourites on paper, but in reality, Killie have been better equipped this season and their league position is healthier than ours at the moment. They are however the second lowest scoring side in the division with only twenty-eight goals, five fewer than us. Their defence is eight better off than ours. That all adds up to a goal difference of minus seventeen compared to minus twenty for Inverness, which means every goal scored will count double in the goal difference stakes. Iain Vigurs crocked himself in the Highland derby and will possibly miss the rest of the season with ankle ligament damage. Carl Tremarco also took a knock in the derby and will miss another couple of weeks. Ryan Esson, Josh Meekings, Aaron Doran and Lewis Horner are out long term. Jake Mulraney missed the last game but hopes to have recovered sufficiently to be included in the squad for this one. Jamie McCart played for Scotland u21 in midweek and along with Louis Laing could keep his place in defence, although Gary Warren's experience could be vital. David Raven could be used at left back again and Kevin McNaughton is fit enough to be included after his lengthy time out. Brad Mckay will also be pushing for a start and Liam Polworth needs to stand up and be counted now that Vigurs is missing. Killie's interim manager Lee McCulloch will be without the suspended Luke Hendrie. Steven Smith is struggling for fitness although could be available, but Greg Kiltie is not ready for action yet. And finally, the worlds worst kept secret has become public knowledge. It has been announced that Greg Tansey will be leaving in the summer to join the rest of his former colleagues at Pittodrie. Well blow me down. It's a bit untimely given our predicament, but I'm sure Greg will not want a relegation on his CV and will be trying his utmost to get us away from the bottom. tm4tj prediction:- As I said above, Killies season should be seen as a success thus far. They have some flair players capable of hurting the opposition. Greg Kiltie and Rory McKenzie to name a couple and Conor Sammon is always a danger with his pace and eye for goal. He has scored three goals since his return to Killie in seven appearances. We need to be more aggressive at home, but not to the detriment of our fragile defence. We have a scorer in Billy Mckay, but he needs some service. If we can get bodies forward to help him out then I see no reason that we can't take all three points, but given that we don't do nil-nil in this fixture then it could be a scoring draw which will not do us any favours. Killie still have hopes of top-six, we hope to be playing in the top league next season. With Killie playing Rangers, Celtic and Hearts after they come North, they might feel that this is the one they should be winning and will go for the jugular. It could get messy, but let's get behind the guys and give them every encouragement we can. Other games around us that we will be keeping an eye on. Dundee 0 - 7 Aberdeen (Friday) Oooooft, that's a hammering. Looking forward to Tuesday night now! Hamilton v St Johnstone Partick v Ross County Rangers v Motherwell
  5. Derby Draw Disappoints Inverness The Highland derby ended in a disappointing draw as County came from behind to snatch a point with a late Alex Schalk strike. Greg Tansey's deflected strike just after the break gave Inverness an unexpected lead given the poor first forty-five, but they failed to capitalise on some early second half pressure, Billy Mckay hitting the crossbar as he tried to turn a cross home. County were menacing on the counter and Craig Curran missed a sitter when he headed wide when he should have hit the target. Overall, a draw was just about right although either side could have sneaked all three points. Inverness were dealt a blow before kick-off with the news that pacey winger Jake Mulraney was not fit. The converse for Ross County, with big stopper Andrew Davies given the go ahead to play. Richie Foran seemed to go for a formation that was designed not to concede rather than go for glory. Iain Vigurs started with Ross Draper and Carl Tremarco back after suspension. County had Aaron McCarey between the sticks. The game kicked off on a heavy pitch after Friday's constant rain and it was a cagey opening. Vigurs was looking more involved than he has been of late and he curled a ball that skiffed the top of the bar with the keeper beaten. Good effort with his right foot from twenty yards but he was injured soon after and replaced before the break by Liam Polworth. County were looking the more likely as our lack of width allowed them access to the wide areas and they flashed a couple of dangerous low crosses into the box that just eluded the strikers when a touch would have given them the lead. We were devoid of attacking intent in the first half and getting to the break all square was a bonus. Half Time 0-0 However, we exploded out of the blocks after the interval and Greg Tansey smacked a shot low towards the keepers left after indecision in the visitors ranks. The ball took a wicked deflection off County defender Andrew Davies and wrong footed Aaron McCarey in goal to find the opposite corner. We took the game by the scruff of the neck and minutes later Tansey brought out a good save from McCarey from a free kick wide on the Inverness left, the keeper tipping the ball over the bar. Ross Draper drifted a header back towards goal but it went narrowly over the bar from a deep cross as we tried to extend our lead. Carl Tremarco might feel he should have done better as well when presented with an opportunity to score. Costly misses as it turned out. County broke forward and Curran missed a golden opportunity to level matters. A deep cross found him at the back post all on his own but he contrived to miss the target from just six yards. It was Inverness that were still turning the screw though and Tansey hit a thunderous shot from twenty-five yards that McCarey did well to parry. A foot either side and he would have had no chance of touching it. From the resultant clearance, Inverness burst forward again Henri Anier setting up Billy Mckay but under pressure his close range strike cannoned off the bar, the rebound just evading Carl Tremarco's head before being cleared by a grateful County defence. Fon Williams was eventually called into serious action in the 81'st minute as he tipped over a Milan Lalkovic shot from distance. The warning was not heeded and when we failed to deal properly with a County attack, from the resultant throw in Alex Schalk latched onto the ball in the box, turned and fired high behind Fon Williams to make this feel like a defeat. Still time for substitute Dean Ebbe to try his luck from the edge of the box but his shot leaked to the left of goal and that was about it, game over and a better point for County than it was for Inverness. Full Time 1-1 So, the Highlands belong to Ross County for this season, but there will be one more derby to come and neither club are clear of the threat of relegation yet. It could be a season defining game for either club, What did we learn from that game? County are no better than us, but our poor start to the campaign and two derby losses see us in this predicament and not them. Richie Foran didn't cover himself in glory with his team selection and strategy. No width, no pace, no clean sheet and not killing the game off when we were on top all cost us dear. Why did he not bring on the substitutes earlier? We were crying out for fresh legs to further stretch the overworked visitors defence ten minutes before they equalised. Everyone could see that, County shuffled theirs effectively; we paid the price. Not a great crowd for the most crucial Highland derby ever, but those that were there gave the side plenty of encouragement. Overall, a draw was the most deserving of results. It's not the result we had hoped for but it's not a disaster. We climbed above Accies on goal difference and gained a point on Motherwell. Next game is at home to Kilmarnock and we really need to start turning draws into victories. PerfICT posted his Inverness player ratings on CTO. Can't argue with these really and like most, picked out Greg Tansey as MotM. Fon Williams: 6. Apart from a tip over the bar in the second half, I can't remember him having a save to make. Raven: 8. Had Gardyne in his pocket for most of the game. Excellent. Warren: 6. Not so exposed for pace in the 5 at the back formation, but was skinned by Gardyne a couple of times. McCart: 7. Really starting to show his potential. One absolute crunching tackle in the first half was a joy watch. Laing: 7. Solid all game. Tremarco: 8. Another excellent game from our player of the season. Unlucky not to score in 2nd half. Tansey: 9. Without doubt his best game of the season. Deserved his goal. Draper: 8. Always plays well against County and didn't disappoint. Vigurs: 7. Easily his best performance of the season. Excellent right foot shot that clipped the bar early on and good distribution. Anier: 6. Better from him, but first touch let him down quite often. Mckay: 7. Worked his socks off with fairly poor service. Really unlucky with the shot off the bar that would have killed the game. Polworth: 6. Certainly not his best game, but picked out Tansey for the goal. Also wound Gardyne up, which always deserves credit! Foran: 5. Clearly does not like playing with width up front. Did he miss a trick by not playing Cole and King, or was the formation right to nullify County's attack? Personally, I prefer the 4-2-3-1 formation, with pace out wide, but the players almost made the 3 centre halves formation work. His half time talk certainly did the trick. Referee: 6. Did well to keep his cards in his pocket for most of the game. A couple of penalty appeals for County...think he got those right too. . Full Match Available On Demand Now at http://buff.ly/2nmreVu (Site Registration Required) for only £5. Footage from SPFL website Date: 18/03/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 4123 Referee: Crawford Allan Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams; Raven, Warren, Laing, McCart, Tremarco, Draper, Tansey, Vigurs (Polworth, 42), Anier (Ebbe, 89), Billy Mckay Subs (not used): Hoban, Brad Mckay, King, Cole, Boden Scorers: Tansey (48) Booked: Tremarco (88) Sent Off: none Ross County: 1 Lineup: McCarey; Gardyne (Lalkovic, 80), Fraser, Davies, van der Weg, Naismith, Boyce, Chow, Routis (O'Brien, 78), Schalk, Curran (Dow, 85) Subs (not used): Foden, Gobern, Tumilty, Dykes. Booked: Naismith Scorers: Schalk (86) Booked: Naismith (52) Sent Off: none a
  6. So, who does own the Highlands? Ross County make the short trek over the bridge to face Inverness in a crucial showdown as both clubs fight for their Premiership survival in what has become a relegation derby with another one to come before the end of the season. Tough times for both Highland clubs. And they don't come much tougher than this. A local derby at the wrong end of the table with points needed by both clubs. The Highlands were predominantly ours, but this has been a substandard transitional season for Inverness, with County faring marginally better. This could change on Saturday. Is it a must win game? Possibly not, but it's certainly a must not lose game. Inverness took a small step forward last weekend with a scarcely deserved but crucial point at Firhill, Gary Warren scoring with the last touch of the game. It was a vital one though as his header from a deep Billy King cross found the bottom corner to cancel out Kris Doolan's opener for Partick. Foran suffered badly from a lack of available players for this one with Ross Draper and Carl Tremarco suspended and the pacey Jake Mulraney injured and Aaron Doran out for the rest of the season. It showed in his team selection so a point at Partick is not to be scoffed at given our deficiencies. County at one point this season looked good for a top-six place, but their form of late has been that of a relegation threatened side. Their good work at Tynecastle was undone as Killie came North and went home with all three points. A late Kris Boyd counter was the difference between the sides after Conor Sammon and Liam Boyce had scored earlier in the game. That turnaround and our late point at Partick means that there are only four points between the sides now. Both clubs have picked up just seven points over their last ten games, County with two wins and a draw. One of those wins was a 3-2 victory in the last derby with Liam Boyce bagging a brace and Martin Woods notching the other. We toiled that day but goals from Carl Tremarco and Alex Fisher gave us some hope although it was a case of too little too late. County also won the first derby 3-2 with Boyce claiming a hat-trick that day. Scott Boden and Ross Draper scored for Inverness in another game where we fell short of the mark. Strangely enough, we have scored two more goals than County, once more it's the defence that has been letting us down with County conceding five less than us. In truth, there's little between the sides, yet County manager Jim McIntyre is still searching for a route into the top-six. That has long been closed for Inverness as Richie Foran realised avoiding relegation is the priority. Sadly, if neither club find a bit of form going into the final games of the season, then relegation is a distinct possibility for both clubs. Thankfully, Hamilton and Motherwell are still in the mix for that unwanted position. Even a play-off game presumably against either Dundee United or Falkirk would not guarantee safety, so the battle is well and truly on to get to tenth place and avoid the dreaded drop and all the unwanted baggage that goes with it. Richie Foran will be without Josh Meekings, Ryan Esson, Aaron Doran and Lewis Horner. Kevin McNaughton came through a development game in midweek unscathed and took it in his stride. However, a frantic derby may be a bit of a risk given the circumstances. Jake Mulraney missed out last week and we could do with his electifying pace out wide. Hopefully he has recovered fully from his injury. Youngster Jamie McCart on loan from Celtic has been called into the Scotland u21 squad after some promising displays for Inverness, so congratulations to him. Jim McIntyre will be hoping to have Scott Fox back in goal for this one. Chris Burke, Tony Dingwall and Ian McShane are all out for the rest of the season. Jay McEvely will miss this weekend and Andrew Davies, Scott Fox and Martin Woods will be given every opportunity to make the derby. Alex Shalk has a broken bone in his hand but is expected to be included in the squad. So, problems for County on the injury front as well. It will be interesting to see if either boss has placed his cards on the table or will there be any surprises included in the starting line-ups. tm4tj prediction:- County are on a poor run just now and we have shown some battling qualities over the last few games that was missing earlier in the season. Injuries are still causing havoc with our team selections with Meekings and Doran out for the season and Esson struggling. It's great to have Billy Mckay back with us, but if we don't play to his strengths, then he would be as well sitting in the stand. He was isolated at Partick last week but with home advantage I expect us to get bodies forward to give him some assistance. County have won the two previous derby's, but the tide is turning at a crucial stage of the season. Liam Boyce scored his first goal of 2017 last week and if we can keep him quiet, then I will be looking for three points to bring County right down into the relegation mire. Only ten games left to save our season, and on derby day, other games of interest to County and Inverness: Hamilton visit Rangers, Motherwell host St Johnstone and Killie and Partick play each other. Fingers crossed, results favour the Highlands. Richie Foran & Henri Anier look forward to the derby............
  7. Fon Williams in Blunderland Cock up keeper Owain Fon Williams was badly at fault as Celtic cruised home 4-0. The keeper who looked to have recovered from a shaky spell earlier in the season gifted Celtic their second goal and was suspect as they scored a third direct from a free kick after failing to cover his near post. I'm afraid he made a difficult job impossible as Celtic took full advantage from his gaffs to run out 4-0 winners. Scott Sinclair scored an excellent opener after riding a couple of challenges on the stroke of half time. Moussa Dembele poked in the second moments after the break after OFW blundered. Stuart Armstrong scored from that free kick and Dembele finished with aplomb as Celtic clinically hit on the counter. The result was never in doubt, but the manner in which we gifted goals was difficult to take and it undid the good work of the last couple of games. Another big away support filled the South Stand as Celtic kicked off playing towards the bridge end where a noisy and spirited young team took up residence and backed the home side who would be facing a difficult task. The first half was void of any real chances, neither keeper being forced into anything too difficult and maybe that was a good thing as events would unfold. Billy Mckay tried his luck with a low effort that Craig Gordon gathered easily after Billy King linked with Mckay and fed him on the edge of the box. It was a resilient display by Inverness, but just when we thought it was safe to go for the half-time cuppa, Scott Sinclair scored a superb goal. He appeared to be fouled by Draper as he made his way across the edge of our box but he stayed on his feet and rode another challenge before curling a shot beyond the outstretched Fon Williams to bring the first half to a dramatic close, The pressure had been mounting but up to that point we were well in the game without causing too much problems for the visitors. Half Time 0-1 We kicked off the second period and within twelve seconds shot ourselves in the foot. From the kick off the ball went backwards, and when Gary Warren decided to put it all the way back to his keeper there seemed little danger. However Fon Williams miskicked the ball, only succeeding in slicing the ball into the path of Moussa Dembele five yards in front of him. He chipped the ball up in the air and prodded it into the empty net with our blundering keeper lying on the deck looking on. It looked as though that goal sucked the energy and determination right out of the home players and from there on in it was one way traffic. Celtic don't usually need gifts, but when they are presented to them on a plate, it would have been rude not to accept it. Moments later the keeper made amends when he stopped a close range effort on his line but, alas, the damage had been done. Dembele and his strike partner Sinclair were causing problems with their sheer pace, skill levels and movement and from one burst by Dembele he left defenders in his wake before setting up Sinclair who blasted just over. His next thrust saw Celtic win a free kick just wide of the angle of our penalty box. Cross anticipated by all apart from Stuart Armstrong who hit the ball well and it ended up in Fon Williams' net at his near post. More shambolic keeping from the Welsh international who did not cover himself in glory. Cheap goal to lose and Celtic well on top. Liam Polworth woke from his slumber and fired a loose ball on target with a volley but Gordon was equal to it and tipped it over for a corner. That was the nearest we came to scoring whilst Celtic carved out another half dozen chances. The final goal came when Billy King ran out of ideas at the Celtic end, loss possession and when Tierney cracked a long ball forward, Dembele left everyone in his wake before dinking the ball over Fon Williams and into the empty net. Quality goal from a quality player. Full Time 0-4 Celtic were good value for their win with Dembele and Sinclair outstanding. Tierney is one of the hottest prospects around and the whole team oozes class from back to front and right through the bench as well. It's difficult for any team to match them at the moment, but we did just that in a keenly contested first half. However the wheels fell off with the errors and the desire to compete visibly ebbed from the players. No disgrace losing to the best Celtic team for years, but disappointing that we contributed to our own downfall after a promising first forty-five. With that game out of the way, Foran needs to lift the squad for the last eleven games with the Aberdeen one looking like the toughest fixture left. Mind you, in our position at the bottom, they are all tough. Richie Foran was as scathing of his side as any of the fans. Caley boss Richie Foran: "It's extremely disappointing. We lacked courage on the ball, we lacked belief on the ball. I'm not even sure Celtic got out of second gear. We never got going. "I find it hard to think of a player that did well. The whole 11 lacked courage. Off the ball we were OK; on the ball we didn't want to pass forward and take responsibility. "On the counter we had the ability but we didn't have the belief to go with it. It doesn't matter how good Celtic were. We had opportunities to play and get forward but we didn't fancy it. "The second goal was comical. It's embarrassing. But we were poor all over the park. At least three of the goals we conceded were avoidable." tm4tj MotM. Not one Inverness player deserved to be nominated apart from Ross Draper who tried his best. The sponsors MotM went to Polworth. Having a laugh maybe, but the real MotM goes to the young team who tried to drum up support as they waved their flags, sang, jumped around and got right behind the team for the full 93 minutes. Well done lads, it's a pity the team don't have your energy and enthusiasm at the moment. Look away now if you are easily upset............. Date: 01/03/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 5948 Referee: Andrew Dallas Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Fon Williams, Raven, Laing, Warren, B.McKay, Polworth, Draper, Tansey, King, W.Mckay (Anier 81), Cole (Vigurs 64) Subs (not used): Hoban, McNaughton, Ebbe, Boden, Fisher Scorers: none Booked: Laing (65) Sent Off: none Celtic: 4 Lineup: Gordon, Lustig, Sviatchenko, Boyata, Tierney, Bitton, Brown (Henderson 78), Armstrong, Mackay-Steven (McGregor 69), Sinclair, Dembele Subs (not used): de Vries, Toure, Izaguirre, Gamboa, Griffiths. Scorers: Sinclair (43), Dembele (46, 73), Armstrong (66) Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  8. Take this one on the chin and move on. Tough task ahead for Inverness as the runaway league leaders come calling on Wednesday night no doubt looking to avenge the draw in the Highlands earlier in the season, the only points Celtic have dropped so far. Since then, it's been 21 straight wins in the Premiership. It was a good weekend for Inverness as they clambered off the bottom of the table after beating Rangers 2-1 on Friday night. That coupled with Hamilton's loss at Parkhead on the Saturday saw us jump above the Accies in the race to avoid relegation. It was a throwback to the good olde days as Inverness beat Rangers with goals from Greg Tansey and Billy Mckay. Hard work and togetherness saw us get over the line with a little help from Billy Mckay who scored a wonder goal with an overhead kick in the last minute of normal time. You couldn't have scripted it better. We could even afford the luxury of a missed penalty, something Richie Foran needs to address as that's the third one in as many weeks that we have passed on. Note for Richie, make sure the guys know who will take the spot kick before they go on the park. Otherwise, great performance all round and a welcome three points. Celtic did us a favour on Saturday by beating Accies 2-0. Not the cricket score we were hoping for but no points for the Accies who take over at the bottom with Celtic cruising to the title and probably the treble. Moussa Dembele scored a brace, and that's nine goals in his last four games and twenty-six for the season overall. Sad news coming from Parkhead that Celtic legend Billy McNeill has been diagnosed as having dementia. The pinnacle of McNeill's career was in lifting the European Cup as captain of Celtic in 1967. They were the first British club to do so. This is the biggest battle of his life now and we wish him and his family well for the struggle ahead. A couple of weeks ago Celtic trounced us 6-0 in the Scottish Cup. We have gone back to basics since then and an excellent draw at Tynecastle followed by the win over Rangers has given everyone a lift, none moreso than manager Richie Foran. He had been taking plenty of flack recently as our worst run ever saw us go fourteen league games without a win. Now that monkey is off the back we can get back to business and look to make progress although this is the toughest gig on the fixture list. There's little point in bigging up everyone prior to this game as nothing is expected from us, and rightly so, but recent performances have shown that we have the desire to compete. We may have to wait until this fixture is out of the way before we continue our revival and it's more about how the teams around us perform whilst we take on Celtic, so we will be keeping a close eye on Accies v Aberdeen, Hearts v County and Killie v Motherwell, who look to be in trouble at the moment, shipping goals like nobody's business. Foran took the bull by the horns in our last outing and kept the previously suspended trio of Gary Warren, Brad Mckay and Iain Vigurs on the bench. His gamble worked well as he put his trust in the team that put the effort in at Tynecastle. We might see a similar pattern against Celtic although Carl Tremarco and Jake Mulraney came off through injury against Rangers and will be doubts for this one. Kev McNaughton is recovering well and has started training again so things are looking up with only Josh Meekings and Lewis Horner still considered longer term casualties with Kev maybe only a couple of weeks away from a return. The latest on Tremarco and Mulraney is that they hope to be fit enough for Celtic game, along with Henri Anier and Billy Mckay who has a slight strain. Aaron Doran has a knee injury and looks like missing out. Loanee Jamie McCart is unable to play against his parent club. Brendan Rodgers has a vast array of international talent to choose from and his injury list does not have the same impact on his side as ours does. That said, he will without the services of Tom Rogic. A plus for Inverness is that James Forrest is a doubt for Wednesday night. He destroyed us in the cup game and it will be a bonus for us if he misses out. Croatian defender Jozo Simunovic might not be fit either although Rodgers will not need to risk anyone given his strength in depth. tm4tj prediction:- As I said above, this is the toughest fixture we are likely to have left this season. It's a no brainer that Celtic will be massive favourites for this one and anything we can get from this game will be a bonus, and that includes damage limitation to our goal difference. We have taken four points from our last two games where many thought we might gain nothing, so this is one we might have to take on the chin. Nothing is impossible, but this is the nearest to that. We showed great character against Rangers and we will need plenty more of that against Celtic. I can't see past a sound beating, but a draw would be a marvellous achievement. Dembele and Scott Sinclair need to be kept quiet and that's not easy. With Leigh Griffiths and Patrick Roberts waiting in the wings for their chance, it doesn't rain but it pours. Fingers crossed it is then. Richie Foran looks ahead to the Celtic game with a renewed vigour after the result against Rangers..........
  9. Stunning victory Inverness Caledonian Thistle ended their fourteen league game winless streak with a glorious win over Rangers thanks to a spectacular goal from Billy Mckay. In a pulsating game Greg Tansey had smacked home the opener in the first period. Martin Waghorn showed how to take a penalty as Rangers leveled from the spot but Iain Vigurs could not replicate that later in the game, Wes Fodderingham saving comfortably, but he was left sprawling helplessly when Billy scored his stunning acrobatic winner in the last minute of normal time. The hairs on the back of my neck are still standing. This win lifted Inverness off the bottom of the league for now with Hamilton playing Celtic on Saturday. What a climax to the 1000th game in our history! Richie Foran made a bold statement showing faith in the players that worked so hard to get a point at Tynecastle last weekend. Gary Warren, Brad Mckay and Iain Vigurs all started on the bench with youngster Jamie McCart and Louis Laing keeping their place in defence. Liam Polworth started with Larnell Cole and Jake Mulraney providing the service for the striker. The visitors had no surprises in their line-up and were looking to get back to winning ways having only one win in their previous six games and a big crowd were backing them to sort it in the Highlands. It looked like it was going to be a long night for Foran's side as Rangers flew out of the blocks and put Inverness on the back foot for the first ten minutes with slick incisive passing and swift play as they cut the hosts open three or four times during that period. However we are more resilient of late and repelled these attacks with Owain Fon Williams saving twice in quick succession as Kenny Miller bore down on goal after a quick throw in caught us napping, also saving the rebound as Emerson Hyndman shot low and hard. He kept out a Barry McKay effort as well as we were pinned in our own half during a torrid opening period. Three corners in as many minutes bore no fruit for the visitors before we eventually ventured forth. Fifteen minutes in and it looked even bleaker for Inverness as Carl Tremarco had to be replaced by Brad Mckay and Foran had to re-shuffle his under pressure back line. Jake Mulraney had our first attempt but the keeper dealt with his effort as we got to grips with the game and half an hour in Greg Tansey shot narrowly wide. He would do better just before the break. Barry McKay should have done better with a close range header but he got under the ball and it sailed over the bar. A let off for Inverness and we retaliated with Liam Polworth going close, as did Martyn Waghorn at the other end. One minute before the interval, Inverness took the lead in spectacular style. Greg Tansey latched onto a loose ball some thirty yards out after a Polworth shot was blocked. He crashed a low swerving shot to the keepers right and despite a headlong dive from Foderingham the ball fizzed into the bottom corner for a tremendous goal. Still time for Miller to try his luck but at the break it was advantage Inverness. Half Time 1-0 The end to end play continued after the break with Inverness looking comfortable as Rangers struggled to make the breakthrough. Barry McKay saw an effort tipped over by a confident Fon Williams as the pressure mounted on the hard working home defence and Joe Toral went very close with a shot across goal that just rolled past the far post. You could sense a goal was coming and it did. Louis Laing was adjudged to have been late with a tackle on Lee Wallace on the far side of the box as he crossed the ball and Waghorn made penalty taking look easy, Fon Williams going right, the ball flashing to his left on it's way into the net. Jake Mulraney had the Rangers defenders on toast all night but he had to leave the field after stretching for a wayward pass. Needless moment that ended his day and the home fans feared the worst as Billy King replaced him. Tansey almost put Inverness ahead once more after good play down the left by Larnell Cole set up the chance for a shot. His strike looked destined for the top corner but Foderingham pulled off a fantastic one handed save to keep the scores level. Great stop from the keeper. Rangers broke at the other end and Inverness had Fon Williams to thank after he denied Waghorn when he had raced clear into the left side of the box but the keeper stood tall and blocked his shot and the ball stuck as well. Bonus! The pace of the game was unrelenting and a really slick move by Rangers inside the Inverness area ended with a shot blocked inside the six yard box. Frenetic stuff and Billy Mckay forced Foderingham into action again as he shot from an angle inside the visitors box, the keeper up to the task this time getting two strong hands on the ball to push it away from goal after Billy had twisted and turned to create the space for a shot. Billy Mckay was causing all sorts of problems for the Rangers defence with his darting runs and magnificent ball retention and it was another such run that saw him bundled over inside the box. Penalty to Inverness but who would take this one as our success rate from the spot has been poor recently. Substitute Iain Vigurs had the balls to step up but his rather tame shot was comfortably saved low to his left by the keeper. Meh! However, the darting Mckay would not be denied and he scored a stunner to win all three points as the clock ticked down. There seemed little danger when a Larnell Cole cross was knocked high in the air by a defender. However, we are talking about the tenacious Billy Mckay here. Despite being surrounded by three big Bears, he held off the defenders before sending a controlled overhead kick into the corner of the net from ten yards. Wow, a stunning goal fit to win any game and the reaction from manager Richie Foran was a joy to behold, double fist pumps along the touchline as he, the fans and Caley Thistle players rejoiced in style. Still time for Jason Holt to fire a cross into the body of Iain Vigurs with the away fans rising as one to claim for a penalty but that would have been harsh as Vigurs blocked the ball at the expense of a corner, and that was it, game over and a fabulous welcome win for Inverness. Full Time 2-1 Oh boy, what a pulsating game that was and a fitting tribute for the 1000th competitive match for Inverness Caledonian Thistle. You could see what that victory meant to the under pressure manager Richie Foran as his players put in a shift and a half to earn the right to wear the shirt. Fantastic effort from all and let's not forget the part Rangers played in this enthralling encounter. They also displayed some slick football, but with both keepers in excellent form it was Inverness that wrote another slice of history in this landmark game. tm4tj MotM. So many excellent performers out there. Owain Fon Williams has rediscovered how to keep the ball out of the net. A strong display by an overworked defence and a huge effort by the midfield with Tansey outstanding. Jake Mulraney was menacing once we ventured up the park and Larnell Cole did likewise on the other side and seemed to get a second or third wind late in the game to make some lung bursting runs. Great effort. My MotM goes to a wee striker, and not just for his sublime acrobatic goal. Billy (small 'k') Mckay was tremendous and involved in everything when we broke upfield. He is definitely more energetic than the Duracell Bunny and he ran himself to a standstill, as did most of our players tonight. Special mention to Richie Foran. He has been on the receiving end of some tough criticism, but he was absolutely ecstatic tonight and showed some managerial credentials by leaving his experienced players on the bench and went with youth and energy. It paid off big time. Theresa May, Queen Elizabeth, Winston Churchill, Angela Merkel........................your boys took a helluva beating tonight! Check out Richie releasing his pent up frustration after Billy scores his stunner. Here is the rest of the action from the SPFL website Inverness CT 2-1 Rangers And, last but not least, Immortal Howden Ender has put down his legendary smileymometer ratings giving Tansey top marks from his viewing point on his sofa.. SEVCO SMILEYMOMETER FON WILLIAMS : Not wholly assured and I would guess at 80% fit. I still get nervous about / for him. But that performance can only be "confidence medicine". RAVEN : Eat, Sleep, Raven, Repeat - He plays on the right, he plays on the left. Lets just say that he pulled back the years last night. TREMARCO : Hope that the injury is short term - Big, big player for us this season. BRAD McKAY : Literally thrown in at the deep end. Sound if not spectacular LAING : : Lack of match time and fitness showed at times last night but held firm as the Sevco tide threatened. Needless challenge for the penalty and a needless yellow card (although he can afford them !!) McCART : Joint MOM for me. At Tynie he looked "green" and needed the support and guidance of Laing. Last night it was the opposite. Memories of a young Warren. Perhaps it was the Parkhead factor !! DRAPER : Now that was a captains' performance. Hope that the substitution was pre-planned and not due to an injury. Ran his socks off and won almost everything in the air and on the ground, especially from dead ball situations. TANSEY : MOM too. Much maligned by many this season, especially me, but that is two fine performances in a row. Busy, looking for the ball and picking out passes. He benefits from the cover from Draper and Polworth, the width of two wingers and the running of Mckay - but he has always been a "footballer". May be tad cruel but he may also be influenced by the new look Foran and the fact that Aberdire are more interested in Christie. Now really playing for his starting place like all the others. Could not believe that he didn't grab the penalty. And yet another yellow - for "clumsiness" - Paul Scholes timed a tackle better. POLWORTH : ; Another benefitting from being played where he enjoys and where he is most effective. Must have ran miles more than anyone else in the last two games but also a ball player when needed. Another beginning to really play for the shirt and his manager. Needs to learn how to win penalties though !! VIGURS : : WHY was he allowed to take the penalty ? Was it pre-planned ? Did wee Billy and Tansey bottle it ? MULRANEY : : IF he had been more direct and confident from the off he would have totally murdered Wallace. A lad who appears to have confidence issues but that should be a confident booster. Play wide and attack, attack, attack son. Fell out of the game because we were on the back foot but kept tracking back. Shades of a young Barry Robson. COLE : : Just did not get in to the game and overshadowed by Mulraney who was getting all the midfield service. Another who could be more direct. Mckay : : Much improvement in his running off the ball and hold-up play. A born poacher and goalscorer. He scores when he wants FORAN : : Brave, brave selection but overdue and (sorry) but not rocket science. Has taken him 2/3rd of a season to have a "realisation" epiphany - whilst previous being somebody who rhymes with epiphany. That was the "old" Richie Foran on the sidelines. Keep being nasty, keep being aggressive - You are the feckin boss and not one of the feckin boys. Some of his post-match comments : I thought our moment was gone with missing the penalty," admitted Foran ; The boys showed big, big character against a really good side. They [Rangers] have been written off, they're getting criticised from every angle. They're a good side with good players and that's a huge result for us. "I always thought we were a threat in the final third. I knew we'd get a chance again. "I wasn't sure if we'd get a chance after the penalty but that's why you've got Billy Mckay in your team. He can score out of nothing. If you want to have a successful season, you need a striker like that." And as for the future : "We can go on a run," said Foran. "Maybe it's going to be perfect timing for that run, coming to the end of the season ; "Go and win games, go on your run, go eight, nine unbeaten, we can get in that top six." - Shut the feck up Richie. We win one game, against a team in turmoil, and we are Top Six Again - give me a break. It is easy to lift yourself against the top teams and on the gogglebox - the proof rests in going to Firhill and get three points, the trick is to win the Highland Derby and to take another three at home against a struggling but unpredictable Kilmarnock. Cellic up next is a hiding to nothing and to finish : Date: 24/02/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 6415 Referee: Steven McLean Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Fon Williams, Raven, Tremarco (B.Mckay 15), Polworth, Draper (Vigurs 80), McCart, W.Mckay, Mulraney (King 69), Tansey, Laing, Cole Subs (not used): Hoban, Warren, Ebbe, Anier Scorers: Tansey (45), Mckay (89) Booked: Laing (56), Tansey (66) Sent Off: none Rangers: 1 Lineup: Foderingham, Tavernier, Kiernan, Wallace, Wilson, Toral (Garner 92), Miller, McKay, Halliday (Holt 80), Hyndman, Waghorn Subs (not used): Alnwick, Windass, Dodoo, Forrester, Hodson Scorers: Waghorn (pen.67) Booked: Toral (14), Wilson (86) Sent Off: none a
  10. 1000 not out. It's a landmark day as Inverness Caledonian Thistle play their 1000th competitive game. Opponents for this will be the newest side in Scotland, The Rangers. The Caley Jags have come a long way since they entered the big boys leagues in 1994 and their first league game, a 5-2 win over Arbroath at Telford Street. Alan Hercher scored a twenty minute hat-trick for Caledonian Thistle that day and set the tone for Inverness as they would make their way through the Leagues to the present day. Their competitive debut was a 2-0 win over East Stirlingshire in the Coca Cola cup, Wilson Robertson scoring the first ever goal. There is an excellent programme available to commemorate this occasion. 1000th Game We had an unwelcome visitor to these shores this week. Doris day has been and gone and hopefully the weather will relent a bit as Inverness welcome the Rangers to the Highland capital. Scotland shivered in the wake of storm Doris as high winds and snow caused chaos across the land. The Highlands missed the worst of the storms but travel throughout Scotland was disrupted, so take care. Richie Foran saw his beleaguered side battle hard for a well earned draw at Tynecastle last weekend. Carl Tremarco had given the Highlanders the lead with a spanking header before Arnaud Djoum bundled home in the second half. Under fire keeper Owain Fon Williams did his confidence no harm as he held firm and saved a penalty as Hearts pushed for a winner. An unexpected point given our lack of resources through injuries and suspension. The Ibrox side lost their last game going down 2-1 at Dundee. The Dark Blues were two up before Joe Garner scored with a swerving long range effort but it was not enough to deny Dundee a deserved win. Inverness are entrenched at the foot of the table some 24 points behind the Glasgow side. Our goal difference is 12 goals worse off. They have scored 33 goals, 4 more than Inverness. It's in defence where the vast difference can be found as we have shipped 46 goals, 18 more than the Rangers. The Ibrox side have won both fixtures already this season, winning 1-0 in the Highlands thanks to a stunning volley from Kenny Miller and 1-0 in Glasgow, although Inverness were unfortunate not to take something from this game as Brad Mckay put the ball into his own net. Inverness can call on the services of Gary Warren, Brad Mckay and Iain Vigurs, all free from suspension. Aaron Doran is continuing to build his strength after a virus floored him for a couple of weeks and could feature. Josh Meekings, Lewis Horner and Kev McNaughton will all miss out. Louis Laing deputised well last week in defence and could continue with youngster Jamie McCart possibly dropping to the bench to accommodate the return of Warren. The Rangers will have Lee Wallace and Josh Windass back. Clint Hill will not make it after being injured against Dundee. tm4tj Prediction:- An encouraging draw at Tynecastle will give Richie Foran some belief that his side can steer themselves away from the relegation slot. This is the second of three really tough games with Celtic up next and points are at a premium. Nobody thought we stood much chance at Tynecastle given our injury and suspension crisis, but a back to basics work ethic saw us take a point and that is what will be required on Friday night against the Rangers. The elements could be a great leveler as well and it could be that we will take something from this game as managerless Rangers seem to have taken a confidence dent in recent weeks. Clean sheets are a thing of the past at Inverness so I'll go for a scoring draw.
  11. Bottlers battle back Richie Foran branded his team bottlers after the crushing defeat at Hamilton in midweek but they fought back from the brink to get a deserved draw against Dundee. The Dee were cruising at the break two goals to the good when Inverness showed some of the bottle that manager Richie Foran was looking for despite passing up on a second penalty opportunity. Marcus Haber and Darren O'Dea had given Dundee a scarcely deserved lead at the interval but Billy Mckay notched his first goal on his return from the spot. Unfortunately he failed with a second penalty effort but was involved in the equaliser when Bain blocked his attempt only for Greg Tansey to follow up and knock the ball home. A lively encounter with both sides having plenty chances but at the end of play it was a point each. Under fire manager Richie Foran made a few changes after his side slumped badly at Hamilton. Dropping to the bench were Welsh international Owain Fon Williams who has been culpable over the last couple of months, defender Brad Mckay and midfielders Liam Polworth and Larnell Cole. Ryan Esson made his first start of the season and David Raven was the right back. New recruit Jamie McCart from Celtic started alongside Gary Warren at the heart of the defence and Billy King returned to the wide midfield. Billy Mckay made a welcome return to Inverness two years after his departure and he was partnered up front by Henri Anier. Dundee came North with a trio of former Inverness players but they all stayed on the bench with Henrik Ojamaa making his debut for the Dee. Kevin Holt and Darren O'Dea returned after suspension to bolster Paul Hartley's squad. The Inverness side were smarting after being branded bottlers in midweek and there was a freshness about them as they started briskly. Carl Tremarco was unlucky in the sixth minute as he turned a cross onto the junction of post and bar with his head after a cross from the left. Dundee were not idle though and Marcus Haber was making a nuisance of himself with his power as he headed wide and Paul McGowan, Mark O'hara and Tom Hately all shot wide in quick succession as the Dark Blues came more into the game before Henri Anier tested Scott Bain in goal. Esson did likewise from McGowan at the other end. It was a lively affair and Greg Tansey drew a save from Bain as Inverness looked to get on the scoresheet, but in the 37th minute the visitors took the lead when Haber headed home a cross from Cameron Kerr. A bit harsh on Inverness, but worse was to follow. Two minutes before the break our defensive frailties were exposed again when O'Dea headed in number two. That hurt given our bright opening to the game. Just before the break Gary Warren headed just wide as our winless run looked set to continue. Half Time 0-2 Harsh words must have been spoken at the break and Iain Vigurs hit a post with a free kick five minutes in and Bain made another save from Vigurs moments later. Julen Etxabeguren was adjudged to have fouled Billy Mckay after a corner and it was Mckay himself who took the kick. Never the greatest penalty taker, Billy had the balls to take this one and he managed to put the ball down the middle with Bain stretching out a leg in vain, the ball just missing his studs on it's way into the net. Lifeline! McGowan should have restored the two goal advantage but shot wide from a tremendous position inside the box and Ojamaa almost nicked one from close range but David Raven popped up on the line to scoop clear. Dundee were hitting well on the break and looked dangerous when sweeping forward. Inverness were still having the bulk of the play and Etxabeguren tried his best to help out again, conceding another penalty. This brought about a fit of rage from McGowan who could not believe his stupidity. Undaunted, Billy felt he could cope with a second one and stepped up again. Strange, considering he was not the sharpest of penalty takers first time round and this time Bain came out on top saving his weak effort. Ross Draper saw a shot and follow up header saved as we turned the screw and showed plenty of determination to overcome adversity. Our persistence paid off when a Billy Mckay shot was saved well by Bain, but the ball fell to Tansey on the edge of the box and he buried the ball with precision and power. Game on! The final ten minutes were played out without further scoring, both sides fairly content with holding on to what they had, and that's not a criticism, it was for the best after what had gone on before. Full Time 2-2 Richie looked for a reaction and he got one. We still conceded goals, but instead of crumbling, we came out fighting and a draw was no more than we deserved, so full marks to the guys for not capitulating like they did at Hamilton and at least giving it a go. MotM is a toss up between a pair of Billy's. Mckay and King did well and look as though they could build a good understanding. As opposed to some weeks, it was encouraging to see more than one player stand out and there were interesting cameo's all over the park. We are still vulnerable at the back, but that is also understandable with the enforced changes and new players slotting in. Jamie McCart will only get better with games. An altogether much more positive outlook than there was after the Hamilton abyss. Only downside was that we failed to gain ground on the others at the bottom, although the signs are there that we are not relegated yet. Date: 04/02/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2606 Referee: Nick Walsh Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Esson, Raven, Tremarco, Warren, Draper, Vigurs (Polworth 86), McCart, Billy McKay, Tansey, King (Mulraney 85), Anier Subs (not used): Fon Williams, Ebbe, Boden, Brad Mckay, Cole Scorers: Billy Mckay (pen.53), Tansey (79) Booked: Billy Mckay (58), Tremarco (75) Sent Off: none Dundee: 2 Lineup: Bain, Holt, O'Hara, O'Dea, Hateley (Klok 84), Extabeguren, McGowan, Haber, Ojaama (El Bahktaoui 86), Kerr, Gomis Subs (not used): Mitchell, Vincent, WIlliams, Ross, Wighton. Scorers: Haber (37), O'Dea (43) Booked: O'Dea (48), Extabeguren (52), McGowan (63) Sent Off: none a
  12. Heading for last chance saloon The games keep rolling in and this weekend it's the turn of Dundee to take on the challenge of the six-pointer as they visit the Caledonian Stadium for a 3:00pm kick off, with Billy Mckay sure to pull in an extra few bums on seats to see if he can rescue our season. Midweek at Hamilton was a disaster for us as we turned in an abysmal display and deservedly got turned over by Accies who looked to have the better appetite for a relegation dogfight. Richie Foran drew audible gasps from the Caley Jags fans by re-signing (on loan) our favourite son, the almost prolific Billy Mckay until the end of the season. However, Accies had their own agenda and went about their business in the right manner. We showed Billy how far we have come from the successful team he left two years ago. Sadly that direction is downwards and with little leadership on and off the park, it's difficult to see where and when that will change. So, 3-0 it was to Accies and the most disappointing aspects from our point of view was the lack of quality, leadership and desire on display. We played with no recognised wide players, instead deploying them on the bench and choosing to thump long high balls up to a vertically challenged striker. Can someone tell Richie that isn't working too well. Dundee had a night off in midweek and now have a game in hand, as have Killie and Motherwell from the bottom half of the league. Their last game saw them go down 3-0 at Pittodrie. They were also dabbling in the transfer window and took on Henrik Ojamaa the Estonian ex-Motherwell striker and they also hired former Ross County midfielder Marc Klok. Dundee have lost as many games as Inverness (12), but have won twice as many (6). They sit two places above Inverness in tenth place having accumulated five more points than us. They ended a barren spell against Inverness with a 2-1 victory at Dens Park in November. Since that game, they have lost four and won two with one drawn, gaining seven points. We have failed to win any, losing five and drawing three from eight games. We are on our worst ever league run, no wins from twelve games since we defeated Motherwell in October. The stats don't lie I'm afraid and that's why we prop up the league table. Many fans are beginning to question the judgement of the board in appointing a rookie manager with no credentials whatsoever and giving him a four year contract. Practically everybody was delighted that Richie Foran followed John Hughes and were willing him to succeed. However, it's a results driven business and we are languishing precariously close to the dreaded relegation slot with only three wins from 23 league games. That in itself is a shocking statistic that will only lead to one thing. A lot of fans were coming out of the woodwork after the Hamilton debacle to vent their displeasure at the demise of our club and many are looking for a change of leadership. As results show, we are bottom on merit and the game at Accies was the last straw for many. Maybe in the harsh light of day, we have all had time to reflect on this. We have been talking about six-pointers for a few weeks now and we have failed in every one of them. However, there is still not a huge gap between us in bottom to Motherwell in sixth (seven points). I doubt anyone wants Foran to fail, but unless we start to win some games, there appears little doubt as to where we will be playing our football next season. It shouldn't come as a massive surprise to anyone although it's taken a long time for some to get their heads out of the sand and see the reality of our position. If it's any consolation, the Dundee fans feel the same about their side! Josh Meekings, Kevin McNaughton, and Lewis Horner are all out long term. Aaron Doran hopes to have shaken off this virus that has been going through our dressing room and forced him to miss the midweek game and Billy King is also a doubt. It looks as though a calf injury will keep David Raven out. Jamie McCart could make his debut in defence following his signing from Celtic. Dundee will have Kevin Holt back after injury and Darren O'Dea will return after suspension. Henrik Ojamaa could make his Dundee debut along with Marc Klok. tm4tj prediction:- It pains me to say, but with no confidence, no leadership, no defence, no tactical nous and not enough quality in the squad, I can see Dundee getting their second win over us this season. What can we do to stop this happening. Well, we need to get rid of the players who are not pulling their weight and put players on the park who will display some fight for the jersey. How about some wide players to give Billy Mckay some half decent service that he will thrive on, not rugby style punts that fall on the heads of the towering defenders. If fit, get Mulraney, King and Doran on the park and dump Vigurs, Tansey and Warren onto the bench. Fon Williams needs a break, his goal keeping has been sloppy of late bar the odd game or two. I hope Esson is fit enough to play. Our pedantic midfield needs a massive kick up the arse, let's hope we don't capitulate as easy as has been happening most of this season. Draw at best, but defeat is on the cards. Go on, prove me wrong, I'll be delighted. Don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger
  13. Clean Sheet, but no wins in eleven. Inverness and Partick served up a bit of a borefest with a no score draw at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium at the weekend. If anything, Partick just shaded it and the only positive for Inverness was our second clean sheet of the Premiership Season. Partick had the better of the clear chances but Owain Fon Williams upped his game after recent lapses with a tremendous display to deny the Firhill Jags. In his post match interview, manager Richie Foran mentioned some players were struggling with fitness and that showed as we struggled to create enough clear opportunities. The only other positive worth mentioning was that we pulled level on points with Hamilton at the bottom of the table and Tuesday nights encounter with the Accies is being labelled a six-pointer this early in the season. Full Report to follow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlHJSYsrPdk Date: 28/01/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2823 Referee: Stephen Finnie Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Fon Williams, Raven, McKay, Warren, Tremarco, Draper (Doran 80), Tansey, Polworth, Cole (Mulraney 60), Doumbouya (Vigurs 37), Anier Subs (not used): Esson, Ebbe, Boden, Gilchrist Scorers: none Booked: Warren (65), Anier (72) Sent Off: none Partick Th: 0 Lineup: Cerny, Booth, Welsh, Lindsay, Erskine, Lawless, Barton, Elliott, Azeez (Doolan 66), Keown, Edwards Subs (not used): Ridgers, Dumbuya, Amoo, McDaid, Nisbet, McCarthy Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  14. Absolutely Brutal Inverness slumped to another defeat, this time at the hands of relegation rivals Motherwell. That's nine games without a win and this result leaves us as firm favourites for the drop. If this was a boxing match, the referee would probably have taken both boxers aside and reminded them they would have to show some intent or risk losing their purse. However, Clay delivered a sucker punch with a bit of a freak blow as Fon Williams did not cover himself in glory, the wind aided strike catching him unawares. Another body blow from Scott McDonald ended the contest. Despite a late flurry of activity, probably borne out of embarrassment we only had a scrambled effort from want away midfielder Greg Tansey to show for it. We had plenty of possession in the second forty-five, but similar to most games this season we were unable to capitalise on it. Ross Draper had what looked like a decent claim for a penalty turned down and Aaron Doran struck the crossbar, but as is the norm these days, nothing went for us and in the end the three points left Inverness destined for North Lanarkshire. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Old Caley Girl will have a full report for us when she thaws out and her anger subsides....................... and here it is. Not sure where to start here to be honest. However, the hard luck excuses this season are wearing a bit thin. The Caley Thistle line up was unchanged from the last game at Ibrox. As mentioned in the match preview McHugh returned to the Motherwell line up following a lengthy spell out with concussion. A decent crowd, for a cold post-Christmas midweek match were in good spirits led by a noisy young team in the north stand. However, this optimistic mood was to be misplaced. Motherwell had the first chance of the game with a free kick from Hammell taking a deflection forcing Owain Fon Williams to make a save. However, this led to Caley Thistle having chances of our own with Polworth and Cole coming close. It was end to end chances with Tansey forcing a great save from Samson from a 25 yd free kick. There was bit of drama when Cole had a hefty challenge on Lucas earning a yellow card. Arguably he was perhaps lucky it wasn’t a different colour. This flashpoint kicked off Scott McDonald into a rage and it seemed like everyone on both sides piled in. Tansey tested Samson again on the stroke of halftime but without result. Half Time 0-0 ICT started the 2nd half with a great chance with Doumbouya crossing the ball right across the goalmouth but Cole could not connect. However, in 50 minutes the game changed completely with a Clay shot from the edge of the box catching the wind and finding itself right in the top corner of the net. Not much Owain Fon Williams could do about it as just a freak shot. This did however, change the game with ICT panicking and reverting to the “hoof and hope” tactic. We did have chances to pull the game back with Vigurs and Doran forcing good saves and a possible call for a penalty when Draper was pushed over in front of goal. Draper also had another claim turned down a few moments later but it would have been soft. We continued to press for the equaliser but to no avail and indeed there was the worry that we would be caught on the counter which indeed proved to be the case when Moult stormed down the right passing to McDonald who shot past a static OFW who seemed unwilling to move off his line. Motherwell 2-0 up and the home fans left in droves. Tansey did bundle the ball over the line in the dying minutes but too little too late for the home team. Full Time 1-2 Worrying times. Motherwell looked a poor side but we just couldn’t get our act together. Bottom of the table with just one win in 13. Only 2 home wins this season with only one clean sheet. Apparently we also have the lowest points total at this stage, in any division, in our history as a club. The stats also show that most clubs bottom at the turn of the year go on to be relegated. Richie Foran also a bit fortunate in the lack of criticism coming his way, at the moment, in my opinion. County up next and it really really is a must win but I’m personally not full of confidence. We do have the personnel to sort this and it really is time for some leadership on the field from the experienced players and a bit of backbone to show what they really are capable of. Bad luck maybe but let’s make our own luck. An ugly 1-0 on Saturday will do fine. OCG MotM – To be fair to the match sponsor there really wasn’t a lot of choice. However, the choice of Iain Vigurs drew audible gasps then boos in the north stand. Personally I wish he would roll up his sleeves and stop being a passenger for most of the game. I’m going with Tremarco for the simple reason that I can’t remember him doing much wrong. Date: 28/12/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3097 Referee: Barry Cook Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon-Williams, Tremarco, Warren, Meekings, Polworth (Mulraney 70), Draper, Vigurs, Tansey, McKay, Doumbouya (Fisher 58), Cole (Doran 55) Subs (not used): Esson, Boden, King, Sutherland Scorers: Tansey (90) Booked: Cole (35), McKay (39), Fisher (77), Vigurs (88) Sent Off: none Motherwell: 2 Lineup: Samson, Tait, Hammell (McMillan 62), Heneghan, McManus, McHugh, Cadden (Ainsworth 25), Lucas, Clay, McDonald, Moult Subs (not used): Brill, Bowman, Ferguson, Campbell, Mackin Scorers: Clay (50), McDonald (87) Booked: Moult (58) Sent Off: none a
  15. Basement battle continues. Inverness welcome Motherwell on Wednesday night as the frantic festive football continues with another game where points are getting more crucial as the season goes on. 4 4 40. That's not a new football formation or our goals against column, not even our win-draw-defeat column, but it has been causing a bit of a kerfuffle.A pricing initiative to get more bums on seats has not gone down well at Well. Apparently the season of goodwill did not extend as far as away fans and they are not amused. For home fans, it means that four people can get in for £40, that's £10 a head. Great offer for us, but maybe seen as a bit harsh on the far travelled visitors, many who would have been carrying gifts as they travelled to our stable at this time of year. Merry Xmas.. Our last game ended in defeat at Ibrox on Xmas Eve, but not for the want of trying. we outplayed Rangers but Foderingham put in a great shift to deny the Inverness forwards, saving the day on three or four occasions, and when a gift came along, Liam Polworth picked his spot from eighteen yards. Unfortunately that spot was just the wrong side of the post. To rub salt into the wounds, we even scored the goal for Rangers, Brad Mckay being the unfortunate recipient of a Martyn Waghorn ball into the box, the ball cannoning off his shins and into the net. Even worse, it was his sore shins. Motherwell's last outing also ended in defeat at the hands of the Dons. Former Inverness players Graeme Shinnie and Adam Rooney scored in the first half, as did Scott McDonald for the Steelmen, but Niall McGinn settled it with a late third. So, 3-1 defeat it was, the same score we managed against the Dons just over a month ago. Motherwell were the last side Inverness beat. Mind you, there has only been three, the others being Dundee and St Johnstone. Our win at Motherwell was as surprising as it was welcome. A three goal blitz in the second half saw us cruise home with the three points thanks to goals from Carl Tremarco, Lonsana Doumbouya and Liam Polworth. That result put us into the top-six and we were looking to kick on from there; we are still waiting and we have now reached the bottom of the pile. We are now eight games without a win, Motherwell have no wins in their last five. We have the usual crop of walking wounded with Kev McNaughton and David Raven out longer term and Lewis Horner added to that for at least a couple of months. Alex Fisher and Scott Boden got an airing at Ibrox. The keeper crisis is ongoing but both were prepared to play despite lingering niggles. Motherwell's Carl McHugh could be fit enough to be included in the squad but captain Keith Lasley has a shoulder injury that could rule him out. Joe Chalmers, Kieran Kennedy, Jacob Blyth and Ross MacLean are all set to miss out. tm4tj prediction:- It's been a tough couple of months and a disappointing run of results without a win, but there were very encouraging signs against Rangers that our outfield play deserves better. We will be more positive at home and play with at least one wide player, possibly utilising the pace and trickery of Mulraney to provide the ammunition our strikers need. A win would be a fabulous result but a draw seems to be the likeliest outcome. Greg Tansey looks like he will be away at the end of the season, choosing not to renew his contract. We need that kind of player in our side, but we need one that is fully focused on giving his all for Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Old Caley Girl made sure we had our Preview organised and sent this one in as well, two for the price of one, enjoy....... Things are not getting any better in ICT land with festive results not doing us any favours and we found ourselves bottom of the league before taking to the pitch on Saturday at Ibrox. Despite reports of an excellent performance we still did not win and the need for us to start winning is becoming desperate. No wins in 8 is relegation form and the only saving grace is that the league is so close and means a couple of wins can propel you up the table. Motherwell are the visitors tonight and it goes without saying that it is a game we must not allow ourselves to lose. The ugliest win imaginable would be acceptable. Motherwell themselves will be desperate to win this one having not won themselves in 5 games and having only won on the road once this season. Keith Lasley is major doubt with a shoulder injury and Chalmers, Kennedy, Blyth and MacLean are definitely out. Carl McHugh may feature, for the visitors, having been out with concussion since August. There is a bit of chat on the Motherwell forums about giving Dean Brill his chance. Could we see the return of “Deano” at the TCS albeit in the wrong colours. As to ourselves, Richie Foran is looking for a bit of consistency from the players. A lack of goals is a worrying feature as is our failure to keep more than one clean sheet this season. Raven, McNaughton and Horner are definitely out with Ryan Esson apparently a major doubt. There is also a lot of press speculation about potential moves in the January transfer window especially regarding Tansey and Meekings. The players need to keep thoughts of moves out of their heads tonight and dig in to obtain us the result that we so badly need. OCG Prediction – Hoping we can keep the 3 points in the Highlands and obtain a 3rd home win of the season but I predict a score draw with 1-1 the most likely.
  16. Cole Goal Earns Point Larnell Cole scored his first goal for the club in a 1-1 draw with Hamilton as Accies once more surrendered the lead in an entertaining encounter in the Highlands. This point was enough to lift us off the foot of the table for now as Partick Thistle take over at the bottom. Injuries and suspension robbed Inverness of their standard back line but Brad Mckay and Lewis Horner stepped in to a makeshift back four with Gary Warren suspended and David Raven injured. Mckay was not 100% fit, but that did not deter him from taking to the field to bolster our fragile defence. Fon Williams also took to the field nursing back pain and that was evident as Accies opened the scoring. Accies were coming North with high hopes of a result given their decent record in Inverness in recent times, having won on their last two visits. When Jake Mulraney gave away a free kick wide of our eighteen yard box, there seemed little imminent danger as Ali Crawford sized up his options. I'm not totally convinced his choice was a shot, or was it a low ball to the keepers near post but the end product was a goal as the ball deceived Fon Williams to bounce just inside his near post when a cross looked on the cards. It had been a bright opening quarter as we buzzed around the Accies half with Larnell Cole and Jake Mulraney scampering forward at pace. Lonsana Doumbouya was getting well involved and causing havoc in the Accies rearguard and things looked promising up till this point. Fon Williams stuck up an apologetic glove to the unimpressed fans behind the goal as Accies celebrated this early Xmas gift. Still, plenty of time to get back into the game and we surged forward at will, but as per norm, found Accies a tough nut to crack. A deep cross from Lewis Horner caused problems in the visitors goalmouth and when Doumbouya nodded goalwards, it was knocked clear by the hand of defender Dan Seaborne. Penalty was the obvious choice, but we are talking about Scottish referee's here and play continued without anything given. Rather odd considering Mr Aitken had a good view of the incident. Doumbouya was giving the defenders more hassle and he headed a through ball down towards Iain Vigurs. The ball broke kindly to Mulraney but a despairing lunge by a defender blocked what would have been a certain goal. Greg Tansey twisted and turned his way into the box on the end of a ball forward, but as defenders fell around him, he took one turn too many and the chance was lost as former County keepr Gary Woods narrowed the angle to make a tremendous block and deny the twinkle toed midfielder. I felt he could easily have scored with one touch less as he looked for the immaculate finish. We cut open Accies again as Ross Draper was brilliantly set up by Doumbouya and a busier than usual Iain Vigurs, but he lashed his effort from the edge of the box just over the bar when it looked easier to score. Plenty to enthuse over in a busy first half, but no goals for us as the visitors went in at the break a goal to the good despite Inverness dominating the game. Half Time 0-1 Just after the interval D'Acol brought out a smart save by Fon Williams, low to his left and Doumbouya headed just wide at the other end. We started to up the pace even more after the break and six minutes in we were rewarded with a spanking goal from Larnell Cole, his first for us. Mulraney and Vigurs combined well as they entered the box before Cole stepped in to lash the ball high into the net from seventeen yards, ably assisted by the underside of the bar. Fabulous goal and great reward for the young loan star. That goal opened the game out once more and Accies tried to get their noses in front again. It took a flying save from Fon Williams to prevent them from doing so as a tackle come shot was heading for the top corner before the keepers timely intervention. It was end to end stuff now as the action picked up and Tansey was foiled again, this time it looked as though his goalbound shot struck the back of his own players legs and the ball was hacked clear by a relieved defence. Ali Crawford saw an effort similar to Draper's one curl just over as both teams looked for a winner, but try as they might it never came. Fon Williams made a meal of a long range free kick, pushing the ball out when it looked easier to gather it, but hey ho, he kept the ball out this time. and as the Hamilton corner count increased the game ended with no further scoring. Full Time 1-1 Both sides will feel they could have won this game and fair play to Hamilton for coming out of their shell and having a go to make it an enjoyable spectacle for the fans. Good to see that Fon Williams has a sense of humour after his suspect positioning for the Accies goal. Another free kick in a similar location saw a stinging comment from one fan who shouted, "mind your near post this time". Despite the occasion, he found time to give the thumbs up to quell any fears we all had. Happy days. To be fair to the keeper, he had been struggling all week to make the game and it was touch and go whether we would actually have a keeper at all with Esson also unable to kick properly. Ross Draper courted a red card after his booking earlier in the game. We all held our breath as he made a couple of robust challenges. Careful Ross, Careful. tm4tj MotM is going to Larnell Cole, not just for his tremendous goal but his work rate was good and he got involved in plenty of attacks. This was a vast improvement from the grim performance at Perth and with news that Liam Polworth, Alex Fisher and Scott Boden are nearing full fitness then things will hopefully pick up. Gary Warren should be back from suspension so we might have a full bench next week. Anyway, good to come back and get a point, a point that lifts us off the bottom. Date: 10/12/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2473 Referee: Greg Aitken Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams, Tremarco, Meekings, Draper, Vigurs, Mulraney, Tansey, Horner (King 86), Mckay, Doumbouya, Cole Subs (not used): Esson, Doran, Sutherland, Gilchrist, Robertson, Maclennan. Scorers: Cole (51) Booked: Draper (35), McKay (85), King (89) Sent Off: none Hamilton Acc: 1 Lineup: Woods, Seaborne, Gillespie, Imrie, Docherty, D'Acol (Redmond 67), Crawford, Longridge (Bingham 67), Mackinnon, McMann, Sarris. Subs (not used): Thomson, Brophy, Donati, Cunningham, Hughes Scorers: Crawford (16) Booked: Imrie (57), Gillespie (73), McMann (75) Sent Off: none a
  17. Winning Ugly Will Do Due to results last week, we find ourselves looking up the table at the rest of the teams in the league and the visit of Hamilton takes on a bit more significance given the respective position of both teams. It doesn't have to be pretty, it's points that matter. We have hit rock bottom after defeat at Perth and from here on, the only way is up. It's still early days, but given our indifferent form and injury problems then it's difficult to see an instant solution to the mini crisis that we find ourselves in. Of course, we are not helping our cause by having key players suspended at a time when injuries are wreaking havoc with our continuity. Greg Tansey, Lewis Horner and now Gary Warren have all fallen foul of the beaks in the last few weeks and that was on top of injuries robbing us of Liam Polworth in midfield and with defenders David Raven and Brad Mckay out it has left us struggling to fill the vacancies. Last time out we went down after an insipid display in Perth. It ended 3-0 to St Johnstone and we can have no complaints after Gary Warren was stupidly sent packing. Luxury midfielder Iain Vigurs has been taking some flak for his lackadaisical approach and inability to track back after giving away possession. This has been well documented in recent topics on the forum and it's something that needs addressed. The lack of protection for our overworked defence is one reason we are conceding more goals than ever. As for the Accies, they once more let a lead slip after Alex D'Acol opened the scoring 15 minutes in. As is their trademark this season, they turned three points into one when Partick equalised through Welsh on the hour. We think our season is bad with only three wins to date, Well Accies can top that with just two wins. The reason they are above us is nine draws. They have the ability to turn defeats into draws, whereas we manage to turn draws into defeats. In saying that, there is only one point between the clubs. The league is so congested we could jump from 12th to 6th depending on other results provided we can beat Accies. On the other hand, defeat would be a bit of a mini disaster. The first meeting between the clubs this season ended in stalemate but it took a very late Liam Polworth strike to snatch a point after D'Acol scored in the eighteenth minute. That ended a six game winning sequence at New Douglas Park for us and it was the second time in a week that Accies had thrown away a winning advantage. Times have changed though and since Richie Foran won the manager of the month award in September, the curse has struck and we find ourselves floundering at the bottom, unable to stick together a run of results to steer clear of problems. It's the same for all the clubs in the lower part of the league though as only the top five are making any headway with Celtic the clear winners at this stage. They did everybody else a favour last night by beating Partick Thistle. A chink of light at the end of the injury tunnel as news that Liam Polworth is making better than expected progress on his injured ankle and could return within the month or sooner. Even better news is that Brad Mckay could return against Accies to ease our defensive problems and on top of that Lewis Horner is free from suspension, albeit he is just a stop gap defender at the moment, but this will be seen as an opportunity to further his case for inclusion every week with David Raven out for at least another month. Gary Warren is suspended and that's a blow as our defence has been creaking all season. Up front Alex Fisher and Scott Boden are both out and that leaves big Lonsana Doumbouya on his lonesome again. Accies have midfielder Gramos Kurtaj out for around a month with an ankle knock. Also out are long term absentees Remi Mathews (GK), Jesus Garcia and Craig Watson. tm4tj prediction:- Oh dear, if ever we needed a morale boosting win, it has to be today against one of the other seven sides in fear of relegation. Below St Johnstone, nobody is safe and any side that can get a winning run going will feel an awful lot better. We are terrible at the back this season with an unsettled formation due to injuries and suspension. Our midfield is depleted and work shy and up front it's the same old same old with a lone striker and underachieving wide players I don't see much changing to be honest as we struggle to get players on the park. Accies have always given youth a chance and in Ali Crawford they have a match winner worth watching closely. We have never found it easy to get the better of Hamilton in the Highlands and I don't see it being any different today. As we find it embarrassingly difficult to keep a clean sheet, I'm going for a score draw as Accies dig in. Nothing new there.
  18. Too easy for Dons Aberdeen won convincingly 1-3 with Kevin Clancy instrumental in the first two Dons goals. He was probably man of the match as the Dons won for the first time in five attempts. Lonsana Doumbouya glanced a wonderful opener for Inverness but after that it was Aberdeen that took full advantage of Clancy's assistance. A dubious free kick saw McLean level the scores and after another accidental clash, Clancy saw fit to award a spot kick which Rooney gratefully accepted to slot home. Clancy continued to control the flow of the game as the Aberdeen players threw themselves to the ground at will and it was no surprise (or maybe it was) when Maddison was eventually booked for simulation. They added a third deep into the game when they broke swiftly and McLean completed the scoring. One more assist from Clancy and he would have kept the match ball. Unbelievable Jeff! Plenty to ponder over for Inverness boss Richie Foran as the injury list grows, Brad Mckay stretchered off in the second half as we begin to court the fringes of the relegation tussle this early in the season. RIG was a bit miffed, but managed to squeeze out this report for us................... Some absolute telt today from Aberdeen to Inverness. A really comfortable Dons performance and an easy three points heading back along the A96. Decent start from Aberdeen but we took the lead against the run of play when Draper lifted a cute ball into the box and Doumbouya appeared in acres of space to steer a header past Lewis to put us one up. After that it was pretty much all Aberdeen with any chances for ICT at a premium. Hayes turned in an absolutely stunning performance and a lot of the Aberdeen attacks were coming down the ICT right with Hayes linking up well with Shinnie and also Maddison who was always on offer when Aberdeen drove through the middle. After a Maddison free kick was easily repelled by the Inverness wall McLean had better luck when he curled the ball low round the right edge of the wall and inside the post. A really good free kick and it brought Aberdeen deservedly level. The award of the free kick looked pretty suspect. Maddison seemed to go down very easily, a recurring theme over the course of the game sadly, but disappointing that we didn't defend the resultant strike a bit better. Minutes later Aberdeen were ahead. Hayes scampered into the box and Warren struggled to stay with him and Hayes went down as he collided with Warren. There was certainly contact between the two as Hayes clearly tripped over Warrens outstretched leg but, and this is coming with massive ICT bias, I did wonder if perhaps Warren had just planted his leg slightly ahead of Hayes which the winger then went down over. Regardless, I can probably see why Clancy gave it and again it was poor defending in the first place to let Hayes break into the box like that. Rooney had no issues finding the net with the penalty. Sadly, given how little we had threatened since our opening goal even at 2-1 down I couldn't see a way back into the game for us. However Tremarco saw an effort go wide and McLean nearly bagged his second when a shot that looked like it was already going wide was turned around the post by Fon Williams. Half Time 1-2 Into the second half and it was much the same with the Dons dominating proceedings and ICT resorting to lumping long balls in the vague direction of Doumboya. Aberdeen almost went 3 - 1 up when a fine cross from the right found Considine in the box and his downward header was met by Fon Williams who somehow managed to scramble it away. Aberdeen then saw a great chance for Shinnie go begging as he sped down the left and was picked out with a fine pass from Maddison however the former ICT man shot straight at Fon Williams. Maddison then paid the price for some of his earlier antics when he went down in the box under a challenge by Meekings and was booked. It was difficult to tell from the other end of the pitch if this was justified or not but given his previous histrionics and because I'm a seething, bitter mess right now I'm inclined to say yes. Shortly after Maddison nearly made headlines for better reasons as a fine free kick cracked off the base of the post with Fon Williams well beaten. ICT then lost Mckay to injury after a bad challenge from Shinnie which inexplicably went unpunished from Clancy. Aberdeen eventually got their deserved third goal when they seized on ICT losing possession after a corner and Hayes broke rapidly towards goal and he teed up McLean who drilled the ball past Fon Williams to seal the points. A really good counter attacking goal which triggered a mass exodus from the home support. Full Time 1-3 We seldom had a chance to speak of in the second half. A header from Doumbouya had Lewis scrambling to turn it over the bar, Draper wriggled into the box but his shot wasn't powerful enough to get past Lewis and Tremarco poked a late effort goalwards without really causing any difficulty. If we had got a goal back it would have made the game look a lot closer than it really was. Overall there can't be any complaints about the result and having read the comments from Foran it's good to see he's not trying to dress it up as anything other than what it was - a sound beating by a much better team. Clancy was an absolute omnishambles today with some really questionable calls. His decision not to at least give Shinnie a yellow card for his challenge on Mckay was bizarre as was his incredible call to allow Maddison to go down claiming he was injured, wave play on but then halt play as we got to the edge of the Aberdeen penalty area and allow Maddison to get treatment. But he wasn't the reason for our downfall today. There were plenty of errors from ICT that we should look to address before the next run of crucial games coming up against the likes of Dundee, Hamilton and Killie. Granted we were missing important players in Tansey and Polworth but our sole tactic of leathering it towards Doumbouya was easily being snuffed out by Considine and O'Connor yet we still persisted with it. Joe Lewis is enormous yet we played high balls into the six yard box most of the time we got our crosses in. As for our free kicks....Jesus wept. We really lack a striker who can play off the last defender and a midfielder with a real eye for a pass to play that hypothetical striker in. As it stands we are quite direct and rigidly stick to that direct style come what may. It might work well against some teams but it definitely wasn't working today and we didn't really have a clue what to do about it. In summary.... Date: 19/11/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium, Inverness Attendance: 4867 Referee: Kevin Clancy Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams, McKay (Horner 76), Warren, Meekings, Tremarco, Draper, Vigurs, Doran, Cole (Mulraney 70), King (Fisher 84), Doumbouya Subs (not used): Esson, Boden, Sutherland Scorers: Doumbouya (15) Booked: Vigurs (53) Sent Off: none Aberdeen: 3 Lineup: Lewis, Logan, Considine, O'Connor, Shinnie (Reynolds 91), Maddison (Taylor 74), McLean, Jack, Hayes, Stockley (McGinn 73), Rooney Subs (not used): Alexander, Pawlett, Morris, Storey Scorers: McLean (28, 89), Rooney (pen.33) Booked: Maddison (67) Sent Off: none
  19. A visit from our second string Aberdeen are the visitors on Saturday as domestic football returns after the international break. It's a distraction from the domestic scene that we could do without, although sometimes it enables one or two to recover from injuries. Unfortunately, not in our case with Polly and Raven sidelined and Tansey falling foul of the beaks. Sounds more like an aviary than a dressing room. I'm sure the Dons will be showcasing a handful of our ex-players as they come to the Caledonian Stadium looking for their first win over us at the fifth time of asking. So hello Jonny, Graeme, Adam, Miles and Greg. It will be a frosty reception for them in more ways than one as the temperatures dropped overnight leaving the surrounding area with a crisp white coating. I hope the cental heating is on. Some good news for Caley Jags fans this week as Alex Fisher and Carl Tremarco are reported to be pretty close to signing on for more duty in the Highlands. Our last outing saw us go down 3-0 at Parkhead. We kept it close until half time but with the sending off at the second goal we were always going to be under the cosh and I suppose we got off lightly by keeping it to 3-0. Aberdeen's last game was a hard earned 2-1 win at Partick Thistle. Anthony O'Connor and Jayden Stockley scored the goals that gave them all three points. That shows them sitting in second place in the league on twenty-one points, seven ahead of Inverness. James Maddison is one to watch for the Dons. The youngster on loan from Norwich City has been in sparkling form and can take a decent free kick as he showed with that winner against the Rangers. Miles Storey has been a noticeable omission from Aberdeen line-ups since leaving us. Interesting suggestions that a swap for Greg Tansey might be on the cards is certainly exciting Caley Jags fans. I think we can live with that. We have a loan player of our own who is looking to get more game time after a series of setbacks since coming North. Larnell Cole, on loan from Fulham has struggled with injuries since joining but the absence of Polworth and Tansey could offer him the chance of a start against the Dons. Lonsana Doumbouya made his international debut for Guinea during the break. Unfortunately they lost out 2-1 to the Democratic Republic of Congo after leading. Great confidence for Doumbouya though and some recognition for his recent goal run prior to the Celtic game. If we can provide some service for the big striker, he may get back on the goal trail, and he makes a decent target for Jake Mulraney, Billy King and Aaron Doran to hit. Inverness will be without the suspended Greg Tansey after his early bath at Parkhead. Liam Polworth also fell foul in that game after an unpunished tackle by Leigh Griffiths saw the promising Inverness youngster end up with a leg/ankle plaster. He will be out for at least two months. David Raven will miss out with a head knock and Kevin McNaughton is out long term. Aberdeen have pretty much a clean bill of health with defender Ash Taylor looking for a start and Scott Wright ready for action. tm4tj prediction:- It's been a turbulent world over the last couple of weeks. What, with Donald Trump winning in America and Ed Balls still in Strictly despite doing a Gangnam style Salsa. It just goes to show that anything is possible. Prior to the Celtic game I was looking forward to this clash, but the edge has been taken off our squad with suspension and injury. That could open the door for Aberdeen to exploit. On the other hand, it will also create change in our engine room, an area we have been sadly deficient over recent weeks. It may make for more creativity if players are deployed in their best positions, like Iain Vigurs pulling the strings in central midfield and Ross Draper dictating in the holding roll. I'm not sure I can see any better than a point from this one as we regroup, although Aberdeen have not beaten us in four games now. A plus for us is that the Dons might be keeping one eye on next weeks League Cup final
  20. Six Goal Thriller in the Highlands. The points were shared in the Highlands in an entertaining 3-3 draw where the drama started before the match had begun and continued throughout the game. Owain Fon Williams pulled out in the warm up and Cammy Mackay replaced him between the sticks. That was just the beginning. Carl Tremarco had to be replaced after nine minutes and his replacement scored the opener five minutes later. None other than Dave the Rave, what an introduction from the fans favourite. Lonsana Doumbouya continued his scoring run with the second to double the advantage. Hearts were thrown a lifeline before the break when Bjoirn Johnsen scored and they went for broke in the second period. Faycal Rherras got a fortunate equaliser and it looked as though Hearts had the impetus, but Aaron Doran put the home side ahead again. His first goal since returning from his injury nightmare. Hearts turned the screw again and Arnaud Djoum levelled to set up a tense final fifteen minutes, but neither side could get their noses in front and a point each it was with all the punters going home happy after a highly entertaining contest. Old Caley Girl will have a full report for us when she takes time to digest the afternoon's spectacle. Back in December I had the misfortune to witness the Tynecastle 5-1 horror show, however, what a difference in ICT that day. Richie Foran in his post match interview that day said he knew what was wrong and how to sort it and he has been true to his word. At 3pm at the TCS the music played for the arrival of the players but instead of the players running on to the pitch the music went on and on and on…….............. Eventually both teams appeared but with Cammy Mackay in goal instead of the already announced Owain Fon Williams. OFW apparently had a back problem from the warm up and had to drop out. After nine minutes play David Raven replaced an injured Carl Tremarco and the home crowd wondered if it wasn’t to be our day. We were wrong though as this turned out to be a terrific match to watch with end to end action. Caleyjags started off brightly with Doumbouya hitting the crossbar and on the 15 minute mark David Raven opened the scoring with a cracking volley, finished like a striker after a headed knockdown from Ross Draper following some tidy teamwork. ICT extended their lead in 32 minutes with a right footed shot into the top of the net from 17 yards. We broke up a Hearts forward move and swiftly transferred the ball forward. When it came to Lonsana Doumbouya just inside the box, he wasted no time in smashing it high into the net Liam Polworth with the assist. Hearts huffed and puffed but really were not causing too much problems in front of goal until a slip from Josh Meekings allowed Johnsen to run into the box and pull one back for the visitors eight minutes before the break, rifling the ball home from ten yards on the right side. Hearts continued to press for an equaliser before half time but the Caleyjags went into the break in the lead. Half Time 2-1 Both teams came back out from the break pushing for more goals and it was Hearts who leveled in 51 minutes with Rherras taking a chance from long range and hitting the target beyond Cammy Mackay who was wrong footed and bamboozled by the cross/shot which everyone missed as it bounced into the net. One of those awkward ones I'm afraid. At that point you had to wonder if heads would go down but no, Aaron Doran had other ideas pinching the ball of Don Cowie following a lob and firing low past Hamilton in the Hearts goal. The end to end action continued and Hearts were rewarded with another goal to equalise, Djoum hitting it across Mackay from fifteen yards on the right side. Hearts continued to pile on the pressure with subs Tony Watt and Conor Sammon but fortunately for us, they couldn’t find the winner. In the end 3-3 seemed fair I suppose but I think both players and fans will be disappointed not to take all three points. Full time 3-3 A hugely entertaining match with plenty to thrill fans of both teams and any neutrals present. Defensive mistakes stopping us take the 3 points. An interesting post match debate could be had from comments made by Gary Warren that he would prefer to win ugly than by entertaining draws. Given the injury dramas a point was welcomed by most and cemented our top six place on merit. A small worry is the injuries sustained. Owain Fon Williams, Carl Tremarco, Aaron Doran and Iain Vigurs. Hopefully all not too bad. An unpleasant feature of this game that I feel I must mention was Hearts tendency to go down every few minutes (polite way of mentioning a lot of diving) and the fact that Craig Thomson seemed to be falling for it at every turn. Is it just me or is the standard of refereeing dropping again in this league? OCG MotM – Several candidates but my vote goes to Lonsana Doumbouya. Improving every game, put in a shift and knows where the back of the net is. He is full of promise and hopefully lots more goals to come. Date: 29/10/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium, Inverness Attendance: 3565 Referee: Craig Thomson Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: C.Mackay, B.McKay, Warren, Meekings, Tremarco (Raven 9), Tansey, Polworth, Draper, Vigurs (Horner 89), Doran (Mulraney 81), Doumbouya Subs (not used): Hoban, Boden, Sutherland Scorers: Raven (15), Doumbouya (32), Doran (55) Booked: Meekings (78), McKay (84), Vigurs (85) Sent Off: none Hearts: 3 Lineup: Hamilton, Paterson, Igor Rossi, Souttar, Rherras (Ozturk 59), Cowie, Kitchen, Djoum, Muirhead (Watt 54), Walker, Johnsen (Sammon 76) Subs (not used): Noring, Buaben, Oshaniwa, Nowak Scorers: Johnsen (38), Rherras (51), Djoum (74) Booked: Rherras (50) Sent Off: none
  21. Time for revenge The visitors this Saturday are a team we have a wee score to settle with. We were trounced at Tynecastle earlier in the season and it would be nice to reverse that and possibly get our goal difference back to level par. It has taken us since then to get back into the top-six as our goal difference took a pounding that day. Justice would be done if we can get a win, and even better by two goals, that would see us retain our top-six status for now. Old Caley Girl has been busy checking out the stats for this fixture and she has given us this excellent Preview. After a morale boosting bumper 3-0 away win on Wednesday, Hearts are next to visit the TCS on Saturday. My favourite awayday is Tynecastle but our August visit was thoroughly miserable. In fact, fellow CTO scribe, IHE described our performance that day as “toothless”. Richie Foran stated post match that he could see what our team issues were and knew how to solve them and to be fair we have done fairly well since, although some of the points gained have not been pretty to watch. Wednesday was also our first clean sheet this season and the reports from those there seem to suggest that our defence is returning to its reliable self with Brad Mckay looking like a very astute signing and the Courier describing Carl Tremarco as arguably the best full back in the league at present. With our A team of Warren and Meekings in the centre hopefully a few more clean sheets are on the cards. I would be very surprised if Foran changes the favoured four tomorrow. There has been lots of debate on the site re the recently preferred midfield and forward picks. Iain Vigurs seems like marmite at the moment with some praising his unsung work in the team with others not impressed by his form of late. Tansey and Draper are also said by some to not be reaching the performance level displayed in the past. There is also no doubt that Liam Polworth is a sublime striker of the ball as shown with his goals this season so far. The local press are reporting that Alex Fisher is to be offered a new deal next week which is welcome news in my humble opinion. Doumbouya appears to be becoming a fans favourite and is starting to show promise with his goal scoring tally so far. Aarron Doran was a welcome starter on Wednesday with King shining when he came on a sub. My guess is that we will line up the same as Wednesday but Foran has options and it is especially pleasing to see a bench line up this season offering change if needed. Hearts have been riding high in the table this season but have stuttered at times including midweek at Killie. There is no doubt they will be dangerous and eager to get back to winning ways to continue to challenge in the European place race. CaleyJags will be keen to remain in the hard earned top-six place we occupy at present. Fans were also delighted to see us go above our near neighbours on points for the first time in a long time. Brad Mckay has had an Xray on his finger for a suspected fracture and the gaffer awaits the outcome of that. Alex Fisher has a minor niggle and will miss out again as will Larnell Cole. Ryan Esson and Kevin McNaughton are out longer term. The visitors have only one absentee and that is winger Sam Nicholson who has had knee surgery. Billy King will have to sit this one out; parent club ruling for the Hearts loanee. OCG prediction – Hard one but going to go with a hard fought home win.
  22. Another late goal earns a point. Lonsana Doumbouya rescued an unlikely point for Inverness in a dismal display that left the home fans frustrated at the poor performance. Soulimane Coulibaly won and converted a penalty to give the visitors an early lead and it was them that looked most likely to add to their tally until the late strike leveled the scoring. Richie Foran placed Billy King on the bench with the tricky Jake Mulraney getting a start. Iain Vigurs' inclusion was a big talking point as we have not been seeing the best of him recently and Josh Meekings returned to the back line having missed out against the Rangers with David Raven returning to the bench. Liam Polworth did start, but he looked like a fish out of water given his wide position. Kris Boyd made the bench for the visitors who were looking to build on their excellent result from last week where they won at Perth. Killie belied their low key start to the season and looked to get behind the home defence at every opportunity. Nathan Tyson saw an early header sail over the bar from a good position and in just seven minutes they took the lead. From a ball into the box, Garry Warren and Brad Mckay converged on Soulimane Coulibaly. Mckay saw fit to clumsily barge the striker to the deck and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. No complaints from me either as Mckay was rather rash with his challenge. Coulibaly got up and took the penalty himself, low to Fon Williams' right. The keeper got a good hand on the ball but it had just enough pace to reach the back of the net. Not the start we had been looking for, but it was early doors and we had plenty of time to respond. Unfortunately we didn't. A complete lack of understanding and dearth of quality was on display as we toiled to create anything, the visitors leading by example as they managed to unsettle us at the back. Coulibaly almost doubled the advantage as we opened the back door and Fon Williams denied him from close range. He really should have scored, and Josh Meekings made a timely block as we were carved open once more. This provoked a reaction and Lonsana Doumbouya and Liam Polworth brought Jamie McDonald into the game. Greg Tansey latched onto one outside the box but the swerve on the ball brought it too close to McDonald and he saved relatively comfortably, although the shot had plenty of power. That was about as close as we got in a first half lacking endeavour from the home side. Half Time 0-1 The home fans were looking for a vast improvement after the break, but it was still the visitors that looked more threatening and Coulibaly headed over five minutes after the restart. Luke Hendrie tried his luck from outside the box but his swerving shot dipped just wide of the net. At the other end, Liam Polworth had a shot blocked as we tried to salvage something from the game but the harder we tried the more frustrating it became. Substitute Kris Boyd almost extended the lead but his shot was charged down and bounced just wide, possibly glancing off the frame of the goal. But, if nothing else, we are triers. And God loves a trier. With time running out and all our efforts coming to nothing, Carl Tremarco swung over a deep cross. Aaron Doran nodded it back into the mix and Doumbouya chested the ball to the side, nicking it off the toe of Alex Fisher before forcing it over the line from close range. There was still some defending to do though and Killie hit the post again as Rory McKenzie drilled a shot from outside the box that hit the outside base of the post with Fon Williams scrambling across his line. That was it though and the final whistle brought an end to an uninspiring game. Full Time 1-1 We just about deserved a point for neatness, although Kilmarnock will feel hard done by after passing up some gilt edged chances, especially in the first half. They can also point to a couple of shots that came off the woodwork. On the other hand, we will be thankful that we played rubbish but never lost. tm4tj MotM is going to a wee guy with a big heart. Carl Tremarco kept plugging away and thanks to his willingness to get down the left flank we snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat. Many wondered why Iain Vigurs was still on the park at the end, but to be honest there were plenty of candidates to catch Richie Foran's eye as suitable bench warmers. A poor day at the office was the general consensus of opinion. Killie played their part in that though and they will be well chuffed with a point in the Highlands. We are off to Motherwell in midweek and Hearts visit Inverness next weekend. It's not rocket science to see that we will need a vast improvement if we are to take anything from these games. Despite ourselves, we toppled into the top-six on goal difference, and on the bright side, we can only get better. Surely? Highlights will be available to view later today from SPFL website Here's what Killie manager Lee Clark thought about it all Date: 22/10/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2591 Referee: Nick Walsh Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams, McKay (Boden 79), Meekings, Warren, Tremarco, Tansey, Vigurs, Mulraney (King 66), Draper (Doran 56), Polworth, Doumbouya Subs (not used): Mackay, Raven, Horner, Fisher Scorers: Doumbouya (86) Booked: Polworth (63), Meekings (80), Vigurs (94) Sent Off: none Kilmarnock: 1 Lineup: MacDonald, Hendrie, S Boyd, Addison, Taylor, Dicker, Coulibaly (K Boyd 79), M Smith (S Smith, 66), McKenzie, Jones, Tyson Subs (not used): Mackay, Boyle, Bojaj, Frizzell, Paterson Scorers: Coulibaly (pen.7) Booked: S.Boyd (26), Hendrie (88) Sent Off: none abcabc
  23. Time to kick on We welcome Kilmarnock to the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium this Saturday for a 3:00pm kick off with both clubs sitting on nine points, so it's an opportunity for one of these clubs to climb into the top-six with a win as there is only one other match on Saturday, Partick at home to Ross County. The clubs had contrasting fortunes last time out. We lost our five game unbeaten run, going down 1-0 to the Rangers, courtesy of a stunning strike from Kenny Miller. Kilmarnock steadied the ship after a run of six games without a win by beating St Johnstone 1-0 in Perth, an excellent result given the mediocre results of the previous six games. They did however manage a 1-1 draw against the Rangers during that spell, but were also hammered by Celtic and Aberdeen. It's a topsy turvy league with every team capable of performing well on the day making it difficult to predict any outcome. But, It's time to kick on now, and try to create the gap that will ensure safety for another season. Our opponents made sweeping changes in the close season. Lee Clark removed eight defenders from his inherited squad in a bid to resolve his defensive frailties, and Lee McCulloch retired from playing. In came defenders Dapo Kayode (Dinamo Bucharesti), Jamie Cobain (Newcastle United), Joshua Webb (Aston Villa), Jonathan Burn (Middlesborough), Luke Hendrie (Burnley), William Boyle (Huddersfield) and Scott Boyd from our neighbours Ross County. Midfield has also been revamped with Callum McFadzean (Sheffield United), Martin Smith (Sunderland), Jordan Jones (Middlesborough), George Green (Burnley), Charlee Adams (Birmingham City). Forwards coming in are Flo Bojaj (Huddersfield), Nathan Tyson (Doncaster Rovers) and the young man who has made the biggest impact Souleymane Coulibaly, an Ivory coast u17 international. The most notable players making way for these guys are Irish international Josh Magennis (Charlton Athletic), Tope Obadeyi (Dundee United), journeyman Kallum Higginbotham, Craig Slater (Colchester United) and Mark O'Hara (Dundee). Conrad Balatoni, Lee Ashcroft, Kevin McHattie and Jamie Hamill have all dropped down to the Scottish Championship. Add to that a bit of boardroom unrest and it's an unsettling time to be a Killie fan. Michael Johnston appears to be the reason that Russel Smith has stepped down as one of the directors at Rugby Park. So, big changes at Rugby Park, but manager Lee Clark has kept a strong backbone to his squad, starting at the back with keeper Jamie MacDonald and up front he can still call on the experience of Kris Boyd. Killie were expected to be one of the sides that would have their hands full trying to avoid relegation, along with us. Those predictions looked ominous when we lost our first three games. Killie won one of their first three followed by three draws and two defeats before winning at Perth. It's early days but both clubs need to find a level of consistency to be able to climb the table. That has proved difficult with teams still finding their feet and positive results hard to come by. Richie Foran thought we played well last week and could have taken more from the game. "We just lacked that wee bit of quality in front of goal. I think it's our best performance over the last six games. I knew we'd get chances. Bringing Jake Mulraney and Aaron Doran on can turn a game for you and I thought they might have nicked us a goal". To be honest, we were second best in a first half dominated by Rangers after Lonsana Doumbouya missed a great opportunity as early as the third minute. It did however take a goal of the month strike from Kenny Miller to separate the sides as we fought back in the second period and fell just short as we failed to capitalise on the three or four half chances that came our way. We have played better, but we have also played much worse. We gave Rangers too much freedom in the first half which saw us chasing shadows. I doubt we will offer Kilmarnock the same respect and sit off them in the same manner. It could be time for the luxury that is Iain Vigurs to feel the bench as he has been posted missing for long spells during games, occasionally surfacing to show a touch of class, but just as likely to display a cynical side to his game that we can do without. Liam Polworth would benefit from this by moving more central where we get the best out of him. Jake Mulraney and Aaron Doran made their cases clear for a start as they livened the game up last week after their introduction. Billy King was rather subdued last week and maybe a rest will be good for him. He will be missing for the Hearts game next week anyway, so Foran will need to shape his side without him. We missed Josh Meekings last week due to a hamstring injury. David Raven stepped back into his right back role with Brad Mckay moving inside. It's the midfield where the problems start with Tansey supposedly pulling the strings. We do drift out of games and seldom seem to dominate the middle area which is odd considering the physical presence we have in there with Ross Draper being prominent every week. It's the use of Polly that is open to criticism and the inclusion of Vigurs that raises most eyebrows. The next quandary is who is our best striker. None are prolific and both Fisher and Doumbouya had glaring misses last week whilst Scott Boden appears to be out of favour. Lot's of choices for Richie the Rookie, rather him than me. By the way, Kevin McNaughton has had his protective boot removed and has discarded his crutches, so some positive news for Kev in his long road back to fitness. Larnell Cole is doubtful with an injury. Killie will be without Johnny Burn who has a broken nose, but Kris Boyd and Steven Smith should return to the squad. However, midfielders Greg Kiltie and Callum McFadzean are out injured. tm4tj Prediction:- Both sides looking to climb up the table and both capable of producing the goods on the day. Historically we have been getting the better of Killie in the Highlands, one defeat in fifteen, and we should be able to have a go at them easier than we did against the Rangers. Souleymane Coulibaly is an exceptional talent and he has scored some spectacular goals already since his arrival. He is definitely one to watch and we will need to keep our focus at the back if we want to keep him out. We might just sneak this one, but a draw is not beyond the bounds of possibility. I find it difficult to see anything better for Killie. Former Inverness manager and Hearts legend John Robertson, 52, has been rushed to hospital yesterday (Thursday) after falling down a flight of stairs at Tynecastle. It is understood that Robbo has been treated for broken ribs and is recovering in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. All the best for a speedy recovery Robbo.
  24. Miller Stunner Stings Caley Jags Inverness went down 0-1 by virtue of a stunning volley from Kenny Miller to end our five game unbeaten run. It was his 100th goal in the blue jesey having previously played in the green and white of Hibernian and Celtic. He won't score many better goals as he smashed a volley past Owain Fon Williams from a deep Lee Wallace cross from around 15 yards, the ball searing past the keepers outstretched hands on it's way to the back of the net. Inverness passed on glorious opportunities, at either end of the game, both headers and both well off target from great positions, but it was Rangers that held on to take all three points back down the A9. Immortal Howden Ender has this TV report for us all the way from Chorley.......... I should begin by emphasising that I was not in attendance at the TCS and this report is based on watching BT Sport in my “snug” in Chorley. It is often stated that it is a different perspective watching on the telly. I concede that but the telly throws up different angles, replays and commentator perspectives. From a BT perspective the only aspect that I feel may be agreed by all is that Chris Sutton is an absolute ****. Paul Ritchie, Craig Brewster, Marius Niculae and even Rory McAllister must be stumped to explain how our two centre forward options, Doumbouya and Fisher failed to connect and score from crosses in the 3rd and 86th minute. I would have knocked them both in maself. Doombars’ was more culpable as it was clear cut. Fishers’ needed a flick but they were both practically unmissable. We simply do NOT have a striker of Premiership class. Draper could well be the answer but what a feckin waste that would be. I still feel really disappointed that we did not pick up at least a point. Richie Foran said that it was our best performance in the last six games. I would disagree with that but it certainly was above average. We looked very threatening in the first 15 minutes. If Doombar had netted then we may have wreaked havoc. Rangers controlled the first half but did not really dominate. They are John Hughes “tippy-tappy” like and have not got that last killer touch. But lets face it Kenny Miller’s volleyed goal / winner was superb. Blame probably is shared between Raven and Polworth for not tracking back. Fon Williams kept us in it with a great stop in the 25th minute. Waghorn and company claimed that it had crossed the line but it clearly didn’t. Polworth then missed a half chance on the 27th minute when he ballooned a 25 yarder well over. Tansey then tried to showboat when a straight strike would have been better. To me the second half was even-stevens but we just about won it – in possession and chances – but not goals unfortunately. It could have been 3-3 in the end but for skied or blocked efforts. We were again lacking in width and we are simply impotent up front. Full Time 0-1 FON WILLIAMS 7/10 – No chance with the goal but look assured and kept us in it, although he did not really have that much to do. RAVEN 6/10 – Worried when I heard of his inclusion but he was more like the Raven of old. WARREN 6/10 – Worries me with his undisciplined impetuousness at times. Warriors do not put themselves at risk and do not take one for the team when there is cover. MckAY 5/10 – Lucky not to be dismissed. Went for balls that were never his. Clearly a better full back. TREMARCO 7/10 – Continues to be solid and consistent. Never given a chance of being an attacking option. POLWORTH 6/10 – I simply cannot believe that he is being played wide right. Drifted inside most of the night and was culpable at not giving Raven cover on quite a few occasions. TANSEY 5/10 – Scored him lower as he feckin annoys me. It was probably a 6 ½ out of 10 but why did he keep his best display of the season to the Showroom game. VIGURS 4/10 – Almost the same comment as Tansey. Appeared to make more effort tonight than he has done for weeks. KING 5/10 – Followed up from a disappointing game at Hamilton to another. Clearly right footed and not looking comfortable wide left. DRAPER 8/10 – My MOM for again filling in so many positions in one night – even taking over the main striker role in the second half. He showed his frustration by dropping too deep at times. DOUMBOUYA 3/10 – Thought that he was shocking even giving him a let off for the glaring 3rd minute miss. Simply does not appear to be Premiership quality. No real pace, won little in the air and allowed himself to be bullied. MULRANEY / DORAN 6/10 each – Have clearly staked the claims to start next game. FISHER 4/10 – Missed another chance at glory. My preference to start as he is more mobile, pacier and better in the air – What the feck more does he need !! Footage from SPFL website INVERNESS CT 0 Fon Williams; Raven, Tremarco, Warren, Mckay, Polworth, Draper, Vigurs (Doran 67), Tansey, King (Mulraney 67), Doumbouya (Fisher 80). Subs unused: Mackay, Horner, Boden, Cole. Booked: Mckay, Warren. RANGERS 1 Fotheringham, Tavernier, Hill, Kiernan, Wallace, Miller, McKay (Garner 70), Halliday, Kranjcar (Windass 75), Holt, Waghorn (Dodoo 70). Subs unused: Gilks, Forrester, Hodson, Senderos. Booked: Waghorn. Scorer: Kenny Miller (22) Referee: W Collum Attendance: 7012
  25. If you know your History Friday night Footie returns to the Highlands with a bang as new club The Rangers visit the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium for the first time in their short history, the game kicking off at 19:45. They have made a meteoric rise to fame since their inception, climbing through the leagues in four years and getting to the final of the Scottish Cup. It's a touch of Gretna revisited. Unfortunately for them, like Gretna they also failed to win the cup at the hands of an Edinburgh club. They do look pretty slick though, having tailored their needs for each division as they made their way into the Premiership and they now have a squad capable of challenging most with Mark Warburton leading the way. Richie Foran has been named Manager of the Month for September after turning the fortunes of his slow starters around. However, we all know the repercussions of the curse of the Manager of the Month. Sounds like an adventure from Scooby Doo. Yikes! Come to think of it, have you ever seen Richie Foran and Shaggy in the same room? Me neither. Immortal Howden Ender has given us this fabulous whirlwind history lesson to rival Charlie Bannerman's Against All Odds This could be entitled the Inaugural meeting of the “Young Firm” of Scottish football. Both teams having painful and traumatic experiences in the not too distant past. Both teams are lamenting and many still grieving for the teams that they did support, whose existence was sadly terminated. Caley were even called “The Rangers of the North”. Caledonian Thistle F.C. was formed in August 1994 by the merger of Caledonian and Inverness Thistle who had been members of the Highland Football League since 1885.The league restructured in 1994 to four divisions of ten teams each. The merged clubs were elected in to the Scottish Third Division. The club's name was amended to Inverness Caledonian Thistle F.C. in 1996 at the request of Inverness District Council. Many still refer to the team as Caley or Thistle. They rose through the divisions at some speed, given their finances and many teams trying to halt their rise, especially when initially promoted to the SPL. The original Rangers came into existence in 1872, 13 years before the Inverness giants. The Rangers Football Club PLC entered liquidation on 31 October 2012. Sevco Scotland Ltd later changed its name to The Rangers Football Club Ltd. The new team, The Rangers FC started off life, akin to ICT, in the Scottish Third Division in the 2012-2013 season, a mere 18 years after Inverness. Due to their superior finances they climbed the leagues far quicker than ICT and made it this season. So Inverness Caledonian Thistle and The Rangers FC take to the park to on Friday 14th October 2016 in the first ever league meeting between the two clubs. Sadly I suspect that there may be as many old Caley and Thistle diehards (and their families) in the Rangers End as there are in the Main Stand and The North Stand. The two previous outcomes of meetings between the new clubs have been Scottish League Cup affairs. Inverness hammering Rangers 3-0 at Ibrox in October 2012 and Rangers scraping a fortunate 1-0 win in September 2014. In their history Inverness have only met the old Rangers team in League encounters and, at home, it does not make good reading with Rangers winning 8 and Inverness 1 and two drawn. The only ICT win was in December 2006 (Live on Setanta Sports !!) and the match was an all ticket SELL OUT. Nacho Novo scored for Rangers from the penalty spot (Craig Thompson was at it even then) before Darren Dods equalised. And many will recall the winner screamed in by John Rankin in the last minute. And we all had a fleeting look at the wondrous SEBO. We have a better record at Ibrox, winning three and drawing four of the thirteen encounters. My own personal lasting memory has to be the injury time penalty winner by Iain Black in March 2009. And Zjebi-Zadi was MotM and David Proctor won the penalty, drawing a foul from Davie Weir who was sent off. And Rangers were frightened by the pace of Dougie Imrie and Eric Odhiambo. It was fair rocking in “Brechins” that night. Going back to the Howden End days memories fade back to 18 February 1984 when the mighty old club known as Rangers visited Telford Street Park on Scottish Cup duty. A crowd of 5,500 packed in to watch Rangers win 6-0. Somebody called McCoist scored a brace that day and somebody called Billy Urquhart played against his old team. He should have stayed in Wigan !! I fail to recall any great Inverness Thistle v Rangers encounters although that was probably reserved for Brora Rangers. And finally on the trip down memory lane – we simply can’t leave out the initial Scottish Cup meeting with the old Rangers. A quarter final moved to the “neutral” ground of Tannadice Park in Dundee, on the 9th of March 1996. A crowd of 11,296 was in attendance (an estimated 5,000 from Sneck) when Rangers were the “visitors”. Rangers won 3-0, with Brian Thomson scoring an own goal and a certain Paul Gascoigne hitting a double. I can only suggest that you read the account made by Pele Paterson in his book “Confessions of a Highland Hero” - “We were Third Division and they were Champions”. That was one feckin hoore of a weekend. Hopefully the thought of the forthcoming Betfred Cup tie with Celtic will be a distraction and the Joey Barton debacle lingers on and on. Rumours are rife that Joey has put a pony on Inverness winning 2-1. That is certainly worth a wee gamble although it is unclear whether he is purely doing this out of churlish malice. Rangers have had what only can be described as an inconsistent start to the season and are clearly struggling to identify a starting eleven. The Central Belt Bluenoses however appear confident that Rangers have a clearer starting XI and expect to line up in a 4-3-3 formation. Wes Foderingham should keep his place in goals ahead of veteran Matt Gilks. James Tavernier and Lee Wallace will start in the two full-back positions. Rob Kiernan missed the last few games with an injury but looks likely to start. Kiernan and Wilson appear to have claimed the first-choice centre-back pairing (unfortunately) despite the arrival of experienced but aging duo of Clint Hill and Philippe Senderos. Andy Halliday should start in defensive midfield with Joey Barton missing (or running scared of Ross Draper). Jason Holt provides a lot of energy in the middle of the park and should keep his place whilst Niko Kranjcar impressed against the Plastic Whistle. Kenny Miller is likely to start up front as the target man with Martyn Waghorn operating as the wide forward from the right. Barrie McKay, to me the big danger, will keep his place on the left. If that is the Rangers line up then we need to go wide and offensive. Both Wallace and Tavernier are prone to leave their defensive duties and will leave space up front. Personally I would go with Fisher up front, if he has shaken off his knock, rather than Doumbuoya. Keep Draper “in the hole” behind him Tansey and Polworth to hold central midfield. I have not been impressed by Tansey this season but this is a “shop window” and I expect him to put in a MotM performance. Two wide players are a must and it looks like it will be Mulraney and King to start with. The back five pick themselves. McKay and Tremarco will be tested by McKay (need to check with CaleyD about the spelling). We certainly went backwards at Hamilton but escaped with a point, leaving us on a 5 game unbeaten run. That has led to Richie Foran being awarded the coveted Manager of the Month Award. Let’s hope that his lucky shamrock can ward off the curse that the award has placed on previous ICT Managers. And a 2-0 win would take us into the Top Six and ahead of Rangers on goal difference. But three points and a scabby one goal win will suffice. Shaggy Richie looks ahead to the game........