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  1. Ton too heavy for lightweights. Morton all but ended any faint hope Inverness had of making the play-offs with a clinical two goal victory in the Highlands, their first ever at Inverness. A sorry Caley Jags look destined for another season in the doldrums after failing to win this six-pointer and Morton took full advantage to move above Dundee United into third place in the Championship with their fourth win in the last five games. A first half goal from Scott Tiffoney was added to after the break when MotM Gary Harkins slotted home a penalty. It could have been so different had we hit the net instead of the woodwork, twice, and not had two goals chalked off. However, we were the architects of our own downfall, Brad Mckay having a first half to forget as he allowed the ball to bounce over him which led to the opener, and Collin Seedorf giving away a penalty in the second period. We did try, but Morton seemed to have all the answers and looked a yard sharper than us all over the park, the pace and movement of their front runners causing our Donaldsonless defence problems. Liam Polworth missed what can only be described as a sitter near the break and that summed up our day really. Inverness were dealt a blow before taking to the pitch with news that Coll Donaldson was injured. Carl Tremarco made the bench as did Nathan Austin, and Aaron Doran started with Jake Mulraney suspended after his red card madness at Falkirk. No surprises in the Morton side with Jack Purdue making his debut today coming off the bench and the evergreen Gary Harkins was the orchestrater in chief. Inverness went straight into the visitors box after some neat interplay in the opening seconds, but Trafford shot down the keepers throat. However, it was Morton who looked liveliest thereafter with their front players causing concern with their movement and pace. Inverness appeared second to every ball and anything loose was snapped up by the eager Morton players. The opening goal was a schoolboy error by Brad Mckay who allowed a long punt from Gaston to bounce over his head. Wee Tiffoney new exactly what was happening and turned Mckay to spin in behind him as Brad mistimed his interception. He almost made amends by blocking the first attempt, but Tiffoney mopped up by driving the ball towards the net as Gary Warren tried to recover the situation. The ball eventually going into the net off Warren's outstretched boot. We worked hard enough, but looked to have little up front to trouble Gaston in the visiting goal. However, we should have been level before the break when Liam Polworth tried to turn a Doran cross from the right into the net. He only succeeded in sclaffing it across the face of the goal when it looked easier to score. Great opportunity to get back on level terms before the interval. Half Time 0-1 Nathan Austin was given a part to play as Robbo hooked Trafford at the break. We looked to take the game to Morton but made heavy work of trying to create openings. Austin's day was short lived as he pulled up after only twenty minutes. It appears that he is made of porcelain. Apparently he has done his other hamstring this time. We were unfortunate on a couple of occasions when Joe Chalmers guided a shot onto the post with the keeper stranded and later on when Iain Vigurs rattled the crossbar with the keeper beaten again. From the rebound, Aaron Doran caught a sweet volley but Gaston got down to block at his near post. The keeper just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Right after that double miss, Morton went up the park and ended the contest. It had looked like it was not going to be our day and that was confirmed when Seedorf gave away a penalty with twenty minutes left bringing down Tiffoney as he jinked past him. Gary Harkins was calmness personified as he stroked the ball off the inside of the post and into the net to double their advantage and Inverness knew their fate. Full Time 0-2 We did have the ball in the net twice, but were penalised on both occasions, but in truth, we played second fiddle to a better organised side and Morton thoroughly deserved the win, their first at the Caledonian Stadium. MotM for me was Morton's Gary Harkins who has skill to burn. After Iain Vigurs wilted in the second half, Harkins took control of the nidfield and he was the main reason Morton pulled off this deserved win. Frustrating day for the Caley Jags who could have taken something from the game but in the end, when the going got tough, the heads went down and the all too familiar stench of defeat was there for all to smell. Here's the goals if you can suffer it................ Date: 24/02/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2359 Referee: Steven Kirkland Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers, Seedorf, Warren, B Mckay, Calder, Polworth, Trafford (Austin 47, D Mackay 65), Vigurs, Chalmers, Doran, Oakley Subs (not used): Esson, Tremarco, Bell, Elbouzedi, Harper. Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none Morton: 2 Lineup: Gaston, Doyle, Lamie, O'Ware, Russell, Ross (McHugh 72), Murdoch, Harkins, Tidser, Tiffoney (Purdue 83), Oliver. Subs (not used): Strapp, Brennan, Langan. Scorers: Tiffoney (28), Harkins (70 pen ) Booked: Purdew (90+1) Sent Off: none a
  2. Let the six-pointers begin. Inverness host Morton in the Championship as the battle for play-off places hots up. With only ten games left for Inverness to save their season, many of these encounters will be seen as six-pointers, and this one is certainly a must not lose game. It's game on after the pitch inspection. It had been arranged for 08:30 on Saturday morning as a precaution with the surface struggling to recover recently. It's back to league business for Inverness after the enthralling IrnBru Cup win over Irish side Crusaders last Sunday. It looked all over bar the shouting at the interval as Inverness raced into a three goal lead with goals from George Oakley, Joe Chalmers and Jake Mulraney. However, Inverness were once more reduced to ten men and Crusaders had a real go, Heatley grabbing a brace to make the last few minutes a touch tense. But we held on and even had the luxury of spurning a scoring opportunity when Iain Vigurs made a hash of a penalty kick after CTO Man of the Match Liam Polworth was sent tumbling to the sodden turf. That victory will see us play Dumbarton in the final on Saturday 24th March at 16:15 with the game being played at McDiarmid Park, Perth. Morton moved eight points above Inverness in midweek with a hard earned win over Dumbarton. Thomas O'Ware was the man that consolidated their position in the top four in a game that they always looked like coming out on top. The Greenock side have won three of their last four games, drawing the other one. They have the best defensive record in the league conceding only 23 goals whilst scoring 34, giving them a +11 goal difference, to Inverness' +2gd. We drew 1-1 in the first meeting this season with Gary Warren scoring in the first half. Morton eventually got to grips with the pace of the game and were well worth their point after Robert Thomson levelled just after the break. Collin Seedorf was red carded at the end of this game. In the second game, Morton held the upper hand after David Raven was sent off as he conceded the penalty after twenty-two minutes from which Gary Harkins scored the only goal of the game. Discipline has been a big part of our downfall this season and can probably be attributed to the loss of around ten points, enough to see us comfortably in the play-off zone. After the IrnBru game, we have now had nine players sent off. Whether the referee's decisions have been correct or not, we are putting ourselves in the position of ending the game with less players than we started with, mostly through petty trips, clips, minor indiscretion and often sheer stupidity. What it boils down to is those left on the pitch are suffering because we can't keep our composure when the going gets tough resulting in the ruination of the fans weekend plus our struggle to climb the table is like running in treacle. This really needs addressed Robbo, time to take drastic action against those seeing red where indiscipline is an issue. Inverness were without Carl Tremarco, Aaron Doran, Nathan Austin and Charlie Trafford against Crusaders. Tremarco is almost ready and could feature in the squad. Austin was cup-tied and will return. Doran was not risked on a really heavy pitch and he and Trafford are available. Brad Mckay will be eligible for this game as his red card will only make him miss the final against Dumbarton. John Baird has been loaned to Morton for the remainder of the season therefore I doubt we will see him in the squad tomorrow. No big loss really as although he worked hard, his return of only four goals in thirty-one games was hardly game changing stuff. Talking of red cards; Jake Mulraney will sit this one out after his madness at the end ofJanuary in Falkirk. It was that long ago that even the SFA forgot to put his name on the current list of outstanding suspensions. SFA not as observant as Caley Stan who pointed that one out. Morton were without Australian centre half Jack Iredale against Dumbarton and Robert Thomson has not played in over a month now. Jai Quitongo, Ross Forbes and Keeper Jamie McGowan are all out long term. tm4tj prediction. Well, if they can't be motivated for these final ten games then there's no hope. I expect us to be fired up for this one as we push for the top zone. It's taken a long time for Robbo to suss out his best options and he's nearly there. George Oakley has made the front man job his own. It's possible Austin could compliment him with Calder and Doran the providers. Liam Polworth had his best game for ages last week and his confidence is growing as is Mark Ridgers in goal. So, coming good at the right time we hope, but Morton have got where they are by hard graft and will be difficult to break down as their defensive record suggests. Gary Harkins will always be a threat with his quality. Tight game but we should edge it. 2-1 for Inverness, mon the Caley Jags. Official Preview Here's Morton keeper Derek Gaston pulling of this acrobatic save against QotS recently. Incredible stuff....
  3. Irish Crusade ends in Inverness Crusaders arrived in Inverness off the 12:30 flight from Belfast City some ten minutes ahead of schedule, and less than four hours before kick off. They were greeted at Dalcross by a fine winter's afternoon after the recent rain, sleet, snow and frost that has left the pitch less than pristine. There had been much speculation surrounding the rights and wrongs of this tie given the Sunday evening slot, but it's now time for the talking to stop and the action to take centre stage. John Robertson was without the injured Carl Tremarco and cup-tied Nathan Austin for this one while his Irish counterpart Stephen Baxter had a full squad to pick from. This is a squad that leads the Irish Premiership and have scored 82 goals in the 28 league games played so far. The free scoring Belfast club will probably be favourites for this one given our inactivity since the 30th of January. Aaron Doran was missing from the squad with George Oakley, Connor Bell and Jake Mulraney tasked with getting the goals. John Baird and Zak Elbouzedi and young Daniel Mackay were on the bench. Crusaders started with top scorer Gavin Whyte on the bench but still had plenty of fire power in the starting XI with Darren Murray and Paul Heatley having notched 25 between them. The teams came out with the pitch looking heavy, rain having replaced the early sunshine. Loads of sand had been used to get the surface playable in front of a sparse 1044 crowd, the BBC Alba live broadcast keeping many fans away. Crusaders kicked off towards the North Stand and Darren Murray was marginally offside in the first minute as he cracked the bar with a shot. Inverness strode forward from the free kick with Liam Polworth making a long run forward and he played in George Oakley who side footed home the opening goal in the second minute. Crusaders were unfazed though and took the game to Inverness playing the game in the Inverness half as they probed for an opening. Mark Ridgers did well to flop on the ball after a long throw in bounced across the box and seconds later Crusaders shot well over as they looked to level the tie. Great start for Inverness, but Crusaders look like they have goals in them as we struggle to make much headway, misplaced passes being the order of the day so far after that stunning opening couple of minutes. Thirteen minutes gone and Connor Bell did well to hold off the defender before feeding Oakley wide on the right, and his perfect cross found Joe Chalmers at the back post and he headed strongly behind the keeper for number two. Oakley headed wide at the front post soon after from another Mckay delivery as Crusaders heads went down since the second goal. Polworth almost threading another into the box as the hosts began to dominate. Donaldson had to time a tackle to perfection to stop a Crusaders break forward and from that, Polworth drove forward again before feeding Chalmers on the left, but his shot went just a tad too high. The next burst forward showed the best of Jake Mulraney as he skinned his marker before crossing for Bell, but his wee legs could not quite get on the end of the cross for what would have been a simple tap in. Mark Ridgers reacted well to stop Murray bursting into the box and from the clearance Polworth blasted a long range effort high and wide. Crusaders were creeping back into contention though and Ridgers guarded his near post well from Heatley at the expense of a corner which he clutched confidently. Riccardo Calder was booked on the halfway line as he clumsily brought down Heatley. Took one for the team methinks. Mulraney found acres of space down the right and he picked out Oakley who picked his spot in the net, but keeper Brian Jensen reacted brilliantly to tip his ten yard effort over. Polworth picked his spot as well, unfortunately his spot was just the wrong side of the post. Glackin was booked for pulling back Calder, the wide player enjoying his forays forward down the left wing. Iain Vigurs was pulling the strings in midfield and his promptings were causing plenty of problems for Crusaders. Mulraney should probably have added a third five minutes before the break after he danced into the box, but one step too many allowed Jensen to block his shot. Crusaders were not out of it yet and Ridgers pulled off a wonderful save to deny Heatley as he turned and shot inside the box. Lightning does strike twice and Mulraney passed a curled shot into the net from twelve yards after Polworth set him clear. Similar to a previous goal he scored in the championship. That ended an excellent first forty-five from the hosts with Crusaders having it all to do. Maybe top scorer and flying winger Gavin Whyte will be introduced after the break as Stephen Baxter looks to get back into the tie. Half Time 3-0 He did in fact make two changes with Whyte and Jordan Owens replacing Glackin and Forsythe. Ridgers had to make an early save as Crusaders came out in the second half intent on pushing forward but normal service was resumed soon after as we forced a corner from a dangerous looking cross. Heatley should have done better when offered an excellent shooting chance when Calder erred, but he hit it straight at Ridgers who saved comfortably near his post having got his angles right. The visitors were making inroads though and Inverness will need to be wary of the injection of pace from the Crues. Burns burst into the box and from a tight angle shot over as Inverness played a dangerous game and the keeper came to the rescue once more, blocking a certain goal, the ball skewing away for a corner. You could tell a goal was coming and in the next attack after the Inverness defence failed to clear the ball effectively, a driven shot from substitute Whyte deflected off Donaldson to throw the Crues a lifeline, and one which they look well capable of taking at this point in the game. Apparently the goal has been credited to Heatley who challenged Donaldson for the ball as it deflected into the net. Whyte was booked for hauling down Mulraney in midfield, but the big talking point was to follow seconds later as Brad Mckay was yellow carded and red carded. Here we go again, reduced to ten men, what a surprise. That prompted the removal of Bell who was replaced by Collin Seedorf as Robertson looked to tighten the midfield. Mulraney then waltzed into the box on the left side but his cross was marginally too high for Oakley to connect properly with and Jensen gratefully gathered. Steady rain was continuing to fall and the heavy pitch may play a part later in the game. As it was, tackles were becoming more reckless as conditions deteriorated. Twenty minutes to go and Ridgers watched a Burns shot drift wide as Crusaders pushed for another goal. The comfort of the first forty-five seems a long time ago now. Crusaders had the ball in the net after a swift break but the linesman had flagged for offside. With fifteen left, Crues brought on Paul Lowry and soon after Mulraney was replaced by Zak Elbouzedi, but it was Crusaders that opened the game right up when Heatley sped into the left side of the box and prodded tidily behind Ridgers. The game is right in the balance now with Crusaders looking likely to level the tie. We passed up on an excellent opportunity to restore our two goal lead, but Vigurs shot tamely wide from fifteen yards. Ridgers saved with his feet as a driven cross came into the box and when we broke forward Oakley forced Jensen into a low save to deny the striker. Fast and furious now and Crues missed a great chance to level the game but the ball fell the wrong side of the post as Ridgers and Seedorf combined to keep the ball out. Oakley again almost scored when his deflected shot squirmed behind Jensen but spun away off the post. Nail biting stuff now as every ball into the box looks likely to cause problems. Another scary moment when Gary Warren looked skinned, but Owens had tugged him back and Inverness were awarded a free kick instead of conceding a goal. Three minutes of time were added on with Crusaders still probing for the breakthrough and Inverness defending somewhat nervously. Coates headed into the side netting as we held on by our finger tips with thirty seconds to go. Suddenly, Liam Polworth made a tremendous run in the last seconds which ended with him being brought down unceremoniously for a penalty. Iain Vigurs should have ended the scoring from the spot, but not before Declan Caddell talked himself into a red card. Vigurs then completely scuffed his shot, dragging it wide of the post in possibly the worst penalty in the history of soccer. After that embarrassing scuff, the ref ended the contest and it's Caley Thistle that will contest the final against Dumbarton the weekend of 24/25 March. Full Time 3-2 Well, we got there in the end but all credit to Crusaders who put up a tremendous battle in the second half which almost went bottoms up after Brad Mckay was sent off. BBC Alba gave Jake Mulraney the MotM but for me it was a toss up between Liam Polworth and Iain Vigurs. Polworth gets my nod after that penalty miss. Crusaders can be happy with their display after taking a battering in the first half. But the introduction of Whyte and Owens caused our ten men problems and Heatley was a handful all game. Stephen Baxter was indignant though. He reckoned Crusaders should have won 6-4. I'm not as convinced as he was, but they certainly made a game of it after the break in what turned out to be a highly entertaining game. See you all at the final. Here's the goals from Caley Jags TV Date: 18/02/18 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1044 Referee: Bryn Markham-Jones Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Ridgers, Mckay, Warren, Donaldson, Calder, Mulraney (Elbouzedi 79), Polworth, Vigurs, Chalmers, Bell (Seedorf 65), Oakley. Subs (not used): Esson, Baird, Mackay, Brown, Harper. Scorers: Oakley (1), Chalmers (13), Mulraney (44) Booked: Mckay, Calder, Polworth Sent Off: Mckay (63) Crusaders: 2 Lineup: Jensen, Burns, Beverland, Coates, McClean, Forsythe (Owens 45), Caddell, Glackin (Whyte 45), Snoddy (Lowry), Heatley, Murray Subs (not used): O'Neill, Carvill, Cushley, Suarez. Scorers: Heatley (57, 79) Booked: Murray, Glackin, Whyte, Owens, Caddell Sent Off: Caddell (90+6) a
  4. IrnBru Cup Semi-Final Inverness welcome Irish Premiership side Crusaders to the Scottish Highlands for the IrnBru cup semi-final. Just when you forgot all about this competition, someone somewhere comes up with a date and time to suit everybody. Well, the date is Sunday 18th February, the time is 17:15. I kid you not. The weather has relented in the last couple of days which is just as well as the pitch looked somewhat tired and heavy after weeks of dismal winter weather took it's toll. I would still expect a less than velvet surface with the going soft. Logistics aside, the competition has reached the last four with Inverness v Crusaders (Northern Ireland), and New Saints (Wales) v Dumbarton. To give New Saints their Sunday name, it's The New Saints of Oswestry Town & Llansantffraid Football Club. They play in Oswestry, Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain. That'll be why TNS is the preferred title. Thankfully, it's Crusaders that we play and they are known as the Crues. ***Latest News*** We now know one of the finalists and it's congratulations to Dumbarton who have reached their first Cup final in over 100 years. They came from behind to beat TNS 1-2 with late goals from Danny Handling and Dimitris Froxylias. Former Caley Jags player Dean Ebbe had given TNS the lead early in the second half. So what do we know about them? They hail from Belfast where they have a 3383 capacity all seated stadium, Seaview. Manager Stephen Baxter is a former player and has been in the job since 2005. They play in red and black, so they have something in common with half of Caley Thistle. In season 2016/2017 they relinquished their title and finished second in the NIFL Premiership behind one of their Belfast rivals, Linfield. It was a last day victory for Linfield that decided the title. However, this season appears to be back on track with Crusaders 5 points clear with 10 games remaining. Some impressive stats so far, Played 28:- Won 22 - Lost 2 - Goals For 82 - Goals Against 28. Crusaders last game was a 4-2 victory over Glentoran although they were knocked out of the Irish Cup a couple of weeks ago 4-1 by Cliftonville after being reduced to ten men. Jordan Owens, Billy Joe Burns, Colin Coates and Gavin Whyte were the scorers in the win over Glentoran. Gavin Whyte is the top scorer in the division with 18 goals, and fellow Crusader Paul Heatley is third with 13 goals. Whyte was the man that scored a last minute goal to knock out Dundee United in the last round. The 22 year old is regarded as a flying winger and one of the hot prospects in the Irish Leagues. He was also a signing target for Dundee United at one point but he is content to remain at Seaview for now where he is scoring goals almost every week. Recent signing Darren Murray is also amongst the goals and scored a brace on his debut in the 3-0 win over Carrick Rangers. The former Warrenpoint Town striker feels he will benefit from playing at Crusaders as he will get more scoring opportunities. He has already notched 12 for the season. Check out this BBC Sport footage of their win over Glentoran. Crusaders v Glentoran From the Belfast Telegraph, defender Sean Ward said the players are relishing the chance to progress to another major final. "It's been a good competition for us and like every one we enter we want to go as far as we possibly can," said Ward. "We are confident we can beat Inverness, there is no doubt about that, but we will need to perform well. "We will give it our best. To reach the final will be special. Players want to play in finals, it's why we play the game and it's another massive opportunity to reach a big final. "After the disappointment of the League Cup semi-final and Irish Cup it's a welcome distraction for us. We will face a full-time Inverness outfit who will be good but we will give it our best and see if it's good enough." And manager Stephen Baxter added:- "This Inverness game is a break away from the relentless pressure and tension of the league games. It's a big game of football but it will be a nice break for us. "We will give a good account of ourselves. We won the Setanta Cup which was a huge lift to everyone and reaching an IRN BRU semi-final is a big feather in our cap as these are the best teams in our islands." Inverness have stuttered somewhat in recent weeks and have also dropped out of the Scottish Cup with a 1-0 defeat to Premiership side Dundee after a replay. That was our last game (30th Jan) as the weather saw the Dundee United game postponed. We were idle last weekend as we were not involved in the Cup and had no game arranged. Before the Dundee game we lost 3-1 at Falkirk in the Mulraneygate encounter. We were comfortable until Jake saw red and once we were reduced to ten men we lost the plot like Jake. We are lingering in no-mans land at the moment in seventh place in our own Championship. Team News It's been a slow news fortnight in the Highlands football wise, but here are the last known team line-ups for both squads. Carl Tremarco is still injured and Nathan Austin is cup-tied, otherwise Robbo should have a full squad to choose from. Inverness (v Dundee) : Ridgers, Mckay, Warren, Donaldson, Calder (Mackay 83), Chalmers, Vigurs, Polworth, Bell (Mulraney 67), Doran (Baird 67), Oakley Crusaders (v Glentoran) : Jensen, Ward, Burns, Coates, McChrystal (Beverland 46), Lowry, Forsythe, Heatley, Owens, Murray (Caddell 78), Whyte (Cushley 88) More detail and Robbo chat can be found on the Official Preview. From the Crusaders website:- Any Crusaders supporters going to the Irn Bru Cup Semi Final on Sunday against Inverness Caledonian Thistle are asked to gather at the ICT Social Club at 28 Grieg Street where a bus will transport you to the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium for the game. If you are there for 3.45pm Norman Coleman will have a "gift" for you as a thank you for travelling to the game so please do not miss out. It will be worth it and it is a gesture for your making it to the game to get behind the lads on the pitch. I'll make no prediction on this game as I have never seen Crusaders play before. However, given their win over Dundee United and their current form in the Irish Premiership then I would expect them to be an accomplished side well capable of troubling an Inverness side in indifferent form and during our rebuilding process. It will be a first for Inverness to be playing an Irish side and a welcome break from the somewhat turgid games we have witnessed in the Championship. Crusaders come over with an exciting free scoring side and we should be in for an entertaining match. Anyway, welcome to the Highlands of Scotland and I hope you enjoy our national drink, it's made from girders you know, although made with less sugar now. Sláinte............ It's not great quality, but here's how Dumbarton got into the final. Two cracking strikes to win it.
  5. Over and Out. This seasons Scottish Cup run was short lived when an efficient Dundee came North and stifled our creative players after the break to score an early second half goal through Scott Allan to win this replay. There was nothing between the sides in the first half, but once Dundee opened the scoring they never looked back as we offered little in the way of a goal threat until a final flourish once Daniel Mackay entered the arena. He at least managed to make Parish work in the Dundee goal. We can't be faulted for effort, but all too often the final ball was not there and too many players wanted an extra touch or passed the buck when a shot on target might have been more beneficial. It was a swirling blustery and somewhat wet evening that greeted the players onto the park in front of 1746 hardy souls who were mostly looking for a cup upset. Inverness had Iain Vigurs and Liam Polworth re-instated to the midfield after suspension along with Aaron Doran and bad boy Jake Mulraney benched. Daniel Mackay and John Baird also began on the bench. Dundee had Celtic target John Hendry in the starting XI and were looking for Sofien Moussa and Leitch-Smith to provide the goals with Scott Allan the driving force in midfield. A tentative start saw both sides probing for an opening but little came the way of the strikers with defences on top. That theme continued for 45 minutes. The strong gusty wind and driving swirling rain saw both sides struggle to get the upper hand and the first half passed everyone by. Half Time 0-0 The second period was just two minutes old when Dundee surged forward after an Inverness attack broke down. A-Jay Leitch-Smith did the spadework and Scott Allan supported him and placed the ball beyond Mark Ridgers low into the corner of the net. Poor play from Inverness in attack and the defence backed off as Dundee went forward giving Allan the opportunity to pick his spot. Dundee took control from that moment and should have increased their lead on a couple of occasions but for some wayward finishing, good goalkeeping and some good fortune on our behalf. AJLS was looking lively and he missed the best chance after a scrambulation in the box when two or three chances should have been put away. The woodwork and keeper doing their best to deny the Dundee forwards. Ridgers made two or three excellent stops to keep us in with a chance of snatching a late goal but we ran out of ideas all to quickly and most forays forward ended in wayward passes or defenders blocking the crosses before they became chances. Daniel Mackay came on and forced Parish to concede a corner which was as near as we came to scoring, but as I said, too little too late and Dundee deserved their shot at the next round. Full Time 0-1 Ultimately disappointing exit after matching Dundee for a game and a half. They looked sharper on the ball, especially in the second half, and the movement of their front players was dragging our defenders around creating the space for them to exploit, something that we never quite matched. Inverness were best served by Coll Donaldson who is a class apart, Iain Vigurs (1st half), Daniel Mackay who livened proceedings and goalkeeper Mark Ridgers who made some remarkable saves and who knows how he kept the ball out of the net after the 10 second stramash. He is my MotM for tonight. Wonderful moment of light relief in the first half when the steward confiscated the young teams siren effect gadget thingamyjig. It sounded like a police car siren and as the steward marched it along behind the goal over to the main stand, siren wailing and blue lights flashing. The siren could be heard disappearing into the distance with images being conjured up of the head steward trying to switch the damn thing off below the stand as the siren baffled the morons. That was the brightest moment of a dull first half. Highlights or lowlights.................. Robbo agrees................. Date: 30/01/18 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1746 Referee: Stephen Finnie Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers, Chalmers, Warren, Polworth, Doran (Baird 67), Vigurs, Oakley, Calder (Mackay 83), Bell (Mulraney 67), Mckay, Donaldson Subs (not used): Esson, Seedorf, Trafford, Brown Scorers: none Booked: Doran (45), Oakley (60), McKay (65), Vigurs (78) Sent Off: none Dundee: 1 Lineup: Parish, Kerr, Waddell, Hendry, Holt, Allan, O'Hara, Kamara, El Bakhtaoui (Spence 46), Leitch-Smith, Moussa (Deacon 84) Subs (not used): Malherbe, O'Dea, Aurtenetxe, Wolters, Lambert Scorers: Allan (47) Booked: Hendry (36), O'Hara (62) Sent Off: none a
  6. Dundee Replay. After their winter break Dundee come North looking to put Championship side Inverness Caledonian Thistle out of the Scottish Cup. The first tie ended in stalemate and the prize up for grabs is a home tie against Premiership side Motherwell. A precautionary pitch inspection is planned for Tuesday lunchtime to see if the pitch is holding up after recent drookit weather of biblical proportions. Inverness went to Dens park and justified Robbo's faith in his own side when he said it would not be a shock to him should Inverness progress into the next round. Well, it never quite went to script but we earned a replay with a deserved 2-2 draw. Neil McCann was blaming rustiness for his sides failure to get through at the first time of asking. Aaron Doran started the scoring and Dundee replied through Sofien Moussa and Mark O'Hara before George Oakley knocked in the late equaliser to send the tie to a replay. Since then, we have been to Falkirk in the Championship, and with a depleted squad through injury and suspension, we lost 3-1. We had fared pretty well until Jake Mulraney went berserk. A booking just before half time, another dubious tackle seconds later then yet another crude challenge gave the referee no other option but to send the nutter packing. We often complain about poor refereeing, but I'm afraid this was all Jake's doing. He let the team, manager and support down, but more importantly he let himself down. Robbo will be introducing stricter discipline rules within the club and that is no surprise as that was our eighth red card this season. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. He's not the first this season that has let the side down, let's hope he's the last though. On the bright side, youngsters Daniel Mackay and Jack Brown came on against Falkirk and combined to score a brilliant goal, Mackay superbly finishing off a brilliant assist from Jack Brown. Dundee have played twice since the cup draw. A home game against Hibs in the Premiership on Tuesday night and an away game at Hamilton on Saturday. They went down 1-0 to Hibs and McCann was left furious by refereeing decisions going against his side. Aye, tell us about it Neil. They fared better at Hamilton after a very late goal in time added on to the time added on gave them all three points. It was hyphen man AJ LS that got the winner with Mathew Henvey getting Dee's opener after Hamilton had benefited from an og from Mark O'Hara who sliced the ball into his own net. Pity he could'nt do that against us in the first game instead of running half the pitch and smashing the ball into the net, meh! Hamilton were undone by a sending off as well, David Templeton trying to outdo Mulraney for the fastest two yellow cards of the season. John Hendry has been attracting the attention of other clubs and Dundee are reported to have turned down a bid from Celtic for the talented young defender. Another one about to be paid a lot to sit on a bench probably. James Vincent, he of Caley Thistle Scottish Cup fame has left Dundee and gone to Dunfermline on loan. This is what the draw looks like at present. You would imagine Hearts, Falkirk and Fraserburgh will join Brora for the fifth round games. Would be a shame not to get that opportunity to join them, so it's all to play for on Tuesday night....... Inverness should have Iain Vigurs and Liam Polworth back after suspension. Jake Mulraney's suspension will be for the next Championship game, although Robbo was raging after the Falkirk game and he might be punished by the club and miss out. Tremarco is a long term absentee. Nathan Austin was missing, presumed injured still, against Falkirk. We need someone with a bit of flair to create the opportunities for Oakley and Bell, let's hope he has recovered for this game, but it's doubtful. Dundee are beginning to find their feet again as Neil McCann steadies the ship. He is looking to bring Toni Martinez in from West Ham. The Spaniard has scored 12 goals for the Hammers under-23's this season, although McCann reckons he might be out of their league. Hendry may be included after missing the first game through manflu. This lad has plenty quality and was missed in the first encounter. tm4tj prediction:- With our midfield taking on a more familiar look with Vigurs and Polworth returning that will give us a better balance in the engine room. Aaron Doran will feature in this one after not being risked at Falkirk on the artificial surface. Strong shouts for youth to get their chance after Daniel Mackay scored his second for the Caley Jags. Maybe not in this one with Dundee up for it, but surely in coming games he will be slowly introduced. AJ -LS is getting amongst the goals and will be a test for our defence once more but with Coll Donaldson playing well for us we might be able to keep him and Sofien Moussa quiet. Another tough game to call and it might take extra time and penalties to separate the sides. If we can keep eleven men on the park, we should be a match for the bottom six clubs in the Premiership. When we plumb the depths, we are barely a match for the Highland League clubs. I'll go for us to oust the Dark Blues, but given our recent shady performances, it's anyone's game. ICT after extra time, Motherwell (at home) here we come.
  7. Closing in on a play-off position Inverness recorded their first win over Queen of the South this season with a comfortable 3-1 scoreline. First half goals from Iain Vigurs and Joe Chalmers gave us a deserved lead and Aaron Doran added a third after the break. As we eased off, Queens came more into it and got their consolation when Owen Bell headed a fine goal with five minutes left. This win pulls Inverness level on points with the Doonhamers and within striking distance of the two teams above us although we have played more games than most. Still, it's a healthier position than we were in a few months ago. Carl Tremarco missed out through injury as did Nathan Austin. Riccardo Calder slotted in at left back with Brad Mckay on the opposite side. Collin Seedorf and Jake Mulraney were fit enough to make the bench. The Doonhamers had the firepower of 35 year old Stephen Dobbie up front and youngster Owen Bell starting on the bench. On loan Rangers defender Myles Beerman was on the bench along with him. Striker Chris Kane was making his final appearance for Queen of the South before returning to St Johnstone. The 23 year old has now made 24 appearances for the Doonhamers scoring five goals and has benefitted greatly playing alongside the vastly experienced Stephen Dobbie. The frost of the previous days had relented and it was a brisk day, a tad chilly but nonetheless a decent day for a game of footy. Just over two thousand two hundred fans made the effort to get to this game and they were treated to an excellent start by the hosts who came out of the blocks with all guns blazing. The two previous meetings this season produced no goals but Inverness were looking to carry their excellent form from the Falkirk game into this one. Queens were confident their excellent away form would continue. The opening moments were a taste of things to come and captain Gary Warren had a header saved in the second minute as Inverness pressed from the off. The keeper did well to tip his powered header onto and over the bar. Moments later from the resultant corner Iain Vigurs placed a header into the keepers top right corner as he kept a cool head when a loose ball presented itself to him. Great goal and what a start to this game. Dobbie and Polworth exchanged efforts at either end as the game opened out but it was Inverness that were in control and it was no surprise when a second goal came along, although it was all done in slow motion. Joe Chalmers gathered a ball on the edge of the box and his scuffed effort deceived everyone, including the fans in the North Stand. It wrong footed half a dozen players and an unsighted keeper to roll gently into the bottom corner with Leighfield scrambling frantically across his line to no avail. Take that and a first for Joe Chalmers. We saw out the half comfortably and our attacking endeavour should maybe have reaped more, but Queens got away lightly. Half Time 2-0 Gary Naysmith no doubt got them to up their energy levels after the break and with Inverness content to hold what they had Queens came more into it, Stephen Dobbie coming close. However, when we broke forward we always looked dangerous and Aaron Doran knocked home a third after Polworth crossed into the box from the right. Dobbie tried his luck again but his curling effort was mopped up easily by Mark Ridgers as Queens began to believe in themselves and we gave up ownership of the midfield. Beerman and Kerr went close as well but most of the work Queens were doing ended in hopeful efforts rather than guilt edged chances. Iain Vigurs was yellow carded in bizarre fashion. Shaun Rooney went down when tackled and the ref blew for a foul, albeit a soft one. After the players exchanged pleasantries Rooney shoved Vigurs over. As is the norm these days, the ref calls them both over and booked Rooney then Vigurs. Seems to me that getting pushed over is a bookable offence. How odd. Mark Ridgers saved a rasping effort as Queens went looking for a goal and we began to look a little edgy at the back but we weathered the storm and it probably was more comfortable on the park than it was watching from the stand. John Baird had an effort saved but Queens got their reward for not giving up when a superb Beerman cross was briskly headed high into the net by Owen Bell. Inverness responded and Oakley almost restored the three goal cushion but he shot across goal and wide of the mark. Full Time 3-1 Fantastic first half again for Inverness. Some really tidy play and a thoroughly deserved win. Coll Donaldson was once again immense, he is some player for a big lad, but for me, he was outshone by Riccardo Calder who doubled as a full back and left winger. Great shift again from Calder who is my MotM. There was some wonderful play all over the park and George Oakley is turning out to be a useful front man using his upper body strength to good effect. Unsung hero Joe Chalmers has come onto a game over the last couple of months playing on the left midfield side. Without the shackles and constraints of defending, the big loon has come into his own and scored a goal into the bargain. Iain Vigurs, despite his booking tally reaching it's limits, was a class apart in the first half and himself and Polly are beginning to create plenty for the strikers. No failures yesterday and competition for starting berths is hotting up. So, we are starting to pick up pace and are now pushing for a play-off position, well deserved given our recent form. Scottish Cup game at Dundee next week followed by an away trip to Falkirk. Goals highlights from Caley Jags TV Robbo delighted. Gary Naysmith was honest as usual accepting his team were second best. Here's what he had to say. Date: 13/01/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2209 Referee: Alan Muir Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Ridgers; Mckay, Warren, Donaldson, Calder, Polworth, Vigurs (Trafford 78), Chalmers, Doran, Bell (Baird 72), Oakley Subs (not used): Esson; Seedorf, Mulraney, Mackay, Brown Scorers: Vigurs (3), Chalmers (29), Doran (58) Booked: Mckay (21), Vigurs (74), Donaldson (76), Sent Off: none Queen of the South: 1 Lineup: Leighfield; Rooney, Kerr, Brownlie, Mercer, Murray (Fergusson 63), Thomson, Rankin, Dykes (Beerman), Dobbie, Kane (Bell 71) Subs (not used): Martin; Akubuine, Gourlay Scorers: Bell (85) Booked: Dykes (41), Rooney (74) Sent Off: none
  8. Is there a goal at the third time of asking? After the big win on Tuesday night, it's Gary Naysmith's Queen of the South that come North looking to keep Inverness out of the play-off zone on Saturday with a 3:00pm kick off. It's the third time the clubs have met this season in the Championship and both previous games had the same outcome, no score draws. The first one at Inverness saw Queens get the better of a 0-0 scoreline but with Inverness content on sorting out their defensive frailties, it beckoned the start of a new defensive era, one where we stopped shipping comedy goals and started to build from the back. The return game at Palmerston was closer in terms of superiority but the result remained the same. Inverness got their shooting boots on in midweek with an excellent win over the Bairns. Oakley, Bell, Mulraney and Baird all scored to banish the narrow defeat at Paisley to the recycle bin. It was a swashbuckling performance in the first half that saw the Bairns blown away as Inverness consolidated their mid-table position. Jake Mulraney was in sparkling form, his pace was awesome and let's hope he recovers from his knock to make a start on Saturday. Queens had a fruitful visit to Livingston and came away with a 1-0 win to jump over them in the League, albeit on goal difference. Chris Kane was the man that made the difference with a first half goal. The clubs are more evenly matched in terms of goals scored and conceded than they were the last time they played. We have started scoring and shored up the defence and have closed the goal difference gap to four. Queens (for 33 against 27) Inverness (for 26 against 24) Carl Tremarco is back on the injury list with a suspected hamstring injury, the heavy pitches and busy schedule being blamed for his problems. He will be scanned before the extent of the injury can be gauged. Jake Mulraney was also subbed against Falkirk as a precaution after taking a knock. No David Raven to call on now, but Riccardo Calder did well when he came on against the Bairns, both in defence and going forward. Collin Seedorf is an option but he is another coming back after a recent injury. Up front Nathan Austin could return after his niggle at Paisley although he missed the Falkirk game. Queens have had recent injury problems of their own and will be looking to get back to full strength before some of their loan players return to parent clubs. James McFadden has left the club looking to play abroad. This was their team that played in the 1-0 win at Livingston that saw Queens jump into fourth place in the Championship:- Martin, Rooney, Brownlie, Kerr, Mercer, Murray, Thomson, Rankin, Dykes, Kane, Dobbie (Bell 90). tm4tj prediction:- Any club with a natural goal scorer like Stephen Dobbie has to be taken seriously. Despite the lack of goals in the earlier tussles, there is plenty of players on both sides capable of knocking one in. We had three strikers scoring against Falkirk and Mulraney notching his first for Inverness. So things are looking up. I'll take our in form strikers to get more goals in this one and edge closer to the top zone. In case you missed it, here are the goals from the Falkirkgame with all three strikers scoring.
  9. Bairns Battered Inverness stunned Falkirk with a superb opening forty-five to end this contest with three first half goals. George Oakley, Connor Bell and a sublime first for Jake Mulraney gave the visitors too much to do and they never recovered from that opening spell. Louis Longridge scored a consolation looking suspiciously offside but John Baird quickly restored our three goal advantage to end the game. John Robertson had Iain Vigurs back after suspension but Nathan Austin missed out through injury. With David Raven now departed, Brad Mckay was shipped out to right back with Gary Warren back in the heart of defence alongside Coll Donaldson. George Oakley started with John Baird on the bench. Paul Hartley came North buoyed by his sides 6-1 thrashing of Championship contenders Dundee United with Louis Longridge in the starting XI. Tom Taiwo missed out through injury. Oakley was yellow carded early for an alleged dive, I'm not as convinced as the referee John Beaton. However, Inverness went ahead after only ten minutes. Iain Vigurs won the ball deep and fed Liam Polworth. He drove forward before sliding a great ball into the path of the electric Jake. Oakley then benefited from Mulraney's pace and direct ball into the box, the striker bundling the ball in from close range. The visitors tried to force their way back into the game, mainly due to some wayward passing from the home defence, but their shooting left a bit to be desired. Gary Warren earned a booking for a cynical type of foul after losing his man in the final third, Joe Chalmers would earn his card for a similar foul later in the game. The free kick drifted wide with Ridgers watching. Warren would be more constructive soon after, popping up in the visitors box and bringing out a tremendous save from Robbie Thomson from ten yards when a shot found him unmarked close to goal. The hosts would not be denied though as we forged a path through the Falkirk players from our own left back position. the ball was transferred swiftly with Polly travelling again before feeding Jake who in turn teed up Bell to notch number two. Fantastic break from defence into attack involving six players. Two minutes later and the Bairns were in disarray. Another ball from the back showed Oakley use his strength to turn his marker on the halfway line. He played on to Jake who skipped forward before curling a beauty behind a stunned Thomson with his left peg from just outside the box. 3-0 at the Interval and even the home fans were stunned. Half Time 3-0 Inverness were obviously wary of a backlash from the Bairns and we were content to relinquish territory and possession and hit on the counter. That worked well for most of the half with Falkirk only having a couple of efforts wide of the mark although Ridgers was called upon to make a smart save when a loose ball was cracked goalward. It was the only moment of real concern until Longridge lifted a ball over him when he was sent clear behind our high line. It looked offside but hey ho. Two minutes later, and the final goal came When substitute Aaron Doran broke down the left flank. He measured a cross onto the head of fellow substitute John Baird who gleefully nodded into the empty corner of the net. Full Time 4-1. What a surprisingly fabulous result for Inverness, their best win of the season against last weeks surprise package, Falkirk. The confidence boosting statistic is that three different strikers scored and electric Jake got his first goal for the club in the Championship. Some great performances. Iain Vigurs ditched his bad boy nonsense and oozed class in the first half. Jake Mulraney was magnificent with his searing pace and scored a super goal before coming off injured in the second period. Riccardo Calder came on and was a revelation at left back after Tremarco went off injured. At one point, one of the Falkirk players had to pay to get back into the ground as Riccardo left him bamboozled and bewildered. Great skills from the wing back. However, my MotM goes to the ever confident Coll Donaldson who must surely be getting right up the Arabs noses with his stylish displays since joining Inverness. That win has us closing in on the play off slots and another win at the weekend over Queen of the South will do us no harm at all. It also keeps Falkirk away from us just now, so all good. FromFalkirk TV Robboe delighted..... Date: 09/01/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2014 Referee: John Beaton Inverness CT: 4 Lineup: to follow Subs (not used): to follow Scorers: Oakley, Bell, Mulraney, Baird. Booked: ???? Sent Off: none Falkirk: 1 Lineup: to follow Subs (not used): to follow Scorers: Longridge Booked: ???? Sent Off: none a
  10. Weather Permitting............. We will try and play Falkirk again at the Caledonian Stadium on Tuesday night with a 7:45pm kick off. There has been heavy frost for a few nights now on top of a pretty wet surface and a pitch inspection has been called for 11:00am on Tuesday morning to see if the game will go ahead. Inverness went down 1-0 at Paisley over the weekend despite creating plenty of opportunities to get something from the game. Both managers agreed it could easily have been a draw but with 20 goal Gavin Reilly in your side, it was St Mirren that took all three points whilst our goal shy strikers, (using the word loosely), squandered everything that came their way. However, Robbo was not too despondent given the effort they put in and the chances created but admits a bit of quality in front of goal would not go amiss. Unfortunately Nathan Austin lasted less than ten minutes before pulling up with what appears to be a slight hamstring injury. George Oakley, John Baird and Connor Bell all missed from decent positions, that's been a familiar pattern this season. Conversely, Falkirk went goal happy and absolutely thrashed Dundee United 6-1. What was so unusual about that scoreline was the fact that the Bairns were the lowest scorers in the league prior to this game. Only twelve goals from eighteen games - that equates to 2/3 of a goal per game. Billy King had the temerity to put United ahead, but goals from Peter Grant and Reghan Tumilty before the break and a double from new signing Louis Longridge after as well as strikes from Tommy Robson and Lewis Kidd ended the humiliation for title contenders United. That really was a bolt from the blue but could be just what the Bairns needed to kick start their season. Despite that crushing win, Falkirk are still seven points adrift of Inverness, have scored less, and conceded more. Since the 0-2 League Cup defeat up here, we have drawn 0-0 at Falkirk and won the IrnBru tie 1-0, which shows that we have improved from a slow start to the campaign. This game has been postponed a couple of times already, here's hoping the weather relents a bit. Inverness missed the control of Iain Vigurs at the weekend through suspension but he will be included in the squad for this one. Nathan Austin pulled up during the Paisley game and will miss out. Coll Donaldson also missed the weekend game after being injured against Brechin City. Falkirk welcomed Louis Longridge into their squad and they got instant payback when he scored twice against the Arabs. Along with Longridge, Tommy Robson, Andrew Nelson, and Reghan Tumilty all started against United and their squad is now unrecognisable since the start of the season when little went right. It would appear that Paul Hartley is slowly starting to turn things around which is bad news for the teams above the Bairns. tm4tj prediction:- despite our loss at the weekend, there was enough on display to suggest we were close to getting something out of the game against the leaders. Since the defeat to Falkirk in the League Cup, it was clear that they were not the force they had been in previous seasons and we have upped our game as well, especially in defence. We will do well to keep our distance from Falkirk and that might be the game plan. I'm going for a scoring draw with a home win as second best bet. If you like goals and seeing Dundee United getting thrashed, here's the seven goals from United's destruction at the weekend.
  11. Time for Vigurs to grow up. For the third game in a row, Inverness were reduced to ten men after Iain Vigurs got a second yellow for an attempted overhead kick. However it was the circumstances surrounding the first yellow that leaves a nasty taste in the mouth and something our talented midfielder needs to grow out of. Many felt that his sending off changed the game. We were leading 1-0 at the time after Aaron Doran drilled in the opener, but Livi levelled in the second half when Alan Lithgow headed home unchallenged. John Robertson made a few changes to the starting XI, some enforced and some to freshen up the side. Carl Tremarco missed out through suspension and Colin Seedorf through injury. John Baird paid the price for his lack of goals and George Oakley started. Connor Bell made way for Aaron Doran and captain Gary Warren returned to the defence. Brad Mckay was the right back and Joe Chalmers filled Tremarco's boots. Nathan Austin began on the bench with David Raven who would make his last home appearance for the Caley Jags later in the game when Chalmers had to leave the field through injury. It all started so well for Inverness and Aaron Doran scored in the sixth minute with a low shot placed beyond the keeper from within the left side of the box. It was starting to look good for the hosts and a Doran cross/shot bounced off the crossbar as we searched for a second goal. Liam Polworth was booked for fouling Josh Mullin in the 36th minute. Iain Vigurs poked his nose in and was also foolishly booked and that would lead to his dismissal later in the game, just before the break. Gary Warren had a header saved as we pressed hard then in the 43rd minuted after a scramble in the Livi box Vigurs was shown a second yellow followed by a red for his attempted overhead. The Livi defender doing the dying swan act obviously caught the referee's attention and that was sufficient to see Vigurs head for an early bath. Livi were nowhere to be seen in the first half, but that sending off would change the shape of the game and ultimately the outcome. Half Time 1-0 Robbo reacted at the interval by removing Jake Mulraney and fitting Ricardo Calder in at left back and moving Joe Chalmers into the space vacated by Vigurs' departure. That would change again when Chalmers had to leave the field and Raven ended up at left back with Calder moving into midfield. Down to ten men for the third game in a row is something that Robbo needs to look into and the flow of the game began to swing towards Livi now as we reshuffled. However, we still looked dangerous on the break and should have scored a second when Trafford burst into the box only for his cross to fall awkwardly for Doran and the moment passed without him getting a clean shot away. Livi were seeing plenty of the ball but most of their crosses were mopped up by the home defence and keeper Mark Ridgers. Just when it looked as though we might hold out for all three points, Livi equaised. Raven and Calder combined to give away a free kick on the Livi right. When Raffaele De Vita swung in the ball it was Lithgow who climbed first to head past Ridgers as our defence watched on. Liam Polworth almost scored after the restart when he gathered a ball just outside the box but his curled effort just shaved the side netting on it's way past the post with the keeper beaten. We did manage another couple of moments around the visitors box after the introduction of Nathan Austin who seems to have the abiity to drift past defenders as if they were not there. Surprisingly, we almost lost the game in injury time when Dale Carrick skied a shot over when it looked much easier to at least hit the target and thus endedeth the match. Full Time 1-1 Iain Vigurs needs to have a word with himself. Having an abundance of skill is no use to anyone when you are taking an early bath. There is no doubt in my mind that his sending off cost us two points and the chance to climb the table next week. Nathan Austin looks a tasty addition and Aaron Doran took his goal well. Mark Ridgers was fairly comfortable all afternoon and will be disappointed in the defence at the goal. Chalmers went off injured as well and that will be another midfielder missing for the next game with Vigurs needlessly out. David Raven played his final home game coming on around the hour and got a good send off at the end as the fans chanted his name. Difficult to pick a MotM in this one with so many playing in unfamiliar roles. I'll go for Gary Warren who returned to the heart of the defence and made some crucial tackles and blocks as Livi used their extra man to good effect late in the game. However, it's not a point gained but two dropped when others around us were drawing, so Vigurs, think about your actions next time for the good of the team and not your own inflated ego. You let your team mates down today. If I'm honest, it's not just today as he has been booked far too many times for petulant immature actions all too often. Tough game next week away to St Mirren who were held to a 1-1 draw by Morton today. Video footage and match reaction to follow....... Date: 02/01/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2239 Referee: Greg Aitken Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay, Donaldson, Warren, Chalmers (Raven 58), Polworth, Trafford, Vigurs, Mulraney (Calder 45), Oakley, Doran (Austin 70). Subs (not used): .Esson; Baird, Bell, Cooper. Scorers: Doran (6) Booked: Vigurs (36), Polworth (36), Calder (81) Sent Off: Vigurs (43) Livingston: 1 Lineup: Alexander; Lithgow, Halkett, Gallagher, Longridge, Byrne, Mullin (Todorov 66), Cadden (Carrick 58), De Vita, Mackin (Robinson 66), Pittman Subs (not used): Knox, Malley Scorers: Lithgow (82) Booked: Gallagher (41), Halkett (84) Sent Off: none a
  12. New Year, New Striker? Livingston are the first footers on 2nd January 2018 at 15:00 as we look to build on our hard fought away win at Brechin in the final game of 2017 when we came from behind to win with ten men. An upset looked to be on the cards after we squandered an early lead at Glebe Park. Jordan Sinclair scored from the spot then volleyed home a tremendous second before the break to give Brechin some hope. Substitute George Oakley levelled the game but Carl Tremarco picked up a second yellow, therefore a red to give the hosts some impetus. However, some baller skills from big Coll ended up with Oakley tapping home his second and the winner to give us all three points which might have been harsh on Brechin, but showed some real determination from Inverness and that was not lost on Robbo in his post match reaction. Livi had a break before the bells when their game with Dunfermline was called off, one of six SPFL games to fall foul of the weather. Their previous game saw them thump Dumbarton 4-1 at the Rock, with goals coming from Craig Halkett, Scott Pittman, Dylan Mackin and Scott Robinson The current report card for Livi will show that they have made a tremendous start to life in the Championship and sit comfortably within the play-off positions at the end of 2017. However, more recent defeats to St Mirren and Dundee United and a draw against Falkirk have taken some of the shine off their results. Our own report card will show much improvement, but more required to make the play-off zone. Livi are third in the table on 29 points, four places above Inverness on 23 points. Defensively there is nothing between the sides, but Livi have the edge in attack with 28 goals to our 21. In fact, if you take Brechin out of the equation, then we would have only ten goals to our credit! Thank you Brechin City, call again. In the previous games this season, Livi came out on top in the first encounter winning 3-1 at the Caledonian Stadium when Todorov, Robertson and Halkett answered a Connor Bell strike. The return at the Pasta Place saw us draw 0-0 during our record breaking clean sheet run. So, we have improved, but a draw at Palmerston, defeat at Cappielow and a scrambled win at Brechin show we still have some way to go before we can consider ourselves candidates. David Raven could return after suspension in what could be his final game for the Caley Jags. Carl Tremarco will miss this one after being red carded at Brechin. Collin Seedorf is a doubt after being subbed at Brechin. New signing Nathan Austin could be in line for a start, but will have to climb over George Oakley to get it unless Robbo realises that scoring goals is not John Baird's best attribute and finally benches him. There's no doubting Baird's commitment, but scoring goals is not for him at the moment. Matt Elsdon and Big Susan look to be on their way out after failing to impress for whatever reasons. Nathan has plenty of style as you can see from this photoshoot. Welcome to the Caley Jags. Livi will have to do without the Mullen streak. Five goal striker Daniel Mullen signed for St Mirren on loan in mid-December and that will become permanent in January along with a five figure fee. Possible line-up for Livi: Alexander, Penrice, Lithgow, Gallagher, Halkett, Mullin, Jacobs, Byrne, Pittman, Boyd, Toderov or Makin. tm4tj prediction:- Let's not get too carried away after a stirring performance to beat Brechin. Yes, that's right, it was only Brechin. With Neil Alexander in goal, that makes it a more difficult task, and having Halkett, Pittman and Todorov in your side, goals are a distinct possibility. However, with results mainly on the up I will be looking for at least a point from this game. Anything less would be a severe setback to our aspirations and will have us looking over our shoulders once more. More info on Official Site
  13. I was there when John Baird scored. Inverness cruised to victory against bottom club Brechin City thanks to two early goals and another two later in the second half to secure a comfortable 4-0 win. Goals from Brad Mckay, John Baird, Connor Bell and George Oakley secured the points on a chilly winter night, the pitch heavy and proving difficult to move the ball around quickly. A crowd of 1801 braved the dropping temperatures to witness a rare occasion, a John Baird goal in this re-scheduled fixture, the first one being postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. Gary Warren returned to the bench with Brad Mckay re-instated alongside Coll Donaldson after his suspension. The disciplined Iain Vigurs was replaced by Charlie Trafford in midfield. Brechin were as expected, with Isaac Layne ploughing a lone furrow up front.The same man has the power to carry it off though and caused a few problems with his burly physique. There was almost a dream start for Brechin as a long ball forward sat up nicely for Connor McLennan on the edge of our box. Ridgers was caught in no mans land and a subtle lob left him stranded, but the ball bounced back out off the base of the post. A let off for Inverness before we got going and a warning we heeded. In the seventh minute we went ahead, Brad Mckay crashing a close range volley high into the net direct from a Polworth corner. Two minutes later and it was joy for John Baird. The striker had not scored for over a couple of months, but he capitalised on a defensive mix up by a pair of Smiths to squeeze the ball home from ten yards for number two after it broke kindly to him off the defender and keepers lack of communication. We dominated the half but the game went quiet, for long periods, akin to a Sunday afternoon kick-about. Isaac Layne made some powerful bursts, but Coll Donaldson and Brad Mckay were equal to him overall. Jake Mulraney was a menace to the visiting defence throughout and he was unfortunate not to break his duck on a couple of occasions. Half Time 2-0 Connor Bell headed in number three early in the half to put the game to bed and that allowed us to make some alterations with Aaron Doran getting more game time. Our intricate play was not helped as the heavy pitch deteriorated and made simple things difficult. Substitute Alex Cooper hit a ferocious shot that Keeper Smith did well to beat away but he was helpless when another sub, Goerge Oakley ran onto a tidy through ball from Trafford to flick it round the advancing keeper. Cool finish from Oakley who is beginning to look the part. As said earlier, Layne was the one Brechin player that looked mildly menacing but Ridgers was untroubled for the entire ninety minutes as he froze his bells off between the sticks. Full Time 4-0 A convincing win for Inverness against a side that drew with Dundee United at the weekend. Conditions were not conducive to silky football, and what skill was displayed came from the home side. Overall, an excellent win in what could have been a potential banana skin game. Best for Inverness were Brad Mckay, Jake Mulraney (first half) Liam Polworth, and my MotM Coll Donaldson. Good in defence, quick and willing to play the ball out of defence when required. Date: 28/11/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1801 Referee: Craig Charleston Inverness CT: 4 Lineup: Ridgers; Raven, Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Chalmers, Polworth, Trafford, Mulraney (Cooper, 80), Bell (Doran, 63), Baird (Oakley, 63) Subs (not used): Mackay, Warren, Calder, Seedorf Scorers: Mckay (7), Baird (9), Bell (52), Oakley (87) Booked: Chalmers (57) Sent Off: none Brechin City: 0 Lineup: G Smith; McLean, Dyer (Lynas, 55), Dale, Graham, Layne, Watt (Sinclair, 70), Spark, McLennan (Orsi, 76), Crighton, E Smith Subs (not used): Fusco, O'Neil Scorers: none Booked: Dyer (12) Sent Off: none
  14. Still 693 and counting. With the Brechin game being called off in midweek, our next visitors will be a much more difficult proposition and the clean sheet record will be well tested. St Mirren are the next club attempting to breach our defence, something they managed four times in the previous fixture this season in Paisley. To be honest, the record, 693 minutes, is a welcome notch in the clubs history, but let's not let it detract from the job in hand. Three points is the aim in each match, clean sheets or not. The Brechin game fell foul of the weather on Tuesday. Constant heavy rain for hours on end scuppered any chance of the game going ahead as it got heavier as the day wore on. St Mirren went on a scoring spree last Saturday as they were involved in a Scottish Cup 3rd round encounter with Lothian Thistle Hutchinson Vale.The Championship side knocked in seven goals in the first half, with Gavin Reilly helping himself to four before being substituted in the 67th minute. The Buddies sit second in the table despite no wins in their last three. Draws against Falkirk and Morton and defeat at Tannadice has seen the Arabs hit the top, but St Mirren have a game in hand over leaders Dundee United who lead by three. St Mirren have scored 24 goals in their dozen games so far and have conceded 17. That's 11 goals more than us although we are one better off in defence thanks to our recent run of seven games without conceding. They got the better of Inverness earlier in the season by virtue of a 4-2 win. It rained goals in thirteen second half minutes. When the dust settled, it was the Buddies that took the points. Goals from Lewis Morgan, Gregor Buchanan, Cammy Smith and Ian McShane did the damage with John Baird and Liam Polworth replying for Inverness. John Robertson has Aaron Doran back after a two year injury hell. The wide player featured against Falkirk in the IrnBru cup and will benefit from more match sharpness as the season progresses. Jake Mulraney returns after international duty with the Irish u21 side where he scored a superb solo goal. Brad Mckay is suspended and that opens the door for a return to the heart of the defence for captain Gary Warren. Collin Seedorf and Zak Elbouzedi are making progress and could be included in the squad. Big Susie is still out. Jack Ross has Gary McKenzie's back in training but not available for this one. tm4tj prediction:- St Mirren have not fared as well away from Paisley where they have only dropped two points this season. Away from home they have lost three times which offers us a glimmer of hope. Our form has got better as the season lengthens. A win is a big ask, but we are well capable of matching the opposition. I'm looking for a narrow home win. More details are on the Official Site
  15. 693 minutes and counting. Bottom club Brechin City are next up for Inverness at the Caledonian Stadium on Tuesday evening with a 19:45 kick off scheduled. City are without a win this season from the twelve league games played and have only two points to show for their efforts. That has planted them firmly at the foot of the table and are no doubt the bookies favourites for automatic relegation. They have scored just eight goals and more importantly have conceded twenty-five. So, scoring 0.6 of a goal a game and losing just over two. That's the form that justifies their position at the moment. On the face of it, City have a lot to do. However, closer inspection shows that their last five league games were tight affairs only losing by one goal in each game. Those defeats were by St Mirren, Morton, Queen of the South, Livingston and Dumbarton. The Dumbarton game was particularly hard to take with the Sons scoring the winner in the 90th minute. And the icing on the cake; it was a Willie Dyer own goal. Brechin had a Scottish Cup game at Buckie on Saturday and were 2-1 down at the interval. Jordan Sinclair had scored a leveler in the first half and substitute Isaac Layne equalised again on the hour. Layne scored the winner with four minutes left. It may only have been Buckie Thistle, but that was a tremendous and much needed confidence booster for Brechin, and Isaac Layne will be one to watch when they come North on Tuesday night. He may just have played himself into the starting eleven for Tuesday. Inverness are on a record breaking run at the moment. Seven games without conceding has seen us edge our way up the table. Still a long way to go, but what a transformation from our opening couple of months. Defeat at Dumbarton on 23rd September with Gary Warren red carded saw us only two points better off than Brechin and morale at an all time low. we started the record breaking run with a hard fought goalless draw against Queen of the South. It was not a classic, but a determined effort and the team were under strict orders to keep Queens at bay. It worked and things have looked up ever since. It's great credit to Mark Ridgers and his defence that we have continued that run. Coll Donaldson is doing so well at the moment that captain Gary Warren can not get back in the side just now. Long may it continue. The manager of the month curse has not struck yet and our last game saw us beat Falkirk 1-0 in the IrnBru cup quarter final. Our previous game was a 0-0 at Livingston. A far cry from the beating we took in Inverness by Livi two months earlier. Robbo has one or two more players available since the break. Aaron Doran was a surprise substitute against Falkirk. He had played in a charity game at Dingwall, as did Collin Seedorf and Zak Elbouzedi. The injury list is shortening, though the returning players may well need more fitness training before being rushed into a full match. It was great to see Doran back on the park after his two year injury hell and he will be like a new signing when he is fully fit. Jake Mulraney missed the cup game against Falkirk but is available after playing with the Ireland u21 side where he scored a confidence boosting spectacular solo goal. Brad Mckay is suspended which paves the way for Gary Warren to return to the heart of the defence alongside Coll Donaldson. Darren Dods starting XI at Buckie was: Smith, Crighton, Fusco, Smith, McLean, Watt, Graham, Dale, Dyer, Orsi, Sinclair. On the bench were Love, Layne, O'Neil, Lynas, Spark, O'Neil. tm4tj Prediction:- Brechin are not the soft touch that their league position suggests. However, having defeated them twice already this season I would expect us to eventually be too strong for them. Comfortable home win after grinding them down. Maybe we can continue the clean sheet run as well, that would be a bonus, but it's the three points that are important here. Jake Mulraney should come back into the starting line-up and that will give us plenty pace up front. He and Connor Bell were starting to form a willing partnership and a couple of assists for Bell from Jake were sowing the seeds for the future. The Scottish Cup draw has given us an away tie at Premiership club Dundee in January. On Sunday 26th November, Hibernian will be the challengers for our youth squad in the 4th round of the Scottish Youth Cup. Admission is free, so come along and support the young team. The game kicks of at 13:00. Watch Jake Mulraney goal from 30 seconds in to this highlights................
  16. Bell ends the contest Inverness eased their way into the semi-final of the IrnBru Challenge Cup thanks to a second half goal from striker Connor Bell, his fifth goal of the season. In doing this, we also established a new record for consecutive clean sheets. That's seven in a row now. By my calculations, that's 693 minutes of play without conceding, give or take a minute or two. Fantastic effort guys. Alex Cooper replaced Jake Mulraney who was on u21 international duty. For Falkirk, Kevin O'Hara began his eight match suspension and Nathan Austin, Alex Harris and James Craigen all started. Chances were at a premium in this tight contest but after a dogged first half, Inverness gradually got on top and their presence in the Falkirk half eventually paid off when the ball broke to Bell after a headed clearance cannoned off the back of John Baird into the path of Bell. He steadied himself before firing through Robbie Thomson to score the only goal of the game. Inverness were able to see out the game without too much fuss. Falkirks best moments came in the first half when Coll Donaldson cleared one off the line and Myles Hippolyte fluffed a couple of good opportunities. Carl Tremarco was voted MotM on Alba TV, Connor Bell got the vote from the match sponsors, but there were a few worthy winners. Aaron Doran was a surprise inclusion on the bench and he got on the park for the final twenty minutes. Great to see the wee winger back on the field after his horrendous injury problems over the last two seasons. The draw for the semi-finals will take place on Tuesday. Included in this are Crusaders from Northern Ireland, Dumbarton and the winners of Sunday's tie between Welsh league side New Saints and Queen of the South. Robboquote:- "The players are now playing for the name on the front of the jersey rather than the name on the back". Falkirk Manager Paul Hartley felt his side were a bit unfortunate. Highlights from Falkirk TV The BBC Alba broadcast of the game can be seen on iplayer for the next six days ICT -V- Falkirk Date: 11/11/2017 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1078 Referee: Euan Anderson Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: : Ridgers, Raven, Tremarco, Chalmers, Polworth, Baird (Oakley 79), Vigurs, Bell (Calder 86), Cooper (Doran 71), Mckay, Donaldson. Subs (not used): Cameron Mackay (GK), Warren, Trafford, Daniel Mackay. Scorers: Connor Bell (57) Booked: Bell, Tremarco Sent Off: none Falkirk: 0 Lineup: Thomson, McGhee, Muirhead, McKee (Loy 63), Austin (Dunne 71), Hippolyte, Longridge, Harris, Balatoni, Craigen (Blues 84), Watson. Subs (not used): Mutch (GK), Grant, Gasparotto, Gallacher. Scorers: none Booked: Craigen Sent Off: none a
  17. Fizzy Pop Football It's the Irn Bru quarter final today at the Caledonian Stadium and Falkirk are the visitors in a game that will kick off at 17:15. The chance for some silverware for the lower league clubs starts to gain some credence as the latter stages of the competition looms large. For fans living further afield, this game will be live on BBC Alba at 17:15 on Saturday 11th November. The curse has landed at the Caledonian Stadium. You can see the concern etched over the face of Tommy and Robbo on the image here. John Robertson won the Manager of the Month award for October after his side played four games without conceding, winning three and drawing one (Falkirk). Carl Tremarco was part of that achievement and his return to the side after long term injury and his defensive qualities were also rewarded with the Player of the Month trophy. A well deserved double for the club, congratulations to all concerned. Since beating Peterhead 3-0 in the last round, we find ourselves on a bit of a roll. Inverness are gaining in confidence after a sluggish start to the campaign. Goals from Liam Polworth, Riccardo Calder and young Daniel MacKay flattered us slightly, but the clean sheet was instrumental in our confidence booster. The recent league game between the two sides at the Westfield Stadium saw Inverness unfortunate not to win. We are on a bit of a resurgence with six clean sheets in a row, something that was unimaginable earlier in the season. Falkirk have also struggled to get their season going and sit second bottom in the Championship. It's not the position you expect to find the Bairns, but they too are going through a bit of a transition period. In the last round they disposed of Dunfermline Athletic 2-0, goals from Conrad Balatoni and Myles Hippolyte winning the tie. Like us, they have started to pick up recently, but a 4-2 defeat at Queen of the South was not what new manager Paul Hartley was hoping for. An Inverness XI played a bounce game against a Ross County XI in midweek for a good cause, the proceeds going to the Maggie's Highlands Appeal. It was an opportunity to get some of our injured contingent some game time. Collin Seedorf, Aaron Doran, Zak Elbouzedi all featured with Doran scoring. He likes a strike against the County. The game was won by County 3-2, but the real winner was the charity. George Oakley was our other scorer. Jake Mulraney is on international duty with the Ireland u21 squad. Collin Seedorf, Zak Elbouzedi and Aaron Doran will miss out despite playing the challenge game at Dingwall in midweek. Riccardo Calder will be a ready made replacement for Mulraney. Tom Taiwo and Craig Sibbald are out. Paul Hartley confirmed that both have started to do some light running but are well short of first team action. tm4tj Prediction:- It's a break from the league campaign and a chance for some silverware. I expect Falkirk to go into this one with more energy than they showed in the recent league game against us. We are a different beast though and the confidence gained from our unbeaten run will do us no harm at all. This will be a tight affair but home advantage could swing this in our favour. Inverness to edge this one, but it might take penalties to do it. One of our own fans has been getting some high praise for the fantastic sporting artwork she has been producing amongst other things. The talented Sophie Robb, who lives on the Black Isle overlooking the Caledonian Stadium has been producing remarkable images of great local sporting moments, captured in paintings. Some of her work can be seen here. There is also a great article on the BBC website about Sophie. Sophie's Art Well done Sophie, you are a very creative and artistic person. I hope Inverness Caledonian Thistle give you more opportunities to recreate the moment.
  18. Five in a row Inverness recorded their fifth clean sheet in a row to beat Dunfermline 1-0 thanks to a Connor Bell tap in in the 23rd minute after some tidy play down the right flank involving Raven, Baird, Polworth and Mulraney. No surprises in the starting eleven for Inverness as the impressive Coll Donaldson and Brad Mckay continued at the heart of the defence with Joe Chalmers further forward. Gary Warren and Charlie Trafford were on the bench. Goal shy striker John Baird led the line with on fire Jake Mulraney wide right on a bitter and blustery afternoon. Dunfermline started with Fraser Aird keeping Joe Cardle on the bench, but still had plenty of fire power in Kallum Higginbotham, Nicky Clark and Callum Smith all on from the start. Inverness started brightest with the visitors looking content to bide their time. Iain Vigurs tested keeper Sean Murdoch after just four minutes with a rasping shot that seemed to move on it's way to the target, the goalie pulling off a tremendous diving save to deny Vigurs. Fraser Aird replied for the Pars but he shot over as they came out of their shell to check out the other end of the park, and John Baird had a similar attempt in front of the South Stand. Vigurs saw a close range header blocked close to the line as we held the upper hand and it only looked to be a matter of time before we scored the opener. Baird missed the target again but soon after we got our just reward. From a throw in on the right midway through the half, some tidy interplay set Mulraney sprinting along the line before drilling a low cross into the box. An outstretched defending leg only succeeded in teeing up the effervescent Connor Bell who accepted the gift and tapped home. Liam Polworth brought out another fine save from Murdoch as we searched for a second goal, but it was at the other end that an unlikely goal almost came along. An error deep in Inverness territory by Brad McKay let Callum Smith run in on goal from the inside right position. Fortunately for McKay, he scuffed his shot badly and it dribbled well wide of Ridgers' right hand post. It was equal to the effort David Raven tried moments earlier, which looked more like a pass back than a shot from a promising position, meh! Pars had a couple booked in the first half due to there clumsy efforts to stop us overrunning them. Half Time 1-0 Mark Ridgers had to deal with a swirling cross that floated close to his crossbar, Ridgers acrobatically tipping the ball behind for a corner as the ball got caught in the gusty wind. Dunfermline were racking up the bookings by now as the game turned towsy, the visitors resorting to some rough house tactics. The home side had enough of this and retaliated with a couple of bookings of their own. Undaunted, Higginbotham won the fifth booking for Pars shortly after. There followed a spate of substitutions for Dunfermline, playing all their cards within a few minutes. Nicky Clark and Liam Polworth exchanged shots over the bar as we returned to some footballing action and John Baird spurned a couple of great opportunities to seal the points, Murdoch blocking the first volley well. His second misdemeanour brought a stiff rebuke from Polworth who was less than happy at Baird's reluctance to shoot for goal. Polworth should have scored from close range after a scrambulation in the box. A bit of composure would have won the day but he chose to smash the ball home. However, his shot smacked off the bar. A late flurry from Dunfermline saw some jitters run through the stands, but we dealt with it comfortably and the visitors were unable to fashion out any decent attempts throughout the full 96 minutes of play. Full Time 1-0 A gritty display from Inverness and we should have won at a canter had we taken the number of chances that came our way. The Pars started off a bit cagey and pressed higher after the break, but we remained untroubled and should have added to our tally. Comfortable win in the end despite their presence around our box late in the game which could have seen them picked off on the break had our final ball been better. We could also have benefited from some better refereeing decisions and on another day might have been awarded a couple of penalties. A few contenders for MotM. Coll Donaldson was once more pretty solid at the back, one or two loose moments apart. Mark Ridgers looks more confident by the game and another clean sheet will add to that. Iain Vigurs was totally dominant in midfield, spraying the ball at will. Liam Polworth and Jake Mulraney beavered away, Liam unfortunate not to score and Jake skinning defenders with his searing pace and trickery. However, my choice this week goes to a giant amongst men. Well, maybe not, but Connor Bell gets the nod for his Duracell Bunny impression and goal. His work rate was second to none, in attack and defence. What a find he has been. That result lifted us into seventh place in the league. The next target will be Morton who sit four points above us. Off to Livingston next week, another tough game against an in form team. Goal highlights and Robbo interview from Caley Jags TV Date: 28/10/2017 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2948 Referee: Kevin Clancy Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers, Raven, Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Chalmers, Vigurs, Polworth, Bell (Warren, 90), Mulraney (Calder, 72), Baird (Oakley, 78). Subs (not used): Esson, Elsdon, Trafford, Mackay. Scorers: Connor Bell (23) Booked: Baird (57), Tremarco (60). Sent Off: none Dunfermline: 0 Lineup: Murdoch, Williamson, Morris, Ashcroft, Talbot, Splaine (Shiels, 76), Wedderburn, Aird (Cardle, 67), Higginbotham, Clark, Smith (McManus, 67). Subs (not used): Gill, Martin, M'Voto, Ryan. Scorers: none Booked: Morris, Splaine (45), Williamson (52), Clark (53), Higginbotham (65). Sent Off: none a
  19. Time to get one over Pars We welcome Dunfermline Athletic to the Caledonian Stadium on Saturday and the opportunity to avenge the 5-1 thrashing we suffered at East End Park back in August. That was a sore one when we were still searching for our best eleven and formation. We might not be the finished article yet, but we have come a long way since then and four clean sheets in a row is testament to that. Build from the back they say. We have done that recently and an impressive display at Falkirk, coupled with a dominant performance at Tannadice has given us more optimism than was evident earlier in the campaign and shown that we are capable of competing with our revamped squad. Goals from Iain Vigurs and Connor Bell saw off United, but it was the overall display and composure that pleased most fans. Mark Ridgers was much criticised previously, but he also stepped up to the mark and looked more confident. Much of that will be gained from having a more efficient defence in front of him. He had a difficult time off the park recently and this article in the Inverness Courier explains all. Dunfermline are in great shape just now. Twenty points gleaned from their opening ten games from six wins, two defeats and two draws. Their defeats came at Morton and at home to the Arabs. However, they are the top scorers in the Championship with twenty-five goals, that's more than twice as many as we have managed. The Pars sit second only two points behind leaders St Mirren. Their last outing saw them defeat Livingston 3-1 thanks to a first half blitz, with goals from Kallum Higginbotham (2) and Fraser Aird. Inverness will soon be boosted with the return of a couple of players. Aaron Doran and Zak Elboudedi have returned to training but are short of full match fitness. They did play half a game in midweek and came through it unscathed. Warren and Trafford are recovering from hand injuries but are able to play, however, Alex Cooper is the latest casualty having injured an ankle. Collin Seedorf, Owain Fon Williams and Felitciano Zschusschen remain out. The Pars have top scorer Joe Cardle available again. Former Caley Jaggy Nat Wedderburn will feature for the Pars. tm4tj prediction:- We should offer a much stiffer test for Dunfermline than we did at East End Park. We must be wary of the fire power from the Pars who have the top three scorers in the league. Joe Cardle is an obvious threat, but Kallum Higginbotham likes a goal or two against us as well. Recent clean sheets have been very welcome, but scoring goals is not our strong point just now. For a striker, John Baird is not ideal, but his work rate can not be questioned. Jake Mulraney could be a key player today, his pace will be a tremendous asset and hopefully an end product will materialise. Might have to settle for a point, but that will be a massive improvement on the previous encounter and a good gauge of where we are at this stage of the campaign. More details in the Official Website preview.
  20. Daniel's a record breaker. Congratulations to Daniel Mackay who became the youngest player to play a competitive game for Inverness Caledonian Thistle. He came on as a late substitute for Riccardo Calder and made an immediate impact. Not only did he replace Liam Polworth as the youngest ever player, he scored a debut goal to round off the game as Inverness beat Peterhead 3-0 to advance into the hat for the next round draw on Tuesday. Well done Daniel, a fantastic achievement. Owain Fon Williams was in goal, Raven and Tremarco started in defence with Donaldson and Chalmers as Gary Warren was out with a sore thumb. Charlie Trafford was suspended after his red card in the previous round. Riccardo Calder was given another opportunity to show if he has anything to offer after a lethargic showing last week. Rory McAllister was spearheading the Blue Toon attack. A crowd below the 1,000 were on hand to witness this encounter and Inverness couldn't have asked for a better start as Liam Polworth fired us ahead after just 90 seconds, drilling a low shot behind the keeper from distance, possibly aided by a deflection. Peterhead responded well though and Rory McAllister tried a spectacular overhead but it went just over and Jamie Stevenson had an effort that was close, but no cigar. Baird saw a shot tipped over after Calder slipped him through on goal. A minute later Fon Williams had to punch a 30 yard volley clear from Williamson. Willie Gibson was getting some joy on the flank and has put in a few decent crosses, but no takers, and McLean deflects a shot from Gibson just over the bar. Although the hosts held the advantage, it was difficult to tell which team were in the higher division. Half Time 1-0 The second half was just five minutes old when a tidy one-two with Polworth saw Riccardo Calder clip home to double the lead. Neat play and a confidence boosting goal for Calder and indeed the whole team. That second goal sapped some of the energy from the visitors who looked resigned to losing the tie although we made heavy weather of ensuring there would be no banana skin ending. The highlight of the game came a couple of minutes after 16 year old Daniel Mackay came on as a late substitute. He is the youngest player to play for the club and took that accolade away from Liam Polworth. His first few touches saw him break forward but he chose the wrong option and the chance for his debut goal disappeared. A lay off to Baird might have been a better option, but that will come with more game time. However, moments later his debut was complete when he nodded home to end the scoring and rubber stamp his debut with the third goal for the Caley Jags. Full Time 3-0 There was a bit of cage fighting in the home dugout after Polworth had been substituted. It appears that what can best be described as an angry exchange took place between coach Scott Kellacher and Polly. I'm sure the club will be taking some action against the pair as tempers seemed to run a touch high. Interesting to find out what sparked this confrontation, but it's not in the best interest of either party to be seen having powder puffs at five paces in full view of the manager, the press and 1,000 fans. I don't think Conor McGregor has much to worry about to be honest. Expect another board statement soon. Coll Donaldson justified his selection and put in a good shift. One particular tackle on McAllister as he bore down on goal crucial to the outcome at the time and is our MotM. So, into the next round we go, the draw being made on Tuesday lunchtime I believe. Thanks to Ian Broadfoot for the Daniel statistics. Date: 07/10/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 930 Referee: Alan Muir Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Fon Williams, Raven, B.Mckay, Chalmers, Donaldson, Tremarco, Vigurs, Polworth (Cooper 86), Calder (D.Mackay 89), Bell (Oakley 76), Baird Subs (not used): Ridgers, Elsdon, Brown Scorers: Polworth (2), Calder (51), D Mackay (92) Booked: Chalmers (55), B.Mackay (58), Raven (86) Sent Off: none Peterhead: 0 Lineup: Fleming, Stevenson, J Brown, McCracken, Macilduf, Gibson, Ferry, S Brown (Lawrence 86), Leitch, McLean, (Smith 55) McAllister 6 (Adams 76) Subs (not used): Hobday, Robertson, Dikobo, Gabriel Scorers: none Booked: McAllister (58) Sent Off: none a
  21. Embarrassing Inverness turned in another lifeless performance that makes a joke of the £20 ticket price to enter the ground. Despite gaining a point, we have actually dropped down a position in the table to second bottom after Falkirk beat Morton. Only Brechin City have fewer points than us and that statistic does not look likely to change in the near future. Attendance patterns remain low as another crowd around the 2K mark witnessed one of the poorest games ever with statistics showing that we had no shots on target over the entirety of the game. Coll Donaldson was at the heart of the defence with Gary Warren suspended and David Raven made a return to right back with Carl Tremarco starting on the left. Chalmers and Elsdon were omitted and all three strikers started, Oakley, Baird and Bell. Queens had James McFadden on the bench alongside Derek Lyle. The much maligned Alan Martin did keep his place in goal, but to be honest he could have been replaced by a fluffy toy, such was our lack of effort and creativity. It didn't take long for Queens to work out that we were totally useless and incapable of threatening their goal. We did however have the first attempt, a Brad Mckay header that flew a couple of feet over. Owain Fon Williams was called into action to tip over a dipping shot from Shaun Rooney as the visitors ventured forth, but for the main part of the half, the game was littered with niggly fouls and misplaced passes. We were our own worst enemies in this department which meant that we struggled to make any headway. Jason Kerr headed just wide as the half wore on with little or no activity around the visitors box. Shortly before the interval Stephen Dobbie had a couple of attempts, but his rangefinder was switched off as he fired a free kick high and wide and drilled a shot across the box and wide of target. Half Time 0-0 The second period showed absolutely no improvement from the home side, in fact we were worse and Queens took control of the game driving forward at will. Oakley was hooked ten minutes in, the hapless striker (using the term loosely) being swapped for Riccardo Calder. He should have stayed in the dressing room as his general lack of interest in the game was getting on the fans nerves. We don't need players like this wearing the jersey. Just before the hour, OFW saved well from Dobbie as Queens turned the screw. There looked to be only one winner as we failed to muster an attempt on the fragile but untroubled Alan Martin in goal. Dobbie by now realised that he could just waltz through our defence and he could have scored a barrowload but thanks to wayward finishing, last ditch defending and Owain Fon Williams we managed to keep him out, more by good luck than good play. Callum Tapping was next for the shoot-in but Williams denied him as well and Dobbie, Tapping, Kerr and Rooney all had opportunities to win the game. We ended the game on the back foot and managed to hold out for a draw despite a couple of penalty claims being denied our visitors with Dobbie looking less than impressed. Full Time 0-0 Oh dear, what a shambles. It's a word that's being used a lot these days as our demise continues. Robertson was less than impressed after last week, this week will just make matters worse I fear. An entire game without an attempt on goal means one thing. We are not going to win this game and we can count ourselves fortunate to take a point. Top marks can only go to Owain Fon Williams who kept us interested. The rest can hang their heads in shame after an utterly gutless performance. One unbelievable moment during the game and it came for the visitors. A free kick from a seemingly dangerous position came to no harm as the ball cleared the top of the visitors stand from around twenty yards out. A miss of biblical proportion and one that will be remembered long after this game has been forgotten. What now for Inverness? Some tough games coming up in the league and a tricky Irn Bru cup game against Peterhead to come. It's getting worse I'm afraid. Let the relegation battle commence. Robbo was interviewed after the match. Gary Naysmith was happy enough Finally, something to cheer about. Our youth side beat Forfar 1-3 after extra time to move into the next round of the cup. Goals from Ryan McRitchie, Andrew Macrae and Kieran Chalmers sealed the win. Well done lads, great stuff. Date: 30/09/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2082 Referee: Euan Anderson Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Fon Williams, Raven, Tremarco, Polworth, Baird (Mulraney 81), Vigurs, Oakley (Calder 52), Bell, Mckay, Donaldson, Trafford Subs (not used): Ridgers, Chalmers, Elsdon, Cooper, Brown Scorers: none Booked: Tremarco (17), Raven (52), Trafford (75) Sent Off: none Queen of the South: 0 Lineup: Martin, Rooney (Rooney 86), Marshall, Fordyce, Tapping, Stirling (Lyle 68), Rankin, Kane (McFadden 84), Dobbie, Jacobs, Kerr Subs (not used): Leighfield, Murray, Mercer, Dykes. Scorers: none Booked: Tapping (92) Sent Off: none a
  22. Queen to visit Inverness No, not Elizabeth, nor Freddie Mercury, but Queen of the South are the visitors on Saturday to our new look stadium with the old portacabin gone and a shiny new shop installed within the walls. No tears were shed as the old temporary shop come ticket office was forcibly removed from the premises, many years after being installed. In it's place we now have a brand spanking new ticket office shop front to greet the fans as they approach the stadium. That's the good news. Unfortunately we still have the same old problems on the park with Robbo getting torn into his struggling side as we languish perilously close to the foot of the table. Another tough game ahead as we try to battle our way out of the slump. Gary Naysmith has a decent squad at his disposal. Notably former Inverness player John Rankin who captains the side. They also have something that we need, proven goal scorers like Stephen Dobbie, Derek Lyle and the latest addition of James McFadden the former Scotland international and scorer of that goal against France. Last time out we suffered another defeat with a second half slump away to Dumbarton. Connor Bell had given us an early lead but the Sons hit back with two second half goals to deservedly take all three points. That performance prompted Robbo to berate his half hearted performers in a frank interview after the game. Some like it out in the open, many fans would rather this was done behind closed doors. Whichever way you like it, the message was quite clear. Get your finger out or things will get worse. Queens went down for the second successive game, losing 3-1 at Paisley having lost out to Morton in their previous game. They sit only two places above Inverness in sixth place, but are six points better off than us with ten points. Three defeats in a row for Inverness and we find ourselves looking over our shoulders with only Falkirk and Brechin City below us. That's the statistic that hastened the departure of Peter Houston from Falkirk. I don't expect they will be at the bottom end for too long, so it's up to us to put a run of results together to climb the table. Not easy with visits to Falkirk and Dundee United coming up in the next two games. Gary Warren sits this one out after his sending off last week, the result of two yellow cards. It looks likely that we will be along similar lines to the one that played at Dumbarton. That's not going to help our shambolic defence. Owain Fon Williams played in goal last week and if he is not injured then he should start again. Difficult to predict who the back four will be as we have a different one every week and so far nothing has worked. David Raven missed out against the Sons with a virus allegedly. Midfield seems to be our most settled area but up front is a major concern with only Connor Bell getting pass marks although he appears to run out of steam around the hour mark. We still have long term injuries for Aaron Dorran, Zak Elbouzedi and Collin Seedorf. Gary Naysmith could be without winger Dan Carmichael who is reported to be struggling for fitness. Otherwise they will be pretty much unchanged from this side that went to Paisley last week. Martin (GK), Fordyce, Brownlie (Tapping 63), Kerr, Marshall, Rooney, Rankin Jacobs, Dykes (Kane 63), Dobbie, Lyle (McFadden 73) tm4tj prediction:- Defeat will be a disastrous result as we can not afford to lose more ground on the teams above us. With the bottom pair within two points of us, defeat could plant us firmly at the foot of the table, a position that on the evidence so far would be richly deserved. To be honest, I fear another difficult day and a draw would be a good result, but I'm not sure we are capable of that at the moment. With Queens fans elsewhere on social media bemoaning their comedy defending, this could be a classic encounter of two error strewn sides. Keeper Alan Martin coming in for plenty of criticism with young Jack Leighfield being touted as a suitable replacement for the butterfingered goalie. It all sounds rather familiar I have to say. Here's hoping we can eliminate the schoolboy defending or it will be a case of jumpers for goal posts and three corners a penalty for some.
  23. Grim Stuff Inverness slumped badly against Livingston who were able to win the game 1-3 without having to try too hard. Our defensive frailties were exposed once more as we struggled to clear our lines with any authority. Nikolay Todorov was given the freedom of the box to slot home from a corner. Connor Bell scored a beauty from a tight angle to level matters three minutes later. Scott Robinson restored the visitors lead after some shoddy defending and it was no surprise when Craig Halkett benefitted from a couple of poor clearances to sweetly volley home and end the scoring. Connor Bell started with Ricardo Calder missing out through injury and the game kicked off on a sodden surface with just over 2000 fans looking on. John Baird should have opened the scoring inside a minute as he was slipped through by Iain Vigurs, but Neil Alexander blocked the strikers effort. It was looking good for the hosts as they stroked the ball around with Livi looking second best for long spells. It was a bit of a false dawn however as despite plenty of possession, we never really troubled Alexander thereafter. The sucker punch came after a corner from Livi. The home defence parted like the Red Sea. The ball landed on the foot of Todorov who found himself totally unmarked and he knocked the ball home from ten yards to open the scoring. The lead was short lived as Connor Bell chased a ball down the left side of the box from Vigurs. He turned inside and and from a pretty tight angle he caught Alexander out as the ball flew high into the net for a tremendous equaliser. Moments later we should have been ahead when Bell nodded home. However, the linesman flagged him offside, a poor decision by the official that would set the tone for the rest of the game. Unfortunately, that was about the only action of note in a half we dominated, but failed to get the upper hand. Half Time 1-1 The second half should have seen us take the game to Livi. Instead we were treated to a third rate display and more schoolboy defending. This time the finger will not be pointed at under fire keeper Mark Ridgers, but the whole defence should hang their heads in shame. Sloppy defending of the highest order gave Livi the opportunity to get back in front and they duly accepted the gift with Robinson poking the ball home from close range, again, without much attention from the creaky defence. The fans were expecting some sort of urgency. The fact that it never materialised made the game flat and it was no surprise that it was Livi that took advantage of another poorly cleared ball. Nothing wrong with the strike though as Halkett drilled a volley home from the edge of the box to part empty the ground. Many fans had seen enough by this time. It's not just the comedy defending, it's the lack of desire to do something about it and a complete dearth of quality that is cheesing most people off. I don't recall us troubling the keeper in that second 45 and the players looked resigned to defeat long before the end. Full Time 1-3 It looked promising early on but that never lasted. Livi were there for the taking but we were not capable of sustaining any sort of challenge and the table is beginning to take on a rather sinister look with Falkirk unlikely to struggle for much longer. Connor Bell was our liveliest performer with Vigurs, Trafford and Polworth controlling the midfield for long spells without causing too many problems for the visitors, who were much more streetwise and their no nonsense approach turned out to be for the best. This was a great opportunity for Inverness to settle into the Championship table, but a weak second half performance and defensive blunderland cost us dearly. It's clear that on this evidence it's going to be a long slog this season with far too many players not of the required standard to get us out of the League at the correct end of the table. At the moment, they look quite capable of getting us back to back relegation's. That's a mere 4 points out of a possible 18. It's not looking good at the minute. A dejected looking Robbo interviewed after the game. Date: 16/09/2017 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2007 Referee: Craig Charleston Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; Raven, Mckay, Warren, Chalmers (Tremarco, 78), Trafford, Polworth, Vigurs, Bell, Cooper (Oakley, 64), Baird (Mulraney, 71). Subs (not used): Esson, Elsdon, Calder, Donaldson. Booked: Trafford, Vigurs. Scorers: Bell (27) Booked: Trafford (35), Vigurs (67) Sent Off: none Livingston: 3 Lineup: Alexander; Lithgow, Halkett, Todorov, Mullin, Byrne, Longridge, Pittman, Robinson (McMillan, 64), Mullen (Penrice, 74), Mackin (Cadden, 59)Subs (not used): Maley, Jacobs, Carrick, De Vita. Booked: Mullen, Lithgow, Byrne. Scorers: Todorov (24), Robinson (52), Mackin (72) Booked: Mullin (43),Lithgow (45+2),Byrne (54), Sent Off: none a
  24. The Eagle versus the Lion. The visitors this weekend are Livingston, a side we have had some great tussles with over the years as we came through the ranks together. Some common denominators are, Robbo once managed Livi, Barry Wilson played for both sides as did Davide Xausa, Mark McCulloch, Steve Hislop, Liam Fox, Coll Donaldson and the talented David Bingham. Just as we have come a long way since the amalgamation of Inverness Thistle and Inverness Caledonian, Livingston have also made an arduous journey since beginning life as Ferranti Thistle in 1943 and making their way to Livingston via Meadowbank Thistle. The clubs have had mixed fortunes since the heady days back in the late 90's. Both have tasted European football, both have dabbled in the Premier Division, both have had Barry Wilson, and both are back in the Championship. Livi almost tasted liquidation in 2009 and Inverness are noted for their ability to survive on a shoestring, but they will meet on league business for the first time since April 2006 when Inverness won 0-1 thanks to a Barry Wilson goal. Livi were so good in those days that not even Robert Snodgrass or Graham Dorrans could get a start. Richard Brittain and Wes Hoolahan did though. Inverness boasted some great servants of their own, with Dennis Wyness, Craig Dargo, Darren Dods and Ross Tokely all starting. Rory McAllister was a sub, (whatever happened to him). There was a league cup game at the same venue in 2015 where Inverness ran out 0-2 winners with Miles Storey and Danny Devine both scoring. Livi came up at the end of last season after winning the League 1 title. They will be without 27 goal Liam Buchanan who has opted to remain in that league with Raith Rovers (how strange). He is the biggest loss for Livi and it could be argued that keeper Neil Alexander will be their best signing for this season. The former Rangers and Hearts keeper returns to Livingston after a 16 year exile. His longest spell was at Cardiff City where he made 213 appearances. The form guide for this season shows that Livi have one win, three draws and one defeat. Unlike us, they have remained competitive in every game, their only loss was a 3-1 defeat to St Mirren. That results give them six points from the five games played, and they sit one place above us in the league. Josh Mullin and Dylan Mackin were the men on target in their last outing when they drew 2-2 with Queen of the South. Our last game against St Mirren went pear shaped as we gifted a couple of goals. We showed good character to get back on level terms twice, but eventually were beaten by the better side. Whilst it was pleasing that a striker scored (John Baird), it's a tad worrying that the defence once again contrived to throw away goals like they are going out of fashion, with Mark Ridgers not covering himself in glory once more. It's been a torrid start for Ridgers, but the whole defence need to give him a bit more assistance as he is seen as the scapegoat for numerous blunders in the final third of the pitch. John Robertson has three long term absentees, Aaron Doran, Zak Elbouzedi and Collin Seedorf. Carl Tremarco has returned to the squad after a couple of cameo appearances from the bench although he did not get on the pitch at Paisley, the intensity of that game maybe coming just too soon for our enigmatic left back given the length of time out after ligament damage. Gary Warren returned last week but even his appearance failed to steady the defence. Ricardo Calder is a doubt. David Hopkin, the former Scotland international has taken Livingston forward with a purpose. Winning the title last season by a massive nineteen points. The Livi Lions last line-up looked like this. Alexander, Lithgow, Halkett, Gallagher, Longridge, Byrne, Mullin, Pitman, Jacobs (Carrick 78), Todorov (Makin 61), Mullen (De Vita 78) tm4tj prediction:- As we all knew before the season started there will be no easy games in the Championship. Forget what has happened in previous years, this is a new build team where getting to know each other is a priority. Until that happens, we will not see the best of our new look squad although there are some signs that we are beginning to head along the right track. Livi have competed well in all their games so far and could easily have turned a couple of draws into wins. We will need to cut out the schoolboy defending and comedy keeping before we can contemplate winning games. The midfield is beginning to take shape and Liam Polworth is flourishing in a more direct role which will hopefully create more space for the main strikers to work. John Baird did score last week, so that particular monkey is off the back. We need to get bodies forward in numbers, especially at home and if we can cut out the errors, then we could reap the benefits and take all three points. I'll stick my neck out here and go for a 3-1 win, and that's allowing for the given comedy goal for our opponents. If the comedy is overpowering, then it could be a long day. The club are firing out Previews in style at the moment and here's the official one with some finer details from the ICTFC Website. Here's a bit of nostalgia for you. Cast your mind back to the old second division in 1999.........
  25. First Point of the Season John Robertson's side gained their first point of the season with a home draw against Morton. It looked promising early on as Inverness took the game to the visitors with some swift interchanging and incisive moves. It paid off when Gary Warren turned in a Liam Polworth free kick to open the scoring. However, instead of building from there, Morton grew in confidence and thoroughly deserved to level matters with a goal early in the second half when Robert Thomson headed in a tremendous Ricki Lamie cross. That's how it ended. Gary Warren was thankfully restored to the heart of the defence after recovering from injury and new signing, Canadian international Charlie Trafford was handed a start by Robbo. Coll Donaldson warmed the bench along with David Raven, Jake Mulraney, Connor Bell and Matt Elsdon. Jim Duffy had the pacey Jai Quintongo leading the line assisted by former Falkirk forward Bob McHugh with the talented Gary Harkins making the bench. Duffy had made four changes to the side dumped out of the League Cup by Livingstone as he returned to a more regular starting XI A decent away support were hoping the Ton would continue where they left off having thumped St Mirren 4-1 in their last Championship match. Inverness, on the other hand were looking to bounce back after being mauled 5-1 at Dunfermline. Early exchanges showed that we were intent on making amends from our dismal display at East End Park with new signing Charlie Trafford getting involved early. He doesn't want the tag of being a Ross Draper type of player. He'll do well to shake that one off then, he even looks a bit like him from the safety of the North Stand. Liam Polworth looked to have been given a more roving role and he darted forward on a number of occasions making the keeper work as early as the seventh minute. A couple of minutes later and he was involved again, teeing up John Baird who placed his shot over the bar. Moments later he fired a shot from distance, however Gaston was able tip it over the bar. From the resultant corner, John Baird half volleyed over. George Oakley was next to have a go but his shot was deflected for a corner. Bright start for the hosts and it looked to be only a matter of time before we opened the scoring with Morton keen to hack the ball anywhere to keep us at bay. Riccardo Calder was weaving his way towards the box and Doyle upended him perilously close to the line. Polworth took the free kick low into the box and Gary Warren reacted first to slam the ball behind the startled keeper. No more than we deserved at this moment. Vigurs and Seedorf were booked around the half hour mark as Morton were getting to grips with the game. The best they could muster in a half dominated by Inverness was a couple of sprints from Jai Quitongo who showed the defenders a clean pair of heels, but he was crowded out on both occasions before it came to anything. As the half drew to a close, it was apparent that the momentum was swinging towards the visitors as they grew in confidence, Inverness' early grip on proceedings starting to slip. Half Time 1-0 Baird had the first effort of the half but his shot was too straight at the keeper who gathered comfortably. Six minutes into the second period and Morton were level. A ball was blocked clear out wide on the Morton right. Ricki Lamie fetched and turned in the same movement as he swung a brilliant ball into the box which was met be Robert Thomson who was facing the wrong way, but he delicately guided the ball into the net to level matters. We had the occasional moment in the second half, an Oakley header just drifting narrowly wide, but for the most part, the ball was at the other end as possession began to level out. From there on in, Morton looked the likelier to take all three points and should have scored just after the hour when Quitongo, Thomson and McHugh were all thwarted in a goalmouth melee by defenders and keeper alike. Close shave, but well done to Mark Ridgers on that occasion. Bob McHugh saw a shot saved and at the other end Gary Warren headed into the keeper. Morton were keeping the ball in the Inverness half much to the frustration of the home fans as we struggled to recreate our opening twenty minutes. We did however have probably the miss of the match when substitute Jake Mulraney, on for the injured Calder, hung a fabulous cross into the six-yard box. George Oakley seemed destined to score and the whole of the North Stand thought so as well, but the ball appeared to stop in mid air after connecting with Oakley's head and the keeper was able to smother the ball and prevent it crossing the line from five yards. We ended the game on the back foot as Morton's corner count grew, with the struggling Collin Seedorf receiving a second yellow right at the end, but we managed to hold on for a draw. Full Time 1-1 The draw was probably deserved over the piece, but slightly disappointing after a fiery opening twenty minutes when we looked like running up a cricket score. Liam Polworth looked very lively in the first half but like the rest suffered as a very well organised Morton marked us out of the game, pressed high and really took control in the second half. Despite that we did have one superb opportunity to win the game but only Oakley will know what really happened. Charlie Trafford certainly looks like a great addition and will get even better when he gets to know his playing partners. Gary Warren shored up the defence and led by example scoring a cracking goal and he was my Man of the Match. He was ably assisted by Ian Vigurs, (pity about his petulant and cynical side), and the aforementioned Polworth and Trafford. Mark Ridgers gets the fans jittery when facing needless passbacks, but he also pulled off a couple of great saves, so credit where it's due. Chalmers looked less risky with Warren guiding him so that's another plus, but Seedorf did not look comfortable, culminating in a couple of rash challenges and a sending off. All in, we can take some positives from this encounter knowing that Morton are an established and very well organised bunch. It's been a tough few opening exchanges in the Robbo revolution and it will take a bit of time before we see his fruits ripen. It's not the worst thing that could have happened in a week where Josh Meekings joined Dundee and Big Ben stopped chiming. Ding Dong. If you are a bit more thick skinned, check out this enterprising fans views of the Morton game from the Greenock sides perspective. Ton TV Jim Duffy was candid as always Brechin City away next week, hedge trimmers at the ready Date: 19/08/2017 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2202 Referee: Stephen Finnie Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers, Chalmers, Warren, Polworth, Baird, Vigurs, Oakley, Calder, Seedorf, Mckay, Trafford Subs (not used): Esson, Raven, Elsdon, Mulraney, Bell, Donaldson Scorers: Warren (19) Booked: Vigurs (30), Seedorf (32), Trafford (50) Sent Off: Seedorf (90) Morton: 1 Lineup: Gaston, Murdoch, OWare, Lamie, Doyle, Forbes, Quitongo, Thomson, McHugh, Tidser, Russell Subs (not used): Dodhan, Oliver, Harkins, Tiffoney, McManus, Iredale Scorers: Thomson (51) Booked: Doyle (17) Sent Off: none a