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Found 17 results

  1. Caley Jags dump the Arabs Inverness threw the form book out the window as they went to Tannadice and convincingly beat United 2-0 thanks to first half strikes from Iain Vigurs and Connor Bell. It was no more than Inverness deserved as they kept the home side relatively quiet throughout and the three points went back up the A9. Thankfully, they paid no attention to my pre-match prediction of a home win and went about their business with some authority. John Robertson went with an unchanged side from the excellent draw at Falkirk. Under fire Arabs boss Ray McKinnon brought in Scott McDonald and Sam Stanton to try and give him some attacking promise. Out went Billy King and Jordie Briels missed out through injury. That went well Raymond! A board meeting was hastily arranged at Tannadice on Saturday night. ICT Chris was in attendance and he was suitably chuffed with how things went, here is his account of the game. We were excellent today, thoroughly deserved the win and it probably should've been more. We appear to have stumbled on a formation and style that works, or it has the last two weeks anyway. We built on the performance against Falkirk and improved on it. We set up in a pretty standard 4-4-2, relatively flat in midfield with Chalmers left and Mulraney right. Vigurs and Polworth sat in the middle in front of the the same back four as previously, including returning hero Donaldson. Up front we had Baird and Bell. United had a few chances early and forced Ridgers into a reflex save from a shot (didn't see who hit it) and then we had to scramble clear from within the six yard box after a prolonged stramash. After that we really took over and started having an impact in an attacking sense. Baird and Tremarco missed headers and we had a few other openings before opening the scoring. Following a corner the ball was headed clear to Vigurs who shot in from the edge of the box. We then doubled our lead with one of the best goals I've seen us score in years. A United attack broke down around our 18 yard box and we broke with a little dink into midfield from Donaldson (I think). We then moved the ball quickly through midfield and released Mulraney with a weighted through ball. Mulraney rinsed the left back for pace and drove into the box, where he hit a driven low cross that Connor Bell drilled in from a couple of yards. It was a ******* belter, everything about it was perfect, the passing, the pace, the finish. When Mulraney got the ball I said to my mate that this would be goal of the season, I can't imagine us scoring a better one this season. We had a couple of other breaks which could've lead to goals in the first half, Mulraney, Baird and Bell all had opportunities. Into the second half and we again sat strong and broke, with Mulraney probably having the best chance when he was put right through but didn't shoot quickly enough. Donaldson also had a header that he put over but should've got on target. United, oddly, played with their centre half Durnan up front from an hour but that had zero impact, I don't think a single chance came from it. There were a couple of set pieces that Ridgers had to save but weren't really threatening. It was nervy for the fans because we've been so bad but looking back, we cigar'd it in the second half. Full Time 0-2 Overall, we were excellent. Vigurs was at the heart of everything, he ran the midfield. He has been superb this season, strolling though games and dominating possession. He can switch the play but it's the way he plays little passes to create space, flicks round the corner of players and turns with the ball that makes him so effective. He really has been a class act and is the heart of our team. Defensively we have somehow become settled and solid. Having two experienced full backs in Tremarco and Raven is a help but Donaldson has been a rock the last two weeks, defends well, no nonsense, quick and good in the air. He clearly loved getting that win, going by his celebrations at the end. He looks like being a real find. Up front Baird and Bell aren't likely to be prolific but the way they pull defenders about, hold the ball and make runs is vital to creating the space for our chances. Mulraney has kicked on in the last two weeks, another confidence filled game today, including an actual assist, miracle of miracles! Second week in a row he dominated the full back and his end product was better. Great stuff You can see why ICT Chris was drooling over the second goal. She's a belter as Gerry Cinnamon would say.......... Robbo was suitably chuffed as well Date: 21/10/2017 Venue: Tannadice Attendance: 5560 Referee: Willie Collum Dundee United: 0 Lineup: Lewis; Durnan, Toshney, McMullan (Murdoch, 60), McDonald, Stanton (Fraser, 76), Edjenguele, Flood, Robson, Keatings, Fyvie (King, 52). Subs (not used): Mehmet, Scobbie, N'koyi, Smith. Scorers: none Booked: James Keatings (65) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; Raven, Tremarco, Chalmers, Polworth, Baird, Vigurs (Oakley, 87), Mulraney (Cooper, 74), Bell (Trafford, 82), Mckay, Donaldson. Subs (not used): Esson, Warren, Elsdon, Mackay. Scorers: Iain Vigurs (28) Connor Bell (36) Booked: Brad Mckay (16) Sent Off: none a
  2. Tannadice Test Inverness travel to Dundee to take on faltering Dundee United at Tannadice on the back of three successive clean sheets, the Arabs finding the going tougher than their big spending board might have thought. The League campaign kicked off for both clubs back in August when the two sides met at the Caledonian Stadium on matchday one. That game was settled by a softish penalty award when Paul McMullen went down under a challenge in the box. He picked himself up and took the spot kick, scoring the only goal of the game. In all honesty, there was little between the sides other than that goal and some defensive errors from Inverness that gave United further opportunities. It's been downhill for Inverness since then with only one league win, and that against bottom club Brechin. Three draws interspersed with defeats have given us a meagre six points out of a possible twenty-seven. That's relegation form in any division. Recent results have been slightly more encouraging though and the clean sheets breed confidence. The first round of games have been played in the Championship and Inverness find themselves in second bottom place. However there were signs at Falkirk that maybe some progress has been made and a third clean sheet in a row gives the team something to build on. On top of that, we were much more prominent in attack and assured in midfield. The downside was the familiar lack of a cutting edge. Plenty of chances were created, but none taken, and that needs to change soon or we will be cut adrift at the wrong end of the table. The Arabs suffered a 2-0 defeat at Livingston last week, after two good wins over Dunfermline and Morton. They drew with Falkirk and Dumbarton prior to that when they would have been looking to take full points from those games. The defeat at Livingston was their first in seven games. Despite recruiting well over the summer, it's still a tough league to stamp your authority on. Although United have under performed in some games, they still sit at the right end of the table, in fourth place, four points behind leaders St Mirren and a massive eleven points ahead of second bottom Inverness. Both sides have scored ten Championship goals, but United's defence are six better off than us despite our recent upgrade in defence. Inverness are without Aaron Doran, Collin Seedorf, Zak Elbouzedi, big Susan and Owain Fon Williams. Gary Warren and Charlie Trafford might be included in the squad, although both will be sporting hand protection after suffering damaged thumbs. Injuries seem to be hindering our progress once more although Coll Donaldson has shown some form since his introduction at center back. United have a doubt in Dutchman Jordie Briels with a hip injury. Scott Fraser could make the squad after showing no adverse signs on his return to full training, but is not yet ready for the rigours of a match. Paul Quinn is available. Manager Ray McKinnon expects a tough game with Inverness starting to get to grips with life in the Championship, pointing to the three clean sheets in the last three games. tm4tj prediction:- It's a tough place to go to at the best of times, but when your at an all time low then it becomes a tremendous weight on your shoulders and it will be like running in treacle. I'm heartened by the clean sheets, but the lack of a cutting edge counteracts that. I didn't think there was too much between the sides in the opening game, but maybe United afforded us too much respect and sat in a bit. I fully expect a torrid afternoon and unless we have discovered a way to score goals, then a goalless draw is our best bet for a point. I'm not too confident about this one though and we might have to take one on the chin at Tannadice. Home win for me. More details in the Official preview from the ICTFC website.
  3. At least we were no Skelpied Inverness showed much improvement in the land of the Kelpies as they more than matched Falkirk in a no score draw at the Falkirk Stadium. Despite hitting the woodwork a couple of times, the ball managed to stay out and we took a well deserved point back up the A9. Falkirk fans pretty much in agreement that we should have won all three, anything from three to five goals is the going rate at the moment. John Robertson made two changes from the side that beat Peterhead. Out went the injured Owain Fon Williams with Mark Ridgers deputising and Riccardo Calder dropped to the bench in favour of Jake Mulraney. Paul Hartley, in his first game in charge, reinstated Robbie Thomson in goals as expected, but Nathan Austin only made the bench with Sammy Hippolyte starting. Lee Miller missed out altogether. 4107 fans were on hand to watch Hartley's first game in the hot seat with 160 fans in the away end. Alex Harris and Joe McKee were first to get shots away, Mark Ridgers having to deal with the second one with a save low down. Inverness began to compete but early efforts from Polworth and Baird petered out. Thomson stopped the first one and Baird just missing the target with his attempt. Polworth looks to be on a mission and tried another from distance but this time his shot was blocked. Good opening quarter from the visitors and Chalmers won a corner after his shot was deflected behind and from the corner kick, Brad Mckay won another from his header. Thomson stops the flow this time as he gathers in his box. What a surprise, Jake Mulraney gets booked for alleged simulation. Polly goes in the book as well for questioning the decision. Jake gets a lot of this, travelling at speed brings it's own downfalls at times. Half an hour gone and Chalmers delivers a decent ball into the area but it's turned behind for another corner to Inverness. Jordan McGhee was thwarted by a fantastic tip over from Mark Ridgers, his header looking like it was about to open the scoring. Looks like the video cameraman wasn't quick enough to catch the action, so I have added the photo from the Falkirk website match report to give you an indication of the quality reaction save by Ridgers. Tremendous reaction from close range. Five minutes before the break and John Baird won a free kick in a promising position, however Chalmers' shot went narrowly wide of the mark with Thomson scrambling across his line as the ball fizzed past his left hand post.. An encouraging opening half from the visitors and they went in at the break on level terms. Half Time 0-0 Baird started the second forty-five in similar fashion to the first, shooting just wide again. Mulraney made good progress and found Baird who played it to Vigurs, but he shot wide as well. Recurring theme here. Carl Tremarco burst into the box but he also fired high over the bar. Hartley has seen enough of Tom Taiwo and Kevin O'Hara and replaces them with Cameron Blues and James Craigen as he looks to get a better grasp of midfield where Iain Vigurs was running the show. Baird headed over as the near misses continued. Connor Bell was next to break into the box, he went closer but his shot clips the outside of the post and goes behind for a goal kick. Next attack and Baird fed Bell at the back post but Thomson blocks. He also gathers an effort from Polworth as Inverness look for the opener and a Vigurs corner starts a melee in the box, but it is eventually gathered by the keeper. Mulraney shows a clean pair of heels to the Falkirk players and a corner is won as a result of this. From the set piece, Mulraney smacks the post. Everything but a goal from Inverness and Coll Donaldson flicked a header wide. With five minutes left, Jake Mulraney left the field to be replaced by last weeks young record breaker Daniel MacKay. Both sides went looking for the winner in the dying moments of this game, but despite plenty of effort, the ball remained out of the net. Full Time 0-0 So, despite fearing the worst, we were untroubled for the greater part of this game and with a bit of luck could have scored two or three and Falkirk would have had no complaints had we done so. Like the League Cup game, we more than matched the Bairns, but this time we cut out the comedy defending and thoroughly deserved our point. A few plus points for Inverness. A clean sheet for under fire keeper Mark Ridgers, a solid defensive display for Coll Donalson, Jake Mulraney doing what he should be doing, and no fighting in the dugout this week. Iain Vigurs was in control mode in the midfield and gets our MotM award. Minus point was the familiar failure to score goals given the opportunities available. Some wayward results today with Livvi beating the Arabs and Dunfermline drawing with Queens. Defeat for Brechin keeps them rooted to the bottom and we remain second bottom, but after today's performance, there is a great deal more optimism than there was a couple of weeks ago. Check the video's and see the progress being made. A more ebullient Robbo and honesty from Paul Hartley. Date: 14/10/2017 Venue: Falkirk Stadium Attendance: 4107 Referee: Nick Walsh Falkirk FC: 0 Lineup: Thomson, McGhee, Grant, Balatoni, Muirhead, Harris (Austin 67), McKee, Kerr, Taiwo (Blues 59), O'Hara (Craigen 59), Hippolyte. Subs (not used): Gasparotto, Shepherd, Gallacher, Mutch. Scorers: none Booked: Hippolyte Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers, Raven, B Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Polworth, Vigurs, Chalmers, Mulraney (D MacKay 85), Bell, Baird. Subs (not used): Esson, Elsdon, Oakley, Calder, Cooper, Brown. Scorers: none Booked: Mulraney (25), Polworth (25), B McKay (90+4) Sent Off: none a
  4. Bairns outing. Inverness travel to Falkirk on Saturday to take on Paul Hartley's Bairns with the game kicking off at 3:00pm at the Falkirk Stadium. As if this game wasn't going to be difficult enough, Falkirk have been given a lift by the signing of their new manager who replaced Peter Houston who was removed a couple of weeks ago. Since then, with Alex Smith guiding them, they have defeated Morton at Greenock and have jumped above us in the league. Last Saturday they had a tremendous 2-0 win over high flying Dunfermline in the Challenge Cup. That result along with our defeat of Peterhead sees us play Falkirk in the next round of the Challenge Cup, having already played them in the league cup. Minimum of six games against the Bairns this season, surely we'll manage to improve on our previous result so far. The League Cup encounter went the way of Falkirk earlier this season. A 2-0 defeat at home sounds like a bad one, but we were the architect of our own downfall in this game. Both goals came from slackness in our own defence and were preventable. McKee and Austin were the benefactors of our generosity. We have tightened up a bit at the back but let's not imagine that we are the finished article yet. Owain Fon Williams was restored to the sticks, but that ain't going to happen against Falkirk this time. The Welsh stopper is out for around six weeks with a torn muscle picked up in training. Our last game saw us beat Peterhead 3-0 in the Challenge cup. For long spells we failed to dominate but enter Daniel MacKay. The sixteen year old was a late sub and scored the final goal to finish off the game. He became our youngest ever player and scorer @ 16 years and 171 days. Well done Daniel, I'm sure there will be more to come in the future. Liam Polworth and Riccardo Calder were the other scorers. Daniels big day was slightly overshadowed by the unsavoury incident in the dugout as Polworth and Scott Kellacher angrily reacted to each others presence. The issue has reportedly been dealt with in house and we can only hope that Liam Polworth will be eligible to play after his internal punishment. We need all hands to the pumps, and Liam can add something to midfield if given the right treatment and role. Time to put this behind us and start climbing the league. Robbo's credentials are being brought to task by some fans. Understandable after our poor start to the season. This game will show which end of the table we will be plying our trade. Many feel that has already been decided. I would rather the fans got behind the club at this point, as we need everyone to pull in the same direction. John Robertson faces uncertainty after a series of freak injuries. Along with Owain Fon Williams, Charlie Trafford and Gary Warren are both out with thumb injuries. Aaron Doran, Zak Elbouzedi Collin Seedorf and big Susan are still out longer term, but there is some progress although it's too early to expect any of them back in the next couple of months. Coll Donaldson will continue at the heart of the defence after a solid showing against Peterhead. Mark Ridgers will no doubt be the No 1, let's hope his confidence has been rediscovered. Paul Hartley's first game in total control could see little change to the recent winning ways of the Bairns after a poor start to their season. However, Hartley will want to add his own style to the improving Bairns and he might make a change or two, but there is little need for that given our shot shy strikeforce. He can call on the services of proven strikers like Lee Miller, Rory Loy, Sammy Hyppolite, the list goes on. Joe McKee packs a tremendous shot and will be a danger at set pieces. Last time out Alex Smith sent Falkirk out like this:- Mitchell (Thomson 70), Muirhead, Grant, Balatoni, McGhee, McKee, Taiwo, Kerr, Harris, Hippolyte (Craigen 75), O’Hara (Austin 87). I would expect Robbie Thomson to start in goals for this one. tm4tj prediction:- I fear we may be under the cosh at Falkirk as our injury woes return big style. Along with our lack of creation, defensive frailties, striking issues and infighting, this will be an uphill task. Falkirk have finally got their season going, but we look to be a long way short of that. If our makeshift defence can cope, we might keep the score respectable, failing that we could end up on the wrong side of a cricket score. Home win I'm afraid. More detail can be found on the Official Website in the ICTFC v Falkirk preview.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. More agony for the travelling support Immortal Howden Ender was one of our well travelled fans for this encounter at the Rock and he was less than impressed with the fare on display from his beloved Caley Jags. Many fans have seen it all, League Championships, Scottish Cup wins and European football. Sadly, it looks like relegation is the next step in the decline of our club. Despite going ahead in the eighth minute through Bell, we were unable to build on that and second half goals from Froxylias and Wardrop made it a long journey home for all the suffering fans. Wasted Journey Well perhaps the omens were there long before we kicked off. Glasgow city centre awash with Old Firm neds, the nice wee train journey to the Rock cancelled due to engineering works and roadworks bringing traffic chaos to the Erskine Bridge. Underground to the West End and an empty student pub. Uber to Dumbarton and quaffing in the Stags Head watching part time Old Firmers watching the game. And then a walk down to a ground that resembles a Sunday League setting and then watching 90 minutes of Sunday League fare. At the time I was quite happy with the first half performance. A superb Polworth through ball splits the defence and Bell finished well in the 8th minute and we were in charge for the majority of the first 45 minutes. Again I have to comment on the lack of enthusiasm and celebration to herald that early goal. We looked neat enough but it was tippy tappy stuff with most balls going either sideways or back. OFW did appear to ooze more confidence to those in front of them and those brave few sitting in the stands. And if Bell had notched a second when through on goal 1:1 and we had gone 2-0 up – well who knows. Trafford and Oakley both had half chances, OFW had little to do and it really should have been 2 or 3-0. There was a sense of a standing ovation, albeit muted, as the boys trooped off at half time. And very quickly after the restart it became clearer what had happened. Stevie Aitken had given us far too much respect. He had decided to sit his team deep, allow us the ball in our own half and defend deep. The elements were also in our favour in the first half as well. Dumbarton lined up like a pack of dogs looking for the fox. From then on they defended, allowed us the luxury of possession in our own half but they pressed and pressed and looked to break at every opportunity. Froxylias basically ran the show. It took them a mere 2 minutes to equalise and we never looked like getting back. Froxylias fired home in the 47th. Froxylias bent a curling free kick at our goal in the 63rd minute, OFW made a good stop, albeit over dramatically and Wardrop reacted, knocked in the rebound whilst our defenders watched. OFW looked as if he had pulled his groin or his knee and he never took any further kicks and threw the ball out if necessitated. I suspect that he will be missing in action for a few weeks. And why oh feckin why did Robbo appear to leave the playmaker role to Donaldson? Why didn’t Vigurs drop back? Is Gary Warren collecting yellow cards? Hope I get him in Top Trumps. If he dived then that was ridiculous. I thought that he was practically in with a chance of a goal. Judging by his muted reaction he was guilty. That all happened in the 79th minute and Robbo had not even appeared to have considered a substitution at that stage. How Oakley stayed on after the hour stupefies me. And then to add insult to injury the decision is made to hook Tremarco and take on Mulraney. A certain poster on here gave Mulraney some gentle stick and his reaction almost led me to go on the park and give him a slap. He clearly does not want to be here. Tremarco himself also looked bemused as he trooped off. And then we leave it to the 87th minute to bring on Baird for Oakley. And we keep on hoofing to the skyscraper front three of Bell, Baird and Mulraney !! And remember the name Colin Steven. Another in a long list of embarrassing, amateur referees. He lost control and came up with a bevvy of ridiculous decisions – albeit both ways. And then it was back to the Stags Head, on to the Uber, on to the Underground, on to Central Station and home to Chorley. Travel cost me around £75 and I will NOT be spending that type of amount to watch absolute dross. I have booked for Livi and Dumfries. I am going there for the pre-match and post-match activities and I will not be considering any other games unless the team show a distinct improvement or even if they showed some enthusiasm and fight. Those two ingredients are sadly lacking. OFW - Nice to see him back. Back four looked more confident. Spectator for most of the first half. No chance with either goal but may have over-dramatised the free kick save. McKay – Back at full back. To be honest I hardly noticed him which probably says it all. Warren – Sorry but has become a luxury and his lack of discipline is shocking. And he was mighty quiet for a captain. He basically looked cheesed off. Donaldson – Who the feck gave him the playmaking. Libero role. Dzebi-Zade would have done a better job. Chalmers – Sweet left foot was noted once and then it was a case of Sweet Feck all. Polworth – Roving role again. At least he gave 100% and looked most likely to produce something. Great through ball to Bell for the goal. Vigurs – Some lovely touches but plays throughout in an area ten yards either side of the half way line. If we could afford such a luxury and have a couple of beavers beside him – well. Trafford – Dougal’s comment about fitness and diet may come in to play. He looks the part but dies after the hour. Mind you he runs for Vigurs. Tremarco – As with OFW it was nice to see him back but not as an offensive , wide player. Needs to either go back to left wing back or even central defence. And why he was not allowed to play for 90 minutes to enhance match fitness beggars belief. BELL – Starved of any delivery in the second half. No support up front. Worked his socks off and should have got a first half brace. OAKLEY – Inept and provided zilch basically. Already mentioned Robbo’s selection and tactical boo-boos. However, we did have the quote of the season so far. Robbo talking about the poor marking from his defenders said “We’ve worked in training all week about marking men in the box – I’ve never seen space score a goal in my life Here's the longer version from Sons TV. Date: 23/09/17 Venue: Your Radio 103FM Stadium Attendance: ??? Referee: Colin Steven Dumbarton: 2 Lineup: Gallacher; Wardrop, Hill, Barr, McLaughlin, Hutton, Froxylias, Dowie, Walsh (Wilson, 79), Stewart (Gallagher, 88), Nade (Morrison, 71) Subs (not used): Smith, Johnston, Roy, Ewings Scorers: Froxylias (47), Wardrop (63) Booked: Walsh (9), Barr (51), Hill (77), Wilson (91) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams; Mckay, Donaldson, Warren, Chalmers, Polworth, Trafford, Vigurs, Tremarco (Mulraney, 77), Bell, Oakley (Baird, 86) Subs (not used): Ridgers, Mackay, Zschusschen, Cooper, Elsdon Scorers: Bell (8) Booked: Warren (61), Vigurs (84) Sent Off: Warren (79) a
  8. Dumbarton -V- Inverness CT - Preview

    Rock Tour A difficult season so far and it could continue for a while yet as Inverness struggle to come to terms with life in the Championship. We face another daunting task this weekend with a journey into the unknown. A visit to Dumbarton to face a side we have had no league business with although we did enjoy some success in a couple of League Cup games. Immortal Howden Ender has been doing his homework and has penned this Preview for you ahead of the game on Saturday, which will kick off at 15:00. ARE YOU GOING to the YOUR Radio 103FM Stadium ?!! That is a bit of a mouthful and a come down from Boghead, or even the Bet Butler Stadium. And since the demise of Boghead and the new stadium build in 2000 it has also been dubbed the Strathclyde Homes Stadium, the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium, the Dumbarton Football Stadium (twice), the Bet Butler Stadium and this season The YOUR Radio 103FM Stadium. Who said sponsorship deals were taking over football. At least my “home” club adds a sense of humour. The yokels refer to it as the Rock and the fans are known as the Sons. “Sons of the Rock” sounds more like a Biker Gang or a New Age Religious Sect. Still it is a club steeped in history, having been formed in 1872. The stay at Boghead lasted 121 years and is an unequalled record for a club staying at the same ground. And they too have won the Scottish Cup – in 1883 !! It is a picturesque if not barren stadium. The present capacity is 2020. Away fans are situated in sections 1 and 2, at one end of the new stand. Around 500 fans can be accommodated in this area. Castle Rock dominates the Dumbarton skyline, and with the ground sitting just beneath, it is fairly easy to find your bearings. Follow the A814 into Dumbarton and just after you go under a railway bridge, you will see a sign pointing left for Dumbarton Castle. Turn left here (Victoria Street) and the ground is down the bottom of this road on the right. There is a fair sized car park at the ground. BUT it might be more difficult to get to this weekend as engineering works have closed down the Glasgow Line and there are major roadworks approaching the Erskine Bridge. There is a bar located at the ground but this is for home fans only. Popular with away supporters is the nearby Rock Bowling Club. This is situated a little further down the road from the ground, opposite the entrance to the castle. A bit further away is the Stags Head, which is situated opposite the entrance to East Dumbarton station. It is a good sized bar, with TV's and a pool table. ICT and Dumbarton have NEVER played each other in a league match before – so you could say it is another historic moment for ICT. But some of you may have been to Boghead. ICT played Clydebank there in December 1997. At that time Clydebank were ground sharing. 326 hardy souls watched a 1-1 draw. The referee was carried off on the half hour and Daisy Ross notched a late, late equaliser. We have played and beaten Dumbarton, in Sneck, in League Cup encounters. In the 2-0 win in 2003 the scorers were Wyness and Ritchie. The scorers in the 3-1 2007 win were Wyness, Bayne and McAllister. You may also have watched Kilnockie FC play at Boghead. The 2002 blockbuster film “A Shot at Glory” was filmed at Boghead, starring Robert Duvall as the manager and Ally McCoist playing an ex-Celtic legend !! Anyway back to the here and now. The Sons had a worse League Cup than us but have fared better in the league. They only have 6 points out of 6 and two above us. However they have only been beaten twice, a 4-0 home thumping by Dunfermline skewing their statistics. Defensively they look solid. Apart from the Pars debacle they have had one clean sheet and conceded only 1 goal in the other four ties. Their last game was a 2-1 win against Brechin but that was aided by a Brechin sending off in the 71st minute and two goals in the last ten minutes. Sons fans are excited about midfielder Dimitri Froxylias and they may well opt for the journeyman plodder Christian Nade up front against our suspect central defence. Lets hope Greg Morrison, on loan from Tinkerville does not do any damage. As for ourselves Robbo is threatening to ring the changes. To be honest I doubt if anyone will call the starting X1 and sadly I don’t think that Robbo has a Scooby either. Chopping and changing should not be happening seven games in to the season. I would go with: OFW or Esson Raven? Warren Tremarco Calder Mulraney Trafford Vigurs Bell Polworth Baird. Latest team news from Inverness is that David Raven could miss out with a virus. Owain Fon Williams played in a bounce game against Brora in midweek and survived with a clean sheet to boot in a 2-0 win. Usual long term casualties in Aaron Doran and El Bouzedi. Riccardo Calder missed out last week as did Big Susan. Robbo will be looking for more effort from fringe players after slamming them openly for not producing enough when given the chance. Mulraney and Oakley to name a couple were targeted by the fuming gaffer. Over to you guys. Another detailed Preview can be read here on the official website for ICTFC.
  9. 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
  10. 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.........
  11. Off And Running Inverness belatedly got their season off and running with an ultimately convincing 0-4 win at Glebe Park, Brechin. First half goals from Iain Vigurs and a Brad Mckay header were added to after the break by Alex Cooper and Vigurs again. This win lifts Inverness off the bottom of the table. Brechin remain at the foot alongside surprise strugglers, Falkirk. Gary Warren missed out with a recurring ankle injury which paved the way for frozen out David Raven to return to the back four. Alex Cooper and Connor Bell started up front with John Baird, George Oakley was on the bench. Darren Dods named himself on the bench and had made three changes from the side that went down 3-0 at Inverness in the League Cup. Jordan Sinclair, Finn Graham and James Dale started with Gary Fusco and Ally Love on the bench. The Hedge was in pristine condition as the game kicked off with an enthusiastic away support backing the Caley Jags to get their first win of the season. They wouldn't be disappointed. Unfortunately, some of our more hyper juvenile fans never made it to the end to witness this first win. Let's hope they grow out of it. It was a low key opening quarter to the game with both sides struggling to create anything of note, other than a yellow card for the reckless Matt Elsdon. The deadlock was broken after 26 minutes when Iain Vigurs lashed a shot into the top corner with the aid of a slight deflection, the ball always looking destined for the back of the net anyway. Liam Polworth was the provider on that occasion. Soon after the goal, Connor Bell forced Smith to deny him his first Caley Jags goal, the keeper saving one handed from the wee striker. A second goal came along when Brad Mckay firmly planted his header back across goal and into the top of the net from an Alex Cooper corner. Liam Polworth was prominent in his free role and causing problems for the Brechin defence and he almost scored before the interval but his shot went wide. Half Time 0-2 Brechin felt a bit hard done by after making the visitors work hard in the first 45, but after the break Inverness imposed themselves on the game, but not before the aforementioned Matt Elsdon was removed from the field of play before he was sent off for persistent fouling, much to the chagrin of the home bench. The third goal duly came along when goalless striker John Baird neatly set up Alex Cooper who beat his marker inside the box and tidily stroked the ball early into the bottom corner, taking the keeper out of the equation with his brisk strike. Iain Vigurs was the unlikely scorer of the fourth goal when he raced to the front post to glance a superb corner from Polworth behind Smith to give the visitors a more convincing win. It was no more than we deserved as Brechin wilted. There was still time for Brechin to try for a consolation, but Paul McLean hit the post with his glancing header. That was enough to keep Mark Ridgers and his defenders on their toes and they saw out the game with the minimum of fuss. In fact, they almost notched a fifth but Graeme Smith blocked with his legs to keep the final score at 4-0 to the Caley Jags. Full Time 0-4 Just the result that John Robertson was looking for after the thrashing at East End Park a couple of weeks ago. Inverness were best served by two goal MotM Iain Vigurs with Liam Polworth and Charlie Trafford showing up well. Still a bit of work to do defensively, but the midfield now look capable of driving the team forward. I'm sure the return of Gary Warren will resolve some of the issues at the rear and Carl Tremarco is hopeful of a comeback soon, a possible outing in the forthcoming Challenge Cup game against Aberdeen U20's. Positive off the park with the Chairman addressing many of the issues and more positivity on the park with a comfortable win at Brechin. However, let's not get carried away with this result, but from small acorns etc, etc. A sterner test awaits in our next Championship game as we visit Paisley to take on high flying St Mirren, who trounced Dundee United 3-0 at the weekend. Here's a couple of observations from a pair of well respected fans who made the journey to Glebe Park. Alternative Maryhill went along with a touch of trepidation:- I was nervous about this after the absolute car crash of a performance at East End Park, but in the end it was more comfortable than I could have hoped. There wasn't a great deal in the first half - we probably had slightly more of the ball, but chances were pretty even. Looks like Vigurs got a bit lucky with a deflection for our first, and Mckay wasn't really challenged for his header back across goal for the second. We pretty much controlled the second half, though, and it was good to see the likes of Polworth playing with freedom and confidence. The key to our improvement over the past couple of games seems to have been the introduction of Charlie Trafford. I wasn't up for the Morton game, so this was my first look at him. He seems a very unfussy player and just sits in front of the defence, looking to break up attacks and then hold the ball until he can send someone away, but having him there allows Vigurs to try to dictate play a little further forward and allows Polworth, who looked much improved yesterday, to drive forward. Connor Bell also impressed, playing in a left-sided attacking role for most of the game before moving to the right when Calder game on, and I'd have him starting on one of those sides in place of Mulraney from now on. On the other side, Cooper contributed less, especially in the first half, but his movement and composure for his goal were excellent. I'm still unconvinced by our defence: Raven had a solid game, but Elsdon, Mckay and Chalmers are all capable of looking hasty in the challenge and uncertain in possession. They weren't troubled all that often, but against teams with tricky, pacey attacking players such as Cardle, they will struggle. Having Gary Warren and particularly Carl Tremarco back should make a difference, however, as much for their leadership qualities and presence as their defensive ability. It was great to see another decent travelling support getting right behind the team. The stewarding of the young team looked pretty heavy-handed to me, as if they were expecting trouble from the start. Otherwise, it's a cracking set-up at Brechin, with the wee bar beneath the stand and the ability to move easily between stand and terraces. A bit of a faff to get to from Glasgow if you don't drive, though, so I won't be bothering going up for this Challenge Cup nonsense against Aberdeen colts next week. Looking forward to the rest of September: intriguing fixtures against clubs I have't seen us play for a few years - St Mirren, Livvy, Dumbarton and Queens - and we should have a much clearer idea of how the team is developing and how we match up in this division by the end of the month. Caley Stan was yer man with these observations:- Good 2nd half performance after a shaky start. We reverted to a back 4 with Trafford sitting in front. Vigurs played further forward & Polworth was again given a lot of freedom. Connor Bell came in from the left to support Baird when we attacked. The 1st half was scrappy with few chances at either end. Although Brechin didn't create much, they had Elsdon & McKay flustered on a couple of occasions & must've returned from the break thinking they could still take something from the game. How wrong they were. We dominated them completely & should've scored more. Vigurs & Trafford bossed the midfield, repeatedly sending Polworth off to drive into space through the middle. Robbo's got him playing in his best position now, & the centre of midfield looks to have a nice balance. Date: 26/08/17 Venue: Glebe Park, Brechin Attendance: 703 Referee: Mat Northcroft Brechin City: 0 Lineup: Smith, McLean, Dyer, Dale, Graham (Love 67), Layne, Lynas, Spark (Watt), Orsi, Crighton, Sinclair (C.O'Neil 85) Subs (not used): P.O'Neil, Fusco, Dods Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 4 Lineup: Ridgers, Raven, Chalmers, Elsdon (Donaldson 49), Polworth, Baird, Vigurs, Bell (Mulraney 79), Cooper (Calder 74), Mckay, Trafford Subs (not used): Esson, Oakley, Foy Scorers: Vigurs (27, 72), Mckay (32), Cooper (62) Booked: Elsdon (17), Cooper (63), Mulraney (92) Sent Off: none a
  12. Bucharest to Brechin in two years. It's only taken two years, but Inverness have swapped European football in Romania for the Scottish Championship and the more sedate, but ever so enchanting surroundings of the Glebe Park stadium Brechin. Inverness venture forth into Angus to face Brechin City at Glebe Park, a ground we have not visited on league busines for thirteen years. Our last League game there saw us come out on top 2-4 en-route to winning the First Division title in 2004. That game saw a rare goal from Darran Thomson, a trademark Paul Ritchie strike, a tidy finish from David Bingham and a belter from Russell Duncan. They were enough to see off a brace from Daryll Duffy. John Robertson was manager that day and it's his task to revitalise a side that has lost it's way recently. Last week a Gary Warren strike was cancelled out by a Robbie Thomson header as Morton left the Highlands with a deserved point in the proverbial game of two halves. It looked good early doors for Inverness but Morton grew into this game and deservedly levelled. They looked the likeliest to go on to win the game but Inverness passed up on the best chance when George Oakley should have scored with a close range header near the end. Still, a point is better than none, but it keeps us bottom of the league just now, level with Brechin and Falkirk. Our opponents, Brechin went down narrowly at Tannadice as they showed they will be no pushovers, and by all accounts were deserving of a point. It took a late strike from Scott McDonald to seal the points that left Brechin with one point from three games. City had hit the woodwork earlier in the game and Jordan Sinclair saw a great effort tipped over. Like us, a narrow defeat to Dundee United who are maybe not as good as many predicted. We have of course already played Brechin this season. We came out on top in the Highlands with a 3-0 win in the group stages of the League Cup. Two goals from Gary Warren and one from George Oakley secured the win. I fully expect Brechin to be a much sterner test this time round as they were struggling for numbers in that one and Dods has a more balanced squad to choose from this time round. Ricardo Calder limped out of the Morton clash and is doubtful for this encounter. He's not the only one with Gary Warren and Brad Mckay both struggling with ongoing niggling injuries. Charlie Trafford, pictured on the left had a decent debut last week, but he also took a knock against Morton. The big Canadian will improve with more game time with his team mates. He looks to be a solid replacement for Ross Draper. (Who? I hear you say already). Up front, Connor Bell is champing at the bit for a start, and he could well get his opportunity as neither George Oakley or John Baird are exactly firing on all cylinders yet. Collin Seedorf will be suspended after his red card and that could open the door for out of favour defender David Raven to play. All this on top of our long term injured of Carl Tremarco, Aaron Doran and Zak Elbouzedi with Felitciano Zschusschen joining them on the missing list. The Morton casualties will be given late tests on Friday to assess their chances of playing. Brechin gaffer Darren 'Machine' Dods will be without Ryan McGeever and Gary Fusco is a doubt. Last time out Brechin City fielded this XI :- Graeme Smith, Aron Lynas (Chris O’Neil 86), Sean Crighton, Paul McLean, Willie Dyer, James Dale, Jordan Sinclair, Kalvin Orsi, Finn Graham, Euan Spark (Liam Watt 72), Andy Jackson (Isaac Layne 81). A clear the air meeting with fans was held at the stadium this week and new Chairman Graham Rae responded to some challenging questions directed at the club. It was mainly felt that the club were beginning to take the fans grievances on board and are making the right noises and looking to move in the right direction. Another statement came from the board after the meeting and can be found on the official ICTFC Website So, positive movement off the field and there were positive signs on it last week as well. It's maybe time to cut the club a bit of slack and get right behind the team. Remember, they might be down a division, but it's our team, through thick and thin. This is the thin end, time to put that right. I'll start of the positive vibes and go for a hard earned point at Brechin.
  13. 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
  14. Summer of discontent. Morton are the visitors this weekend as our summer of discontent continues with tales of woe clouding the atmosphere at the Caledonian Stadium where the stench of relegation is getting right up everyone's nose. New chairman Willie Finlayson is set to leave his position less than three months after taking the hot seat over. Graham Rae pictured on the left will be the new Chairman. The club are in such a shambles at the moment that the board felt they needed to send out a statement to the fans to try and quell any unrest amongst the support. There's a lot of content in the message, so I'll just post a link to the Official site. Board Statement However, there is plenty for the fans to feel uneasy about. Here's a few of the Premier League gaffs since relegation. The signing of a manager who apparently never actually applied for the job. The season ticket fiasco that has since been addressed. The media and technology side of things are now a laughing stock given the release of Duncan Shearer by text (allegedly), the Twitter account showing links to naughty sites and the general lack of information coming forth from the official website. We failed to progress in a relatively comfortable group in the Betfred League Cup. We have signed some utter useless jobbing players, some of them masquerading as footballers. The final straw this week saw stalwart midfielder Ross Draper move over the Bridge to our local rivals to join former legendary Caley Jags striker Billy Mckay at Dingwall. Talk about rubbing our noses in it. All this after the club that has gone from Bucharest to Brechin in less than 2 years get an absolute mauling at East End Park with Dunfermline thrashing us 5-1, and we got off lightly at that. ICT Chris summed it up neatly on the forum: "The only way it could be worse is if Finlayson invited a few Japanese trawler boats to dock outside the stadium and slaughter some of the dolphins". It's going to be a long season if we continue in this vein of form, and given that the quality of our defence appears to be the worst in the history of the club, the midfield is lacking confidence and leadership and the strikeforce is non-existent, then I believe we might be making the play-offs at the wrong end of the table. There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon, but it's a long shot. Talk of an injection of cash coming soon might enable us to strengthen the squad. I'll not be holding my breath on that one, but here's hoping the new chairman will uphold the boards statement. To the game in hand, Morton come North on the back of a 4-1Championship thrashing of their local rivals St Mirren. This result hinged on a sending off and a pair of penalties for Morton, (Michael Tidser scoring both), with Jack Baird of St Mirren seeing red. That result gives them four points after an opening day goalless draw at Dumbarton. The big derby win came out of the blue after results in the group stages of the League Cup saw Morton win two, lose one and draw one. Like us, they did not make the next stage of the competition. Since beating St Mirren, they have gone out of the Challenge Cup going down 2-0 at home to Livingston. That's a result that did not please manager Jim Duffy who said “We made a couple of changes, but nothing overly dramatic; all the boys have been in and around the first team, so it’s not as if we threw in all young boys. “There wasn’t a department that played well, taking Derek Gaston out of it. The defence was poor, the midfield looked dead on their feet, and up front there was no spark. “I feel like the fans in a sense – frustrated. I’m angry, and I think if the players are honest with themselves, they’ll know they totally underperformed tonight.” We have hit rock bottom after losing both of our opening fixtures in the Championship. The defeat against United was narrow but not the end of the world. However, the defeat at Dunfermline was crushing and seemed like the end of the world. We are shipping goals at an alarming rate and creating very little. The defence is a shambles from the keeper out. The midfield has a Ross Draper & Greg Tansey size hole in it, and that shows up the vulnerability of the players left to fill that void. Up front we seem to have strikers that are not really strikers. Willing runners maybe, but not the type of poacher we have been used to. John Robertson hopes to turn this around given time. I hope he is right. We have a decent head to head against Morton with nine wins from twelve games, and there were some thumping victories amongst those games. Unfortunately that was in a previous life and it will be a foolish person that believes we can pick up where we left off. The last meeting was a Scottish Cup tie in November 2013. We won convincingly 4-0 with Nick Ross scoring just before half time. Billy Mckay scored a couple after the break and Aaron Doran completed the scoring with a penalty at the end. The best result in the Highlands for Morton was a 1-1 draw way back in September 1999. Martin Glancy opened the scoring for Inverness but after going down to ten men, Paddy Connolly equalised to earn a point for Morton in this first division game. Inverness could be without influential captain Gary Warren who has missed the last few games through injury. Carl Tremarco and Aaron Doran are out for the next few months, and Zak Elbouzedi has not featured since his pre-season injury. We have/are signing Canadian international Charlie Trafford, a midfielder and had former Dundee United defender Coll Donaldson on trial in a midweek game at Nairn. Both are believed to have agreed to sign on. Morton have just given experienced manager Jim Duffy a two year contract extension. He seems to be doing all the right things at Cappielow and Chairman Douglas Rae is delighted with the way Duffy has tackled his job. This was the starting eleven against St Mirren. Gaston; Doyle, O'Ware, Lamie, Russell; Forbes, Tidser, Murdoch, Thomson; Quitongo, McHugh. Gary Harkins was on the bench and he has more talent than our entire squad. tm4tj prediction:- We have not found our feet in the Championship and could be in for more trouble before we see any improvement on and off the park. Jai Quitongo is a bundle of tricks that will cause defenders problems with his pace. The signings of Elsdon and Chalmers has flopped badly with no Gary Warren to keep them right. We need to tighten up at the back and get stuck in across the midfield or it could be another barren day for our strikers. With a bit of fortune, we could get a point, otherwise it will be another harsh lesson in the Championship.
  15. Inverness Cardled by Joe 90 Old Caley Girl made the wrong decision this week against her better judgement and went along to East End Park. Here she shares her views on the utter shambles that Inverness Caledonian Thistle have become. Saturday saw the first Caleyaway of the season. It was a late decision to attend by the Old Caley Girl family. Oh how I regret that decision! At 3pm as I ran into the ground it started to rain. I should have realised then that was an omen for what was to come. I’m writing this on Monday and still feel angry about what was witnessed. It’s been a summer of discontent for ICTFC. This culminated last week in the sale of Ross Draper to our neighbours over the bridge. If anyone was still in denial how far this club has fallen lately then surely they cannot be anymore. However, back to the match. This was the first league visit to Dunfermline since February 2012. Caley Thistle last lost here in December 1999 and we have won 10 times there since that date. There were two changes following the home defeat to Dundee United last week with the aforementioned Draper away and Raven dropping to the bench. They were replaced by Jake Mulraney and Colin Seedorf. Dunfermline were fresh from a 6-0 defeat at Ibrox in midweek. They were without the suspended McManus and injured Nicky Clark. This left Hopkirk and 17 year old Smith leading the line. Within 90 seconds of the start we were 1-0 down! I had not even reached my seat and watched from the top of the steps as a Matthew Elsdon free kick on the halfway line was pumped to far right where Joe Cardle gathered and fed the ball forward. Smith headed the ball on and when Mark Ridgers came to meet it 20 yards out the ball broke left leaving Smith to slot the ball in the net. This brought an immediate response from the Caleyjags with several squandered chances including a Baird shot that was fisted away by Murdoch. However, disaster then struck again at 14 minutes with Higginbotham sending the ball in from the right to Ashcroft at the right post who glanced a header into the net at the far post. At 2-0 down we probably had our best period in the whole game. At 18 minutes Talbot fouled Mulraney 25 yards out and Vigurs hit the ball home into the far left of the net, one of those that bounced all the way into the net deceiving everyone. There then followed several chances to equalise with chances falling to Oakley, Vigurs, Polworth and Baird but this intense pressure did not end in goals sadly. In fact worse was to come with Cardle netting shortly before the interval, curling home a beauty. Half time 3-1 The second half was more of the same but with Dunfermline always in the driving seat. Zschusschen and Cooper were introduced in the 71st minute with Raven replacing Vigurs in the 81st. The latter did not look happy at being substituted and seemed a bizarre move given he was clearly our best performer on the day by quite some distance. Things were to go from bad to worse with Hopkirk making it 4-1. Joe Cardle became a real life Joe 90 as he scored in the ninetieth minute to make it five. The disappointing thing is that it was no more than the Pars deserved. Steven MacLean dished out 5 yellow cards. 4 of them to ICT players Oakley, Elsdon, Mckay and Polworth. Full time 5-1 OCG MOTM Not many contenders so it has to be the stand out stand in Captain Iain Vigurs. Joe Cardle was the genuine article though as he sliced through our defence time and time again whilst helping himself to a couple of goals. This was a totally embarrassing shambolic performance. We have a lot of raw young signings in the team and most looked totally out of their depth. The lack of goals, even two games in, is a real concern. I thought Hamilton away earlier in the year was a low point but this definitely rivals it. Any thoughts of instant promotion need to be filed away on this showing. The sooner Warren and Tremarco are fit the better and I personally would like to see a change of heart from Robbo regarding Owain Fon Williams and Raven. Whether that happens remains to be seen. See for yourself. If you are thick skinned, here's extended lowlights from Pars TV. Date: 12/08/17 Venue: East End Park, Dunfermline Attendance: 4391 Referee: Steven McLean Dunfermline: 5 Lineup: Murdoch, Williamson, Morris, Ashcroft, Talbot (Martin 70), Higginbotham, Shiels, Wedderburn (Splaine 81), Cardle, Hopkirk (Lochead 74), Smith Subs (not used): Gill, Mvoto, Paton, Aird, Scorers: Smith (2), Ashcroft (14), Cardle (41, 90), Hopkirk (67) Booked: Morris (21) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers, Seedorf, Elsdon, Mckay, Chalmers, Vigurs (Raven 81), Polworth, Mulraney (Cooper 71), Calder, Baird, Oakley (Zschusschen 71) Subs (not used): Esson, Bell, MacDonald Scorers: Vigurs (18) Booked: Oakley (6), Elsdon (23), Polworth (57), Mckay (76) Sent Off: none a
  16. Card Happy Craig ruins the day. Inverness went down to a Craig Thomson decision to award a penalty after Paul McMullan burrowed his way into the box and through a blockade of legs and bodies. He made the referee make the decision and he pointed rather hastily to the spot. McMullan took the kick himself and scored with ease as Mark Ridgers went the opposite way from the ball. A large away contingent made for a healthy crowd for the opening game of the season as Inverness took to the park minus the injured captain Gary Warren, Ross Draper handed the armband. Quality defender Collin Seedorf missed out through injury. John Baird and George Oakley were the pairing trusted to get the goals. Dundee United were without the suspended Scott McDonald and Mathew Smith which meant that Paul McMullan continued to spearhead their attack. It was with much trepidation that many Caley Jags fans ventured forth after last seasons relegation and changes to personnel, the Betfred Cup games offering little reassurance to the home fans. However, they turned up to see how we would fare against hot tips Dundee United. Early exchanges showed that we were willing to take the game to United and we carved out a few opportunities to create chances, but there were no takers for the trickery of Ricardo Calder or the class and prompting of Iain Vigurs. We went behind on thirteen minutes when McMullan lunged into the legs blocking his route to goal and Thomson did not hesitate to offer the penalty to United. A bit harsh on the defenders who were already on the ground but McMullan made the most of it and converted thereafter. Calder was causing havoc down our left flank, skinning the defenders with ease, but the final ball evading all but the keeper and his defenders in the visitors box. Plenty of long diagonal balls finding Calder, alas, he was unable to make the most of them. Mark Ridgers did pull off one brilliant save early on when United threatened inside the box, the keeper able to parry the ball to safety when a goal looked the likeliest outcome. For all our territorial superiority, we never managed to create the clear chances that United were able to, and Ross Draper took it upon himself to burst into the box along the byeline. Unfortunately his grounding looked a bit suspect, and when Tam Scobbie squared up to Draper, the pair found themselves in the refs wee black book. We reached the break just one goal down, but not too dispirited given our bright opening to the game. Half Time 0-1 The lack of a goal threat was worrying and that theme continued after the interval with us having the possession, but United having the better chances. They should have wrapped up the points late in the game after a bit of slackness at the back. The game seemed to pause, or go into slow motion and it ended with Sam Stanton curling a shot over the vacant net, the defence not covering themselves in glory at that point. We put plenty of effort into this one, but nobody was willing to take the bull by the horns as the game became littered with shameful play acting and general thuggery, mostly on the part of the visitors who killed the flow of the game any way they deemed necessary. However they seemed to have a decent alibi in Craig Thomson who allowed them to get away with most of the attempts to disrupt the beautiful game. He did however almost wear out his yellow card, nine bookings in total Full Time 0-1 Despite this loss, we can take heart from the overall performance against the Champions elect. It took a disputed penalty to win the game. The biggest disappointment from Robbo's point of view will be the lack of clear opportunities we created. Lewis in goal never really had to break sweat other than the amount of crosses or corners he had to gather out of the air untroubled. Ricardo Calder looked a big threat wide on the left. He was literally dealt a huge blow that went unpunished from the shoddy Craig Thomson, having to leave the game after ten minutes of the second half. Iain Vigurs looked to be a class above anyone else and was my MotM, especially in the first half and he did break sweat with one track back and crucial intervention. Mark Ridgers pulled off one tremendous save, although some of the pass backs put him under pressure and the clearances were a bit iffy. The defence were missing Warren and Seedorf and that's an area Robbo will be keeping a close eye on. Another area worth watching is up front. Where are the goals going to come from? So, not too disheartened, but still a familiar feel about the defeat. We all knew it would take a bit of time for everyone to find their feet, so patience will be a virtue this season. Off to Dunfermline next week in matchday two. Date: 05/08/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3415 Referee: Craig Thomson Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; Raven, Elsdon, Mckay, Chalmers, Polworth, Draper, Vigurs, Calder (Mulraney, 58), Baird (Bell, 74), Oakley (Zschusschen, 85) Subs (not used): Esson, Cooper, MacDonald Scorers: none Booked: Draper (43), Raven (63), Vigurs (76), Mckay (89), Elsdon (92) Sent Off: none Dundee Utd: 1 Lineup: Lewis; Toshney, Scobbie, Edjenguele, Robson, Allardice (Keatings, 67), Briels, Stanton, Fraser (Flood, 87), King, McMullan Subs (not used): Mehmet, Murdoch, Donaldson, Chalmers, Thomas Scorers: McMullan (pen.13) Booked: Scobbie (44), Stanton (74), McMullan (80), Briels (86) Sent Off: none a
  17. Here we go The start of a new campaign will take one of the big favourites for promotion North, as Dundee United visit the Caledonian Stadium on matchday one of the Championship. We couldn't have asked for a much more difficult opening game for Robbo's new look Caley Jags. With around ten new faces, it's quite difficult to keep tabs on what's going on at the stadium as secrecy is the preferred mode at the moment. Even the twitter account dried up last week as fans were left in the dark during the Forfar Athletic game. Aye, that's relegation for you. If any fans were left in doubt about how tough this season will be, look no further than our performances in the Betfred League Cup, where we failed to progress from our seemingly comfortable group A. The massive changes throughout the club have repercussions everywhere, and on the park it's no different. New Players, new manager and a new challenge in extremely challenging times makes for a season where it might take a long time before we reap the benefits. Sadly, we still seem to be plagued by last years nemesis. Injuries are already affecting Robbo's squad with some key players struggling to get on the park, Tremarco and Doran out until Santa comes down your chimney. Gary Warren and Zak Elbouzedi crocked before the first game, and niggling injuries keeping another three or four out of contention. The Arabs are fresh from a frenetic Dundee derby where they matched their Dark Blue rivals in the league cup, and the draw has thrown them together again in the next round where they will get another crack at a proven Premiership side. These games will set United up for the challenge ahead, something that we appear to be unprepared for at the present. United have strengthened their squad over the summer. The loss of Simon Murray to Hibernian was tempered by the signing of proven goal scorer Scott McDonald from Motherwell. Billy King preferred Tangerine to our own red'n'blue stripes and James Keatings and Sam Stanton arrived from Hibs. Tam Scobbie and Paul McMullan will bolster the squad and keeper Harry Lewis came in from Southampton on loan. Less familiar names are Patrick N'Koyi, forward (Maastricht); Jordie Briels, midfielder (Fortuna Sittard); Deniz Mehmet, goalkeeper (Port Vale). The latest higher profile addition is former Aberdeen player Fraser Fyvie. Out went Blair Spittal, midfielder (Partick Thistle); Luis Zwick, goalkeeper (Hansa Rostock); Sean Dillon, defender (Montrose); Aaron Murrell, forward (Berwick Rangers); Paul Dixon, defender; Charlie Telfer, midfielder; Frank van der Struijk, defender; Wato Kuate, midfielder; Jordan Garden, forward. Loan ended: Tony Andreu, midfielder (Norwich City); Thomas Mikkelsen, forward (Odense); Alex Nicholls, midfielder (Barnet); Brett Long, goalkeeper (Motherwell). Team news from the Caledonian Stadium is that Gary Warren joins Carl Tremarco and Aaron Doran on the longer list with wide player Zak Elbouzedi out as well. Collin Seedorf is expected to return with David Raven on standby should he be needed. Jake Mulraney will be a key player this season and should be fit for the opener. New signing Connor Bell is ready to go as well Scott McDonald will not feature for the Arabs as he is suspended, as is Matty Smith, but Billy King is poised to play against his former team mates but ex-Jambo James Keatings is struggling with injury. Paul McMullan could find himself as the main striker once more. We start the season in sixth place, albeit alphabetically. We will do well to get above that this term. It's going to be a long hard season methinks, with a play off place the aim. Visitors United will be one of the hot favourites for promotion, and it's difficult to see past them being in pole position at the end of the season. tm4tj prediction:- This game against the Championship favourites comes a bit too early for us with our preparations hindered by injuries already. United limbered up for this with a Dundee derby and they looked sharp and ready for the season ahead. We'll do well to take a point, but the likelihood of an opening day defeat looms large. Fingers crossed for a point. Robbo was talking to the Inverness Courier ahead of this clash and he had this to say.................. “United are flying, have topped their group and got a win over their rivals. It was a fantastic spectacle at Dens Park, so they’ll be in fine fettle and bring a good crowd up the road. “It’ll let us know where everybody is right from the start. You get straight into it against a title contender and hopefully we’re in the position after the match celebrating three points. “People talk about relegation – it has financial repercussions but we’re dealing with it. We have a budget and we work to it. We’ve brought younger more athletic players in to bolster the players we’ve got at the moment. “Dundee United and Falkirk are most people’s favourites and we respect that. But we want to show we’ll be right up there challenging because there’s a very good United squad coming up this weekend.”