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Survival Saturday It's squeaky bum time as Motherwell visit the Caledonian Stadium for game 38 in the Premiership. Who knew we would still have a chance to remain in this division after the season we have suffered. Thanks to a stirring performance on Wednesday night, we defeated Dundee, and that result brings us to squeaky bum Saturday. Hold on to your seats folks. Yes, it's still possible to make the play off final. That in itself would be a major feat, but it will be an extremely difficult opponent that will await the second bottom side with Dundee United or perennial challengers Falkirk waiting to ambush the unlucky side. ***Latest News*** United defeat Falkirk 2-1 (agg 3-4) after coming from behind to book their place in the Play-Off Final. With Accies losing a late goal to County on Tuesday night, that gave Inverness the impetus to go out and have a go at Dens Park. We did this with some authority and scored two goals inside ten minutes to create this phenomenon. Motherwell made their season safe with an excellent 3-1 win over Kilmarnock and justified their decision to remove Mark McGhee from his position. Caley Jags fans were gobsmacked by the fighting qualities and confidence displayed against Dundee. The defence won everything in their own box and we looked confident and assured. The mystery is why has it taken a whole season to come out with a result and performance like this. This was only our third clean sheet of the season in the League. What a time to do it. Motherwell away was one of our clean sheet games when we smacked them 3-0 back in October. Tremarco, Doumbouya and Polworth were the scorers that day. Only Polworth will be available for selection this time around. The other two games against Well have ended in defeat, 4-2 at Fir Park and a disappointing 2-1 reverse at the Caledonian Stadium, despite dominating most of the game. Motherwell have two wins since the split, that's the same as us. Well have won on their last three visits to Inverness. We have not kept a clean sheet at home in our last seven games. So, it's come down to this. It's all or nothing. Only a win will benefit us as long as Hamilton do not win against Dundee. If we can show the same confidence that was on display at Dens Park then we will give ourselves a chance, something that looked a long way off a month or two ago. Richie Foran said we have no fresh injuries ahead of this crucial game and Scott Boden will be fit enough to be included in the squad. Josh Meekings, Aaron Doran and Owain Fon Williams are all long term casualties. Stephen Robinson had an extra day to rest his players after beating Killie. However he does have some problems ahead of this clash. Scott McDonald is leaving Motherwell at the end of the season and will not feature at Inverness. Fellow striker Louis Moult is also reported to be struggling with an injury. Craig Samson, Stephen Pearson, Stephen McManus, Richard Tait, Jacob Blyth, Jack McMillan, Lee Lucas and Ross MacLean are all out. If we can believe that all of these are out then it's like one of our injury lists. tm4tj prediction:- You won't get a prediction out of me for this one. Suffice to say I am bricking it. However, after that confident, assured and clinical display against Dundee, more of the same would not go amiss. I'll say no more, it's time for the talking to stop and let the action on the park speak for all of us. Mon the Caley Jags.
Last throw of the last throw of the last dice in the last chance saloon. Yes, it's win or bust. The time has now come for the must win games. Anything else and it's relegation for us automatically as the worst team in the Scottish Premiership. With Hamilton losing to Ross County last night thanks to a last minute winner, we can close the gap to just one point, but to do that we have to win at Dens Park, not something that we are too familiar with at the moment. Defeat on Saturday at Kilmarnock has put us at the point of no return. With Motherwell beating Accies, that keeps them away from bottom spot. Our only hope now is that Accies hit the bottom to deny us outright relegation. However, the situation is clear cut now. Only Inverness and Hamilton can go down from the Premiership. What has to be decided is who goes down automatically. Dundee continued unbeaten under Neil McCann after coming from behind to earn a draw at home to Ross County. It looks as though the removal of Paul Hartley has given the Dee renewed confidence and belief. The Dark Blues sit nine points above Inverness in the table and have all but secured their status in the top flight for another season. Jake McPake and Julen Extabeguren are out, but Neil McCann reckons the rest of his squad will be fit for this encounter. Richie's possible last throw of the dice will be without Owain Fon Williams, Josh Meekings and Aaron Doran. Story of the season really, injuries at crucial times have crippled us in more ways than one. Alex Fisher is hopeful of recovery after a head knock. tm4tj prediction:- We have not won in our last three visits to Dens Park and we lost our last one, which was the first defeat against Dundee in eighteen games. It's been typical of our season, setting new standards since Richie Foran took over. Unfortunately that standards are at the bottom end of the scale and will not be remembered fondly. I see nothing in our recent displays to suggest that we can beat Dundee in this critical game. We have players capable of giving so much more, but they have been let down higher up the ladder. Only a win is much use to us. I can't see that happening, sadly. However, whilst we still have a glimmer of hope, I wonder if we can dig ourselves out of this hole we have got ourselves into. Fingers crossed.
Almost there. Inverness took a massive step towards the Championship with another defeat. This time it was Kilmarnock who inflicted the pain as we struggled to get back on level terms having gone two goals down through Longstaff and Jones. Alex Fisher grabbed a goal but despite a frantic finish to the game we failed to get a point and relegation looks to be imminent. Immortal Howden Ender witnessed this one and his report is here.............. Well I travelled with forlorn hope and a fair degree of trepidation. But that still did not stop me and my 146 compatriots from sitting in the away stand, cheer on the boys and hope for some salvation. My only negative thought at the start was the inclusion of Anier but otherwise I was quite happy with the first team choice. Fisher has deserved his chance and may have been a more polished player if he had been given a run early. He had a clear cut chance in the 2nd minute, through on goal, 1-1 with McDonald and he totally fecked it up. If he had kept his composure, as he did 69 minutes later then it may have been a different story. So we have a plastic pitch. We are playing in to the wind and the driving rain. Killie know the surface and they play tippy tappy at the back, use the width, take people on and are patient. Us we hoof at every opportunity. Billy Mckay must wonder what the feck is going on. Anier offers sod all and Mulraney has an off-day but rarely gets a ball at his feet or a pass to run on to. The clear tactic was to feckin hoof it. And for the second time away from home Esson makes the second big error (OK there were 2 errors) of his belated season and gifts the first goal to Longstaff. Just what we did not need. You could see some heads go down at that time. Have to say that I was really impressed by Frizell, Jones and Wilson. If we had that three playing for us we would have hammered them. But we have Foran and the hoof. So half time comes along and you think lets have a go. But God lets us down again. The wind dies down, the rain stops and some feckin sunshine comes out. And as if that wasn’t bad enuff we hook Mulraney for Vigurs. We put Draper up front and we switch Fisher to wide right midfield. Yes wide right midfield !! Foran complained about our defending for the second but I thought it was tidy lead up play and a very tidy finish by Jones who had tormented Brad all day long. And guess who had the two long range shots on target – of course – David Raven !! Anier goes off, 58 minutes too late, and gets replaced by Polworth who never got into the game. Not sure exactly where he was playing though. And then we hook Draper and take on Cole. BUT we put Cole on the left BUT keep Fisher on the wide right and put Mckay up front on his own. We pack feckin midfield with the lackadaisical Vigurs and Tansey with Polworth running around like a headless chicken. But as the chants against Foran begin to grow we put ourselves back in the game. Great pass from Vigurs and Fisher tucks it away very neatly, 69 minutes too late. Lee McCulloch summed it up nicely – “The last 10 minutes were a bit nervy but we got there in the end.” We began to show the desire and fight that we should have been showing for weeks, nay months. No player can be faulted for endeavour in the last 15 minutes. Killie looked shell shocked and took their feet off the pedal. And wee Billy could have got us that desperately needed point with a glorious lob which would have been a goal of the season contender if it went in. We actually started playing football as well. Alas too late. And Foran summed up the day – “I'm delighted with the players' performance, believe it or not. I told them they should be proud of themselves, how they handled the occasion.” Well he must have just been watching the last fifteen minutes and had forgotten the deplorable first 45. And then "Individual mistakes have cost us again. The only disappointing part is the second goal. Jones has so much space to run at us. It's a set-piece for us, they break and score - that's schoolboy defending but overall we were the far better team and had far better chances.” – DOH – wrong goal – and we deserved a point and that would have been a bit of a robbery. “We didn't get what we deserved and that was the three points, in my mind. We need to cut out the individual mistakes, it's been the story of the season.” – Yes agree about the individual mistakes and add it has been the story of MY season. Some players do NOT play for you. And then he concludes as a modern day Lazarus – “We need help from other clubs now, simple as that. We need to do our business on Wednesday and Saturday. There is still a chance. It is probably a small chance, but there is a chance." – WTF !! No Smileymometer but here are my conclusions. Esson did OK but that one mistake early doors killed us. Brad was taken apart by Jones, Raven was solid and full of endeavour. Warren was my MOM for clearly giving his all. Laing was quietly effective. Mulraney never got going and Anier never has got going. Draper looked OK in midfield but was lost up front against a very tall Killie central defence. Tansey looks pretty but he is keeping himself for Aberdire. Fisher gave his all but was a fish out of water wide right. Wee Billy never got used and was a waste in the hole role. He is best on the toes of the last defender. Vigurs actually started trying to play football but he is such a lazy *******. Polworth and Cole made no impact. Ah Well it looks like Dumfries will be my ”home” game next season. Killie v ICT Date: 13/05/17 Venue: Rugby Park, Kilmarnock Attendance: 3137 Referee: John Beaton Kilmarnock: 2 Lineup: MacDonald; Hendrie, Dicker, Ajer, Taylor, Smith, Jones, Longstaff, Frizzell, Kiltie (McKenzie, 77), Sammon Subs (not used): Lyle, Osborne, Roberts, Hawkshaw, Graham, Cameron Scorers: Longstaff (17), Jones (57) Booked: Wilson (15), Smith (16) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Esson; Brad Mckay, Laing, Warren, Raven, Draper (Cole, 70), Tansey, Anier (Polworth, 58), Billy Mckay, Mulraney (Vigurs, 46), Fisher Subs (not used): Hoban, McNaughton, Ebbe, McCart Scorers: Fisher (71) Booked: Brad Mckay (15) Sent Off: none a
Three games to save our season. Running out of games now and a tough task this weekend as we visit Ayrshire to take on Kilmarnock in the third last game of the season, unless we make the play-off place where we have to go head to head with a Championship contender. It's been a long hard season for Inverness as the wheels came off and a disastrous run of one win in twenty-three has taken us to the brink of relegation. There's only one way out of this and that is to win back to back games and look for favourable results from others around us. It's a long shot, but it is possible. We threw ourselves a lifeline last weekend with a narrow 2-1 win over Accies in Inverness. We should have won at a canter as we dominated the first half but had only two goals to show for our attacking intent. We nearly paid the price for not putting the game to bed as Accies made a fist of it in the second half but their late goal was the final kick of the game and the points stuck with Inverness. Killie lost out last week to Dundee and both clubs appear to be safe from relegation although not completely out of the running yet. I'm sure Killie would be happy enough to terminate us this weekend to save them the long hike up North. Results have been shared this term, all three previous games ending in 1-1 draws. However, Killie sit 10 points above Inverness in 8th place as we speak and can not get relegated automatically. On the plus side for us, we have scored more goals than Killie (38-32), but it's our defence that has let us down this season and Killie are superior in that department (50-67). It's a daunting task, but one that is not insurmountable, although our seasons stats say otherwise. Killie have been dealt a blow with news that in form keeper Freddie Woodman will not play for them again this season. He has been called up to the England u20 squad for their u20 world cup campaign which begins in South Korea on 20th May. It's recognition for some excellent performances at Rugby Park for the young keeper who has kept five clean sheets since January 21st. Had we played a keeper of the same quality, I doubt we would be in such a mess right now. With Woodman away, Killie have a decent replacement in Jamie MacDonald. Former County defender Scott Boyd is out for the rest of the season having injured his foot. Greg Kiltie played a part last week and could start. Interim gaffer Lee McCulloch added this on BBC Sport:- "Its going to be a tough match. Inverness are punching well below their weight with where they are in the league table, with the players they've got. So it's just up to us to go out and put on a positive performance in front of the crowd." Richie Foran has long term absentees in Josh Meekings, Aaron Doran and Carl Tremarco. Owain Fon Williams is still out and Ryan Esson will once again be between the sticks. Liam Polworth will return after suspension and Iain Vigurs has recovered from illness. Billy King will be departing for Tannadice next season, I wonder if he is up to the task. Scott Boden showed up well as a sub last week and could be worth a try along with Billy Mckay. Jake Mulraney was impressive in the first half against Accies but faded in the second as the visitors pushed further forward and Jake's supply was limited. It's Foran's shout, maybe Polworth will be added to midfield or Richie's favoured midfielder Iain Vigurs will return. Only one man knows, let's hope he makes the right call. I doubt you would get decent odds on Lewis Horner getting a game. Although the former Hibernian player has been out injured for most of the season, it seems that there is an underlying problem as he has been taken to task by the SFA for match betting. He's obviously not up to scratch on this as he is alleged to have bet on Caley Thistle, surely not for a win! tm4tj prediction:- It's a must not lose game, in fact it's more or less a must win game. We have not been very good at these crunch games this season apart from last weeks win against Accies. It seems that one win and some reckon we are going to escape relegation no problem. I have news for you. We struggled to beat Hamilton but thanks to a dubious 'no penalty' for Hamilton, we took the points and gave ourselves this last chance saloon opportunity. We certainly have the players to do it, but do the players have the leadership, belief and the heart to do it. It's the second of four cup finals for Inverness and defeat is unthinkable. I believe we can do it, but given this seasons heartless performances, then maybe another score draw is on the cards. Motherwell and Hamilton go head to head tomorrow and maybe a draw is the best result for our own slim chances of avoiding the drop. New strips were unveiled this week. Let's hope we get to use them in the Premiership.