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  1. Cold Comfort at Tannadice A perishing cold and breezy March afternoon brought Inverness down to Tannadice to face Dundee United as our season hangs by a solitary thread, the IrnBru Cup thread. Defeat today coupled with an expected Dumbarton win over Brechin will plunge us into dangerous territory with a top four finish highly unlikely. It was pleasing to see that Coll Donaldson and Nathan Austin were deemed fit enough to make the bench along with Jake Mulraney, Riccardo Calder Aaron Doran and Daniel Mackay. Charlie Trafford comes in to midfield with Connor Bell reinstated up front. Brad Mckay partnered Gary Warren at the heart of the defence. United had Paul McMullen, Scott McDonald and William Edjenguele on the bench with midweek goal scorer Matty Smith keeping his place in the starting XI. A crowd of 4772 put their winter woolies on to brave the elements. Connor Bell got the ball rolling and Inverness were first to get into gear in a bright opening spell but it was United that threatened first, Tremarco blocking Mikkelsen. Vigurs put Oakley through on goal at the other end but Harry Lewis denied him. Gary Warren had a header cleared off the line after Lewis misjudged a cross and Oakley had the loose ball blocked behind for a corner which United managed to clear. Good spell for the visitors. Polworth found Oakley inside the box and he had another effort blocked as we kept the pressure on the home defence. Just past the half hour and Inverness got the lift they needed when our talented midfielder Iain Vigurs headed home a Liam Polworth corner and United can have no complaints as Inverness have taken the game to them at every opportunity, a complete reverse of our midweek fail. Vigurs was leading by example and he fired a long effort that keeper Lewis managed to hold. Five minutes before the break and Mark Durnan prevented Connor Bell from knocking in Oakley's cross. Would have been a tap-in for Bell had Durnan not intervened. It had been a good first half for Inverness who were able to exploit space behind the United defence with Iain Vigurs outstanding. Seedorf and Trafford both took heavy knocks in the first half and we will need to see if they will be back out for the second forty-five. Oakley had been wasteful so far, would that come back to haunt us. With the half time challenge going to team ICT by 6-4, the teams were back out for the second half with United replacing Quinn with Macdonald. Lewis saved from Vigurs and Chalmers as the second half got underway, and it was following the same pattern as the first half. Vigurs collected a booking as he halted a United burst forward. How often have we seen this turn into a red card this season. On the hour, United got an equaliser when Mikkelsen on the stretch knocked a ball to the back post back across goal and in from a Jamie Robson cross. Jake Mulraney replaced Charlie Trafford with twenty minutes left and United took Matty Smith off with Paul McMullen coming on as they looked to find a winner. Doran replaced Bell with ten minutes left as Vigurs fired a shot over the bar as we tried to get our noses in front once more. He almost made an immediate impact, bit his goalbound effort was blocked and United forced a corner at the other end as they broke up the park. Mark Ridgers had to look lively to tip shots from McMullan and Flood over and Inverness made their final change with Nathan Austin replacing George Oakley. Austin offered Mulraney a chance but he shot over and that was about it as the game ended a point apiece. RIG thought "we were best serve throughout by Warren, Bell and Tremarco as our standouts. Bell brings a real energy to our attack buzzing all over the place to try and support Oakley whilst Tremarco is much more solid at LB than Calder. If we want to win the Challenge Cup next weekend we will need to up our performance again but I'm not too sure if some of these players have much more to give". Iain Vigurs was prominent in the first half especially and Mark Ridgers continues to impress with a couple of crucial saves near the end. This was a vast improvement from the midweek game at Dunfermline and the stats will show that Inverness had the better of the game without being able to create a two goal cushion that would have gained us all three points. This draw means that Dumbarton have closed the gap at the bottom to just four points behind Inverness, albeit we have a game in hand which is another tough encounter with the Arabs, scheduled for Tuesday 27th of March. Next week is the IrnBru Cup Final at Perth against Dumbarton and the winners of this will gain more than just a cup, it will breed confidence for the battle at the bottom. Date: 17/03/2017 Venue: Tannadice Park, Dundee Attendance: 4772 Referee: Steven Kirkland Dundee United : 1 Lineup: Lewis: Murdoch, Durnan, Scobbie, Robson, Quinn (McDonald 45), Flood, Smith (McMullen 74), Stanton, King, Mikkelsen (Fraser 85) Subs (not used): Mehmet: Edjenguele, Slater, Ralston Scorers: Mikkelsen (64) Booked: Smith (70) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers: Seedorf, B Mckay, Warren, Tremarco, Polworth, Trafford (Mulraney 71), Vigurs, Chalmers, Bell (Doran 78), Oakley (Austin 87) Subs (not used): Esson, Calder, Donaldson, Mackay Scorers: Vigurs (30) Booked: Vigurs (57), Oakley (67) Sent Off: none a Full Time.jpg_large
  2. Defeat leaves Inverness looking over their shoulder. At least we managed to get a kick about after the frustrating list of postponements recently. Unfortunately it ended in another defeat that effectively ends our season with James Craigen scoring an early goal. Midweek at East End Park was not the preferred choice of many, but we went down looking to get our slim play-off hopes back on track. Dunfermline were in the same boat as their season has gone pear shaped as well. They were without a win in their last seven games, since they beat Dumbarton 1-0 on the 6th of January. Nevertheless, 2249 folk turned up to watch this one. Inverness were without influential central defender Coll Donaldson and fragile front man Nathan Austin, both out with hamstring injuries. Brad Mckay was also out..........until Riccardo Calder pulled up. That gave 16 year old Cameron Harper his first start and put Brad onto the bench. Collin Seedorf started at right back and Carl Tremarco partnered Gary Warren in central defence. George Oakley was the front runner with Connor Bell on the bench. The Pars were without top player Jo Cardle but Kallum Higginbotham started. Former Caley Jags man and cup final hero James Vincent was on from the start, but Nat Wedderburn found himself on the bench. Vincent has been on loan from Dundee since the end of January. The game kicked off in total confusion over the Inverness team lines with Cameron Harper starting. Harper's only involvement prior to this game was as an unused sub in the 3-1 defeat at Falkirk in January. Alas, his debut lasted only five minutes as he was substituted with Brad Mckay coming on, but the farce was just beginning as James Craigen fired home a free kick one minute later to open the scoring. Inverness were on the back foot as Dunfermline surged forward and Declan McManus was blocked as the Pars looked to increase their advantage. However Inverness started to creep back into the game and Lee Ashcroft had to look lively on a couple of occasions to repel the visitors. Half an hour gone and the contest had become untidy with petty fouls interrupting the flow of the game and that was the process right up until the interval with nothing of note to report. This game has an end of season feel about it. If it continues like this our season will be over. Half Time 1-0 Polworth started the ball rolling for the second forty-five, and the fans were be looking for a bit more life on the park. After a chanceless first half Doran brought Pars keeper Robinson into action as he gathered the Caley Jags' players shot in the 47th minute. Mark Ridgers denied James Craigen his second goal with an excellent save down low as the game livened up, the keeper pushing the ball out for a corner. Meanwhile, the visiting fans were amusing themselves by cheering for Ryan Esson as he warmed up behind the goal. Jake Mulraney had been woken by something and he ventured deep into the home area but the ball eventually going out. However, there has been more activity in the first ten minutes of the second half than there was in the whole of the first. Robbo had seen enough of Mulraney and Doran and they were replaced by Connor Bell and Zak Elbouzedi with twenty minutes left but it was Nicky Clark that almost scored for the hosts with his cross which was missed by Ridgers but hooked clear by Tremarco. A couple of minutes later Clark fed McManus and he hit the post. Polworth had a shot blocked as Inverness looked to get an unlikely equaliser and Zak Elbouzedi had no takers for his cross into the box as Robbo raged while Clancy ticked him off. Iain Vigurs headed straight at Robinson as we tried to make amends for a dismal first half. Inverness had Ridgers to thank for a couple of tremendous saves from Martin and Higginbotham and Brian Rice had his chips as he was sent to the stand by Clancy. Full Time 1-0 Looks like our season has ended in tatters with defeat at East End Park. We petered out and Dunfermline were well worth the three points and should have won by a greater margin. Our lack of funds is showing in the lack of quality and threadbare squad and it's the IrnBru cup or bust. Dumbarton are now only six points behind Inverness and we should now concentrate on avoiding relegation instead of looking for promotion which was always beyond us after last seasons disaster. RIG had this to say after another disappointing display. A truly shambolic performance from ICT that should really be leaving fans very worried at the prospect of a second successive relegation. With Dumbarton playing Brechin again on Saturday there's a real chance they will be just 3 points behind us. Forget about possible Highland Derbies next season and focus on staying in this league. Even though the score line makes it look like a close game I'd say we were as bad as when we were thumped 5-1 there earlier in the season. At the back we floated between competent and clueless. Most of the time we coped easily with the Pars attacks. Other times we flapped at crosses and passed the ball out of defence straight to the home side. Polworth and Vigurs certainly tried but mainly succeeded in giving the ball away. Chalmers was anonymous, Mulraney kept running the ball out of play instead of crossing it and Oakley spent most of the game falling over after wrestling with his opponent. We were an utter shambles. Aimless punts up the park and truly woeful attacking play in the final third. There were very few plus points. Ridgers made some good saves and it was great to see Tremarco and Bell back in the side. But apart from that it was a night to forget for ICT. Here's Allan Johnston talking after his sides first win in eight games. Date: 13/03/2018 Venue: East End Park, Dunfermline Attendance: 2249 Referee: Kevin Clancy Dunfermline: 1 Lineup: Robinson; Williamson, Martin, Morris (C), Ashcroft, Craigen, Beadling, Vincent, Higginbotham, McManus, Clark. Subs (not used): Gill; Aird, Shiels, Armstrong, Wedderburn, Lochhead, Ryan. Scorers: Craigen (6) Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; Seedorf, Warren, Tremarco, Harper (B Mckay 5), Chalmers, Vigurs, Polworth, Doran (Bell 71), Mulraney (Elbouzedi 71), Oakley. Subs (not used): Esson; Brown, Trafford, Mackay Scorers: none Booked: Tremarco (89) B Mckay (90+2) Sent Off: none a
  3. Ton too heavy for lightweights. Morton all but ended any faint hope Inverness had of making the play-offs with a clinical two goal victory in the Highlands, their first ever at Inverness. A sorry Caley Jags look destined for another season in the doldrums after failing to win this six-pointer and Morton took full advantage to move above Dundee United into third place in the Championship with their fourth win in the last five games. A first half goal from Scott Tiffoney was added to after the break when MotM Gary Harkins slotted home a penalty. It could have been so different had we hit the net instead of the woodwork, twice, and not had two goals chalked off. However, we were the architects of our own downfall, Brad Mckay having a first half to forget as he allowed the ball to bounce over him which led to the opener, and Collin Seedorf giving away a penalty in the second period. We did try, but Morton seemed to have all the answers and looked a yard sharper than us all over the park, the pace and movement of their front runners causing our Donaldsonless defence problems. Liam Polworth missed what can only be described as a sitter near the break and that summed up our day really. Inverness were dealt a blow before taking to the pitch with news that Coll Donaldson was injured. Carl Tremarco made the bench as did Nathan Austin, and Aaron Doran started with Jake Mulraney suspended after his red card madness at Falkirk. No surprises in the Morton side with Jack Purdue making his debut today coming off the bench and the evergreen Gary Harkins was the orchestrater in chief. Inverness went straight into the visitors box after some neat interplay in the opening seconds, but Trafford shot down the keepers throat. However, it was Morton who looked liveliest thereafter with their front players causing concern with their movement and pace. Inverness appeared second to every ball and anything loose was snapped up by the eager Morton players. The opening goal was a schoolboy error by Brad Mckay who allowed a long punt from Gaston to bounce over his head. Wee Tiffoney new exactly what was happening and turned Mckay to spin in behind him as Brad mistimed his interception. He almost made amends by blocking the first attempt, but Tiffoney mopped up by driving the ball towards the net as Gary Warren tried to recover the situation. The ball eventually going into the net off Warren's outstretched boot. We worked hard enough, but looked to have little up front to trouble Gaston in the visiting goal. However, we should have been level before the break when Liam Polworth tried to turn a Doran cross from the right into the net. He only succeeded in sclaffing it across the face of the goal when it looked easier to score. Great opportunity to get back on level terms before the interval. Half Time 0-1 Nathan Austin was given a part to play as Robbo hooked Trafford at the break. We looked to take the game to Morton but made heavy work of trying to create openings. Austin's day was short lived as he pulled up after only twenty minutes. It appears that he is made of porcelain. Apparently he has done his other hamstring this time. We were unfortunate on a couple of occasions when Joe Chalmers guided a shot onto the post with the keeper stranded and later on when Iain Vigurs rattled the crossbar with the keeper beaten again. From the rebound, Aaron Doran caught a sweet volley but Gaston got down to block at his near post. The keeper just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Right after that double miss, Morton went up the park and ended the contest. It had looked like it was not going to be our day and that was confirmed when Seedorf gave away a penalty with twenty minutes left bringing down Tiffoney as he jinked past him. Gary Harkins was calmness personified as he stroked the ball off the inside of the post and into the net to double their advantage and Inverness knew their fate. Full Time 0-2 We did have the ball in the net twice, but were penalised on both occasions, but in truth, we played second fiddle to a better organised side and Morton thoroughly deserved the win, their first at the Caledonian Stadium. MotM for me was Morton's Gary Harkins who has skill to burn. After Iain Vigurs wilted in the second half, Harkins took control of the nidfield and he was the main reason Morton pulled off this deserved win. Frustrating day for the Caley Jags who could have taken something from the game but in the end, when the going got tough, the heads went down and the all too familiar stench of defeat was there for all to smell. Here's the goals if you can suffer it................ Date: 24/02/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2359 Referee: Steven Kirkland Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers, Seedorf, Warren, B Mckay, Calder, Polworth, Trafford (Austin 47, D Mackay 65), Vigurs, Chalmers, Doran, Oakley Subs (not used): Esson, Tremarco, Bell, Elbouzedi, Harper. Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none Morton: 2 Lineup: Gaston, Doyle, Lamie, O'Ware, Russell, Ross (McHugh 72), Murdoch, Harkins, Tidser, Tiffoney (Purdue 83), Oliver. Subs (not used): Strapp, Brennan, Langan. Scorers: Tiffoney (28), Harkins (70 pen ) Booked: Purdew (90+1) Sent Off: none a
  4. Irish Crusade ends in Inverness Crusaders arrived in Inverness off the 12:30 flight from Belfast City some ten minutes ahead of schedule, and less than four hours before kick off. They were greeted at Dalcross by a fine winter's afternoon after the recent rain, sleet, snow and frost that has left the pitch less than pristine. There had been much speculation surrounding the rights and wrongs of this tie given the Sunday evening slot, but it's now time for the talking to stop and the action to take centre stage. John Robertson was without the injured Carl Tremarco and cup-tied Nathan Austin for this one while his Irish counterpart Stephen Baxter had a full squad to pick from. This is a squad that leads the Irish Premiership and have scored 82 goals in the 28 league games played so far. The free scoring Belfast club will probably be favourites for this one given our inactivity since the 30th of January. Aaron Doran was missing from the squad with George Oakley, Connor Bell and Jake Mulraney tasked with getting the goals. John Baird and Zak Elbouzedi and young Daniel Mackay were on the bench. Crusaders started with top scorer Gavin Whyte on the bench but still had plenty of fire power in the starting XI with Darren Murray and Paul Heatley having notched 25 between them. The teams came out with the pitch looking heavy, rain having replaced the early sunshine. Loads of sand had been used to get the surface playable in front of a sparse 1044 crowd, the BBC Alba live broadcast keeping many fans away. Crusaders kicked off towards the North Stand and Darren Murray was marginally offside in the first minute as he cracked the bar with a shot. Inverness strode forward from the free kick with Liam Polworth making a long run forward and he played in George Oakley who side footed home the opening goal in the second minute. Crusaders were unfazed though and took the game to Inverness playing the game in the Inverness half as they probed for an opening. Mark Ridgers did well to flop on the ball after a long throw in bounced across the box and seconds later Crusaders shot well over as they looked to level the tie. Great start for Inverness, but Crusaders look like they have goals in them as we struggle to make much headway, misplaced passes being the order of the day so far after that stunning opening couple of minutes. Thirteen minutes gone and Connor Bell did well to hold off the defender before feeding Oakley wide on the right, and his perfect cross found Joe Chalmers at the back post and he headed strongly behind the keeper for number two. Oakley headed wide at the front post soon after from another Mckay delivery as Crusaders heads went down since the second goal. Polworth almost threading another into the box as the hosts began to dominate. Donaldson had to time a tackle to perfection to stop a Crusaders break forward and from that, Polworth drove forward again before feeding Chalmers on the left, but his shot went just a tad too high. The next burst forward showed the best of Jake Mulraney as he skinned his marker before crossing for Bell, but his wee legs could not quite get on the end of the cross for what would have been a simple tap in. Mark Ridgers reacted well to stop Murray bursting into the box and from the clearance Polworth blasted a long range effort high and wide. Crusaders were creeping back into contention though and Ridgers guarded his near post well from Heatley at the expense of a corner which he clutched confidently. Riccardo Calder was booked on the halfway line as he clumsily brought down Heatley. Took one for the team methinks. Mulraney found acres of space down the right and he picked out Oakley who picked his spot in the net, but keeper Brian Jensen reacted brilliantly to tip his ten yard effort over. Polworth picked his spot as well, unfortunately his spot was just the wrong side of the post. Glackin was booked for pulling back Calder, the wide player enjoying his forays forward down the left wing. Iain Vigurs was pulling the strings in midfield and his promptings were causing plenty of problems for Crusaders. Mulraney should probably have added a third five minutes before the break after he danced into the box, but one step too many allowed Jensen to block his shot. Crusaders were not out of it yet and Ridgers pulled off a wonderful save to deny Heatley as he turned and shot inside the box. Lightning does strike twice and Mulraney passed a curled shot into the net from twelve yards after Polworth set him clear. Similar to a previous goal he scored in the championship. That ended an excellent first forty-five from the hosts with Crusaders having it all to do. Maybe top scorer and flying winger Gavin Whyte will be introduced after the break as Stephen Baxter looks to get back into the tie. Half Time 3-0 He did in fact make two changes with Whyte and Jordan Owens replacing Glackin and Forsythe. Ridgers had to make an early save as Crusaders came out in the second half intent on pushing forward but normal service was resumed soon after as we forced a corner from a dangerous looking cross. Heatley should have done better when offered an excellent shooting chance when Calder erred, but he hit it straight at Ridgers who saved comfortably near his post having got his angles right. The visitors were making inroads though and Inverness will need to be wary of the injection of pace from the Crues. Burns burst into the box and from a tight angle shot over as Inverness played a dangerous game and the keeper came to the rescue once more, blocking a certain goal, the ball skewing away for a corner. You could tell a goal was coming and in the next attack after the Inverness defence failed to clear the ball effectively, a driven shot from substitute Whyte deflected off Donaldson to throw the Crues a lifeline, and one which they look well capable of taking at this point in the game. Apparently the goal has been credited to Heatley who challenged Donaldson for the ball as it deflected into the net. Whyte was booked for hauling down Mulraney in midfield, but the big talking point was to follow seconds later as Brad Mckay was yellow carded and red carded. Here we go again, reduced to ten men, what a surprise. That prompted the removal of Bell who was replaced by Collin Seedorf as Robertson looked to tighten the midfield. Mulraney then waltzed into the box on the left side but his cross was marginally too high for Oakley to connect properly with and Jensen gratefully gathered. Steady rain was continuing to fall and the heavy pitch may play a part later in the game. As it was, tackles were becoming more reckless as conditions deteriorated. Twenty minutes to go and Ridgers watched a Burns shot drift wide as Crusaders pushed for another goal. The comfort of the first forty-five seems a long time ago now. Crusaders had the ball in the net after a swift break but the linesman had flagged for offside. With fifteen left, Crues brought on Paul Lowry and soon after Mulraney was replaced by Zak Elbouzedi, but it was Crusaders that opened the game right up when Heatley sped into the left side of the box and prodded tidily behind Ridgers. The game is right in the balance now with Crusaders looking likely to level the tie. We passed up on an excellent opportunity to restore our two goal lead, but Vigurs shot tamely wide from fifteen yards. Ridgers saved with his feet as a driven cross came into the box and when we broke forward Oakley forced Jensen into a low save to deny the striker. Fast and furious now and Crues missed a great chance to level the game but the ball fell the wrong side of the post as Ridgers and Seedorf combined to keep the ball out. Oakley again almost scored when his deflected shot squirmed behind Jensen but spun away off the post. Nail biting stuff now as every ball into the box looks likely to cause problems. Another scary moment when Gary Warren looked skinned, but Owens had tugged him back and Inverness were awarded a free kick instead of conceding a goal. Three minutes of time were added on with Crusaders still probing for the breakthrough and Inverness defending somewhat nervously. Coates headed into the side netting as we held on by our finger tips with thirty seconds to go. Suddenly, Liam Polworth made a tremendous run in the last seconds which ended with him being brought down unceremoniously for a penalty. Iain Vigurs should have ended the scoring from the spot, but not before Declan Caddell talked himself into a red card. Vigurs then completely scuffed his shot, dragging it wide of the post in possibly the worst penalty in the history of soccer. After that embarrassing scuff, the ref ended the contest and it's Caley Thistle that will contest the final against Dumbarton the weekend of 24/25 March. Full Time 3-2 Well, we got there in the end but all credit to Crusaders who put up a tremendous battle in the second half which almost went bottoms up after Brad Mckay was sent off. BBC Alba gave Jake Mulraney the MotM but for me it was a toss up between Liam Polworth and Iain Vigurs. Polworth gets my nod after that penalty miss. Crusaders can be happy with their display after taking a battering in the first half. But the introduction of Whyte and Owens caused our ten men problems and Heatley was a handful all game. Stephen Baxter was indignant though. He reckoned Crusaders should have won 6-4. I'm not as convinced as he was, but they certainly made a game of it after the break in what turned out to be a highly entertaining game. See you all at the final. Here's the goals from Caley Jags TV Date: 18/02/18 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1044 Referee: Bryn Markham-Jones Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Ridgers, Mckay, Warren, Donaldson, Calder, Mulraney (Elbouzedi 79), Polworth, Vigurs, Chalmers, Bell (Seedorf 65), Oakley. Subs (not used): Esson, Baird, Mackay, Brown, Harper. Scorers: Oakley (1), Chalmers (13), Mulraney (44) Booked: Mckay, Calder, Polworth Sent Off: Mckay (63) Crusaders: 2 Lineup: Jensen, Burns, Beverland, Coates, McClean, Forsythe (Owens 45), Caddell, Glackin (Whyte 45), Snoddy (Lowry), Heatley, Murray Subs (not used): O'Neill, Carvill, Cushley, Suarez. Scorers: Heatley (57, 79) Booked: Murray, Glackin, Whyte, Owens, Caddell Sent Off: Caddell (90+6) a
  5. Revenge for the Bairns as Jake sees Red. It was a much changed Caley Jags squad that went to Falkirk with our midfield decimated by suspension and injury. Iain Vigurs and Liam Polworth were suspended, Carl Tremarco is still out injured and Aaron Doran would not be risked on the artificial surface given his long term injury problems. Charlie Trafford was touch and go given his head knock and illness since last weekend. In Came Collin Seedorf with Trafford making the starting XI. Jake Mulraney returned to action, for a while anyway, more about him later. John Baird was on the bench along with a couple of youngsters in Daniel MacKay and Jack Brown. Falkirk had Andy Nelson starting and Tom Taiwo had recovered sufficiently to begin the game. Robbie Thomson continued in goals despite the signing of Celtic youngster Conor Hazard Falkirk kicked off in front of 4251 fans, a decent crowd for a miserable afternoon. Inverness were first to threaten in the second minute as Connor Bell put a dangerous ball to the back post, but it was cleared by the defence and a few minutes later Robbie Thomson was forced to make an excellent save to deny Joe Chalmers. With Inverness forcing the pace of the game George Oakley shot just wide after outmuscling the defender and Charlie Trafford headed one into the hands of Thomson. A great start by Inverness who are taking the game to their hosts and creating the openings. Jake Mulraney caused havoc and won a corner from which Oakley flicked the ball goalward but the danger was cleared by Thomson who gathered. It was almost half an hour before Mark Ridgers had to earn his money and he produced a superb save to deny Sibbald after he was played in by Louis Longridge. A looping shot from Mulraney went close ten minutes before the break as Inverness dominance resumed but there is no breakthrough yet for the makeshift midfield who are squaring up well so far. Coll Donaldson made amends after failing to control a ball but he got back to make a solid challenge on Andrew Nelson to deny the striker, the home fans looking for a penalty (be patient..... soon). Brad Mckay had to make a clearance when Nelson tried to backheel his way to goal as Falkirk came back strongly at the end of the first half. Out of the blue came a red! Mulraney saw red mist after a couple of rash challenges and a shove and kick and then had a go at the water bottle on his way to an early bath via the dressing room doors (allegedly). Looks like the FOR SALE sign hanging round his neck is taking it's toll. What a clown . We needed this like we need a hole in the head. Some harsh words needed from Robbo after that aberration. He let himself and his team mates down with that indiscretion. Inverness' 8th red card of the season. Disgraceful. Half Time 0-0 Cheers Jake . Two minutes into the second half and Falkirk take the lead as Aaron Muirhead converts from the spot after Chalmers fouled Longridge in the box. The Bairns smell blood and Nelson forced a corner after a neat turn and shot. It looks a long way back for ten man Inverness, and we pay no attention to our horrendous disciplinary record as Trafford enters the book. It goes from bad to worse and Seedorf gave away another needless penalty and Muirhead smashed his second of the game. Falkirk don't have to do anything, we are doing it for them. It's open day now and Longridge dragged a shot wide as we appear to have imploded. But, our saviour is on when Connor Bell is replaced by John Baird as Gary Warren enters the refs book with twenty minutes left. Please referee, just end the game now! It's virtually been one way traffic since the sending off and the end can not come quick enough for Inverness................. but wait a minute. Young substitute Daniel MacKay linked brilliantly with fellow sub Jack Brown and finishes with aplomb with some five minutes remaining. Great goal and the youngsters showing their seniors how it should be done. However normal service was resumed as Nelson grabs a third for Falkirk before being subbed. RIG summed up the highs and lows in his review of the match. "With the game over we saw a couple of young lads come on for some first team action and they provided probably the only spark of the second half for ICT supporters when Brown burst from midfield and played a ball forward to Mackay who turned his man and curled a shot into the bottom corner of the net. A glimmer of hope that was quickly put out at Warren was burned for pace down the right side of our defence and the ball crossed for Nelson to seal the win from close range." Full Time 3-1 Revenge was sweet for the Bairns after Mulraney saw red. Up until that point it was an even game. Some of these guys need a talking to as this is not acceptable. An eighth red card of the season for Inverness and two more bookings is crippling the clubs bid to get back into contention for a play-off spot. At the moment, it's three steps forward and two steps back. ICT Chris was more pragmatic: "Overall, deserved win for Falkirk and one we need to write off as a bad afternoon and get back to our prior form." On the first forty-five he was optimistic up to a point: "That was a pretty odd game. We started Trafford and played him with Seedorf and Chalmers in midfield and started really well, we made all the running and, as I see a Falkirk fan noted, Oakley dominating the home centre halves. We didn’t create that much though and slowly Falkirk came back into the game, forcing Ridgers into a good save before Mulraney had his meltdown. It was utterly bizarre, he conceded a foul and got booked then immediately went through Longridge before kicking out at someone a few seconds later. He literally got booked twice in two minutes and walked off, it was like he wanted to get sent off. Really odd." Caley100 was more scathing, only Ridgers escaped his wrath: "We started quite well without causing any damage, Lost the plot after the wee man had a fecking brainstorm, but too many players were awful.. really awful. Trafford was terrible, Mackay just cannot pass a ball, Chalmers gave away the first pen, has the pace of a tortoise and is about as dangerous to the opposition as a plastic bath duck, Seedorf also gave away a pen which was on the cards as he spent the day diving into tackles. I' m not going to mention Baird. ( haha, you just did) Warren lost a high ball (again) letting it bounce 3 times before letting the forward Nick the ball to set up their third. Ridgers was pretty safe and had no chance with goals. ***** day weather wise too, good few beers in Edinburgh later helped." OK, so maybe we can put it all down to a bad day at the office, but if we are serious about getting in to the play-off places, then the attitude needs to change. It's almost as if the management don't want the club to go up. Anyway, well done to the young guns for coming on and playing football, take a bow Daniel and Jack. If you just want to forget the rest of the game, here's Jack Daniel's superb set up and finish, I'll have a large one! Robbo was understandably not impressed.......... Falkirk have been busy getting their videos online..... Date: 27/01/18 Venue: The Falkirk Stadium, Falkirk Attendance: 4251 Referee: Euan Anderson Falkirk: 3 Lineup: Thomson, Kidd, McGhee, Muirhead, Grant, Taiwo (Jakubiak 66), Sibbald, Longridge, Tumilty, Robson, Nelson (O’ Hara 89). Subs (not used): Hazard, McKee, Blair, Loy, Watson Scorers: Muirhead (48 pen, 65 pen) Nelson (87) Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers, Chalmers, Warren, Oakley (Mackay 78). Mulraney, Calder, Seedorf, Bell (Baird 69) McKay, Donaldson, Trafford (Brown 82) Subs (not used): Esson, Doran, Harper Scorers: Mackay (84) Booked: Mulraney (43), Trafford (64), Warren (70) Sent Off: Mulraney (45) a
  6. All to do again. Inverness went to Dundee in search of a minor shock in this fourth round Scottish Cup tie almost three years on from lifting the trophy. However, it's a much changed side from back then. It looked bleak until three minutes from the end when George Oakley stabbed in the equaliser from close range. Aaron Doran had scored the opener with a deflected shot to give the visitors the lead before the break. Sofien Moussa deflected a shot in to level before Mark O'Hara looked to have put Dundee through. John Robertson has been the architect of a few Cup surprises over the years. During his previous tenure at Inverness, he knocked out Celtic en route to the 2003 semi-finals where today's opponents Dundee ended our run by virtue of a 1-0 win. Robbo benched attacking midfielder Liam Polworth who had been struggling with a virus, and to add more steel to the engine room he slotted Canadian Charlie Trafford in alongside creative playmaker Iain Vigurs. Jake Mulraney took a knock a couple of weeks ago and he made the bench along with John Baird and Nathan Austin who has also been receiving treatment. McCann managed to get a few contracts extended during the winter break and he started with Josh Meekings, Darren O'Dea and talented striker Sofien Moussa on the park. Sitting on the bench were Kerr Waddell and Marcus Haber and Jack Hendry missed out through illness. Paul McGowan was first to have a go in front of 3507 fans but his shot from distance was well wide of the target and at the other end Iain Vigurs shot straight at Elliott Parish. Great start to the game by the visitors who were playing in their Premier League opponents faces, causing Dundee to be error strewn. Joe Chalmers almost got on the end of a Brad Mckay cross as we took the game to Dundee. Fifteen minutes in and Inverness opened the scoring when a long throw-in from Mckay bounced through Josh Meekings and found Aaron Doran in the box and he volleyed in the first goal of the game. Almost another after a mix up in the home box, George Oakley playing Connor Bell in but Parish collected just in time. That warning seemed to perk Dundee up and they managed to fashion a couple of corners which the visiting defence were able to clear. Scott Allan hit one from 25 yards but Mark Ridgers dealt with it as Dee came more into the game and Mckay blocked Moussa as he let fly, Ridgers able to save the rebound from A-Jay Leitch-Smith. Surprise surprise, Iain Vigurs received a yellow card midway through the half and Ridgers saved a Scott Allan free kick. Ten minutes before the break and a let off for Inverness as Moussa headed onto the underside of the bar from an Allan corner. Dundee had certainly been stung during that brisk opening quarter by Inverness but the game was more evenly balanced now. Mark Ridgers pulled off a tremendous save to deny Leitch-Smith as he bore in on goal and preserved the narrow advantage. Just before the interval, some great play by Doran forced a corner with Bell waiting for a tap-in, Vigurs heading the resultant corner over. Moments later Parish stopped Oakley from notching number two with his feet as the striker broke free. Half Time 0-1 Dundee got the second half underway with Glen Kamara kicking off towards the Bobby Cox stand, no doubt looking to get back on level term quickly. And hey presto, just two minutes in and a second deflected goal of the afternoon draws Dundee level. Leitch-Smith shooting but Moussa credited with the goal this time as the ball deflects off him and goes out of Ridgers' reach. Bell was denied by a reaction save from Parish as the visitors almost went back in front just after being pulled level, and it was Parish again to deny Bell as the game swung back towards Inverness. Charlie Trafford got the worse of a clash with Darren O'Dea and had to leave the field. O'Dea continued after treatment but Trafford is off down the tunnel. Liam Polworth replaced the Canadian. The lively Scott Allan went off to be replaced by El Bakhtaoui, not a popular choice with the home support given Allan was possibly the most effective Dundee player. Dundee edged ahead through Mark O'Hara as he burst forward when Vigurs gave the ball away in the halfway area and O'Hara went on to fire low past Ridgers from the edge of the box. El Bakhtaoui fired over for the Dee and Vigurs tried to make amends for Inverness but his effort was woeful. Substitute Liam Polworth tried from distance but it was another straight down the keepers throat. Entering the final ten minutes and Inverness won a free kick in a promising position, but Doran's cross was cleared. Robbo freshened up his strikers and threw John Baird on and withdrew Connor Bell as Polworth entered the ref's jotter for catching McGowan with an arm. The Dundee midfielder missed a good opportunity to end the contest but he headed a Kerr cross over after a good break forward. John Baird passed on a couple of decent chances for Inverness as we pressed for a leveller. However, it was strike partner George Oakley that got on the scoresheet when he got on the end of a Riccardo Calder cross to level the tie. The ball was poorly defended and when the half cleared it was headed back into the six yard box by Joe Chalmers where Oakley pounced to send the tie to a replay. Calder joined Vigurs, Donaldson and Polworth in the refs book as he brought down Moussa in time added on and right at the death a last ditch tackle thwarted Aaron Doran from getting clean through. Full Time 2-2 All in, a great day out for the 357 Caley Jags away fans and the team thoroughly deserved another crack at getting into the fifth round, something our near neighbours will not manage this season. Good to get the draw without a couple of influential players on the park. Nathan Austin and Jake Mulraney will benefit from the time off, although Charlie Trafford might now be struggling to make the replay. Speaking on BBC Radio, Robbo said : "There was little between the teams. We started well, got the goal, looked dangerous, then Dundee come into it. They turned the screw, created opportunities, and it was a terrific second goal. "We had to change it. Liam Polworth was in his sick bed all week, but travelled because he knew we were short, came on and started to cause problems. Then big George managed to get a goal and we deserved it for our bravery, because we kept going forward and throwing men into the box. A replay was about right. "It's taken us a while to get going, but we've got a shape that suits us now. The players have confidence and to come here to Dens Park and put on that kind of performance shows our improvement. We'll go at them in the replay with the same vigour and resilience, and we'll have a chance." Replay has been scheduled for Tuesday 30th January 19:45 kick off at the Caledonian Stadium. The prize for the winner is a home tie against Motherwell. Video Highlights from Caley Jags TV Robbo spoke after the game..... George to the rescue..... Highlights can be seen on BBC TV for those that can access the channel. Date: 20/01/2018 Venue: Dens Park, Dundee Attendance: 3507 Referee: Stephen Finnie Dundee: 2 Lineup: Parish; Kerr, Meekings, O'Dea, Aurtenetxe, McGowan (Wolters 85), Kamara, O'Hara, Leitch-Smith, Allan (El Bakhtaoui 61), Moussa Subs (not used): Malherbe; Holt, Curran, Waddell, Henvey. Scorers: Moussa (47), O'Hara (64) Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; Mckay, Donaldson, Warren, Calder, Trafford (Polworth 58), Vigurs, Chalmers, Doran, Oakley, Bell (Baird 81) Subs (not used): Esson; Austin, Mulraney, Seedorf, Brown. Scorers: Doran (16), Oakley (87) Booked: Vigurs (27), Donaldson (66), Polworth (82), Calder (90+4) Sent Off: none a
  7. Closing in on a play-off position Inverness recorded their first win over Queen of the South this season with a comfortable 3-1 scoreline. First half goals from Iain Vigurs and Joe Chalmers gave us a deserved lead and Aaron Doran added a third after the break. As we eased off, Queens came more into it and got their consolation when Owen Bell headed a fine goal with five minutes left. This win pulls Inverness level on points with the Doonhamers and within striking distance of the two teams above us although we have played more games than most. Still, it's a healthier position than we were in a few months ago. Carl Tremarco missed out through injury as did Nathan Austin. Riccardo Calder slotted in at left back with Brad Mckay on the opposite side. Collin Seedorf and Jake Mulraney were fit enough to make the bench. The Doonhamers had the firepower of 35 year old Stephen Dobbie up front and youngster Owen Bell starting on the bench. On loan Rangers defender Myles Beerman was on the bench along with him. Striker Chris Kane was making his final appearance for Queen of the South before returning to St Johnstone. The 23 year old has now made 24 appearances for the Doonhamers scoring five goals and has benefitted greatly playing alongside the vastly experienced Stephen Dobbie. The frost of the previous days had relented and it was a brisk day, a tad chilly but nonetheless a decent day for a game of footy. Just over two thousand two hundred fans made the effort to get to this game and they were treated to an excellent start by the hosts who came out of the blocks with all guns blazing. The two previous meetings this season produced no goals but Inverness were looking to carry their excellent form from the Falkirk game into this one. Queens were confident their excellent away form would continue. The opening moments were a taste of things to come and captain Gary Warren had a header saved in the second minute as Inverness pressed from the off. The keeper did well to tip his powered header onto and over the bar. Moments later from the resultant corner Iain Vigurs placed a header into the keepers top right corner as he kept a cool head when a loose ball presented itself to him. Great goal and what a start to this game. Dobbie and Polworth exchanged efforts at either end as the game opened out but it was Inverness that were in control and it was no surprise when a second goal came along, although it was all done in slow motion. Joe Chalmers gathered a ball on the edge of the box and his scuffed effort deceived everyone, including the fans in the North Stand. It wrong footed half a dozen players and an unsighted keeper to roll gently into the bottom corner with Leighfield scrambling frantically across his line to no avail. Take that and a first for Joe Chalmers. We saw out the half comfortably and our attacking endeavour should maybe have reaped more, but Queens got away lightly. Half Time 2-0 Gary Naysmith no doubt got them to up their energy levels after the break and with Inverness content to hold what they had Queens came more into it, Stephen Dobbie coming close. However, when we broke forward we always looked dangerous and Aaron Doran knocked home a third after Polworth crossed into the box from the right. Dobbie tried his luck again but his curling effort was mopped up easily by Mark Ridgers as Queens began to believe in themselves and we gave up ownership of the midfield. Beerman and Kerr went close as well but most of the work Queens were doing ended in hopeful efforts rather than guilt edged chances. Iain Vigurs was yellow carded in bizarre fashion. Shaun Rooney went down when tackled and the ref blew for a foul, albeit a soft one. After the players exchanged pleasantries Rooney shoved Vigurs over. As is the norm these days, the ref calls them both over and booked Rooney then Vigurs. Seems to me that getting pushed over is a bookable offence. How odd. Mark Ridgers saved a rasping effort as Queens went looking for a goal and we began to look a little edgy at the back but we weathered the storm and it probably was more comfortable on the park than it was watching from the stand. John Baird had an effort saved but Queens got their reward for not giving up when a superb Beerman cross was briskly headed high into the net by Owen Bell. Inverness responded and Oakley almost restored the three goal cushion but he shot across goal and wide of the mark. Full Time 3-1 Fantastic first half again for Inverness. Some really tidy play and a thoroughly deserved win. Coll Donaldson was once again immense, he is some player for a big lad, but for me, he was outshone by Riccardo Calder who doubled as a full back and left winger. Great shift again from Calder who is my MotM. There was some wonderful play all over the park and George Oakley is turning out to be a useful front man using his upper body strength to good effect. Unsung hero Joe Chalmers has come onto a game over the last couple of months playing on the left midfield side. Without the shackles and constraints of defending, the big loon has come into his own and scored a goal into the bargain. Iain Vigurs, despite his booking tally reaching it's limits, was a class apart in the first half and himself and Polly are beginning to create plenty for the strikers. No failures yesterday and competition for starting berths is hotting up. So, we are starting to pick up pace and are now pushing for a play-off position, well deserved given our recent form. Scottish Cup game at Dundee next week followed by an away trip to Falkirk. Goals highlights from Caley Jags TV Robbo delighted. Gary Naysmith was honest as usual accepting his team were second best. Here's what he had to say. Date: 13/01/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2209 Referee: Alan Muir Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Ridgers; Mckay, Warren, Donaldson, Calder, Polworth, Vigurs (Trafford 78), Chalmers, Doran, Bell (Baird 72), Oakley Subs (not used): Esson; Seedorf, Mulraney, Mackay, Brown Scorers: Vigurs (3), Chalmers (29), Doran (58) Booked: Mckay (21), Vigurs (74), Donaldson (76), Sent Off: none Queen of the South: 1 Lineup: Leighfield; Rooney, Kerr, Brownlie, Mercer, Murray (Fergusson 63), Thomson, Rankin, Dykes (Beerman), Dobbie, Kane (Bell 71) Subs (not used): Martin; Akubuine, Gourlay Scorers: Bell (85) Booked: Dykes (41), Rooney (74) Sent Off: none
  8. Bairns Battered Inverness stunned Falkirk with a superb opening forty-five to end this contest with three first half goals. George Oakley, Connor Bell and a sublime first for Jake Mulraney gave the visitors too much to do and they never recovered from that opening spell. Louis Longridge scored a consolation looking suspiciously offside but John Baird quickly restored our three goal advantage to end the game. John Robertson had Iain Vigurs back after suspension but Nathan Austin missed out through injury. With David Raven now departed, Brad Mckay was shipped out to right back with Gary Warren back in the heart of defence alongside Coll Donaldson. George Oakley started with John Baird on the bench. Paul Hartley came North buoyed by his sides 6-1 thrashing of Championship contenders Dundee United with Louis Longridge in the starting XI. Tom Taiwo missed out through injury. Oakley was yellow carded early for an alleged dive, I'm not as convinced as the referee John Beaton. However, Inverness went ahead after only ten minutes. Iain Vigurs won the ball deep and fed Liam Polworth. He drove forward before sliding a great ball into the path of the electric Jake. Oakley then benefited from Mulraney's pace and direct ball into the box, the striker bundling the ball in from close range. The visitors tried to force their way back into the game, mainly due to some wayward passing from the home defence, but their shooting left a bit to be desired. Gary Warren earned a booking for a cynical type of foul after losing his man in the final third, Joe Chalmers would earn his card for a similar foul later in the game. The free kick drifted wide with Ridgers watching. Warren would be more constructive soon after, popping up in the visitors box and bringing out a tremendous save from Robbie Thomson from ten yards when a shot found him unmarked close to goal. The hosts would not be denied though as we forged a path through the Falkirk players from our own left back position. the ball was transferred swiftly with Polly travelling again before feeding Jake who in turn teed up Bell to notch number two. Fantastic break from defence into attack involving six players. Two minutes later and the Bairns were in disarray. Another ball from the back showed Oakley use his strength to turn his marker on the halfway line. He played on to Jake who skipped forward before curling a beauty behind a stunned Thomson with his left peg from just outside the box. 3-0 at the Interval and even the home fans were stunned. Half Time 3-0 Inverness were obviously wary of a backlash from the Bairns and we were content to relinquish territory and possession and hit on the counter. That worked well for most of the half with Falkirk only having a couple of efforts wide of the mark although Ridgers was called upon to make a smart save when a loose ball was cracked goalward. It was the only moment of real concern until Longridge lifted a ball over him when he was sent clear behind our high line. It looked offside but hey ho. Two minutes later, and the final goal came When substitute Aaron Doran broke down the left flank. He measured a cross onto the head of fellow substitute John Baird who gleefully nodded into the empty corner of the net. Full Time 4-1. What a surprisingly fabulous result for Inverness, their best win of the season against last weeks surprise package, Falkirk. The confidence boosting statistic is that three different strikers scored and electric Jake got his first goal for the club in the Championship. Some great performances. Iain Vigurs ditched his bad boy nonsense and oozed class in the first half. Jake Mulraney was magnificent with his searing pace and scored a super goal before coming off injured in the second period. Riccardo Calder came on and was a revelation at left back after Tremarco went off injured. At one point, one of the Falkirk players had to pay to get back into the ground as Riccardo left him bamboozled and bewildered. Great skills from the wing back. However, my MotM goes to the ever confident Coll Donaldson who must surely be getting right up the Arabs noses with his stylish displays since joining Inverness. That win has us closing in on the play off slots and another win at the weekend over Queen of the South will do us no harm at all. It also keeps Falkirk away from us just now, so all good. FromFalkirk TV Robboe delighted..... Date: 09/01/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2014 Referee: John Beaton Inverness CT: 4 Lineup: to follow Subs (not used): to follow Scorers: Oakley, Bell, Mulraney, Baird. Booked: ???? Sent Off: none Falkirk: 1 Lineup: to follow Subs (not used): to follow Scorers: Longridge Booked: ???? Sent Off: none a
  9. Time for Vigurs to grow up. For the third game in a row, Inverness were reduced to ten men after Iain Vigurs got a second yellow for an attempted overhead kick. However it was the circumstances surrounding the first yellow that leaves a nasty taste in the mouth and something our talented midfielder needs to grow out of. Many felt that his sending off changed the game. We were leading 1-0 at the time after Aaron Doran drilled in the opener, but Livi levelled in the second half when Alan Lithgow headed home unchallenged. John Robertson made a few changes to the starting XI, some enforced and some to freshen up the side. Carl Tremarco missed out through suspension and Colin Seedorf through injury. John Baird paid the price for his lack of goals and George Oakley started. Connor Bell made way for Aaron Doran and captain Gary Warren returned to the defence. Brad Mckay was the right back and Joe Chalmers filled Tremarco's boots. Nathan Austin began on the bench with David Raven who would make his last home appearance for the Caley Jags later in the game when Chalmers had to leave the field through injury. It all started so well for Inverness and Aaron Doran scored in the sixth minute with a low shot placed beyond the keeper from within the left side of the box. It was starting to look good for the hosts and a Doran cross/shot bounced off the crossbar as we searched for a second goal. Liam Polworth was booked for fouling Josh Mullin in the 36th minute. Iain Vigurs poked his nose in and was also foolishly booked and that would lead to his dismissal later in the game, just before the break. Gary Warren had a header saved as we pressed hard then in the 43rd minuted after a scramble in the Livi box Vigurs was shown a second yellow followed by a red for his attempted overhead. The Livi defender doing the dying swan act obviously caught the referee's attention and that was sufficient to see Vigurs head for an early bath. Livi were nowhere to be seen in the first half, but that sending off would change the shape of the game and ultimately the outcome. Half Time 1-0 Robbo reacted at the interval by removing Jake Mulraney and fitting Ricardo Calder in at left back and moving Joe Chalmers into the space vacated by Vigurs' departure. That would change again when Chalmers had to leave the field and Raven ended up at left back with Calder moving into midfield. Down to ten men for the third game in a row is something that Robbo needs to look into and the flow of the game began to swing towards Livi now as we reshuffled. However, we still looked dangerous on the break and should have scored a second when Trafford burst into the box only for his cross to fall awkwardly for Doran and the moment passed without him getting a clean shot away. Livi were seeing plenty of the ball but most of their crosses were mopped up by the home defence and keeper Mark Ridgers. Just when it looked as though we might hold out for all three points, Livi equaised. Raven and Calder combined to give away a free kick on the Livi right. When Raffaele De Vita swung in the ball it was Lithgow who climbed first to head past Ridgers as our defence watched on. Liam Polworth almost scored after the restart when he gathered a ball just outside the box but his curled effort just shaved the side netting on it's way past the post with the keeper beaten. We did manage another couple of moments around the visitors box after the introduction of Nathan Austin who seems to have the abiity to drift past defenders as if they were not there. Surprisingly, we almost lost the game in injury time when Dale Carrick skied a shot over when it looked much easier to at least hit the target and thus endedeth the match. Full Time 1-1 Iain Vigurs needs to have a word with himself. Having an abundance of skill is no use to anyone when you are taking an early bath. There is no doubt in my mind that his sending off cost us two points and the chance to climb the table next week. Nathan Austin looks a tasty addition and Aaron Doran took his goal well. Mark Ridgers was fairly comfortable all afternoon and will be disappointed in the defence at the goal. Chalmers went off injured as well and that will be another midfielder missing for the next game with Vigurs needlessly out. David Raven played his final home game coming on around the hour and got a good send off at the end as the fans chanted his name. Difficult to pick a MotM in this one with so many playing in unfamiliar roles. I'll go for Gary Warren who returned to the heart of the defence and made some crucial tackles and blocks as Livi used their extra man to good effect late in the game. However, it's not a point gained but two dropped when others around us were drawing, so Vigurs, think about your actions next time for the good of the team and not your own inflated ego. You let your team mates down today. If I'm honest, it's not just today as he has been booked far too many times for petulant immature actions all too often. Tough game next week away to St Mirren who were held to a 1-1 draw by Morton today. Video footage and match reaction to follow....... Date: 02/01/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2239 Referee: Greg Aitken Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay, Donaldson, Warren, Chalmers (Raven 58), Polworth, Trafford, Vigurs, Mulraney (Calder 45), Oakley, Doran (Austin 70). Subs (not used): .Esson; Baird, Bell, Cooper. Scorers: Doran (6) Booked: Vigurs (36), Polworth (36), Calder (81) Sent Off: Vigurs (43) Livingston: 1 Lineup: Alexander; Lithgow, Halkett, Gallagher, Longridge, Byrne, Mullin (Todorov 66), Cadden (Carrick 58), De Vita, Mackin (Robinson 66), Pittman Subs (not used): Knox, Malley Scorers: Lithgow (82) Booked: Gallagher (41), Halkett (84) Sent Off: none a
  10. Snore Draw ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz... Inverness were late to bed the night before the game after a serious road accident delayed them by some ten hours. John Robertson had asked if the game could be postponed but our pleas fell on deaf ears. A crowd of 1293 were on hand to witness a goalless first half although it was not without incident. It was much the same fare in the second forty-five but at the end it was a point apiece. The nearest we came to scoring was a late penalty claim that was turned down by the match official when Charlie Trafford appeared to be fouled in the box. Unfortunately, it's a result that drops us down a place as Dumbarton shocked leaders St Mirren in Paisley to win 1-0 and jump above Inverness. Full report to follow..................... Robbo reaction...... Gary Naysmith reflects on the game......... Date: 02/12/2017 Venue: Palmerston Attendance: 1293 Referee: Barry Cook Queen of the South: 0 Lineup: Martin; Mercer, Kerr, Brownlie, Marshall, Dykes, Jacobs, Rankin, Stirling (McFadden 68) Kane (Lyle 76), Dobbie (Rooney 88) Subs (not used): Tapping, Bell, Leighfield, Akubuine Scorers: none Booked: Brownlie (90+1) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; Raven, Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Polworth, Vigurs, Chalmers (Calder 85), Mulraney, Baird (Trafford), Bell (Oakley) Subs (not used): Cooper, Warren, Seedorf, Mackay Scorers: none Booked: Vigurs (36), Donaldson (56), Trafford (68), Mulraney (71) Sent Off: none a
  11. I was there when John Baird scored. Inverness cruised to victory against bottom club Brechin City thanks to two early goals and another two later in the second half to secure a comfortable 4-0 win. Goals from Brad Mckay, John Baird, Connor Bell and George Oakley secured the points on a chilly winter night, the pitch heavy and proving difficult to move the ball around quickly. A crowd of 1801 braved the dropping temperatures to witness a rare occasion, a John Baird goal in this re-scheduled fixture, the first one being postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. Gary Warren returned to the bench with Brad Mckay re-instated alongside Coll Donaldson after his suspension. The disciplined Iain Vigurs was replaced by Charlie Trafford in midfield. Brechin were as expected, with Isaac Layne ploughing a lone furrow up front.The same man has the power to carry it off though and caused a few problems with his burly physique. There was almost a dream start for Brechin as a long ball forward sat up nicely for Connor McLennan on the edge of our box. Ridgers was caught in no mans land and a subtle lob left him stranded, but the ball bounced back out off the base of the post. A let off for Inverness before we got going and a warning we heeded. In the seventh minute we went ahead, Brad Mckay crashing a close range volley high into the net direct from a Polworth corner. Two minutes later and it was joy for John Baird. The striker had not scored for over a couple of months, but he capitalised on a defensive mix up by a pair of Smiths to squeeze the ball home from ten yards for number two after it broke kindly to him off the defender and keepers lack of communication. We dominated the half but the game went quiet, for long periods, akin to a Sunday afternoon kick-about. Isaac Layne made some powerful bursts, but Coll Donaldson and Brad Mckay were equal to him overall. Jake Mulraney was a menace to the visiting defence throughout and he was unfortunate not to break his duck on a couple of occasions. Half Time 2-0 Connor Bell headed in number three early in the half to put the game to bed and that allowed us to make some alterations with Aaron Doran getting more game time. Our intricate play was not helped as the heavy pitch deteriorated and made simple things difficult. Substitute Alex Cooper hit a ferocious shot that Keeper Smith did well to beat away but he was helpless when another sub, Goerge Oakley ran onto a tidy through ball from Trafford to flick it round the advancing keeper. Cool finish from Oakley who is beginning to look the part. As said earlier, Layne was the one Brechin player that looked mildly menacing but Ridgers was untroubled for the entire ninety minutes as he froze his bells off between the sticks. Full Time 4-0 A convincing win for Inverness against a side that drew with Dundee United at the weekend. Conditions were not conducive to silky football, and what skill was displayed came from the home side. Overall, an excellent win in what could have been a potential banana skin game. Best for Inverness were Brad Mckay, Jake Mulraney (first half) Liam Polworth, and my MotM Coll Donaldson. Good in defence, quick and willing to play the ball out of defence when required. Date: 28/11/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1801 Referee: Craig Charleston Inverness CT: 4 Lineup: Ridgers; Raven, Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Chalmers, Polworth, Trafford, Mulraney (Cooper, 80), Bell (Doran, 63), Baird (Oakley, 63) Subs (not used): Mackay, Warren, Calder, Seedorf Scorers: Mckay (7), Baird (9), Bell (52), Oakley (87) Booked: Chalmers (57) Sent Off: none Brechin City: 0 Lineup: G Smith; McLean, Dyer (Lynas, 55), Dale, Graham, Layne, Watt (Sinclair, 70), Spark, McLennan (Orsi, 76), Crighton, E Smith Subs (not used): Fusco, O'Neil Scorers: none Booked: Dyer (12) Sent Off: none
  12. Watery Lottery Sinks Caley Jags It was a case of Saints and sinner at the Caledonian Stadium Water Park as St Mirren and their Buddie ended our run of clean sheets with two second half goals. The first was a disputed penalty scored by Ian McShane, the second a breakaway at the death as we probed for a leveller, knocked in by Gavin Reilly. The conveyor belt of comedy referees knows no bounds. This time it was sinner John McKendrick that showed his inability to officiate fairly and he had clearly lost the plot midway through the second half, brandishing cards at will, ignoring blatant cheating and sending off Iain Vigurs for what can best be described as being assaulted. As expected, Gary Warren replaced the suspended Brad Mckay and Jake Mulraney returned to the starting XI with Alex Cooper removed. St Mirren went with a tried and tested eleven. The game kicked off with 2687 hardy souls peering through the driving sleat with both sides probing for openings. Liam Polworth fired from distance but Samson got down to keep it out and Carl Tremarco got on the end of a Gary Warren header from a corner but the ball was kept out from close range. The visitors were being fairly robust, with their Buddie making allowances for the conditions as he ignored home pleas for a bit of protection. Iain Vigurs was wrongly booked for protesting about a brash challenge from Cammy Smith, the perpetrator also booked for his part. Polworth and Chalmers tested Samson again but the keeper made a couple of fine saves to deny the eager Inverness midfielders. John Baird showed why he has not scored since the last St Mirren game by wasting a great opportunity after a Polly ball set him in on goal but Samson was relieved to see the strikers effort go straight at him. The clean sheet record was still preserved as the whistle brought the first half to a close, Inverness looking the most likely with Mark Ridgers freezing his bells off in goal with little to do to keep warm. Half Time 0-0 The second period was only six minutes old when Kyle McGennis went down under a shoulder charge challenge from Polworth. There seemed little danger and it beggars belief that anyone would make a rash challenge as McGennis cut along the line into the box. But up stepped Buddie McKendrick to award a hotly disputed spot kick to the visitors which McShane buried with Ridgers going the opposite direction and thus ended our clean sheet record in disappointing fashion. Chalmers once more brought out a good save from the keeper as he turned his shot from around thirty yards round the post, having dived full length low to his left. However, the second half had descended into a watery lottery as sleat and snow blizzards swept across the already sodden turf making it difficult for any cohesive movement. Water was splashing up from the surface as players struggled to get to grips with the monsoon conditions. The visitors were relishing it though as they were afforded the freedom of the park by Buddie McKendrick, upending players without punishment and the more they did, the more they got away with it. Unfortunately, the same leniency was not shown to us. The hapless man in the middle surpassed himself when Vigurs and McShane collided in the box. They exchanged pleasantries and whilst doing so, keeper Samson sprinted over and did some sort of WWE manoeuvre on the Inverness midfielder. Many more joined in to what had now become a mass tag team event. When the snow settled, McKendrick gave Vigurs another yellow signalling the end of the game for him. Absolute joke I'm afraid. That displeased most in the park and we were left chasing the game a man short. With Inverness now desperate to level, they were denied another penalty claim after 90 minutes and from the resulting clearance, Reilly was put clean through and he slotted home to end the game. By the time the second goal went in, hypothermia was setting in and it was time to go, the home stands clearing briskly. Full Time 0-2 A disappointing end to our recent good run, but that was in no small way attributed to another Scottish referee in a long line of absolute duds. St Mirren were here to keep us out at all cost and their tactic of winding Iain Vigurs up worked very well with a bit of assistance from McKendrick. An utter howler of a day and one to forget for many reasons, but it will be remembered mostly for the performance of the egotistical hapless clown who has made Willie Collum look like an expert in his chosen field. A chance to get back on track this Tuesday with a home game against Brechin who drew 1-1 with Dundee United today. Robbo was less than diplomatic in his appraisal of the events.... Date: 25/11/2017 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2687 Referee: John McKendrick Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; Raven, Warren, Donaldson, Tremarco, Chalmers (Oakley, 75), Polworth, Vigurs, Bell, Mulraney (Calder, 52), Baird (Trafford, 80). Subs (not used): Mackay, Elsdon, Doran, Seedorf Scorers: none Booked: Iain Vigurs (22), David Raven (71). Sent Off: Iain Vigurs (79) St Mirren: 2 Lineup: Samson; McGinn, Baird, Davis, Eckersley, L Smith, Magennis, McShane, Morgan, C Smith (Demetriou, 83), Reilly (Duffy, 90) Subs (not used): Stewart, Buchanan, Sutton, Kirkpatrick, McCart Scorers: McShane (Pen 52) Reilly (90+2) Booked: Smith (21), McGinn (24), Eckersley (61), Samson (79) Sent Off: none a
  13. Bell ends the contest Inverness eased their way into the semi-final of the IrnBru Challenge Cup thanks to a second half goal from striker Connor Bell, his fifth goal of the season. In doing this, we also established a new record for consecutive clean sheets. That's seven in a row now. By my calculations, that's 693 minutes of play without conceding, give or take a minute or two. Fantastic effort guys. Alex Cooper replaced Jake Mulraney who was on u21 international duty. For Falkirk, Kevin O'Hara began his eight match suspension and Nathan Austin, Alex Harris and James Craigen all started. Chances were at a premium in this tight contest but after a dogged first half, Inverness gradually got on top and their presence in the Falkirk half eventually paid off when the ball broke to Bell after a headed clearance cannoned off the back of John Baird into the path of Bell. He steadied himself before firing through Robbie Thomson to score the only goal of the game. Inverness were able to see out the game without too much fuss. Falkirks best moments came in the first half when Coll Donaldson cleared one off the line and Myles Hippolyte fluffed a couple of good opportunities. Carl Tremarco was voted MotM on Alba TV, Connor Bell got the vote from the match sponsors, but there were a few worthy winners. Aaron Doran was a surprise inclusion on the bench and he got on the park for the final twenty minutes. Great to see the wee winger back on the field after his horrendous injury problems over the last two seasons. The draw for the semi-finals will take place on Tuesday. Included in this are Crusaders from Northern Ireland, Dumbarton and the winners of Sunday's tie between Welsh league side New Saints and Queen of the South. Robboquote:- "The players are now playing for the name on the front of the jersey rather than the name on the back". Falkirk Manager Paul Hartley felt his side were a bit unfortunate. Highlights from Falkirk TV The BBC Alba broadcast of the game can be seen on iplayer for the next six days ICT -V- Falkirk Date: 11/11/2017 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1078 Referee: Euan Anderson Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: : Ridgers, Raven, Tremarco, Chalmers, Polworth, Baird (Oakley 79), Vigurs, Bell (Calder 86), Cooper (Doran 71), Mckay, Donaldson. Subs (not used): Cameron Mackay (GK), Warren, Trafford, Daniel Mackay. Scorers: Connor Bell (57) Booked: Bell, Tremarco Sent Off: none Falkirk: 0 Lineup: Thomson, McGhee, Muirhead, McKee (Loy 63), Austin (Dunne 71), Hippolyte, Longridge, Harris, Balatoni, Craigen (Blues 84), Watson. Subs (not used): Mutch (GK), Grant, Gasparotto, Gallacher. Scorers: none Booked: Craigen Sent Off: none a
  14. Livingston -V- Inverness CT

    No goals at Pasta place. In John Robertson's 100th game in charge, Inverness made it six clean sheets in a row as they played out a 0-0 draw against Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Stadium. It was no surprise that John Robertson made no changes to the starting XI from the one that beat Dunfermline Athletic last week. That meant that John Baird was deemed fit enough to continue up front. Gary Warren remained on the bench with Coll Donaldson in his place once more and Alex Cooper returned to the squad after injury. David Hopkin made three changes to the starting line-up that beat Brechin City last week. Onto the bench went Nikolay Todorov, Rafa De-Vita and Jack McMillan. In came Jackson Longridge, Keaghan Jacobs and Danny Mullen. 1262 paid to witness this encounter with 267 in the away end making themselves heard. Livi came flying out of the blocks and had two attempts in the first couple of minutes, Josh Mullin testing Mark Ridgers and Craig Halkett heading over from a corner. Connor Bell had the ball in the net after six minutes from a John Baird cross, but the linesman flagged him for offside. Coll Donaldson was booked after twenty minutes as Livi looked to threaten and at the other end Jake Mulraney was close to connecting with a Joe Chalmers cross. Five minutes later and Mulraney was fed through on goal by Liam Polworth but Neil Alexander denied the pacey wide player saving low to his left. Ten minutes before the break Longridge went close after he found some space in the box from a Danny Mullen lay off. Mulraney turned on the after burners but Alexander foiled him as he lost control having done the difficult bit. Danny Mullen was yellow carded five minutes before the interval and Carl Tremarco followed him into the book a couple of minutes later after a late tackle. However, we made it to the interval without conceding and still had eleven players on the park. Inverness possibly shaded the first half with Mulraney looking dangerous. Half Time 0-0 As in the first half, Livi looked intent on breaching our defence and pressed hard without actually creating anything. Brad Mckay is next to have his name taken as the home side threatened to break forward. Around the hour mark, George Oakley replaced Baird who was reportedly struggling to make this one. Tremarco almost latched on to a Mulraney cross as the visitors made some progress. Livi subbed Penrice for Cadden. Shortly after, Tremarco was replaced by Riccardo Calder. Polworth tried his luck from outside the box but his shot ran out of steam and Alexander saved comfortably and at the opposite end Ridgers dealt easily with a cracker from Jacobs with twenty minutes left. Longridge upended Mulraney and was booked for his troubles. Jake dragged a shot wide moments later. Hopkin made his final changes and Danny Mullen and Josh Mullin went off, Nikolay Todorov and Dylan Mackin came on. Chalmers won a corner with ten minutes left but it came to nothing as Polworth fired well over. Moments later Polly fed Bell in on goal but Alexander came out on top once more, managing to get a toe on the ball to divert it from goal. Todorov and Cadden shot over as Livi tried to nick a winner but we made it six clean sheets in a row to take a hard earned point back up the A9. Full Time 0-0 Immortal Howden Ender will have the full version of the days events for us in due course......... and here it is. RETURN TO THE TOEKNEE MACARONI - NO GOALS BUT PLENTY OF POSITIVES First game I have been to since Dumbarton and it was like watching a brand new team – a much improved and organised outfit – and I was advised that this was below the standards set at Tannadice and against Dumbfarmlife. Well dropped the missus off at the Travelodge, a swift pint in the Hungry Horse at the top of the Hill and down to the petite Stadium Bar and a few swift voddie and cokes with Top Six. And then we were all paraded into the Main Stand. It was packed and we must have had close to 50% of the attendance – and we certainly made ourselves heard. A 0-0 always conjures up the idea of boredom and a lack of entertainment. Apart from the first 2-3 minutes - when Livi flew out of the blocks and had fashioned two chances – I felt that we were always in control, if anyone deserved to win it was us but most of the play was confined to the middle sections of the pitch. On show were two very well drilled defences but two teams clearly lacking in the necessary firepower to clinch all three points. In many ways we cancelled each other out as Livi’s style and system was almost identical to ours. We had two good chances to steal three points in both halves. Mulraney had the first half chance after a great through ball from (?) Vigurs, he outpaced the defence but brought out a good save from the veteran Alexander. IMHO Connor Bell had the better chance and really should have tucked it away. And what a through ball from Polworth. So we looked very solid and confident at the back. We won the midfield battle but I felt that we were lacking up front and the two “wee man attack” against the likes of Livi will not work. But we are getting better and better – fitter and fitter – and all of a sudden a play-off place is very much back on the cards. Only negative was our discipline (again) and picking up three cheap yellow cards – Mckay, Donaldson and Tremarco. And we picked up praise from both coaches. Inverness manager John Robertson: "That's six clean sheets and something the players should be immensely proud of because they're working their socks off. We had to match a really honest, intense, direct Livingston team and we managed to create a few opportunities. Livingston manager David Hopkin: "Inverness have really picked up defensively and Neil Alexander's pulled off a couple of great saves to keep us in it as well. Before the game I'd have taken a point. We were playing against an experienced and well-drilled side. SMILEYMOMETER RIDGERS Nowt to do with fitness, all to do with confidence and a much improved back four. RAVEN May not have many more opportunities so I will give him the MotM Award. More like the old Rave, kept going and overlapping for 90 minutes. MCKAY Not pretty but dogged and efficient. DONALDSON Mighty close in my MotM choice. Can't believe the difference in him in comparison with Dumbarton. TREMARCO Probably a real influence on the improvement defensively but I suspect he will be missing in action for another few weeks. MULRANEY Appears to have been given some “play for the shirt” medication but also played wide right and offensive which is undoubtedly where he is at his best. POLWORTH Another 110% display. If only we had a Brewster or Dargo to feed to. VIGURS Showed the usual class touches but I suspect that he was singled out for the “don’t let him play” attention by Livi. CHALMERS I really (always) liked him in midfield. A real battler and a great foil for Vigurs, Polworth and Mulraney. BAIRD Needs a goal. Plus he is the target man and I don’t think that he is comfortable with that. Better player running off the front man. BELL Well I would simply pick him in front of Baird – as the runner – at the present time. Great run on to a greater pass which led to him missing the 1:1 opportunity of the game. CALDER Looked a bit dodgy and not the ideal cover for Tremarco at full back/wing back OAKLEY WTF – what an action packed half hour put in. Probably boosted by the fan chants and evidently clapping enthusiastically at the final whistle. ROBBO Continues to improve. Will be interesting who he plays at left back and surely Oakley has booked a start as the Number 9. Here's the action from the Tony Macaroni......... Robbo was a bit disappointed not to take all three points, but he was very happy with the Caley Jags Away fans. Date: 04/11/2017 Venue: Tony Macaroni Stadium Attendance: 1262 Referee: Gavin Duncan Livingston: 0 Lineup: Alexander; Longridge, Byrne, Halkett, Gallagher, Lithgow, Mullin (Mackin, 77) Pittman, Penrice (Cadden, 65), Jacobs, Mullen (Todorov, 77). Subs (not used): Maley, Knox, Carrick, Todorov. Booked: Mullen, Longridge. Scorers: none Booked: D Mullen (40), Longridge (74) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; Raven, Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco (Calder, 69), Chalmers, Polworth, Vigurs, Mulraney, Bell, Baird (Oakley, 60). Subs (not used): Esson, Warren, Cooper, Trafford, Mackay. Booked: Donaldson, Tremarco, Mckay. Scorers: none Booked: Donaldson (21), Tremarco (44), B Mckay (56) Sent Off: none a
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. Loons 1 - 2 Inverness Liam Polworth had a first half penalty saved by Loons keeper Marc McCallum, who also made some excellent saves to deny Iain Vigurs, John Baird and Ricardo Calder after the spot kick. All the goals came in the second period with Forfar opening through Mark Scott. The lead was short lived and George Oakley and John Baird had Inverness in front six minutes later. That was how it finished, but it was not enough for Inverness to progress in the competition. Connor Bell signed for Inverness in the morning of this game and earned a seat on the bench, Jake Mulraney joining him. David Raven started at right back with Collin Seedorf injured, and Mathew Elsdon was at centre back with Gary Warren still injured. Immortal Howden Ender has this report for us, hot off the press............. A BRIDGE TOO FORFAR !! Well we bowed out of the Betfred Cup at far too early a stage. The Bairns were always going to be a tough nut to crack but we should have hit the nine points from the other three. John Robertson certainly played it down with – “We’ve had a decent League Cup without being hugely impressive – It’s been four matches against quality opponents (!!) that has put us in good stead for the league campaign and allowed us to gel and get fitness levels up”. Hopefully he really meant – “I have now had a chance to look at everybody and I know the way forward”. Station Park may be difficult to find but it is a homely wee stadium and the “astro turf” looks in very good condition. (OK I prefer grass maself). The wind was strong assisted by the intermittent spells of drizzle. We certainly played better when faced to play football against the elements in the first half. The second half became more of a punt which did not work well with the wind and the pitch. I note that the attendance was quoted at 517 but looked more to me. Good turnout from the Highlands – must have been 100-150. The Central Belters/Juanjo Away were well represented and driven to the game from Dundee by none other than a taxi driver called Bobby Mann. Me – I arrived there – by feckin car – 20 minutes before the kick off with Mrs Johndo and Mini IHE – stone cold feckin sober !! At least my grandson (Leighton) had a winning start to his ICT career. We totally dominated the first 45 as we had to play football in its true sense. We could have/should have gone in 3-0 up. The final ball/ the final strike was sadly missing. We played some neat stuff but basically fecked it all up at the close. Calder could have netted a hat-trick. Just after the half hour we had a chance to practically ease the game. Initially it looked like a soft penalty award and a trip on Baird but it was reported as being a hand ball. Not sure why Vigurs did not step up but it was left to Polly – possibly to boost his confidence (DOH). It was really a very poor strike and adds to our penalty taking woes. Four minutes after the restart Marc Scott put Forfar ahead. Perhaps Ridgers was partly to blame but David Cox made a fool out of Chalmers and the initial shot, well saved by Ridgers, should never have been allowed to be completed. Yngwie and I were joking earlier that Cox had enjoyed his summer holidays as he was clearly overweight. But then he tormented Chalmers which says it all. Perhaps that was a wake up call and at least we reacted. Five minutes later McCallum was at fault as he pulled out of a 50/50 with Baird. The ball went loose and George Oakley neatly tucked it away. Before you could say Inverness Caledonian Thistle a Polworth corner was headed on and John Baird hit a screamer at the back post. And the photo does not lie as Mini IHE shows his seerness by evidently predicting the outcome !! After that I was expecting a barrowload but we appeared to relax. Substitutions may not have helped but we were careless. We did not possess the killing off factor and nearly paid the price. So it was back to the 1984 Lounge for the Juanjo Away and a pickup by Bobby Mann. I headed to Camperdown Park to run the feckin dog, went to Tesco and had ma first feckin swally at 20.00 hrs. So feck the family it is Virgin Rail on my own from now on. SMILEYMOMETER RIDGERS Neither worried or inspired me. Looks like a decent shot stopper and a decent distributor but he needs to get nasty and start shouting more. RAVEN Nice to see him back. Looked good in the first half but outpaced on a few occasions by the speedy Scott. Looks more like a squad player. CHALMERS Disappointed. Taken to the proverbial cleaners by a fat Cox. Perhaps that was a Twiiter prediction ELSDON Looks the part but not the most mobile and looks very green and surprisingly not the best in the air. McKAY Thought he was going off in the first half as he appeared to have pulled a muscle. Expected more from him. POLWORTH Why does Robbo not realise that Polworth is wasted wide right - but there again where does he fit in ? He appeared to be given more of a roving role in the second half but we can do that at Forfar but ?!! The roving role however appeared to nullify both Vigurs and Draper VIGURS What was the abuse for ? Vigurs was a class above everybody else in the first half. A sweet left foot comparable with the taxi driver called Bobby Mann. Ran the game for 45 minutes. Faded in the second but the wind was with us and punts became predominant. My MOM by miles. DRAPER Some are stating that he is in second gear. He has always appeared to be in second or third gear to me. He linked well with Vigurs playing in front of him. We really, really need to hold on to him CALDER Calder was impressive but NOT a left winger or a finisher. Looks more like a polished wing back or deeper wide player - unfortunately much like Mulraney. But Tremarco and Calder together really is a juicy prospect. But again where do you play him Robbo ? OAKLEY / BAIRD I x2 Impressed by both Oakley and Baird. They are both pacey and thinkers. They are not on the same wavelength yet but the potential is definitely there. Both took their goals well. MULRANEY Mulraney to me was a breath of fresh air but also a greedy *******. Perhaps trying to impress too much but was more of an individual than a team player to me. BELL Bell did not have much time but looks like the perfect back-up fer Baird FCZ (Susan) . I think I was initially spooked by the Clach reports. He is gangly and awkward but he showed signs today that he can hold up and pass. At the moment a good back-up for Oakley. And he is much better than the Walrus. SO .. I am really worried about the lack of pace at the back. Seedorf and Calder at full backs may assist. Polworth is wasted and perhaps needs to be an initial back-up for Vigurs and Draper. Or what about Polly at right back and Seedorf forward. The front two picks themselves. Date: 29/07/17 Venue: Station Park, Forfar Attendance: 517 Referee: Gavin Duncan Forfar Athletic: 1 Lineup: McCallum; Travis, Bain, Malone, Munro, Mensing, Cox (Aitken, 79), Millar (McBride, 51), Lister, See, Scott. Subs (not used): King, Easton, Warwick, Gill, Kennedy. Scorers: Scott 49. Booked: Munro Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; Raven, Mckay, Elsdon, Chalmers, Polworth, Draper, Vigurs, Calder (Mulraney 75), Oakley (Zschusschen 71), Baird (Bell, 84). Subs (not used): Esson, MacDonald, Cooper. Scorers: Oakley 54, Baird 55. Booked: Calder, Baird Sent Off: none a
  22. Robbo no happy after home defeat Inverness' disjointed side slumped to a 0-2 defeat at the hands of Championship contenders Falkirk who did all their hard work in the first half and coasted in from there, the hosts unable to fashion out any clear chances over the entire game. Inverness were without captain Gary Warren and Jake Mulraney, both injured at Forthbank in midweek. Alex Cooper was a surprise inclusion on the bench having earned a short term contract as we struggle for fit players. Matt Elsdon came in at the back and John Baird faced his former club up front. A blustery but dry afternoon greeted the sides as the game kicked off, a bit of haar coming in from the Firth keeping the temperature down. Falkirk were prepared to take the game to their hosts looking to get an early advantage, but it was Inverness that passed up on the first snippet. A free kick from Polworth found it's way into the box and bounced into an awkward area, but the defence reacted quicker and cleared the danger. An excellent bit of ball retention saw Nathan Austin get clear in the box after a neat flick set him up, but he smothered his shot from twelve yards and Mark Ridgers was able to block with his legs to avoid a certain goal. When Susan was robbed in midfield, Falkirk went forward again and Sammy Hyppolite tried from distance but his shot was always heading just the wrong side of the post with Ridgers scrambling across his line to escort the ball round the sticks. Pressure was mounting on the home defence but they were coping at this point. However, a long diagonal ball from Rory Loy was well taken by Alex Harris wide on the Falkirk right as he raced forward. He delivered a superb cut back into the box which was asking to be dispatched, and up popped Joe McKee to drive the ball low behind Ridgers for the opening goal from around the same spot as Austin missed from earlier. Ridgers had to scamper well out of his box as a long ball caught out the entire home defence. He just managed to get a toe nail on it to foil Austin as the striker sped towards him some forty yards out. Our only moment in the first half saw a deep cross find John Baird under pressure at the back post from Aiden Muirhead, but alas, between the defender and the keeper, the ball was blocked from Baird's header. One minute later and that miss would prove costly. Ridgers was less fortunate with his next piece of the action a couple of minutes before the break. He scuffed a clearance about thirty five yards straight to the feet of Rory Loy who promptly fed Nathan Austin who in turn curled the ball low past the culprit in goal. Just enough time for Ross Draper to fire a shot wide before the whistle blew. A bit harsh on Inverness maybe, but two down at the interval and a mountain to climb, the lack of creation evident. Half Time 0-2 The second period saw Falkirk go into their shell as they looked to hold onto what they had with Inverness not showing much attacking intent or commitment, and ten minutes in Ricardo Calder was replaced by Alex Cooper. He had a run into the corner of the box, but his effort was blocked for a corner from a tight angle. On the hour Robbo had seen enough, or maybe not seen enough of Felitciano Zschuschenn and hooked him for George Oakley. The result of that substitution showed that we looked slightly more menacing with Oakley able to hold up the ball better and battle for his place in the team. He almost reduced the deficit after seventy-five minutes but Robbie Thomson brought off a TV save to deny him from twenty-five yards. Little was seen of Falkirk in this half, but we were still making heavy weather of producing moments in the ever increasing swirling conditions that brought in even more chilling winds. As the game wore on we looked less likely to carve open the visiting defence and that's how it ended with Falkirk going to the top of group A with a game in hand. Full Time 0-2 For Inverness, Collin Seedorf looked to be the most accomplished player and George Oakley did his chances of a start no harm when he was introduced. Most of the rest need to take a look at themselves and see if they want to play for this club or not, and one or two appear to be lacking in confidence just now. Defeat for Robbo in his second game at home with his new look side and he pulled no punches in this frank and cutting interview after the game. Peter Houston also gave his thoughts. Great video & commentary from Falkirk TV Date: 22/07/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: ???? Referee: John Beaton Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers, Chalmers, Elsdon, Polworth, Draper, Baird, Vigurs, Calder (Cooper 55), Seedorf, Zschusschen (Oakley 59), McKay Subs (not used): Esson, Raven, Foy, MacDonald Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none Falkirk: 2 Lineup: Thomson, Muirhead, Watson, Grant, Gallacher, McKee, Taiwo, Hippolyte (Miller 80), Harris (Shepherd 71), Gallacher, Austin (Kerr 79), Loy Subs (not used): Mitchell, Gasparotto, O'Hara, Craigen Scorers: McKee (21), Austin (43) Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  23. Binos pay the penalty. A blistering hot day in Scotland that would have made new signing Felitciano Zschusschen, (now to be known as Susan from here on in), right at home. The Curaçaoan international started on the bench as Robbo went with a similar line-up to the one that eased past Brechin at the weekend. The Binos made three changes from the team that went down at Falkirk. Lee Hamilton, Andrew Black and Callum Morrison in for Scott Davidson, Liam Caddis and Ross Kavanagh. It would take penalties to separate the sides. Inverness had less rubbish penalties and sneaked back up the A9 with the bonus point. Robbo expected his side to take the game to the hosts and they did some early pressing, Iain Vigurs volleyed wide after three minutes as the visitors looked for that early opening. Five minutes later and Macdonald heads over from a corner at the other end. Gary Warren is booked in the tenth minute as he gives away a free kick on the edge of the box, but Ridgers is equal to the shot from McGeachie after the free kick is taken. Liam Polworth made Cammy Binnie work with a low long range effort, but it's well saved by the keeper. Andrew Black was booked for Stirling after fouling Polworth and soon after Jake Mulraney has to be subbed through injury with Joe Chalmers entering the field. George Oakley ruffled the side netting as he went close to scoring around the half hour. The pressure began to mount on the home goal and Polworth dragged a shot wide after Oakley shot over. Still no goals though with the interval approaching fast. Not the first half Robbo was looking for and it ends goalless. Maybe it'll soon be Susan time......... Half Time 0-0 Six minutes into the second half and Robbo has seen enough, and as Oakley hooks the ball over the bar, Robbo hooks Oakley. Susan makes his debut so soon. Ricardo Calder is closest to opening the scoring in the second period but he pulls his shot wide of the target. Story of the night so far. Binnie then denies Warren and Draper on the follow up as the visitors fail to impress. Baird does manage to get the ball in the net but is adjudged to have fouled the keeper in the process. He also received a booking for his troubles. One or two frantic scrambles in the home end as Warren goes to ground. Play on, but not for Warren as he is soon replaced by final sub Matt Elsdon with just over ten minutes remaining. Iain Vigurs drills a low shot goalwards but Binnie denies him. Susan has the ball in the net but it suffers the same fate as the previous one for Baird. This time high feet from Seedorf ruins the moment. Right at the end, Mark Ridgers is called upon to make a decent save to deny Morrison. Full Time 0-0 Straight to penalties after our inability to score carries on from last season. When will this end? Stirling to start the shoot-out for the bonus point. Dickson - Wide 0-0 Baird - Wide 0-0. (ffs, how narrow are these goals). Morrison - Saved by Ridgers 0-0 Chalmers - Shoots high over 0-0 Smith - Shoots over the bar 0-0 Polworth - Scores, at last 0-1 McMullan - Another over the bar 0-1 (good grief) Vigurs - Scores to seal it 0-2 Shockingly poor penalty shoot-out ends with Inverness picking up the bonus point. More match reaction to follow............... Stirling Albion: 0 Binnie, McGeachie, Noble, Hamilton, McNeil, Black, Morrison, Robertson, McDonald, Smith, Dickson Subs: Foden, Davidson, Banner, McMullan, Caddis, Henderson, Kavanagh Inverness CT: 0 (0-2 after penalties) Ridgers, Warren, Polworth, Draper, Baird, Vigurs, Oakley, Mulraney, Calder, Seedorf, McKay Subs: Esson, Raven, Chalmers, Zschusschen, MacDonald Referee: Mike Roncone Attendance: 591
  24. We do have a team after all! Inverness eased their way into this League Cup game and ended up with a comfortable 3-0 win over Championship newbies Brechin City, thanks to a brace from Gary Warren and a first for new signing George Oakley. After an indifferent low key pre-season, some heads were already dropping slightly but this was just the tonic they needed to get back behind the team as we kicked off Betfred League Cup Group A with a decisive win over fellow Championship side Brechin City. Robbo gave five newstarts their debut with another two on the bench but it was stalwart captain and center back Gary Warren that stole the show with a couple of goals from set-pieces. Jake Mulraney was showing a clean pair of heels to the Brechin defenders and was the target of some rash challenges before being replaced in the second half. Apart from a Layne free kick early on and a Spark header that went over, City offered little in the way of forward momentum and after Oakley had headed home the third, they were looking rather bedraggled with Inverness stroking the ball around comfortably. Hardly surprising given the number of players the visitors had missing, only four on the bench including the Machine. So, we do have a team after all. However, it's difficult to judge considering the opposition were struggling to get players on the park and the fact that they have just come up from the first division. Collin Seedorf looks to be a class act and Oakley took his goal well. Oooooh Gary Warren led by example and Jake Mulraney looked to have the freedom of the wing, this could be a good season for him. Not much for debut keeper Mark Ridgers to deal with in a comfortable afternoon all round. If there could be any criticism levelled at the team, they could and should have scored more goals against a weakened Brechin, but it's good to get the opening game out of the way without any mishaps. Onwards and upwards. Despite being stunned to be back in charge, Robbo was delighted with the win and looks forward to the challenge ahead. CALEY THISTLE: 3 (Warren 21,34, Oakley 57) Ridgers; Seedorf, Mckay, Warren, Calder, Polworth, Draper, Vigurs (Elsdon, 83), Mulraney (Chalmers, 72), Baird, Oakley. Subs unused: Esson, Raven, Stark, Wilson, MacDonald. Booked: Warren. BRECHIN CITY: 0 Smith; McLean, Dyer, Fusco, Crighton, Spark (Ford, 84), Orsi, Lynas, Jackson, Layne, Love (Sinclair, 78). Subs unused: O’Neil, Dods. Booked: Love, McLean. Referee: B Cook. Crowd : 1419
  25. Not over yet. Inverness came out of the blocks flying with a hint of intent, and after only two minutes Billy Mckay opened the scoring from close range. Things got even better when Alex Fisher knocked in number two after ten minutes. Inverness could have stretched their lead in the first period but Ryan Esson came to the rescue just before half-time to keep it 0-2 at the break. The second half offered less opportunities and the Inverness defence coped well with Dundee's attacks. This was a massive result and one which left the fans wondering where has this result been all season. A clean sheet to boot, well done Richie and the guys. Richie Foran talked to BBC Sport after the final whistle. He said we were magnificent defensively, won almost every ball into the box. Same again for Saturday. Great win, especially for the supporters. The players had a great attitude all week, confidence was high and we look forward to a massive game on Saturday. Pressure is now on Hamilton. The side were met with an enthusiastic and larger than normal vocal backing as we took to the park. Foran put the much maligned Iain Vigurs into the middle of the system to add some much needed creativity, and it worked well with Vigurs supplying some teasing balls forward. Billy Mckay almost scored in the first minute when he shut down Scott Bain but his block on the delayed clearance bounced just wide. He would not be denied moments later when he pounced on a lay-off from Liam Polworth to drill the ball low past the keeper from 12 yards. The perfect start for the Caley Jags in their quest to remain in the Premiership. The evening got even better for the visitors in the 10th minute when Iain Vigurs chipped a wonderful ball into the box from central midfield. There was plenty to do and I'm sure the Dundee defenders thought that as well. Undaunted, Alex Fisher controlled the ball on his head and as it fell he swivelled and volleyed a spectacular shot behind a stunned keeper. What a goal. It would not have looked out of place in the Nou Camp. Fisher passed up on an easier chance when he directed a header wide form a good cross by Brad Mckay. He should have made the keeper work at least but he will be forgiven after his stunning goal earlier. Paul McGowan fired one wide as Dundee woke up and Liam Polworth went close at the other end. Darren O'Dea headed over as Dundee picked up the pace but Inverness were playing with a new found confidence and looked composed all over the park, dealing with the Dark Blues comfortably. Cammy Kerr broke into the box but slashed his shot wide under pressure and the game went into overdrive with opportunities coming at both ends. In truth, Dundee could have had no complaints if they had found themselves four down before the interval, although Ryan Esson made a tremendous block close to the break after Nick Ross did well to slip in Haber. Half Time 0-2 After the interval we kept control of the game without being so prominent in our opponents half. At the back we were first to every ball and restricted Dundee to half chances. Mark O'Hara could have done better with a header but he nodded it straight at Esson who scooped it up comfortably. At the opposite end Brad Mckay directed a header to the top corner but Bain had enough time to pluck it out of the air. As the game wore on, Foran went for safety and replaced attacking options with defenders with Dundee desperate to take something from the game. However we were equally determined to hold onto our clean sheet, only our third of the season and the decision to hold what we had proved to be the right one as the home side were kept at arms length as the game came to a close. Full Time 0-2 What a shot in the arm this was. It was as welcome as it was unexpected, but thoroughly deserved. We did most of our productive work early which left Dundee chasing the game and they never fully recovered from our opening blitz. Tremendous shift from everyone with Iain Vigurs being the pick of the bunch. Great work by Esson and the defence to keep the clean sheet and two fantastic goals to set up this lifeline. Superb backing from the visiting fans who backed the team to the hilt. All to do again on Saturday in another must win game. Can we do it, yes we can, there is life in the team after all. Date: 17/05/2017 Venue: Dens Park, Dundee Attendance: 5574 Referee: Kevin Clancy Dundee: 0 Lineup: Bain, Kerr, Gomis (Higgins 45), O'Dea, Holt, Vincent, Ross, O'Hara, McGowan, El Bakhtaoui (Wighton 72), Haber (Ojamaa 55). Subs (not used): Williams, Dryden, Ferie, Smith. Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Esson, Brad Mckay, Warren, Laing, Raven, Polworth, Tansey, Draper, Vigurs (McCart 89), Fisher(McNaughton 85), Billy Mckay (Anier 66) Subs (not used): Hoban, Mulraney, Cole, Ebbe. Scorers: Billy Mckay (2) Alex Fisher (10) Booked: Vigurs, Anier Sent Off: none a