Gringo goes talent spotting
Gringo has been on his travels to check out the talent, the talent at Inverness Caledonian Thistle and unsurprisingly after witnessing the sombre goings on at Perth he did not spot much talent.
Here are his thoughts on our progress so far. All this was penned before the Motherwell game, so maybe there is a glimmer of hope as we start the long haul off the foot of the table.
And that's entertainment?
We are a quarter of the way through the season already (how time flies when you’re having fun) and it’s safe to say that we (ICT) haven’t set the SPL alight with dazzling displays of fast flowing football. In fact Terry Butcher's new side have been blowing hot and cold in much the same way as the weather. Yes, we could all blame the injury crisis and, in TB’s words, it’s the worst that’s been seen in his managerial career. It’s also the worst in my ‘supporting’ career as I can’t remember a time quite like this. Having said all the excuses that exist each week we still have a great bunch of professionals in the side that have stepped up to the plate and filled in the gap left by the crocks. Unfortunately, although at the time of writing this, we are only a single point adrift it could have been so different if we could have finished off some great chances that we created. Gregory Tade surely needs some kind of coaching to help him sharpen his goal scoring skills or be forced to watch videos of Manchester City. He really does work hard and deserves the rewards his hard work creates. The defence on the other hand have always looked very shaky and during our first game of the season at Motherwell I witnessed a very inept back four who could only look around and blame each other after conceding the three goals. Not much has changed since that day as we continue to concede in every game. My latest visit to see the team was the abysmal affair at St Johnstone where I witnessed yet another shoddy display from a side that should have gelled by now. I think Terry Butcher was right in his summation of that game by stating it felt like he’d picked up some strangers on the A9 to form the team. Maybe he should change the route next time and travel via Barcelona!
As the injuries subside and the guys return to field it will be interesting to see how the side will shape up. It is true that we have missed Hayes and Cox but will their return really make a big difference? At the end of the day we can create chance after chance to all eternity but it’s not going to be much use if we can’t put the frigging ball in the net. Is MacKay the answer? I have my doubts but let’s not write him off just yet – like we did with Paul Richie and others. For me Foran has had his day. He is not the striker of old and certainly didn’t show any signs of being a great captain either judging by his display in Perth. His head was the first to drop. As captain he should be inspiring the team to get back into the game and motivate them. He doesn’t do it for me. I can only base my thoughts on the two away games I’ve seen but judging by the match day thread on the forum I am not alone in my thoughts. During my compilation of the forum gossip for The Scotsman article, he is constantly mentioned and it’s mostly negative. He has, of course, set up a couple of goals so I suppose it can’t all be bad.
The announcement that Terry and Mo’ have signed a new two year deal was met with delight from me as I think these two will, eventually, get us playing the way that will shock a few teams and see us challenge better in the SPL and, who knows, that elusive top six place and possibly a cup success. This announcement also coincided with our worst performance of the season so far which is akin to being voted manager of the month. Pure coincidence, surely!!
When TB was appointed the manager’s job after Craig Brewster I couldn’t help feeling a little bit disappointed. I don’t think TB’s managerial record is anything to shout about (I still don’t) and definitely thought that we were jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. However, he has made me change my views. He almost saved us from relegation but the damage was already done. To bounce back at the first attempt was incredible and now we see him building ‘his’ team. I was upset when he released Granty and Russell but, with all due respect to them both, I really don’t think we’d be any better off in the league than we are right now if they’d stayed. Terry’s tactics demonstrate to me that he is no tactician. He changes the formation week in week out with the injury crisis being touted as the reason. I’d wager that if he played the guys in their correct positions we may be further up the table by now. My confidence in him is waning slightly but we’ll see what happens when he hasn’t got that same excuse in his locker. So, my report card for the season so far is a 6/10 – must do better.
I’ve only made two games this season so far and both have been dire affairs. Performances like those do not inspire me to make the effort to suffer Richard Branson’s poor excuses for trains for most of the day. But it’s not only the poor performances on the field that sometimes make me think twice before travelling it’s also the way we, the fans, get treated at SPL games. We know that there are rules but surely we shouldn’t be subjected to overzealous stewards who wear the ‘Jobsworth’ badge. We are singled out because we are a small group and I firmly believe that the stewards, not only regard us as an easy target, but also as a practice session to sharpen their chucking out skills. There is absolutely no way that they’d perform in that fashion when big boys come to town. Not only is this situation a big put off to me (especially considering the amount of travelling I do to attend) but also the costs of attending games. It’s not a cheap day out anymore and the entertainment side of it is practically non-existent except for the banter in the pub or on the bus. Singing ‘1000 Green Bottles’ was a delight but someone kept miscounting and we had to start again…and again…and again, until, that is, we settled on starting at 100 and getting to the end. The end was met with a great cheer until we heard…”If one green bottle was put back on the wall…” This banter continued en route to the ground but the dire 90 mins of ‘entertaining’ football had the effect that Christmas was over, you’d opened all your presents and now you couldn’t be bothered. The journey back up the road was very subdued indeed.
There was a discussion in my part of the world about the costs of attending football matches. Not only is the price of watching EPL astronomical but watching games in the Championship is also wallet busting. The discussion involved the fall in attendances and the cost was ‘voted’ the highest factor. There were quite a few guys (and girls) saying they’d never attend the likes of Villa Park or St Andrews until the price fell (which it won’t) and now go to non-league grounds at the likes of Kidderminster, Tamworth and Nuneaton to get their football fix. The high costs, of course, are attributed to the players’ wages and is a situation that is only going to get worse instead of better. Watching football on the ‘terraces’ in a few years time is going to become a pastime for Lottery winners et el.
So, what of ICT for the next quarter? My gut feeling is we will continue to struggle along and we will end up in a relegation battle with either Dunfermline or Hibernian. Our next four fixtures will, I’m sure, make the picture perfectly clear. These games will not be easy for us to nick points. It will need all the players to pull together and show us what they can do. It will need the loan players, some of which are only on the books until January, to put themselves in the shop window because on current form nobody will want them. Hopefully the return of Hayes and Dorran will add that wee bit of bite back into the side. Maybe the defence will knuckle down and stop leaking goals. Maybe I’ll be totally wrong and we’ll go on a winning streak. Only time will tell of course but I’m going to give the lads a helping hand by putting money on our opponents to beat us. This would virtually guarantee us a point because I never win my football bets.
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