Out of the Shadows
The last time they tried to play this game, the plug was pulled at the Global Energy Stadium and the players were left in the shadows!
That was the 25th October when floodlight failure caused by a network problem outside the stadium left everybody in the dark and the game to be abandoned at half time with the score at 0-0.
This time round Ross County will be able to field a stronger side since the January sales have seen them bring in almost a whole new team. Gone are the Grant Munro's, Sproule's and Kovasevics' and in have come Kiss, Skew, Songo, Arquin, Tidser, Micic and Ikonomu, all well kent names in Dingwall.
Inverness whilst not engaging in the transfer market satisfied themselves by hanging on to all their squad, and the continuity this brings will stabilise their drive for a top-six finish once more.
Inverness beat St Johnstone at the weekend while Ross County were easing themselves away from the play off position by beating fellow strugglers St Mirren 2-1 at Dingwall, Arquin and De Leeuw the scorers.
Derek Adams still provides a decent floor show during the games and he and Danny Lennon were having powder puffs at ten paces on the touchline last Saturday. Nothing new there then!
Sixteen points separate the sides just now and that sees County in ninth place and vieing with Killie, Partick and St Mirren for the play off spot with Hearts seemingly all but down and out. However, there are plenty points still to play for and a run similar to what they achieved last season could see them push towards the top-six, but that's a bit off at the moment. It's six games since Inverness won in Dingwall, a 1-0 League Cup win in August 2004
Of more concern to us is the fact that Billy McKay has not been tucking them away with the regularity he showed in the early part of the season. His link play and hold up is still fantastic for a diminutive striker, it's just the goals that have gone through a barren spell, only two in 2014.
Richie Foran is making good progress since returning from injury and we have the luxury of depth in midfield, with Vincent and Ross waiting in the wings and Tremarco and Devine at the rear. The only weak link if you like is that we don't have another proven scorer, but Greg Tansey could do some damage from midfield, never shy at trying his luck from distance.
Anyway, enough nonsense from me, Ginger Jaggy has this more detailed preview for you..............
Derby by Night
Tonight we make the short trip back over the Black Isle to Dingwall for the rearranged fixture after the embarrassing blackout last time out. For us this is the first of our rearranged matches as we look at a very congested calendar from now until the split. Our close neighbours will be looking to take advantage of our pile up as well as hoping some minds are not on their game as they look towards the biggest day in the clubs history. Dingwall has always been a tricky venue but after winning in Perth for the first time in three seasons then confidence is high to win our first league game on enemy territory since a first division match back in 2003.
With places up for grabs, Yogi Hughes will have many auditions to choose his starting X1 from if he hasn’t got a good idea already for the cup final in just three weeks. But if he still has doubts then what better a venue than the passion and fight that a derby usually brings. Yogi has already one derby under his belt and it was a very disappointing but Saturday’s win may put the wind back in the Inverness sails after a stop start beginning to Yogi’s tenure. Changes may be needed with the fixture pile up but it is likely that it will be as you were from the weekend. There may have been not many goals scored compared to our blistering early season form but a 1-0 win here would be a great result on a pitch that goes against strengths. With the wide areas of the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium our wingers can find space to stretch defences but in Dingwall as we have seen before our wingers can become ineffective by the tight nature of the pitch. Some have suggested a more direct approach and with the return of Richie Foran it may not be a bad idea to add some physical muscle upfront when the centre areas are likely to be congested. Whoever plays and whatever formation is deployed the lads know they have a wonderful chance to narrow the gap even more to 2nd place with Aberdeen facing Celtic and Motherwell facing a tricky trip to Perth.
As for our neighbours they will be hoping to make it three wins in a row over us after winning in the New Year derby and more painfully rubbing our noses in it last May. They will also be on a high after beating fellow struggler's St Mirren on Saturday. We need to start picking up points for a chance of European qualification, then points are needed at the other end of the spectrum for County. After a brilliant first season in which the master seethe led his team to the top six in their first season in the top flight, this season has been a more realistic one with lots of foreign imports failing to gel leaving County battling to avoid the play offs. Their win at the weekend does move them up to 9th but with it being so tight between four sides they are only one point above the play-off position. There squad does look to have improved since we last faced them with several impressive loan signings helping them to improve their form. Freddie Arquin and Jordan Slew have made them more dangerous in attack and with Cardiff loaner Filip Kiss and ex Morton Midfielder Michael Tidser joining they have more creativity and goals from midfield now than they did before the window opened.
It will be another tight game with lot of effort and determination but it will probably lack any real quality even though some games have been crackers in the past. I think it will be very important to be strong in the middle and having the captain supremo back will help vastly for this type of game. It is unlikely to be a sell out but there will be a decent crowd which will hopefully see a resolution this time. For me I'm going to say we will nick it, you can never tell in derby matches and form goes out of the window but if we show we want it more then I think we have enough quality to make the biggest contribution to the match and win 1-0.
Aside from the football, it looks like Derek the seethe Adams was back to his horribly aggressive self after not taking too kindly to a couple of challenges from Saints skipper Jim Goodwin. Looking at it, yes an elbow was involved but it didn’t look deliberate so for me another typical Adams throwing his toys out of the pram. Calm down Derek it is only a CONTACT SPORT after all. Hopefully the fans tonight will wind him up even more and that he will have something more to moan about when we return to Inverness with the vital three points.
Both sides have full squads to choose from, so it's game on..................... :ictscarf: