Just Like Barca
The last Highland derby of the season is played tonight as local rivals and bottom six club Ross County host top six Inverness Caledonian Thistle at the Global Energy Stadium with a quarter to eight kick off.
It's how Yogi sees the way forward (or backwards) for his charges, unfortunately the only thing we have in common with Barcelona is that they are also a wee Messi side. Maybe a return to the stripes is on the cards.
It's one game apiece this season with the away sides having the upper hand so far. County triumphed at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium in the first encounter that was played to a finish. Scott Boyd and Alex Cooper scored two quickfire goals in the first half and Inverness left it too late when Aaron Doran scored in the last minute to give County the bragging rights when they first footed the Highland Capital on the first of January.
The first game that kicked off never went to completion as the lights went out in Dingwall. That was also a Friday evening. With the score at 0-0, the darkness descended on the, ahem, Global Energy Stadium during the interval and the game was called off after three attempts to shed some light on the subjects failed to rectify the problem.
The last derby saw Inverness crush County 3-0 in Dingwall when many thought the County winter sales would be a key factor in the outcome of this game. Inverness were fired up for this one and took the game to County from the start. John Hughes achieved something that Terry Butcher never did at Dingwall whilst in charge of Inverness in a league game. His side were in control and Billy McKay scored, sandwiched between a couple of firsts as David Raven scored the opener, and substitute Marley Watkins put the icing on the cake by clipping home the third.
However, that was then, and this is now. Although Inverness comfortably reached the safe haven of the top six, results have been somewhat patchy and many fans are questioning the managers mindset. We appear to have gone backwards, literally, as we strive to keep the ball at all costs and look to be playing without any recognised wingers, instead choosing to clutter up the middle of the park and leave McKay isolated up front. This has not made for pleasant viewing and results of late have seen us crawl towards the end of the season. Only one win in our last nine matches has the fingers wagging and Yogi needs to pull out a result tonight if the doubters are to be staved off in the meantime. These nine games have seen us score only five goals, just over half a goal a game.
John Hughes insists that he will persevere with the passing game, akin to Barcelona. Well John, I've got news for you. It's not working too well at the moment and this passing game seems to be passing by the supporters at the moment who are not best pleased that we have slipped from second to fifth during his tenure. The good honest laddies are being trained by Yogi's bibles, I hope he has got it right for his sake.
County, for their lowly league position, have scored only one goal less than us. It's the defence that has let them down. They have conceded twenty goals more than us, although our own once watertight back line has been leaking like a sieve recently. County's form over the same period has been similar to ours, but the one thing in their favour tonight will be desire. Who wants it most. They are still trying to steer clear of the dreaded play off place that could see the second bottom club relegated along with Hearts, and that could give them the impetus to make it difficult for Inverness tonight.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle captain Richie Foran has undergone a minor knee operation. He would have been unavailable through suspension anyway, but has had his knee cleaned out. Aaron Doran has been missed recently and may be out again, but a late fitness test could see him included. Josh Meekings returns after his red card against St Mirren, which will see Danny Devine make way once more, and he is also nursing an injury. Ross Draper will not play which is a pity as he has been brilliant recently with Foran absent.
Derek Adams has Marc Klok returning to training, but Stuart Kettlewell will have a scan on a hip/groin problem and remains out along with striker Darren Maatsen and ex-Inverness keeper Michael Fraser.
tm4tj Prediction:- A close encounter with maybe a solitary goal separating the sides either way, and with our dismal run of late, that might favour the Staggies tonight as they have more to play for with our season virtually over.
By tm4tj •Ross County -V- Inverness CT - PreviewTeaser Paragraph:
Just Like Barca