New Year Derby 2016
It's a new Year and the first derby beckons at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium with Ross County first footing on the 2nd of January at 15:00.
Inverness made the most of Storm Frank at Hamilton as they blew the Accies away in a stirring, epic encounter. We were well in control and cruising at 2-0 ahead when the wheels fell off. This is a worrying trend this season that needs addressed urgently. We allowed Accies to draw level before restoring our lead with Tansey's second thumping free kick. However, we were caught cold again and plenty of finger wagging went on in the box amongst our own players. Liam Polworth became an instant hero though as he exploded a shot behind the Accies former County keeper in time added on to secure a remarkable three points.
County beat Kilmarnock 3-2 in Dingwall the night before in another topsy turvy game. Craig Curran had given County the lead before Killie forged ahead just after the break. Man of the moment Michael Gardyne became County's all time record scorer with two goals to seal the win and move County on to 30 points, 5 above Inverness.
The clubs have met twice this campaign with one win apiece. Inverness ended County's seven match unbeaten sequence in the Premiership encounter at Dingwall when Miles Storey and James Vincent opened up a two goal lead, but despite Liam Boyce scoring a late goal, Inverness won 2-1, a somewhat shock result given the circumstances of both clubs. County gained revenge in the league cup quarter final by the same margin at Inverness this time. Irvine and Gardyne put County two up before Tansey reduced the deficit, but it was too little too late for a depleted Inverness as County moved into the semi-final.
Inverness should be able to field an unchanged side from the one that performed heroically at Hamilton on Wednesday afternoon. Josh Meekings missed that one and he looks like missing out again along with season long absentees, Aaron Doran, Dean Brill and Richie Foran. Jordan Roberts made the bench and could provide an unknown alternative should Yogi decide to use him. One or two players could need time to prove their fitness for this one.
Ross County should also be unchanged from the squad that beat Kilmarnock on Tueday night. That's a luxury that Yogi has not been afforded all season.
tm4tj Prediction:- We are a different beast from the one that limped out of the league cup. In saying that, County have been on form recently and scoring for fun. Liam Polworth is our man of the moment for Inverness and he has grown in stature over the last couple of months. He has scored four goals in his last three games, his final one at Hamilton an absolute screamer. Miles Storey has not been scoring, but his pace is still causing all sorts of problems for defenders. With David Raven back in his role at right back and Ross Draper adding more muscle in midfield along with Nat Wedderburn, we have become more difficult to beat. Greg Tansey has found his free kick shooting boots and that should concern the County keeper. The downside of our displays has been after the hour we seem to surrender possession to the opposition and retreat into our own wee bubble. If we can sort that out and keep the County hotshots quiet, then it could be a Happy New Year. Home win on the cards; the Highlands are ours.
One trivia stat that has been unearthed by one of our regular forum users Sneckboy is that we are getting very close to our 1500th competitive goal. As far as his painstaking statistics show, we need another three goals to reach this milestone. 500th goal was scored by Davide Xausa, Grant Munro scored the 1000th. It would be nice to complete the full set against our near neighbours and maybe another local lad could get the job done. Hat-Trick for Polworth anyone?