It's time to continue the defence of our trophy as the Scottish Cup fifth round draw takes us to Fir Park to face the 1952 & 1991 winners Motherwell.
It's not the most glamorous of ties and certainly a tougher one than we would have liked at this stage, and one that Motherwell will feel they can win, but that's the luck of the draw I suppose.
The transfer window came and went and it caused a bit of a stushie up North with the Greg Tansey affair taking all the headlines. The on off saga detracted slightly from the fact that Inverness did add a couple of players to our squad. Liam Hughes and Ryan Williams are both midfielders and will hopefully add a bit of craft to the squad.
So, rightly or wrongly, Greg Tansey remains an Inverness Caledonian Thistle player for now amid much speculation and guesstimating. Greg's official agent is blaming a third party for all the confusion. We'll not add to the mystique and leave it at that, content that he will be pulling on an Inverness shirt this weekend.
This is a cup game, but as far as league form goes there's not much between the sides and home advantage could be the deciding factor. Inverness sit just three points above Motherwell, the main disparity being a much superior goal difference. We have sored more and lost less showing a difference of 13 goals in our favour.
We have played twice already this season and it's one win apiece. We opened our campaign with a 0-1 defeat to Motherwell in the Highlands. We were in a transition period then, prior to our injury ravaged era and went down rather tamely to an early Wes Fletcher goal. In the reverse fixture at Motherwell we pulled of a surprise but nonetheless welcome 3-1 victory. A Greg Tansey penalty and a Miles Storey deflected strike saw us go in at the break two ahead. Iain Vigurs scored a superb volley after the break before Louis Moult pulled one back for the Well. But that's how it ended, 1-3 for Inverness and a mini revival started in December to boost our points tally.
Motherwell made their way to this stage by thrashing Cove Rangers 5-0. They took just two minutes to open the scoring through Moult and were 2-0 up after six minutes when Scott McDonald scored. Further counters from Marvin Johnson and Stephen Pearson put them in at the break four up and Pearson added his second to end the scoring after the hour. Since that game, the Steelmen have been thrashed 6-0 by Hearts, lost 2-1 to County, drawn with Dundee and lost a late goal when slipping to defeat at Partick.
While Motherwell were cruising into the next round, we made heavy weather of our tie at Forthbank and Stirling Albion fully deserved another crack at their Premier opponents. It took two spectacular goals to see off the Binos in the replay, many Inverness fans just happy to get into the draw, but not overjoyed by another lack lustre performance. Their pessimism justified in our next league game, a drab 0-0 draw with Partick following on from defeat at Kilmarnock.
Carl Tremarco is the latest player to extend his contract. That comes on top of Gary Warren, Ryan Esson and Ross Draper putting pen to paper, so some good news for Caley Jags fans after a nail biting transfer window comes to a close.
Inverness can call on their new signings to boost the squad. Yogi looks likely to flood the midfield given our lack of strikers available. Dean Brill is almost ready to pull his gloves on, but Aaron Doran and Josh Meekings are out. James Vincent has been a recent omission and his box to box play has been missed. Richie Foran and Jordan Roberts continue their rehab on the bench. The unfortunate Alex Fisher is out for six weeks with a chipped ankle bone.
Motherwell have added Morgaro Gomis on loan from Hearts, and he is eligible for this game. A couple of notable outs is David Clarkson who has been loaned to St Mirren and midfielder Liam Grimshaw has returned to Manchester United. There's not much fresh news coming out of Fir Park, but defender Ben Roberts is reported to be struggling to make this one.
tm4tj Prediction:- It's a chance to forget the rigours of league football and serve up a footballing treat for the fans. Inverness as holders will be looking to remain in contention and Motherwell will be hoping home advantage will benefit them. On paper, it should be tight. Louis Moult will be one to keep an eye on. He has scored 13 goals this season and has picked up 5 yellow cards, so one way or another, an exciting prospect. We have been under the hammer recently, struggling to create sufficient opportunities for Miles Storey, but the young striker has been plugging away and the goals will come, eight so far for him. Our last game at Fir Park saw us run out 3-1 winners, it'll be tighter than that and might take a replay to sort this one out.
Of course, we have put Motherwell out of the cup at Fir Park before. Barry Wilson scored with a spectacular goal from all of 75 yards. I believe next season it will be up to 80 yards, gets better with every passing year.
Bring it on!
The romance of the Cup goes on for some teams. Ross County have an intriguing home tie against the first Junior side to reach the 5th round, Linlithgow Rose. They are well travelled in their quest for cup glory having been to Galashiels, Inverness, Wick and Forfar. Good luck to Ross County in that one.
The big tie is the Capital clash that pits Hearts at home to Hibernian, a club looking for their first Scottish Cup triumph in over a century.
And good luck to East Kilbride as they try to inflict Celtic's third domestic defeat in a row. We are all East Kilbride.
Shock troopers Annan Athletic were rewarded with a home tie against Greenock Morton after pumping Hamilton 4-1 in the last round.
There's an early kick off at Ibrox where Championship leaders the Rangers take on Premiership strugglers, managerless Kilmarnock, and an all Premiership game at Tannadice as basement side United play Partick Thistle.
The final tie has Dundee visiting the Sons of the Rock at Dumbarton.