Tough Times Ahead.
Our season has been a shambles and it looks like getting worse over the next three fixtures, Hearts, Rangers and Celtic. A raft of players are missing this one through injury, suspension and loan arrangements. With little likelihood of picking up points in these games and time starting to run out, it looks like we are heading one way.
We were swatted aside last weekend in the cup by a rampant Celtic side who look to be a good bet for the treble. One-nil or ten-nil, it matters not a jot, the end result is the same, we are not in the next round of the cup. Maybe that's a good thing as we can concentrate solely on one thing now, avoiding relegation.
Richie Foran is not adjusting to life in the office as well as we would have liked and the club are sliding into oblivion at an alarming rate. Many managers have lost their jobs for less; fourteen league games without a win is a statistic that has seen managers on the dole, but with Foran on a four year contract there seems to be little chance that he will be shown the door any time soon. The rookie manager appointment has backfired big time on the Caley Jags board and the team look resigned to the fact that they are bottom of the table with little prospect of getting away from the relegation zone in the near future.
Our last visit to Tynecastle was a 5-1 thrashing where we were simply overrun as Hearts scored at will. We fared better in a topsy turvey game at Inverness, blowing a two goal lead before eventually earning a point in a 3-3 draw. The Edinburgh side are the second top scorers in the league with 45 goals. That's as many as we have conceded and 17 more than we have scored.
Hearts have perked up in the last few games after a slow start in the capital for new boss Ian Cathro. Since losing to Aberdeen and Celtic, they have thrashed Motherwell and Rangers, scoring seven goals for the loss of only one. However, they were held to a goalless draw in the Scottish Cup by local rivals Hibernian last weekend on their tattie field style pitch where fluent football looked difficult.
Our results are as poor as they have ever been. Fourteen league games without a win leaves us languishing at the foot of the table. Despite an encouraging fightback against Dundee (2-2), we were cuffed 6-0 at Parkhead in the cup. The previous game was a bigger disappointment, going down 3-0 at Hamilton without a fight. Confidence looks to be at an all time low and games are fast running out before the split. In fact there are only fourteen games left to save our season. If they are anything like the previous fourteen, then it's Championship football for us.
Hearts will be without Callum Paterson who is out for the season with knee ligament damage and John Souttar who has ruptured his Achilles tendon. Prince Bauben is also out and former Caley Jag Don Cowie looks like he will sit this one out as well with a rib injury.
Inverness have been dealt a blow with player absentees like they are going out of fashion. Gary Warren, Brad Mckay and Iain Vigurs are suspended. Warren for too many players getting the better of him and having to resort to fouling, similar for Mckay, and Vigurs for too many niggly, petty and unnecessary fouls when he can't be arsed getting back to help. Billy King will be missed as a supplier through parent club ruling for loanees and the usual crop of injuries are still wreaking havoc. Kev McNaughton, Lewis Horner and Josh Meekings are out long term. Aaron Doran could return; he has had more comebacks than Lazarus now. To alleviate these problems, Richie Foran has managed to secure former Motherwell defender 23 year old Louis Laing until the end of the season and he is eligible to play on Saturday against the Jambo's.
tm4tj prediction:- The next three games are difficult and this one will be particularly harrowing given our list of unavailable players. It's hard to see anything other than a convincing win for Hearts considering we have had only two clean sheets all season. Owain Fon Williams looks like a man short on confidence, having a mare every other week and back up keeper Ryan Esson was unavailable last week through injury. Iain Vigurs is a passenger just now and our back four is in tatters. Midfield is bereft of any pace and drive and up front we couldn't punch a hole in a wet paper bag. Nuff said, another heavy defeat on the cards. Anything less will be a miracle.
Not sure if it's Louis Lang or Lois Lane, but I reckon it's superman we need.