Championship contenders clash
Hamilton are the visitors on Saturday for an early kick-off as time has all but run out for Inverness in our bid to try to avoid the drop. So far we have been spectacularly unsuccessful in any of our recent head to heads against other relegation candidates, losing to County and Motherwell when it mattered.
Our last outing saw us humiliated in Dingwall as County breezed to a 4-0 whitewash with Liam Boyce scoring all four goals. He was ably assisted by Ryan Esson for the first, scored a decent header for the second and topped it off by stroking home two penalties as we finished the game in total disarray and down to ten men. It was clear to all the Inverness fans that our heads have gone down, in fact they appear to have gone about three months ago at least. We had started brightly but as soon as we gifted the first goal that was it, game over and County brushed us aside. They could have played their under nine's and still won this game as we simply folded and looked bereft of ideas. Relegation is now a formality although at the time of writing not officially determined, but having only one win in our last twenty-three league games, I see no reason to believe we can win four in a row to perform a miracle and escape relegation.
Accies took over as nearest challengers for the plummet, replacing Dundee who beat Motherwell 3-1. Accies lost 2-0 to Kilmarnock who, like County appear to be safe. For all their possession against Killie, they never looked like taking the points and now find themselves joining us as the most likely candidates for at best the playoffs. In saying that, they still have a 7 point cushion over us with Motherwell on the same points but better goal difference.
In our meetings with Accies this season we have managed two score draws and a hugely disappointing 3-0 reverse at Hamilton at the end of January. For many, that was the straw which broke the donkeys back and many were looking for a change of management from here on in. Defeat in this game, and the manner in which we capitulated has epitomised our season. Greg Tansey missed a penalty, a recurring theme this term throughout the side as D'Acol, Gillespie and Bingham ravaged us with ease. That opened up a three point gap from which we have never recovered and we now find ourselves in a desperate situation. After this defeat Foran told BBC Sport:
"That puts us into a relegation battle now - forget about top six, we are in a relegation battle now. Some of our players have not got the bottle, they showed that today. We might have been the better side in the first half and their keeper pulled off a great save from the penalty, but some of our boys are hiding and we are in for a fight now. I told them straight, 'I can see who is bottling it, I can see who does not want to take the ball'. It is not them all - I thought Billy Mckay was excellent - but it makes it a massive game for us now on Saturday against Dundee. That was our worst defeat of the season. I'll take my share of the blame, but the players now need to stand up and be counted."
Much has been said of our poor form and many fans are heavily criticising the board who have kept faith with Rookie Forlorn for too long. His four year contract looking increasingly ridiculous for a man with no managerial credentials on his CV. The players should shoulder some responsibility for the demise as many are the same players that were good enough for top-six a couple of years ago. It hasn't taken long for us to slip into the championship, two years from Scottish Cup winners, third in the League and European football to the state we are in now is heartbreaking. It'll be all over soon.
Anyway, I'm over it now and accept that relegation is imminent so we'll just have to regroup and get on with it.
Inverness will be without Liam Polworth as our discipline over the last three months has been deplorable. You tend to find this with relegation candidates as frustration creeps in and discipline goes out the window. I've lost count of the number of players we have had to do without for crucial games due to suspension, notably captain Gary Warren (more than once) and Greg Tansey. Ryan Esson played in goal at Dingwall but the errors kept coming, gifting the opening goal. Looks like he'll have to play tomorrow as Fon Williams is rumoured to be injured. Carl Tremarco is out along with Josh Meekings and Aaron Doran. It's anyone's guess who Richie Foran will select for this one and where he will deploy them. Gary Warren returns after suspension.
Hamilton will know that a win here will ensure their safety from the immediate drop. Darian MacKinnon and Giannis Skondoras return after suspension. Grant Gillespie should be fit after injury but Louis Longridge is doubtful. Craig Watson has an illness and is out.
tm4tj prediction:- It gives me no pleasure to predict this, but I'll go as far as to say Accies will turn us over and Motherwell will win and that will rubber stamp our relegation. If nothing else, it will be good to get this off our chest as it's been hanging around for too long now. That's just the start of our problems. Where do we go from here? With the present incumbents, I don't see much changing and I doubt we will bounce back like we did before. You need heart to do that and the present team are the worst in the clubs history.