Six-Pointers from here on in!
It's all six pointers from here on in as we travel to Firhill to take on Partick Thistle in the Premiership looking for more points to add to the rather unexpected but nonetheless welcome four we gleaned from Hearts and the Rangers recently. Despite those fantastic results, other clubs have not been so keen to help us out and we still find ourselves at the foot of the table, two points behind Hamilton.
We suffered a setback in our last outing even before we kicked off against Celtic. Hamilton never read the script properly and defeated Aberdeen on the Friday night to leapfrog us in the table. With County getting a bonus win at Tynecastle on the Saturday and Killie losing to Motherwell on Sunday, Inverness were the big losers going down 0-4 to a rampant Celtic. After a battling first 45, we were the architects of our own downfall, gifting goals like they were going out of fashion. But enough of the doom and gloom. The good news is that we don't have to play Celtic again and our fate is in our own hands over the next eleven games, the most important in our history.
There were plenty of positives against Celtic despite the crushing scoreline although they were undone by some calamitous errors that verged on comedy. We were never going to win this game, but after gifting a second and third goal our task was well beyond us and we had to take our punishment as a result.
Partick have been one of the success stories of this season and we go down to Firhill with a less than impressive record there in recent years. Only four wins in our seventeen visits, one of which was a Scottish Cup game in 2015, that was a good year if I recall correctly. Others were a First Division game in 2010, our first visit in 1998 and one at the tail end of last season when the campaign was done and dusted (1-4). That was our best ever result against the Harry Wragg's
Partick have been a bit of a bogey team for us although overall the stats will show that victories are fairly even. Historically, home advantage seems to prevail and at Firhill we have six defeats, four wins and seven draws. Our last encounter was at Inverness where the sides played out an unspectacular 0-0 draw. The first game at Partick ended in defeat for Inverness by 2-0, Foran's first game in charge. Goals by Chris Erskine and David Amoo gave Partick an untroubled victory. We all knew this early in the season that scoring goals would not be our strong point as we struggled to create anything. What we did not foresee was that our normally reliable defence would be even worse; and here we are today, bottom of the league on merit. Partick's last game saw them limp out of the Scottish Cup in a rather tame affair at the hands of Aberdeen, but in the League they have made their way under the radar into the top-six, ten points above Inverness. Goals for are similar, but once again it's our defensive record that is the main issue.
Richie Foran spoke to the BBC after his first game in charge at Firhill back in August. I wonder what he thinks of his comments now? And who is Scott Boden?
"It's only early. You don't become a bad team overnight. We're going to stay positive.
"I thought we had poor imagination in the final third. With the quality that we have up there I expect a little bit more but we didn't get enough help around Scott Boden.
"(It's a) disappointing result but I can't be too hard on the lads. They've been magnificent since I've come in.
"I think we're in for a good season. We've got the quality. We just need to work on a few bits and pieces."
Alan Archibald has doubts over Danny Devine and Christie Elliott after the pair sustained knocks during last weekend's defeat by Aberdeen. On-loan Crawley winger Jason Banton (groin) could be involved but long-term absentees Sean Welsh (foot), Ryan Scully (shoulder), Stuart Bannigan and Gary Fraser (both knee) remain out.
Richie Foran hopes to have Jake Mulraney back after he missed the Celtic game. He will be needed as Aaron Doran is reported to be out for the season after undergoing surgery on his knee. The operation was not on the same knee that has been a problem over the last two seasons. Carl Tremarco will be out, either through injury or suspension and Ross Draper is suspended for one match, he will be a big miss. Josh Meekings and Lewis Horner are long term casualties but Kev McNaughton is making good progress and was on the bench for the Celtic game. Ryan Esson has returned to training and Horner is ready to begin legwork.
Other crucial fixtures over this coming weekend that will have a bearing on our destiny. Hearts v Hamilton, Aberdeen v Motherwell and County v Killie
tm4tj prediction:- Eleven games left to save our season. Celtic apart, we have shown some willingness to try and stay in this League with credible draws against Dundee and Hearts and an excellent win over Rangers. Unfortunately other results have meant that we are back on the bottom and we will remain there unless we show a real desire to fight for everything. In Billy Mckay we have one man who can almost work miracles, but he needs help and Jake Mulraney if fit could be his provider, with King on the opposite flank. Our creaking back four have been shuffled more than a deck of cards at a Las Vegas casino, through injury, suspension and parent club ruling. We need our best players on the park and they need to be performing at the top level. Owain Fon Williams has been sloppy lately, but he can perform much better as he has done on occasion, let's hope his confidence is not shattered after that Celtic debacle as we have no suitable cover for him with Esson not fully fit. Partick hold the Indian Sign over us, but I'm hopeful of at least a draw if not a rare win at Firhill.
Beware the scalded cat!