Official report from the League match against Celtic at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. An almost capacity crowd watches Caley Thistle score in less than a minute but John Hartson grabs a point for Celtic in this entertaining match
|Sunday 18th December 2005||Tulloch Caledonian Stadium|
|INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE FC||1 (Dargo 31 secs)|
Team: Brown, Tokely, Dods, Munro, Hastings, Wilson (Hart 90), Duncan, Black, McBain, Dargo (Wyness 88), Brewster
Subs – Golabek, McCaffrey, Fox, McAllister & Fraser
|CELTIC FC||1 (Hartson 21 min)|
Team: Boruc, Telfer, Wallace, Balde, McManus, Petrov, Lennon, Nakamura, McGeady (Sutton 71),
Subs – Lawson, Thompson, Virgo, Pearson, Wei & Marshall
|Man of the Match||Ian Black (ICT)|
Gordon Strachan called this a ‘cracking game of football’ and he was absolutely right. A packed stadium watched an enthralling encounter which could have gone either way.
Both ‘keepers had great saves, ICT missed a penalty and there were golden chances at both ends. The cold snap necessitated use of the undersoil heating but it did its job well and the pitch was perfect.
The week’s press had been dominated by Roy Keane’s arrival at Celtic but he was not eligible for this game. For Caley Thistle David Proctor was ruled unfit and his place was taken by Roy McBain on his return from injury. Darren Dods came back from suspension to make his 50th appearance – at the expense of Stuart McCaffrey who returned to the bench.
Club captain Stuart Golabek was on the bench following a lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury. There was dramatic start when Craig Dargo created a new club record with a goal in only 31 seconds. Barry Wilson forced a throw on the right and Ross Tokely found Craig Brewster at the near post – he headed on and Dargo flicked the ball home from six yards. The home stands erupted and another upset was on the cards.
Play raged from end to end and the next chance fell to Celtic in 15 minutes. Shaun Maloney centred the ball from the right and Mark Brown made a magnificent save from a John Hartson 10 yard-shot.
Maloney should have scored three minutes later when Hartson set him up a few yards out – Hartson could have shot himself from the right but he thought his strike partner was better placed. In the end Maloney did not fully connect and Brown blocked it. The Celtic pressure paid off in 21 minutes when Hartson was given too much room in the box and he volleyed home from 12 yards to equalise.
On the half hour mark Brewster sent Dargo through into the box and he was brought down by Stephen McManus – a clear penalty and the referee agreed. Dargo took it himself but there was no real power in the shot and Artur Borac dived to his left and pushed it away.
It was 1-1 at half time but could easily have been 2-2.
The pace never slackened in the second half and Ross Tokely took the ball off the feet of Aiden McGeady in the box with seconds on the clock.
Caley Thistle immediately moved play to the Celtic end and Boruc had to be quick out of his box to clear ahead of Dargo. In 54 minutes Boruc did well to beat away an angled shot from Brewster. Three minutes later McGeady was well placed in the box and all waited for an offside flag. The flag never came but McGeady hit wide.
Play was still end to end and in 76 minutes McManus brought down Brewster 25 yards out. Brewster took the kick himself and Boruc dived to his left to push it away – a great shot and a great save.
Five minutes from time a Wilson cross from the right reached Russell Duncan at the back of the box - he chose to hit it first time but it cleared the bar. With time running out Brown made two vital saves – he beat down a shot from Maloney then he punched away a 25 yard drive from Stilian Petrov.
As the clock moved past the 90 minute mark Hartson went down in the box but a free kick was given to the home side. Maloney then did the same and he was booked for his trouble. Boruc held a Duncan lob two minutes over time and the whistle went.
Full Time: 1-1
Brewster was delighted with his team’s performance and he particularly saluted the work rate of Barry Wilson. A fine eight days for ICT – a point earned from each of the top two teams. Next it is third placed Hibs on Boxing Day. Caley Thistle remain sixth and sit a point above Aberdeen.
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