Hearts came into this game on a high after an excellent win against Rangers last week. Caley Thistle on the other hand, despite playing well in spells last week came with a record of 6 defeats in 6 games, the last being a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Celtic.
While some may have doubted the appointment of Brewster the manager, no-one had any doubts about his qualities as a player and he showed how valuable he can still be on the pitch with the winning goal against Hearts deep into injury time....
|Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, Inverness
|2 Wyness (64), Brewster (90)
Team: Fraser, Tokely, McGuire, Munro, McBain, Wilson (Morgan 85), Black, Duncan, Cowie, Niculae (Brewster 86), Wyness
Subs: D McDonald, Vigurs, A MacDonald, Hastings, Malkowski
|1 Black (34og)
Team: Banks, Neilson, Berra, Tall, Wallace, Zaliukas, Kingston, Ivaskevicius, Driver (Stewart 46), Ksanavicius (Pospisil 69), Velicka (Elliot 46)
Subs: Jonsson, Kancelsku, Goncalves, Kurskis
ICT had played some of their best football of the season in the last two outings against Hibs and Celtic but were still to put any points on the scoreboard. We’d gone down 0-3 to Rangers in our opening game of the season and now faced Hearts, who only last week beat that same Rangers team 4-2. We were still chasing our first points of the season and this wasn’t going to be an easy fixture by any stretch of the imagination. Many were surprised when the team lines were read out and they learned that Brewster had kept himself on the bench for this one. A Striker who had proven he knew where the oppositions net was at Aberdeen before joining us as player/manager. The starting eleven had remained unchanged following last weeks defeat – 5-0 at the hands of Celtic FC – but our bench looked like we were going out there with attack in mind.
The early action was reminiscent of our last trip to Easter Road where we pressured from the off and won two corners in the opening 5 minutes. All the pressure was on Hearts for much of the half. Cowie was again proving his worth from set pieces – twice he sent in balls that were met with strong headers, one to the head of Munro and the other to Rossco who were both unlucky to go narrowly wide. Cowie and Niculae both had decent long range efforts…Niculae putting his over the bar and Cowie being unlucky to see his saved by Banks…before an unfortunate break at the opposite ends saw Black divert a crossed ball into our own net to put us a goal down, very much against the run of play. Hearts only other efforts from the half were professionally saved by Fraser. In one last push not long before the HT whistle, Niculae knocked a ball down to Wyness who looked poised to stick it in the net – and if it hadn’t been for a last ditch effort by Tall that’s exactly where it would have gone.
Half Time: ICT 0 v 1 Hearts
A goal down but the chances were there and we just needed to make better use of them in the second half. Caley Thistle started brightly after the break with a shot from Wyness being saved and a header going narrowly wide. We continued to pressure and Hearts didn’t appear to have many answers. Hearts made a couple of surprise substitutions at half time…Driver had been making life difficult for us on the right and looked like one of the few in the Hearts team who was going to be a real threat and he was replaced by a largely ineffective Michael Stewart. This seemed to give Rossco more opportunity to push forward and create a threat. We had to wait until nearly 20 minutes in to the second half for the equaliser. Wilson hit his volley straight at Banks who could only succeed in parrying it. The ball then fell to Wyness who had the simplest of jobs to brush it into the back of the net. 1-1…Come on ICT!!! McGuire, who was lucky to still be on the pitch given the whinging and moaning he had directed at the ref for most of the game, was to come close about 10 minutes later. It was Cowie once again who sent a great ball in from the corner and on to the head of McGuire who couldn’t have done any better and we watched on with frustration as it was cleared off the line. The game was starting to look very much like finishing 1-1, but Kingston came close for hearts with about 10 minutes left on the clock. ICT had conceded a free-kick on the edge of the box and Kingston send a wonderfully curving ball round the wall only to see it come back off the post. Frustration was setting in among some fans that we had again left it very late in the game before making our substitutions…Brewster and Morgan came on for Niculae and Wilson with barely 5 minutes left in the game. Brewster was immediately in and winning everything coming in his direction and Morgan wasn’t really seeing much of the ball…in fact, I’m not entirely sure he had touched the ball until just before the stroke of 90 minutes when he sent a cross in towards Brewster who caught it on the volley and almost burst the Hearts net. Who knows what happened in the last 2 minutes…and to be honest…who cares!!!
Full Time: 2-1
The effort shown by the team in our last 3 outings had finally been rewarded and I don’t think anyone who had watched the match would deny that ICT were the ones who deserved the 3 points. Hey, even if you thought it should have been a draw, then consider it just deserts for having gotten nothing from the Celtic or Hibs games….lol.