Butcher Butcher what's the score
On the park Inverness put the will he won't he enigma to one side and brushed a rudderless Hibs eleven aside with two early goals. Unlikely penalty taker Nick Ross sent his spot kick into the net via the keepers palm after fourteen minutes, but there was nothing iffy about Billy McKay's goal four minutes later as he rounded Williams and stroked the ball into the vacated net from an ever decreasing angle. Graeme Shinnie gave a cluicheadair of the match performance, witnessed on BBC Alba, setting up both goals and his overall play was as good as he has produced on a day where leadership was lacking elsewhere.
"Butcher Butcher what's the score" echoed round the stadium as Terry, cloth cap and all enjoyed a bit of hospitality. It was difficult to say if he enjoyed the score as much. Let's just say that whoever takes on the Hibernian job has a massive task on their hands as they looked like a team with no confidence. The full time score of 2-0 flattered the Hibees who could easily have conceded half a dozen or more. It's maybe just as well for them that Hearts started on minus fifteen, but it's not over yet, and here's a thought. The last team that Butcher inherited before the end of a season were relegated. I know, because we were that team.
Maurice Malpas was joined in the away dugout by Duncan Shearer as Butcher looked as though he had pulled a sickie, and Jimmy Nicholl looked after the interests of the home plodders, who looked like they would have difficulty scoring in a brothel the longer the game went on. On this evidence, the trams will be up and running before Hibs get any better.
Our man at the match was AJS and he is on hand to deliver his scribbling with this composition........................
Football speaks louder than words
Its fair to say as an ICT fan I had a dismal week. My phone was glued to my hand, twitter and CTO were on overtime and the constant question of "Is it officially confirmed?" was running through my mind every time I hit refresh. As the speculation carried on into the matchday I simply wanted it all over and done with as the news of our managers impending departure became the worst kept secret of the week. Terry Butcher said he would see out his contract after he nearly left to join Barnsley last season and it now looks likely that he will be confirmed as the new manager of Hibernian on Monday. This has taught me to take anything said by anyone involved in football with a pinch of salt, regardless of who they are.
The twist in the tale was that Terry got to see his current side (technically) travel to play his new side (still to officially be confirmed) in a match that saw no manager in the dugout. The question was asked all week who would step in if and when Terry left. I must admit I was a bit surprised to see Maurice in there but the fact he was and the stories being put out in Sunday's papers leads us to think that perhaps his future remains in Inverness...make of that what you want.
The reality of it was that the Caley Thistle players still had a job to do. For the 3rd game running it was an unchanged side for the trip to our nations Capital. Graeme Shinnie continuing in his role as the left footed right back while Carl Tremarco recovered from his knock and put in another solid display at left back.
The match started with both side looking a bit rigid. It must have been a surreal atmosphere for both sets of players to be playing in with all the hype that had surrounded both clubs during the week and a few shaky moments at the back saw Hibs come close to grabbing the lead.
A pass back from Shinnie saw Dean Brill slip on his backside and put the ball out for a corner but again from a pass back came the danger of Hibs going in front when Ross Draper's light pass back saw Deano fly into a 50-50 with Scott Robertson. Fortunately the big stoppers punt came straight of Robertson and out of play with ref Bobby Madden judging Robertson to have fouled Brill as well.
ICT began to seize upon the game though and were soon handed an early chance to take the lead. Some fine link up play between Doran and Shinnie saw the ball go out wide to Marley Watkins who's lovely chip pass saw Shinnie latch onto the ball and race into the box before being bundled over by Hibs striker James Collins. Bobby Madden didnt hesitate in pointing to the spot. Nick Ross took responsibility with regular taker James Vincent out injured and struck a powerful spot kick into the keepers right hand corner of the net. Williams got a glove to it but it wasnt enough as the Caley Jags grabbed an early lead.
The loyal band of away supporters who had made the journey to Easter road were to be well rewarded as ICT doubled their lead little over four minutes after gaining it. Again it all came from a fine, passing display. Doran and Shinnie passed and moved their way through the pitch before Shinnie's delightful through ball found Billy McKay. Our little striker beat the offside trap, before rounding Williams, riding McGivern's challenge and curling it into the bottom corner of the net to send both the players and the fans into raptures, mental raptures.
Just 2 minutes later and it was a whisker away from being 3-0. Nick Ross picked up the ball in midfield and fed it out wide to Doran. The little winger had bags of space and raced into the area. He could have shot himself but he unselfishly squared it to Billy and he would have had a tap in were it not for Alan Maybury's interception. Maybury's vital clearance nearly turned into a massive blunder as he saw the ball rebound of the inside of the post, luckily for him Williams was on hand to gather.
The ICT onslaught continued as Graeme Shinnie was seeing plenty of the ball and he also came close to adding to the lead. Foran intercepted the ball in midfield and his lofted pass over the defence found Shinnie on the run. He came close to replicating his goal from last week as he cut inside and curled his shot just wide of the post. Doran also came close with a similar effort.
Hibs were struggling to get out of their half as Billy McKay almost doubled his tally in the game. Marley Watkins shrugged off McGivern before cutting the ball back to Shinnie, his shot cannoned off Robertson before falling to McKay but his low effort was well saved by the feet of Williams at his near post.
With half time approaching Hibs finally began to see more of the ball but were struggling to create any clear cut opportunities. Robertson and Stevenson both saw efforts fly high and wide while Jordan Forster had what was probably their best effort of the game. Kevin Thomson's corner found Forster at the back post but his downward header fell just wide of the mark.
Half Time 0-2
The beginning of the 2nd half saw Hibs enjoy their best spell of the game. They kept the ball well enough but were again relying on set pieces to record any chances of note. Kevin Thomson's sweeping free kick from about 30 yards eluded everyone, including Dean Brill but fortunately for him the ball bounced just past the far post.
Rowan Vine was brought on to add some extra firepower to the Hibs front line. He nearly turned provider as his cross almost fell to James Collins. The big striker endured another frustrating afternoon as he found chances hard to come by, were it not for a cracking interception by Shinnie in this case he would have had that great chance he was searching for.
As the 2nd Half reached the hour mark Hibs were beginning to run out of ideas and Caley Thistle were trying to sniff out a 3rd goal. The counter attack was proving key as Watkins, Ross and Doran were all finding space and time on the ball. Doran flashed a shot over having cut in and Watkins came close with a header that was scooped up by Williams. Watkins soon had another chance to add to the goals. Ross Draper's pass found Doran on the edge of the area and his smart flick fell to Watkins. He went for the speculative volley but while that flew high and wide the movement in the build up was typical of Caley Thistle's quality play throughout the game.
Hibs were chasing the game by this point and more pockets of space were beginning to open up late on. Doran had another speculative effort which flew over and as stoppage time drew in Billy McKay came close again. Ross found Doran out wide and his ball across the face of the goal was met by Billy. He would surely have scored were it not for a well timed interception from Forster.
The remainder of the game played out and the final whistle went. The away day crowd were well received as every ICT player came across to the away end to thank and applaud the fans. The Hibs fans by the 90th minute had dispersed as they were left disgruntled by another miserable performance at home.
Full Time 0-2
To summarise :- It was a bizarre feeling going into the game not knowing who our manager was going to be by the time the game was on. The main focus for me personally as a fan, was to forget about the events of the past week and get right behind the team put out on the pitch, and it was clear that everyone was of the same mindset. We played our part but the real question was could the players step up without Terry and the answer can safely be said - yes. Football was free flowing, the potential for more goals was strong and the spirit in the team appeared stronger than ever. I fully expect Terry Butcher to be named Hibs manager on Monday and after that the buzz of finding a new manager begins. Whoever comes in will inherit a cracking team that plays great football but can also perform when questions are asked. Regardless of what happens in the coming weeks and months a wind of change is imminent at Caley Thistle. I look forward to it with great interest and anticipation.
AJS MotM :- Graeme Shinnie - Foran was solid in midfield while Doran and Ross were industrious going forward but for a man playing on his weaker side and out of position Graeme Shinnie sure has a funny way of showing it and for this he gets my vote. He won the penalty, created Billy's goal with a lovely pass and was unlucky not to score himself with a nice effort. He was a constant threat going forward but he also made some crucial blocks at the back when Hibs were on the ball. Surely a Scotland call up is getting closer...
Date: 09.11.2013 Venue: Easter Road, Edinburgh Attendance: 8750
Referee: Bobby Madden
Lineup: Williams, Maybury, Forster, Hanlon, McGivern (Vine 46), Robertson, Taiwo (Zoubir 46), Thomson, Stevenson, Collins (Cummings 61), Heffernan
Subs (not used): Murdoch, McPake, Cairney, Tudur Jones
Booked: Stevenson (56)
Sent Off: none
Inverness CT: 2
Lineup: Brill, Tremarco, Warren, Meekings, Shinnie, Doran, Draper, Watkins (Polworth 90), Ross, Foran, McKay
Subs (not used): Esson, Raven, Devine, Greenhalgh, Pepper, Agdestein
Scorers: Ross (pen.14), McKay (18)
Sent Off: none