Inverness' slump continues.
Inverness slumped once more in another embarrassing performance at Perth going down 1-0 to St Johnstone.
Chris Kane scored the only goal of the game late in the second half with St Johnstone having a penalty well saved by Owain Fon Williams. There was no danger of Inverness scoring and the stat count showed massively in favour of the home side whilst the visitors failed to get a shot on target, something that Yogi needs to address urgently if we want to stay in the top league.
Defeat we can handle, but the manner of these abysmal performances is causing much concern amongst the Caley Jags fans, and with Gary Warren being red-carded that just compounds our injury crisis with some crucial games looming. After this gutless display our chances of a top-six slot look slim, but our chances of relegation seem to be increasing with every game wasted.
I'll let the fans do the talking here and ICT Chris had this to say on the forum:- We were absolutely dire last night. Having to change things around in terms of strikers isn't ideal and altering the shape of the team to include a target man must've been difficult, but our performance was negative, timid and dull. We played 3-5-2 with Polworth and Williams as wing backs, Tansey, Draper and Vigurs in midfield and Roberts playing 'off' Hughes up front.
I thought Hughes actually did well. He isn't the most elegant player but when we hit the ball up to his chest or head he generally took it down or flicked it on. I don't think you could ask much more of him, the problem was that the rest of he team was so deep that he was completely isolated. At one point in the second half he headed a long ball back to Roberts who ran at St Johnstone but our entire team were back in our own half, meaning you are relying on Roberts beating two players and pinging in a wonder goal, which isn't going to happen often with any player.
We are so focussed on possession that we go backwards and drop deep to maintain it but can't actually play in the oppositions half. Playing with a target man and Wing backs we should've tried to push up and allowed them to either get crosses in for Hughes or at least hit diagonals for him to knock down to runners but we were so deep all we could offer was a long ball to an isolated target. This meant that we didn't create any chances, were pushed deeper and deeper and ended up defending for our lives. You do that and the opposition are bound to score. This style is one reason why we've been conceding so many late goals, we don't impose ourselves on games and end up hanging in constantly only to be broken.
We are in serious trouble. I've been to three games in the last week and in that time we've created one real chance, the goal from Mutombo at Easter Road. That came from players making forward runs, with and without the ball, something we haven't done in any of the other games and we only did in that game because we were going out of the cup. Our main striker has scored one goal in two and half months, our defence can't cope with the pressure our style puts it under, our best creative player (Tansey) is in horrible form.
Accies on Saturday is huge for us, a must win.
Rig was also not impressed:- We didn't manage a single shot on target last night against a team that has won twice since the start of December and who absolutely dominated us for the majority of the game. Roberts had a couple of good half chances either side of half time. The first seemed to be a missed clearance by a Saints defender and Roberts took an age to control the ball and have a shot and when he did get an effort away it didn't even trouble Mannus. The other effort came as Vigurs pounced on a poor back pass from Anderson and cleverly back heeled it for Roberts who dragged his shot wide, possibly via a deflection.
Saints however had numerous chances to score but it wasn't until the 84th minute they finally went ahead. With that goal from Kane 50% of the goals ICT have conceded have been in the last 15 minutes of a game. 50%. That's ridiculous.
No complaints about the earlier penalty decision. Looked a desperate lunge from Warren at the time and having seen the highlights I can't see any reason not to have awarded the penalty and give him a second yellow. Cracking save from OFW though. With some of the saves he has been making recently you'd have to imagine he will be our number one keeper next season.
Chris is right when he says that conceding late is largely down to our style of play. By sitting so deep we encourage the opposition to put pressure on us and we frequently make mistakes. Twice last night Tansey played dangerous balls across the back line and was intercepted. The number of last ditch 'heroic' style challenges we need to make is concerning. Tremarco alone made three such challenges last night and Warren and Devine also chipped in with a couple of desperate blocks. It's mind boggling why we choose to invite so much pressure on ourselves and end up making costly errors.
Having games in hand is all well and good but not if you are losing the games and seldom creating anything resembling a chance during those games. As Chris has said we created nothing of note against Hearts, a couple of chances against Hibs and another couple tonight. A handful of (half) chances over three games is desperate stuff. The emphasis on possession is all well and good but you need to actually try and create something with the ball which is something we don't seem to do. According to the BBC both sides last night had roughly an equal share of the ball. The shots on and off target tell you which team was actually trying to create something when they had the ball.
I know folk will say that we've got players out but the guys that are in the team now haven't just been plucked off the street. The majority of them have played most of the season for us so far so I don't believe injuries can be used as that much of an excuse. Our style of play is horrible. It's boring to watch. It's negative, slow and timid. We play with absolutely no width in the team. Polworth was free at least 3 or 4 times last night down the right and every time he was overlooked for a short pass back to either the defence or goal keeper. On the rare occasions we did get the ball wide the final delivery into the box was well below par. Williams would routinely scuff his crosses or not even beat the first man.
As Chris rightly points out if you are going to play with a target man up front you need to offer him some support. Have midfielders running on to his knock downs and, given the formation we played last night, use your full backs to offer some width to cross it into the box for your target man. I don't think we did that once last night.
Fair play to the Fair City Unity squad (:laugh:) last night. Never stopped signing all through the game. But what were Saint Johnstone playing at watering the pitch before the game? Were they trying to turn it into a bog?