Still life left in Foran's squad.
Inverness managed a battling 1-1 draw with Hearts at Tynecastle to show the supporters that their season is not over yet. Carl Tremarco scored with a powerful header to give the Highlanders a first half lead but Arnaud Djoum leveled matters just after the hour. Neither side could make the breakthrough after that as Inverness defended in depth to ensure they took a welcome point back North.
Richie Foran's depleted squad fought well considering he had to start without the suspended Gary Warren, Brad Mckay and villain of the piece Iain Vigurs. With Josh Meekings injured that meant a start for new signing Louis Laing and young Celtic loanee Jamie McCart.
Immortal Howden Ender was watching from afar and has this TV report for us........
Ní raibh mé ann. Tá mé numpty. Bhreathnaigh mé ar an buaicphointí ar BBC Alba. Toirtíní Jam versus Inbhir Nis.
It will be interesting to see how a report from watching on the big screen compares with views from the Gorgie Road Terraces. Only difference to me was that I did not frequent Diggars before the game but at least with a 23.00 start I was probably just as drunk as I would have been at 15.00. For once the comments of the two managers probably very accurately summed up the whole game for me.
Many people have criticised Ian Cathro and suggested that he has little idea of the game. But he commented - "[Inverness] worked very, very hard. They stayed strong, they stayed compact and they gave us some difficulties in breaking them down. "However, I think we have dominated the game and we have created enough chances to win one-and-a-half games. Ultimately we suffered the frustrations of having perhaps not been clinical enough when those opportunities arise and defending the set play properly in the first-half. "It's not great (the pitch). Of course it adds another level of difficulty but it is a situation we need to manage with and deal with collectively."
Now who would have thought that we would have been described as a hard working outfit - compact - hard to break down But we were, we feckin were.
Richie Foran added - That was the old Inverness today I thought. Going forward we have been fine this season, going back we have been lazy. We haven't had enough fight - the fight was there today, that's for sure. "The boys are flat out on their feet and I think it's a deserved point. They've hit the post, we've hit the post. We looked dangerous on the counter-attack, they looked dangerous on the counter. "It wasn't a pitch to play football on. There were a lot of long balls. The most pleasing part was our going back up the park, our spirit, our work-rate. That was the old Inverness."
That was more like the old Inverness today but we still have a lot of work to be done. The team today was selected out of need not design. Lets hope we learned some valuable lessons and lets hope that reality sets in. Yes The boys are flat out on their feet and that should be the comment every week but it sadly hasn't. The pitch was horrendous and more suited to an Edinburgh Sunday Football setting but it is the same for both teams - although it probably went more in our favour. Yes - one of the most pleasing aspects was our going back up the park, our spirit, our work-rate. Again that was more like the old Inverness." Only misquote may be the "that's for sure" as I am sure that it would have been "to be sure".
Poor OFW has had a lot of stick recently. I still suspect that our Da Vinci has been painting with a dodgy easel. Did the close up clip of his visage after the penalty not paint a fine picture. He looked more composed yesterday and more lithe. He made a couple of other good saves. That can only have gone some way to mend his fractured confidence.
Who would have ever thought that our central defence pairing would be Laing and McCart. They looked strong enough. Laing was evidently not match fit but to me his experience and apparent pace steadied the inexperienced McCart who is definitely a "green" prospect. I can see Laing keeping his place against the team who may still be managed by Warburton. I can see him being paired with Gary Warren. That is an experienced pairing, both know the central defending role and Laing's pace may suit Warren.I feel that Gary has been playing too deep in recent games, almost in the old "sweeper" role. He can now relinquish that to Laing who appears more Meekings-esque. I was not at all surprised by the steady performance of Tremarco but Raven stood out as well. There just appeared to be a more compact and high line feel. Tremarco was left unmarked for the goal. That was probably because of his size but Cathro had not done his homework as we know how effective Carl can be in that position. Will Raven keep his place against the team who may still be managed by Warburton? Personally I would take back in Brad McKay but that is not a reflection on the Scouse legends performance at Tynie. The only blot on the defensive copybook was bookings for both full-backs. Bookings that we simply can not afford.
What a joy to see Draper and Tansey playing in more favoured roles. I have always alluded that they can not play together in midfield but they appeared to both have been given roles that suited them. Draper as the destroyer with release to go forward and Tansey as the creator. I thought that Tansey had his best game of the season. He was one who ran his socks off, wanting the ball and that has not always been the case. I am afraid that Vigurs will be the sacrifice against the team who may still be managed by Warburton. He may be the "footballer" in our squad but we need workers and, on song, Draper and Tansey are as good as any pairing in Scotland. Polworth surprised me. To me he was given the "chaser" role, almost "in the hole" but in a very defensive manner. He was effective enough but to me wasted. He did however also allow Draper to move forward. We have several players who could do that better. I would put Anier in that role the team who may still be managed by Warburton. He does not look like an out and out forward to me. He is a runner, he is a chaser but he is also more adept at linking with Mckay and could be a real threat in the hole.
Playing Cole and Mulraney wide was another acceptable strategy. But did they play wide enough? Did they penetrate deeply enough? I suppose that given our position and the occasion that this was sacrificed to flood the midfield. Mulraney looks more of a finished version than Cole. I am puzzled as to why Doran has not got a run in the team. I would be playing Mulraney and Cole against the team who may still be managed by Warburton. And then we come to wee Billy. Has he learned from his Englandshire experience or not. He always was a clever "mover" but that skill has clearly been enhanced. There was no other option than to play him up front there by himself. That should be different when we are playing at El Dumpo. The only away fixture left that we may have to consider that is at Aberdire. I am really looking forward to seeing him the team who may still be managed by Warburton.
As for the actual game it was probably thankful that we scored first. Tansey delivered his "usual" dead ball service and Tremarco surprised the Jam Tarts with a great header at the far post. Bjorn Again then came close when he clipped the bar but it was always going over. It must have been hard to "bear" for him !! Struan then produced a fine save from OFW and the bustling, clumsy Goncalvez missed a bit of a sitter. If he eats more Pie suppers he could end up like Akinfenwa. In the second half they took on Walker, probably looking for more width and a better service. The Akinfenwa lookalike missed another chance but then they threw the Kitchen sink at us and Perry found Djoum who equalised. That will probably just about be his finest moment other than winning the African Cup of Nations. And we really could have stole three points if Draper had put more meat on a header. And then you sensed that our bad luck had sank in once again and was destined to break our hearts. But OFW broke Hearts hearts. It was not a badly struck penalty but OFW chose correctly and pulled off a fine save. That must have boosted everybody.
Was a draw a fair result? I thought that it was. The pitch was a leveller, the Jam Tart final product had a soggy bottom, they had a lot more shots on and off target, they missed a penalty but for once we rode our luck and IMHO deservedly so.
Lets end with the picture of the day and a fitting tribute to the Man of The Match