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  • Inverness CT -V- Celtic - Report


    Owain Fon Williams saves the day

     

    Inverness keeper Owain Fon Williams was the reason Inverness were still interested in the game as it approached the ninety minutes and a very late Alex Fisher header earned an unlikely draw. Tom Rogic had knocked home the opener but his strike was bettered by a fantastic goal from Billy King. Sloppy play in midfield led to Scott Sinclair going it alone to put the visitors ahead before the late action around the Celtic box saw substitute Fisher level.

    Ross Draper was denied a penalty and a probable sending off just before Sinclair scored when he was felled on the edge of the box by Sviatchenko, but referee Don Robertson was the only man inside the ground that saw it differently.

    Man of the Match Fon Williams  kept the eager Celtic attack at bay, especially in the second half, and he was aided by the woodwork on at least three occasions. Richie Foran stuck to his game plan to attack when they could, although Celtic pinned Inverness back for long spells. With Celtic unable to take advantage of their superiority, Inverness delivered the sucker punch in the final minute to earn another point which will keep us off the foot of the table.

    Richie Foran made one change to his side from the one that drew at Pittodrie bringing Lonsana Doumbouya into the starting line-up. Brendan Rodgers went with a strong attacking X1 but without the injured Leigh Griffiths. Scott Sinclair, Moussa Dembele, Callum McGregor and Patrick Roberts all started as Celtic looked to bury the memories of Barcelona.

    Inverness took the game to Celtic in the opening exchanges and Iain Vigurs had a shot blocked before Brad Mckay directed a header wide, but Celtic would respond with efforts from Cristian Gamboa and Scott Sinclair missing the target. Greg Tansey also fired one well over as the game picked up pace.

    Tansey had another effort saved comfortably in the top corner of the goal by de Vries but Celtic would take the lead following this. Sviatchenko lofted a ball down the left and Kieran Tierney cut inside Liam Polworth before sending a probing ball into the box with the outside of his left peg. Tom Rogic was quickest to react and he got in front of the defender to knock the ball home from seven yards. Soft goal defensively, but well set up by the ever improving Tierney.

    Lonsana Doumbouya showed some nimble feet when he turned on the edge of the box but his left footed shot lacked power and de Vries collected again. Moments later, Inverness were level. A long ball forward from the right back area was neatly transferred to Billy King by Ross Draper. Now then, Billy had plenty to do here. He was wide left some 35 yards from goal. He cut inside Gamboa before unleashing a rocket of a shot over de Vries from around 27 yards, the keeper only succeeding in helping the ball into the opposite corner of the goal. What a stunner, he really is King Billy!

    Biggest talking point of the game followed soon after. Ross Draper mugged Callum McGregor on the halfway line. He burst forward to the edge of the box hotly pursued by three defenders. Sviatchenko got there first as Draper looked to protect the ball right on the edge of the box but referee Don Robertson bottled it and awarded nothing. At the very least a free kick on the line and a sending off surely. At the best a penalty and yellow card. However, Robertson saw nothing wrong. Unbelievable officiating but not surprising against the big Bhoys.

    That incident was sorely punished almost immediately after a blunder by Inverness' central pairing. Josh Meekings rolled a short ball to Gary Warren on the halfway line who was caught on the back foot. Scott Sinclair gathered and raced towards the Inverness goal. We were caught short with most players upfield, and as we backed off Sinclair strode forward before curling an effort from the edge of the box round Fon Williams into the net. A good finish from the Celt, but shocking defending from the hosts. Six goals in six domestic games for Sinclair. Not a bad return from the former Aston Villa player.

    Celtic controlled the last quarter of the half without threatening too much as we went back into our shell, content to give Celtic the ball but defending resolutely as Scott Brown, Rogic, Sviatchenko and Sinclair all fired attempts at goal without troubling Fon Williams. He would be busier in the second half.

    Half Time 1-2

    There seemed to be more purpose about Celtic in the second half and they went for the third goal that would probably end the tie as a contest. Moussa Dembele tested Fon Williams as he spun on the edge of the box but the Welsh keeper dived to his left to deny him. That was the start of the onslaught. Tierney did brilliantly to burst into the box on the left side and he lashed a shot goalwards. Fon Williams was equal to it though and pulled off a brilliant save diving high to his left. Soon after Rogic and Dembele combined to set up McGregor and his shot from eighteen yards was tipped onto the crossbar by the keeper for a hat-trick of brilliant saves. He wasn't finished yet though.

    The game had now become shooting practice for Celtic and last ditch defensive tackling for Inverness. But one man stood defiant; Owain Fon Williams was simply superb. He would be helped out by the woodwork on another two occasions. 

    Fon Williams pushed away a curling shot from Sinclair as the pressure mounted and it was from that corner that Sviatchenko fluffed his lines. He might have done better with a close range header that bounced off the outside of the post as our back line miraculously kept them out.

    McGregor almost danced his way onto the scoresheet, but for another magnificent save from Fon Williams. McGregor waltzed through the heart of the defence and when the ball held up slightly, he tried to chip the keeper, but Fon Williams acrobatically clawed the ball away from danger. It was woodwork to the rescue as Tierney had another thunderous shot from the left side smack off the bar.

    It really was backs to the wall stuff as Celtic piled on the pressure looking to exorcise the ghost of Barcelona. But Messi had morphed into Nessy and there was one more twist in this tale.

    With one minute left of normal time, Inverness made one final effort and an Aaron Doran shot was deflected wide for a corner. From that corner substitute Alex Fisher made a nuisance of himself in the box as he tried to slide the loose ball towards the goal. The ball was blocked and it spun out wide to Tansey who swung over an inviting cross. Fisher was back up on his feet again and he rose high to glance a header downwards and behind de Vries for an astonishing end to a quite astonishing game.

    Absolute pandemonium after the goal and delight all round as three minutes of added time came and went, but not before Fon Williams fittingly plucked another ball out of the air. He had been superb all afternoon and won't have a finer game.

    Full Time 2-2

    As they say, a one goal lead is a precarious one and Celtic paid the price for not getting the cushion a third goal would have offered. Celtic may count themselves unfortunate and on another day might have score six goals. But this was not another day, it was Owain Fon Williams' day and he defied belief with an exceptional display of quality goalkeeping.

    Of course, it might have been oh so different had Don Robertson awarded a penalty or free kick or a sending off. The new rules indicate it could have been a penalty and a possible yellow, but that is the subject of much debate now.

     

    Not difficult to pick out MotM. Owain Fon Williams take a bow. Immense display from him with at least half a dozen inspired saves. He got tremendous help from an overworked defence with Carl Tremarco once again defying the odds. The woodwork surely deserves a mention too, heroic stuff. Billy King will struggle to score a better goal in his life. Credit to Richie Foran who showed belief in his players to go for attacking options and what a great way to repay the managers faith by nodding in the leveler in the final minute. 

    Celtic did not do too much wrong here apart from not putting the ball in the net often enough. In Kieran Tierney, they have a tremendous player and the Celtic front line will score plenty throughout the season. When they go forward at pace it's a wonderful footballing sight, but look what can be achieved with hard work and belief. That's three unbeaten for Inverness and off the foot of the table. Plenty to look forward to now and Dundee come North next weekend. Bring it on.

    Delighted for Richie and the whole team who showed an attitude that was instilled in Foran the footballer.

    Video from SPFL website https://www.youtube.com/user/splofficial


    Date: 18/09/16  Venue: Caledonian Stadium, Inverness Attendance: 6061  Referee: Don Robertson
     
    Inverness CT: 2

    • Lineup:  Fon Williams; McKay, Meekings, Warren, Tremarco, Tansey, Vigurs (Doran, 59), Polworth (Mulraney, 68), Draper, King, Doumbouya (Fisher, 81). 
    • Subs (not used): Mackay, Raven, Boden, Cole.

    • Scorers: King (28), Fisher (89)
    • Booked: Vigurs (41), Tremarco(66)
    • Sent Off: none

    Celtic: 2

    • Lineup:  De Vries; Gamboa (Simunovic, 68), Lustig, Sviatchenko, Tierney, Brown, McGregor, Roberts (Forrest, 75), Rogic (Armstrong, 85), Sinclair, Dembele.
    • Subs (not used): Gordon, Izaguirre, Christie, Bitton.
    • Scorers: Rogic (17), Sinclair (34)
    • Booked: Brown (26), Sviatchenko(90)
    • Sent Off: none

    tm4tj

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