Off And Running
Inverness belatedly got their season off and running with an ultimately convincing 0-4 win at Glebe Park, Brechin. First half goals from Iain Vigurs and a Brad Mckay header were added to after the break by Alex Cooper and Vigurs again. This win lifts Inverness off the bottom of the table. Brechin remain at the foot alongside surprise strugglers, Falkirk.
Gary Warren missed out with a recurring ankle injury which paved the way for frozen out David Raven to return to the back four. Alex Cooper and Connor Bell started up front with John Baird, George Oakley was on the bench.
Darren Dods named himself on the bench and had made three changes from the side that went down 3-0 at Inverness in the League Cup. Jordan Sinclair, Finn Graham and James Dale started with Gary Fusco and Ally Love on the bench.
The Hedge was in pristine condition as the game kicked off with an enthusiastic away support backing the Caley Jags to get their first win of the season. They wouldn't be disappointed. Unfortunately, some of our more hyper juvenile fans never made it to the end to witness this first win. Let's hope they grow out of it.
It was a low key opening quarter to the game with both sides struggling to create anything of note, other than a yellow card for the reckless Matt Elsdon.
The deadlock was broken after 26 minutes when Iain Vigurs lashed a shot into the top corner with the aid of a slight deflection, the ball always looking destined for the back of the net anyway. Liam Polworth was the provider on that occasion.
Soon after the goal, Connor Bell forced Smith to deny him his first Caley Jags goal, the keeper saving one handed from the wee striker.
A second goal came along when Brad Mckay firmly planted his header back across goal and into the top of the net from an Alex Cooper corner.
Liam Polworth was prominent in his free role and causing problems for the Brechin defence and he almost scored before the interval but his shot went wide.
Half Time 0-2
Brechin felt a bit hard done by after making the visitors work hard in the first 45, but after the break Inverness imposed themselves on the game, but not before the aforementioned Matt Elsdon was removed from the field of play before he was sent off for persistent fouling, much to the chagrin of the home bench.
The third goal duly came along when goalless striker John Baird neatly set up Alex Cooper who beat his marker inside the box and tidily stroked the ball early into the bottom corner, taking the keeper out of the equation with his brisk strike.
Iain Vigurs was the unlikely scorer of the fourth goal when he raced to the front post to glance a superb corner from Polworth behind Smith to give the visitors a more convincing win. It was no more than we deserved as Brechin wilted.
There was still time for Brechin to try for a consolation, but Paul McLean hit the post with his glancing header. That was enough to keep Mark Ridgers and his defenders on their toes and they saw out the game with the minimum of fuss. In fact, they almost notched a fifth but Graeme Smith blocked with his legs to keep the final score at 4-0 to the Caley Jags.
Full Time 0-4
Just the result that John Robertson was looking for after the thrashing at East End Park a couple of weeks ago. Inverness were best served by two goal MotM Iain Vigurs with Liam Polworth and Charlie Trafford showing up well. Still a bit of work to do defensively, but the midfield now look capable of driving the team forward. I'm sure the return of Gary Warren will resolve some of the issues at the rear and Carl Tremarco is hopeful of a comeback soon, a possible outing in the forthcoming Challenge Cup game against Aberdeen U20's.
Positive off the park with the Chairman addressing many of the issues and more positivity on the park with a comfortable win at Brechin. However, let's not get carried away with this result, but from small acorns etc, etc. A sterner test awaits in our next Championship game as we visit Paisley to take on high flying St Mirren, who trounced Dundee United 3-0 at the weekend.
Here's a couple of observations from a pair of well respected fans who made the journey to Glebe Park.
Alternative Maryhill went along with a touch of trepidation:- I was nervous about this after the absolute car crash of a performance at East End Park, but in the end it was more comfortable than I could have hoped. There wasn't a great deal in the first half - we probably had slightly more of the ball, but chances were pretty even. Looks like Vigurs got a bit lucky with a deflection for our first, and Mckay wasn't really challenged for his header back across goal for the second. We pretty much controlled the second half, though, and it was good to see the likes of Polworth playing with freedom and confidence.
The key to our improvement over the past couple of games seems to have been the introduction of Charlie Trafford. I wasn't up for the Morton game, so this was my first look at him. He seems a very unfussy player and just sits in front of the defence, looking to break up attacks and then hold the ball until he can send someone away, but having him there allows Vigurs to try to dictate play a little further forward and allows Polworth, who looked much improved yesterday, to drive forward. Connor Bell also impressed, playing in a left-sided attacking role for most of the game before moving to the right when Calder game on, and I'd have him starting on one of those sides in place of Mulraney from now on. On the other side, Cooper contributed less, especially in the first half, but his movement and composure for his goal were excellent. I'm still unconvinced by our defence: Raven had a solid game, but Elsdon, Mckay and Chalmers are all capable of looking hasty in the challenge and uncertain in possession. They weren't troubled all that often, but against teams with tricky, pacey attacking players such as Cardle, they will struggle. Having Gary Warren and particularly Carl Tremarco back should make a difference, however, as much for their leadership qualities and presence as their defensive ability.
It was great to see another decent travelling support getting right behind the team. The stewarding of the young team looked pretty heavy-handed to me, as if they were expecting trouble from the start. Otherwise, it's a cracking set-up at Brechin, with the wee bar beneath the stand and the ability to move easily between stand and terraces. A bit of a faff to get to from Glasgow if you don't drive, though, so I won't be bothering going up for this Challenge Cup nonsense against Aberdeen colts next week. Looking forward to the rest of September: intriguing fixtures against clubs I have't seen us play for a few years - St Mirren, Livvy, Dumbarton and Queens - and we should have a much clearer idea of how the team is developing and how we match up in this division by the end of the month.
Caley Stan was yer man with these observations:- Good 2nd half performance after a shaky start. We reverted to a back 4 with Trafford sitting in front. Vigurs played further forward & Polworth was again given a lot of freedom. Connor Bell came in from the left to support Baird when we attacked. The 1st half was scrappy with few chances at either end. Although Brechin didn't create much, they had Elsdon & McKay flustered on a couple of occasions & must've returned from the break thinking they could still take something from the game. How wrong they were. We dominated them completely & should've scored more. Vigurs & Trafford bossed the midfield, repeatedly sending Polworth off to drive into space through the middle. Robbo's got him playing in his best position now, & the centre of midfield looks to have a nice balance.