By George, he's off
It's a great opportunity for Inverness as well as they look to consolidate their position within the top four and keep on the heels of Dundee United whilst making sure the teams below stay there.
One man who won't be at the stadium is George Oakley. He was a surprise departure on the final night of the transfer window, leaving for the metropolis of the Eastern Block landscapes of Hamilton.
@George_Oakley23 had this to say to the Inverness fans on twitter. Just want to say a massive thank you to everyone @ICTFC for everything they have done with me for the past year and half! Great club and the fans were amazing for me from the day I joined! But I am looking forward to this new challenge with @acciesfc can’t wait to get started👊🏻🔴
Wow! That's a sign of the times as we can't even compete with Hamilton Accies for the signature of a player. Is this the beginning of the end for Inverness Caledonian Thistle? Have the club really got such a lack of ambition that we can't hold on to one of our three strikers? Has George got the talent to succeed on the plastic pitch at Accies? Or, was it a shrewd bit of business to get rid of an injury prone second rate striker whose contract runs out in the summer and we can get some pennies before it's too late. To be honest, the jury is out on the CTO website. Many blame the board but some are coming round to the fact that it might be for the best. It all depends if your glass is half empty or half full I suppose.
Plenty of uncertainty on the forums. Here's a selection of the concerns:-
"As we are skint then I'm not surprised we took cash for Oakley, we are however left relying on White and Austin, (if fit), as our senior strikers."
"We are skint! Also appears we have no real ambition anymore. Gutted."
"Well this is depressing news. Ambition - not..."
"Easily the best of our strikers allowed to leave for peanuts no doubt. FFS the squad was small enough already without losing any more players."
"Well that’s pretty $hit news. Are we now relying on injury prone Austin. Jordan White and two youngsters in McGregor and Mackay."
And some almost positive comments:-
"Can’t say I’ve ever found myself thinking that Oakley is too good for this league and should be playing at a higher level."
"from what I saw last season I didn't think Oakley was that good a striker. He certainly wasn't the sort of striker who would fire you to the title in this league. He was also out of contract at the end of the season and if we thought he wasn't going to re-sign and isn't a starter then cashing in, even if it'll be pennies in the scheme of things, could be the right thing to do."
"Slightly shocked, but he's out of Contract at the end of the season, (and the small fee probably covers the laundry bill) anyway I think McCauley can do a job for us in his place."
This one sums it up as far as I am concerned
"The fact that players see moving to Accies from us as a step up is hardly a laughing matter and is a sad indictment of where we are these days."
Anyway, thanks for the effort George and Good luck at Hamilton, I think you will need it. George Joins Accies
The other big talking point this week is that the club are looking for a new sponsor for the Stadium and what it will be named now that ownership has been secured. I don't suppose it will be called the George Oakley Arena now. The Harry Gow Dream Ring is a popular one though. Others already in the bin are
The Dump, The Stadium of Shite, The Richie Foran Arena of Excellence, The House of Hughes.
Here's the official take on the stadium deal. Read about it HERE
Meanwhile, there's a game to be won on Saturday.
We played Ayr United on Tuesday night and came away with all three points after we blitzed Ayr in the opening twenty minutes. We found ourselves 3-0 up with goals from Nathan Austin (2) and a Liam Polworth belter. Ian McCall changed his side at the interval and we were immediately on the back foot when the hosts scored early in the second half through Declan McDaid. Lawrence Shankland got the nerves jangling when he banged in a deflected free kick to set up a tense ending but we held on for a valuable three points. That was on the back of a 2-2 draw at Falkirk last Saturday when we were pegged back twice. It could be a great week for us on the park should we take the points tomorrow.
Partick won their first League game in six since they beat The Pars 2-0 on the 8th of December. They beat our recent conquerors Queen of the South 2-1 thanks to goals from Joe Cardle and Miles Storey. That moved them off the bottom of the table one point above Falkirk.
The games between the sides this season have resulted in six points for Inverness. A 3-2 win in the Highlands was followed by a 1-0 win at Firhill. Both tight games but scorer at Firhill, Tom Walsh is out with a broken foot. We survived a late fightback in the first game after White, Rooney and a Welsh (pen) put us 3-0 ahead. Last ten minute goals from Blair Spittal and Kris Doolan almost snatched a point for Partick but they fell just short.
ICT 3-2 Partick from September
Inverness will obviously be without Oakley and the injured Coll Donaldson, Tom Walsh and possibly Aaron Doran. Look for new signings Darren McCauley and Anthony McDonlad to be more involved tomorrow. Mark Ridgers has missed the last two games with a back problem with young Cammy Mackay deputising, and he put in a decent performance at Ayr. Here he is talking ahead of the Partick game.............
Partick will be without the injured Joe Cardle. Gary Caldwell was speaking on the Partick Thistle website about the ins and outs:-
“We set the target before January started of coming out of the window a stronger side than we were when we went into the window and I think we can definitely say that is the case. We have strengthened the core of the side with a goalkeeper, a centre back, a central midfielder and two strikers coming into the Club. On top of that we’ve got some great creativity in Joe Cardle and some additional versatility at the back in the form of Jack McMillan.