Betfred League Cup Kicks Off
It will be a step into the unknown as the Caley Jags head to an empty Tynecastle Park to face relegated Heart of Midlothian in the group stages of the League Cup. Many teams will see this competition as another step in the pre-season when the covid disrupted campaign gets underway for teams outwith the Premiership. For teams below the Premiership, it's been almost seven months since their last competitive game. Our last one was a 3-1 win over Queen of the South on Tuesday night 10th of March. The world has changed a lot since then as Covid19 has taken over and as someone once said; "there's life Jim but not as we know it"
Falkirk were the first team to take full points in the competition as Kilmarnock are unable to field a side due to recent covid infections. Six players have tested positive at Rugby Park and with quarantine affecting the rest of the squad, the Bairns have been awarded a 3-0 victory.
Our next League Cup fixture against Cowdenbeath has been brought forward to 6:30 on Tuesday 13th October.
Hearts will be smarting from their induced relegation as last season ended early and will feel they have a point to prove. They have played Partick Thistle twice in pre-season, winning 2-0 on both occasions. They have also beaten East Fife, and Falkirk scoring eight times without reply. The Gorgie side open their Championship campaign with a tough game against Dundee on the 17th October.
Like most clubs, Inverness are feeling the pinch and a mass exodus in the summer has meant we have had to replace those that left. Col Donaldson, Jamie McCart, Shaun Rooney, Carl Tremarco have all gone. That's our entire back four offski. In midfield Tom Walsh will be difficult to replace with Charlie Trafford also moving on. Up front, Jordan White found a move to Motherwell an attractive proposition. It's not all doom and gloom though and Shane Sutherland returned from Elgin City. Danny Devine has also come back for a second shot at it. Defender Robbie Deas comes in from Alloa/Celtic and Scott Allardice will add some steel to the midfield. We will also see more of Daniel Mackay who returns from his loan at Elgin and the likes of Lewis Toshney, Cameron Harper and Roddy MacGregor. Stepping up to join the big boys are Academy graduates Ryan Fyffe and Harry Nicolson who have developed considerably in their loan spell at Ft William FC.
***Latest signing news*** We have secured young Rangers player Kai Kennedy until January and he could be a straight replacement for Tom Walsh out wide. Kai was a standout when Rangers colts came North in the Tunnocks Challenge Cup games last season. Unfortunately, Kai is joining the Scotland U19’s squad as they travel to England for a double header against them this week. That means he will be unavailable for selection until he returns North. We wish him well in both games and we are looking forward to welcoming him to the Highlands on his return where he will go straight into the 1st team squad.
Wallace Duffy is a later than the latest signing and he joins on a two year deal from St Johnstone. The 21 year old was released from the Perth side and snapped up by Robbo. He looks destined for the number 2 shirt at the Caledonian Stadium and will go straight into the first team squad.
Our friendlies started with 14 goals in two games against Elgin City and Nairn County before a youngish side beat Clach 2-0. Our final outing was against Elgin where we struggled to a 1-1 draw on a miserably wet Saturday afternoon.
James Keatings has impressed in pre-season and Sean Welsh has had some game time. Shane Sutherland has been prominent and Miles Storey has bagged some goals as we search for our best formation and team selection. Lewis Toshney picked up a knock and could be rested. Brad Mckay has come through unscathed and could be needed at right back. There has been no sightings of James Vincent, David Carson, Kevin McHattie or Aaron Doran so far which could leave us light on experience across the midfield but could well open the door for Roddy MacGregor, Cameron Harper and Daniel Mackay to show their talent. Danny Devine is also out.
Hard to say what Robbo feels will be his best options, but it looks likely that this game will mean more to Hearts than it will to the Caley Jags as we continue to build towards the opening Championship game at East End Park on Saturday 17th October.
Robbo has already publicly stated that being ready for the start of the Championship is his priority as that is where we will be judged at the end of the season. Therefore I doubt we will see any of the missing players in the Hearts game and anyone carrying a knock will be given ample time to get to full fitness before the 17th. This may irk some of the fans but in reality it's in our best interest to prepare for bigger things. The likes of Keatings and Toshney took knocks and Brad Mckay is maybe not up to speed yet. Anyway, I'm sure some of the fringe players will be delighted to get some game time and stake a claim for regular football.
Over to you guys.....
Robbie Deas talks about his new job.....
You can watch the action live on Premier Sports which is on Sky TV channel 412 or 429. Virgin Media Channel 551 or 552.