The Campbell's are coming Oh-Ho! Oh-Ho!
Arbroath will be heading North on Saturday for matchday 3 of the shortened Championship season. It's a 3:00pm kick-off and another closed doors game due to covid19 restrictions. Let's hope the sun is not shining on the assistant referees napper this week. I'm certain some punters gave the linesman points in the Player of the Year poll, such was his stage presence last Saturday.
The Smokies returned to Championship football last season and were a thorn in our side, inflicting a thumping 3-0 defeat at Gayfield and stunning Inverness 1-0 at the Caledonian Stadium. The first encounter saw Inverness stumble over the line with a 2-1 win. Fast forward to October, along came covid to save us more damage at the hands of the Red Lichties. Well done to Dick Campbell and his brother Ian and his coaching staff for an excellent season consolidating back into the Championship and taking some great scalps along the way.
The game can be found live online by registering on the SPFL Portal and logging in to your account. Season Ticket holders will have a code to redeem and PPV viewers can watch the action for only a £enner. Let's hope the stream has been tweaked since last week.
It's not been a great start for either side this campaign. We lost at East End Park and salvaged a draw at home to Ayr United and the linesmans head. In our defence we almost have a full team on the treatment table. Yes, its a big table. Arbroath fell foul of the promotion bounce and lost 3-0 at Raith where the dancing in the streets began. Their second game saw them lose narrowly to Championship favourites Hearts in a game they probably should have taken something from.
Former Dundee and St Johnstone player Gavin Swankie is back on the field after a season plagued with injury and his experience will be vital for the Lichties. Bobby Linn has always been a problem for our defenders and is still capable of troubling the best defences. Kris Doolan comes in from Partick Thistle to add even more experience and is a threat up front. His former Partick team mate James Craigen is another who has been round the block, as is Ricky Little, so plenty of guile within the squad to guide the younger members through another season in the Championship. Former Morton keeper Derek Gaston was a standout last campaign and is a difficult man to pass.
With Hearts on Cup duty this weekend, it's a chance for front runners Raith Rovers and Dunfermline to stretch their legs at the top of the table which will leave the rest playing catch-up. Raith & Pars were the big winners last week and look likeliest to get in the Jambos face.
Games coming up this weekend:
Dundee v Raith Rovers
Dunf Ath v Queen of the South
Morton v Ayr United
ICT FC v Arbroath
Injuries R Us is the new trading name for the Caley Jags. Eight first team players missing last week is not really what the doctor ordered. Most will be out for the next few weeks which means we have to rely on the young team to see us through the opening month or two. In fairness, they have coped reasonably well in the opening two fixtures.
Arise Sir Pixellot
Right, it's time for a moan: Its Thursday 2:00pm, five days after the Ayr game and the silence from the Caledonian Stadium is deafening. The live streaming of the first home game was a mixed bag to be honest. It was supposed to go live around half hour before kick-off. However the wheel of doom was the only thing visible once we negotiated the registration and login. Just after 2:45 we suddenly got a live picture of players warming up. The image was distant, and looking from the main stand into the low Autumn sun from the West. Not only did that make viewing difficult, it made the stadium look like a public park as cars drove along the dual carriageway towards the Kessock Bridge. As the Pixellot system has technology allowing it to be unmanned, the automatic ball following sensor would often track the cars and more so the follicly challenged head of the assistant referee. I'm certain he will be given an assist for the Ayr goal as they surged forward down the stand side. I know it's all new to everyone, but maybe someone could have done their homework on this camera and worked out how to get the best out of the system and promote the club in the the best way possible. Surely it's better to look towards the main stand, even if it is empty, than stare into the glare of the sun and the landscape surrounding the Kessock Bridge. We had excellent highlights from our own Caley Jags TV which put the live stream to shame. Now, I'm not one for having a go at the club in general, but why has there been no feedback emanating from the Stadium to even explain the reason behind the poor quality of the stream. I'm in the "It's better than nothing" camp, but many paying customers feel disappointed with the offering received for their hard earned cash in difficult times. If I'm being totally honest, its hard to disagree, but for goodness sake speak up and tell the fans why this happened and more importantly what they are going to do about it before we face more ridicule from fans around the country. They have managed to do a promo for drive in movies and wall of fame tiles, how about a wee communication with feedback on how well the Pixellot system never did. I never liked her songs anyway...... Rant over and I hope a few tweaks make it more enjoyable for everyone 🙂
Since then, Scott Gardner told the P&J
"There were going to be teething problems for the first game. We didn’t think it was going to be a bald headed linesman, but you live and learn. If the sun is not out it’s not a problem.
“The league are in charge of it. They are aware of it and working on it.
“It wasn’t as bad as everyone was saying but it wasn’t ideal".
Really! Understatement alert!
***Latest Team News***
First the good news. Kai Kennedy has been called into the Scotland u21 squad for the forth coming EUFA qualifiers against Croatia and Greece. He will also be available this weekend after featuring on the bench last Saturday. Now for the bad news: there is no more good news. The treatment table is massive. It's too soon for Aaron Doran, David Carson, Lewis Toshney, Kevin McHattie and Miles Storey. Sean Welsh, James Vincent and Shane Sutherland also missed out last week in a well kept top secret mission to not inform anyone what was happening to them. So, looks like we will be relying on the young guys to see us through these difficult times with hopefully Nikolay Todorov staying injury free. Without giving anything away, Robbo has hinted that one or two might make the squad, I'm guessing that might be Sutherland, Welsh and Vincent.
The Campbell's are coming North with a pretty much injury and suspension free squad. Kris Doolan could well be starting and Bobby Linn would be a great impact player should he not be in the starting XI. They have run Hearts and Ross County close this season, expect this to be another difficult game.
Don't forget your dose of Wyness Shuffle to blow away your Halloween blues.
We pick out our Highland Highlight’s of the season so far (1:45)
The pod picks over the bones of the recent games against Hearts and Cowdenbeath in the League Cup as well as our opening league matches against Dunfermline and Ayr (3:50)
The Digital Elephant in the Room – match day streaming and thoughts on the experience so far (18:30)
A View from the Opposition Terrace – Moff dials up Ayr fan and Ayrshire Post reporter Stuart Wilson to get his views on the draw with The Honest Men (24:59)
We try to look into the future and predict what might happen in our forthcoming league games against Arbroath and Hearts before the League Cup restarts and we face Raith Rovers and East Fife (36:48)
Get to know one of the new faces in the ICT squad as Wallace Duffy chats with Riley who continues grafting for freebies (49:45)
Nightmare XI is back for Hallowe’en but who is next in line for a place in the side? (59:50)
We received some great questions on Twitter this week. We do our best to answer them with the return of mailbag (1:04:12)