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  1. 5 points
    Thistle be the day Draw specialists Inverness head to Firhill on Saturday to take on Partick Thistle in the Championship. Last weeks draw against Ross County was the seventh in a row and that extended the unbeaten run to a record twenty-three games. It wasn't for the want of trying in the derby but few watching could be disappointed in the manner with which we applied ourselves and we were unfortunate not to take all three points. Caley Stan has checked out the opposition and he has this informative preview for us........... On my way home from Waitrose the other day, I stopped for a coffee in Artisan Roast Stockbridge and quietly pondered some way to construct an opening to this preview that included a disparaging reference to Partick Thistle fans’ middle-class, hipster, bohemian, pseudo-intellectual pretensions, when who should appear out of the Mellis Cheesemonger sporting the famous red and yellow hoops, but The Hoff himself. Beyond parody. Hassellhoff has previously sought to justify his support for Thistle on the grounds that they represent something beyond geographical or tribal identity, and they must have picked up a few fans over the years by simple virtue of not being Rangers or Celtic. But with attendances at Firhill starting to sink below the 3,000 mark, I suspect we won’t see many of those folk tomorrow. I might be wrong, but I assume most Partick Thistle fans, like the rest of us, identify with the club because they grew up near the ground, or their dad came from round there. One thing’s for sure, they’re not glory hunters. With just two major honours to show in a 142-year history (the 1921 Scottish Cup, and the 1971 League Cup), they haven’t been in a major final for sixty years. This is particularly surprising when you consider that they played in the top league for most of the 20th Century, never experiencing a sustained period in the second tier until the late 1980’s. History of the Fixture Won 11 Drawn 10 Lost 13 The teams first met in the opening game of the 1998/99 Second Division season. The Maryhill club were playing in the third tier for the first time in their history, and we came into it off the back of a mid-table debut season at that level. It was a tense affair with one moment of true quality on the hour mark when a delightful through ball from Charlie Christie was buried from an acute angle by Barry Wilson. We rode our luck for the reminder of the game, Jim Calder making a number of decent saves, and departed to a stream of Highlandphobic abuse from a home support whose club had just reached a new low. Their true nadir was to come later in that season when they avoided another relegation by a single point. Meanwhile, we were promoted comfortably, winning 3 of the 4 games against them in the process. It was another 2 years before we saw Partick again, and by the end of that 2001/02 season we were glad to see the back of them as they ruthlessly re-established themselves as Scotland’s premier Thistle, winning 3 out of the 4 league games with our solitary victory coming after they had already won the First Division. We also played them in both cups, coming out on top in the League Cup 2nd Round in Inverness on penalties after a 3-3 draw – Barry Robson notching a double and scoring the winning penalty. But it was the was Scottish Cup Quarter-Final of that season that will be remembered most of all. These were the biggest games the fixture has seen, with a crowd of 8,700 taking in the 2-2 draw at Firhill and over 5,000 attending the replay despite the SFA’s controversial decision to stage the game underwater. Maryhill Mod Scott Paterson scored the only goal, a decent free-kick in fairness, though I’d like to see Nicky Walker’s starting position. After a brief skirmish in the Court of Session in the summer of 2004, the clubs reconvened on the pitch for the 4th Round of the 2005/06 Scottish Cup. The tables had turned once again, we were enjoying a second season in the SPL while they were back in the third tier after successive relegations. They came up to Inverness and kicked us off the park before Mark Roberts scored an underserved equaliser with a 93rd minute penalty that he had dived to win. The replay was turgid, on TV, and we went out on penalties. The next meeting, another 4th Round Scottish Cup tie in 2009, saw a very different Caley team run out 3-0 home winners – Felipe Morais scoring a double. That stands out as a very strange result in retrospect – Partick were having a decent season in the First Division, and we were coming into it off the back of six straight league defeats – it was the week before ‘shoes off’, a seventh defeat at Hamilton, and the final departure of Craig Brewster. The following season we shared a league for the first time in eight years, losing the first two and winning the second two in line with our form that year, and Partick joined us in the top flight for four years in 2013. Over that spell we won just two of the thirteen league ties between the sides, despite finishing above them in three of the four seasons, and, of course, knocking them out in the 5th Round of the 2014/15 Scottish Cup……. Teams and Tactics Partick Thistle fans seem to have given up trying to analyse performances recently and spend their time online howling for players to be removed/imprisoned/murdered etc. so it’s been tricky to work out how they line up. From what I can gather, Caldwell’s been playing some kind of 4-5-1. The persistence with a misfiring Miles Storey has been a particular source of frustration, while a recent injury to Kris Doolan has given opportunities to Jai Quitongo and our old friend Andrea Mutumbo, with neither making much of an impact. Robbo has persisted with the 4-2-3-1, although he’s always keen to bring on a second striker and go more direct when we’re not creating. With Oakley and Austin now fit, he may find it increasingly tempting to return to the shape that he started the season with. The termination of Riccardo Calder’s contract and the ongoing absence of Carl Tremarco with a thigh injury leaves us without an experienced left back for tomorrow’s game. Joe Chalmers has played there before, but it wasn’t pretty, and Cameron Harper’s first team experience is limited to a farcical four-minute appearance at East End Park following a team-sheet error. Robbo has stated in the past that he feels Harper is ready to step in if needed, but in the aftermath of Calder’s dismissal this week, he suggested that the club may look to recruit a free agent to cover the position. Shaun Rooney has not recovered from the knock that forced him off in the derby. The Riccardo Calder situation has been dealt with by the club and they released This Statement. In effect Riccardo has left the building. The Official Site has a Preview with more detail and Robbo chat..... League Form Thistle: LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL Thistle: DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD Prediction: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  2. 5 points
    The Day Football Died It was third time lucky for Inverness as they reached their first Scottish Cup final after beating treble chasing Celtic in extra time at Hampden Park. Sadly other events since then have overtaken the wonderful achievements of Yogi and his men. The game was not without controversy. Five goals, penalties, or not penalties, a crucial sending off and a tremendous display by the men from the North was just enough to tip the scales in favour of Inverness Caledonian Thistle. At the end of the day, one song was lingering in the head: It's all about the Ness, no treble! Great weather greeted the fans at Hampden and Inverness were as expected. Ryan Esson replaced the injured Dean Brill. Danny Williams was back in the starting X1 and big Edward Ofere would be the target man. Celtic were without the suspended Anthony Stokes, and Gary Mackay-Stevens and Stuart Armstrong were cup-tied. They did though field a potent attacking threat with Leigh Griffiths and Kris Commons starting with John Guidetti on the bench. From the kick off, Inverness got quickly into their stride and took the game to their more illustrious opponents, moving the ball around with precision and pace. Celtic found it difficult to get a hold of the ball in the first ten minutes as Inverness kept possession without any real threat. That changed though just after ten minutes into the game when Celtic broke forward. Nir Bitton latched onto a loose ball 25 yards out and his sweetly timed tackle/shot smacked off the woodwork with Esson beaten. A bolt from the blue, and a lucky escape for Inverness who had dominated the proceeding thus far. Celtic had woken up and Inverness were pushed onto the back foot as the Glasgow club surged forward. Ryan Esson saved well, diving full length to his left to push away a fierce Griffiths shot from thirty yards. Gary Warren was booked for pulling back James Forrest as he cut across the face of the box, a card that will see him miss a major final once more. From the resultant free kick, Virgil van Dijk lashed an unstoppable shot high past Esson from 22 yards and in off the top of the post. A spectacular opening goal, but there would be better to come. Ofere missed the best chance of the game after a Greg Tansey corner. Similar to his goal against Celtic in the league, the ball broke to him some eight yards out but he could not wrap his foot round it properly and this time his shot bounced down and then up over the bar. A warning to Celtic that we were still in the game. Esson stood up well as Celtic countered through the middle and Johansen stung his palms with a fierce shot that was beaten away, another important save from the stand in keeper. Greg Tansey was mugged on the halfway line as Celtic stormed forward again looking to add a second before the break. Forrest sprinted forward and fed Johansen on the left side of the box. His shot was deflected away from goal by Esson. The ball fell nicely for Griffiths who headed strongly goalwards, but the ball seemed to come of the hand of Josh Meekings who was no more than four feet from the head of Griffiths. Amazingly, the only people that never saw this were the officials who waved play on. I'm not as convinced as Celtic that this was intentional. I'm sure they will write a letter of complaint though. That was about the last action of a frenetic first half and Inverness were still within one goal of the treble chasers. Half Time 0-1 No changes at the break and Inverness started the second period with confidence once more, and Ofere was too high with a corner. At the other end Forrest went wide with a shot that Esson watched carefully. Ten minutes after the break and Inverness drew level. No doubt about the penalty and sending off for Craig Gordon. Watkins raced through on goal outmuscling Welsh international Adam Mathews. As the ball got touched back towards Gordon, Watkins got there first but the big keeper went right through him and red card it was. Tansey remained the coolest man on the park as Lukasz Zaluska put on the gloves. He took his time and waited for the keeper to make his move before directing the ball in the opposite direction and into the vacant net. Game on! James Forrest was the man sacrificed as Celtic made the change at the sending off, a blessing for Inverness and in particular David Raven who had been getting a tough time of it from the Celtic wide player. Could this mean that Raven might get further forward now? More on that later in the report. The ninety minutes produced no more goals and the game moved into extra time. 1-1 after 90 mins The game was now stretched and it ebbed and flowed, Inverness sharing the bulk of the possession. Johansen tried to catch Esson off his line, but he back pedalled and tipped the forty yard flighted shot over the bar. Inverness surged to the other end and Ryan Christie danced his way into the box and it took a fantastic save from the substitute keeper to deny Christie a goal after his thumping 16 yard shot was clawed away. Inverness were now enjoying their best spell of the game and when they worked the ball down the left, the ever willing Graeme Shinnie curled a ball into the box. Watkins brought the ball down and it broke kindly for Ofere, who steadied himself before firing a low ball to the keepers left with sufficient power to find the back of the net. Celtic were stung by this and when they got a free kick thirty yards out it didn't look like it would be a major problem. Guidetti struck it well and the ball whistled goalwards. It landed in front of Esson and he misjudged the bounce as it spun over his despairing arms and into the net. He won't want to see that one again, such a shame after a commanding performance up to that point. The second period of extra time showed that the referee's were once again flawed. Zaluskas barged into the back of Ofere and completely flattened him. I hope the compliance officer was watching. The ball was cushioned down for Nick Ross, but he half volleyed over with the goal gaping. With five minutes of extra time left, Inverness scored the decisive third goal to end Celtic's treble hopes. And what a goal it was too. Nick Ross battled to retrieve the ball outside the Celtic box. Aided by Marley Watkins, Ross got the ball back and threaded a great ball into the box where Shinnie left two defenders standing before rifling the ball across the goalmouth. David Raven made a great run to get on the end of it and still had plenty to do. He did it like a seasoned striker though, guiding the ball firmly into the net for what proved to be the winner before running round the back to celebrate with Shinnie who came round the other side. We played out the remaining minutes fairly comfortably and deservedly won the game, but committed the cardinal sin of denying Celtic Football club the chance to win the treble. AET 3-2 He might be going to Aberdeen, but Graeme Shinnie was captain marvel. He was everywhere and the driving force behind what was a fantastic team effort. He was my MotM and it is pretty unanimous on CTO that he gets the nod. There were no failures in this performance, everyone played their part. Watkins looked revitalised and Warren and Meekings ensured that we restricted Celtic to taking long pot shots. David Raven only scores important goals. His last one for us was in a derby win at Dingwall, this one surpassed that. Ryan Esson was outstanding, despite the blip for the second goal. Edward Ofere led the line well and his hold up play was excellent. Ryan Christie came into the game more after half time and was inspirational. This kid is going places. Can't fault anyone after that display to be honest. Remember, you can access audio's with some of the Caley Jags players after the Hampden Park game right here https://www.facebook.com/ICTFC?fref=ts on the Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC facebook page. Scenes of joy at full time would remain with those fans for a couple of days at least before Celtic would write their letter of complaint and the SFA would buckle at the knees by pandering to the needs of the majority. It's now official, the SFA are the laughing stock of football and should hang their heads in shame, brought about by the incompetence of their own officials. Josh Meekings has incredibly been cited by the compliance officer who feels the need to punish him because Celtic can't take defeat without dragging everyone else through the mud. They have short memories and if this goes through, then football, as we know it has just ended. Instead of Inverness enjoying the greatest moment in their history, controversy has overtaken the scenes of joy and instead of celebrating a wonderful performance, it might be better known as the day football died. RIP football, 19/04/2015. Date: 19/04/15 Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Attendance: 28643 Referee: Steven McLean Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Esson, Raven, Shinnie, Meekings, Warren, Draper, Tansey, Watkins, Williams (Ross 73), Christie, Ofere Subs (not used): Mackay, Vincent, Doran, Tremarco, Polworth, Kink Scorers: Tansey (pen.58), Ofere (96), Raven (117) Booked: Warren (17), Williams (66), Ross (102), Watkins (105) Sent Off: none Celtic: 2 Lineup: Gordon, Matthews, Izaguirre, Van Dijk, Denayer, Biton, Brown, Commons (Tonev 90), Johansen, Forrest (Zaluska 56), Griffiths (Guidetti 98) Subs (not used): Ambrose, Scepovic, McGregor, Tierney Scorers: Van Dijk (17), Giudettit (103) Booked: Brown (20), Tonev (97) Sent Off: Gordon (55)
  3. 5 points
    Running Scared, or Running for Top-Six? Ross County are the form team in the SPL right now. Unbeaten since before Christmas when Celtic beat them 4-0 at Parkhead, they have embarked on a remarkable eleven game run taking 27 points out of a possible 33. This has resulted in a surge up the table from second bottom on the 22nd of December to overhaul the 14 point gap to ourselves. After beating Celtic last weekend, they jumped one point above us to third in the table, how dare they. On the other hand, we are stuttering towards the split and confidence is not as high as it was before Christmas. To put Counties achievement into perspective, we have gained only 12 points over the same period and look to have blown our chances of finishing second in the SPL. It has been a good season by any standards. Both Highland clubs are breaking records this season. Billy McKay's scoring exploits have kept us in touch at the top end and we led the table in terms of goals scored for long enough. County's, debut season has turned out rather well for them after an inauspicious start and they look to have earned a top-six spot after their unbeaten run. Ah yes, that reminds me, beach football has always been a particular favourite of mine. After last weeks disappointing draw at Dundee, Terry Butcher has been handed a bill for £200 for venting his frustration at his teams inability to take three points by smashing a hole in the dugout. The plastic covering was damaged as Butcher suffered like the rest of us and opinions on CTO were mixed on the rights and wrongs of this, but Scotty came up with the best answer; "maybe we should all just put it in perspextive!" His frustrations though are not unwarranted and are shared by us all as the team struggles to get over the top six finish line. Points have been dropped in the run towards the split and we have thrown a few points away since our bad week when we were knocked out of both cups and suffered SPL defeat. Kilmarnock at home springs to mind. Our confidence seems to have taken a knock and our free scoring run has almost ground to a halt. Teams we would have beaten earlier in the season are now picking points off us as the battle for position heightens. Here he is in calmer times.......... <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/g3WDElqAWb0?list=PL30A0B5E92F18F713" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> And hark, what's this I hear.......... <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/3MYoOz9bpNA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> It's a rallying call to all Caley Thistle troops to get behind the team for a final push towards the promised land. Never before has this club needed everyone to pull in the same direction with such power as they need on Saturday. County have done exceptionally well to get to where they are right now, and have almost overshadowed what we have achieved so far this season. However, both clubs have won nothing yet but a win for either could well go a long way to creating history, and the backing of the fans is a must if we are to get out of the habit of bottling these games. You can bet your bottom dollar that the County fans will be well up for this, and rightly so considering their current form, so wet yer whistle and get behind the team. Motherwell's bottle seems to be holding up pretty well as they thrashed Hibs 4-1 last night to go six points ahead of us and look to be the team that will secure second spot unless we can get get back in the groove. ***Latest Team News*** After his ridiculous booking in the last derby for alleged diving, Graeme Shinnie will have to miss this game out through suspension. Charlie Taylor was tried at left back against Dundee and he seems favourite to deputise, although Daniel Devine could be in with a shout as well. Chris Hogg and Simon King are long term absentees and Phillip Roberts has a knock. Richard Brittain and Ivan Sproule are not assured of a return to action. That is the view of Derek Adams who is content with the job his replacements have done, although that may well be a smoke screen from the Seethe as they have been integral in Counties surge to the top. Michael Fraser looks set to continue in goal for the injured Mark Brown. tm4tj Prediction:- Oh my, it's a tough call. You should really go with the form team when it comes to these games. However, County have failed to win in the previous four games this season, Inverness winning twice. We have not been at our best recently and County's run has been beyond what their own fans would have thought possible. They are just poking out of the shadows now, but it's time to put them back in their place. If we can get some momentum going, then it's not inconceivable that County's run will come to an end at the hands of the top team in the Highlands. We need a team of battlers on the park, that should rule out the deft touches of Nick Ross, and we need ten Richie Foran's and one Ryan Esson.................but most of all, we need lot's of vocal backing and that's where you lot come in. 2-1 for us and an end to County's remarkable run. :ictscarf: Here's one of them to tell us about it <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/4SKw4wfGYq8?list=PL30A0B5E92F18F713" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Ginger Jaggy has his say on the forthcoming derby................. Don your colours, man the stands, make some noise and get behind Terry’s boys this weekend. The Highland Derby will see its fifth instalment in Inverness on Saturday as third faces fourth in a titanic battle that will nudge the victor towards a historic debut appearance in the top six. On the fifth of October the Caledonian stadium played host to a historic first Highland Derby in Scottish football’s top flight. On Saturday the teams will meet again in Inverness but with so much more riding on it than that first SPL encounter. This game will mean so much more than local pride, it will go a long way to one of these rivals cementing a place in the top six and look forward to the potential adventure of Europe. With three games to go there is only nine points separating second place Motherwell and Aberdeen in ninth with any team in that pack in the running to make it. The respective form of both teams sees a marked difference in fortunes from the last time these two met in Inverness on cup replay duty. Caley Thistle looked dead certainties to be top six after a blistering first half of the campaign. But we have since stuttered towards the split even though we are unbeaten in our last 4. County on the other hand are the run-away train that we were at the start of the season. They last suffered defeat in a 4-0 drubbing at Celtic Park just before Christmas and since then have gone on an 11 game unbeaten run which has seen them fail to taste defeat in 2013. In fact that defeat saw County sit some 12 points adrift of us in second place with County down in eleventh just nine clear of Dundee. Now we see County sit one point ahead of us; how the table has been turned on its head. This dramatic change in form was present last week when Inverness could only pick up a point at the bottom team Dundee, while yet again, County picked up a miraculous 3-2 comeback win against the champions elect in Dingwall. The facts show that the momentum is with County but all is not lost for the home faithful. A lot of County’s momentum has come from some decent home form which is unsurprising as the surface contributes to anti football. And for us it hasn’t been too bad barring one or two games. The difference has been that everything that went for us in the first half of the season is not going for us now. What has happened I don’t know but I know that the eleven players that take to the field give their all and as fans we should appreciate it even if it is slightly disappointing we aren’t winning games like we were. As for tactics it may be time for a slight change in the system. The 4-2-3-1 has worked well for us this season and does make us compact, but whether teams have worked it out or the players have just lost a little sharpness it is not as attacking as it was. One criticism of the last match against Dundee was that Inverness - on a tricky surface- failed to hold on to the ball with high balls for Billy Mckay. Even with a much better surface than in Dingwall, Inverness may have to go more direct and putting Richie Foran up alongside McKay will give County more problems and something different to think about. Having Foran back in the starting line up also has to be a must as he is the driving force of the team who is very good at taking games by the scruff of their necks. For County I would expect them to go one up front like they did in the league and cup game at Inverness. The danger will come from the flanks with Vigurs – who likes a goal against us – and if fit, Ivan Sproule who has five in his seven league games since his release from Hibs. Against Celtic they played a 4-1-4-1 with Paul Lawson playing in the hole between defence and midfield and I would expect similar on Saturday. One big weakness could be Michael Fraser who looked very shaky with Celtic’s two goals and this is why I would like to see lots of crosses and Foran, Draper or Jones being a presence from set pieces. Overall it is a huge game for both sides. A draw may help both sides gain a top 6 berth but that will be the last thought come 3 o’clock. It is in my opinion, it's bigger for Caley Thistle than Ross County to gain all three points. It will take us back above County and if results work out then it could see us concrete our place in the right half of the table. We may not have been setting the league alight recently but our exploits from the first half of the season makes a top six place definitely deserved. Top six is the main goal but a victory on Saturday especially against the opposition may just be the catalyst for the team to find a late burst towards gaining a historic debut in Europe. Tensions boiled over two weeks ago between Butcher and Adams which was on the cards after Adams made it his major goal to get one over us since the cup tie in Dingwall. I as well as many others will love to see the return of that reaction from that day come 5pm Saturday and I feel we will get it, in a morale boosting 2-0 victory. IN THE WORDS OF DELIA SMITH ‘LETS BE HAVING YOU’ MAKE SATURDAY AN OCCASION TO REMEMBER FOR A GREAT HIGHLAND DERBY DAY SUCCESS C'MON CALEY THISTLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :ictscarf:
  4. 4 points
    The wasps are coming Player manager Jim Goodwin will take his Alloa Athletic side North on Saturday to face Inverness at the Caledonian Stadium in the Championship. It's a 3:00pm kick off with Inverness looking to remain unbeaten and keep the Wasps winless. I notice that Alloa have the most appropriately named keeper in the league. You've guessed it, his name is Parry, but let's not dwell on that. Keeper Neil Parry was voted onto the League one team having completed 13 clean sheets last season. That aside, what an appropriate name for a keeper........ just saying. Caley Stan has been doing his homework and the result is this informative Preview for us all to read.................... Alloa, known globally not just for its brewing but as the unlikely setting for a popular sitcom set during the French Resistance, lies on the north bank of the Forth where some say it ceases to be the River Forth and becomes the Firth of Forth. Fittingly, the town’s football club continually refuses to accept the place in the Seaside League that usually serves as the pinnacle for a club of its size. Under the chairmanship of local tycoon Mike Mulraney, The Wasps have enjoyed a period of unprecedented success, beginning with the appointment of Paul Hartley as manager in the summer of 2011. Hartley oversaw successive promotions and Alloa went on to spend 3 consecutive seasons in the second tier. Now Player-Manger-Master of the Dark Arts, Jim Goodwin, has led them back up at the second attempt with victories over Raith Rovers and Dumbarton in the play-offs. History of the Fixture Won 14 Drawn 10 Lost 6 We played Alloa 28 times in the first 9 seasons of our history and have faced them just twice since. Our first victory came at the fifth attempt – a 5-0 win at Recreation Park in which a Charlie Christie hat-trick and an Ian Stewart brace provided the first sign of the free-scoring fun that was to follow over the next 7 and a half years. By the end of that glorious period, Alloa had been the recipients of a series of unremitting pumpings, and Pele’s last visit to ‘The Recs’ fittingly saw us run out 6-0 winners, with hat-tricks from both Dennis Wyness and Paul Ritchie. I’ve always wondered who got to keep the ball. For all that, it’s a defeat that lingers most vividly in the memory. The 1999 Challenge Cup Final in Airdrie was an epic 4-4 draw that saw The Wasps victorious after a penalty shoot-out. Paul Sheerin, whose hat-trick in the game had included 2 from the spot, missed our opening penalty in the shoot-out and the loss was complete when Mike Teasdale had his saved. To add insult to injury, Alloa keeper Mark Cairns who saved Teasdale's penalty, scored the one before it. It may be difficult to imagine now, but it was a gut-wrenching defeat at the time – just 5 years into our history and in our debut season in the First Division, we were competing in our first final, bringing around 3000 fans down to a less than neutral venue. But in retrospect, with everything we’ve gone on to achieve, it’s difficult to begrudge Alloa a success that takes pride of place in their 140 year-old honours list. And lest we forget, it was not just a victory for Alloa Athletic Football Club, but a significant milestone in the integration of duffel coat wearing headmasters into mainstream society. The teams last met in the Second Round of the League Cup 2 years ago, with Alloa running out 1-0 winners. The defeat turned out to be a harbinger of things to come under the stewardship of Richie Foran and our descent since then has been steep. A maiden victory for Alloa at the Caledonian Stadium would represent a new low. Form Alloa Last 7: WDWLLLW ICT Last 7: WWWLWDL Form is in the eye of the beholder here, as it can be argued that the all competitions figures above don’t tell us much about confidence in the respective squads. Although Alloa have lost their opening two league fixtures, those games have been tight and they have performed well in the cups. There’s little to suggest that they will suffer as Brechin did. From our end, we remain unbeaten in the league since the 13th March, a run of 13 games, but the manner of our departures from the cups, combined with the failure to score against an Ayr side that played over an hour with 10 men, leave the impression that all may not be well. Teams & Tactics Like Dumbarton before them, Alloa’s chances of staying in this division are largely dependent on their ability to supplement a part-time squad with full-time loan signings. That makes August a tricky month, with clubs reluctant to loan players out before the transfer window closes. However, that process has stepped up this week with the loan additions of midfielder Liam Burt from Rangers and forward Dario Zanatta from Hearts. All accounts suggest that Alloa are playing a stuffy, narrow 4-4-1-1, with experienced lower league journeyman Alan Trouten in support of Greig Spence up top. At the back, captain Andy Graham has decent experience at this level and his partnership with Bulgarian Zdravko Karadachki has impressed so far this season. We also seem to be playing a narrow 4-4-2, with a settled back 4 that sees Shaun Rooney pushing up high on the right when we’re in possession. Tom Walsh has made a bright start to the season on the left of midfield, while Liam Polworth and Joe Chalmers are fixtures in Robbo’s starting line-ups. That leaves 3 places up for grabs with Charlie Trafford and Sean Welsh competing for the remaining berth in the centre of midfield, and Nathan Austin, George Oakley and Jordan White all in contention to play up front. It’s difficult to see where Aaron Doran fits into this system and Robbo has made it clear that he sees Daniel MacKay as an impact sub at this time. Angus Beith remains injured and Zak Elbouzedi was absent from the bench for our last match.
  5. 4 points
    Dawn of a new Era The new season kicks off with the visit of Brechin City to the Caledonian Stadium for a Group A Betfred League Cup encounter, Robbo's first competitive game back at the helm. Brechin did well to win promotion having finished fourth in the first division, but they pipped Alloa in the play-offs to send them into the Championship. It's over thirteen years since we last played a competitive match against The City who now have former Caley Jags machine Darren Dods as their player manager. The last game ended in a narrow 1-0 victory for Inverness in the Highlands. John Robertson was our manager that day and Barry Wilson grabbed the only goal from the penalty spot. When we first entered the Leagues, Brechin held the upper hand over Inverness, winning two and drawing one, with ICT taking the last encounter in 1996. Since then, Inverness gradually got the better of the Angus club and in season 2003/2004 we won all five games against Brechin, scoring 17 goals in the process. However, although the manager remains the same at Inverness, it's all change on the park and there was little given away in pre-season to give us any indication of what to expect this campaign. Signings were arriving at the double with striker George Oakley coming in from AFC Wimbledon and Inverness lad Mark Ridgers via Partick where he was back up keeper last season. Collin Seedorf a nephew of the great Clarence Seedorf arrived from Dutch football and Ricardo Calder and Mathew Elsdon were next to wave the Red'n'Blue scarf above their heads whilst proclaiming their lifelong ambition was to play for Caley Thistle in the Championship. There is also an exciting prospect in Zak Elbouzedi coming in from the West Brom set-up, a flying winger similar to Jake Mulraney, so that could be interesting. Former Motherwell defender Joe Chalmers has been added to the squad gaining a two year deal. Alex Cooper has also been linked with a move to Inverness having featured in a couple of pre-season games. A lot has changed since the end of the season, chairmen, directors, managers, players, ball boys, tweeters and ticket sellers have all been removed. Some have been replaced and it's not easy to keep tabs on. Notable faces out or on their way are Richie Foran, Kevin McNaughton, Scott Boden, Alex Fisher, Larnell Cole, Josh Meekings, Owain Fon Williams and another as yet unnamed high earner (if there is such a thing at ICT), an endless list really. Struggling for information this early in the season, but apparently over the close-season Dougie Hill, Ross Caldwell, Gareth Rodger, Alan Trouten and Darren McCormack have all left the Hedge at Brechin. No doubt due to cuts and trimming the squad. However, Willie Dyer, Liam Watt, Aron Lynas, Finn Graham, Chris O'Neill, Gary Fusco and Elliot Ford are all staying. Top signing appears to be Ryan McGeever ex-Falkirk who has signed on as has Isaac Layne, defender Ewan Spark. Late arrivals from Livingston are midfielder Jordan Sinclair and defender Sean Crighton and winger Kalvin Orsi from St Mirren. All are expected to be in the squad for tomorrows game. We begin the season with a lengthy injury list. The aforementioned Zak Elbouzedi is out (he'll be just Zak from now on), his crutches a bit of a giveaway. Strikers John Baird and George Oakley are struggling with knocks, Carl Tremarco and Aaron Doran have longer term injuries. After that it's anyone's guess who Robbo will be selecting for this seasons opener. Brechin have Liam Watt out with a broken wrist. They also have a few suspended, allegedly, Chris O'Neill, James Dale and Finn Graham. Star signing Ryan McGeever is reported to be on holiday at the moment. Over to you Dods, you're on the bench, so who are the other two subs? Name yer team Machine.
  6. 4 points
    The Proclaimers Inverness Caledonian Thistle publicly announced themselves on the footballing world today by reaching their first major final after only 20 years of existence. The near 2000 fans although outnumbered by almost 10-1 proclaimed the message loud and clear at Easter Road in the Sunshine on Leith after Hearts, the infamous 'always the bridesmaids' were beaten in the League Cup semi-final by nine man Inverness. Ten buses and various other modes of transport were deployed as the Highland fans made their way to the 'neutral' venue of Easter Road once more, scene of last seasons dramatic shoot out disappointment. Not even a fire drill at Glasgow Central could halt the march as most travelled 500 miles, well nearer 400, to witness this historic day. It was literally sunshine on Leith, and Yogi rang the changes with Richie Foran failing to make the bench. Back came Ross Draper, James Vincent, Marley Watkins and Greg Tansey to produce a powerful midfield. Dropping to the bench were Nick Ross, Carl Tremarco, Liam Polworth and Danny Williams along with Ryan Esson and Danny Devine. Hearts sprung the bigger surprise with Ryan Stevenson only starting from the bench, which was odd considering they brought forward their game with St Mirren to free him from suspension. Loan signing Paul McCallum joined Stevenson on the bench and he is an unknown quantity. Graham Shinnie captained the Highlanders onto the pitch with his counterpart Danny Wilson, and Raven, Warren and Draper tread a fine line as they are one booking away from missing a possible Cup Final appearance. Inverness started on the front foot but Paterson burst forward only for Meekings to dispossess him in the box. Play raced to the other end and Draper spooned a great opportunity to open the scoring after McKay fed him in the box, Draper electing to prod the ball with his wrong foot and it went high over. A nervy start by Hearts as the game settled into a midfield tussle. A tussle that Scott Robinson took too seriously as he clattered Billy McKay, Raven intervening and Robinson rightly booked. Doran latched onto a throw-in but his shot from the edge of the box was dragged just wide of MacDonald's goal. Inverness were asserting themselves more on the game and a Doran corner was flicked goalwards by Tansey, but the keeper saved comfortably. Some of the play was a bit frantic with Inverness looking the more comfortable on the ball and ahead on possession. A Doran shot was blocked but the ball spun towards the crossbar, the keeper tipping it behind, eleven minutes gone. A re-taken corner gave Doran a second chance but Draper's header went a couple of yards wide. Callum Paterson lay on the park as Inverness strode forward again and Watkins caused problems with a run deep into the box, but another effort was knocked wide, the Hearts fans not amused. Hearts woke up and Carrick headed narrowly over after a good break on the right side and a McGowan cross. However, it was Inverness that were making most of the early running, Watkins being prominent in most forays forward. Twenty minutes gone and Inverness forced the Hearts defence to scramble the ball out for a corner, Watkins close range overhead kick resulting in a sore head for Paterson and a free kick to Hearts. Our midfield still had a tight grip of the game at this point. Some tough tackling going in and one or two players might well fall foul of the referee if not the physio. MacDonald once more has to rush to the edge of his box to thwart another Inverness attack and at the other end in Hearts first real sustained attack Brill had to watch a long cross sail narrowly over, but the Jambos continued to press before Shinnie cleared the danger. Hearts were now seeing a bit more of the ball as the Inverness midfield lost their way slightly, but chances were at a premium. Gary Warren took a sore one as Paterson went under him for a high ball, but he resumed after a couple of shakes of the head. Inverness without a regular dead ball expert for a long time might still have to wait a while yet as Greg Tansey fluffed one from thirty yards. Marley Watkins took the first Inverness yellow card as Nicholson sped forward, Brill easily gathering the ball and as a result, McKay was released by the keeper, bursting into the box but again closed down. Nicholson tested Brill at the other end, and the keeper parried it well, then Warren made sure he would miss a prospective final by earning a booking. The game was more even now but Inverness were struggling to get behind the Hearts defence as easily as they did in the first quarter. Shinnie drew a corner but Doran easily found the keepers gloves. Passes were now going astray as every ball was being keenly contested and a war of nutrition broke out before half time. Brill took two goes to get his hands on a swinging free kick and as Inverness broke forward McKay squandered the best chance of the game hitting MacDonald from seven yards as he burst into the box. Should have scored with a bit more composure, but it was a great block by MacDonald and it was typical cup fare, the game raging from end to end. Callum Paterson got a finger wagging from the ref just before half time, the word tousy springs to mind. Billy McKay almost broke the deadlock once more but his shot from the edge of the box rose too high when he had better options and the half drew to a close. Would Inverness rue their ascendency not being capitalised on? Half Time 0-0 A boost for Hearts as the second half got under way with Ryan Stevenson replacing David Smith. Game on! Inverness were now shooting towards their home end. A penalty shout was waived away as Inverness continued to take the game towards Hearts and a couple of Doran corners in quick succession followed, as did another penalty claim, Warren falling in the box. It was a replication of the first few minutes of the game as Inverness pushed forward in numbers. Doran was almost on the end of some great interplay but the Hearts defence stood firm, just. A raking Meekings ball picked out Watkins and the cross just fell behind Draper as Inverness continued to press. Greg Tansey had made a hash of a free kick earlier, but when he latched onto another loose ball around the Hearts box, he absolutely lashed as ferocious a shot as you would see behind MacDonald to put Inverness in the driving seat for now, and not undeserved it has to say at this moment. I'm not sure you will see a better strike anywhere this season, or maybe any other season for that matter. MacKay was inches away from connecting to make it two nil, as was Vincent from the return ball, and Doran could have done better as they stretched the now overworked Jambos defence when he sped into the box, his shot straight at a grateful MacDonald. Jeepers; we almost shot ourselves in the foot, but Brill made a tremendous reflex save to deny Paterson and Raven completed a headed clearance from Paterson's header. A let off and a warning as Hearts rolled up their sleeves and introduced unknown quantity Paul McCallum for McGowan. Hearts upped the pace and got the break as Warren looked to be harshly sent off for giving away a free kick right on the edge of the box. McHattie shaped to take it but a massively deflected Hamill shot found the corner of a wrong footed Brill's net. Devine then replaced Aaron Doran into central defence after the dismissal of Gary Warren as Hearts sensed blood. Another clumsy tackle gifted Hearts a second free kick and there was no dubiety about the quality of this free kick as Hamill found the top corner. Stunner! Ten man Inverness looked shell shocked as that two goals in two minutes turned the game on it's head and MacDonald denied McKay as they pushed for an equaliser to take the game to extra time, and once more MacDonald saved superbly from a Meekings header from the corner. Things were beginning to go Hearts way now as the burden of playing with ten men began to take it's toll. Tiring legs as the game entered the last fifteen minutes. Shinnie was upended on the touchline and Tansey swung in a great ball, but it would not fall kindly to us and Hearts cleared. Ten minutes to go and Hearts players were finding it easy to stay on the deck as time ebbed away. Could Inverness muster one more charge as Tapping came on for Nicholson who left the arena on a stretcher. Paterson burst forward from deep with a great run but his shot was deflected out for a corner to Hearts. The final throw of the dice for Inverness came when Nick Ross replaced David Raven as they went for broke, Graeme Shinnie volleying one at MacDonald. Five minutes of stoppage time were confirmed as a tiring Inverness gave their all but sadly it all went tits up when Meekings lost the ball then hacked down the Hearts player as he took the ball forward. Nine men on the park and the game was all but over. Brill punted a long free kick forward but three Jambos smothered the ball, content to sit on it for a few seconds. Unbelievably, just when you think it's all over, Nick Ross forces the ball over the line for his first and most important goal of the season. No more than Inverness deserved to be honest in the last minute of stoppage time, and seconds later the ref blew his peeper to send the tie into thirty minutes of extra time. Absolute pandemonium in the Inverness end and delight for Nick Ross who started from the bench. Ninety Minutes 2-2 Hearts still look the likeliest though with Inverness down to nine men now, and straight from the kick off Brill had to save smartly from a superb McCallum header to keep the game all square. Carl Tremarco replaced Vincent at the start of extra time to put some fresh legs on the park. Two penalty shouts in quick succession as Hearts superiority in numbers told on the proceedings, Inverness throwing bodies in the way as Hearts tried to force the ball home, clearance to anywhere the order of the day now. Inverness look like they would take a penalty shoot-out right now. However it was now wave after wave of Maroon attacks as they tried to unsettle the makeshift Inverness defence due to the two sending off's, firing plenty of high balls into the box, Grant Mackay heading tamely over from a good position in the 99th minute. Tapping almost bundled the ball home as a melee broke out in the Inverness six yard box before a free kick was awarded to the Inverness side. A rare break forward with McKay feeding Ross who drew a free kick on the left. Tansey whipped it in and McKay tried to flick it on but MacDonald flopped on it to kill the ball. Inverness were busting a gut now and managed to survive the first period of extra time, the dream is still on and Nick Ross, the saviour is linking well with McKay on the rare occasions that we do get forward. Extra Time Half Time 2-2 A long, very long Tremarco throw-in caused panic in the Hearts box but they smuggled it clear and play raged to the other end, Brill collecting a hanging cross well. Ross found time in the box to turn after some good build up play, but this time his shot was weak and into the arms of MacDonald. Moments later McKay brilliantly held the ball up and exchanged passes with Ross before the latter fired a cross in which the keeper gathered easily. It was however encouraging signs for nine man Inverness. Down to the last ten minutes now and the players left on the park are running on empty. John Beaton feeling sorry for Inverness and a couple of decisions go our way. Meh. Billy McKay gets upended in the box and another melee ensues, but the ball is eventually driven harmlessly over, and at the other end Hearts head over to relieve the pressure on the Inverness defence. Have Hearts been saving themselves for a late surge or have Inverness got something else up their sleeves? Great defending by Tremarco as he mugs Hamill and McKay holds the ball up brilliantly again as Inverness continue to take the game to the eleven men. Suddenly Hearts break forward and McCallum should have scored but headed over from point blank range. That would surely have sealed it. McKay again provides an outlet and wins a valuable time consuming throw-in for under pressure Inverness. It's backs to the wall stuff now and Brill comfortably gathers a cross and despite a lung bursting run from Shinnie the game draws to a close, and penalties are the order of the day........pulsating stuff........PHEW! Full Time 120mins 2-2 So, it's penalties once more and the two most important men on the park will be Paul MacDonald and Dean Brill. The two keepers exchange pleasantries and Shinnie takes the first one, but keeper saves. My Heart cannae take this. 0-0 Shinnie miss, MacDonald guesses correct and makes the save. 0-0 McCallum miss, Brill does likewise. 0-1 Billy McKay scores, bottom corner, keeper AWOL 1-1 Carrick scores similar to McKay, opposite corner. 1-2 Nick Ross blasts home, tremendous strike from young Nick, chuffed. 1-2 Brill saves Hamill's mediocre shot, Karma! 1-3 Tansey blasts home as expected, super strike though, high and hard. 2-3 Robinson dribbles his one in, like our Billy's one. 2-4 Draper, cool as a cucumber slots the ball into the opposite corner, game over. Pandemonium once more in the away end as Inverness defy the odds to secure their first ever major final appearance, Caley 100 grabbing a wonderful souvenir by collecting Dean Brill's glove as the big keeper throws them into the crowd. Big Yogi has a grin the size of Leith Walk embedded on his dial and that will take some time to come off. More reaction and video to follow, but for the moment huge congratulations to everybody, and a final against Aberdeen to come. Can it get any Better. Brings a tear to yer eye.................Have an unofficial swatch at the penalty shootout :ictscarf: Date: 02.02.2014 Venue: Easter Road Stadium, Edinburgh Attendance: 12762 Referee: John Beaton Hearts: 2 Lineup: MacDonald, Hamill, McHattie, Wilson, McGowan (McCallum 64), Robinson, Paterson, McKay, Smith (Stevenson 46), Carrick, Nicholson (Tapping 84) Subs (not used): Ridgers, McGhee Scorers: Hamill (67, 69) Booked: Robinson (6), MacDonald (54), Stevenson (69), Paterson (103), McKay (116) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Brill, Raven (Ross 87), Shinnie, Vincent (Tremarco 95), Warren, Meekings, Mckay, Draper, Doran (Devine 68), Watkins, Tansey Subs (not used): Esson, Williams Scorers: Tansey (54), Ross (90+4) Booked: Watkins (32), Warren (34), Shinnie (90) Sent Off: Warren (66), Meekings (90) Inverness C.T. win 2-4 on pens after extra time
  7. 4 points
    Semi-Final Rehearsal It's another rehearsal for the league cup semi-final as Inverness travel to the capital to take on struggling Hearts. The Edinburgh club have been nothing short of whipping boys recently with Celtic putting seven past the young Jambos and Dundee United adding four last weekend. I doubt for a minute that Inverness will find the task quite as easy, but the confidence must be sapping from the young side, asked to take the strain in the SPFL, starting fifteen points adrift after administration woes put the future of the club at risk. To add more misery to the capital side, Ryan Stevenson has been ruled out for up to six weeks with a hamstring tear. John Hughes first game in charge ended in a tough no scoring draw at Paisley, Dean Brill ensuring the new gaffer took at least one point back up the A9 with a string of fine saves. That's four clean sheets in a row for the man keeping Ryan Esson on the bench. While Inverness were at Paisley, Hearts succumbed to a rampant Arab side who are gathering a bit of momentum with a series of high scoring results. However, Hearts did compound the critics with a 3-1 win at Pittodrie a month ago, only their third win of the season and their second over Aberdeen. But that's enough from me, AJS has this preview for you before the trip to Tynecastle.................... Dugout Debut Inverness travel down to the nations capital to pay basement boys Hearts a visit, with John Hughes taking to the dugout for the first time as our new boss. Yogi watched his side play out a tentative 0-0 draw in Paisley from the stands and will have had another week to tweak things to his way of liking, without "changing things too much". Hearts will be looking to add some much needed points and goals to their stats as they face the worrying prospect of hitting the festive period still stuck on minus points. December has been a wretched month for the Jam Tarts having haemorrhaged 11 goals in just 2 games as well as going into the upcoming fixture missing several key players, including Ryan Stevenson and Jason Holt who have been influential players for Gary Locke's youthful side. ICT go into the game with a near fully fit squad, James Vincent remaining the only absentee as he recovers from long term injury, but he is on the recovery trail and has been given the go-ahead to up his training.. Between the sides this season Inverness were the victors when Hearts travelled north at the beginning of the campaign, with Billy McKay netting a well taken first half double. He was denied a hat trick when his penalty was well saved by Jamie MacDonald. Meetings at Tynecastle last season dished up much entertainment, 9 goals served up and also ICT taking good results in both encounters. The first was an early meeting in the season with Hearts racing into a 2-0 lead and ICT also losing Richie Foran to a red card before half time, but our new look side bravely battled back. Andy Shinnie netted a spot kick to reduce the deficit and with time almost up a lovely exchange of play between Billy McKay and Graeme Shinnie saw the latter cut the ball back to a fresh faced, delirious youngster in Conor Pepper who clipped the ball high into the net to send the fans behind the goal into raptures and the players into delight as they had rescued what seemed an impossible result. The cup semi final against the Jam Tarts was heartbreaking, we will just leave it at that. But it sent us out on a revenge mission later the same month and we went to Tynecastle and took 3 points home. Gary Warren of all people netted a double with a couple of bullet headers, either side of Billy McKay scoring a goal. Webster and Holt were on the score sheet for Hearts but it wasn't enough and it was a hard fought and well taken result. Emphasising the grit and hard working nature of our side. Its the kind of grit and work ethic that will be needed at Tynecastle. Hearts may have a youthful side but they have shown despite recent results that they have grit themselves and during what is a real struggle for the club they are doing their best to dig themselves out of a real hole with next to no resources. Despite the lack of players on paper I'm sure Gary Locke will have them well fired up and its important we don't take it lightly. As for ourselves John Hughes has stated he won't tinker too much and hopefully he will stick to that. Our results in the last month have been terrific and I'm hoping that with him in the dugout on Saturday the players it will give the players an extra boost to go out and give their all and hopefully come away with a top result and performance. Tynecastle itself is a thoroughly enjoyable venue. One of my favourite grounds to visit. Good view, good fans and overall a great day out. Hoping to see a good support there tomorrow and for the 3 points to be heading back up the A9. AJS's prediction - Hoping our defence will stay solid and come away with a clean sheet. While up top we show the class we have shown throughout the campaign - I'm going for a 2-0 win.
  8. 4 points
    Third division newbies looking for cup shock It's League Cup action on Wednesday night as Inverness face the team formerly known as Rangers in the quarter finals of the trophy at Ibrox. Having already taken out first division Falkirk and SPL side Motherwell, The Rangers will be looking for another scalp in the shape of Inverness Caledonian Thistle, whose progress to the quarters has been rather low key with away victories over Arbroath and a penalty shoot-out against Stenhousemuir. The Rangers have done pretty well since gaining admission to the bottom tier in Scotland's leagues and have now moved to the top of division three after only nine games, finding themselves above the mighty Elgin City and Queens Park, although they were beaten recently by bottom club Stirling Albion. However, they failed to claim the scalp of second division Queen of the South in the Ramsdens Cup, losing out on penalties, but they did win last weeks Glasgow derby aganst Clyde when goals from Dean Shiels and Lee McCulloch sealed the points for the Ibrox club. Inverness, on the other hand, have tottered along in the SPL becoming one of the highest scoring sides in Scotland, despite also having one of the leakiest defences, although they have tightened up at the back in recent weeks. Unbeaten in their last seven games and with only two defeats this season, Inverness can feel pretty smug with their business so far. It's been an encouraging start to the season and the team seem to be settling down after some early slackness and the goals have flowed in every game so far. What can we expect from this game? It would be foolish for Inverness fans to believe that we will roll over The Rangers with ease, given the disparity in the leagues. Make no mistake, the Ibrox side are still using players that would fit into most SPL sides and the removal of Motherwell from this competition in the last round shows that they will be a force on the park, if not quite so efficient in the boardroom and the bank managers office. So I imagine that The Rangers will be out to show the rest of Scottish Football that they are still a big club ............... maybe not as big as Gregory Tade's Perth, but nonetheless big enough to handle the Highlanders, and that is why they will still be favourites in most peoples eyes to progress into the semi-finals and a possible match with another Glasgow side. I see that Celtic thrashed St Johnstone in Tuesday nights game 5-0, and Aberdeen went into extra-time with St Mirren, Magennis equalising in the ninety second minute to make it 2-2, but the Buddies went on to win the penalty shoot out by 4-2 ***Latest Team News*** Inverness have no fresh injury worries, but captain Richie Foran remains sidelined. Chris Hogg, Simon King and Nick Ross are all long term injury victims. Butcher has a choice to make for the keepers jersey with Esson back to fitness, but Reguero will be difficult to shift. Shane Sutherland and Gavin Morrison will be pushing for a start and Phillip Roberts could be rested with Conor Pepper waiting for his chance. Andy Shinnie is still searching for the two balls he fired high over the bar in the last game, let's hope he sets his sghts a bit lower on Wednesday night. Rangers defender Sebastien Faure will miss the League Cup quarter final against Inverness. Winger David Templeton is back in training after an ankle injury but is not back to full fitness yet. Spaniard Francisco Sandaza and Kane Hemmings remain out. tm4tj Prediction:- I would like to think that we could get into the next round of this competition, but Ibrox is not the easiest of grounds to attempt that. Our scoring record and tightening defence will be an asset, and I think we can do it, possibly needing extra-time and penalties, but we do have goal scorers around the park and let's hope we can keep that record going.
  9. 3 points
    CTO Player of the Year 2018/19 - COLL DONALDSON Players of the Month Month Player August R.Calder / Tom Walsh September Mark Ridgers October Coll Donaldson November C.Donaldson / M.Ridgers December Tom Walsh January Tom Walsh February Coll Donaldson March Aaron Doran April Jamie McCart May Charlie Trafford The CaleyThistleOnline.com player of the year awards started back in season 2000-2001, and is one of only two external supporter awards recognised by the club and also recorded in Ian Broadfoot's official club stats. We take great pride in that and continue to seek to ensure the voting process is handled with fairness and integrity. The results over the last 18 years have usually been a pretty good indicator of the season that had just passed and this season's votes seem no different than previous years in that respect. From reading the forums and the supporter assessments of the players on a weekly basis, I would hazard a guess that most fans would easily be able to rhyme off the top 5 or 6 names quite easily. This year however was the first time we had the little wrinkle that is the playoffs to add some spice to the run-in. With a 7 point lead going into the last official league game of the season, last year's runner-up Coll Donaldson was in pole position to take the plaudits. Could he maintain that or could someone catch him? There were a total of 2981 votes cast this season which was an 22% increase on last year. These votes were cast for a total of 23 different players over the course of the season. The season covered 10 months and two players each won 'Player of the Month' three times (Donaldson & Walsh), one player (Ridgers) earned it twice, and 4 other players took it for a single month (Calder, Doran, McCart and Trafford). If you are thinking that that adds up to 12 you are right !!! In August, the Player of the Month plaudits were shared between Walsh and Calder and in November it was shared between Donaldson and Ridgers ! The graphic below shows the number of votes cast each month regardless of 5/3/1 point value. We use this total number of votes cast to determine the player of the month standings. Over the course of the season the player with the highest number of votes cast for them (regardless of the value of the votes 5/3/1) was Coll Donaldson with 390 votes. Last year he finished in second spot with 338 votes so a very consistent young man in his Caley Thistle career so far. Second spot this year goes to Tom Walsh with 282 votes with the next three spots being taken up by Doran, Polworth and Ridgers who are all over the 250 vote mark. We noted last year that Iain Vigurs had been very dominant in pickling up POY points every month and that this wasnt a regular occurence .... Well, as if to prove us wrong, it happened again this year ! Of course it is easy to guess who did it, yup, Coll Donaldson picked up POY points every month and has equalled the Vigurs achievement of last year. A special mention has to go to Jamie McCart though .... Having amassed a grand total of 11 POY points through the first 8 months of the season he earned 26 in the months of April and May to shoot up the rankings and finish fifth. If the season had lasted a month longer he might have even caught up with the leaders. The final total for the year has Coll Donaldson retaining the lead he has held all season and finishing with 62 points. In second place is Aaron Doran with 52 and the next three are Liam Polworth and Tom Walsh in 3rd equal spot and Jamie McCart as mentioned pushing Mark Ridgers out of 5th spot to claim it for himself. Well done Coll, and to all the boys for a season where we almost got there on two fronts ... onwards and upwards and hopefully one step further next year.
  10. 3 points
    Rendalls Rambles #1 Enjoy a walk down memory lane with Caley Jags and world football fan James Rendall. He's a well travelled football connoisseur who has been following the Caley Jags from the start. He has put together a fascinating nostalgic review of Inverness Caledonian Thistle's first 25 years as witnessed through his own eyes. Thanks James, a remarkable commitment to the beautiful game. Take a walk in James' shoes and relive the early days, with added input from CTO fans.............. The Inverness Caledonian Thistle Years #25 No.1 1994/95 (Games 1 to 20) There wasn't an exact moment I pinned my tail on Caledonian Thistle as they were known then. On the very same night as the club trotted out at Firs Park, Falkirk to face the Shire in its first ever competitive game, I chose to see my first ever Faroese team in HB (Havnar Bóltfelag) who oddly were visiting Fir Park! A bit like buses, the Faroese National side came by Hampden a couple of months later, going down 5-1. The legacy of post Meadowbank blues was still with me, and while I was drawn to both North clubs, the very fact the Inverness club was a cleansheet, a new club was the factor that swung it. My first ever Caley Thistle game was a 3-1 win at Telford Street versus Forfar in September, a rare moment of first season joy against the side who would romp away with the title. Indeed, by mid April I was at Victoria Park, Dingwall the day The Loons clinched promotion, and the final brilliant hoorah of an average campaign for Caley Thistle was thumping Ross County at Telford Street 3-0, a result that prevented them from going up ahead of us The Inverness Caledonian Thistle Years #25 No2 1995/96 (Games 21 to 61) The club were bedding in better, red had been rightly added to the club colours and we were putting teams away with greater ease. The first programme here was the first of two back to back 0-5 away wins, but ultimately we'd come up short of promotion perhaps distracted by a wonderful Cup run, that included a last minute equaliser at old Bayview with East Fife and a subsequent penalty victory on the coldest Monday night ever! After another higher league side in Stenhousemuir were beaten 1-0 away in the next round, we drew Rangers at home for the only time thus far in our history in the Quarter Final. The game was eventually moved to Tannadice but with Gascoigne, McCoist and Brian Laudrup all playing for the opposition, we gave a battling performance, if beaten 0-3. It gave us a taste of the Scottish Cup as a new club, but the two component parts had long loved Cup ties. A lockout at Perth by virtue of the extraordinary number who ventured south, a classic tie at old Brockville in a blizzard v Stirling Albion were two memories of Caledonian, while Thistle had beaten Kilmarnock 3-0 as well as gaining notoriety for the longest cancelled Cup game with Falkirk in history! The Inverness Caledonian Thistle Years, #25 No.3 1996/97 (games 62 to 96) In our third season in the league the new club was beginning to find its feet, and new heroes were developing. Having struggled with the loss of Meadowbank and even more so, my father, this was the season where I finally moved on too and really felt part of the new ICT nation. No one could know what would unfold in the coming years but this was to be quite a dramatic campaign and the start of a journey! Inverness was added to the name, the best thing they decided to do, as well as giving us notoriety for the longest name in European club football! The club also moved away from Telford Street, the home of Caledonian, allowing the ghost of both club to be finally left behind, although the new ground still carries the Caledonian name, a mistake in my opinion, especially if you are looking to heal wounds. It is odd how football regularly offers a sense of symmetry, with Arbroath acting as the first ever league opponent in August 1994, and the last at Telford Street with Ian Stewart and Brian Thomson scoring the goals in a 2-0 win. The wee star, Ian Stewart was at it again a month later scoring the club's first goal at the new Caledonian Stadium with low key opening day visitors in Albion Rovers, who nicked an equaliser in front of a full house. The stadium has evolved a lot since then, and the road behind the stand is a main stay of the Inverness road system, but considering what it cost, and when you look at Falkirk's main stand etc, the need for that road reduced the availability of funds to build a proper mainstand! By March, messers Stewart and Thomson were at it again in a 3-0 win over the wee team, Ross County, a result that kept ICT top of the league and the wee Dingwall mob in its place! By the time symmetry came round again in the shape of Albion Rovers a month later, Caley Thistle were relishing the wider expanse of the new stadium, and another Ian Stewart brace, as well as a Barry Wilson goal and a rare Marco de Barros strike gave us a 4-1 win and clinched the Third Division title. Who would join us going up was still in the balance going to into the penultimate fixture. Forfar who had gone up in our first season must have come straight back down, and in our last home game of the season the party was not spoiled by a 0-4 first league loss at the new ground. The win kept Forfar second on goal difference from Ross County, and the following week I went to Station Park to see the Loons finish the job beating Queen's Park to step up with us. It would be years before County would find the promotion formula Next two installments coming up weekly............. You can read all about James' worldwide footballing travels in his own excellent blog FOOTBALL ADVENTURES WITH JAMES RENDALL ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Our own Mantis can go back further than most, and he was there on day one....... I was at the Shire game where Wilsie scored the first ever goal - the date is easy to remember as it’s my brother’s birthday. Followed up on the Saturday with the 5-2 v Arbroath and the following midweek at Dundee where the away strip got its first airing. Red and white stripes and blue shorts. In those days, midweek games kicked off at 7.30. I then missed a 4-0 hammering at home to Queens Park (boo!) and the Wilsie-inspired cuffing of County at Dingwall (big regrets), before we won at Albion Rovers with a second half strike from ‘spineless Norman’ (Monty Python reference for the young team). I fished out my season ticket for the 3-1 defeat of Forfar, which took us to the top of the league, with Dick Campbell moaning that we were a long ball team, despite having Charlie Christie, John Scott and Mike Noble in the team. I think the season ticket was about £45, maybe £50, which sounds very cheap as I think it was £4 at the gate. My final game, coincidentally, was a 1-0 defeat at Firs Park in April, featuring out of retirement Billy Urquhart, who had been at the first game as a supporter. My tally for the season was only 11 matches though, as like the team, I fell away badly after exiting the Scottish Cup, and I was still not the biggest fan of the merger. That second season, 95-96, was a low in my attendance at games. The whole ICT thing hadn't really caught fire for me after the merger, and I ended up seeing only 9 matches. Steve Paterson had taken over from Sergei, thankfully, and it wasn't all that long before the difference began to show, in the playing style and the results. The team finished the season in 3rd place behind Livi and Brechin (but ahead of County naturally) but was to sweep all before them the following year. If I'm honest, I showed up at a few games just to notch some new grounds, but I got my Caley Thistle news from the small band of regulars who travelled away with Caley Thistle, notably John Stewart, ex-Caley committee and his sons, one of whom is of course David, the MSP, and the other, Alan, who is a regular on here. I also became a regular traveller with big Dougie Lynn, and through him, met Ken MacDonald from Point in Lewis who, of course, is the father of big Lewis. The season started for me at Cliftonhill where 2 goals from Herchie looked to have won it before Rovers equalised in the last minute. Then a goalless draw at Brechin which we really should have won. A place which became a happy hunting ground for ICT in later years. Apparently Charlie scored a late equaliser at Telford Street to salvage a point against Alloa but, unusually, I can't recall anything of the game. A week before Xmas we had a dour 0-0 draw at Cowdenbeath in front of 230, although at the time I thought there were more people in the main street to see Santa and his sleigh before the game ? In the New Year, a highlight was beating Livi 2-0 at Almondvale with late goals from Christie and Teasdale. But of course the icing on the cake, as it so often was with Caley Thistle, was the Cup. I missed the legendary Herch-inspired comeback v Livi and jumped in at the East Fife stage. As Steve Archibald substituted himself late on in the replay, thinking the game was won, a wee bit of the future ICT spirit was revealed with a late Herchie equaliser and a cool 3-1 win on spot kicks. This led to the famous win at Ochilview as the team, backed by a healthy following, progressed due to a Luggy screamer with 15 minutes to go. From my acquaintances in the game, I can exclusively reveal that Terry Christie was so depressed by this result that the Stenhousemuir board and some of his friends had to talk him out of resigning. Then there was the Rangers game at Tannadice. A taste of things to come for ICT. Although we were well beaten in the end, most of us would have been happy with a goal, and we almost got one, courtesy of John Scott's drive which flashed narrowly over (I'm sure he went on to be a star somewhere ? ). For me, the ICT passion would be ignited next season. Here is TheMantis' own pre-merger site at Caley Nostalgia................ Thanks Mantis.
  11. 3 points
    Honest Men come North It's heading towards Tam O' Shanter time as the Honest Men head North to tackle the Chapman Billies at the Caledonian Stadium in Inverness. Ayr have been a revelation this term and a breath of fresh Ayr has certainly breathed some life into the Championship with Lawrance Shankland being one of the reasons they sit at the business end of the table. They sit second in the League only three points behind County. Ayr thrashed Dundee United 5-0 at Tannadice at the end of November, but since then they have drawn three and lost last week against Falkirk. Top scorer Lawrance Shankland missed that one and looks like missing out again. Our last two games have ended in defeat. We went down 2-1 in the Highland derby and threw away a lead against Queen of the South last week as two goals in a minute turned the game on it's head. It was a similar tale in the derby where we had the better of the game but ended up losing all three points, sums up the season so far. Due to a postponement at Somerset Park, we have only played Ayr once. That game ended goalless despite Ayr being reduced to ten men when Daniel Harvie was sent off in the first half. Ayr have a plethora of possible call offs which could include Lawrance Shankland, Mark Kerr, and Liam Smith . Andrew Geggan is back after suspension but midfielder Andrew Murdoch has reached the yellow card threshold and misses this game. Jamie Adams and Alan Forrest will definitely be out. For Inverness, Shaun Rooney serves the second of his two match ban and Brad Mckay has to serve a one match ban for accumulated bookings. Rumours also abound that possibly as many as three unnamed players might be down with the flu. Kevin McHattie could be involved given that at least two of our first choice defenders are out. George Oakley is still sidelined. Back up keeper Daniel Hoban has been loaned out to Forfar Athletic for the remainder of the season. Keeper Cammy Mackay has returned from Rothes and will cover for Mark Ridgers when required. Here's Kevin McHattie talking ahead of tomorrow's game. The Official Digital Online Programme is available HERE I asked the Bard for a prediction, he came up with this:- “The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, Gang aft agley. An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, For promis'd joy! In other words, it might not go to plan, which might annoy the fans................ Thanks Robbie. Another draw it is then! He also had some advice for Robbo:- “O, wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as others see us! It wad frae monie a blunder free us, An' foolish notion.” Aye, well said Robbie, I'm sure our own Robbo will take that on board bard. Enjoy yer haggis & neeps peeps. If you like a wee flutter, our new partnership with FansBet can offer you something. Just click on FansBet to get started. "Remember to select CaleyThistleOnline when you register and you’ll be helping us support ICT fan causes." FansBet are partners with Supporters Direct Scotland and already have many impressive stories of giving back to and empowering fans, ranging from funding away travel, share purchases, backing safe standing projects and many more. You can read some of FansBet’s Giving Back stories on their blog at https://blog.fansbet.com/fansbet-giving-back/partners/fan/ Always remember to adopt safe gambling and responsible policies.
  12. 3 points
    Tannadice test Inverness head to Tannadice this weekend and Caley Stan is yer man with a Preview to set up this clash for you. Dundee United are now spending a third consecutive season in the second tier of Scottish football. It feels weird to write that. Even though I don’t remember much about the eighties (youth not drugs), their incredible achievements throughout that decade (League Champions, UEFA Cup finalists, European Cup semi-finalists, perennial conquerors of FC Barcelona) formed a veneer of great stature around the club that barely seemed to diminish through the many years of mediocrity that followed. But relegation, boardroom wrangling, falling crowds and home defeats to the likes of Dumbarton and Ross County have taken their toll. Csaba Laszlo was sacked with the club on its knees, staring down the barrel of a fourth year out of the top flight, their grand history looking more and more like a curiosity, the answer to an obscure quiz question. Dundee were once European Cup semi-finalists too, you know. Isn’t that funny. History of the Fixture Won 16 Drawn 17 Lost 18 We first played Dundee United in the Scottish Cup Fourth Round of 1998 when a Paul Sheerin goal saw us lead at for the best part of an hour at Tannadice before a late Kjell Oloffson strike forced a replay. The replay was unforgettable – Gary McSwegan appeared to have finished the tie when he put United 2-0 up in the 85th minute. Then, in a turn of events that was typical of the Pele era, a quickfire Brian Thomson goal was followed, in the dying seconds, by the best goal of all time from Mark McCulloch. Lars Zetterlund won it for United in extra time, but the crowd of almost 6000 (yes, 6000 for a midweek replay) left elated – we had just gone toe-to-toe with an established top tier side for the first time in our history. The two sides didn’t meet again until 2004, and we failed to get the better of them in our first six attempts following promotion, though goals from Liam Fox and Barry Wilson saw us come out on top in a 2005 League Cup tie in Inverness. Our maiden league victory over United took place at Tannadice in February of the following year, and in some style. Craig Brewster had left Caley to take over there just a month before, threatening to take some of our best players (and David Proctor) with him. But Charlie Christie had us purring at the time, and while United led twice through two stunning free-kicks from Charlie Mulgrew, Darren Dodds headed home in between to keep us in the game before Wyness and Dargo ran riot - each getting on the scoresheet before Alan Morgan sealed the 4-2 victory. There have been some cracking encounters since, like this 4-0 stroll in the Caley Park, the time we went 3-0 down after 8 minutes but still felt gutted to leave with a point, and another time we did them 4-0 at Tannadice that I can’t find on youtube. League Form Dundee United Last 6: DDWLLW ICT Last 6: DWWDDD The two sides are tied on 14 points, though we have a game in hand and a superior goal difference. Our 19-game unbeaten run started 7 months ago with a 1-1 draw at Tannadice, but it’s starting to look tired. United won at Firhill last week in Robbie Nielson’s first game in charge after consecutive defeats put Laszlo out of his misery. With over a thousand Arabs making the trip to Maryhill, and a big crowd expected to welcome the new manager, it feels like circumstances might matter more than form on this occasion. Basically, it’s a crap time for us to be going there. Teams and Tactics Robbos’s faith in the White-headed 4-2-3-1 that was so effective at Dunfermline seemed to finally waver in the second half last week, with the half-time introduction of Daniel MacKay and subsequent sightings of Calder and Austin. However, I still fully expect to see the same starting eleven and shape – it’s at its best away from home against proactive opponents and is therefore ideal for this game. George Oakley is back in training but won’t feature tomorrow, while the existence of Angus Beith remains unconfirmed . Neilson played a 4-4-1-1 last week with Fraser Aird and Billy King in the wide positions and Paul McMullan playing off Slovakian internationalist, Pavlov Safranko. On paper, they look a cut above the rest of the league, with Fraser Fyvie anchoring the midfield and an enormous centre-half pairing of francophones Rachid Bouhenna and Frederic Frans, combined height – 12 feet and 7 inches. The Shed We’ll be back in ‘The Shed’ tomorrow, a wonderful throwback to a different era of stadia, with a sixty year-old corrugated iron roof that acts as effective amplifier and visible reminders of the terracing that once stood beneath it. Prediction Ach, it’s only a game. Win, lose or draw you’ll get home to your bed just the same.
  13. 3 points
    Inverness, Scottish Cup Winners How good does that feel! What a day that was, one that started for me at five in the morning when the alarm went off in North Kessock and ended in Edinburgh around midnight with a grin etched on the face. Inverness Caledonian Thistle are the 2015 Scottish Cup winners. Many made massive sacrifices for the cause, coming from around the globe. It was well worth it in the end, although in true tradition, we don't do anything the easy way and that was credit to Falkirk who can count themselves a tad unlucky after a courageous second half performance where Inverness weathered the storm to eventually lift the cup after having to play out the final twenty minutes with ten men. We went in at the break a goal to the good after getting to grips with the game halfway through the first period, Marley Watkins finishing with aplomb after a seven man move. Carl Tremarco was sent packing after 75 minutes after he miscontrolled a ball and then scythed down Blair Alston as he sped goalwards. Schoolboy error from Carl that was punished five minutes later when Peter Grant headed powerfully home from the vacant left back position. However, an unlikely hero came forward and James Vincent applied the finishing touch after Jamie MacDonald spilled a Watkins shot. The rest is history. The fans were in good spirits in the build up to the game and plenty of shouting juice had passed the lips. Inside the stadium there was a marvellous card display from the Inverness end and it was a pleasure to be part of it. Massive congratulations to all who set that one up, it looked fantastic. Inverness fans were dealt a blow before kick off as semi hero David Raven was out which left us with an unfamiliar back four. Esson in goal but in front of him, only Josh Meekings was in his normal position. Devine replaced the suspended Gary Warren and Carl Tremarco was at left back with departing captain Graeme Shinnie filling in at right back with Raven missing. Danny Williams was on the bench and Aaron Doran started. Falkirk were minus the cup-tied Mark Kerr and John Baird, but Rory Loy started, despite Houston claiming he might not make it. A bright afternoon saw Falkirk get off to the better start, but it was a typical cup final, all a bit cagey in the opening exchanges, nobody wanting to make the first mistake. Whilst always keeping the fans attention, there was little goalmouth action with defences on top as Inverness began to edge their way forward with around twenty minutes gone. Ryan Esson was eventually called into action and comfortably saved a low shot from Will Vaulks from outside the box. Vaulks fired a vicious shot from thirty yards eight minutes later and that one had the Falkirk fans off their seats as the ball ruffled the top corner of the net. Alas for the Bairns, it was the wrong side of the net. Closest call yet though, phew! We were not at our best but at least we were not behind. That close shave seemed to alert Inverness to the dangers and Aaron Doran brought a save from Macdonald as we started to pass the ball better, although the defence were needing more help from the front men who were not holding onto the ball. Shinnie then had our best attempt so far as he fired a shot come cross wide with Watkins lurking, and it was evident the tide was turning. Watkins then had a shot saved as it went straight at the keeper and a corner followed soon after. We were now controlling the pace of the game and the 38th minute saw Inverness go ahead with a wonderful team goal. Falkirk lost possession deep in the Inverness half. We transferred the ball smartly up the right side in a seven man move. The final touches saw Aaron Doran slip a tidy ball through to Marley Watkins and his pace and power saw him drift goalwards to slide the ball past MacDonald for the opening goal. Scenes of Red and Blue in the Inverness end as jubilation broke out in the stands. The dream was now in full swing as the half ended with Inverness on top. Half Time 1-0 I don't know what Houston said at half time, but it transformed the Bairns. They were up for this and we would have to weather the storm as they surged forward looking for a leveller. Vaulks was the main threat and he went close agin five minutes after the restart. On the hour mark and Blair Alston lifted a shot just over inside a packed box as Falkirk upped the pace. Inverness were by now finding the Bairns to be more of a handful than they should have been as they won successive corners and Vaulks again shot over. Substitute Botti Bia Bi went very close soon after and manager of the year John Hughes decided to make a change. Little did he know how important that change would be as he introduced James Vincent for young player of the year Ryan Christie. With 75 minutes on the clock, Carl Tremarco was invited to leave the field by Willie Collum after he lost the ball then brought down Alston. No complaints this time though as Collum had little option. Tremarco was distraught and Inverness would have to play out the game with ten men. Vaulks again tested Esson from close range as the Bairns smelled blood and went for the jugular. Inverness were reduced to frantic defending and the fans were watching through their fingers as the final twenty minutes would take a lifetime to pass. Within five minutes of Tremarco leaving, Falkirk were level. A free kick on the left flank saw Alston pick out Peter Grant who wanted it most and he flashed a powerful header high into the net for a not undeserved equaliser. Game on. James Vincent went to right back with Shinnie moving over to the left as Inverness re-jigged after the sending off. There was nothing else for it but to get up the park and have a go or face the prospect of extra time and penalties. That threat disappeared when Watkins pace saw him break forward to surge clear of the defence with Falkirk caught up the other end. He slowed down outside the box and tried to curl a low shot to the left of the keeper. Now then, I've seen better shots but MacDonald fluffed his lines as he dived low to his left. He only succeeded in pushing the ball to the left side of the box and James Vincent who had made a lung bursting run to catch up with Watkins got to the loose ball first and knocked it into the empty net. Absolute pandemonium in the Inverness end once more and there were only five more minutes of normal time to hold on to our advantage. Luke Leahy went close in the ninetieth minute as Falkirk tried to scramble the game towards extra time and five minutes of time added on saw a huge sigh from the Highlanders. Nick Ross replaced Man of the Match Marley Watkins with three minutes remaining but Falkirk could not find that elusive second goal and the end result was just fantastic for Inverness Caledonian Thistle and their fans who were singing and dancing in the Hampden Stands. Full Time 2-1 It was tough and hard to bear for the Falkirk fans who had witnessed their team give their all, but it's all about scoring the most goals and we did just that. More scenes of Red and Blue followed as the Inverness contingent stayed to cheer the victors and witness the Cup presentation. Graeme Shinnie leaves for Aberdeen now, but he might never experience this again, as he kissed the cup and waved it above his head, duly followed by the rest of the squad. What a moment to be a Caley Thistle fan. 21 years in the making but a combined 239 years of magnificent history. Celebratory beers were the order of the day and I met up with some Falkirk fans in the Horseshoe Bar where Gordon Mason presented me with a trophy off his back. He gave me a Falkirk shirt and wished us all well. Great fans and a credit to their club. MotM will be going to Marley Watkins who scored the first and made the second with a little help from Jamie Macdonald. In truth, and here is the unsavoury bit, there were not too many contenders for the title, most players having an off day. Danny Devine was better than most and Graeme Shinnie, as always, gave everything. We struggled up front and Eddie Ofere has had better days. In fairness to him, we rarely got the ball forward so it's hardly his fault. Carl Tremarco will be disappointed but he performed well up to that point. It is unfair to pick out anyone though, good or bad so I'll leave it there and say congratulations to everybody from the ball boys to the the fans, what an achievement for our club. Steve Hislop and Bobby Mann were not far off in their predictions and I met Barry Wilson after the game as well, all in all, a great day out and there would be another one on Sunday as the Cup was paraded through Inverness. Date: 30/05/15 Venue: Hampden Park Attendance: 37149 Referee: Willie Collum Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Esson, Shinnie, Meekings, Devine, Tremarco, Christie (Vincent 72), Draper, Tansey, Doran (Williams 78), Watkins (Ross 93), Ofere Subs (not used): Mackay, Horner, Polworth, Kink Scorers: Watkins (38), Vincent (86) Booked: None Sent Off: Tremarco (75) Falkirk: 1 Lineup: MacDonald, Duffie, McCracken, Grant, Leahy, Alston, Vaulks, Taiwo, Sibbald, Smith (Bia Bi 63), Loy (Morgan 95) Subs (not used): Muirhead, Bowman, Dick, Cooper, Blair Scorers: Grant (80) Booked: Taiwo (76) Sent Off: None
  14. 3 points
    Groundhog Day Yes folks, it's our annual League Cup semi-final pilgrimage against Hearts at Easter Road coming up this weekend at erm, well, Easter Road. The prize for the victors is a final appearance against Aberdeen who thumped St Johnstone 4-0, with Jonny Hayes and Adam Rooney prominent and amongst the goals. Similarities to last season are scary. Inverness riding high inside the top six, Hearts struggling at the wrong end of the table, trying to cook the books to enable new recruits to be conjured up out of thin air, Mr Ngoo springs to mind, and the possibilities of us falling out of both cups within a week. Hearts are once more massaging the SFA in their attempts to bend the rules in their favour, conveniently getting Ryan Stevenson's suspension out of the way prior to the semi-final and looking to bring in fresh faces, despite a signing embargo imposed upon them because of their administration woes. They are of course in a positive mode, well their points tally is anyway having trounced our near neighbours in last weeks SPFL fixture at Dinwgall and coming from a goal down inside a minute to beat St Mirren in that re-arranged midweek fixture to leave them with a total of +5 points, We have beaten the Jambos twice already this season, both wins were comfortable and both by two goals to nil, home and away, where we could and should have won by even greater margins. However, the gloss seems to have disappeared from our game. Our blistering start to the season has been eroded away and we seem to have been swallowed up by the pack. Our goals for has dried up, only three goals in our last six games. Billy McKay was prolific at the start of the season and even he has endured lean times recently. Mind you, were it not for Billy's eye for goal, we would be lingering in the also rans stables and surely it's time for Inverness to get some help for the wee man who has been ploughing a lone furrow recently. Much has been said about Hearts having a youthful side. That itself is true, but what they lack in experience, they more than make up for with a total lack of fear and plenty of tenacity. They have taken a couple of batterings this season and that was to be expected as they were badly exposed against Celtic. However, put them into a battle with arch rivals Hibernian in a fierce Edinburgh derby and they fought to the bitter end and in fact ended Hibs run in the last round of the League Cup, although they just lost out in the league game a couple of weeks ago, but not for the want of trying. Inverness have not been firing on all cylinders since well before Xmas, and the departure of Terry Butcher has not helped. John Hughes has a thankless task trying to maintain Butcher's excellent start to the campaign, and it will be impossible to better it, given that we reached the heady heights of second in the League giving some of our supporters the notion that we were going to challenge Celtic for top spot...........steady on chaps and chapesses. The confidence of the fans looks as though it has matched the teams belief at the moment and even the most ardent of loyal supporters are, to put it mildly, shiting themselves over the thought of facing a resurgent Hearts in front of yet another hostile crowd in Edinburgh, and rightly so. We struggled to get out of second gear at Kilmarnock while Hearts were ripping into County at the weekend. Last year we were maybe over confident and paid the price as Hearts rolled up their young sleeves and got stuck in. This time I see no difference to that format and we need to match Hearts exuberance or the outcome may well be similar. It took extra-time and penalties to separate the sides last year although Billy McKay should have scored the winner but he inexplicably forgot he was a predatory striker for a couple of seconds and missed a glorious chance to strike in extra-time. The rest is history and the Phillip Roberts penalty miss is the one lasting memory of that fateful day that lingers longest. That and the miserable treatment we received in Paul Kane's pub pre-match where nobody ordered pies for the ravenous Inverness support, despite the thousands of pounds being emptied into the tills at the Four in Hand. Rank rotten treatment from the former Hibee and one to avoid this time methinks, although the promise of grub is once more on the table. Inverness skipper Richie Foran is playing it close to his chest about his chances of playing on the Sabbath. He is well under way with his training and he could be influential, even from the bench. Yogi has a full squad otherwise and team selection is vital for this game with Draper, Tansey and Vincent all vying for a start in midfield, an area where this tie may well be won or lost. Hearts have brought in this seasons Mr Ngoo with a replica loan signing in the shape of big Paul McCallum from West Ham. Ryan Stevenson's ban was completed in that midweek win over the Buddies and he will be an important player for Hearts who have lost Adam King to Swansea and have Jason Holt and Jamie Walker out injured. tm4tj Prediction:- Well, we have beaten Hearts twice already this season but this is a different kettle of fish. The Jambos are on a high after consecutive wins have put them into positive points. But it's not only their points tally that is positive, they have been playing with real desire of late and with little else to play for this season, then all their eggs will be in the same basket and they will be fully committed to this one. They won on penalties last year and it might take extra time to settle this one, but Inverness have the quality to win this outright provided the attitude and application matches that of the capital side. I'll settle for a 1-0 win for Inverness to make their first major final. These guys can be heroes, just for one day............................
  15. 3 points
    Butchergate, The Extended Version It's been an eventful week in the Highland Capital with all the talking points happening off the park, and sooner than the official chinwag methinks. The departure of Pat Fenlon from Easter Road sparked the managerial merry go round into action and interest swiftly focussed on Inverness manager Terry Butcher. That was just the start, it would drag on all week. Here's Pat telling us why he felt the time was right to leave, but it's a hell of a way to try and get three points off Inverness. If you had believed BBC Scotland's ill advised journalism, then Butcher was all but Hibernian boss by half three on Monday afternoon. Strange considering Butcher had allegedly not spoken to anyone at Easter Road regarding the job, despite claims by a wifie reporter who told the nation that Terry had agreed terms with Hibs. This misinformation caused Caley Thistle Online to spike as football fans scoured the internet for confirmation, or in the case of Inverness fans, denial. By Tuesday tea-time Butcher was granted permission to discuss the managerial position with Hibs after an official approach by the Edinburgh side, with Kenny Cameron vowing to fight to keep Butcher here. Jimmy Nicholl was tasked with leading Hibs into battle this weekend, a move which would pave the way for ongoing discussions between the two clubs and Terry Butcher. Wednesday was chilling out day, just as well as I went down with serious manflu. Butcher had been discussing his future with Hibernian who claimed the talks were positive. Thursday and Butcher was back in Inverness, and Malpas was preparing the team for Saturdays game with news that Nadir Ciftci's red card has turned yellow. The folk in charge of our game need to take a look at themselves. Friday morning and the rumour mill is rife with Butcher's imminent departure, cut and dried it would appear if twitter accounts are to be believed, and all that is required now is the official announcement. Fritz the dog was on hand to keep the gathering throng of reporters guessing. I know the answer. It's a miniature Schnauzer! And a Geordie to boot! Terry and Fritz looked more like extras for One Man and His Dog than a man with a life changing decision to make, bedecked in cloth cap and green wellies, like something straight out of the Black Isle Show. The departure of a manager is something Inverness should be used to by now. It's not something new and he won't be the last manager or player to be taken from us. However, it's the timing of this one that irks many fans. Inverness riding high in the SPFL, a League Cup semi-final to look forward to, a squad really starting to show their potential and all of a sudden, a struggling club with loads of latent capabilities come knocking on the door with a wad of cash and BOOM! Our wee world falls apart. Hibs have not won the Scottish Cup in over a century. That's a long time in anyone's language and the last of four Scottish Championship titles was in 1952, thanks mainly to the Famous Five. They have three League Cup successes to look back on more recently, 2007 being their latest brush with silverware. So, surely it is only right that the clubs, players and fans are let in on the secret so preparation for Saturdays game can go as smoothly as possible. No? Mr Butcher has nothing to pay back to Inverness. He has taken the club to a new level and has endeared himself to the fans with his orchestrations at the end of games. Who can forget the sermon at Somerset Park having just won the First Division at the first time of asking. I'm not sure these actions will be replicated at Easter Road. However, it's Terry's life and we are all grateful for his efforts over the last few years in raising the profile and status of Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Let's be honest with ourselves. A manager never stays at a club forever in the real world. Success brings it's own downsides, and this was always going to happen, sooner or later, it's how it works I'm afraid. But it's still Murder Mystery Suspense. It's murder for the fans, mystery as to who will be in charge, and Butcher is keeping everybody in suspense. But Terry, beware of the curse of the Caley Jags. Very few have succeeded after leaving Inverness for greener grass. Take your pick. Big fish in small pond or small fish in big pond. Unbelievable.............. Would you believe it, the team Inverness are playing at the end of this traumatic week is................yes, you've guessed it Hibernian. Unbelievable! You could not script this any better. It has been a week of total disruption on the park with player training taking a back seat to Butchergate. Not only at Inverness, but the same at Easter Road, although their emotions will be the reverse of ours. Mo Malpas has denied any knowledge of Butcher's intent and I find that odd in the respect that he must be aware that if Terry goes, then he and Steve Marsella would be prime targets to join Butcher at Easter Road...........unless he knows otherwise and is staying put. Anyway, Jimmy Nicholl is tuning up the Hibs squad and Maurice Malpas is preparing the Inverness players for what will be an emotional day, although Duncan Shearer was taking the training by Friday morning at Inverness and Alan Maybury drafted in at Leith. Meanwhile, back to the nitty gritty. Inverness are unbeaten in their last three games at Easter Road with two draws and a win. Hibs have not won in their last three games at home, their best result was a 1-1 draw with Celtic, losing to Aberdeen and in the League cup derby against Hearts. Inverness have scored twice as many League goals as Hibs who have only notched a meagre nine goals in twelve games. To counterbalance that poor record, they have only lost five goals at home in the league and twelve in total, that's only one more than Inverness. Inverness are seven points better off than Hibs. (why would anyone want to go there?) Inverness will have David Raven back in the squad after a three game absence, although Carl Tremarco has done himself no harm with no nonsense defending and Graeme Shinnie scored the crucial second from Ravens right back position last week, something Raven has yet to do for Inverness. Dean Brill has extended his loan at Inverness. The big keeper has been sensational between the sticks, a couple of bloopers apart and is a very welcome addition to the cause for another few months. James Vincent is out long term and Danny Williams is reported to have a leg knock. Hibs will be without Liam Craig who failed to overturn a red card decision. He will miss this game and Hibs next League Cup game. James McPake makes his return after suspension Also out are Sam Stanton, Tim Clancy, Michael Nelson and Alex Harris. tm4tj Prediction :- Interesting day ahead and all things being equal, Inverness should thump Hibs. However, this has been an unusual week. Billy McKay (2) and Richie Foran were the scorers in Inverness earlier in the season and in all honesty it could have been double figures. I would have expected more of the same this weekend had it not been for Butchergate. With the main focus being on the managerial malarky, this game has now become nothing more than a sideshow and literally anything could happen. I'll go for a couldn't care less no scoring draw.
  16. 3 points
    Inverness extend their stay at the top Inverness failed to set the heather on fire but did enough to earn their chips at Auchterarder as they beat SPFL strugglers Kilmarnock by the odd goal in three. Richie Foran, the SPFL player of the month, and N Ireland international striker Billy McKay scored for the visitors with Barry Nicholson getting the last touch in a bizarre goal for Killie. This was an error strewn match but manager of the month Terry Butcher's side always had the edge over a disappointing Kilmarnock who looked more like a pub side than a team playing in the top division in Scotland. Immortal Howden Ender took a break from ghost duties to write this report for us..................... Well I suppose that the old cliche says that it takes a good team to take three points away from home when they are not performing at their best. That was a rather uninspiring performance but we were still streets ahead in regard to quality and endeavour - and if we had scored a second early doors we could have cruised home in comfort. As it was we were happy to hear the final whistle although we never looked like or deserved to be losing two points. Lets liken it to the Bazooka Joe experience - or probably Hubba Bubba to the yoof - I can recall blowing this massive bubble until it popped and stuck to ma face. It would then take ages to peel the debris off and ages to get the energy to blow another fecker up. But I still have this big bubble in front of me and it ain't going to burst easily. And I suspect that if it does I will comfortably peel the debris off, unwrap a new chewy and start blowing it up again. This ICT side really do have the togetherness factor and are simply not going to implode. They may stutter but they could explode again. We decided not to stir up the spirits in the Hunting Lodge but drank some spirits in the Portmann Hotel - which is recommended for future Killie trips. There was a rather subdued support today and averaged in the 40+ years and that is why we didn't bounce to the Ultra ditty until just on full time !! As fer the game - not one to write home for - but Foran netted again after 5 minutes. If he had been found the first time he would have been offside but by the time the second attack came round he was in the perfect position. If we had got a second soon after - and we clearly went fer it - we could have feckin hammered them. We were by far the better team in the first 45 and perhaps Doran could have netted one of his two chances. But we went more and more on the back foot and allowed Killie to pass the ball although they never did anything in the last third. Their equaliser evidently came as a shock and Nicholson benefited from a lucky ricochet off a Shinnie clearance which left Brill with no chance. It did kick us back into life and McKay lobbed home a beauty to take the lead again. But instead of capitalising we seemed to sit back and look to score on the break. To me that was tactically wrong and let Killie more in to the game and us resorting more and more to the hoof. I would have to say that I was actually disgusted by the tactics employed when we got a corner with 4 minutes to go. We put ONE feckin player in the box and went to time waste. Sure, that may have gained us two very valuable points but it was negative and disappointing in the extreme. But as the final whistle blew we were / are still TOP of the league and deservedly so. The brethren again paid homage to the footballing gods as TB emerged from his pulpit and led the faithful in the celebratory homage. To me - Foran has been a revelation this season and was my MotM by a country mile. Just behind him was a more difficult choice but I would plump fer Meekings and Draper. It is probably homage to the defensive unit that Brill is still relatively untested. He had no chance with the dodgy goal and had only one real save which may have been going wide anyway. His distribution however waned in the second half. Raven was solid enuff although TB must have been pished off that he managed to play half an hour in a brilliant white and un blooded head bandage. Warren was solid if not as effective as usual. Boyd is still a handful if not well past his SPL sell by date. Shinnie is as good an attacking wingback as there is - especially in comparison to Lee Wallace. Ross and Doran looked good at times but were employed more in a defensive role. Poor Vincent worked his socks off but can anybody tell me what his feckin role was today. McKay again ploughed a lone furrow but his chip was worthy of winning any game. I really hope that today was horses for courses and we are more attacking at the Hill of Dung. But I and you can probably put up with another week of adrenaline and serotonin surge. Date: 14.09.2013 Venue: Rugby Park, Kilmarnock Attendance: 3063 Referee: Steven Mclean Kilmarnock: 1 Lineup: Samson, Clohessy, Irvine, Tesselaar, McKeown, Nicholson, Fowler (Pascali 70), Jacobs (Stewart 76), Gros (Ibrahim 46), Gardyne, Boyd Subs (not used): Reguero, O'Hara, Ashcroft, Pooler Scorers: Nicholson (51) Booked: Pascali (76) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Brill, Raven, Warren, Meekings, Shinnie, Draper, Foran, Ross, Vincent (Williams 81), Doran, McKay (Agdestein 85). Subs (not used): Esson, Devine, Greenhalgh, Tremarco, Polworth Scorers: Foran (6), McKay (56) Booked: Shinnie (86) Sent Off: none
  17. 2 points
    Astra-nomical days in Romania People often refer to an extraordinary, yet fleeting occurrence as a JFK moment. When Inverness CT went in a bowl in Switzerland for the Europa League draw in June 2015, it was hardly a life changing event, but I will never forget where I was when the news filtered through from home as to who we had drawn, and where we were headed. I was sitting in a square in Salzburg having lunch as you do! European qualification had already been guaranteed before the Scottish Cup Final, a draw at Dundee clinched our historic third place. Will we ever see the likes again? Perhaps in hindsight I shouldn’t have stayed away from Dens Park, but I was obsessed with my 500th ICT game being the Cup Final, and that was what happened. I wrote about the joy of that Cup Final in an article “It’s my club”, which was printed in Football Weekends magazine in 2016, and can also be found elsewhere on my blog. The first paragraph of that piece is well with recounting here; “A man down, pegged back by an equaliser, Inverness were struggling, it felt like we were on the ropes. Was the Scottish Cup dream about to end? It was Falkirk we were playing after all, a known bogey team in years past. They traditionally beat us in most August encounters and had knocked us out of both cups, as well as relegating us in one season. Indeed that painful occasion was the last game between the two teams in May 2008, seven years ago. However, this was May 2015, a different generation of player with none of the mental blocks that we the fans associate with the name Falkirk! The clock was ticking down on a sun drenched Hampden, when suddenly the ball broke to Marley Watkins, still well inside our half, but he started to run, and run with the ball toward the goal he sped. A little turn inside, he shot, it wasn’t his best ever effort, a trundler, but the pace caught out the Bairns keeper Jamie MacDonald who merely diverted the ball into the path of the on rushing James Vincent, who had sprinted from our box! It fell beautifully for him; Goooooooooal!! We had just won the Scottish Cup! A club just 21 years old at that stage had just won the oldest trophy in world football! (FA Cup is an older competition, but the Scottish Cup trophy is older!). It’s a trophy bigger clubs have craved for 114 years without success, or waited more than 100 years to win for the first time ever”. Nearly five years on it still seems incredible, a boy’s own story, something they can never take away from us. That cup victory was undoubtedly the pinnacle for the club, but for a more global citizen, one obsessed with football in certain lands around the world, getting to see my team in Europe had always been my dream. So much so, when Inverness went to Denmark in 2007 for pre-season training and a couple of games, I had to be there. So one July evening I sped down the railway tracks from Copenhagen to Sjaelland, and the quaint town of Nykobing Falster for the clubs first ever game on foreign soil. We were five strong that night (Don Taylor, his wife and son amongst us) as Liam Fox claimed the first ever ICT goal outside Britain in a 2-1 loss to Nykobing Falster Alliance. A few days later, our number had grown by one as David Proctor scored the only goal of the game against much tougher opponents in FC Nordsjaelland from Farum near the capital, a club who would not only end up playing Queen of the South in Europe five years later, but continue a journey towards being one of Denmark’s top teams. Given I was in Denmark for friendly matches, (I have only ever been at one ICT friendly in Banff!) you can imagine how keyed up I was when I knew my club name was going into a UEFA draw. I was prepared to go almost anywhere (Israel was my only no go at that time, Kosovo has been subsequently added to the list), but I was more dreaming of Almaty in Kazakhstan (as far east as we could go!), or any of our Nordic neighbours especially Iceland or the Faroe Islands, the possibilities were endless, all very exciting as the Welsh would say. Having won the Scottish Cup we were nibbled onto the Second Round directly, and with so many “and/or” potential pitfalls from Round One we could have drawn, it would make for very short notice booking. As it was, I was sitting quaffing a glass of chilled white wine over lunch in the Plaza de Mozart in Salzburg when the news filtered through the Tyrolean mountains to my mobile that we hadn’t drawn and and/or” but Astra Giurgiu. I hadn’t a clue where in România Giurgiu was, but the club name was familiar to me as they’d had a few European outings previously, one with Celtic rang a bell. I also learned that St Johnstone were going to Armenia, information of amusement for the sender as he knew I was travelling with an Armenian lass. My boss back in Edinburgh is a huge St Johnstone fan, both home and away, as well as every European game he could possibly get too (He has only missed one in Minsk, Belarus because of the lack of time to get a visa!). While I had no direct number for him, I was immediately messaging a colleague back home in the office with information to pass on, as St Johnstone were Yerevan bound in just over two weeks, a lot sooner than our tie. He called me that night and took more information and was all booked long before I walked back into the office the following week. I had always regretted that none of my bunch of fellow ICT fans had been up for going to Denmark, but okay those were friendly matches. I was more dismayed that none of them could go to Romania. I knew there was going to be a fine away support but I started to have second thoughts as I didn’t really fancy the Bucharest to the banks of the Danube and Giurgiu on my own, having by then looked at a map and discovered the location of Astra’s home town. Then my luck started to turn, and from a most unlikely source. Luciano, a Brazilian friend from Porto Alegre, who works as a translator for FIFA amongst others, wrote to me to say he had a Romanian colleague who would be more than willing to help me. By the end of that day we hadn’t just arranged that Razvan was picking me up at the airport, but he’d happily drive me down to Giurgiu, nip across to Bulgaria for a meal, as well as share the game with me, and he wasn’t even into football! Wonderful little things like this keep happening to me through life, football opens doors and starts new friendships, I am a lucky man. I went ahead and booked my trip, Thursday to Monday, and as luck would have it, two Romanian top tier games were scheduled for that weekend in the capital, I was going to get my fill of football in a country I had never set foot in before. Romania was a land I was reasonably well versed with courtesy of my dad’s brother and his wife, who worked at the British Embassy in Bucharest during the Ceausescu years, and some of the stories they told left a marked impression on a young lad! One that always amused me was that they used take advantage of the “diplomatic bag” to run a well stocked shop in the basement for the embassy families as the Bucharest shops were largely bereft of anything worthy of eating! I have for a longtime sighted my aunt and uncle as the pioneers of my love for travel. They led a fascinating life, having met and married in Beirut during the ‘50’s, a city they described like Paris back then, as well as working in Baghdad well before it disintegrated. Unfortunately I would only had the pleasure of visiting them at his last posting ahead of his retirement, much nearer to home in Lille, long before the Euro Tunnel had breathed life into this northern French city. Ahead of flying out, the 2015/16 campaign for Scottish clubs had got underway and my boss had enjoyed his time in the Armenian capital even if the heat was searing, but his team had come home with a fine 1-0 win. The following Thursday in Perth though, Scottish football hit a new low when Euro novices Alashkert won 2,1 and went through on the away goal rule. Another week on, and a car load of us sped up the A9 from Edinburgh for the first leg of Inverness v Astra tie. Looking back, it still feels a slightly surreal thing that we hosted European football, but a good crowd had turned out for the occasion. The lack of commercial exploitation of this game, or indeed the cup final has always rankled with me. The club produced a half and half scarf for an embarrassing debacle, when the visitors were some sort of Liverpool kids team, unworthy opponents for the Testimonial of Barry Wilson. A huge crowd turned out that night in the rain, many to pay Barry respects, but others believing they were going to see at least one or two well known Reds players. The Anfield kids got a right good going over with a 5-0 home win! A similar scarf or even a pennant would have been good, a worthy souvenir to mark the game, but instead the club decided to merely ramp up the price of a normal edition of the programme by two pounds, and that was it. Then before the game, we were faced with the slightly odd scenario of a newly signed goalkeeper thrown straight into the team, Owain Fon Williams. Somehow this became the news which rather overshadowed the game itself. Those who’d taken us to glory the season just past were worthy of their moment on the European stage was my opinion, and remains that way to this day! Astra were skillful, cute, streetwise and downright depressing in the art of time wasting and game management, “skills” that developed from periodically tumbles to an almost constant occurrence every time someone got too close or dared to tackle, as we powered up the second half pressure. Astra are not known as Darcii Negri (the black devils) for nothing! Their manager Marius Sumudicahad, (who was subsequently banned for two months that season for his involvement in match fixing) had been a bit mouthy in the run up to the game, and that side of the gamesmanship continued in the days afterwards too. The whole occasion sits with me in the pantheon of dull memories, like the League Cup Final with Aberdeen, both games occasions where the fans didn’t have a whole lot to hold onto and think, “If only”. Yet we were by no means second best, and matched the Romanians in every department without manufacturing any absolutely glaring opportunities, but we did have more shots on target. As it was, the game was decided by a dubious free kick awarded midway through the first half on the edge of our box, where Constantin Budescu, who jostled with our Ryan Christie as man of the match, whipped an exquisitely taken free kick up and over the wall into the net beyond the flailing new keeper. Owain had been too far to one side of the goal, offering Budescu an all too tempting large slice of the goal, but it was a great strike, even if the feeling at the time was this was a goalkeeping error. Before anyone was packing their bag for Romania, the day after the first leg in Inverness, we were back in a pot in Neon for the next round of the competition, part of an “and/or” duo with Astra that paired us with West Ham United. Given this was our first Euro campaign I can honestly say this brought a feeling of disappointment, after all who wanted an Anglo-Scottish clash, albeit a high profile clash! I am sure I wasn’t alone in wanting somewhere more exotic than London, where we’d already been for a friendly with Charlton Athletic. Of course, we could only concern ourselves with any such travel arrangements if we could get by Astra, and that was going to be a tall order. The full Europa League draw had also brought the possibility of my Kazakh charges Kairat coming to Scotland for the first time to play Aberdeen. They had shown St Johnstone the way absolutely thumping Alashkert 3,0 in Almaty and were almost certainly looking to be in the next round. The Dons just had to do their part of the bargain and see off Croatian side Rijeka, a tricky tie without doubt, but they had stunningly won the away leg by a similar score, so the Kazakhs were coming, barring a total collapse by one of the three-nil winners! It was an early morning start with a 6am flight to Amsterdam to catch a connection onward to Bucharest on the morning of the game. With the time difference it was technically an 8am start Romanian time, just 11 hours before the kick off. I have never set off abroad wearing a football shirt before, but the pride in this instance, knowing my team were playing that day in some far off land was wonderful. Sods law of course that the only person who made any comment to me before I boarded the plane was a Falkirk fan, still looking to vent about how we taken their cup away! Once I was in my seat I did see two more Caley Thistle lads board the plane, and I can only assume they were on the next leg too, but I never saw them again! The entire journey had gone without a hitch, and upon clearing customs at Bucharest airport, Razvan was already awaiting my arrival. Timescales even allowed for us to swing by my hotel to check in, drop my luggage in the room etc after all it would be a late return following the game. The drive down to the Danube seemed to whizz by, we had plenty of chat, but burning away within me was anticipation and excitement about the game. Everything had been going smoothly until we hit the city limit of Giurgiu, (pronounced -jure jew) where the entire inside lane was wall to wall trucks, and this continued in such a line all the way to the Romanian border post just before the bridge across the Danube to Bulgaria. The problem was, this old crossing was in the process of being upgraded, and the road was down to a single track, meaning only one side could move at a time. The odd way they had chosen to do that was to allow traffic to move for around 30 minutes in one direction at a time! While cars weren’t even attempting to go across as much, once we were through passport control it was a case of switching off the engine and waiting for four lanes of traffic to fight it out to merge into one solitary line for the crossing. It was boiling hot, and with the windows down it was no use, thank goodness for the air conditioning. There was no turning back, we were technically in no man’s land between the two countries and I was already fretting that if it was like this on the way back, how ironic would it be to miss the kick off stuck in a traffic jam so close and yet so far. Once it was our turn to move we eventually manoeuvred between two juggernauts, but generally you weren’t going to argue with them. With the border formalities on the Bulgarian side complete, we were off in the direction of nearby Ruse, the town on the opposite bank to Giurgiu. This was first venture to Bulgaria, but little did I know at that time, my next partner would be from here, but not only that, she had spent a lot of her earlier life in Ruse. A little more than fifteen months later she’d be sitting with me at Fir Park, Motherwell cheering on Inverness! The world revolves around small coincidences and fates, making them part of the magic of life. Razvan and I had time to walk around Ruse a little, the centre was nice, if not spectacular, followed by a rather splendid meal sitting outside near the town square, with my one beer of the day! I suspect I was the only fan taking in the pre-match rituals in Bulgaria! I was always conscious of the time, nervous about getting stuck on the bridge going back, but thankfully the queue was considerably less going north and we were headed for the Stadionul Marin Anastasovici with plenty of time to spare. The stadium was actually on the outskirts of Giurgiu, quite close to the main Bulgaria – Bucharest highway, so I never did see any more of the town other than the football ground. We parked up and initially headed round behind the main stand, but the only place for the visiting fans was two caged areas on the opposite side of the ground, so we joined a queue of happy ICT fans to buy our tickets from a wee garden shed at the end of the road. Ticket prices, like the meal in Ruse, were jolly cheap. I have no recollection exactly how early it was that we arrived, maybe 30/45 minutes before kick off, but the whole Invernessian gang were here and in absolutely fine voice they were too. Many were a wee bit worse for wear, as I am sure the combination of beer and the heat had taken its toll a bit on some. I am unsure if anyone actually knows the exact number of visiting fans, somewhere between 500-600 I reckon, maybe circa 500 travelling under official parties, but the Bucharest newspaper the day after put it down as 600. After all, if the club were only counting official party fans we had the odd rogue DIY traveller like me, coupled with my very own Romanian ICT fan for the night in Razvan. The cage was a frustrating nonsense and trying to take some keepsakes was a bit of a nightmare through the wire, but going outside the cage near the pitch only brought admonishment from the stewards if you lingered too long. Thinking about it, were any Astra fans, save the official party in Inverness? They certainly didn’t make themselves heard. Here in Giurgiu, the club quickly realised that bringing souvenirs round from the club shop in the main stand to the juice bar for the away fans was going to render significant sales. We for sure drank the fridge dry and pretty much cleared them out of shirts and scarves! I have to confess as Gary Warren led the team out from the far corner beside the Astra lads (see cover photo), I had a lump in my throat, this occasion was more magical for me than the cup final. Never in my football supporting days, spanning 47 years now, did I ever think I would see my team playing competitively in Europe, and the pride was swelling an emotion within me. The game started at an extraordinarily sedate pace, perhaps given the heat and how early it was in the season, but we settled immediately, passing the ball around without fear or intimidation. Indeed, while Astra fans were here in reasonable numbers, it was the away fans who were making all the noise. In the first half, had VAR been around Warren would have won us a penalty, wrestled to the ground in the box, but as usual the ref just played on in those days. Minutes later, just ahead of half-time, Ryan Christie had a brilliant shot that was just tipped over the crossbar superbly by the keeper. Christie, still a youthful lad, grew into this game and commanded the midfield ahead of more illustrious players on the Astra team. We continued to press for that all important goal to level the aggregate, and a lot of the danger was stemming from Ryan. He found himself sandwiched between two Astra defenders in the second half having taken the ball down exquisitely in the box, but this time it was no penalty. In the end Astra held firm, it ended 0-0.There was absolutely no disgrace in narrowly going out to this Romanian side who were on the way to the greatest season in the clubs history, winning the league title for the first time. West Ham were sent packing in the next round, not just in 2015/16, but the very next year too, and in all 4 games the Hammers couldn’t beat Astra once. The applause at the end of the game for our Euro heroes was loud and passionate, the players came over to thank us and stayed longer than normal applauding back all with a mixture of pride and frustration written all over their faces, we had come that close. It was a relatively quick transfer back to Bucharest, with a hug and all my thanks of gratitude to Razvan, who had been incredible. He would call me occasionally in the coming days to make sure things were going well, and even invited me on a trip to the Carpathian mountains to visit his father, but I needed to see Bucharest before venturing any further. I slept like a log that night, disappointed that we had gone out, but we are still unbeaten away from home in Europe! I had earmarked Friday as my Bucharest culture day, and the city has a lot to enjoy and see. I had read that it has been described as Paris of the East, and aside from a smaller Arc de Triomphe, which was under maintenance scaffolding in 2015, a lot of the central areas buildings had a whiff of Paris. One building that certainly didn’t feel Parisian was the Palace of Parliament, the enormous construction undertaken to appease the megalomania of the Ceaucescu’s, a place that was at one time merely their home! I really enjoyed my days in the city, it had a wonderfully relaxed feel, wonderful restaurants too. On Saturday night I had arranged to meet a longstanding Bucharest friend Alexandra and her partner. While I had danced around many buildings in the area of the old town, I hadn’t been down these narrow streets before I met them, and it was only subsequent to my trip and seeing videos of the Inverness fans that I realise that this was where the Caley Thistle fans had all congregated, enjoying the relaxed traffic free, cafe society and the fine selection of local and International beers, as well as giving the locals a few recitals of the Highlanders song book, “Sweet Caroline” et all. By Saturday night, if any ICT fans were still in the city, I never saw any. Earlier in the day I had met two lads in a cafe who’d actually stayed in Giurgiu and they described it as “dusty”! I was on my way to Dinamo’s stadium when I bumped into them, but they weren’t up for coming to see the Saturday afternoon game between FC Voluntari and Pandurii Targu Jiu! Voluntari were new into the top flight, and although not from Bucharest, they were sharing with Dinamo Bucharest for the season because their own ground didn’t meet the necessary requirements. The Dinamo stadium was where our very own Romanian hero Marius Nicolae was playing his football at the time. The two lads who’d decline a game in the sun were probably the wise ones as this was a horrible 0-0 draw. On Sunday night, I decided to unearth another ICT shirt, wearing it to the Stadionul National to see Steau Bucharest v CFR Cluj. If any ICT fans were still hanging around my shirt would have been a way of starting a conversation, but it also helped to blend in with the Steau faithful whose colour scheme is similar, if a tad more red. Alas I suspect that Sunday night I was maybe the last Inverness fan in the city, as no ICT shirts were spotted, but our TV appearances in Romania had made the locals become familiar with our story, and most spoke great English! I was disappointed when the teams were read out, upon discovering that another Caley Thistle “cult” player of yesteryear, Gregory Tade wasn’t playing. Asking the guy next to me about him, he told me Gregory was being rested by the manager so he could play in the Champion’s League in midweek against Partizan Belgrade! Our Gregory had done well for himself! I still recall him, long before he played for ICT as an awkward lad trying his best up front for Stranraer, but he always seemed to miss more opportunities than he scored. Gregory had just joined Steau that summer having transferred ironically from tonight’s opponents Cluj. I used the zoom on my camera and spotted him loafing in the posh seats in the main stand. It was a pity I hadn’t seen either Marius or Gregory play, but what were the chances of the two big clubs of Bucharest seeing their attacks being led by ex-ICT players at the time we played in Romania! Did either of them head down to Giurgiu to watch us? More likely they watched on TV as it was live in Romania, unlike in Scotland, which was scandalous, but should we be surprised? For the record, I watched my third draw in four days, but at least this time the game had goals in an entertaining 1,1 draw played out in a fantastic stadium. At breakfast in the hotel ahead of going to the airport the next day, the news was playing quietly in the corner and scenes of Inverness fans in Bucharest appeared, as well as clips of us in the stadium in Giurgiu, as part of the morning sports bulletin. I asked the waitress what they were saying, so she stopped and listened to the last seconds of the piece and turned to me and said “they are in awe that so many people had come from such a small city to cheer their team”. I flew out of Bucharest with a very wide smile. The footnote to all these European games in June/July 2015 was two weeks later in Aberdeen, where I had written a piece on Kazakh football for the programme and was given free tickets for the centre stand. I finally got to see and meet some Kairat fans as they held firm amid a Dons whirlwind of efforts near the end to knock the home team out. My yellow and black jacket and broad smile gave me away at the end as people scowled out! Somehow I had played witness to three Scottish teams going out of Europe that summer, and none were as unlucky as Inverness. Will we ever see the likes again? That is why we are football fans, the strength to dream is hidden in the unknown variables of our beautiful game. This piece is dedicated to all the Caley Thistle fans who ventured to Romania, and Denmark in 2007. These were days to remember. Thanks to James Rendall for this look back at our greatest achievement to date. Football adventures with James Rendall And, just for an extra celebration, you can relive the Scottish Cup Final on Saturday as Inverness go to Hampden to play Falkirk. The game can be found on the Inverness Caledonian Thistle facebook page with Kick Off at 15:00
  18. 2 points
    #TogetherNess - The Caley Jags say Thank You to the NHS and Key Workers The Caledonian Stadium lights up to say thank you to the NHS and Key Workers The Caledonian Stadium was an incredible sight to behold in the early hours of this morning as the Main Stand was lit up in stunning blue light to say thank you to the NHS. The club came together with Inverness based KBE Event Services to run a number of stunning smoke and light programmes which entertained the unsuspecting traffic on the A9 and Kessock Bridge. The climax being the NHS tribute in blue. ICT CEO Scot Gardiner commented: "The KBE Event Services team began work at 7pm and on my arrival back at the stadium for the final touches at 11pm, it was still too light due the fantastic clear skies. It was all wrapped up just after 2am as we had to wait for real darkness but it was definitely worth the wait and the results are amazing." "It was just a shame that we couldn't shake hands as we all had to social distance the entire evening. We will have to do that in the future once we get through all of this and get to work with Kai and his team once again in the future. It was worth it to say our small thanks to the NHS and the key workers doing so much for the Highlands and beyond."
  19. 2 points
    Wasps Sting Themselves... Inverness moved up to second in the table after a 2-0 win over ten man Alloa who had Liam Dick sent off just before the hour. Both goals were scored in the first half with Scott Taggart heading behind his own keeper and Aaron Doran brilliantly volleying home the second from a Jordan White knock down as the half closed. With Dundee United and Ayr United frozen out, we moved into second spot for now and moved a further two points away from Dundee who lost at home to Queen of the South in a dramatic late ending to that game. There were two games called off for frozen pitches. Ayr United -P- Arbroath Morton -P- Dundee United Alloa Athletic 0-2 Inverness CT Dundee 1-2 Queen of the South Dunfermline 5-1 Partick Thistle Immortal Howden Ender has this report for us........... Well at least I am enjoying my Away Days this season. Ayr and Alloa have been good choices. And here I was travelling up in minus temperatures, blue skies and sunshine. And then Radio Scotland announces that two Championship games have been called off. I forgot that the wasps nest is now of the 4G variety. And good to see a fair smattering of the old brigade in a 100+ following. Relaxed train journey with Mantis, into Bobbin John's with the McDonalds - Lynn and Ronald - only to be called to Drysdale's and participation in a PeaPod cast or something like that. And then a late arrival at the Rec but an enjoyable 45 minutes followed by a tolerable second 45. I would have to say that I was impressed by Alloa. Unfortunately their penchant to play football and dispense with the hoof was admirable but may also be their downfall. I don't think that the most staunch of us would have begrudged them a point at the end. The first half made good watching and both teams carved out chances. We also dispensed with the hoof, played football and used the extra wide flanks. I thought that Rooney was exceptional in that half. Ridgers had made a couple of saves, we had wasted at least two half chances before Inspector Taggart became Inspector Clousseau and headed the ball past the man who won us the Scottish Cup. And the eventual match winner came right on the half time whistle. A Rooney cross, exquisite head back by White and Doran curves neatly passed poor old Rod. As good a goal as you will see all season. Half Time 0-2 And then you would have thought that a complete Dick had opened the flood gates with a double footed, red card, over the top tackle on Keatings. But, we appeared to relax and wait for another opportunity. And a few came along but we fluffed the final touch. I felt that we tried to overpass at times. We should have gone nap really. But Alloa improved with 10 men. As is often the case we looked like the team with ten. When an Alloa shot hit the postage stamp corner there was a shiver, not caused by the minus temperature. But we held on and returned to Drysdale's a happy bunch. I will dispense with the smileys but my marks out of 5 are made up of 3's and 4's. Ridgers, Rooney, Coll, Tremarco, Carson and Keatings get the fours. I may also add Roddy McGregor to that list as his pace and movement was terrific when he came on. Carson sneaks in as my MotM - mainly for his defensive display and a developing partnership with Triffid. Let's hope that McCart has only a minor knock. My only other whinge, apart from not scoring more goals was WHY take on Curry if he is on his way out? So Aloha to Clackmannanshire and I may well be back. Have to save up for the Maryhill Caley Away Xmas party ? From BBC Sport Alloa Athletic manager Peter Grant: "The scoreline was very harsh on us. To lose the goals when we did was a double-whammy. "But I was chuffed with the way the players went about their business. Even when we went down to 10 men we were excellent." Inverness CT manager John Robertson: "Both teams carved out really good opportunities. The first goal was really strange, the second was a cracker. "There were more goals if they showed the quality of the final pass, and that's what let us down second-half. We didn't make the extra man count." Extended highlights from Alloa Athletic FC Date: 30/11/2019 Venue: Recreation Park, Alloa Attendance: 721 Referee: Greg Aitken Alloa Athletic: 0 Lineup: MacDonald; Taggart, Graham, Deas, Dick, Robertson, Cawley, Flannigan, Hetherington, Trouten, O'Hara. Subs (not used): Henry; Gilhooley, Malcolm, Gillespie, O'Donnell, Buchanan, Thomson, Scorers: none Booked: Hetherington (70), Flannigan (80) Sent Off: Dick (58) Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, Donaldson, McCart (McHattie 76), Tremarco, Doran, Carson, Trafford, Storey (Curry 72), Keatings (MacGregor 73), White Subs (not used): C Mackay, Harper, Machado, Todorov. Scorers: Taggart (og 38), Doran (45) Booked: Keatings (72), Sent Off: a
  20. 2 points
    Ayr we go Ayr we go Ayr we go..... Saturday 5th October sees Inverness Caledonian Thistle make the trip south to Somerset Park to face Ayr United in the league. At 205 miles it marks the second longest journey ICT and their home based fans face on league business, only seconded by trips to Dumfries. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Supporters bus to Ayr Bus to Ayr leaves Caley Club 8.45 ...Stadium 9.00 ....Sat5th Oct . Book on Facebook or 07462 218717 HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROBBO55 years young ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Mr Caley Jag is our scribe this week with this Preview for you....... On that travel basis alone their fans will undoubtedly be hoping for a better showing than the last display their team put on against Patrick Thistle when they were roundly defeated 3-1 at the Caledonian Stadium, some professing that the team didn’t turn up at all. That defeat brought the team and fans firmly back down to earth with a bang and the reality of another hard slog in the Championship hit home. Form Up until that point the Caley Jags were unbeaten in 6 games in all competitions recording 5 wins and 1 draw while Partick had only recorded wins in the league cup and 2 draws in the league, so form was firmly turned on its head. Our current points total of 13 from a possible 21 sees us sitting in third spot in the league 4 points clear of Dundee but 5 points behind Ayr Utd. In stark contrast Ayr United sit second on goal difference behind Dundee Utd having gone on a 5 game winning run in the league and recording only one defeat at the hands of Dundee back on the 10th August. Somerset Park has become a daunting venue for teams to visit this season and none to date have come up with any answers and walk away with any points. Ayr lost manager Ian McCall to Championship rivals Partick Thistle a couple of weeks ago and it was he who guided Partick to that win over the Caley Jags last weekend. Sandy Stewart is the caretaker boss of the Honest Men and McCall reckons he is the man who should get the permanent position at Somerset Park. He also reckons that Ayr are the best team in the Championship, but their size of squad will curtail their ambitions. Anyway, not his problem now that he has fecked off to the big money at Firhill, bloody wee Jobby. All competitions since start of the League cup on 13th July over 90mins. Ayr: WLWDWLWWDWW ICT: DWWLLWDWWWWL It’s certainly not a game to pick for your coupon that’s for sure unless you’re chasing the odds with the bookies only slightly favouring Ayr United arguably on their recent league form and the fact they are at home. Teams Inverness welcomed Brad McKay and Mitch Curry back to training last week following bouts out with injury and it remains to be seen if they’ll be fit enough to feature in any capacity. If not, they may get a run out against Brora Rangers on Sunday in the NoS Cup final. James Keatings remains out with ankle ligament damage while we await news on whether Tom Walsh will back in the team line up after he missed out against Partick. There’s no new injury concerns since the defeat to Partick unless the weekly mystery injury strikes. Ayr Utd – Life after Lawrence Shankland seems to be doing just fine at Somerset Park. With 5 wins on the bounce, Ayr would appear to have little worries ahead of this encounter. We do seem to be a bit of an Achilles Heel for the Honest Men, but that can't go on forever. Stevie Bell will be another couple of weeks before he is ready and the experienced Mark Kerr is a major doubt. Jamie Adams, Frank Ross, and Andy Murdoch are out with injuries. Other than that I expect United to be on similar lines to the last few weeks, and why not, it's working well. Here's Robbo ahead of the trip to Ayr. Championship fixtures this weekend Alloa Athletic 1-0 Dundee United Ayr united v Inverness CT Dundee v Arbroath Morton v Dunfermline Partick Thistle v Queen of the South ICT News Chief Executive Scot Gardiner sheds some light on the clubs financial situation ahead of the EGM on the 3rd October on BBC Sport Former director Graeme Bennett on what he hopes to hear/see from the forthcoming EGM can be seen in the Press & Journal ICT EGM – 3rd Oct Here's the Inverness Courier story after last nights meeting. On the back of the EGM, there will be a SUPPORTERS OPEN MEETING to be held on Tuesday 8th October, with arrival from 7pm for a 7:30pm start. Trip down memory lane 24th April 2010 Ayr United 0 - 7 Inverness Caledonian Thistle Team: Esson, Proctor, Munro, McBain (Bulvitis 26), Tokely, Hayes, Morrison, Duncan, Foran (Sanchez 64), Odhiambo (Eagle 71), Rooney Scorers: Hayes, Rooney, Foran, Odhiambo, Sanchez, Eagle, Morrison For me, this is arguably one of the best away games I have attended as a football fan and one of the best Caleyjag and I have been to together. Second last day of the season saw us guarantee the title and a return to the top flight at the first attempt under the tutelage of Terry Butcher. Chants of 'shoes up for the Caley Jags' while holding our shoes over our heads was a particular laughing point for me along with being on the pitch after the game calling out for TB to appear and address us. Aye, the sermon from the stand was brilliant! Sad news breaking with the passing of Hugh Crout, the former Caledonian FC President. “His partnership with his close friend, the late Alex Main, as team manager, was a winning combination at Telford Street. He was a real gentleman and made many friends in football, continuing his love for football by supporting ICT right up till the end. The highlight was seeing the club lift the Scottish Cup in 2015. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.” Some more sad news coming from Greg Tansey is that he will have to retire from football due to ongoing injury problems. You can read more on this in the Press & Journal. Greg played a major part in the making of Inverness Caledonian Thistle, the Scottish Cup Winners, and he was one of the sweetest striker of a ball in the game. We wish Greg all the best for his future, wherever that will take him. Thanks for the memories Greg. Here's how Greg announced it on twitter....... Every footballer knows when they sign their first professional contract that it will eventually come to an end. Today is that day for me, an injury that I have been fighting for 2 years now has ended my career. On Sunday, The Pat Munro North of Scotland Cup Final against Brora Rangers FC ?3pm kick-off ?️Mosset Park, Forres ?️Adults: £10, Concessions: £5, Stand Entry: £2 Tickets available from the turnstiles on the day of the match (Cash Only) Info ? https://ictfc.com/match-info-north-of-scotland-cup-final-20… If you like a wee flutter, our partnership with FansBet can offer you something. Just click on FansBet to get started. "Remember to select CaleyThistleOnline when you register and you’ll be helping us support ICT fan causes." FansBet are partners with Supporters Direct Scotland and already have many impressive stories of giving back to and empowering fans, ranging from funding away travel, share purchases, backing safe standing projects and many more. You can read some of FansBet’s Giving Back stories on their blog at https://blog.fansbet.com/fansbet-giving-back/partners/fan/ Always remember to adopt safe gambling and responsible policies.
  21. 2 points
    McCall's at the wheel..... Its been a turbulent week or two at both clubs as Partick Thistle come North on Saturday, bottom of the Championship, to face Inverness Caledonian Thistle at the Caledonian Stadium in a 3:00pm kick-off. Gary Caldwell was, unsurprisingly, the first managerial casualty in the Championship. Only six games in, but the board at Partick had seen enough and replaced him with Ayr United manager Ian McCall who has led the Firhill side before. Wow! McCall has gone from second top to bottom overnight, that's some drop. Alan Archibald also returns to Firhill as McCall's second in command. And, surprise surprise, we host McCall's Partick on Saturday as they languish bottom of the Championship with no wins in six games and only two points. Good enough reason to sack Caldwell if you ask me? To add injury to insult, they were dumped out of the League Cup in midweek by Celtic who put five past the Maryhill Magyars. No surprise there, but really! On top of all that, a Partick Thistle fans group - backed by ££££££ EuroMillions ££££££ winner Colin Weir - says it has made an offer to take control of the Championship club. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ***LATEST ICT NEWS*** It's been a hectic couple of weeks off the park at the Caledonian Stadium as well with an EGM being called and Chairman Graeme Rae resigning along with Director Alan McPhee. Full statements can be read on the Official ICTFC site EGM ~~ CHAIRMAN OFFICIAL PREVIEW Congratulations to Mark Ridgers who hits another ton today. 100 not out for Mark! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Back on the park, Caley Stan is yer man this week as he shuffles the pack for us...... And he said, don't forget to get your WYNESS SHUFFLE fix is right HERE Ian Holland McCall, known as ‘Corky’ or ‘Jobby’ depending on your perspective, walked off down Maryhill Road in April 2011 to confront his personal demons. He had left behind a Thistle side that was ready to push for promotion, but wasn’t able to hang around to enjoy the culmination of his ‘five year plan’. Jobby found himself out of the game for three and a half years, resurfacing at an Ayr side who were languishing in ninth place in League One in January of 2015 and taking them up through the play-offs in that same season. They went straight back down, but returned a year later as champions, much stronger, and raced to the top of the Championship where they remained in contention until the end of February. With one of the lowest budgets in the league, and bereft of the core of last season’s team, learned observers were unanimous in their conviction that Ayr would not come flying out of the traps again this year. But they did, and with five wins in their opening six matches, Corky’s star approached the heights it had reached back in 2003, when the man became too big for the club. An old flame came calling, and he strolled back up Maryhill Road into her welcoming arms. Caley v Jobby McCall may or may not have defecated in Simond Stainrod’s suede brogues, but Caley Thistle have definitely been shitting all over Jobby's teams for the past 22 years. Honours started out evenly with two draws and a win apiece in season 1997/98 - 33 year-old McCall took Clydebank up that season while Steve Paterson, five years his senior, got to grips with the third tier. Rivalries renewed a year later when we joined the Bankies in the old Division One, but they were on their knees and we had beaten them four times before McCall jumped ship to Morton – the last of those a 4-1 win in which Barry Wilson scored the last Scottish league or cup goal of the 20th Century. A 2-0 win at Cappielow in the spring saw us do the clean sweep over Jobby that season, and it is a damning indictment of our marketing department that we didn’t secure a lucrative sponsorship deal with Andrex as a result. Revenge was to follow, as McCall’s journey round Scotland’s lower league crisis clubs concluded with a 13-month stint at Airdrie during which his side won three of the five ties against us, including a painful 6-0. Airdrie went on to finish second whilst hurtling towards liquidation - an incredible achievement for which McCall was rewarded with a proper job at Falkirk. McCall assembled an excellent side at Falkirk in 2002/03 with a frontline of Lee Miller, Owen Coyle and Collin Samuel and snatched three points early in the season in Inverness when two late goals overturned Ross Tokely’s opener. But as the season progressed, it became clear that Steve Paterson’s side of Mann, Robson, Christie and Wyness were well equipped to challenge them for the title. By the time the two sides were due to meet again at Brockville in December, we were just a point behind them at the top with a further ten points separating the nearest challengers. Sadly, the football public was to be deprived of the spectacle of these two men, with their unbending commitment to attacking football, facing off against each other for the Division One title. Both had rejected the advances of newly installed Dundee United chairman Eddie Thompson the previous month, but Paterson joined Aberdeen in the run up to that Brockville tie, with McCall accepting an improved offer from Thompson the following month. At this point, i would like to inroduce this never before seen footage of Steve Paterson and Ian McCall together at the height of their rivalry: When Jobby Met Pele. John Docherty and Graeme Bennett took charge of the 1-1 draw that followed, and we didn’t see Corky again until we joined him in the SPL 18 months later in the dying days of his brief flirtation with the top flight. We stayed up while he stayed down, we gave him a wave on our ‘First Division Tour’, and didn’t clap eyes on him again until last season when we thoroughly owned his Ayr side with five wins and two draws. All of that gives us an all-time score of Caley 15, Jobby 8, with 8 draws, and the fecker still owes us for the pot of paint he kicked all over the tunnel in 1997. Partick Thistle I cover the history of this fixture here. Last season the games were tight, we won three of them with our sole defeat largely self-inflicted. On paper, Caldwell did decent business over the summer, bringing Scott Fox, Kenny Miller and Dario Zanatta among others, but he left them at the foot of the table with just two points from five games. By all accounts, he had lost the dressing room after a series of fall-outs with senior players and in those circumstances you might expect to see an immediate bounce following the removal of the manger, but Thistle were done 3-0 at home to Dunfermline under the caretakers. McCall took charge of his new side for the League Cup Quarter Final tie at Parkhead on Wednesday night - the 5-0 drubbing that resulted is largely irrelevant to our game on Saturday. Boardroom Banter Both clubs are either going to the wall or on the verge of being taken over by Russian oligarchs depending on who you believe. Go to the pub and speak to Grassa Bennett’s/Gerry Britton’s mates for details. ICT Team News and Tactics James Keatings remains out after tearing ankle ligaments while Brad McKay and Mitch Curry have returned to training. The absence of Keatings prompted Robbo to tweak the shape to accommodate Miles Storey rather than bringing in Roddy McGregor as a like-for-like replacement. While this frustrated some fans, I would expect him to put out the same team and shape that dominated Queen of the South last week, with Sean Welsh and James Vincent in the centre of the park and Storey running channels to create space for Walsh and Doran. Jordan White will be Jordan White. Please be nice to him. Prediction Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0 Partick Thistle 1 Why? Jobby If you like a wee flutter, our partnership with FansBet can offer you something. Just click on FansBet to get started. "Remember to select CaleyThistleOnline when you register and you’ll be helping us support ICT fan causes." FansBet are partners with Supporters Direct Scotland and already have many impressive stories of giving back to and empowering fans, ranging from funding away travel, share purchases, backing safe standing projects and many more. You can read some of FansBet’s Giving Back stories on their blog at https://blog.fansbet.com/fansbet-giving-back/partners/fan/ Always remember to adopt safe gambling and responsible policies.
  22. 2 points
    ICT Edge Out Cove A minutes silence was held ahead of kick-off for John Beaton, who has sadly passed away. John had devoted his life to football in this area for some 50 years and will be sadly missed. More about John on OFFICIAL SITE. John Robertson made only one change from the side that started against Raith Rovers with fit again Brad Mckay returning to right back with David Carson moving to midfield. Charlie Trafford dropped to the bench to accommodate this. Inverness came from behind to squeeze past Cove after an entertaining encounter in the tropical heat at the Caledonian Stadium. Jordan White, James Keatings and substitute Nicolay Todorov were on target for the Caley Jags with Mitch Megginson netting twice for Cove. He was a busy lad and was also red carded before the end of an eventful night. All the best to Connor Scully who had to leave the field after damaging his ankle. He was taken to Raigmore for an X-Ray to determine the extent of his injury. Results last night leave the table looking like this with Raith Rovers beating Peterhead 3-1 and Dundee idle. Inverness face Dundee at Dens Park on Sunday in a game which will decide the Group D winners. Mitch Megginson returned after injury to lead Cove onto the pitch on a roaster of a night in the Highland capital. James Keatings was first to show as he dragged a shot wide in the third minute. Jordan White also missed the target as he volleyed over after Coll Donaldson and Aaron Doran contrived to create the opening for him. Twenty minutes gone and first real threat from Cove as Jamie Masson's effort is blocked for a corner. Daniel Higgins header is flicked wide. Mark Ridgers was called into action to deny Megginson and at the other end on the half hour White headed onto the post from Doran's cross, the closest of the game so far. He would not be denied soon, although he maybe knew little about it. Jordan White opened the scoring when a Mckay header cannoned off him and into the net. White, Jamie McCart and Tom Walsh all had decent efforts but the game was level ten minutes later when Megginson scored just on the interval. Half Time 1-1 Worse was to follow for the hosts just after the break when Megginson scored again, but Keatings squared the game ten minutes later from close range. It was nip and tuck now with both sides going close. Megginson almost nabbed a hat-trick as he tried to chip Ridgers but the keeper stood tall to deny him. Walsh brought out a superb save by keeper McKenzie as he drove into the right side of the box as Inverness probed for the winner. It came from substitute Nikolay Todorov as he headed in another great cross from Walsh to put the Championship side ahead. A Red card was shown to Megginson for a late challenge on James Vincent with a little over quarter of an hour to go. Kicking the ball away in the first half doesn't seem like such a good idea now Mitch. Doh! Donaldson headed another Walsh cross wide as the game edged towards a close and a late surge by Cove saw the ball in the net although it was ruled out for hand ball just before the final whistle ended the contest. Phew! As expected, Cove were not coming along to make up the numbers and Inverness were forced to up their game to get through this tie. Tom Walsh was once again a constant threat and Nicolay Todorov scored again coming off the bench. Caley100 had this to say after the game: 'Best thing about tonight is the result, And..... the subs! We looked like we were playing in 2nd gear! Really! Cove looked sharper for most of the first half and probably should have been leading. Our goal was a wayward header from Mackay that i'm pretty sure came off White's ass'. Uncharacteristically, he did see some positives though: 'Subs, including Macgregor who was so direct and almost scored a beaut, Walsh was dangerous, the rest were pretty ordinary.............. More match reaction. Robbo Quote "Space doesn't score goals" Date: 23/07/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1000 Referee: David Lowe Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay, Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco (C), Doran (Curry 64), Carson, Vincent, Walsh, Keatings (MacGregor 69), White (Todorov 63). Subs (not used): C Mackay; Harper, Brown, Trafford. Scorers: White (38), Keatings (55), Todorov (71) Booked: MacGregor (90) Sent Off: none Cove Rangers: 2 Lineup: McKenzie; Yule, Milne, Redford, Higgins, Scully (Brown 81), Park (Burnett 80), Glass, Megginson (C), Scott, Masson. Subs (not used): McCafferty, Wood. Scorers: Megginson (45, 46) Booked: Megginson (52), Redford (84) Sent Off: Megginson (73 ) a
  23. 2 points
    Ohhhh Hokey Cokey It's the Hokey Cokey season where we find out who will be given the task of taking us further and who will be plying their trade elsewhere. We will update this during the pre-season as and when we find out who is in and who is out So, third in the Championship, play off semi, Scottish Cup semi-final and we are still looking to improve. Who will be responsible to help us make a promotion push this season. Header image is a painting by local artist Sophie Robb Let's start at the top. JOHN ROBERTSON is still at the wheel after telling Dundee to do one. Full story HERE Who has left the building LIAM POLWORTH has left the building after he had signed a pre-contract agreement with Motherwell. At Inverness since he was eight, Liam played over 200 games scoring 13 times. He has had a phenomenal number of assists and that was his main attribute, being able to pick a pass. Unfortunately his final game for the Caley Jags will only be remembered for his red card against Dundee United in the play-off first leg. Good luck at Fir Park. JOE CHALMERS was involved in the worse kept secret of the season and makes the short trek over the bridge to Dingwall where the streets are apparently paved with gold. 96 appearances for Inverness and a stunning goal in the cup against the Arabs. NATHAN AUSTIN scored 13 goals in 48 appearances for the club and has joined the maroons at Hearts. Just to clarify, he takes a step down to join Kelty Hearts in the Lowland League where they finished runners up to East Kilbride. They play out of Central Park, Kelty (near Cowdenbeath) where former Rangers and Scotland International Barry Ferguson is their manager. Their average home attendance was 384 last season. He should feel at home then! OWAIN FON WILLIAMS remember him? He's the Welsh painter who has seen out the terms of his contract but has not played in goal for Inverness for over a year, in fact almost two. His contract has now expired and I believe he has upped his brushes and easel and moved on. House for sale, recently painted! It appears that Hamilton Accies are keen to sign the painter keeper. *** Paint has now dried on his Accies contract. He Is now registered @ New Douglas Park*** ANTHONY MCDONALD has returned to Hearts for now after his loan spell at Inverness ended. Anthony made 14 appearances for the Caley Jags and the promising midfielders superb solo goal at Cappielow was nominated for the SPFL goal of the month; his first senior goal and a thing of beauty it was. ANGUS BEITH has sadly left the game. Unable to fully recover from a hip injury forcing him to give up on what was a very promising career. All the best to Angus. ***LATEST RELEASE*** DARREN MCCAULEY has gone over the sea to Ireland. For some reason the club want to thank him for some mediocre performances and allowing him to travel back and fore whilst completing his University degree. Never lived up to his promise. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Who has signed on and is willing to play JAMES KEATINGS, 27, was our first signing announced before the play-offs. James is an exciting prospect having played at Hearts, Hibs and Hamilton where he accumulated 41 goals in total. James joins on a two year deal. DAVID CARSON is a tough tackling 23 year old Geordie midfielder joining from Morpeth Town where he was player of the year as well as Evo Stick East player of the year. He scored fourteen goals last season as Morpeth Town won promotion. It's a two year deal for David as well. Nikolay Todorov is a tall Bulgarian striker who has been at Hearts, Livingston, Queen of the South and Falkirk. He will provide competition for Jordan White for the target man position and is a former Bulgarian u21 international. It's a two year deal for Nikolay. James Vincent is one we know all about and the Scottish Cup hero has returned to Inverness on a two year deal to inject some box to box energy in an area where we have become somewhat pedantic. James has been at Dundee and Dunfermline since he last played for Inverness. Mitchell Curry has signed on loan for the season. He is a pacey 19 year old winger/forward and he has come on loan from Middlesbrough for the season with an option for Middlesbrough to recall him halfway. Signing on again are MARK RIDGERS (2021/2022), SEAN WELSH (2021/2022), KEVIN MCHATTIE (summer 2021), Daniel Hobban (1 year ext), Daniel MacKinnon (2 year ext). Of the first team regulars; COLL DONALDSON, Brad Mckay, Jamie McCart, Carl Tremarco, Charlie Trafford, Shaun Rooney, Darren McCauley, Aaron Doran, Tom Walsh, Jordan White are all still on the books at the moment. Youngsters Daniel Mackay, Roddy MacGregor and Cameron Harper have extended their contracts by another season. Matheus Machedo, the young Brazilian played in the pre-season friendly at Clach. Lastly, it's out with the old and in with the new as we turf the old playing surface in the bin. The pitch was dug up after the end of the season and the drainage will be improved before relaying the grass. Good to see some upgrades off the park as well as on it. We suffered at the hands of the weather this season and hopefully the improvement work on the drainage will see less games in danger. More info on this will appear on the OFFICIAL SITE Here are the 5 new signings and this is what they will be wearing on special occasions..........
  24. 2 points
    Rendall's Rambles #5 If you have been following James on his ICT journey, here's the next three seasons. He's a well travelled football connoisseur who has been following the Caley Jags from the start. He has put together a fascinating nostalgic recap of Inverness Caledonian Thistle's first 25 years as witnessed through his own eyes. Thanks James, a remarkable commitment to the beautiful game. Inverness Caledonian Thistle Years No.13 #ICT25 Season 2006/07 (Games 512 to 578) A very European feel season. Football in eight countries!! The third season of Caley Thistle at the top table. While the essence of each campaign was survival, the general feeling amongst the fans seemed to be more insistent that cheap Pomagne was traded in for a drop of the proper stuff. Reaching for the fabled top six was the want, but the reality for a brilliantly run club on a shoestring, they can't just switch up and splash the cash. Our 13th season wasn't unlucky but it wasn't one that lives long in the memory. That said, I was here, there and everywhere so I may have missed a classic memorable game or four! Before the season started Neil Warlock brought Sheffield United to Inverness for Ross Tokely's Testimonial. It was a good crowd, a worthy attendance for a wonderful servant of the club, who many years later was poorly dealt with by Terry Butcher. In this game, the Blades were flashing past us, and ran out 3-0 winners. The league didn't start brilliantly, it rarely does, and losing at home to St Mirren was a poor opening gambit. A brave point at Aberdeen, as well as home points versus the green duo steadied the ship somewhat, but it was the 29th September before I saw us win a game, a narrow 1-0 at home to the Pars. Falkirk were then beaten at home 3-2, a rare moment of joy versus the Bairns in the Highland Capital. A bag of struggles ensued, but Christmas came with a morsel of festive cheer, a 2-1 versus Rangers. This remains to this day, the only time I have ever seen Rangers lose!! Darren Dods and a John Rankin screamer won the day. The biggest win of the season that I saw was a 3-0 thumping of Hibs, who rarely enjoyed their trip up the A9. Ultimately it was the bottom six again, but with limited chance of going down, and perhaps with a relaxed, let's enjoy life attitude, we beat Motherwell, Dunfermline and St Mirren before the curtain came down. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Inverness Caledonian Thistle Years #ICT25 No. 14 2007/2008 (Games 579 to 631) Fourth top table safety secured: August is still a month I dread when it comes to ICT even if we have marginally improved in learning to hit the ground running! In this particular season we absolutely hit rock bottom with four straight defeats, two home 0-3 biffings by Rangers and Arabia, with narrower 2-1 losses on the road at Well and Les Buddoise sandwiched in between. I was so hacked off I scampered off to Italy and Doncaster before casting eyes on a win finally, 2-1 on the 22 September at home to Hearts. A bit like buses another win came the following weekend with a 4-2 with over the Bairns also at the Caledonian Stadium. A rare moment of home joy against a team that had previously inflected such painful home losses, but the monkey was far from gone as next season will tell ?. In truth this season quickly panned out as a walk in the park, even for the less ambitious teams. Gretna had overstretched in too quick a time, and having to play 'home' games at Fir Park for a small village team, it was the financial straw that broke the camels back, and indeed, maybe it exacerbated Miles Brookson's illness. His investments in the USA were collapsing, his health was deteriorating and his family were trying to hold onto what family legacy hadn't been pumped into Gretna, and to a lesser extent Workington. Miles was a good egg, his heart was in the right place, Gretna was the mouse that briefly roared, but despite completing the season, they would fold by the summer. The new Gretna doesn't ever wish to be associated with the old one which I find sad. As mentioned previously seeing Miramar Misiones beat Central Español in Montevideo the previous season, one of the stars of that win would end up at Gretna, Fabian Yantorno. ICT had already thumped them 4-0 away, but when they came to Inverness on the 5th January, my programme article on the Uruguayan game would start a beautiful friendship, and I hope I will get to see him play one last time before he hangs up his boots when I head across to South America in late Feb next year! We won that encounter 3-0 but prior to that from late November, we won four games on the trot making up for August loses to St Mirren and Dundee United before back to back home wins versus the green duo, 2-0 v Hibs and more memorably 3-2 versus the hoops, John Rankin, David Proctor and Don Cowie with the goals. The day before that I had watched third tier Moss County struggle to beat Berwick Rangers 2-1. Ironic that next weekend the Dingwall mob will be promoted to the top table again, and Berwick could well be sent to walk the plank versus East Kilbride or Cove! Scotland could lose it's English club ?. It kind of dribbled away after that home win v Gretna, I scampered off to South America and Donny again but did catch a close run 3-4 home loss to Aberdeen, but following a 6-1 clubbing of poor Gretna again, the 0-0 last day draw at home to St Mirren kind of summed it all up. There would be no Gretna the following season, were we ready for the fight? Find out in next week's gripping instalment!! My neutral games in Scotland hit an all time low in this season! I never saw any European games, save a Murrayfield friendly between Hearts and Barcelona. I will let you work out who won ?. I finally got a league game at Borough Briggs Elgin, a 2-1 home win versus Dumbarton. What I didn't know then was that this Sons goal would be the only one I had seen to this day since they pulped Hearts 5-2 at Tynecastle!! There was a fire drill that day ?. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Inverness Caledonian Thistle Years #ICT25 No.15 - 2008/09 (Games 632 to 696) That sinking feeling! August, usually that perennial bad month for ICT started so well, a 2-0 win at Pittodrie, but a week later, the new boys Hamilton Kaccies, beat us 1-0. However this was to be a different first month of the season, but before any more league hostilities, Liverpool duped 7,000+ at the Caley Stadium for Barry Wilson's Testimonial into thinking an 'XI' might include a star or two, but they were in my opinion disrespectful in sending a bunch of kids, and they got what they deserved in a 5-0 home win! Things settled down nicely, a 1-1 versus Hibs was followed by a rare August win versus Falkirk, albeit away, and it merely acted as a poking of a well oiled bear that would haunt the rest of this season. Sandwiched in between these league games was an uninspiring 2-2 (4-2 pens) win at Arbroath, although Gayfield is always one of the great wee stadium of this land! We were still picking up points here and there, beating Killie 3-1 at home days after getting the better of Morton in the League Cup. Narrow losses at Arabia and at home to Well, who had a cracking record versus us in Inverness in those days, sadly, before we were back at the Bairnabeu for the League Cup Quarter-final, going down 1-0. Somewhere soon after that game Craig Brewster departed, and Terence Butcher arrived! We bounced back in the league with a 2-1 over Hibs at Fester Road. We had a habit of winning there at this juncture, but what is more remarkable is that my mate Fabian played his only full game for Hibs that day! Sorry hombre ☺. The tale end of the year was fairly torrid, Les Jambons, the Darling Buds of Chic, Dons, Arabia and the Castle Greyskull tenants all stuffed us without us even as much as tickling their under carriage so to speak! The new year started in better fettle with a fine 3-0 dismantling of the Maryhill Magyar, before I scampered off to South America a few weeks earlier than normal. Upon my return, a draw at Tannadice and another win against the Cabbage saw us nearing a top six place, but we would fall short, as well as exit the Scottish Cup in a bad tempered home fixture to Falkirk. Two weeks later they murdered us 4-0 down at their place, but we ended the regular campaign comfortably clear of the bottom. Alas, Butcher would experience this post split demise not only with us, but Hibs a few years later. We just couldn't get the win that would keep us safe, and other results conspired to drag us further and further into the muck. Two points from twelve meant we were 11th just above Falkirk going into the last game. They had already thrashed us 4-0 and knocked us out of both cups, the sense of foreboding was prevalent before we kicked a ball. Hughes had moulded a street fighting unit, marshalled by one Steven Pressley, who would fall down holding his head so often after a corner it was embarrassing. When he did it in the cup match and winked at the crowd, the normally passive home crowd were positively foaming. Bad blood was overflowing on the last day, six games in a season playing each other was taking it's toll. Tokely's red card was central belt decision making and the game was up. Hughes ran on the field at the end like a demented flea and we were down. His antics that day never left me, and while he might have overseen ICT highs in latter years, he was never fully embraced by a good number of Caley Thistle fans. The one crumb of comfort from a real fall from grace might have been we were, and still are, the team relegated with the highest ever points total, only ran close by our second relegation! But hey, what fun we had the next season, and it would be years before we ever had to play the Bairns again, and despite having ten men that day too, oh what joy ?. European games in Scotland numbered two viewings, Hibs were eased aside by Swedish team Elfsborg 2-0 in the Intertoto to kick off the season on the 6th July, but Queen of the South put in a braver effort against Nordsjaelland, going down 0-1 to the Danish outfit on one soggy Airdrie night! South America called me and the curtain came down on futbol Sud America across in Greater Bueños Aires, with Lanus playing out a 1-1 draw with the Goats (Chivas) of Guadalajara in the Libertadores! All done before heading home for the hangman's noose and our first demotion in the fifteen year history of ICT. 'Fifteen points and you f***ed up' next time out ? Thanks James, some great memories in there once again. Not all of them enjoyable, but thems the breaks More to come from James, the next three seasons coming along next week. You can read all about James' worldwide footballing travels in his own excellent blog FOOTBALL ADVENTURES WITH JAMES RENDALL
  25. 2 points
    Cup of Cheer In a pulsating Cup derby Aaron Doran put the visitors ahead with a fantastic goal after thirteen minutes, firing home from range. It remained that way at the interval but substitute Ross Stewart pulled the tie level soon after coming on. Brad McKay lashed Inverness ahead but Josh Mullin squared it in time added on to send this tie to a replay on Tuesday 19th February. The draw took place after this game and here are the fixtures. Aberdeen v Rangers/Kilmarnock Dundee United v Inverness /Ross County Partick Thistle v Hearts Hibs v Celtic ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness boss John Robertson sprang a handful of surprises by giving starts to recent injury victims Mark Ridgers, Tom Walsh, Coll Donaldson, Carl Tremarco and Aaron Doran. Jordan White would spearhead the attack. Shaun Rooney made the bench along with Nathan Austin, and Darren McCauley. County's former Inverness players Billy Mckay and Ross Draper started for County along with Kenny Van Der Weg. The effervescent Michael Gardyne would be the provider with Brian Graham the target man. Josh Mullin and Declan McManus were on the bench. A cagey opening few minutes as both sides jockeyed for position was ended when Billy Mckay dipped an angled volley over the bar after five minutes. Inverness responded by winning a corner but the ball to the back post produced nothing and Michael Gardyne looked to be the danger man for the hosts as he forced a corner at the other end after a good run forward. Jamie Lindsay drilled a deep cross wide of the target from the corner. A bit of a midfield battle ensued as the sides struggled to get to grips with the game and Liam Polworth won a free kick as Van Der Weg handled on the edge of the box. Joe Chalmers forced Fox into an excellent save as he curled low to the near post, however the visitors kept the ball around the County box, and when Aaron Doran latched onto a headed pass forward from Tremarco some 25 yards out. He turned and whipped a vicious half volley low behind the outstretched Fox for a superb opening goal. Gardyne broke into the box after 25 minutes but his shot was blocked at the expense of a corner. Gardyne took it himself but Mark Ridgers came out to gather the cross confidently. Gardyne was at it again and his floated cross caused problems but was turned behind for a corner which Ridgers gathered again. It was Gardyne against Ridgers now and Mark turned a stabbed effort behind for a corner, diving low to his right. Inverness broke forward and Tom Walsh almost emulated Doran's strike but Fox made a brilliant diving save to deny Walsh a second Inverness goal. County were racking up the corners after a Brian Graham shot was deflected wide but again it came to nothing better than a free kick for the visitors. A ball forward saw Fox have to block from Tom Walsh as the Inverness wide player sped into the box and flicked the ball goalwards. A few moments later Walsh saw an effort deflected for a corner as the Caley Jags pressed for a second goal before the break. Yet another great break forward by Doran who fed Brad McKay but the wing back saw his cross cut out for a corner. As Inverness gathered momentum once more, the first half drew to a close with the visitors on top. Half Time 0-1 There were no changes at the interval and County would be playing towards the Jailend after the break, and that usually inspires them to greater things. Scott Fox had to make an unorthodox stop to deny a piledriver from Carl Tremarco, the keeper eventually keeping the ball out with his knees as the ball fizzed goalwards. Great effort from Tommy. Ross Stewart replaced the ineffective Brian Graham and within a couple of minutes he drew County level after some untidy midfield play saw Gardyne drive the ball into the box where Stewart volleyed home. Doran spurned a glorious chance to put Inverness back in front but he mistimed his header and sent it wide when he should have hit the target. It was end to end stuff now in typical derby cup-tie fashion. Liam Polworth flashed a powerful shot towards the County goal that was head deflected for a corner. From the resultant corner Brad McKay found the ball at his feet a few yards out and he smashed it high into the net. Walsh broke down the left but his shot was a bit ambitious and it went well wide. County won a free kick just outside the box after Chalmers upended the dangerous Gardyne, but after the shot was blocked County were penalised and the danger was over. Carl Tremarco was having a magnificent game at the back and was putting his body on the line time and time again as County threw balls into the box, but the wee man stood firm. Substitution for Inverness as Doran was replaced by former Coleraine player Darren McCauley as Ridgers mopped up another ball into the box. Almost a chance to get a third as a ball is flicked into the six yard box but it runs through to Fox. And as the rain started to fall a mistake at the back by County let Walsh speed forward. He lashed a shot to the top corner but Fox pulled off another great save to deny the Inverness man. Shaun Rooney had replaced the injured Coll Donaldson by now and we re-jigged at the back with Brad moving inside. A loose ball some 30 yards out found Chalmers but it was wasted and McManus wasted an effort at the other end. They would not be denied though as our defence parted and Substitute Josh Mullin squeezed the ball through the exposed Ridgers in time added on. A dangerous free kick by County was wasted as they looked to get ahead in added time with Inverness now hanging on a tad, but the late comeback by County was just enough to earn the Dingwall side a replay as time ran out. Inverness were best served by Aaron Doran, Tom Walsh, Coll Donaldson and Jamie McCart, but none better than Carl Tremarco. The biased Bill Dodds gave the TV MotM to Michael Gardyne who was undoubtedly County's most influential player. Another frustrating night for Inverness who have held the upper hand in all four derby's this season with little to show for it. On BBC Sport:- Inverness CT manager John Robertson: "It's just about being street-smart. They stopped. "You just keep defending but they've let Josh Mullin through and he's scored. That sums up our season. We've been in the lead and given away a goal at the end. We now have a replay to play so we'll just get on with it. "We felt we were getting close to that third goal which would have finished the game off. We didn't see where their goal was going to come from. That's the difference. That's why we're fourth in the league and County are top." Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson: "We always felt there would be one more chance in the game. Josh is well onside and does great to finish it. "The players never know when they're beaten. Sometimes it's not pretty and you have to put your shoulder to the wheel and the players deserve all the credit for that. "I don't think either us would have wanted a replay. We're delighted we're still in the hat." Robbo after the event.............. Date: 11/02/2019 Venue: Global Energy Stadium, Dingwall Attendance: 2800 Referee: John Beaton Ross County: 2 Lineup: Fox; Fraser, Boyle, Watson, Draper, Lindsay (McManus 86), Van Der Weg, Gardyne, Spence (Mullin 67), Graham (Stewart 55), Mckay. Subs (not used): Munro; Grivosti, Murray, Wallace, Scorers: Stewart (55), Mullin (90+1) Booked: Watson (68) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay, Donaldson (Rooney 80), McCart, Tremarco, Chalmers, Walsh (Trafford 85), Polworth, Welsh, Doran (McCauley 77), White Subs (not used): C Mackay; McHattie, Austin, MacGregor, . Scorers: Doran (13), B Mckay (65) Booked: Welsh (25), Chalmers (77) Sent Off: none a
  26. 2 points
    Scottish Cup time Inverness add a new name and venue to their list of opponents as they take on Edinburgh City in the third round of the Scottish Cup at Ainslie Park, Edinburgh, the game kicking off at 3:00pm on Sunday 25th November. A heads up from Graeme the City man who mentioned he was looking forward to welcoming us all to Ainslie Park on Sunday. "I'd suggest getting there early, there's not many (4) turnstyles, so a fair old queue tends to form for larger crowds". Cheers, However, it's just us that's coming so maybe we don't qualify as a big crowd.............. Ainslie Park is actually the home of Spartans FC, but with Meadowbank undergoing some major refurbishment, City will be ground sharing until Meadowbank has been modified. Incidentally, Hibernian Ladies also play out of Ainslie Park. "The nearest place to the ground to get a pint, (exluding a carry out from Morrisons) is Here " Other than that there's not a lot about, a couple in the other direction towards Granton. Although the grounds not far from Leith/Stockbridge/west end- all probably about 10 minutes in a taxi. Graeme concluded, "Going to enjoy the day whatever happens, splashed out on hospitality. it's a pity the games been moved to the Sunday. Have the utmost respect for fans travelling out with the central belt".... Thanks Graeme, have a great day whatever. Caley Stan is yer man for the millennium man Preview, (yuppies for you Scarlet) and he has not disappointed with this one................... Who the feck are Edinburgh City? It’s a legitimate question without a straightforward answer. An amateur team called Edinburgh City existed between 1928 and 1955, including a period in the Scottish League and a 3-2 victory away to Hibs in the 1937/38 Scottish Cup First Round. The Edinburgh City Social Club continued to trade thereafter, and in 1986 gave permission for Postal United (an East of Scotland League side formed in 1966) to revive the name. The new club hopped around various Edinburgh locations before settling at Meadowbank Stadium in 1996 following the demise of Meadowbank Thistle (formerly Ferranti Thistle, without whom Inverness Caledonian Thistle would not exist!). Postal United/Edinburgh City had an undistinguished existence in the EOL, winning it only once, in 2006, but the team kicked into gear at the perfect moment with the formation of the Lowland League and its accompanying pyramid play-off in 2014. City had harboured a longing for Scottish League membership since the turn of the century, failing with bids for vacant spots in 2002 and 2008, and seized upon the opportunity to win that place on the park. They won the title in its second season by a 19-point margin but lost the pyramid semi on penalties to Brora Rangers, a certain Stuart Kettlewell with the decisive strike. The following season they horsed the league again - a 15-point margin this time and followed it up by defeating Cove Rangers and East Stirlingshire to claim a place in the SPFL. They finished 7th and 9th in their first two seasons in League Two, largely retaining the squad that had taken them up. They sound like a bunch of non-league haddies, we’ll pump them stupid, right? A year ago, maybe. But something has happened since then. Edinburgh City are on an outrageous run of form, winning 10 out of their 12 league games this season (with no draws!) and sitting top of League Two. Last week, they progressed to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup with a penalties win over Alloa. What changed? They brought in a fair few players with full-time experience. At the back, Craig Thomson has played over 100 games at that level between Hearts and exile in Lithuania, and Conrad Balatoni played around 200 before joining City in the summer - both are just 27. Midfielders Marc Laird and Josh Walker have spent most of their careers in the English League Two, while up front, Danny Handling and Scott Shephard have significant top-level experience with Hibs and Falkirk respectively. But its Blair Henderson who’s been the star of the show this season - the 24 year-old striker was scoring a goal in every other game for Annan and Berwick but has upped that this season scoring 18 goals in 21 appearances in all competitions. Manager James McDonaugh has not been shy about taking credit for Henderson’s run, and indeed, the progress that City have made since he took over a year ago – see this interview at about 41mins on the Totally Scottish Football Show. McDonaugh, without any playing career of note, came through the ranks of the Hibs youth coaching system which means he must be a protégé of our own Donald Park. Jim Jeffries is also working for City as Technical Director. There must be money involved here but I haven’t found it. OK, but we have a glorious history in this competition, we pretty much are this competition, why the hell are we playing these no-marks in November? I thought the Scottish Cup started in January anyway. Our star has fallen, my friend. And they keep messing about with the early rounds of the Cup. This game, falling on November the 25th, will be the earliest we have ever started a Scottish Cup season and it’s the first time we’ve entered before the rest of the elite since 1999. The bookie that sponsors the competition was tweeting earlier in the week that we haven’t lost a 3rd round tie since 1999, and while that is technically true, we have fallen at the first hurdle on two occasions since then, albeit in what is now called the 4th Round (Hibs in 06/07 and Dundee last season). Someone will write a book about our exploits in the Scottish Cup someday (hopefully not that guy who wrote ‘Against All Odds’, that was pish), but the message here is clear: We don’t lose these games. Don’t say that, I’m getting worried now. What will Robbo do? Every time I write a preview I drop a heavy hint that I think Robbo will start with a 4-4-2 and he never does but this time I’m happy to predict that Robbo WILL start with a 4-4-2. It’s how he chose to start the season, all our strikers are fit now, and it’s how we mounted our wonderful comeback last week. I’ll be genuinely shocked if two out of Oakley/White/Austin don’t start. He’s stated that we will play our strongest available team, and with Shaun Rooney back in the squad, there will be decisions to make at the back. I’m going to need a drink before this, good thing Meadowbank has loads of good pubs nearby. Hard lines. Meadowbank is closed for refurbishment and City are groundsharing with Spartans at Ainslie Park for the next three seasons. This is fitting in a way given that City/Postal, Ferranti and the old Edinburgh City spent much of their time at the nearby but now defunct ‘City Ground’, often sharing with Spartans. Ainslie Park is a bit weird for lower league travellers - it’s a thoroughly modern facility with two 3G pitches and a five-a-side cage. With no pubs within staggering distance, and a limited number of turnstiles, some of the more boisterous elements among our away support may struggle to make the first half. Edinburgh City are stressing the importance of arriving early, the game is well-priced at £12/6 with under 12’s Free, and I hear the macaroni pies are delicious. As Noddy Holder used to say, My friend Stan got a funny old man............... ?
  27. 2 points
    Save Dave campaign gathers pace as Killie look to get out of trouble. It's the beginning of the end for two of the bottom six clubs this weekend as Kilmarnock visit Inverness on Sunday in the early kick off at 12:30. Dundee United are almost certainly confirmed as one of the clubs destined for the drop. The best they can do is escape automatic relegation and a play off place would be their only hope of avoiding the drop, but it's a tall order. At the moment all of the bottom six are still mathematically in bother, but the focus is on the bottom three of United, Killie and Accies with Inverness hovering on the fringes. A win today would make it highly unlikely that we would face the play-offs. Defeat would bring Killie to within five points of us with the possibility of Hamilton joining us on the same points total but with a vastly inferior goal difference. Aye it's getting a tad fraught at the bottom as the clubs fight it out to be the best of the rest. In a week where the Queen has been upstaged on her 90th birthday by a Prince, it's time for Inverness to produce their own purple patch and steer clear of the drop. Let's go crazy, we don't want to be playing at a Paisley park next season. Despite all that's going on, the big talking point at the Caledonian Stadium is surrounding a Raven lunatic as the story has been made public that David Raven may not be offered a new contract by John Hughes. His preferred option of spending the cash will be to try and bring in strikers to add some fire power to our punchless squad. The fans are no happy about this situation and feel that Raven is being pushed out while he still has plenty to offer this club and would appear to be content to stay with us. It's a tricky one but this just fuels speculation of a rift within as Raven, although injured of late, looks to be frozen out. On the other hand, at 31 and a season littered with injuries, should Inverness be content to offer Dave a new contract? Either way, lot's of feathers have been ruffled over a Raven and a fans protest could well be surfacing. Back to the game and the clubs have played three times this season with the home sides winning each game. Back in October, Kiltie and Magennis put us to the sword with a 2-0 win at Rugby Park. That was Killie's first clean sheet of the season. We're too kind sometimes. In mid December we returned the favour in the Highlands with a 2-1 win. A Vigurs double put us in the driving seat despite a late consolation by Mark Connolly. Back to Rugby Park in January and Killie triumphed 2-1 when Kiltie opened the scoring only for Draper to level it before the break. However, Craig Slater scored a stunning volley early in the second half to secure the points. At that stage of the season Inverness had opened up a four point gap over Killie, it's now stretched to eight. Killie are not to be underestimated here and we just need to look back to their last game where they trounced St Johnstone 3-0. Worryingly for us, Kris Boyd scored twice and he is a player that knows the route to goal pretty well. Kallum Higginbotham scored the other in a tremendous victory over the side that thrashed Aberdeen on Friday night. Our last outing showed up the very worst of Scottish football as we dug out a 0-0 draw at home to Hearts. A dreadful game where chances were at a premium. Story of our season to be honest. The previous game we eased our relegation fears with a good away win at Tannadice, a result that all but scuppers United but kept us just above the waterline. Yogi has dented his relationship with the fans over the Raven affair and despite Dave being declared fit now, allegedly, he did not appear on the bench against Hearts when he is our recognised right back. Our injury list has all but disappeared, just Aaron Doran and Alex Fisher officially out. Dean Brill has played four or five games with the development squad and it's no coincidence that the young side has been performing better of late. Jordan Roberts has also featured but no sign of Raven anywhere. Kilmarnock should be unchanged although the scorer of said stunning volley Craig Slater could be recalled after illness. However, Steven Smith, David Syme and Mark Connolly are out for the remainder of the season and Chris Johnston is nearing full fitness. tm4tj prediction:- It's getting close to squeaky bum time as points are getting harder to come by. This will be no walk in the park with Kilmarnock's need greater than ours and that will be enough to drive them forward. With Kris Boyd back amongst the goals we need to be at our best defensively whilst also looking to create something at the other end. That's been a season long issue with injuries etc etc etc being cited as the reasons for our demise. It's time to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and get out on the park and put on a display. Yogi needs to put on an impressive performance here and forget about any locker room differences and put our best possible team on the park. Can someone tell him we are not clear of trouble yet and show some desire to get forward. His feathers may have been ruffled by the Raven, but it's not about one player, it's about the team. I'm going for a score draw, with Killie scoring an injury time equaliser, probably emanating from our right back position. Meh! The touchy subject is raised in this interview. Carl Tremarco talks about the visit of Kilmarnock, listen here.
  28. 2 points
    Crucial stage of the season. From looking at securing a top-six place only a few weeks ago, Inverness have hit the wall and are now staring into the abyss which is the relegation dog-fight, and this game has now taken on crucial proportions. Only one point gained in our last four games, all away from home, has seen us spiral out of control down the table. We are now in ninth place only five points of the play off place currently occupied by Kilmarnock. Last season is history and we need to get the proverbial finger out and stop moving sideways and backwards. How nice would it be to take a leaf out of Pele's book and go gung ho once in a while? Unfortunately we appear to be one of the poorest sides in the division at the moment, and unless Yogi can rethink his tactics and take the game to Accies, we could be in major trouble. Should we lose to Hamilton, they will join us on 33 points and with Dundee United starting to perform, the games after the split will be challenging to say the least. With our style of play inviting trouble onto us and a complete lack of attacking flair and creation, it is difficult to see where the rot will stop. On a positive note, Accies can match us in terms of being rubbish of late with just one win in their last fourteen games. The lowlights being an 8-1 hammering from Celtic and that 4-1 Scottish Cup defeat at the hands of the mighty Annan Athletic. We won the last encounter with Hamilton 3-4 in an amazing topsy turvy game full of sensational goals, Liam Polworth scoring a screamer in injury time after we looked to have thrown away a two goal lead earlier in the game. In the first game in the Highlands, Accies came away with all three points after a frustrating 0-2 win. Inverness were caught out having missed numerous good opportunities in our Dani Lopez days and Carlton Morris and Louis Longridge did the damage, although our self inflicted sloppy possession game was already evident this early in the season. Little has changed since then and that is why we find ourselves in a spot of bother. It's difficult to get too enthusiastic over these games given our reluctance to entertain, but we have brought much of the negativity on ourselves and now find it difficult to play open attacking football as the threat of not losing is greater than the desire to try and win. Yogi said after the defeat in Perth that it was difficult to create anything once we went down to ten men. Hello John! I have news for you. We never created anything with eleven on the park, so what's new. We are still suffering through injuries, illness and suspensions, but that has been going on all season and we are running out of excuses for our inability to see out games. Inverness will be without the suspended Carl Tremarco and Wednesday's red card villain Gary Warren. Miles Storey and Andrea Mutombo missed the Perth game through illness and the long awaited return of Josh Meekings and James Vincent has yet to materialise. Same old same old with injuries although Richie Foran appeared on the bench in midweek but he never got off it. Hamilton have their own red card victim. Jesus Garcia Tena is suspended but Danny Redmond is looking to return to the squad after injury. Martin Canning is still short of fitness after his lay off. tm4tj Prediction:- The only prediction I am willing to make is that we will pass the ball sideways and backwards and create next to nothing without troubling the goalkeeper. Hamilton will defend in depth and waste time from the off. 0-0 draw on the cards and if I am wrong so be it. The life of thirty year old Inverness fan and local Filth DJ Ross Lyall will be celebrated in the thirtieth minute at tomorrows game with a minutes applause . The young man who packed a lot into his life and had so much to look forward to sadly passed away last week. Ross was a regular at his beloved Caley Jags games where he will be missed by his many friends. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this difficult time and we would like all to respect Ross 30 minutes into the game. RIP Ross Lyall.
  29. 2 points
    The defence of our trophy. Inverness continue the defence of their trophy at Easter Road in a 2:00pm kick off on Sunday in the quarter finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup. This will be the last quarter final to be played and we already know the outcome of the Saturday cup games. The Rangers thumped Dundee 4-0 in the early game and ten man Dundee United knocked Ross County out as Billy Mckay scored the winner in a thrilling 2-3 win at Dingwall. Celtic take on Morton in Sundays early kick off and the Cappielow club will be hoping for a repeat of the league Cup result from three years ago when they put Celtic out after extra-time. Hibs have won the Scottish Cup twice. That in itself is not unusual, but their last triumph in this competition was back in 1902 when they defeated Celtic 1-0 at Celtic Park in front of 16,000 fans. That's 114 years and counting. Incidentally, Inverness Caledonian beat Stranraer 6-1 in the first round that same year before going down 5-1 at Ibrox against Rangers. Hibs have reached the Quarter Finals by beating Raith Rovers 2-0 away from home and then coming back from the dead to draw 2-2 at Tynecastle. In the replay, Hibs went through thanks to a Jason Cummings strike. However their top scorer will miss the tie against us as he is suspended after being red carded Inverness made it here after needing a replay to dispose of Stirling Albion 2-0. Andrea Mutombo scoring the goal of the round in that replay. Jordan Roberts was the match winner as he replicated Mutombo's feat by scoring a spectacular winner at Fir Park against Motherwell in a 1-2 victory. Hibs are coming into this game off the back of three defeats in a row in the Championship and have now slipped down to third in the division as these results take their toll. Morton, Dumbarton and Queen of the South were the teams that beat the Hibees and Falkirk are now above them in the league. Inverness have little to shout about. We have slumped to ninth in the Premiership after a series of frustratingly grim performances and gifting goals like nobodies business. It's four games since we won, beating Aberdeen 3-1 with a stirring performance, but erratic form, injuries and suspensions have curbed our desire to entertain and we now find ourselves staring at the heart of the relegation battle. Defeat at Tynecastle has thrown our season into despair and just when we thought our injury predicament was getting better, we had nine players out receiving treatment and Ross Draper suspended. Yogi has been proclaiming the Hibernian side this week and despite criticism from some fans regarding his comments I tend to agree that Hibs are a miss to the Premiership. If nothing else, it's a great day out in Leith and one of the better grounds in Scotland. It's the usual posturing prior to games and bigging up Hibs will help to make them more complacent. I'm sure Yogi will be looking to end their cup run despite his history with the Easter Road club. It's all part of the game. Alan Stubbs will be without a trio of suspended players. Jason Cummings, Paul Hanlon and Marvin Bartley. John Hughes will have Ross Draper back after his suspension and the good new continues with Josh Meekings and James Vincent likely to be added to the squad as they recover from injury. Andrea Mutombo is a doubt but Richie Foran, Aaron Doran, Alex Fisher, David Raven, Nat Wedderburn and Dean Brill are all out. tm4tj Prediction:- I'm taking Inverness to get into the semi-final, but it might take a replay to sort this one out. Our wafer thin squad has been exposed recently, but it's great to have Draper back and with Meekings and Vincent set to return things are looking up. Scoring goals is a problem and Miles Storey and Jordan Roberts will be the men asked to do just that. Hibs will miss the tenacity of Cummings up front, but in John McGinn they have one of the most talented players in Scotland. Anthony Stokes is another who will provide a challenge for any defence and he knows the way to goal. I'm banking on our midfield holding the key to our success here and our passing game to frustrate Hibs and their big support, I'm just not sure who will be scoring the goals. Replay up North and Inverness to progress.
  30. 2 points
    They Think It's All Over.......     ......... It Is Now. Inverness secured third place in the league with a hard fought win over a sprightly Dundee at Dens Park. Edward Ofere continued his scoring with an exquisite early first half header from a pin point Greg Tansey cross for the only goal in an entertaining encounter. That's six goals in eleven games for the big striker. (Billy who, I hear you say) Inverness went into this game in fine fettle after beating Dundee United in midweek and knew that a victory would clinch third place and with it a European adventure. They would not be disappointed but Dundee were in no mood to hand it to them on a plate. David Raven remained on the bench after returning from suspension and Ryan Christie started. Danny Devine grabbed some more match time as well as Inverness played towards Tannadice in the first half. Paul McGowan and Greg Stewart returned for Dundee and Kyle Letheren replaced the injured Scott Bain in goal. A bright day with little wind greeted the players and the fans came prepared with passports in their pockets. After a few minutes of posturing Inverness took the lead. Greg Tansey swung in an inviting cross with Eddie Ofere's name on it and the big Nigerian powered a low header into the bottom right side of the goal for a superb opener. A few minutes later and Marley Watkins fired over, but Dundee were starting to pick up the pace and were beginning to find space in the middle of the park. Ryan Esson was called into his first bit of serious action as he plucked a shot out of the air, McGinn's effort straight down his throat, easy for the keeper. With 25 minutes gone Esson saved well as Dundee started to pin Inverness back, Greg Stewart flashing a shot goalwards from a tight angle. Moments later Ryan Christie almost added a second goal but his low shot from thirty yards brushed off the foot of the post with the keeper beaten. Danny Devine made an incredibly spectacular overhead clearance from a dipping Stewart header that had Esson beaten. Great stuff from the big defender, fantastic agility, something that Nadia Comaneci would have been proud of. Dundee were the side looking more likely to score the next goal at this point and Esson stopped a couple of headed attempts from McPake and Tankulic, but on the stroke of half time Christie forced Letheren to save but the advantage remained with Inverness at the break. Half Time 0-1 Dundee began the second half where they left off and created a couple of early threats from Jim McAlister, one where he shot weekly at Esson from inside the box after breaking through, but Inverness looked to be closing down sharper and forced a seies of corners to no avail. Just after the hour and James Vincent replaced Watkins as Yogi looked to get a hold on the midfield battle. Danny Devine was carded for what looked to be a nothing challenge, unless the ref had been totting up minor stoppages from the resolute defender and Aaron Dorran replaced midweek hero Danny Williams as Inverness started to assert their dominance once more. Just when it looked as though the visitors had weathered the storm, up popped Jake McPake in the box. He looked to have scored, but Ryan Esson matched Danny Devine's performance as he threw himself across goal to his left and somehow clawed the ball away for a corner. Unbelievable save from Ryan and an important one at that stage of the game. The chants from the visiting fans were getting louder as news came through that the Tayside derby had ended all square and it looked unlikely that Dundee would be able to score the goals required to keep the passports in the pocket. Dundee were now leaving gaps at the back in search of a leveller and Inverness had a couple of chances to exploit that, but we ended up taking the ball for a walk as the clock ticked oh so slowly towards the final countdown for Europe. The final whistle brought about great scenes of joy in the away end and Yogi and the players responded as they left the park. They returned to take the well earned plaudits and the visiting fans went home fair chuffed right eenuff. Full Time 0-1 A few contenders for MotM but it would be cruel to single out anyone after this emotionally draining encounter. However, I do have a cruel streak and three players shone brightest for me. Ross Draper was immense in midfield breaking up play on numerous occasions and feeding forward. Danny Devine looked so solid at the back winning almost everything that came his way and his goal line clearance was just phenomenal. But I have to award the MotM to Ryan Esson who was simply superb. That save late in the game will have Gordon Banks turning in his grave. So, it's congratulations all round from CTO to Yogi and the boys for giving us a wonderful season, and it's not over yet. Date: 09/05/15 Venue: Dens Park, Dundee Attendance: 5123 Referee: Don Robertson Dundee: 0 Lineup: Letheren, McGinn (Wighton 75), McPake, Konrad, Dyer, McGinn, Thomson (Harkins 81), McGowan, McAlister, Stewart, Tankulic Subs (not used): Brodie, Clarkson, Colquhoun, Irvine, Ferry Scorers: none Booked: Thomson (61) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Esson, Shinnie, Meekings, Devine, Warren, Tansey (Tremarco 80), Draper, Williams (Doran 75), Christie, Watkins (Vincent 64), Ofere Subs (not used): MacKay, Raven, Ross, Kink Scorers: Ofere (8) Booked: Williams (38), Devine (72) Sent Off: none
  31. 2 points
    Game off Oh dear. Once again the old problem of calling games off too late reared it's ugly head. United allegedly had the heaters on since Thursday morning but amazingly there were still pockets of ice around the threadbare goal areas. Many Inverness fans had already left, some as far as Perth before the decision to call the game off was officially announced after a second pitch inspection. Some buses made it to Bruar, little consolation if you ask me. This has been posted on the official United site stating the reasons and a reduced offer for tickets when the game is eventually played. January 17, 2015 A Club spokesperson said: “Naturally we’re very disappointed the game can’t go ahead due to the sub zero temperatures we have experienced overnight. Despite taking every precaution and our undersoil heating being on since first thing on Thursday morning, there are patches of the pitch that are a safety hazard for the players particularly in and around the goalmouth areas. We don’t want to take any chances with player safety and as such, while we wanted to give the game as much chance to happen as possible, we also wanted to give fans adequate notice to save unnecessary travel. “We have also decided that, as a good will gesture in appreciation of the effort being made by supporters at this time of year, we will let supporters of Inverness and Dundee United attend the rescheduled fixture for £5.” However, some choice quotes have been doing the rounds:- £15 to go to Bruar and back...money well spent, said AJS on twitter, however, it got better for him......To Bruar and back for a pish and a Subway. Rare away day experience....... Pointless journey. F*%*!n shambles. Hoping Tuesdays on now. Bev tweeted.........not a happy supporters bus heading north. What a shambles......we didn't even get a toilet stop......... Paul was not too happy..........Doesn't take a genius to know that #ICTFC against #DUFC isn't a local derby. Either make a decision early or don't. It's not rocket science. Gringo was grumpy as well.......Nice one SPFL. Let the ICT fans and team travel down the icy A9 for a couple of hours and then.....and only then....call the game off. You really are a fecking joke. Anon.........absolutely disgraceful that a basic need cannot be fulfilled I can understand IF the heating failed. It that doesn't seem to be the case, who is doing the ground staffing for United, Stevie Wonder? And the final complaint was .....The SPFL were willing to risk fans travelling on the notorious A9 in these conditions. Tells you all you need to know about where we come. Anyway, fair play to United for reducing the prices for the next one, but could it have been averted in the first instance, and, if in doubt, could it have been called off sooner.
  32. 2 points
    Oh Well! Managerless Motherwell make the journey to Inverness this Saturday with caretaker boss Kenny Black still at the helm since the departure of the popular Stuart McCall. That's not the only issues at Fir Park as the club's owner John Boyle has placed his 70% shareholding in trust in the hope that the Well Society can raise the necessary funds to buy them, although other interested parties are monitoring the situation. Off-field concerns may be clouding the on-field problems, but Motherwell generally perform well up here and an entertaining encounter is anticipated. It's been a mixed international break for Scotland with an important win over Ireland in the Euro Qualifying campaign offset by a lesson from an impressive England in a 'friendly'. Ryan Christie also came on as a substitute in the u21 international draw away to Switzerland, but it's time to turn our attention back to the domestic scene for the visit of Motherwell. The Steelmen have had a horrendous season by their own recent standards, winning only three of their first thirteen games with one drawn, but that was against Celtic. They ended a run of five straight defeats by beating Dundee United in their last game, an Iain Vigurs goal deciding who won the points. That victory was too late for McCall who had resigned on the 2nd of November after that losing streak. Kenny Black will be the man in charge and he has done his CV no harm with that win over the Arabs as he looks to steer the Well away from the bottom end of the table. Our last game before the break saw us jump above Hamilton after a well deserved 4-2 win over the Accies. It was an important win for a number of reasons. Billy McKay learned how to score again, James Vincent notched one and we went top of the league for a few hours. We still managed to concede a couple of preventable goals, but our goals for was the best so far this term. There has however been some concern in the camp as the outstanding Graeme Shinnie does not wish to sign a new contract, according to his agent Clive Hart, and that has upset the apple cart. John Hughes was less than pleased after the revelation and Shinnie's agent has been blamed for stirring the pot citing "unprofessional and disrespectful" conduct towards Inverness Caledonian Thistle. It's fair to say that Shinnie will more than likely be playing elsewhere next season with a number of clubs interested in the 23 year old, Aberdeen and Rangers allegedly amongst the domestic clubs keeping an eye on the situation. Shinnie signed for Inverness in 2009 and is currently captaining the side in the absence of Richie Foran. Carl Tremarco will be pushing for another start, and if he does, then I would expect Shinnie to play his part further up the park in left midfield. Aaron Doran played in midweek in the development league when a Callum Ferguson goal saw Inverness beat Dundee United. It's fair to say he (Doran), along with Nick Ross and Danny Devine will start on the bench as Marley Watkins continues to impress. James Vincent scored and looks to be getting back into the groove and the goal will be an added boost for the much injured James. All in all, similar line-up to last outing is on the cards. Happy days! Who's throwing a sickie this week Inverness captain Richie Foran seems to have been out forever and will miss out again. No fresh concerns for Inverness, although Ross Draper has a one match ban to serve. Ryan Christie returned from Switzerland unscathed after coming on as a sub in the u21 international. Motherwell have loaned defender Adam Cummins to Ayr for a month. Steven Hammell requires a minor operation to resolve his groin problem. Likewise Jack Leitch has undergone surgery on his cruciate ligament and will be out until Spring. Craig Moore has recently recovered from similar surgery, but is unwell. Former County man Paul Lawson, Bob McHugh and Stuart Carswell all picked up knocks in recent Development matches and won’t travel this weekend. tm4tj prediction:- Looking at the table you could be forgiven for imagining that this could be anything other than a comfortable home win. I don't buy into this though. Motherwell are not that far removed, personnel wise, from the side that performed so well last season. Yes they have had a disastrous start to the season but the tide has possibly turned with last weeks battling win over United. Iain Vigurs has always been a threat to Inverness. The fans love to hate him, and he seems to accept the challenge and usually comes up with something to shut us up. Billy McKay got back on track last week with a couple of poachers goals, but his all round play was mighty impressive. With Draper out, that opens the door for Tremarco at full back with Shinnie in midfield. Hughes has other options though, and a keen bench champing at the bit. Four goals against Hamilton has whet the appetite, let's hope the international intermission has not put us off our food. I'll go for a narrow home win.
  33. 2 points
    Finish with a flourish This Sunday sees the last game of a traumatic season being played at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium with 5th place up for grabs and the £80,000 that goes with it. Our rivals for that place are St Johnstone and it's them that pay us a visit early on Sunday afternoon. For Inverness a draw will be enough to secure the money, for Perth, nothing but a win will be sufficient to climb above us. The finale to the season has been something of an anti-climax for Inverness since the league cup final with only two wins since that day, and those were against struggling bottom six clubs Ross County and Partick Thistle. Over the same period the Perth club have totalled five wins, beating Dundee United twice and a sparkling Scottish Cup semi-final triumph over Aberdeen. Our last game saw Motherwell hold on for a 2-1 win in midweek. Inverness were somewhat overgenerous in the first half and presented Motherwell with a two goal cushion at the break. Graeme Shinnie's deflected effort gave us some hope and despite creating the better chances in the second half we failed to level the game, and with defeat, our chances to climb to fourth in the league ended. St Johnstone fared better against a Celtic X1 in a see-saw game that ended all square with the sides sharing six goals. One disappointment for Tommy Wright was an injury to hot-shot Stevie May and he will be assessed before Sunday's game. The Perth side have bigger fish to fry in a weeks time when they take on Tayside rivals Dundee United in the Scottish Cup final and Stevie May will be crucial to St Johnstone's hopes of winning the cup. It's made for him surely. He wears No 17. The games on the 17th, it's an omen I tell you. In the three meetings this season, Inverness have come out on top twice by single goal victories. The first game though saw St Johnstone thump us 4-0. May, Mackay and Maclean (twice) scoring the goals that knocked Inverness off the top of the Premiership. At the turn of the year, Inverness were eight points ahead of the Saints. The points gap is now down to one. Our quest to play like Barca has not always had the desired effect and has in fact contributed to a number of squeaky bum moments where we end up rushing pass backs and clearances as the opposition suss out our ball retention tactics. This has resulted in at least half a dozen freebies for our opponents, Dundee United being particular benefactors on a few occasions where Brill and the defence fell short with pass backs and clearances. Yogi's determination to see this through has not gone down well in some quarters but on the other hand I saw no complaints when we beat Ross County twice in Dingwall. Those games were played with a bit more swashbuckle and panache. Let's see a bit more of that and see if we can finish with a flourish. Swashbuckle and panache.................sounds like a dodgy firm of solicitors. Inverness defender Josh Meekings and captain Richie Foran remain out through injury. St Johnstone striker Stevie May and defender Gary Miller face late fitness tests after picking up knocks against Celtic although they are not as seriously injured as originally feared. Tam Scobbie and midfielder Murray Davidson remain out. tm4tj prediction:- The season is dying on it's feet now and despite a fantastic start to the campaign and great cup runs it's all gone a bit flat as speculation surrounding the squad and management suitabilities abound. Still, it could be worse. Look at the village pub team from Dingwall just managing to stave off a relegation play off game thanks to the haplessness of Terry Butcher's Hibernian. You couldn't script this could you! As for our own game, maybe a scoring draw to keep everybody happy. 1-1. We have our annual nutters out walking and cycling across Scotland and they will make the stadium before kick off having marched/cycled around 160miles from Motherwell..........as I said, nutters. To end the season on a more poignant note, and put all of this season into perspective. It was with great sadness that the announcement of the passing of Elena Baltacha was met at Inverness Caledonian Thistle and St Johnstone FC. Bally sadly passed away after battling liver cancer at the tender age of 30. She had reached the top of her chosen sport of tennis and was British number 1 for three years. The link of course with both clubs was her father, former USSR international footballer Sergei Baltacha who played for St Johnstone making 90 appearances before moving to Inverness Caley in the Highland league and then when Inverness Caledonian Thistle came to fuition, Sergei was the first manager of the newly formed club. Rest in Peace Bally, our thoughts go out to your family and friends.
  34. 2 points
    Time to Regroup Our season is slowly petering out as we approach our third last game of the season on the back of another hiding from the big Bhoys. Having reached our peak in early December and sitting in second place in the league, three points ahead of Dundee United and Aberdeen and eleven points ahead of St Johnstone with a positive goal difference of +12; it's been all downhill from there. Yogi's quest to play a passing game at all costs is not always bearing fruit and has been the subject of much debate on the forums, many fans doubting if his search for perfection will see him out of a job before we storm Europe. There are as many fans being more lenient and willing to give him time to blend his own style into the more robotic Butcherus horribilis formations and tactics and the rest are simply sitting on the fence waiting for nature to take it's course. The question is how long do we wait. Hibs are not the only side in freefall. Butcher's replacement has split the fanbase and the long knives are starting to appear, although some were already out before Yogi signed on the dotted line. He needs a good finish to the campaign to give the doubters something to ponder over the close season and after last weeks hammering to nothing it doesn't get much tougher than the visit of high scoring Dundee United, a team who have already put five past us in the cup game. United are second top scorers in the league with 62 goals, that's 20 more than us although the defences are almost identical in goals against. They sit four points above us but have a vastly superior goal difference of +19 against our -1. United can of course blow a bit hot and cold. Their 5-1 thrashing of Motherwell preceded by defeats to St Johnstone and Celtic and a drawn game with Aberdeen. The last game between these two saw United just edge it with a 2-1 win. Ryan Gauld opened the scoring and Ryan Dow capitalised on a now familiar poor passback and keeper cock-up combination. Inverness were always in this one though and United had to cling on after Liam Polworth scored a spectacular 35 yarder to set up a tense finish. That was a fabulous strike from Polworth, one of the best goals of the season. Billy McKay almost rescued the game for Inverness but a late diving header just missed the target and United kept all three points. Inverness have been heavily criticised by their own fans for their dismal showing at Parkhead last week, seemingly not learning from the previous spanking, a 5-0 doing a month ago. However, in mitigation, we were dealt a poor hand prior to the game when Raven pulled out injured and Watkins called off with a bug. James Vincent was also not fit enough to play and Richie Foran had already played his last game this season being injured a month ago. So, it's possibly not as bad as it appears on the surface, but for many fans, it was another nail in the managers coffin and the shoes could be off if we fail to produce in our last two home games. It could make for a long close season if things go awry. Yogi is hinting that our budget for new faces could be minimal for next season. So, nothing new there! With exciting talent like Ryan Christie breaking into the first team squad along with Liam Polworth and Nick Ross then maybe all is not lost. Along with SPFL nominees Ryan Gauld, Stuart Armstrong and young Player of the Year Andrew Robertson, this weekend could display the way forward for Scottish football with plenty young starlets in both teams. Inverness should have David Raven and James Vincent back in the squad as both have been training this week, and Marley Watkins has recovered from the bug that kept him out of the Celtic game. Richie Foran is out. Dundee United will have an unchanged squad and teenagers Ryan Gauld and John Souttar could be recalled, having been rested in the 5-1 win over Motherwell. This means that on-loan Newcastle defender Curtis Good and centre-back Calum Butcher are still out. tm4tj prediction:- Well, United can be scary at times and we will need to be at our best to keep them at bay. Nadir Ciftci has been in tremendous form lately and when United are in full flow then there's no finer sight in Scottish football. Inverness can be scary too, unfortunately not in the same way as United, although we do have our moments. We need our defence to get back to basics and our midfield to regroup. It has been posted missing recently and Billy McKay is often left isolated. When we do get men forward to help him, we reap the rewards and if Doran and Watkins can stay fit and wide then maybe, just maybe we can put ourselves back in the hunt for fourth place, but it will not be easy. I'm going against the grain here and looking for a 1-0 home win with United possibly having one eye on the Scottish Cup Final.
  35. 2 points
    STALEMATE AT PAISLEY FOR YOGI AND HIS NEW CHARGES Inverness took a point in a determined battle with St Mirren. Had it not been for three or four remarkable saves from Dean Brill it could have been a different story but he single handedly kept the Buddies out, especially in the first half. We perked up a bit in the second half but neither side really got to grips with the inclement weather and defences were generally on top. Immortal Howden Ender has theis report from Paisley......... Mr. Hughes may have appreciated his Fort George experience earlier in the week as the weather conditions in Paisley must have been just as bad if not worse. The wind appeared to change direction intermittently throughout the game. Unfortunately I don't think that we can use the weather as the only reason that this game turned in to a rather dour, unattractive and scrappy affair. We had two "form" teams battling it out against each other and they simply cancelled each other out. It also has to be said that Saint Mirren also came across as a much improved outfit and they could have pinched it if they had taken their opportunities in a first half that they dominated. Otherwise the other reasons for the stalemate were Dean Brill, two teams who were mainly ineffective in the last third, were terrible at delivering that final telling cross or pass and became trapped in a game mainly played between the two 18 yard lines. Much of the pre match talk was about the appointment of Yogi and the potential effect on the team. Interesting to see that Yogi stated that he had felt "trepidation and anxiety" prior to the match but his observed "togetherness" factor shone brightly through the dark Paisley skies. Undoubtedly a game that had to be got rid off and a point in the end was gratefully accepted if not fully deserved. The day started in the Canal Bar at Paisley and the initiation to Juanjo Away of wee Angus Riach. He appeared to thoroughly enjoy the initiation ceremony of being cuddled and carried by IHE and King Beastie - but then again, who wouldn't. Then it was off to the palatial Alamo Bar and the only surprising negative of the day - not only were the pies warm but they were also grease free and did not allow for torrents of fat to spill on to the chin. The standards in that establishment have gone down. So off to the game and a healthy away support, vociferous throughout as ever, attempting to turn out some new Yogi ditties. Yogi as he had warned remained in the Main Stand and allowed Shearer and Kellacher to take the lead. You have to take your hats off to the Saintee in the main Stand with the blue training top who stood up and waved back every time that "Yogi, Yogi, give us a wave" emanated from the away support. The first half went on for ever as Saint Mirren took an early control. In previous weeks the clean sheets were as much accountable to the defensive unit but this was clearly down to the goalkeeping finesse of Dean Brill. He mad four fine stops in the first half, three being in the excellent category - two from Thompson, the second tipped on to the bar - and a free kick by Newton. Would need to see the incident again but Josh Meekings for a lunge just on half time but Mr. Murray kept his cards in his pocket but Josh should have been closer to a red card. That was a poor display overall from both the referee and his assistants and they awarded some bizarre, incorrect decisions either way. We never really got going and our final ball was simply atrocious. It was indeed a relief that we went in level and goalless. Half Time 0-0 The second half was more enjoyable as we began to contest more but frankly it looked like a potential stalemate from a long time before the final whistle. Again the final balls were poor and chances were lean. We hit the post with 20 minutes left from what looked like a combination of headers from Marley and McKay. The game then petered out although most of the game was at our end in the last ten minutes, highlighted only by a Saintee penalty claim which was laughable. Full Time 0-0 And Yogi came on to the pitch and offered the faithful a "thank you" wave. There were positives and negatives to be gleamed but four clean sheets in a row is not to be sneezed at and extends our unbeaten run and second spot in the SPL. I would give the Man of the Match award to Dean Brill although Richie Foran put in as good a performance as he has ever done. Warren was my third pick and Marley is getting better and better every game. I am not really sure whether to applaud or admonish Gary about his professional courtesy in not getting Thompson booked if not dismissed. Gary had earlier been carded for a nothing "duel" with Thompson. Although it was not a red card it was at least a feckin yellow. Josh was steady if not overly involved. Draper appeared to struggle at times and Doran had one of his "off days". I still am not sure as to what Nicky Ross's role is and the forever in motion McKay simply lacked support or provision. Not utilising a substitution was also frustrating. Still a point away when not playing at your best must be a bonus. Must have given Yogi a few thoughts and will be interesting to see if there are any changes at Tynecastle. To assist Mr. Hughes in his decision making may I suggest that he initially has to make a very difficult decision about the left back position. Graeme Shinnie is not a right back. He may well be solid and reliable in that position but he is considerably more effective on his left foot. Tremarco has not put a foot wrong but he is not in the Shinnie class. To me the decision is to who plays right back - Tremarco or Raven. Then there is wee Billy, Nicky Ross and Aaron Doran. I have a hunch that Mr. Hughes would favour a 4-4-2 and a target man up front. Toby is the only one who hits the target man role but I am not sure whether he is up to it. Foran to me is the answer with Ross and Draper in central midfield. Date: 07.12.2013 Venue: St Mirren Park, Paisley Attendance: 3305 Referee: Calum Murray St Mirren: 0 Lineup: Kello, Naismith, McAusland, Newton, Kelly, Goodwin, McGregor, McGinn, Thompson, McGowan (Harkins 79), McLean Subs (not used): Dilo, Van Zanten, Reilly, Grainger, Mair, Caprice Scorers: none Booked: McGowan (40) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Brill, Shinnie, Warren, Meekings, McKay, Draper, Foran, Doran, Ross, Watkins, Tremarco Subs (not used): Esson, Raven, Devine, Greenhalgh, Williams, Polworth, Agdestein Scorers: none Booked: Tremarco (9), Warren (40) Sent Off: none
  36. 2 points
    Cruise Control Inverness went back to the top of the league after Celtic briefly took over by virtue of winning the early kick-off at Kilmarnock by 5-2. By ten to five Inverness had restored themselves ahead of Celtic after cruising effortlessly past a surprisingly subdued Hibernian with a scoreline that flattered Hibs somewhat. A Billy McKay double and a Richie Foran strike were the counters, but in all honesty Hibs could have had no complaint if that score had been doubled but it ended 3-0 to the League leaders. A rather tepid first half gave way to a more entertaining second half as Inverness opened the throttle out and tore into Hibs with a bit more guile, the introduction of Ben Greenhalgh injecting some much needed pace and trickery to the front line in a game that was dying on it's feet. Inverness started with the same eleven that went to Pittodrie as our mysterious injured trio were revealed as Foran, Doran and Warren, but all three took their place in the starting line up. Hibs had been in fine scoring form prior to this game and were looking to better their attempts at winning games in the North, but as it turned out, they had nothing to offer and many misplaced passes and schoolboy errors littered their play throughout the ninety minutes. A sizeable away support were looking for their side to continue their five game unbeaten run but with defending like that it was never going to happen. The biggest certainty was that Billy McKay would get on the score sheet and he duly obliged after just eleven minutes, a terrible mix up in the Hibs box between Nelson and keeper Williams gifting Billy a simple tap in for the opener. Vincent had released Shinnie down the left, his cross took a slight deflection, but when Nelson stepped out of the way, the ball bounced off a startled Williams to the feet of McKay who bounced the ball into the empty net. Comedy defending, McKay not interested in that though, 1-0 to the homesters. McKay should have made it two six minutes later. Once more Vincent was the supplier as he knocked a ball into McKay as he sprinted towards the box. Billy took it brilliantly on the run, but he screwed his shot wide from the angle with only the keeper to beat. Willie Collum was doing his best to ruin the spectacle stopping the game at every opportunity and it had the desired effect as the ball was pinged back and fore and in and out of play. The pitch could not be blamed for the poor control, especially from the Hibees, but neither side dominated the next spell of the now untidy game. Paul Heffernan benefited from a long ball out of defence headed forward by Collins but he slammed his shot well wide, justice seemingly done as he appeared to be a yard offside, the watching officials unable to read the rules. Big Ross Draper slashed at a volley at the other end, but was nowhere near finding the target as both teams struggled to find any fluency; thanks Mr Collum. James Vincent was booked after half an hour, possibly exacting some revenge for an earlier Hibernian misdemeanour as he rashly upended Ryan McGivern, and this was the pattern for the rest of the half as the game bordered on tedium, with Inverness always one step ahead of a struggling Edinburgh side. Inverness were forced into a change as Vincent took a knock and he was removed for his own safety as much as injury, Ben Greenhalgh replacing him, and he would stake a claim for a regular berth with some old fashioned wing play. Half Time 1-0 The second half saw a vast improvement in the game as the home side upped the tempo and Hibs simply went into reverse, but not before Draper made a timely intervention in the box to slow down a sporadic Hibs attack, Tom Taiwo lashing the loose ball high, wide and not very handsome. Just on the hour mark, Inverness doubled their lead with a superb strike from captain fantastic Richie Foran. Doran sprited clear on the right and his deep cross was brilliantly kept alive be Greenhalgh, who headed back from the goal line and onto the top of the bar acrobatically. The headed clearance eventually fell to Foran after Nick Ross cleverly let it run through him, and Foran blasted the ball high past a diving Williams for number two from sixteen yards. The Inverness machine was purring beautifully now and David Raven, not normally noted for his goal scoring exploits almost added a third goal. Fortunately for Raven, Dean Brill acrobatically kept out his clearance header much to the full backs relief. The goal of the game came two minutes later, a Draper headed clearance found Billy McKay running towards the Hibernian box. With plenty to do, McKay turned the defender and lashed a fabulous strike behind Williams from twenty-two yards out; what a belter, and Billy dented claims that he is only a penalty box striker. Greenhalgh arrowed a useful ball into the box and McKay got his head to it, the keeper stopping it low down at his near post. Inverness were now cruising and it was a case of how many. The afore mentioned goal machine David Raven almost got a goal at the right end this time, his long swinging cross landing on Williams' crossbar. Greenhalgh and Doran were by now tormentors in chief and Hibs were being torn a new one as Inverness turned the screw. Doran was unfortunate not to score as Ben jinked his way down the left and fizzed a great cut back across the box, Dorans low strike was incredibly turned away by Hanlon going the wrong way, but sticking out his big toe to divert the ball for a corner, some clearance. Collins made Dean Brill work with a late header low down to Brills' left, but he was in no mood to concede and dived down to keep the ball out and deny Hibernian a consolation counter. Full Time 3-0, going on 6. A game that saw Inverness return to the top after a superb second half display and the introduction of Greenhalgh certainly warmed the fans up after a miserable first forty-five. Another three points and another clean sheet as the visitors failed to trouble the scorers and one strange substitution. It appears that having more than one Ross in the side can be a tad confusing. With Ross Draper about to be summoned, Nick Ross made his way to the touchline to get some instructions, but ended up on the bench after thinking the name Ross was his, when in fact it belonged to Ross Draper. Confused.Com. Anyway, it mattered not as we won convincingly in the end. Nick did receive a booking at one stage for simulation. In all honesty, I don't think that is part of his game, but Collum thought otherwise and carded him, just another way of showing his incompetence. The Long Man got on the park for a few minutes, but only at half-time for a chat with Ryan Esson. Aye Owain, it's not always a good idea to go to a bigger club. tm4tj MotM is not always easy to pick and it's not always about who scores lots of goals. However, a quality display by Billy McKay all over the park ensures that he gets my vote, and his second goal was a peach. Richie Foran ran him close with another all round display and a good goal to boot. The defence was rarely troubled and no need for any of them to look for plaudits, but once again as a unit they were brilliant. Ross Draper had a solid game in midfield and the introduction of Ben Greenhalgh gave us a glimpse of things to come. Aaron Doran was strangely subdued in the first half, but certainly woke up in the second and was unlucky not to score. I suppose the only mystery remaining is will McKay get any assistance up front from big Toby, but on this form he doesn't need it! All in all, a good team performance and back on top for now, just how we like it; pleasing. Date: 28.09.2013 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 4261 Referee: Willie Collum Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Brill, Raven, Shinnie, Vincent (Greenhalgh 35), Warren, Meekings, Mckay, Draper (Agdestein 89), Foran, Doran, Ross (Polworth 79) Subs (not used): Esson, Devine, Tremarco, Williams Scorers: McKay (11, 61), Foran (59) Booked: Vincent (29), Ross (37) Sent Off: none Hibernian: 0 Lineup: Williams, McGivern, Hanlon, Nelson, Robertson, Craig, Collins, Stevenson, Taiwo (Zoubir 62), Heffernan (Vine 67), Thomson (Stanton 80) Subs (not used): Murdoch, McPake, Tudur-Jones, Forster Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none
  37. 2 points
    Hearts young guns in town Top versus bottom on Saturday, but don't be fooled by this. With Hearts being penalised from the start of the season, they are in a slightly false position and are doing their damndest to steer clear of relegation. Give Hearts their fifteen points back and they would be level with Celtic and St Johnstone, so no place for complacency against the youthful Jambos. Ginger Jaggy has been looking into this fixture to produce this preview for you................ With four games gone Caley Thistle sit proudly on top of the SPFL Premiership table but face arguably the greatest threat to our unbeaten start this weekend. This Saturday will see a maroon invasion as the kids of Hearts try to continue Mission Impossible which is certainly right on track. From a deficit of -15 the Jambos after last week’s battling 2-1 win over a fancied Aberdeen team has the likes of St Mirren, Kilmarnock and County looking over their shoulders on -8. So far Terry has only used two of his new players and so the starting eleven has a very familiar look to it. Dean Brill has continued where Antonio Reguero left off and apart from 2 goals in Glasgow last week has looked unbeatable between the posts. Of course he has been helped by having a back four that flourished so well last season and keeping the structure of Raven, Warren, Meekings and Shinnie has reaped great dividends. Midfield is similar but everyone wondered how we would fare without Andy Shinnie, but he has been brilliantly replaced by James Vincent. Aaron Doran has become the main playmaker and he still creates goals just like he did last season but more importantly he has started getting goals to add to his vital contribution he brings to the team. But with more faces on the bench Terry has options this year giving us all a feeling that this season may just be even better than last season. Our opponents couldn’t be further from our cloud nine feeling as the distinct threat of losing the football club still looms very large. The fans have backed the club fantastically with sell outs against Aberdeen and Hibs while taking a large following to Perth and to Firhill against Partick. With the predicament they are in and an excellent gesture from our football club it looks like the away stand will look pretty full. The club has kindly offered to donate £5 for every ticket over the average attendance of 650 to the supporters fighting fund. It is a win/win situation with more hearts fans making money for their own cause but also adding to the home coffers with a larger attendance. In fact look out for some Watford supporting Caley Thistle fans in the home end to see how we roll up North. Everything seems to be against the capital side with a transfer embargo stopping them buying players until next summer (if they make it out of administration) meaning they can’t strengthen to fight relegation in January and of course have a -15 points disadvantage. But the clouds are parting with the Foundation of Hearts being given preferred bidder status and with that momentum the kids are going off like Usain Bolt in 100M race. Defeat to St Johnstone was tight but then wins over Hibs and Aberdeen plus a late equaliser at Partick has the gap now down to under 3 wins. So for fans expecting us to cash in on Hearts misery, we need to be wary of the wounded beast that makes Hearts more dangerous than ever. Usually I do a head to head comparison between the two teams but due to Hearts predicament it won’t come in to play with the squad being so different. Instead I will give you a brief fact file on some the kids. Hearts skipper is Danny Wilson who will be suspended after a strange outburst involving sheep in the tunnel last Saturday. So I expect the key trio will be Jamie Walker, Jason Holt and Callum Paterson who are excellent talents that will give the Jambos an attacking threat. Holt plays in the Andrew Shinnie role and is already being courted by Nottingham Forest. He can score goals and is the teams most creative asset playing between the lines. Jamie walker is an outstanding talent who has pace and trickery on the flanks and an eye for scoring wonder goals with two long range strikes already this season. Finally Callum Paterson may not be the most natural of forward players but his header against Hibs and the help he is receiving from club legend and former Inverness boss John Robertson means he can’t be underestimated. Along with Wilson, Kevin McHattie is also suspended and Ryan Stevenson is out long term. Mark Ridgers will deputise if Jamie MacDonald fails a fitness test. Inverness have one injury concern, Marley Watkins is out injured for a couple of weeks with an ankle injury. Apart from that, the continuity will carry on and Butcher should be fielding an unchanged side once more. I expect the three points to stay in the Highland capital on Saturday but it won’t be easy. Both clubs have momentum at the start of the season but Inverness being more experienced and with the very small and youthful Hearts squad being taken all the way by Raith in the league cup it may be difficult for them to recover properly. I predict a hard fought 2-0 win in the end with Foran and McKay netting the goals.
  38. 2 points
    Inverness Brush Well Aside Inverness kept their excellent start to the season going after brushing Motherwell aside with some sweeping moves in a scintillating first half that gave them a cushion to defend in a more even second forty-five. Two superb goals from the head of captain Richie Foran and the foot of Billy McKay made it three out of three to maintain our 100% record and another clean sheet was an added bonus in a highly entertaining match. A blustery day saw Motherwell visit Inverness with a much changed squad from the one that ripped us apart in the early games last year. Gone were Jamie Murphy, Michael Higdon, Henrik Ojamaa, Chris Humphrey, Nicky Law, and keeper Darren Randolph. James McFadden remains, but new signings Iain Vigurs and Paul Lawson will need to show more, although Henri Anier looks a useful addition and John Sutton should fill the Higdon shaped hole up front for the Steelmen. As expected, Inverness were unchanged from last week with Dean Brill once more in the nets and James Vincent pulling the strings. Agdestein, Polworth and Williams would come off the bench in the latter stages as Butcher freshened tired legs up and a disappointing crowd of just over 3,000 settled in their seats ready for action, some 250 of them in the away end. It was the home fans who were given the opportunity to get off their bums first and with only four minutes on the clock, the brisk Inverness attackers scored the opener, and what a goal it was. Motherwell boss McCall might well be disappointed with his defence, but when Graeme Shinnie's curling free kick swung into the box, Foran bulleted a diving header across the keeper and into the net from around twelve yards. Brilliant start to the game for Inverness and just what the home fans needed to erase last seasons drubbing from the memory banks. Inverness turned the screw and Vincent had a shot charged down with the goal at his mercy and the lively McKay likewise, McManus and Hutchinson doing their utmost with last ditch blocks. However, it was one way traffic and the dazzling attacking display from the home side was a joy to behold. With Inverness very much on the front foot, a brilliant team goal ended the scoring, but not the entertainment. Doran and Raven combined beautifully to tee up Billy McKay who finished superbly by stroking the ball into the bottom corner from fifteen yards. McKay was causing the big Well defence all sorts of problems with his darting runs and clever flicks and one such move saw him set up an opportunity for Vincent who spectacularly volleyed narrowly wide of the mark. Inverness were rampant now and Motherwell worked hard to contain the eager home side and but for some timely interventions we could have been looking at a cricket score but the referee intervened and blew for half time for McCall to get to work over the interval. Half Time 2-0 McCall rang the changes after the break and introduced Carswell and the strapping Henri Anier who looks a decent player and it was the latter who was denied by a crucial Raven block as he was about to pull the trigger on a McFadden cross. The game was more even now and Inverness had a lucky escape as Hutchinson headed over after Brill missed a cross from the Well left. Another scare soon after when Vigurs crumbled in the box as Raven slid in but Brines was not interested. Shame. Anier almost scored a consolation with five minutes left but he hammered a close range effort just over the corner of the bar, and that was the closest Motherwell came to breeching the Inverness rearguard. But, it was not all about Motherwell and Foran and McKay passed up glorious chances to extend the lead as the Steelmen chased the game. Aaron Doran forced Hollis into making a great save to deny the Irishman as he sprinted into the box, but his high angled drive was pushed away by the keeper. Full-Time 2-0 Motherwell had run out of ideas before the end and Inverness held on for a well deserved win to keep them at the right end of the table. Make no bones about it, this was an excellent performance from Inverness who stroked the ball around confidently and scored a couple of cracking goals. I expect Celtic will offer a much stiffer test next week, but lets just wallow in the glory of our opening three games for now. tm4tj MotM:- Well, I concurred with the sponsors who had Richie Foran as their pick. He scored a fabulous goal and was dictating the flow of the game. In the second half when Well pushed for a foothold, he was at the heart of the defence mopping up everything, great captains performance from him. Mckay and Doran caused all sorts of problems for Motherwell and in the second half Warren got better and better as the game wore on. Overall just a great team performance Date: 17.08.2013 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3031 Referee: Iain Brines Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Brill, Raven, Warren, Meekings, Shinnie, Foran, Draper, Ross, Doran (Williams 90), Vincent (Polworth 82), McKay (Agdestein 84) Subs (not used): Esson, Devine, Greenhalgh, Pepper Scorers: Foran (4), McKay (36) Booked: Shinnie (43), Meekings (54) Sent Off: none Motherwell: 0 Lineup: Hollis, Hammell, Ramsden, Hutchinson, McManus, McFadden (Francis-Angol 66), Lawson (Carswell 46), Sutton, Vigurs, Lasley, McHugh (Anier 46) Subs (not used): Nielsen, Erwin, Kerr, Moore Scorers: none Booked: Vigurs (80) Sent Off: none
  39. 2 points
    Congratulations to Andrew Shinnie, who becomes the thirteenth winner of the annual CaleyThistleOnline Player of the Year award. The race to become the CTO Player of the Year went right down to the final day clash with Ross County, but Shinnie picked up points in the matches against Motherwell and Dundee United to take an ultimately decisive four point lead over Billy McKay which he didn't relinquish. Shinnie is a very deserving winner, having scored 16 goals for the club this season, won his first Scotland cap, and been nominated for the SPL Player's Player of the Year award as well. His wonderful form has earned him a three year contract with Championship side Birmingham City, where hopefully he'll make a big impact. In winning the trophy, he follows in the footsteps of Bobby Mann, Barry Robson, Stuart Golabek, Liam Keogh, Ross Tokely, Craig Dargo, Barry Wilson, Don Cowie, Ian Black, Jonny Hayes, Ryan Esson and Roman Golobart. Andrew's brother Graeme, meanwhile, was Player of the Month for May, his first such award this season. He received 76 votes, 6 ahead of his sibling, with Josh Meekings in third. Meekings' strong finish to the season means he ties for third in the overall standings with Aaron Doran. Overall quantity of votes cast for each player in May: (Used to decide Player of the Month) Player 04/05 11/05 19/05 TOTAL Graeme Shinnie 15 38 23 76 Andrew Shinnie 27 32 11 70 Josh Meekings 16 24 26 66 Billy McKay 39 3 42 Chris Hogg 20 8 5 33 Richie Foran 11 16 27 Antonio Reguero 5 1 19 25 David Raven 4 10 14 Aaron Doran 4 4 8 Ross Draper 4 3 7 Nick Ross 5 2 7 Charlie Taylor 4 4 Owain Tudur-Jones 1 1 Danny Devine 1 1 Player of the Year Points ~ Final Standings : 2012/13 (Player of Month also highlighted in monthly column) Player AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR APR MAY TOTAL Andrew Shinnie 11 10 5 6 6 3 1 6 48 Billy McKay 1 8 8 16 1 5 5 44 Aaron Doran 3 1 6 9 1 16 36 Josh Meekings 1 1 13 1 13 6 36 Richie Foran 21 10 3 34 Owain Tudur-Jones 3 3 2 12 5 6 3 34 Ross Draper 11 6 3 1 4 4 3 32 Gary Warren 5 3 1 4 7 6 5 31 David Raven 9 10 5 5 29 Antonio Ruguero 1 8 3 8 3 23 Graeme Shinnie 3 3 1 1 8 7 23 Ryan Esson 8 3 1 12 Danny Devine 8 8 Charlie Taylor 5 5 Andre Blackman 5 5 Conor Pepper 3 3 Philip Roberts 3 3 Nick Ross 3 3 Players of the Year - All Time Month Player 2000-2001 Bobby Mann 2001-2002 Barry Robson 2002-2003 Stuart Golabek 2003-2004 Liam Keogh 2004-2005 Ross Tokely 2005-2006 Craig Dargo 2006-2007 Barry Wilson 2007-2008 Don Cowie 2008-2009 Ian Black 2009-2010 Jonny Hayes 2010-2011 Ryan Esson 2011-2012 Roman Golobart 2012-2013 Andrew Shinnie
  40. 2 points
    Can we get through the EuroDoor After a quite remarkable season for a number of reasons, the final piece of the EuroJigsaw will be put in place after the last games of the SPL season are played on Sunday. The EuroDoor was left ajar after last weeks disappointment against the Arabs, but we have another opportunity to step through that door with a season defining derby against Ross County on the Sabbath. It's still a bit complex, but a Caley Jags win will put our minds at rest. Unfortunately we will have to do that at Dingwall, never an easy place to get a win at the best of times, and against our local rivals, who are still seething from the earlier games played this season. St Johnstone are the other team involved in the Euro shootout and they host Motherwell where they require a win to put pressure on us, but that is against second placed Motherwell, it couldn't be tighter. Plenty of posturing and gamesmanship going on in the press this week in the build up to the games. Derek Adams can hardly bring himself to say our name in public, shame really as he and his side have also had a fantastic season and it is incredible to think that both Highland teams will finish at the business end of the table with sleeping giants from Edinburgh and Aberdeen languishing in the bottom half of the table and The Rangers only able to compete in the third division. Ian Vigurs has been bumping his gums all week looking to put a spanner in the Inverness works. It's a pity that such a talented player resorts to making these kind of statements, but I suppose he gets as good as he gives when the Caley Jags fans affectionately chant his name during these derby games. Transfer subject Richard Brittain took a nasty twist of the knee last week but has confirmed that the injury is not as serious as first feared which is good news for him with St Johnstone and Ross County still at loggerheads over his signature although he will be out at least until the start of pre-season. On the theme of missing players, St Johnstone defender Fraser Wright has been cited by the SFA for an elbow incident against Celtic and will miss their crunch match against Motherwell. We fare no better with Richie Foran and Ross Draper both suspended; it's all happening this weekend. Much has been said about the derby's played out this season. Tremendous entertainment and drama has already unfolded before massed crowds and the last second equaliser in the cup sparked scenes of mass hysteria and histerical observations as Derek Adams was full of seethe, seemingly unhappy about his side being pegged back in the time added on to the time added on. This crucial game will be played out on a field similar to the terrain covered by the Highland Marchers, that intrepid bunch of Internutters who are at it again, walking from the penultimate game to the final destination. This year it's only twelve miles between Inverness and Dingwall, but no, that's not sufficient for these madmen who have hiked over the sea to Skye and back before Sunday's game, just to keep it interesting. Well done to all taking part and you can give them a cheer as they complete the last few miles on the Sabbath from Strathpeffer to Dingwall in time for the early kick off. With Brittain, Foran and Draper missing, the midfield battle will be an intriguing one and it won't be for the faint hearted on County's congested tattie field of a battleground. Conditions look as though they may be dry as well which will make it a fiery surface with more sand on it than Nairn beach. Wet conditions will turn it into a quagmire. Let's hope that both sides can conquer the obstacles in front of them and produce another cracking Highland Derby. The world of football will be watching nationwide and what better way to bring the season down than a full blooded spectacle with a Euro prize waiting to be won or lost. Some players will be playing their last games for Inverness and they will be looking to leave on a high. Andy Shinnie is Birmingham bound and leaves us after a fantastic season where he was capped for his country and was short listed for Scotland's player of the year. Antonio Reguero has proven himself as an able deputy for the oft injured Ryan Esson and he has been tempted down to Kilmarnock. Chris Hogg has won his personal injury battle and recently returned from a career threatening injury but will depart after this game and Shane Sutherland and Gavin Morrison will be looking for new clubs. Let's give them a send off to be proud of. Terry talks to Auldy Boy ahead of the crucial County derby. ***Latest Team News*** Inverness as stated above will be without influential captain Richie Foran and Ross Draper, both of whom have picked up too many yellow cards and are suspended. Gary Warren, the fans player of the year is out injured but the signed on again Ryan Esson made the bench last week and there are no other major concerns for this one. Ross County will miss their captain Richard Brittain who twisted his knee against Motherwell. Defender Branislav Micic and goalkeeper Mark Brown remain out and Rocco Quinn is a major doubt. tm4tj prediction:- They don't come any tougher than this one. Major players missing out through injuries and suspensions and Inverness needing a win to ensure European football. County needing a win to get one over their Highland rivals and to come out of the shadows. Sometimes the tension and expectations can get too great in this type of game and it passes some players by. However I expect both sides to give their all here and it would be no surprise to see both sides having to settle for a point apiece. I'll go even further and suggest that St Johnstone and Motherwell draw as well thus handing the Euro spot to Inverness. There, I said it! Fingers crossed. :ictscarf:
  41. 2 points
    The scene is set for Mr Brown's Boys Inverness take on Mr Brown's Boys on Saturday, three days after Bomber won his first game in charge of the Dee in his fourth game as interim manager. He has stopped the rot though, with four points in the last two games after Dundee had suffered four straight defeats and it would complete a decent enough week or so for the bottom club should they upset Inverness at the weekend. In midweek, a battling 2-1 win for Dundee against St Mirren after coming from behind showed great character from the relegation threatened club. That was on the back of a determined draw against St Johnstone last midweek and a tremendous bounce back after the derby cup quarter final defeat to the Arabs at the weekend. It was only their fourth win of the campaign which sees them fourteen points adrift of the Buddies, but it would take more than a miracle for Dundee to get out of this one methinks. Inverness are boosted by news that more players are about to pen new deals on the back of Gary Warren extending his contract. Good news for Inverness fans as the players follow the managers example by staying in the Highlands. These players were revealed as striker Billy McKay and midfielder Ross Draper, with Owain Tudur-Jones another target. <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Ydth8T0Ctsw?list=PL30A0B5E92F18F713" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Great to have them on board for another season or two, but rumours abound that Andy Shinnie may be going South after the summer. Great disappointment if so as Andy has quality in abundance and deserves a shot at another level of play and pay, I just wonder if Birmingham City are the best ones for that opportunity. Best ask Rooney.........that's Adam, remember him? Currently on loan from Birmingham at Swindon Town. Tread carefully Andy, but good luck whatever. Inverness have put eight goals past Dundee already this season whilst conceding twice in the two games so far. Dundee's goal difference is 43 goals worse off than ours and that tells it's own story. However, they have only lost eight more goals than us. Scoring goals is where the massive difference is with Dundee only hitting the back of the net 18 times on SPL duty. But, if you take into consideration that our goals have dried up recently then this game is not quite as one sided as league positions would have us believe. We only have one win to boast about at Dens park, that being the 1-4 in October. On that night in the city of Discovery, Billy McKay scored a double with Gary Warren and Andy Shinnie adding two more. The inevitable goal from Colin Nish was Dee's reply but in the end they were well beaten, but not without a fight. Judging by performances that night, Nicky Riley is worth keeping an eye on. The tricky winger looks comfortable on the ball and is capable of scoring as well as providing for others..........like Nish or Baird. <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/R-8hJ0R47yE?list=PL30A0B5E92F18F713" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> ***Latest Team News*** Inverness defender Chris Hogg played his first 45 minutes with the u20's last Sunday after his horrific knee injury last year. Good to see the Hoggmeister getting back on the pitch. Simon King is still out and Phillip Roberts is nursing an injury. Aaron Doran was subbed last week after a knock but should make the squad and Graeme Shinnie's suspension for the joke booking last weekend does not kick in until the game against County next week. Dundee have Stephen O'Donnell, Mark Kerr and Jamie McCluskey still out. Declan Gallagher returns after suspension, and striker Carl Finnigan should keep his place on the bench after recovering from injury. I believe this is the same Mr Finnigan that was involved in our relegation when he played for Falkirk........ tm4tj Prediction:- Banana skin alert! This one has slippery surface written all over it as John Brown stamps his robust style on the Dundee team, despite objections from large numbers of their support. Yes we have scored eight times, but momentum has changed, and our goals are not so easy to come by recently although our defence has been solid. Neither the Arab's or the Gudgies were able to penetrate our Ryan. That tempts me to hope for a win, but a draw might be the unwanted result in the push for European football. First the Highlands, now Europe............who would have thought it? :ictscarf:
  42. 2 points
    El Floppo Not quite El Kessocko, more like El Floppo as both sides bludgeoned out a pretty drab no scoring draw. One man did his best to keep the score level and that was the clown that officiated this encounter. A painted face and a pair of oversize shoes were all that was missing from referee Steve McLean as he went about his routine, culminating in the moment he brought the house down with his antics. Not giving a penalty was hilarious. But he topped that by booking the spreadeagled Graham Shinnie to the delight of the watching throng. Graham now misses the next derby in a fortnight at Inverness. As expected, Richie Foran made the starting eleven with Nick Ross dropping to the bench and Gary Warren returned at centre back, partnered by Josh Meekings with Devine dropping out. For County, Michael Fraser was a late replacement for Mark Brown in goals. A packed Global Energy Stadium and a perfect day for football saw the game kick off with the fans in fine fettle and singing voices well lubricated in the pre-match boozers, the Mallard being well full before the Steve McLean show started. To be honest, I don't have a lot to tell you about. We seemed to play the better quality football, but once more the cutting edge was blunt, County quite content to hit on the counter, a style which suits them down to a tee. Villain of the piece Ian Vigurs was first to threaten, taking on Raven but Gary Warren intervened as he tried to shoot. Josh Meekings charged down a Paul Lawson shot with County claiming for hand ball, nothing doing. Billy McKay was inches away from connecting with a Richie Foran cross as Inverness looked the more likely to make the breakthrough, but defences were on top. David Raven came to the rescue as he headed a thumping netbound shot from Oikonomou away to safety and Inverness responded when Ross Draper saw his effort cleared off the line. Enter the clown as he rightly booked Ian Vigurs for unceremoniously upending Raven, then he also booked Raven for being fouled; what the! This sparked a bit of posturing on the touchline, get back in yer box Derek, as Terry and Derek exchanged niceties, 1-0 to Terry. Half Time 0-0 The second forty five was similar to the first, once more few clear chances. Andy Shinnie tried his best with a mazy run at the County defence but his lack of pace saw him run out of legs as Munro mopped up the attack and at the other end Kovacevic nearly did a 'Gasgoine' as he flicked the ball up and over Shinnie, but his shot just missed Esson's right hand post. Good effort by the full back though. His next effort was wide of the mark as County began to assert themselves more but the Inverness defence held firm and the game had nil nil written all over it long before the end. Hilarity erupted when Oikonomou felled Graham Shinnie as he burst into the box with the punch line following thereafter; a booking for the prostrate Shinnie, my sides were sore laughing .........NOT! Tudur-Jones thought he was Messi as he skirted round the County defence. It turned out he was messy as his attempted curler went high and wide, as did Brittain's effort late in the game. Full Time 0-0 <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/KR7VDiH_kBY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> So, much ado about nothing really. The game itself was a bit disappointing although at 0-0 it had enough to keep you interested. That's five blank sheets County have had in a row during their now 10 match unbeaten run. Steve McLean saw to it that they kept their run going but in all honesty both sides could have played for a week and not scored. Let's hope the game in Inverness has some added value to it. <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Kq9uLFAd84o" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/t5b52Y-WbQU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> tm4tj MotM:- Another tough call on this, but it has to go to either Garry Warren or Josh Meekings who were rock solid at the back. Andy Shinnie showed again he is peerless in terms of quality, just an extra half a yard would see him and us benefit. So, on his return to action it has to be oooooh, Gary Warren. All to do again on the 16th, and the Highlands are still ours until then, and County remain in our shadow, just. You can hear the seethe already. 2nd Mar 2013 Scottish Premier League Global Energy Stadium, Dingwall Ross County 0 - TEAM: Fraser, Kovacevic, Ikonomou, Boyd, Munro, Sproule (Wohlfarth 88), Brittain, Lawson, Quinn, Vigurs, Morrow (Glen 66) SUBS: McCarthy, Hainault, Cooper, MacPhee, Ross Booked: Vigurs (30) Sent Off: none Inverness C.T. 0 - TEAM: Esson, Raven, G Shinnie, Warren, Meekings, Doran (Ross 57), Draper, Tudur Jones, Foran (Taylor 64), A Shinnie, McKay SUBS: Reguero, Sutherland, Polworth, Pepper, Devine Booked: Raven (30), G.Shinnie (79) Sent Off: none Referee Steven McLean Attendance 5959
  43. 2 points
    Zero No goals at the Caledonian Stadium as Inverness and United cancelled each other out on a brisk February night. Andy Shinnie had the best opportunity to break the deadlock in the second half but he headed straight at the keeper when either side of him would have seen a goal, but it was not to be as Inverness dropped to third with Motherwell beating Celtic to jump into second spot. It's oh so tight as the league reaches the tickly spot. Couldn't manage another four goals tonight and the commentators curse struck as we had to settle for a no scoring draw in the end. Richie Foran recovered sufficiently to make the bench and Josh Meekings replaced the suspended Gary Warren, partnering Daniel Devine at the rear. Ryan Esson continued in goal with Reguero as standby. United set out their stall with an attack minded side, probably just as well for them as their defending has been suspect at times. Michael Gardyne getting a start with Stuart Armstrong on the bench. Inverness started brightest and pegged United back in the early stages looking for the breakthrough. For all his height, Owain Tudur-Jones should be an ideal target at set pieces, alas, heading is not his strong point and he wasted a good opportunity meekly heading a Doran corner wide of the keepers left hand post. United responded and Jon Daly did likewise at the other end as headers seemed to be the preferred method of attack, Billy McKay nodding one direct at Cierzniak from a great position as the play opened out. Neither side were able to get a foothold in the match as the play went from end to end and defences were mainly on top, but contract boy Andy Shinnie came closest, forcing Cierzniak into a diving save just before half time as he wheeled on the edge of the box and fired a shot low towards the goal, but the keeper was equal to it. Half Time 1-1 The second period continued in the same theme and I've seen worse nil nil games. Aaron Doran was teasing and probing at one end and Gary Mackay-Stevens was doing the same at the other end, but poor final balls and good defending thwarted most moves. Around the hour mark, the cumbersome Jon Daly passed up the Arabs best chance so far, heading over from six yards. He should have made the keeper work.. United were becoming more prominent and they seemed to gain the upper hand possession wise, but clear chances were at a premium as the play went from end to end. Esson saved a shot from substitute Armstrong to keep the score blank and the United goalie did likewise from the classy Andy Shinnie, who was at full stretch to turn a ball goalwards. Armstrong blazed a loose ball high over the bar at the other end when he should have done better with the defence struggling to cover him. It was Shinnie that should have broken the deadlock after some neat play when he strode onto an outswinging cross from Doran, but his diving header was straight down the keepers throat and the chance was wasted. With twelve minutes remaining, Ryan Esson earned his corn when he grappled with a deflected Rankin shot from close range and eventually pounced on the ball before it squirmed over the line. Close call! The long awaited return of Richie Foran was a welcome sight with ten minutes left on the clock and he looked eager to get involved, and he livened the last few minutes up, but it was United who pressed at the death for the goal which would steal the points, but it never came. Full Time 0-0 <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ykA3QBKmWd4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> A draw was just about right although Inverness did create the better openings, but some woeful shooting and heading kept the score blank. The only winners from this game were Motherwell who jumped above Inverness into second place after beating Celtic 2-1. So, it's onward to Dingwall for what has now become a very meaningful game given County's recent surge of form and Inverness' apparent reluctance to kill off games. Interesting weekend ahead. tm4tj MotM:- goes to the quality player that is Andy Shinnie. Not able to get on the scoresheet last night, but his close control was a joy to behold. Danny Devine was solid at the back as was Josh Meekings and Nick Ross had one of his best games as well, so onwards to Dingwall and it's all to play for. 27th Feb 2013 Scottish Premier League Tulloch Caledonian Stadium Inverness C.T. 0 - TEAM: Esson, Raven, G Shinnie, Devine, Meekings, Doran, Draper, Tudur-Jones, Ross (Sutherland 80), A Shinnie, McKay (Foran 80) SUBS: Reguero, Laing, Polworth, Pepper, Taylor Booked: Meekings (16) Sent Off: none Dundee Utd 0 - TEAM: Cierzniak, Watson, Douglas, Dillon, McLean, Gardyne, Flood, Rankin, Mackay-Steven, Daly, Russell (Armstrong 38) SUBS: Banks, Ryan, Millar, Dow, Thomson, Souttar Booked: Flood (68) Sent Off: none Referee Brian Colvin Attendance 3413
  44. 2 points
    Warren Peace Saturday's epic hero, Gary Warren, will miss this clash with the Arabs having collected too many bookings over the season. It's the first game the big man will have missed since joining in the summer and he has endeared himself to the Caley Jags fans with some sterling defending and his ability to notch goals at the other end of the park. He will make his peace with the officials as he sits this one out. Jackie McNamara brings his new side up to the Highlands on Wednesday night for a 19:45 kick off at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium where Inverness will host Dundee United. This will be his sixth game in charge since taking over the reigns from Peter Houston. We have some record to uphold for this season against Dundee teams. Four games played and we have scored four goals in each game, the last one against United was that incredible 4-4 draw at Tannadice after being three down in eight minutes. I can't guarantee a similar scoreline, but United are normally one of the more entertaining sides to visit Inverness and with the likes of Johnny Russell and Gary Mackay-Stevens in their ranks then they have two of the hottest properties in the SPL. Inverness have gained twelve points since that game in December and United have taken thirteen points, having played one more game than their hosts. Our goal scoring exploits at home have seen us net 27 SPL goals, United have scored 18 away from Tannadice. Our defence has steadied from a poor start to the season, but we have conceded 21 times at home, conversely, United have lost 24 on the road. Inverness have won five times at home, but United have six victories away from home. To be honest, there's not much to chose between the sides in terms of stats and that is the reason only four points separate the sides. A handful of wins on the trot will propel any of the teams bar Dundee into contention for best of the rest, and Ross County are a prime example of that after a great succession of results for them in recent weeks. 20 points over the same period that we have taken 12. Only Celtic have a better record, and that is the reason the league is so congested. And County's run just got even better, joining Inverness on 41 points after beating a pathetic Aberdeen 1-0 at Pittodrie tonight (Tuesday) Who would have thought it, Inverness and County in second and third spot in the SPL. Great stuff! Inverness are asking season ticket holders to bring along a friend for a mere £5, good value if you are doing nothing else on a midweek evening. It's a bit like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, so come along and cheer on your local side. ***Latest Team News*** Richie Foran is still out with his knee injury but Josh Meekings returns, and with Gary Warren suspended, Josh is set to partner Daniel Devine in central defence. Chris Hogg and Simon King are out as per norm. Gavin Gunning is recovering following his knee operation. Swedish defender Marcus Tornstrand has been signed but the 23-year-old will not feature as he is not yet match fit. Danny Devine will be a key player against United and he talks to Auldy Boy ahead of the midweek fixture. <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/EqqGPbP4fwk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> tm4tj Prediction:- Plenty of goals so far in these encounters this season, but the law of averages says it must slow down. With McKay on a lean streak and Inverness being a bit cagey of late, I don't expect a goalfest this time round, but we have last weekends hero Gary Warren missing and that could prove crucial to the outcome, at both ends of the park. United will be hurting after letting the lead slip in the last game against us, not to mention the 4-0 thrashing we gave them in the first match. For that reason alone, we may have to settle for a share of the spoils, but a cheeky wee win would not go amiss. 2-1 for us with McKay and Shinnie back amongst the goals.
  45. 2 points
    Late drama at Shadows gig Inverness forced a dramatic last gasp equaliser which abruptly wiped the grin off a disgruntled Derek Adams' dial, and it had appeared only a minute earlier. This was the finish to end all finishes as Richie Foran drove home the ball with the last kick of the game to bring Adams to the verge of tears. It was a bright sunny day for the early kick off and the low sun would play a part in the action as the game reached a crescendo. The early action was a bit hectic with Inverness controlling the flow of the game without being too creative and County were chasing shadows for most of the first half. Billy McKay broke the deadlock with a superb volley after Foran nodded a ball back across goal. Rocco Quinn returned the compliment with an equally impressive strike then some bizarre goals swung the game in favour of the Dingwall side. Richie Foran appeared to glance a McKay shot with his face, wrong footing Mark Brown to put the visitors ahead once more. A huge deflection off David Raven saw an Ian Vigurs shot loop high over a stranded Reguero and the crazy sequence continued as a Richard Brittain free kick found it's way into the net after everyone missed it in the box, including Reguero. Game over you would have thought, Derek Adams certainly did, but after a thunderous forty yard strike by Owain Tudur-Jones was pushed away, the resulting corner saw Foran snatch a deserved leveller as he turned a Meekings header into the net to send the Caley Jags fans into hysterics. It was a frenetic opening half hour with neither side creating much although Inverness had the upper hand. That would change after half an hour whem Billy McKay scored a superb opener. Doran's free kick was headed back across goal by captain marvel Richie Foran and McKay swivelled some fifteen yards out to volley a beauty behind Mark Brown high into the net off his right hand post. It looked at this point that Inverness would sweep County aside but they almost equalised near half time when a Brittain free kick rattled Reguero's post with the keeper ensuring the ball stayed out. The loose ball found Vigurs slamming a shot goalward but it was brilliantly blocked on the line and Inverness broke swiftly to the other end. McKay had rounded Brown but his shot from a tight angle was also blocked on the line. Foran headed the corner just wide as the half ended with a flourish. It would be a taster of what was to come in the second period. Half Time 0-1 Less than five minutes into the second half and County drew level with a stunning goal of their own. Kovasevic was afforded too much space on the right and as he rolled the ball across the edge of the box, Quinn matched McKay's effort to curl the ball across Reguero into the roof of the net from twenty yards. County then looked the more likely to go on and win the game as the Inverness midfield disappeared and the Staggies new found belief saw them pressure the visiting defence, but they held firm with some frantic defending. A rare foray forward saw Andy Shinnie turn sharply in the box but Brown saved well low to his left as Inverness started to come to grips with the game again and when McKay tried a shot from distance, part of Richie Foran diverted the ball beyond a stranded Brown, from a suspiciously offside position, although Ross Tokely pulling Richie back could have seen a penalty given. Inverness were back on top now and looked likely to stretch their lead but it was the home side who threw a spanner in the works when Vigurs strolled forward some thirty yards out. He tried a long distance shot which Raven tried to block but all he succeeded in doing was to loop the ball high over the outstretched Reguero and into the net. If you thought that one was hard to take, the next one was even tougher. Vigurs was handed a free kick after a soft Raven challenge and Brittain drove a low curling ball into the six yard box. It's one of those ones where everybody is frightened to touch the ball and as nobody appeared to, it ended up in the back of the net. That cheered up Mr Adams, but his grin was swiftly removed a minute or so later. Inverness surged forward one last time and a vicious Jones thunderbolt from nigh on forty yards saw Brown struggle to keep the swerving ball out, and from the corner that followed, Meekings header landed near Foran and he scooped the ball goalwards. Nobody is sure who scored it, Roberts might be brave enough to try and claim it, and the elation drained rapidly from Derek's face as the game was over. Full Time 3-3 Not the most technically brilliant game, but it was accepted cup tie fare and two sensational goals a bit of controversy, a one man pitch invasion, flares and a greetin faced git just made my day. You couldn't write this........oh well someone has to and the dramatic end to the game just rounded off a hectic cup tie with it all to do again in the replay at Inverness. A draw was a fair reflection on the game and if the replay is half as enthralling then it will be worth watching. tm4tj MotM is going to Richie Foran who cropped up in the right places at the right time and boy, did he enjoy those goals. 1st Dec 2012, Scottish Cup, Global Energy Stadium, Dingwall Ross County: 3 - Quinn (49), Vigurs (85), Brittain (90+3) TEAM: Brown, Kovacevic, Tokely, Boyd, Fitzpatrick, Brittain, Kettlewell (Fotheringham 81), Vigurs, Quinn, Morrow (Ross 78), Glen SUBS: Fraser, Munro, Cooper Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness C.T.: 3 - McKay (30), Foran (74, 90+5) TEAM: Reguero, Raven, Warren, Meekings, G.Shinnie, A.Shinnie, Draper, Tudur-Jones, Doran, McKay, Foran SUBS: Esson, Sutherland, Pepper, Roberts, Cooper Booked: Draper (80), A.Shinnie (90) Sent Off: none Referee: Craig Thomson Attendance: 5077
  46. 2 points
    Well or no Well Motherwell are next up in Inverness for Sunday brunch in a 12:45 kick off at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium this weekend. Stuart McCall feels his squad are ill prepared for this encounter. That will be due to the flu bug being rife in the area which has affected a number of his players. The Motherwell gaffer revealed that training sessions were cut short as his squad were dropping like flies leaving him with only four fit players at one point. So, it looks as though he will be missing some of his regulars, but he will not know who will be fit enough until nearer the day. In the first game this season, Motherwell ran out 4-1 winners, a scoreline that flattered them somewhat, but it's goals that count and a Higdon hat-trick went a long way to securing the points. That, along with a tremendous display from keeper Darren Randolph saw Inverness slump to their second four goal loss in successive SPL games and things were looking bleak. However, that was nine SPL games ago and Motherwell were the last side to beat us as we embarked on an unbeaten run and a mini goal spree whilst the defence has been more frugal of late. It's been a good spell for Inverness since the beginning of September. Beating Ross County in that first historic Highland SPL derby and progressing to the semi-final of the League Cup after beating The Rangers at Ibrox. The Scottish Cup pairing us with our Dingwall Shadows has amplified the rising optimism in the camp and the icing on the cake was the inclusion of Andy Shinnie and Billy McKay in their respective international squads. Add to that a stunning first goal for Owain Tudur-Jones last week and news that Inverness are looking to extend deals with their top players then it's a good time to be an ICT fan. Motherwell started the season reasonably well until the week after beating Inverness when they won 1-2 at Dens Park. Since then, they have only one win in seven, but that was an impressive away win at Perth. Only five points in the last seven games is not the best of form for the Steelmen. Compare that to Inverness' run over the same period where we have amassed fifteen points then we will be seen as favourites for this one. Not our most comfortable position, but results will dictate this and our confidence should be on a high. We disappointed somewhat last week at home to Hearts when we dominated the opening stages but failed to convert the chances that came our way, and as is so often the case these missed opportunities came back to haunt us as Hearts equalised late in the day to agitate the manager who took his frustration out on the plasterboard in the changing rooms. There is a bit of a traffic jam developing in the SPL with teams queuing up behind Inverness to get into the European spot. This will be a great opportunity for Inverness to create some breathing space and go back to third, but on the other hand, Well will be looking to jump above their hosts should they be victorious. It's as tight as a ducks bahoochie in there. StattoMann tells us that this SPL fixture at Inverness has seen Motherwell come out on top eight times. Surprisingly Inverness have only won three games and even more surprising is the fact there has only been one draw in the SPL fixtures up North. This fixture has always produced goals, and there has been plenty of them from both sides. Both clubs have recorded 3-0 wins but the highest aggregate was a 3-2 triumph for Motherwell in October 2011 in a topsy turvy game where Inverness had been reduced to ten men with Chris Hogg being sent off. David Davis opened the scoring but Shaun Hutchinson levelled before the break. Andy Shinnie nudged Inverness ahead before Lasley fired a long range effort home a minute later and Tom Hateley made the most of Chris Hogg's sending off by rubbing salt into the wound from the resultant free kick with a deflected strike to steal the points. Good game but not the result we want to see repeated. ***Latest Team News*** Inverness midfielder Ross Draper has still not shaken off the ankle knock he sustained at Rugby Park. He is the only recent injury on top of the long term casualties of Chris Hogg, Simon King, Nick Ross and Ryan Esson, who has a hip injury. Motherwell's Shaun Hutchinson had a positive training session on Friday and could be considered for selection but Steven Saunders remains out. The rest of the squad will be assessed on Saturday to see how the flu bug has affected them. tm4tj Prediction:- After the frustration of watching the team let Hearts back into the game last week, I am looking for greater things here and a good reaction from the same players who disappointed last week. We have rapidly become accustomed to seeing our side create and score plenty goals and if we can get ahead then punish the opposition instead of handing them the initiative then we could get back on track. However, Motherwell are one of the more attractive playing sides and have the players to do damage to you. The likes of Higdon and Murphy spring to mind, backed up by one of the top keepers in the league, Randolph, then it could be a close game. But, we don't do predictability, so I am going for 3-1 to the home side. Mon the Caley Jags
  47. 2 points
    Shadow Boxing or tug of war History making game on Friday as Ross County attempt to come out of the shadow of the big club over the bridge. It's the first ever SPL Highland derby and the TV camera's will be there to catch the action and see who can pull the rope the hardest. The verbal sparring has begun between the rival fans looking to gain the bragging rights for the next couple of months with the Caley Jags fans likening County to a side forever in our Shadow in retaliation to County's jibes about our lack of milk at the Stadium. Ahhhhh, the joys of a derby game, maybe Hank Marvin and the lads will make an appearance. Let's hope the result is not similar to one of the evening derby's at the Caledonian Stadium when both clubs were in the first division. Inverness were left chasing shadow's that night. 25th of February 2003, County were desperate for points as they were struggling to avoid relegation. They came, they saw and they conquered in some style. It seemed that every time County went forward, they scored and a 5-1 defeat was dished out to a shell shocked Inverness. Kevin McLeish, a Steve Ferguson penalty and a Tassos Venetis strike saw the Dingwall side three up at half-time. Further goals from Hugh Robertson and Conor Gethins ended the County goal spree while Dennis Wyness smashed home a consolation volley for Inverness. Make no bones about it; fans from both sides have been looking forward to this game for a long time. County may have taken a bit longer to get to the SPL, but they are here now on merit and they have made a solid if unspectacular start to their debut season having recently lost their unbeaten league games run of forty undefeated, good by any standards. This has come from having a settled side and Adams has gathered a decent bunch of players together, none moreso than our old favourites of Grant Munro, Ross Tokely and Russell Duncan. Not to mention the other defectors in Ian Vigurs, Michael Fraser, and Mark Brown. This will certainly add plenty of spice to this fixture as some of these guys will certainly have something to prove to their old boss. Terry Butcher will watch the derby with Ross County from the luxury of the main stand after agreeing to a one match touchline ban. His criticism of referee George Salmond after the Dons game did not go down well with the authorities and his ongoing battle with the beaks has culminated in this slap on the wrist. Butcher's views were seen to indicate incompetence from the officials. No argument from me about that. Ginger Jaggy pens his thoughts on this historic match and begins with a history lesson for us all......... 1994 was big for many reasons. That year saw President Bill Clinton start talks with Russia to limit nuclear arms capability; long serving Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi first came to power while Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the first black president of South Africa. In sport Michael Schumacher won his first of seven world titles amidst the back drop of three time world champion Aryton Senna’s death earlier in that season. The major football news saw Brazil crowned world champions for a fourth time but for many in the Highlands, the 12th of January was the most important date of all. Lots has been said and written about the merger of Inverness Caledonian Thistle but for fans of both the clubs the 12th of January 1994 was a new dawn. That day saw the Scottish league make Scottish football history by admitting a highland side into the league format. No one expected Ross County also getting the nod by the authorities but they did and from being excluded for so long the highlands got two representatives. Moving forward into 2012 and this Friday makes history as the first ever highland derby to be played in the top flight takes place. The attendance looks likely to break the record but before I indulge your footballing taste buds with Fridays feast let’s start off with a little trip down memory lane. After that magnificent day for highland football in January all eyes moved to the 27th of August that same year for the first ever Highland derby in the Scottish football league. .The game was played at Victoria Park but it was to be away supporters celebrating a historical first derby victory. That day Caledonian Thistle scored once but came out 3-1 winners. Wilson Robertson was the first man to score for Inverness in these derbies scoring the last of the 3 goals. Before then Ross County had scored three but sadly for them two ended up in their own net – what a shame! This first ever game attracted 3157 but it would not be long before they attracted over 5000 spectators. Inverness’s turn to host ended in a drab 0-0 draw in front of a derisory 2440 people - at Telford Street Park- as the team lost form midway through the season after a great start. County would then revenge that score line from Victoria Park earlier on in the season by winning by the same score line at the same venue in the new year derby. It was 6th of May 1995 when Inverness saw their first home victory against the men from Dingwall. Norman Macmillan, Alan Hercher and Charlie Christie were the heroes in a routine 3-0 win at Telford Street in front of 3362. The result was just for pride but did end any hopes County had of promotion at the first time of asking. The first ever season of Football League Highland derbies saw Inverness hold the bragging rights with two victories but it was not enough as we finished a disappointing 6th while County finished 3rd. Back to Friday with supporters of both sides hoping that they can take first bragging rights with them. To liven things up even more County will turn up with three old Caley Thistle stalwarts in Grant Munro, Ross Tokely and Russell Duncan. The hope is that this attendance will break the previous record of 6120 at Victoria Park in 2004 with history being made in the first derby at this level. County have adapted well to life in the top flight but could be described as solid rather than spectacular, only amassing 7 goals, of which 4 came at St Mirren last weekend and they still lost. They have produced 4 goal-less draws so far this season which proves that they may not be able to find the scoring touch but they certainly know how to keep it tight. They almost shocked Champions Celtic at Victoria Park but they were denied Victory by a Kris Commons injury time goal. If county have been tight and hard to break down then the same can not be said about Inverness. A huge improvement on last season has seen performances much better and much easier on the eye. But while we don’t need to ask twice where the net is, it has been a frustrating start at the back. Compared to County, Inverness has only kept one clean sheet coming in the 4-0 demolition of Dundee United on Saturday. But we have scored in every league match so far this season and had we not been so slack at the back, we could be sitting much higher. Spirits are high after last weekend and with that result we climbed up to the dizzy heights of 9th jumping last weekend’s opponents and our visitors on Friday. Hopefully after the first win and clean sheet, confidence will be high all across the team especially against a side that will be rattled by defeat in such a remarkable game. Butcher looks to have stumbled across a team that is very well balanced with Richie Foran in magnificent form and young Arsenal loanee Philip Roberts adding a touch of quality and an eye for goal to boot. However, form goes out the window in these types of matches as it is everyone’s cup final and so all that is left to say is COME ON CALEY. ***Latest Team News*** Antonio Reguero deputised last weekend against Dundee United and he will continue in goal with Ryan Esson requiring a scan on his injured groin, as Butcher fears he may be without his number 1 for a few weeks. Chris Hogg, Shane Sutherland, Nick Ross and Simon King are all long term casualties and Andre Blackman is struggling to shake off an ankle knock sustained at Hibernian. Owain Tudur-Jones is available, however Gavin Morrison has proved to be an able deputy in midfield where he adds some steel to the engine room. The impressive Phillip Roberts and Conor Pepper will vie for the strikers role with Billy McKay and Butcher may well favour the same starting eleven as last time out. Richie Foran is on a rich vein of form just now with five goals in four games and his first last weekend was sheer class. Ross County will be without Marc Corcorran and Alex Cooper. Richard Brittain and Colin McMenamin had a run out with the U20's to build their fitness for Friday and should be included in the squad. Paul Lawson never played in that game and is unlikely to feature. With neither camp giving much away, that's about it as far as latest team news. I suspect both managers will be keeping their first eleven close to their chest, just adds to the tension ahead of the big game. tm4tj Prediction:- Wow, how do you predict a game that has never seen the light of day before, a first SPL derby. Prior to last weeks results I would have put County's chances of victory at good to excellent, but last weeks results have thrown a massive spanner in the works. County are very strong defensively, especially on their own tight park where space is at a premium. However the wide open area's at Inverness could be to our advantage, and the recent form of Richie Foran has given us reasons to be cheerful. Phillip Roberts is an unknown quantity for County to deal with and his youthful enthusiasm could pull the rope our way. It is of course too tight to call though and a share of the spoils could be on the cards, but I will go for a tense and tight victory for Inverness by the odd goal in three. Come on the Caley Jags, reel that rope in......................Who put the o and the y in County
  48. 1 point
    All down to the final game Despite beating Livingston 0-1, Inverness have left themselves too much to do on the final day of the season and will be in the Championship for another year........ unless miracles do happen and Dumbarton beat Dunfermline. Robbo made one change from the side that agonisingly drew with Dunfermline at the weekend. Nathan Austin made his way to the bench with Connor Bell starting. Iain Vigurs sat out the second of his two game suspension, no doubt pleased that he has scooped the CTO Player of the year award as well as Players Player and Fans Player award. Having secured second place in the Championship, David Hopkin rested one or two players with play-off games getting close. Neil Alexander, Craig Halkett, Nicky Cadden and Scott Pittman were all on the bench. Plenty of posturing in the opening few minutes and a couple of free kicks for the visitors but nothing doing. Early opportunity for the Caley Jags but Maley parried Polworth's free kick and grabbed the loose ball from Tremarco. Frizzell forced Ridgers to save with his feet as Livi ventured forth and Robinson went close shortly after. From a corner, Tremarco cleared a goalbound effort and at the other end a Polworth effort was deflected just over. Livi were racking up the corner count and Buchanan went close with a powerful header just over as the hosts set the pace. Near the interval Mullin picked up the ball in the box and snapped a volley just wide, however we made it to the oranges without conceding, but playing second fiddle for most of the half. As it stands at the break, the play-offs are beyond Inverness. It looks as though Robbo will need to introduce a bit of width for the second half as the narrow approach was just not working. Half Time 0-0 There must have been something good in the oranges. Less than one minute after the break a Tremarco cross came loose off Oakley and Polly drilled the ball low and hard into the net to open the scoring from twenty five yards. Superb strike from Polly. His next effort a couple of minutes later was less flattering. New balls please. Jordan Thompson tried to replicate Liam Polworth's strike but missed the target. McMillan did likewise soon after. Livi made their first change with Cadden replacing Mullin. Inverness reacted by bringing on Hearts target Jake Mulraney with Aaron Doran going off on the hour mark. Polworth broke forward and his cut back found Chalmers but his low shot was gathered by Maley in the Livi goal. Polly becoming more prominent and he combined with Bell but his close range effort went over. Livi made a double change with McMillan and Frizzell being replaced by Halkett and Miller as they tried to get back on level terms, but it was Oakley that went close for the visitors, his shot deflected behind for a corner with around twenty minutes left. Ridgers did well to deny Ryan Hardie and from the corner, Declan Gallagher almost netted an equaliser. Polworth blazed a thirty yard free kick wide and at the opposite end Craig Halkett fluffed his lines and shot wide. Livi were cranking up the pressure in the final ten minutes looking to preserve their eight game unbeaten home run, De Vita looking the likeliest to make the breakthrough. A Cadden corner was headed wide by Halkett as the clock ticked slowly towards the end, and we all know what happened at the weekend. Oakley broke the home possession but his powerful shot was palmed away by Maley, and with five minutes left Zak Elbouzedi came on for Connor Bell. Coll Donaldson took a knock in the last couple of minutes but Inverness held on to take the points and extend the season to the final game against Morton. Full Time 0-1 So, it all boils down to the last scheduled day of the season after we beat Livingston to set up the play off qualifier against Morton. Unfortunately, after their late equaliser against us last weekend, Dunfermline can get the job done by taking a point from the visit of Dumbarton as we would need to score something like eight or nine goals to replace them in the play-offs. Great result for Inverness who have given everything over the last hectic month and what a strike from Polworth to win the points. Catch the action here.................... Date: 24/04/2018 Venue: Tony Macaroni Arena, Livingston Attendance: 740 Referee: Colin Steven Livingston: 0 Lineup: Maley; Longridge, Buchanan, Gallagher, McMillan (Miller 71), Frizzell (Halkett 71), Mullin (Cadden 58), De-Vita, Thompson, Robinson, Hardie Subs (not used): Alexander; Jacobs, Pittman, Byrne. Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; Seedorf, Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Polworth, Trafford, Chalmers, Doran (Mulraney 60), Bell (Elbouzedi 86), Oakley Subs (not used): Esson; Calder, Austin, Mackay, Brown Scorers: Polworth (46) Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  49. 1 point
    Fifth it is Inverness ran out comfortable winners eventually after a first half to forget. There was little evidence that anything would change as the teams trudged off at the interval in what was a complete non-event. However things picked up after the break and Ryan Christie was alert enough to head home a rebound from Aaron Doran's shot. Greg Tansey ensured we remained fifth with a thunderous shot. Lashing the ball home from just inside the box after creating the space for himself. Pick that one out ya dancer!. This was a great way to end a season that promised so much but fizzled out somewhat, but overall it has been a good season all round, unless your name is Terry Butcher. Early morning rain gave way to a bright sunny afternoon and the game was preceded by the now traditional march past by our nutters known as the Highland Marchers. Great effort from these guys once more. For Inverness it was another makeshift back line with Josh Meekings and Gary Warren missing out and regular deputy Danny Devine pairing up with Ross Draper at the heart of the defence. James Vincent started along with rising star Ryan Christie, and Marley Watkins, Danny Williams and Nick Ross all began on the bench. St Johnstone's own hot shot Stevie May was not risked from the start with Nigel Hasselbaink on from the beginning. Our own nomadic superfan Johndo made the sojourn from Chorley to see off the season and partake in some light refreshments around the local hostelries and he will be penning his thoughts for us once he relaxes on the train back to Englandshire............................. The Chorley Brief It was the last game of the year and the powers that be decide to play a nothing at stake game at 12:15 on a Sunday morning; or perhaps it may be a Subway morning in the near future?!! The last game of the season, to moi, gives far more positives than many have given credit to. The first half was drab but the passing, to me, was nowhere near the negativity that has been posted on here recently. Both teams were negative and it was as if we were both looking for a 1-0. The first half was totally bereft of any real skill and was as dull a 45 as I have ever witnessed. But we stuck to a very defensive system and we changed it after half time. GAWD if we had nicked a goal we may have gone ballistic! Brill was forced to save with his legs because it was hit straight at him and we never looked like scoring, the nearest we came in the first half was when Christie fed McKay who screwed a shot just over the bar. But the second half was SO much better and, like at Motherwell we could have rained goals IMHO. After the break we relaxed and if we had scored a second early doors we may have hammered Perth. McKay, Watkins, Raven and Tansey could easily have added to the tally. Doran had one cleared off the six yard line with Mannus stranded, but Christie got a poachers goal and anyone of four could have snatched the second but Tansey did dispatch it with force. So here we go with the critique :- Brill:- 6 Not tested but never troubled. Still not convinced. Raven:- 6 More subdued offensively which was a slight concern Tremarco:- 6 Better game than usual - still not good enuff going forward but solid defensively. Devine:- 6 Could really be one fer the future and I would love to see at left back Draper:- 7 Did he look the part there or what ? Draper and Warren ? Vincent:- 4 Totally wasted on the wide right. Shinnie:- 8 MotM for me and maybe we stick with him in there. Tansey:- 7 Tackles like Paul Scholes, shoots like Bobby Charlton Doran:- 6 Jhesus if he was fit ???!! Christie:- 7 Green but such a potential talent McKay:- 6 Poor Billy was crocked but will prosper with the Portuguese hitman Watkins and Wiliiams 6: Both upped the pace and added something. Ross 5: On too late but did nothing wrong Final words from tm4tj........... Well that's the season over folks and it's been a pretty decent one overall. Top highlights for many include the League Cup Semi-Final win over Hearts, a fantastic exhilarating experience coming back and beating them with nine men, Nick Ross' goal kicking of joyous scenes. The Final itself was a superb occasion with a less favourable scoreline. Others thought that stuffing the village pub team from Dingwall 3-0 was high up on the list and who can forget the comedy moment when Derek Adams thought he could halt Jamie Hamill's celebration jaunt along the touchline; wrong Derek. A late entry in this categories is the trouble and strife happening at Hibernian to someone who was once adored at Inverness by most Inverness fans. Yes, Terry Butcher blotted his copybook and turned his back on us at Easter Road by hobnobbing with his Hibernian chums whilst still in employment at Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Well well Judas, not going so well now, hope you are enjoying your Marks and Spencer cakes while Yogi dunks his Tesco ones in his tea. Made me laugh anyway............................... That's about it from the editorial team for this season, we'll be back for the start of the new season, enjoy the break. Date: 11.05.2014 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3121 Referee: Alan Muir Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Brill, Raven, Draper, Devine, Tremarco, Doran, Tansey, Vincent (Watkins 68), Shinnie, Christie (Ross 82), McKay (Williams 72) Subs (not used): Esson, Polworth, Brown, Sutherland Scorers: Christie (59) Tansey (90) Booked: Shinnie Sent Off: none St Johnstone: 0 Lineup: Mannus, Miller, Mackay, Anderson, Easton, Wotherspoon (Croft 60), Millar, Dunne, O'Halloran, Hasselbaink (Iwelumo 65), MacLean (May 74) Subs (not used): Banks, McDonald, Brown, Clancy, Scorers: none Booked: Dunne Sent Off: none This post has been promoted to an article
  50. 1 point
    The Seethe, Episode Five, Series one Poor Derek. Everybody is against him. Even Richard Brittain has had enough and Neil Lennon is now a Saint judging by Derek Adams' gait. According to Derek we will be disappointed to win the game like that. Aye Derek, we are absolutely gutted! Not content with stating his displeasure about this derby day, he is still harking on about the last one. In fact, he is still seething from the cup game. Derek Derek, get over it man, the Highlands are ours, and by virtue of completing three wins over your team this season, then it's official that we now get to keep County. Try this number 08457 909090 This game was settled on the hour by a Billy McKay penalty. No question about the decision, but Derek saw it differently. Andy Shinnie had opened the scoring as early as the fifth minute and Paul Lawson replied after thirty-five minutes with a superb strike which saw an unsighted Esson clutching at thin air. It was always going to be a tight affair and a draw looked the best bet, but we just shaded it, especially in the second half when County were found wanting and in truth we could have picked them off but for some counter attacks breaking down all too easily. Billy McKay looked lively early on and his impeccable twists and turns almost paid dividends but Fraser was equal to the first one, beating away the ball as McKay turned Munro, the next ones his efforts were misdirected. Not too much to get over excited about really as the game, like the last one, turned a bit scrappy with defences on top. None of the three keepers had much to do. Reguero replacing Esson before half time after Ryan pulled up with a recurring niggle. My MotM was Richie Foran, and yes, he does make County look ***** (Team lines and videos to follow) Guest reporter I M Seething from Shadowlands has a tidy report for us. Well there you are. The last scheduled derby of the season and Ross County have yet to win one. They might feel hard done by, they might feel as if the fates were against them, but Inverness deserved this. The missing Shinnie (G) was replaced by Charlie Taylor as Inverness opened with a pace that threatened to flatten County. 5 minutes in and a Taylor corner was knocked on by Foran. Whilst Fraser and his defence dithered, Andrew Shinnie slotted the goal from less than a yard out. Not bonny, but the Inverness support cared not a jot, at least until later in the half. Billy McKay looked in the mood as he could have made it two, twisting and turning in the box before shooting narrowly wide. Doran could have added to the total but things stayed the same for half an hour until a free kick from Vigurs was knocked to Lawson. Whilst we looked at him, he dispatched a curling effort past Esson to equalise. Ryan must have been well hacked off at this point, because the next thing was that he was well, carted off. He seemed to pull a muscle and after a quick “hola!” Antonio Reguero appeared for a somewhat unexpected day at work. Half Time 1-1 The second half started well for Inverness, mainly due to the withdrawal of the pestilential Sproule, replaced by the altogether more lumbering Wolfarth. Iain Brines began to struggle a bit in maintaining control as the usual derby tackles began to fly in, but his main and enduring contribution to this game came in 58 minutes as Taylor cut in from the left and drove into the county penalty box. A sliding challenge by Kovacevic contacted Taylor first and he collapsed faster than Lehman’s bank. Dramatic? Yes. Penalty? Yes. Once the ball was handed to Billy McKay and the referee had sorted out the earnest discussion on the merits of the award, the outcome was never in doubt. County huffed and puffed, substituting Munro for Glen to give them perhaps the most immobile front line in the SPL, but they could do nothing. Bookings arrived for Kettlewell, Lawson (who was lucky it wasn’t red) and Vigurs for one girn too many. <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/nsSzs9DA4Cw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Of course no Highland derby would be complete without the now customary ill grace that Derek Adams shows. Give it up Derek, your club’s better than that. This is how we roll at Inverness <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/wJ_mVv5-2g8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Full Time 2-1 Thanks for that Mr Seething, much appreciated. And by 2:00pm on Sunday, we had cemented out Top-Six place after Dundee and Dundee United played out a 1-1 draw which ensured United could not displace us at the split. Congratulations to all at ICT
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