tm4tj

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  1. *** VOTING IN THE POLL ABOVE IS FOR PEOPLE WHO WERE AT THE MATCH ONLY *** If you were at the match, please use the poll above to vote for your top 3 players. As a bit of fun, we have also added an option to rate the referee .... Please make sure you vote for 3 separate players. If you make an error, let us know so we can fix it. PLEASE ONLY VOTE ABOVE IF YOU WERE AT THE GAME Anyone caught trying to cheat the system WILL be banned from voting in ALL site polls...this is your only warning. **NOT at the game ?** As a result of requests received, we have made a slight change to how these threads work for site users who watched the game on TV or listened to the full game live on the radio ....... You too will now be able to cast your votes, but should do it in the thread below, and NOT in the official poll above. Just list the three players of your choosing and award 5,3, or 1 point(s). You can give the ref a mark if you want too ! These votes will NOT be counted in the official total, as we only count votes from those who where actually at the game, but it IS a way for you to participate in the process .... which many people asked for .... a happy medium we hope !!!!!
  2. Pumped Again As sure as Inverness Caledonian Thistle can beat Ayr United, Partick Thistle can beat us. Partick hold the Indian sign over Inverness this season with another 3-1 win over second place Inverness. James Keatings had levelled an Alex Jones opener for Thistle, but further goals from Steve Saunders and Dario Zanatta made it a long and miserable journey back up the A9. That win moves Partick up to eighth in the table. Immortal Howden Ender was on hand to witness our demise....... Ok I have slept on it and my “report” will be more considered, less emotive but still very critical. I suspect that after savouring the win and performance at Alloa and the positivity following the Dundee game I may well have underestimated Plastic Whistle and I feel that the team did as well. We have been crying out for a Plan B and that has been recently been delivered and in some style. There may be a load of armchair managers on this forum but there were a few things tactically that Robbo was blinded to yesterday. You can play the tippy tappy football on 4G or well cared for surfaces in cold and frosty conditions. Robbo has introduced that recently but – when you are faced with a boggy pitch, it is feckin freezing cold, added to by a strong, swirling wind and driving rain (especially in the second half) then the “hoof” is a more sought tactic. McCall sussed us yet again. He played two lines of four playing deep in defence. They only pressed when we were in the final third. They were only too happy to sit back and let us play meaningless passes across the pitch and often played backwards as well. And did we do just that !! And then we did not use the width. When we did go wide we looked more threatening. How many times did Storey run forwards but then stop and play the ball backwards or sideways. Doran simply does not have the stamina and pace in such conditions and defensive set up. But then again we do not have a holding forward or a striker with the “poacher” penalty box instinct. I would also criticize Doran and Storey for not channeling back and that increased the workload on Carson and Trafford. Plastic Whistle had the old head in Kenny Miller (playing in central midfield) and pace up front which made them always dangerous on the counter. BUT we did not revert to the hoof and Robbo stuck by the starting XI until it was too late. Our following was bellowing for the changes eventually made since the hour mark and then it was too late. We were always “chasing” the game which again wholly suited Partick. Alex Jones, who had been wholly ineffective, popped up early in the second half to put the Whistle ahead. KEATINGS pulled one back and, at that stage, you felt that we would take over. Well we did possession and territory wise but always looked susceptible to the counter. Saunders put those thoughts to bed and Zanatta scored a third with the last kick from an incredible angle. Lets just sum things up as “so disappointing” and three valuable points chucked away. For once I can see the comments made by both managers afterwards. McCall said – “I was really pleased, I thought it was terrific entertainment. "It could have been 5-3 to us but yes a big three points and takes us above Morton. You are only four or five points off fifth place now so we've another big game next week." It was terrific entertainment for the home fans !! Our three would have come from goalmouth scrambles and/or from dead ball situations. Robbo replied - "It was a good game, both teams obviously had chances. I thought we were the better team in the first half, a couple of great saves from Scott Fox, a couple of great chances from set plays. And you need to take those chances." We had at least double the “chances” but they took theirs. We were the better of two bad teams at half time. I would have at least doubled our chances from set plays. And Ridgers kept us in the game in both halves with two sensational saves in both. I am sure that there will be a Happy Clapper stating IF we had gone 2-1 up or IF we had taken one of those second half melee chances. There are no feckin Ifs in football. And as for McLean and the stand side linesman it is more shocking proof of the deterioration in standards this season. Although they gave strange and bad decisions against both sides. I am looking forward to seeing the replay of the alleged White “dive” which did look more like a penalty from our distant viewpoint. Apologies if this Smileymometer is insulting and aggravating but it is a personal perspective and I dare not give points !!. RIDGERS – May have fecked up the third goal but he kept us in the game and is the only player close to being a MOM candidate, far less a MOM ROONEY 🙂 – Wish that he had been playing wide right instead of Storey. He was the one player looking to drive forward instead of the incessant “Ray Wilkins” passing tactics. TREMARCO 🤔 – Looked shaded but does not exactly get much defensive support from Doran. Is Carl hitting the end of his playing days ? DONALDSON 🙄– Appears to be trying to play in the Virgil Van Dyke mode. Unfortunately looked more like Dick Van Dyke at times yesterday. McCART 🙂 – Probably came the closest to scoring from the dead ball situations. Defensively and passing wise he was the Julie Andrews beside Dick Van Dyke. Perhaps he should have retrieved Red Cards brolly. STOREY 😖 – My high hopes blew away in the Maryhill winds. Why did he not run at the defenders ? I lost count of the times that he stopped, back tracked and passed back !! CARSON 😐 – I thought that he played well and gave his all. Again he rarely got forward and tended to be another Ray Wilkins impersonator. TRAFFORD 😫– Bad day at the office. Gave his all but his distribution was poor and he made no impact. DORAN 🥴 – Hugged the touchline for most of the game. Did not defend at all. Most of our good stuff came down the right and even Aaron resorted to the back pass. WHITE 🤐 – I have really tried to give him the benefit of the doubt but he did not win anything in the air and why did we relent with trying to play the ball into his feet. In his defence who was there to play it off to ? KEATINGS 😬– If that was playing number 10 then why was he so deep ? You cant be a playmaker and a No 10. He was deep playing balls into the feet (mainly White) but then who was playing off White. Answers on a small piece of toilet paper. ROBBO 😦 – You should have changed the tactics and McCall sussed that. Keatings......... Date: 14/12/2019 Venue: Firhill, Partick. Attendance: 2144 Referee: Steven McLean Partick Thistle: 3 Lineup: Fox; Williamson, Penrice, O'Ware, Cardle (Zanatta 58), Bannigan, Miller (Palmer 86), Jones (Harkins 72), Cole, Kakay, Saunders. Subs (not used): Sneddon, McGinty, Robson, Slater. Scorers: Jones (48), Saunders (64), Zanatta (90 +3) Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco (Harper 85), Doran (Curry 84), Carson, Trafford, Keatings, White (Todorov 84) Subs (not used): C Mackay, B Mckay, McHattie, MacGregor. Scorers: Keatings (57) Booked: White (35), Robertson (manager 35) Sent Off: none a
  3. Cheers To Mr I H Bender for this Preview
  4. Firhill for thrills..... This Saturday it's the battle of the Jags as Caley Thistle face Partick Thistle, second top versus second bottom with Firhill the venue, 15:00 the time. First time round this season it was the Partick Jags that came out on top in the Highlands but Inverness have put together a tidy wee run of three to bounce back to second in the table whilst the Firhill men are struggling to get away from the bottom end. All to play for on Saturday with a crucial three points for either team available. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ticket Info Adults: £20, Under 16s: £5 Concessions: (Over 65s*, students, disabled supporter including carer, 16-18 year olds) £15 Tickets available from Firhill on the day of the match. Cash gates will be available at turnstiles 40&41 and located in the Jackie Husband Stand. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The new manager bounce is long gone for the Maryhill Magyars, but when Ian McCall had his first game back in charge they were whipped 5-0 by Celtic in the League Cup. However, move forward three days to the Caledonian Stadium and the team with the greater desire on that day ran out comfortable winners as Inverness shot themselves in the foot......twice. It ended 3-1 to Patrick with Inverness the architects of their own downfall. Dario Zanatta opened the scoring early but Jordan White levelled ten minutes later. Kenny Miller benefited from some poor defensive play just after the break to put Patrick back in front and a late goal from Cammy Palmer secured the points. However since beating Inverness on the 28th of September, Partick have struggled to put a run together and still find themselves second bottom of the League with some indifferent performances. Three wins, five defeats and a draw plus 2 wins in the Chocolate cup and a narrow defeat of Penicuik Athletic in the Scottish Cup are the stats. A couple of really low points in that run were the 4-1 humbling from McCalls old team, get it right up ya, and an absolute 5-1 humping from Dunfermline with a 4th minute red card thrown in for good measure for Tam O'Ware. Speaking to BBC Sport after the Pars mauling, Ian McCall said: "We were very confident to come here and win but after four minutes everything changes. I think everybody was in shock, it's inexcusable."We didn't give ourselves an opportunity to win it and it was too easy for Dunfermline. I felt for the fans because it was a non-contest." Their last outing saw them come from behind to beat the inconsistent Queen of the South 2-1. Joe Cardle had pulled Thistle level after Connor Murray opened the scoring for Queens and a late Reece Cole goal nicked the points for McCall's men. How festive, goal king Cole! He's a merry olde soul apparently. Inverness are on a three game winning streak in the Championship, the latest win was a merited 2-0 victory over Ayr United in the Highlands. Superb strikes from Jordan White and a rejuvenated Miles Storey were enough to see off McCalls old side. Previous victories over Alloa and Dundee took us out of the doldrums with a virus possibly partly responsible for defeats by Arbroath and Dundee United. Not so much the fact that we were losing, but the lethargy was palpable. With all the catch up games played in midweek, the table now looks like this after 16 games. Arbroath v Dundee United Ayr United v Alloa Athletic Dundee v Dunfermline Morton v Queen of the South Partick Thistle v Inverness CT Immortal Howden Ender will be Previewing and Reporting on this game for us.......... The Magic Hat derby What is happening? Four clean sheets on the trot – Challenge Cup Semi Final, three vital wins, nine points taking us to second in the league. And there is more – Positive posts galore on CTO and not just the Happy Clappers. Are we going to have a very Merry Christmas or is the bauble going to shatter. Let’s enjoy our trip to Maryhill, let’s take something from the on-form Pars, enjoy Xmas and then gain revenge against the Smokies and enjoy a New Year that we surely could not have envisaged as the dark days of Winter brought initial gloom and doom to Inversneckie. But as the old adage goes “Let’s take one game at a time” so it is off to see the Hipsters of the West End of Glasgow. The Plastic Thistle are more unpredictable than us !! They get hammered by the Pars and then they turn up and turn over the Doonhamers in Dumfries. The one thing that you have to be envious of is the presence of a “Sugar Daddy” in the form of Lottery Winner – Colin Weir. He is the major shareholder, has a holding in the land at Firhill, is going to hand over “ownership” to a Fan Group by April 2020 and is funding a new Youth Academy. But Mr. Weir does not appear to be widely backed by the Magyar diehards and I don’t think that the potential of Jacqui Low and Alan Rough taking control is being heralded. It looks like they are putting a lot of faith in Kakay, Zanatta and Cole but are bemoaning a pedestrian back four which should be good news for us. Weir and McCall will need to dive into the transfer market and may well do in the New Year sales so we need to ensure that we take those three points back with us this weekend. Revenge is needed for the Ian McCall “first game back” defeat at Sneck in late September. That was well and truly three points chucked away and a performance only just worse than the Gayfield gutting. History would suggest that we usually take something away from Firhill and we don’t give away many goals either. Let’s hope that there is a 17-point gap between us come Saturday night. Robbo recently echoed the Seer recently and let’s hope it is an end of 2019 prophecy – John Robertson says Caley Thistle’s ability to string a run of wins together will decide if they are good enough to challenge for the Championship title. “Our problem this season is that we have not put a run together. If you look at Dundee United and Ayr they have managed to put five straight victories together. That is something that we need to do to get ourselves back in there. But I said to the lads find a way to keep winning games, pushing up the table and see where that takes us.” As for our starting 11 – well it is simply a case of “Same Again Please. To me that is not surprising given our injury list but I am surprised, albeit delighted, that our back five appear to have got back their mean defending after a leaky spell – Carson and Trafford have blended and are bossing the midfield – Keatings has returned to form and White has also shown signs of improvement and hopefully will be adding to his goal tally before 2020 as well. But the player who may well shine on Saturday is Miles Storey. The last time that I was in Maryhill we were giving him pelters – so lets hope that this time it will be adulation and applause. This is only my third away day this season, following Ayr and Alloa. Lets hope that it will bring about a hat-trick - another entertaining match and a 2-0 victory. And if we don’t I will eat his Magic Hat. Team News Sean Welsh is still out but recovering well from his broken foot. Carl Tremarco was injured last week and is a doubt. Kevin McHattie will be a ready made replacement should Tremarco not make it. Tom Walsh has missed the last few games with a hamstring problem and misses out along with James Vincent and Brad Mckay. ***Latest News*** Inverness u18 players Millar Gamble and Lewis Nicolson have been called up to the Scottish Schools FA Under 18 Centenary Shield Squad. Both players attend Culloden Academy. Congratulations to them both.
  5. Storey is Miles better.... Inverness did what they had to do to remain in second place, and they did it in style. A fine finish from Jordan White in the 20th minute was built upon by born again Miles Storey after the break who sprinted from ten yards inside the halfway line before drilling the ball through keeper Doohan who will feel he should have done better on that occasion. However, Doohan was the reason that the score remained closer than it should have been with a handful of excellent saves to deny the eager Caley Jags men who thouroughly deserved the win to keep them behind leaders Dundee United. Inverness went unchanged from last weeks win over Alloa Athletic whilst Ayr United were likewise with Steven Bell coming on to the bench. Inverness were looking for their third win on the trot and in contrast Ayr were looking to avoid a hat-trick of defeats on the bounce. A crowd of under 2000 were on hand to watch this game as the miserable weather continued with a blustery wind adding to the clilled downpours. The hosts started in confident mode and Jordan White headed a James Keatings corner over in the fifth minute. Aaron Doran was poleaxed on the edge of the box a minute later but the referee was not interested. The first of many frustrating calls by a referee out of his depth. Keatings volleyed across the box but it narrowly missed the keepers left hand post as the pressure mounted on the Ayr goal. A free kick over and another effort from Keatings showed our intent and a goal was imminent. Ayr's one fleeting glimpse of goal in the first half came when a long ball forward saw Mark Ridgers come thirty yards off his line only to miss the tackle. However, by the time Ayr got the ball under control and lofted it towards the box Inverness had bodies back and the opportunity fizzled out. David Carson picked up the ball in an attacking area inside the centre circle and drove forward before feeding White just outside the box. The big man took one touch then offloaded early as a defender tried to block. This seemed to wrong foot the keeper and the ball was tucked into the bottom corner with Ross Doohan stranded. Great goal from the big striker and no more than Inverness deserved. Miles Storey was beginning to see more of the ball after a sloppy start to the game with some wasted opportunities to deliver a telling ball. He got on the end of a long clearance from Ridgers but Doohan saved comfortably low down. He forced Doohan to earn his money shortly before the break after we dispossessed Ayr near the centre circly. The ball fell to Storey and he strode forward before unleashing atesting 25 yard effort that the keeper did well to claw away with a diving save. Half Time 1-0 Ayr began the second half on the front foot as the Caley Jags looked content to weather the storm, however Ayr got the break of the ball after a clearance fell kindly to them off the back of a defender but Alan Forrest shot across the face of the goal sneaked just wide of the post. Storey was looking sharper as the game wore on and when a clearance from a corner came to him some 15 yards inside his own half he did what he can do best. He sprinted clear with pace and power before deciding whether to cross or shoot. He elected to shoot and the ball squirmed away from Doohan and rolled slowly into the net for a superb individual goal. That eased the pressure in the home stands and gave us a cushion to work with. That second goal seemed to take the wind out of the Ayr sails and we looked most likely to add to our tally. Carl Tremarco went off injured to be replace by Kevin McHattie just after the hour. With twenty minutes left, Keatings and Doran linked well around the box and when Keatings returned the pass to Doran it took a superb reaction save from Doohan to keep the score at 2-0 after Doran's shot from 10 yards was goalbound. Storey was now in full flow and when he burst down the right flank, his cross was met first time by Keatings only for Doohan to pull off another tremendous save low down to his left. Ayr's best moment came soon after when Ridgers did well to spread himself and block an effort from Mark McKenzie after he was set clear on the right side of the box. The Doran and Keatings double act linked well again and after Doran jinked his way into the box it was left to Doohan to once more deny Inverness a third goal with five minutes left. We finished the game on the front foot and Todorov saw a header booted off the line as the game ran away from Ayr. Good afternoons entertainment despite the horrendous conditions and a well deserved three points for the hosts. Miles Storey was given the sponsors MotM award and few could complain about that although David Carson has picked up most votes on the CTO voting. No failures today with the defence once more back to their best, three wins and three clean sheets. Carson and Charlie Trafford were in control of the midfield and Miles Storey used his power to good effect, especially in the second half. James Keating was unfortunate not to score today and but for some heroics from Ross Doohan, Inverness could have gone nap! Weekend Scores in the Championship Inverness CT 2-0 Ayr United Arbroath 1-1 Dundee Dundee Utd 2-1 Alloa Dunfermline 3-1 Morton Queen ot South 1-2 Partick Miles Better...........MotM Robbo impressed........... Match highlights from Caley Jags TV Date: 07/12/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1833 Referee: Gavin Ross Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco (McHattie 64), Doran, Carson, Trafford, Storey, Keatings (MacGregor 85), White (Todorov 86) Subs (not used): C Mackay; B Mckay, Harper, Curry Scorers: White (20), Storey (63) Booked: Rooney (39) Sent Off: none Ayr United: 0 Lineup: Doohan; Houston, Muirhead, Byrne, Harvie, Geggan (McKenzie 68), Docherty, Kelly, Moffat (Kerr 78), Moore, Forrest (McGuffie 69) Subs (not used): Hare-Reid; Bell, Ecrepont. Scorers: none Booked: McKenzie (90+2) Sent Off: none a
  6. Mantis has a post code for ya, ya olde goat...... 3G71 5KO
  7. Ayr Pressure Ayr United will try to keep the pressure on Inverness in this top end clash this weekend as the Honest Men come North looking for three points after their midweek loss to the Pars, whilst the Caley Jags will be hoping to make it three wins on the bounce. It's second versus third in the Championship and an opportunity for the hosts to consolidate their position within the top four whilst doing some damage to the other contenders. Ayr United lost 1-0 at Somerset Park to Dunfermline Athletic thanks to a strike from Kevin Nisbet, his ninth goal in five games. Inverness remained in second place and this game would be the perfect time to lay down a marker and state our intentions. Defeat would be a blow and undo the good work of the last couple of weeks and hand Ayr, Dundee and Dunfermline the impetus to get right in the mix for second place. We overcame a difficult hurdle last week by beating Alloa Athletic 2-0 at the Indodrill Stadium. It took a fortuitous Scott Taggart own goal to get us going but there was nothing fortunate about Aaron Doran's half volley from 17 yards after Jordan White layed off the ball to him just on the break. No further scoring after the interval but the Wasps had a Dick sent off for a rash challenge on James Keatings. The week before, we had battled hard for a narrow win over Dundee, Doran scoring the winner in that game. It's good to see Doran getting back amongst the goals. He is the top scorer in our squad with 44 goals in 263 appearances and has scored four times this season. His form has picked up recently and he is starting to look a lot sharper than he was at the start of the season. The sketch is one by local artist Sophie Robb. There's been a murder & Pick that one out...... Here's the goals from the Rooney show @ Somerset Park... Team News from Ayr United web site: Steven Bell returns to the squad after illness but Kris Doolan and long-term absentees Jamie Adams and Andy Murdoch remain on the sidelines. Luke McCowan serves the second game of his two match ban. Mark Kerr said: “We were extremely disappointed on Tuesday night with the result and the performance so it’s good to have another game quickly to try and rectify that. It is never easy playing against Inverness but we have a big incentive knowing a win will put us back into second place. We are heading up this morning (Friday) and training this afternoon so we will be well prepared.” Championship games on Saturday 14th December Inverness CT v Ayr United Arbroath v Dundee Dundee United v Alloa Athletic Dunfermline v Morton Queen of the South v Partick Thistle Heeeeeeeere's Johnny............ And here's a man on good form just now.............. 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/ .
  8. Our position at second in the league is under threat tonight as Ayr face Dunfermline st Somerset park in the first of their catch up games. Brora v Morton in the Scottish Cup tonight as well.
  9. And here it is, Johndo's full match report complete with extended highlights..........ENJOY!
  10. 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
  11. Preview this week from Johndo, have a read.
  12. AGM coming up. https://ictfc.com/club-statement-agm
  13. I have rarely ventured to the famous parthenons of World football, although I have gradually ticked a number of them off, albeit on a tortoise timescale. Occasional big gigs have been drip fed onto my stadia CV over a forty plus year passage of time! The Azteca in Mexico City and Racing Club’s Il Cilindro in Avellaneda run the Centenario in Montevideo close as my favourite, but It took the first ever Kazakh club side to play in England to get me eager to head to Old Trafford to notch up only my fourth “big” English club stadium after Anfield, Hillsborough and St James Park. I guess it makes me a relative novice in such surroundings! Holker Street, The Shay and the much missed Belle Vue are more my domain, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy my treks to more famous venues, and perhaps not being inured in the big stadium culture makes me view these arenas from a fresh perspective! Manchester United are arguably the world’s best supported team. The Ferguson era coincided with the explosion of global appreciation with television starting to bring games from around the globe to a wider audience, and being hugely successful at that time doubtlessly added millions to join their fan base. However, given the clubs stark lack of trophies in the post Sir Alex era, the transient nature of a distant fan might have seen their popularity diminish, but they still command a significant support. The nouveau riche from across the city might be the dominant force in Manchester for now, but it would take decades of City at the pinnacle for them to get close to United’s global loyal fans, and the longer the Champions League continues to evade City, the longer it will take. Money ultimately can only account for a portion of success and loyalty, and for a certain generation, the Busby babes who perished in Munich, with the subsequent team of Sir Matt Busby including the likes of George Best et all, it made them fall in love with the Red Devils of Manchester and started the notion that Old Trafford was the theatre of dreams! Old Trafford has changed beyond recognition from those black and white images of Bobby Charlton, Nobby Stiles and George Best weaving magic on a sodden pitch with what seemed like a white picket fence surrounding before the vast terraces rose skyward. The modern day stadium is flawlessly slick, sat in its own considerable grounds with no buildings in its immediate wake to spoil the view, making it look even more impressive! Outside the stadium in a separate building is the enormous ticket office, giving credence to the sheer scale of ticket organising. This office is just to the right of a walkway that has doubtlessly been constructed to replicate the feeling of Wembley Way! No sooner are you off the walkway than a statue of Sir Alex Ferguson greets you at the back of the stand given over to his name. The great man was so successful, and still in attendance as a fan, but even he must see that he has left an enormous problem for the club, just quite how do you get a team together now that could even come close to his hugely success “golden” generation where Beckham, Giggs, Scholls and the Neville brothers were the backbone that allowed the occasional stardust of Eric Cantona or a young Ronaldo to name but two, sufficient freedom to add that elan to a remarkable, and consistently successful United. The Munich air disaster is poignantly recalled on a wall near the sizeable club shop housed under the stand opposite the Stretford End. In front of the shop is a statue of Dennis Law, Bobby Charlton and George Best, perhaps capturing the most famous trio of heroes of the club from yesteryear on one large plinth, The United Trinity as it proclaims, and who could argue with that! Catering is available outside the ground, a veritable caravan of different varieties of takeaway munchies ahead of going through the turnstiles. Once inside, beer is for sale, unlike outside, as well as the clubs own catering menu, and then it is out through any given walkway towards your seat and that first sight of the hallowed turf and the full arena. It is a superb stadium with the Sir Alex Ferguson stand in particular an absolute colossus, towering high above the other three sides, and from the very back row you must be able to see out over the main stand towards the Manchester skyline. With the visit of FC Astana for the opening game of the Europa League group stage, the Kazakhs weren’t the top draw for a classic European Old Trafford night. Swathes of the upper tiers were empty, but a near 50,000 audience was still easily my biggest crowd of the season! The famous Stretford end to my surprise isn’t where the hardcore fans do the cheerleading. They are housed in the corner to the right of the main stand, and if thinking from a TV camera viewing perspective, they are largely out of sight from the cameras and extraordinarily close to the away fans. FC Astana’s enthusiastic 200 or so supporters would pale into insignificance against a Liverpool visit, although I immediately thought the next Euro guests Partizan Belgrade with their formidable Ultras would be a potential flashpoint if they are so close to the singing United core. Thankfully that encountered passed off without any undue incident, although I have to call out one or two naughty songs directed at the Kazakhs the night I was there, which appalled me! I have seen Kazakh clubs and the National side play in Scotland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and in none of these countries did I hear blatant racist chants, nor even one slight on the visitors from the East. I was on the point of walking out at Old Trafford, especially because of the sniggering at the songs by people around me in the Sir Alex lower stand, where my perception seemed on the face of it, a section housing fans who should have known better. It seems a topic quick to be called out when visiting other lands but it starts at home and their is a problem. It was over in a few minutes and doubtlessly swept away by those in authority on the night, but it was distressing, especially for the visiting fans, most of whom study here. This match-up would certainly not sit high on the roster of famous European nights at the old venue, with FC Astana happy to sit in and frustrate an ultimately youthful United side. As a keen scholar of the Kazakh game, and a Kairat Almaty fan at that, going to watch their fiercest rivals would be close to heresy in the grander scheme of fan loyalty! However, the lure of this morsel of Kazakh club football history with a first ever competitive game in England, it acted as the main ambition for my trip, as well as capturing a taste of Old Trafford for Football Weekends of course! The game stubbornly got stuck in the mould of defence versus attack, with an occasional attempt to break out by the Kazakhs, but just as they had started to look more comfortable, the introduction of a few United A listers with a quarter of an hour to go, Mata and Lingard especially had the desired effect of upping the tempo. It brought almost instant dividends with an exquisite strike from the most impressive youngster on the field, Marcus Greenwood to score the games only goal after some fine build up play.. No one could deny Man Utd weren’t good value for the win, but I am sure having held out until the 77th minute the long flight back to the Kazakh capital would have included discussions about “what if”. The subsequent lose at home to Partizan was enough for Astana to chuck aspirations of progressing in the Europa, fielding weakened sides in both ties with AZ Alkmaar as the need to retain the Kazakh league title became more pressing, winning the vital clash with Kairat and the title by a mere point. Manchester United are still a club in transition, still searching for the perfect formula to re-establish themselves as a title challenger, and while that looks a little way off presently, knuckling down in the Europa League is the new access to the Champions League by virtue of winning the tournament, just as Jose Mourinho managed amid growing pangs of angst amongst the United faithful that his tactics were too defensive and dull for the Man Utd template of more expansive and exciting ways of playing. There are accommodations a bit closer to Old Trafford near the Lowry Centre, but driving down from Scotland and uncertain of where would be a sensible place to park, I decided to hole up at a relatively new Holiday Inn Express near the Trafford Centre just off the M60 motorway Manchester ring road. There is just one bus route but that goes from the Trafford Centre to the city via Old Trafford with a stop right outside the Holiday Inn, and it goes past the Kellogg’s factory, a “who knew” moment for me! I had bought a return bus ticket but after the game with the traffic in the vicinity of the stadium slowed by virtue of the volume of people and traffic setting off, so I decided to walk the 2 ½ miles to the hotel with the idea that if I saw a bus coming I would hop on. However I was nearly back at my overnight base when the first bus sped by! It was an enjoyable experience, a rare chance to dip into one of the great stadiums of world football, albeit on a relatively sedate European evening, but we shouldn’t underestimate the significance for the Kazakhs in going toe to toe with one of the great club sides in their own backyard, The Theatre of Dreams, as they’ve coined it! View the full article