tm4tj

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  1. Here you go...............
  2. Rendall's Rambles #6 now published, 2009-2012 Catch up on 25 years of ICT and 25 years of Caley Thistle Online...................
  3. Rendall's Rambles #6 Here's the next three seasons from James. He does get around and he has been following the Caley Jags from the start. He has put together this 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. The Inverness Caledonian Thistle Years #ICT25 No. 16 2009/10 (Games 697 to 745) The Charge of the Blue and Red Brigade. Life out of the penthouse suite started reasonably enough, just nibbling by lowly Montrose away in the Challenge Cup wasn't great, but an away 1-0 win at Parslandia showed how much we'd improved since our last inauguration in the second tier, a 4-0 spank that day. It was an August, take it and run!! A home draw to Ayr and a home loss to Moss County wasn't however the form of challengers. September was a mix bag, but a 3-0 win at Greenock was a good result. The likelihood of going straight back up seemed tricky as Dundee were horsing away at the top! Indeed, driving to Ayr, (as I will be on Tuesday once more), bored with how we were performing saw me decide to keep going at the roundabout outside Ayr?! Wick were down the road at Girvan and being a Scorries sympathiser I decided to go and watch this Cup tie! Oh boy did I luck out in terms of seeing Caley Thistle absolutely tonk Ayr, but hey, where else can you find a bottle of Old Pulteney being passed around following the wind assisted quelling of the Ayrshire side 4-1! I scampered to South America for the first of two treks in the season, but when I returned the wins were becoming more regular, alas not before a second El Kessicko loss over the Isle and far away, and also the loss of the Challenge Cup Final to the Dees, 3-2 in a cracking final. However, by the time the dust settled on this particular season, what would we rather have won, this papier-mache gong or a much bigger prize? This was our Trojan Horse 🐴 gift to Dundee, who subsequently self destructed in a swarm of belief in their own greatness! 😀 A draw at Dumfries the following week would set in motion an unbeaten sequence that would go all the way to the end of the season, beating Raith, Airdrie and Partick before I went back to Argentina/Uruguay. Upon my return Morton, Qos and the Pars were all despatched and we were on our way. The night our promotion back to the top table was confirmed and we didn't even kick a ball! Raith sealed Dundee's fate, and I was surprised how few Caley Thistle eyes went to Kirkcaldy to see us promoted, but everyone would be on hand to add salt to the Dees wounds the following week as we hosted them, allowing for the quaint ditty, 'fifteen points and you f***ed it up' to be born and reverberate around the Caledonian Stadium. We duly beat them in this one 1-0, and became the first team in a decade to go straight back up! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Inverness Caledonian Thistle Years #ICT25 No.17 2010/11 (Games 746 to 797) Back in the.....it might as well have been the USSR. Another wanderlust season ensued, a remarkable one really aiding that perennial DNA within me that never allows me to feel unduly comfortable at the top table. That is especially true when the only outcome seems to be bottom six survival. It can be turgid and lacking colour, but like mining for gold, the fans of lesser clubs are always looking out for those little morsels to enliven the campaign. By seasons end I had watched football in seven lands, and ICT had featured in less than half of the games I viewed. The nuggets seemed few, but we did survive, and our days in the sun were just around the corner, but we didn't know that then! It all started so well, a routine 3-0 in the League Cup versus the thinking man's Glasgow, the Spiders, and then a portent for this coming week, a colossal 0-4 stuffing of Arabia in August too! McCann, Duncan, and an Adam Rooney double effected a fire drill at Tannadice! What we would give for one of those on Friday night! We had peaked too early, lured into a false sense of a new dawn, a 0-1 home loss to Hamilton Kaccies brought us down to earth, followed by a mere one point from six from the Edinburgh duo, an especially poor return as in those days we'd beaten Hibs so often, by rights we should have been allowed to keep them 😁. What came next though was a real highlight, we rarely could get the better of Aberdeen at home, but we won 2-0. I cashed out for a while on that win, and upon returning to the ICT fold a commendable 1-1 at Tynie wasn't at all bad, followed by a depressing Boxing Day home loss to Les Buddoise, ouch! This was an especially harsh winter and I recall being mighty peeved at the closure of the A9 for snow preventing me getting to Inverness for the Cup game with old rivals Elgin, who rather embarrassingly had more fans at the game than we did! We won late, and it set up another home joust with Morton, despatched 5-1 and my game roster shows my next game was in the Cilindro versus Boca Juniors! Weeks later my re-appear at a Caley game saw a marginal 1-0 Arabian home win, but a draw with Hearts in the north was followed by a rare 3-0 win versus the Johnnies in Perth and an another away success versus Hamilton, but these latter games were run of the mill bottom six encounters. Not only were seven lands on my football CV (beaten only by this season) but many a visitor from abroad too. A Port Alegre chum, Luciano was on hand to witness the most astonishing goalkeeping display by Stirling Albion's custodian in a remarkable one sided 0-0 at home to the Bairns, who did everything but score in the 120 minutes before submitting to a Zeuss like goalkeeping display in the penalties too, while they did score two, but he saved three!! Next up was my first sighting of an Icelandic side in Scotland since Keflavik opened the floodlights at Old Douglas Park! Reykjavik suburb, Breidablik were playing their European bow at Motherwell, going down narrowly 1-0. My oldest friend from outside Scotland, Andrea from Padova was in Edinburgh for the first and only time so far and we took in the opening day 1-1 at Tynecastle between Hearts and St Johnstone. Elgin were easily cast aside there too, 4-0, before Brora came to town in late September to play Edinburgh University. These were the days when Brora were about as good as Clachnacuddin always near the bottom of the table, not the top! Brora scored an equaliser that day at Peffermill late in the game which I think is still the most amazing goal I have ever seen!! It was struck from just inside the opponents half and if the net wasn't there it might have made Cameron Toll! An absolute rocket! Fabian was at Hartlepool in those days and I went to see him, but unfortunately he didn't play, Peterborough were beaten 2-0. Back on the Highland Cup run next, but as I neared Rosewell the game v Wick was called off, so a quick about turn and off to Prestonpans to see them play Annan, and force replay. Both were non league at the time! Bo'ness were seen off by Buckie and a quick scamper along the road caught Spartans going down to Shire just a few years ahead of this becoming a regular league fixture! Shire then oddly played Buckie and while they won 1-0 they were kicked out of the competition! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Inverness Caledonian Thistle Years #ICT No.18 2011/12 (Games 798 to 829) A piece of driftwood. There was an impoverish driftwood feel to this season, the stark reality of the collapse of my employer and the subsequent, crushing depletion in my 'nest egg' resulted in an immediate pulling in of the belt! South America was off roster and any trips abroad didn't include football for perhaps the only year in this 25 year passage of time! 😱But hey, no sympathy please , as I have been a lucky, lucky boy throughout life, and while this hiatus maybe signalled a changing of the guard, with South America making way after 12 years on the trot for Eastern European trips to come. The football at home didn't brighten the mood, with Hibs winning in Inverness for the first ever time courtesy of a Garry O'Connor horror trundler that just dribbled over the line in agonising fashion in the very last minute for an 0-1 opening day home loss. A couple of draws at Dunfermline 3-3 and at home to the JT, but we weren't playing great football and quite frankly I was bored by Butcher's turgid style. I found myself drifting off to find more local football entertainment for a while, but a game at Tynecastle was never to be missed, always a cracking day out with my posse of ICT chums, but a 2-1 took me to Christmas Eve and a home game with Aberdeen before I would see us win! Stuart Golabek and Gregory Tade got the goals that made sure that the stuffing with the turkey had added spice! Gregory would a few seasons later be sat in the posh seats rested for a forthcoming Champions League game by Steau Bucharest when I pitched up two days after ICT debuted in Europe! It seemed an unlikely gig going into 2012 but not before we nibbled another draw at the Cabbage. A brief rich vein was tapped into as the year began, a rare win at Motherwell was followed by another 1-0 win at home to Hearts. Three wins and a draw in four games viewed, as Natalie Merchant once sang, 'these are days to remember', but merely a pocket of joy in a fraught season. A 1-1 draw in February at Dunfermline and the subsequent closing of the door on being anywhere else other than the bottom six and I had raised the white flag by mid February! Looking back it was a scandalously early departure from the ICT nation! Scottish Cup Highland support has always been part of my viewing, and Edinburgh City's 4-0 thwacking of Brora was in the last days of Brora being a poor side. They would be back at Meadowbank in season's to come with a completely different approach! In the next round I set off for Galashiels to watch that mythical side Golspie Sutherland, only to learn the game had been moved to Hawick?! A good bit further down the road for the Sutherland side, but arriving shortly before kick off, I was never going to get caught in the rush! Another 4-1 for the nominal 'home' side, but Golspie did the North Caledonian league proud. The next day Buckie were back at Shire, a potentially fraught occasion after the exact same fixture resulted in the Falkirk side being kicked out of the cup last season. It had its moments this one, but ended 1-1, with Shire taking the spoils in the replay. Elgin were having one of their best season's and I got caught up in cheering them in the run up to the play offs. They fell short in the play off semi versus Albion Rovers, so I transferred my cheering to my southern Blues, Stranraer, who also lost out to Albion in a dramatic penalty shoot out. However, when the dust settled it had all been for nothing as not only did RBS explode, so did one of Glasgow's bigger sides, and Stranraer stepped up anyway as Rangers slipped from the top league to the basement and everyone else shuffled up one 😎 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ More wonderful memories in there once again. And there's 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
  4. Click to view slideshow. If you have ever seen Roberto Benigni’s film, Life is Beautiful, the funny first half of the movie is set in Arezzo, a real gem of Southern Tuscany. It is a wonderful region of Italy, perhaps the most famous, and also the most visited in its entirety. Yes, Firenze and the Torre Pendiente in Pisa are the main attractions, but Siena, San Gimignano, Lucca as well as my destination for my last game of the season, Arezzo, they are all “classic” Tuscan towns. Three of the aforementioned towns were involved in the protracted, but increasingly popular 28 team Serie C promotion play offs, and one in the relegation play-out! Lucchese who featured earlier in the season, pleasingly, despite having a fraught season off the field have survived in the third tier. Siena who went all the way to the final of the 17/18 promotion edition only to lose to Cosenza, fell at the first hurdle this time around losing at home to Novara. The Piemonte side, who also featured in a recent FW’s then went across some Tuscan hills from Siena to Arezzo in Round 2 and having trailed 2-0 late on, Novara gave the home team a few last minute jitters when they level at 2-2. Now here is the interesting thing about the Italian play-offs where league position counts for something, and despite being held, having finished higher in the table, Arezzo moved onto Round 3. Viterbese were next in town from the “southern” third tier having won the Coppa Italia C, and despite finishing 12th the cup success gave them the advantage of any draw against Arezzo who had finished 4th. Each round now saw home and away affairs with the higher ranked granted home advantage in the second game, but while Viterbese might have done well in winning the cup, a confident Arezzo swept them away 5,0 on aggregate. At the same time Pisa were seeing off another Tuscan side Carrarese, one of those forever a third tier teams, and true to form Pisa nudged them out 4-3 before heading south to tackle Arezzo, which is where I got involved! Arezzo’s encouraging conclusion to the regular season, as well as their continued good form in the opening rounds of the play-offs, combined with a joust with Tuscan rivals Pisa, sparked a frenzy for tickets, the likes of which the town had rarely experienced in the modern era! It became increasingly fraught for anyone not actually staying in Arezzo as the online sales were withdrawn when it became apparent that Pisan fans were buying them up as fast as they could! In the end, these were largely tracked down and exchanged but the online element never became available again. Luckily I was arriving in Arezzo at lunch-time the day before the game, but upon checking into my hotel, I was greeted with the news from Enrico the receptionist that all the tickets were gone, which had been my worst fear travelling down from Bologna that morning. I could not have wished for a more helpful receptionist though, Enrico is a season ticket holder, and had ventured down to Viterbo for the second leg of the last round too. When he saw my Arezzo t-shirt, and that I had travelled from Edinburgh, he was immediately on the case trying to help my quest for a ticket. It became apparent that a few briefs were still available and getting myself along to the club for the ticket office re-opening would guarantee me access to the hottest ticket in town! Arezzo is an hour south of Firenze on the main rail route to Roma, a mere 80 kilometres. From the minute you step out of the railway station and look up, the street in front gradually opens up to the spires of old Arezzo town skyline. I have been in Arezzo many times, twice previously for football, and it is a town that will keep pulling me back, I love it. The centre piece is the seriously sloping Piazza Grande, complete with a wishing well, and a small fountain, but surrounded on all sides by a magnificent church and lavish period buildings, with a municipal building beside the Santa Maria Della Pieve church allowing you access to the roof, affording stunning views of the Piazza as well as the rooftops of Arezzo and the surrounding Tuscan hills. In the film “Life is Beautiful”, Roberto Benigni would run down one of the narrow streets that lead onto Piazza Grande to meet his wife and son with a warm embrace and “Buongiorno principessa! A little further up the hill from the Piazza, the sumptuous gardens at the back of the Cathedral are a wonderful place to chill out, as well as affording stunning views from the city wall ramparts. I have been to two games prior to this big occasion in Arezzo, and on both visits I was sitting in the main covered Tribuna stand, which runs the length of the pitch. For the Pisa game, what tickets were left were merely for the Curva Sud, a vast high terracing behind one goal. I was just happy to be in attendance, and while the forecast was for potential showers, I would have gladly got soaked if need be to witness this marvellous occasion. As it was, taking my umbrella warded away the rain, and the sky broke to add a little sunshine to the early exchanges. What I hadn’t legislated for was the view back over the ground towards Arezzo from the Curva, wow it is breathtaking, and for any subsequent matches here, it can only be the Curva for me from now on! A joust with Pisa is a very suitable term to use, as like Siena with it’s spectacularly dangerous bareback horse race, il Palio, and Firenze’s violent “ancient” football, Arezzo has it’s very own medieval pageantry il Giostra del Saracino, the Saracen Joust. This is essentially, a bi-annual jousting contest between the different areas of Arezzo in the Piazza Grande, and for the locals it’s serious business. I was once in Arezzo for dress rehearsal night, with each team parading in full pageant dress, complete with drummers and long horn players, but the centrepiece of each team was the lavishly dressed horse and the jouster! On the day of the Pisa match the build up to the next joust was just starting as all the emblems of the city had appeared on the buildings in the Piazza Grande overnight, and doubtlessly in the coming days the square wouldn’t be looking so spectacular as the scaffolding for seats, and the sand for the joust track would be arriving! As it was, the morning after the game I left town, but as I did, a note to self was made, try and witness il Giostra one day! The Citta di Arezzo stadio is on the edge of town, a 20/30 minute walk to the right from the road in front of the railway station if daytripping in for a game, but try and stay, you won’t be disappointed! It had an official registered capacity of 7,350, and while they easily packed more than that in for the Pisa game, it could have been even more if the Gradinata opposite the main stand wasn’t condemned and merely sits there acting as a large advertising billboard for the clubs main sponsors! On the night, the attendance was recorded as 8,500, Arezzo had gone football mad! It was like arriving in a different Arezzo from any previous visit, Racing Roma had been “low” key, and Lucchese, while another Tuscan derby, was midweek and too early in the season last term for anyone to be too excited! The 2017/18 season had in fact been a horror show for Arezzo, having games suspended for a couple of weeks and points being deducted but they even managed to avoid a play-out with Prato by managing to create an 8 point gap between the clubs by the very last day, thereby averting a two leg play off and sending Prato down automatically! Another fair curiosity of the Italian rule book! The fighting spirit that had saved them then was still apparent throughout the current campaign, and expectations were rising in the town, it was palpable and with good reason, they hadn’t lost even a goal to Pisa in the regular campaign! Shops were adorned with the clubs colours (another maroon team!) complete with the club badge with it’s rearing horse logo, the city emblem. An aggregate win over Pisa would set up a two legged “final” for a place in Serie B with sleeping giants Triestina as it transpired. In October 1983 when I bought my first edition of Guerin Sportivo, Arezzo were top of Serie B along with Campobasso, another where are they now club! Alas Arezzo fell agonisingly close to making the top flight for the first ever time that season, and it is still an ambition that eludes them, as ‘83/84 was about as good as it ever got. Four years later they were back in C, and they’ve never been higher since. The club had two previous spells in the second tier, the first was in 1966 which was celebrated with a friendly against unusual opposition from Rio de Janeiro in the form of Vasco de Gama, and in 1971 they had cult player Francesco Graziani leading the line. The clubs only honour came in 1980/81 when they defeated Ternana to win the Coppa Italia C. The obligatory bankruptcies came in 1993 and 2009/10. A few years ago, having finished runners up in Serie D, a very late in the day place in the third tier became available and the authorities “plucked” Arezzo out of D to the consternation of all the other second placed teams in the other eight groups! Aside from struggling financially off the pitch last season, the club had never looked back since that stroke of luck, and now it was getting ready for the biggest home game in more than a decade at least! I was in the ground around an hour ahead of kick off, along with at least two thirds of the crowd. The only bar, The Stadio Bar on the main street close by is small to say the least, with many spilled out in the street. Queues were forming by 19,00 for a 20,30 kick off, so getting a good vantage point for viewing and photos was paramount. The Pisa fans arrived with police escort and little by little they grew in number, but it was well past kick off before they unfurled their choreographic response to Arezzo’s stunning effort just ahead of kick off. As I was part of the army of tifosi participating on the Curva Sud, it wasn’t until I saw a photo from the Tribuna of the magnificent spectacle, it was breathtaking. The photo of the Curva choreography comes from Rob a fellow football weekender who travelled from Chianti the day before I arrived to get his ticket! Neither of us would leave the stadium disappointed by this pulsating match, but with my attachment to Arezzo, the feeling of “what if” took days to leave me. Pisa came out of the blocks stronger, perhaps the sense of occasion and the size of the crowd got to the home side, and it was no surprise when Marconi swept Pisa in front. Gradually Arezzo’s exciting forward thinking play was pushing the Pisans back, and ahead of the break they deservedly equalised through the excellent Cutolo. A minute into the second half saw a wonderful free flowing Arezzo move end in a goal leading to bedlam in the Curva. The atmosphere was amazing throughout, both sets of fans were brilliant, but at 2-1 it was spine tingling! Pisa are a well organised, gritty team, but the referee did seem to buy most of their antics, one of which brought a soft penalty to make it 2-2, and as Arezzo pressed on to try to regain the lead, Pisa picked them off to go in front again, and we still had half an hour to play! A late penalty award for Arezzo to level things up was well saved, and despite a lot of endeavour, Pisa held on to win 2,3. No one left in a hurry, the applause at both ends was warm. Arezzo would need to win by two clear goals in Pisa if they were going to progress, but I am sure the penalty miss weighed heavily. When the dust settled on the return leg, a late strike in Pisa for a 1,0 home win sent them through to play Triestina, and despite being held 2,2 at home, Pisa took full advantage of a late red card to beat Triestina 3,1 in front of 26,000 in Trieste to get promotion to Serie B and bring back their huge derby with Livorno. These play offs are tough, and exciting with crowds swarming in droves to cheer their clubs on, that largely ends in heartache, but for the lucky team and their fans, it’s one huge adrenaline rush party! Arezzo as a town came together, belief in the team has rarely been higher, and if the players and management can keep the momentum going, 2019/20 could be a truly memorable one. View the full article
  5. tm4tj

    Social Club

    Aye, it's my wedding anniversary 👰🤵
  6. 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. 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, Cameron Harper, Matheus Machedo........ 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
  7. tm4tj

    Crowds.

    Scotty will possibly know why. I believe they are using a new host/server or whatever the terminology and they are no longer connected to the same server that CTO use. Possible some stuff got lost when they transferred. Can move this to tech forum and see if anyone knows.
  8. tm4tj

    Crowds.

    Do you mean the official website or CTO?
  9. Rendall's Rambles #5 Have a look back over years 2006-2009 with James. Remember the good times, they are not guaranteed.......
  10. 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
  11. tm4tj

    Billy McNeill

    Harry Hood next to go. He scored a few hat-tricks in his time. RIP.
  12. Locking this topic as it is a non event to be honest as confirmed on the other Managerial topic: Dundee approach for Robertson rejected
  13. Good spot Mantis. That was James' deliberate mistake just to see if anybody is reading his memories.😉
  14. Rendall's Rambles#4 You can read all about the years 2003 - 2006 in the next chapters of James Rendall's ICT25 years........... There's nothing like a bit of nostalgia when the season finishes.
  15. Rendall's Rambles #4 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.10 #ICT25 2003/04 (Games 344 to 396) First floor perfumery, stationery and leather goods, going up 😎: And so it came to pass, that upon the last kick of the 10th year of the empire, Mother Inverness were going to the top table! It started in exquisite fashion back in early August with a 5-0 win over Gretna in the Challenge Cup, our only ever visit to Raydale well ahead of the Border team making its brief mark on the world of Scottish football. Did we lose to Falkirk in August? What do you think?!! 2-1 for the Bairns, and even in the closing games of the season they held us 0-0 in the third last game of the season, a result that kept us off the top of the league, but only for one more week! Aside from the Bairns bogey, other teams were put to the swords with 4-0 away wins over Raith, St Mirren, and Queen of the South beaten 4-1 at home. We had never hit the top of the league until the penultimate day when we went to Cumbernauld to play long time leaders Clyde! That was the closest the Bully Wee came to the top flight in the modern three or four tier era. It didn't start well, as Clyde took the lead, but their was a momentum to us, and the equaliser when it came from the most unlikely scorer in Liam Keogh saw a celebration akin to Marco Tardelli scoring versus West Germany in a World Cup Final! The winner came from our at times frustrating but equally reliable Steve Hislop, and we didn't just win the game, we went top! They had a "helicopter" Saturday the following week, but in truth the Championship was never in doubt, David Bingham settled the nerves, Paul Ritchie got the second, and Barry Wilson blasted a late penalty to see off St Johnstone 3-1 with a pitch invasion of riotous joy ahead of the trophy arriving. I am sure Partick Thistle thought our Championship would see us denied promotion, but assurances were made, and while we played a lot of the next season in Aberdeen, when we came home the stadium met all the necessary requirements. The cups were joyful too this term, with the club winning it's first Scottish knock out trophy with a 2-0 win over Airdrie United in the Challenge Cup Final in Perth. We reached a second consecutive Scottish Cup Semi Final, with Dunfermline our opponents at Hampden. A 1-1 draw saw maybe the last ever semi final replay, which took place at Pittodrie. We lost a cracking match 3-2 but I am still haunted by a near miss by Paul Ritchie that might have made all the difference. We would get used to Pittodrie the following year, and we would take our revenge on the Pars, but that's next week's tale! The Inverness Caledonian Thistle Years #ICT25 No 11 2004/05 (Games 397 to 453) Nibbling at the top table: Life in the Premier, the top league in Scotland, they say it doesn't get any better than that! In our eleventh year, we had scaled the whole way up the leagues, and while I am sure many were relishing the challenge, I was both shocked and terrified! Yes in 1973 when I first went to a game with my dad it was a top flight game, but Hearts v Arbroath in a league on 18. We only ever went against the lesser lights, and with fan violence on the increase, by 1978 I had rebelled and I had gone off to find my own adventures, far from any such goings on. In the fifteen years I was a Meadowbank fan, only once did we even get vaguely close to the Premier League, finishing second behind Hamilton. Only once before I walked out in 1993, sickened by the hijacking of the club and the protests, did we play in Glasgow against either of the Old Firm, a League Cup semi final first leg at Ibrox. We lost 4-0 but stuff was being hurled at us, and it was a very uncomfortable night. For ICT playing in the Premier League, I needed my own ground rules, and that was banning myself from going to Ibrox or Celtic Park for any league game! Having made that decision, I relaxed and I have stuck to it to this day, and even though we played The Rangers in a League Cup tie at Ibrox and won, I didn't. I have never seen us play at Ibrox, but I have been at Celtic Park for Cup ties just twice, once rather memorably! The start of the campaign didn't have a very top table feel too it, Livi away, and Dunfermline 'home' at Aberdeen, much to Partick Thistle's disgruntlement!! We were absolutely horrible on debut, going down meekly 3-0, just as we had been a few years earlier in our first game in the Championship, a 4-0 loss at the Pars. Oddly the last time we played Dunfermline had also been at Aberdeen, the cup semi replay loss, but this time we got things right, and game two of the season brought us a 2-0 win, with the honour of our first ever Premier League goal going to an unlikely scorer, Stuart Golabek! It was never going to be an easy season, doubly so playing so many games away from Inverness, but this early win was vital. Our next Pittodrie home match was versus Celtic and we were competing terrifically well and then came a sickening moment that I will never forget, and while many seem to dislike Neil Lennon for a variety of idiotic reasons, the utter shameful gamesmanship of going down holding his face when Juanjo nudged his chest was one of the worst moments of cheating I have ever witnessed. Juanjo was sent off, Lennon never received any retrospective punishment (it probably didn't exist then) and the dynamic of the game changed, from 1-1 we lost 3-1. Hosting Aberdeen at Pittodrie was always going to be a unique and funny thing. We got the home stand and doubtlessly the home dressing room. It was a terrific atmosphere, and while hardly a derby, we are two northern teams. We did get the chance to keep the wee team firmly in its place too, winning 1-0 in Dingwall in the League Cup. We ended up playing home games in three stadiums that season, with our Scottish Cup win over St Johnstone coming shortly after the last game at Aberdeen, with this one being played in Dingwall with a 1-0 ICT win. On the 29th January we were home finally and we did the home double over the Pars with another 2-0 win, Barry Wilson scoring our first proper home top flight goal! A March into April series of wins were enough to see us clear of trouble at the bottom, starting with a fine 2-0 win at Tynecastle, then a rare win at Kilmarnock and a stirring 3-2 win over Dundee. The Dees neighbours came to Inverness on the last day of the season in their thousands, where a dubious penalty saw mayhem erupt at the away end, scored by Barry Robson. The Arabs had saved themselves but it was a portent of things to come! It was never going to be anything other than a hard season, but we made it!! We'd even get a wee trip abroad before we knuckled down to life at the top table again the following season, stay tuned for the next instalment next week! I was doubtlessly missing trips to Inverness as I found myself at Clachnacuddin versus Brora in November, on a day when ICT were making a league debut at Celtic Park. It ended in a 3-0 home win for the Lilywhites, a result that wouldn't happen now! Oddly, I was to see two more Highland teams the very next week! I was just entering Aberdeen for our match with Dundee United when the radio informed me that the game was off. No one had cleared the snow off the pitch! As luck would have it, Inverurie were playing Keith in the Scottish Cup, so I headed there. The referee was none other than my old work mate and Pomona player Crawford Allan. It was an odd appointment for an Edinburgh ref, and in chatting to him, the last thing he wanted was a replay. Well nothing like a dubious last minute penalty to save the journey north again, with Keith the happy recipients winning 2-1 courtesy of the spot kick! The Inverness Caledonian Thistle Years #ICT25 No12 2005/06 (Games 455 to 511 Five dots to Farum ..... 🚂The second campaign in the top flight was always going to have an anti-climax feel to it for me after the season started with Inverness in action abroad! The train down to South Denmark from Copenhagen to Nykobing wasn't exactly with the same anticipation as the trek to Giurgiu, but in 2005 who could have envisaged that ICT would ever play competitive International football! Walking around the quaint Danish town I was beginning to fear I might be the only visiting fan! The small posse never bumped into each other ahead of the game, but we were ultimately a collected gathering of five at the first ever ICT game abroad with Don Taylor, his wife and son as well as another lass lending our support. Nykobing Falsters Alliancen was the rather cumbersome name of an allegedly new Danish super club, but as far as I am aware they have never troubled the top tier. They were to beat ICT on our European bow 2-1 with Liam Fox claiming our first overseas goal. We all spent some quality time in Copenhagen, which really is a fabulous city, joined as we were by one more fan, Alex ahead of the local metro train out to Farum. It was a well heeled sleepy hedgerow suburban town at the end of the metro line. It took an age, but we eventually got down to five dots on the train map in the carriage, a phrase that stuck in the legend of the trip! Nordsjaelland's stadium had a hotel, where the team were staying, complete with a bar/restaurant. The pre and post match tipples were scooped here, latterly with the team chomping a meal ahead of having a night on the town in the city. This was a well earned night out as we had just beaten an up and coming top flight Danish team 1-0 on a very warm afternoon. David Proctor gave us the win, as we all enjoyed cinema-esque padded seats, albeit they were getting rather hot! Nordsjaelland would crop up in competitive European football versus Queen of the South a few years later, and only one fan travelled to Scotland, so respect to the six of us who went to Denmark for friendlies! Back to the bread and butter Premier League football we started with a moment of reverse history defeating Falkirk in their back yard in August as a welcome to the top flight! We didn't suffer too badly from second season syndrome and picked up points regularly to keep the bottom well below, but never enough to make the top six. A 2-1 win at Easter Road was a notable early result, which eventually became a treble over the Leith side winning 2-0 in Inverness, and 2-0 on our second visit to Easter Road. We nibbled a home point off Celtic in a 1-1 draw as well as thrashing the Bairns 4-1 at home too. Ridiculously we played at Livingston four times away including a League Cup Quarter Final loss, finally winning one of these jousts to keep us safe in the top flight in late April. This was the season where George Burley's Hearts won the first ten games of the season including a 1-0 success at Caledonian Stadium, but then he was sacked, and where did he disappear to after that? Hearts did have something to celebrate at the end of the season, just, when third tier village sensations Gretna nearly won it, and maybe only a perfectly timed Robbie Neilson tackle saved them from losing ahead of winning the penalty shoot out! Hibs had a horrible season when I was in the stadium, murdered 4-0 at Tynecastle and in the only game I saw that they didn't lose was a feeble 0-0 with Dnipropetrovsk from Ukraine. I was at three English games in three days at Preston, Doncaster (the first of three in the season), then Chesterfield, a chance to see Saltergate before it disappeared with the bees of Brentford winning 1-3. Scotland very nearly beat Italy but a controversial late free kick for Italy brought their goal in a 1-1 draw, but we then lost to Belarus at home 0-1. Typical modern day Scotland! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Thanks James, some great memories in there. Five dots to Farum? When asked how far to go, I looked at the electronic display in the carriage and that's where the five dots to Farum came from, each dot representing a station. Mee was the other fan, all the way from Foyers. Farum was home to FC Nordsjælland, managed at the time by former Celtic player Morten Wieghorst, really nice guy. The floodlights were not visible as we strolled to the ground en mass, all six of us, and the reason became clear when we got there. The ground was close to a flight path and the floodlights were on hydraulics enabling them to be retracted when not in use. The Stadium was 10,000 all seated with leather seats and beer cup holders on each one. Wonderful! 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