tm4tj

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  1. The sermon on the mount at Ayr after the 7-0 thrashing was the greatest ever Butcherism. He controlled the fans every move with his arms, like a master puppeteer, absolutely brilliant. What a day.
  2. This article will act as introduction to a Lombardia Special which will replace the planned Euro 2020 preview for the June edition of Football Weekends to be published at the end of May. Anyone who has been reading Football Weekends for any length of time will know from many of my articles that I love Italy. Indeed in a separate article on Como in this edition you’ll discover where that love started. It was a tremendous honour to be asked to write this regional guide to Lombardia, linking in with other contributors pieces on the capital Milan and even more poignantly, the beautiful city of Bergamo, the only major Italian city in the region that I have visited but missing a match on my football CV. Atalanta have been a revelation in the Champions League this season, and scoring goals for fun in Serie A before the game came to a grinding halt due to the virus outbreak. They say for a certain generation in Italy after Torino’s great side were lost in a plane crash above the city, the vast majority of the country had Toro in their hearts. The same is said after the Munich air crash with Manchester United. So if Bergamo has been the worst affected city in Europe per head of population by Coronavirus (certainly at the time of writing), Atalanta should be, and will be embraced as a symbol of that suffering, and emerging from these darkest days. They might not know it yet, but Atalanta will help unite a grieving city. I for one will be cheering them from this day forward, with a few unlikely caveats should they ever play Anconitana, Cesena, Triestina or Arezzo again! When the dust settles on this dreadful global pandemic, no matter what happens elsewhere, those of us in Europe will always remember with great sadness how it all unfolded at frightening speed in Lombardia. The unassuming town of Codogno has been sighted as where it all started, where one of the issues as to how it exploded so uncontrollably seems centre on being unable to trace “patient zero”, but I have also read doctors were seeing a rise of a weird pneumonia there as far back as November last year. If that is the case I have been lucky twice, as I was in Lombardia in both November and January. I have also been in Codogno, albeit a few years ago, a small commuter town on the main Milan to Cremona rail line, but a junction to change trains if you are travelling to Cremona from Piacenza by train. For the record Codogno has its own team in Girone B (group) of the Lombardia Eccellenza, the fifth tier. Lombardia is a vast region in northern Italy with a population of 10 million, the most populous of the twenty that make up the Republic. It is the monied county, with the capital Milan home to 4.3 million, aside from pulling in countless thousands of visitors each year to enjoy it’s stunning Duomo and La Scala theatre etc when times are better. It is also home of the La Borsa, the Italian Stock Exchange, together with the accompanying financial services industry as well as being famed for its central role in the fashion world. I have to say I have a certain dislike for Milan, it’s difficult to explain properly, suffice to say it just doesn’t feel like proper Italy, a place to scamper through without undue dwelling for me. I have been at two encounters at the San Siro, both Inter home games starting with a 1-1 draw with Cesena when Massimo Agostini, Il Condor upstaged the hosts more illustrious German trio of Jurgen Klinsmann, Andreas Brehme and Lothar Matthaus in a buffed up stadium ready for the 1990 World Cup. Seeing Alvaro Recoba weaving his magic against Spartak Moscow in the Champions League was my only other game there, but such a privilege, as he bagged a brace in a 2-1 win. The region of Lombardia encompasses the shores of Lago Maggiore to the East, and the western shores of Lago di Garda to the West, hemmed in up north by International borders beyond Lago di Como, and on its southern boundaries Voghera, Cremona and Mantova. The jewel of Lombardia is without doubt Bergamo Alta (high), the magnificently preserved UNESCO old town looking down on the modern, sprawling Basso (lower) area of the city, now a desperately grief ridden place, bearing the brunt of the Coronavirus epidemic in Italy. Tales of happier days with Atalanta follow this article, but in the meantime let’s go for a circular tour of the Lombardia region in a clockwise-ish route from Bergamo and back. It might surprise you that the fans of Milan’s big clubs AC and Inter are not viciously opposed to one another. Yes they have a rivalry, but the highest alert derby of Lombardia has always been when Atalanta play Brescia. Given this truly awful situation, and the amazing coming together of people in the shared desire to see the back of this virus, would it be too naive on my part to think that the ultras of these bitter old rivals, from two of the cities with the biggest outbreaks and deaths might start a new period of harmony between them? I hope so. Brescia is a charming city known as Leonessa D’Italia, (the lioness of Italy) and is about an hour east of Milan by train. When Covid-19 finally leaves the city behind the people who have shown great fortitude and courage will flock back in greater numbers to cheer La Leonessa as the Brescia Calcio are known. Football might drift into the realms of irrelevant at the height of such tragedies that we are all living, but upon safer times ahead, a real outpouring of emotion will be displayed and none more so than by fans the world over who have missed the beautiful game and who will rush to embrace their local football team, especially in this area of Italy. All Lombardian clubs will especially rekindle dormant memories and see considerable upturns in attendances, and historical rivalries might diminish. When calcio was halted, Brescia’s return to Serie A was looking perilous, having resorted to a fourth managerial change, including a reinstatement of Eugenio Corini at number three for a few weeks having started the season as the hero who got the club back into Serie A. I pitched up at the picturesque Mario Rigamonti stadium for a fourth time last November when Torino took advantage of a mutinous mood in the stadium as Corini had just been sacked. Toro ripped Brescia asunder, and as the goals totted up, four in the end, the defiant cries of “Eugenio Corini” got louder and louder. Mario Balotelli was a man in a bad mood, eventually he was hooked at half-time. He is just the most recent famous player to don the blue shirt with the white “V” frontage, with Roberto Baggio and Pep Guardiola two other illustrious ex Bresciani. Serie B is where the club obviously feel the safest with more than half their entire existence played out in the second level. I am sure they look north to Bergamo with envious eyes at how Atalanta have pushed beyond just being a Serie A also-ran. Brescia now has a brilliant underground system that will whisk you the considerable distance south of the railway station to the stadium in a matter of minutes. In my previous three visits in the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s, Triestina, Ancona and Bari all failed to win, but seeing Franco Causio’s penultimate ever game for Triestina at the end of an illustrious career was a real high point. By the time this goes to press, it seems unlikely calcio will return in 2019/20, and as to what fate falls on a Serie A struggler at the cessation, it does matter, but in the grander scheme of life, La Lionessa will doubtlessly accept its fate, but given the suffering, relegation would be cruel. The extremity of Lombardia’s eastern boundary can be found on the shores of Lake Garda at Salo, infamous for being where Mussolini ran a puppet state during the Second World War. In the footballing world it is home to third tier Feralpisalo, a club that has only been in existence 11 years after two fourth tier Salo clubs merged. They consistently joust at the upper end of Serie C if rarely threatening the direct promotion slot. They had a cracking run in the Serie C Coppa Italia this season, only to crash out in the semi-finals after extra time to the controversial Juventus U23 side, the sole “big” club with a second team in the Italian league. Whether Ternana v Juve U23 as the final will ever be played, who knows. Well south of Lake Garda is Mantova, a city surrounded on three sides by lakes, and is famed for its imposing Ducal Palace. In the modern era the local club have never risen above Serie B, and even then largely at the wrong end, but in the ‘60’s they enjoyed half a dozen Serie A campaigns. I was at Stadio Conero, Ancona in late May 2010 when both the hosts and Mantova were scrapping for Serie B survival and a tense but exciting 2-2 draw was played out. In the end it didn’t matter, both went bust that summer! Both have struggled ever since, but Mantova were easily on the way back to the third tier this season when the virus called a halt, and a potential end to the season. The club went bust more recently in 2017, making for a near record fifth bankruptcy, rising once more as Mantova 1911 SSD. The stadium, the Danilo Martelli is a very well kept stadio on the edge of town with a near 15,000 capacity. My solitary game here was in 2007 in Serie B when Rimini ran out 1-0 winners on a dreich afternoon. I was back in Mantova in January, not for football, but to enjoy it’s central area around the vast Piazza Sordello, as well as indulge in the speciality dish Pumpkin Tortelli, none better than from Osteria Delle Erbe in Piazza Erbe. It is a relaxed city, always a nice place to hang out, and once this virus has been quelled the entire region of Lombardia will relish support from visitors once more, be it for football or otherwise. Moving west from Mantova, the next big city is Cremona, another superb place to visit. It is most famous for the production of viola, with the stradivarius the famous instrument made here. As soon as you step out of the railway station an enormous silver statue of a stradivarius greets your arrival. The area around the cathedral is especially beautiful, with its facade of orange and white coloured brickwork more reminiscent of Parma, further south in Emilia Romagna, rather than anywhere nearby. Cremona’s proximity to Codogno meant it was one of the first towns in the firing line with the virus, but somehow the breakouts further north in Bergamo and Brescia eclipsed the considerable suffering here. The local football team Cremonese have a rather unique colour scheme of red and grey stripes. They play at the very presentable Giovanni Zini stadio, about a 25 minute walk left of the railway station. They made a brief appearance in Serie A in the ‘80’s, but Serie B and C are where you will largely find them. They do have an Anglo-Italian Cup to their name, having beaten Derby County in the final at Wembley. I was at the Zini stadio in 2017 when i grigiorossi (the grey and reds) were closing in on the i grigi (the greys) of Alessandria at the top of the table for the solitary automatic promotion place. It wasn’t an ideal fixture against one of those hideous “here today, gone tomorrow” clubs near Roma, this time in the shape of Lupa Roma. They were going down anyway, and their only tactic on a scorching hot Saturday afternoon was to break up and stop play as often as possible. The relief 20 minutes from time when Cremonese finally broke their resolve was palpable, only for the time wasting baton to be handed over to the home team as they saw the game out. Prato beat Alessandria that night with a coupon busting away win, and they never recovered, Cremonese were back in B where they have been the last season and three quarters. A little north of Cremona is the quaint town of Crema, home to third tier Pergolettese. They were enjoying their first season at that level when football stopped. The town was previously home to Pergocrema, but following liquidation in 2011, Pizzighettone moved to Crema and changed name to continue the fine tradition of football in the town. The compact Giuseppe Voltini Stadio holds just under 5,000. In the south west corner of the region are two towns that I am yet to visit but both are prevalent in my thoughts as friends either live there or have family. One or two gaps in my grand tour of Lombardia have been filled with wonderful photos from my friend Matteo, an Edinburgh based fan of Genoa and Pavia, while my dear friend Claudia stays safe in Voghera fretting about the distance from her son in Trieste where he should have been having a lavish University graduation celebration. His day will come, getting through this crisis is the uppermost thought in everyone’s mind. Pavia is a commuter town for Milan, a name made famous by the vast Renaissance monastery, the Certosa di Pavia. The local club FC Pavia have had a checkered history, unusually before the modern Italian malaise of bankruptcy they’d gone bust five times by 1958, having only started up in 1911. With just one further bankruptcy in 2016 during the second half of their existence it seems almost stable in comparison. Their sole title was a third tier championship in 1952/53 and a brief passage in Serie B followed. They came close to repeating the feat in 2008/09 going down narrowly to Padova in a play off. Pavia’s Pietro Fortunato stadio has a capacity of one shy of 5,000, more than sufficient for an Eccellenza club, essentially the 5th tier. Pavia’s bitter rivals are ASD Sant’Angelo Lodigiani who had a decade in the sun from the early ‘70’s in the third tier, when they played amongst others Atalanta at one point. They are now in a different Eccellenza division from Pavia so for now this rivalry is on pause. A little further south from Pavia is Voghera, where the original team of town AC Voghera reached its pinnacle of three successive seasons in Serie B but relegation saw the club liquidated. There seems to be a correlation in Italy between reaching a higher level, relegation back down and going bust, over extending to compete? The reformed club dotted in and out of the fourth tier, then known as Serie C2 before imploding once more in 2013. Their story thereafter is bizarre, if you are sitting comfortably I will begin! In 2001 the unassuming clubs of FC Casteggio and AC Bruni decided to merge and play in Casteggio. Eight years later, playing in the 5th tier but in financial trouble it was decided to move to Stradella, merging with SG Stradella, who themselves had only been a club for two season having taken over from Oltrepo Calcio, a club who had been made it into the old fourth tier of the professional ranks in the ‘80’s. The newly merged club tipped the hat to them taking the name ASD SBC Oltrepo. Four years later when AC Voghera (then known as Vogherese) liquidated after 94 years it created a gap in the bigger catchment area of Voghera and so Oltrepo and all its initials merged with an tiddly local club with a mouthful of a title; AS Accademia Team Anni Verdi Voghera, to be known as ASD OltrepoVoghera, playing at the 4,700 capacity Giovanni Parisi in Voghera. Following relegation back the Eccellenza tier in 2018 the name was reverted back to ASD Vogherese 1919, and they play alongside neighbours Pavia in Girone A. It’s a complicated game keeping track of club changes in Italy! Vogherese were in the promotion play off places when proceedings stopped. Heading back north towards Milan you will come through the town of Lodi, which oddly this far south in Europe was once a Celtic settlement. It’s vital position on the River Adda eased Gauls into the Roman Empire as they were granted citizenship in exchange for allowing a Roman road to cross the river here. A subtle change of tactic by the Romans here! I am unsure what it is about black and white stripe shirted clubs being amongst the oldest in any given county but it is quite common, Notts County is one that springs to mind, perhaps more niche but TB Tvoroyri have the same kit and are the oldest in the Faroe Islands. Here in Lodi, the local team ASD Fanfulla are amongst the oldest in Italy, founded in 1874, albeit the usual more recent issues mean the current club are technically only five years old. The unusual name comes from Bartolomeo Fanfulla, a knight from Lodi who together with 12 other knights defeated the French in the challenge of Barletta in 1503, impressive stuff. Given Bartolomeo was a warrior, it will come as no surprise that Fanfulla are known as Guerriero, The Warriors, which should by rights set up a club friendship with Stenhousemuir! The tiddly capacity of 2,184 at Stadio Dossenina certainly rivals that of Ochilview. The clubs highs came in the ‘40’s and the ‘50’s with 13 seasons in Serie B in that period, although more recently they were awarded a Gold Star for sporting merit in 1974, but I can’t discover why it was given to them. The star certainly sits proudly on the club badge, and Fanfulla also won the Coppa Italia C in 1983/84, and this is when I push the couch out and hide, they beat Ancona in the final! They presently can be found in the upper reaches of their 4th tier division should the 19/20 season recommence. Passing north of the capital, the greater Milan area is home to many small clubs; Pro Sesto, who I saw once in Serie C at Cesena; Saronno, a town more famous for its Amaretto liqueur, and Milan City to name but a few, but in Busto Arsizio you’ll find Aurora Pro Patria, a patriotically named club “for the fatherland” as Pro Patria translates from Latin. The club enjoyed 14 seasons in the top flight, but the last time was in 1955/56. They are now a stalwart of the third tier, and they have a particular rivalry with Piemonte club Alessandria, possibly as a fellow regular C club, but should Varese or Legnano make it back to the third tier, move over i Grigi of Alessandria, these are the real rivals. The clubs QPR, or Greenock Morton -esque kit is certainly unusual in a country where hooped football shirts are not the normal. Busto Arsizio is just twenty minutes from Milan Malpensa making it an easy option for an in and out flight and a game in one day! It is thirty minutes north of Milan itself on the Malpensa Express train line. Five minutes from Busto Arsizio is Legnano, a town every Italian sings whenever the National anthem gets trotted out. This odd quirk comes from Legnano being the site of an historic battle victory of the Lombardia League over Frederick Barbarossa in 1176, with “Dall’Alpi a Sicilia dovunque e Legnano” being the line. While il Palio bareback horse race is most famous in Siena, on the 29th May each year the battle is remembered in Legnano with its very own Palio, a day that is a regional holiday for all Lombardia. Like so many of the teams we are dropping in on throughout this tour, AC Legnano enjoyed three Serie A campaigns starting in the 1930 when they debuted by beating Genoa 2-1. The last time they were in Serie A was in the fifties, a period of football history when this region of Lombardia was heavily represented in the top flight. Legnano’s colour scheme isn’t unique but lilac and white kit is certainly rare throughout the football world, with Fiorentina being the most well known wearer of such colours in Italy, albeit a darker shade. Legnano are in the 4th tier these days having been through the usual bucketful of financial issues. Just how will the lengthy gap affect clubs like Legnano once it is safe to resume playing? It is an unknown question for every club in every land, except Belarus it seems! Further north up the western boundary of the region is Varese. In Italian football team names, “ese” at the end usually means “team of”, Udinese for example, team of Udine. Varese is an anomaly as the town is known as Varese, not just its football club. Despite having fallen on desperately low non-league league status now, Varese’s ultras made an unwanted name for the town last term when they teamed up with Nice and Inter ultras to cause mayhem against visiting Napoli fans outside the San Siro. It truly is hoped that such depressing moments will disappear when calcio returns. Varese were a regular Serie A club for a decade having successfully negotiated back to back promotions to the top table in 1964. It was remarkable that they survived in the top flight for a decade without as much as an undue great escape, but in those days the word consistency could easily have been added to the club name. Even relegation back to B in 1975 brought another decade in the same tier, but since 1985 it’s been largely tales of woe. Roberto Bettega and Claudio Gentile donned their Arsenal-esque red and white shirt in the Serie A days. The stadium is one of those velodrome rimmed grounds that proliferated Northern Italy especially, and with a capacity of 8,213 it adds credence to the idea the club is too big for Lombardia’s third tier on non league, but just when they seemed to have steadied and are ready to move up, they implode again and Varese’s game of snakes and ladders continues. The stadium is called Franco Ossola in reverence not only to an ex-Varese servant, but also one of the Torino players who perished on Superga. The town also was the home of Giuseppe Meazza, and we all know which famous nearby stadium carries his name! Edging north eastward, Como is covered in another article in this edition of the magazine, a city that can be found at one of the two southerly tips of the two legs that make up the majestic Lake Como. The other leg is where you’ll find the slightly smaller town of Lecco, Como’s rivals. Lecco fans will probably chase me out of town for saying this if I ever get there to see a game, but they will forever live in the shadow of Como. Lecco have enjoyed three season’s in Serie A but 11 years after Como starting in 1960, a period when Como were in Serie B or C, and so this fierce rivalry has never had a top flight encounter. The 60’s and the early ‘70’s were Lecco’s heyday, but relegation in ‘72/73 from B was the last time the club were in the top two tiers. They can puff the chest out on one count however, unlike Como’s boom/bust days, Lecco have never been bankrupt. They were back in the third tier this season and got two feisty encounters with Como before it all came down. A rogue third wheel in the vicinity of Lake Como are Renate, who are covered in my article on Como, as was Monza very recently in the February edition telling tales of a side on the cusp of returning to Serie B which would merely act as a pit stop en route to Serie A for this ambitious club. However, will this virus see this fast moving tale needing to slam on the brakes? It has to be said, of the 13 games I have watched in Lombardia, the two I saw at Stadio Brianteo were both the most thrilling, 3-3 v Ancona some years ago, and 2-2 last November versus Carrarese. Next along our circle of clubs heading back towards Bergamo are AS Giana Erminio from Gorgonzola, a town more famed for its smelly, but delicious cheese. After a 105 years of under achieving Giana made it to the third tier in 2014/15 for the first time ever, and while they were bottom of the pile when the season came to a halt, the potential cancellation of the season might save them from being relegated. This season Gorgonzola has been home to Albinoleffe as well, a fellow Serie C club. With major refurbishments going on in Bergamo at Atalanta’s Stadio Atleti Azzurri D’Italia, the merged club from Albino and Leffe needed to find a new home, but Gorgonzola’s 3,766 capacity is in truth a better ground to create an atmosphere when they play. Back in Bergamo, one other club shares the name of this traumatised city with Atalanta, Virtus Bergamo Alzano, but the name is deceptive in that they are the reincarnation of Alzano Seriate, and they play in Alzano Lombardo near Bergamo in the 4th tier. This little down has been absolutely devastated by Covid-19 very sadly. So there you have it in a nutshell the main, and some of the not so main protagonists who play their football in Lombardia. A region that is going to have a sombre feel for some time to come. When all is clear and this virus is contained the world of football might look very different, not just here but everywhere. It is hoped that football clubs throughout the globe will survive, but in a country where summer bankruptcies are commonplace, we can only hold our breath and hope. The real heroes of this period in history are not the monied football stars, but the doctors, nurses, orderlies, policemen, supermarket staff, and everyone who has kept the wheels of essential services moving. I have two heroes in my own roster of Italian friends, neither of them in Lombardia, but Andrea in nearby Padova is working long hours as a policeman to keep the citizens safe, and Stefano in Ancona is working longer hours too in his medical supply company to keep hospitals replenished as well as looking after his elderly mother, I salute you both amici, I am proud of you. As to whether there will be a backlash against excessive salaries for a footballer, only time will tell. That is an essay, or even a book in itself, but I do acknowledge many footballers are donating vast sums or pulling their weight in helping out where they can, every gesture is appreciated. It will be even more acutely appreciated in Lombardia where the motto “Noter an’ mola mia” is the local Bergamasco mantra to get through this horrendous period of history, “we don’t give up”. If you have been affected by Covid-19, having had it, or lost a loved one to it, this article is dedicated to you, and especially to those we have lost. The football family is strong, and we join the Bergamsachi in saying “we don’t give up”. View the full article
  3. Latest from ICTFC GOOD NEWS & BAD NEWS Some real bad eggs out there.
  4. Latest from ICTFC TogetherNESS Great gesture from the club
  5. ICTFC have also released a statement regarding one of their players having reported in with similar conditions to Corona Virus. Read the article here
  6. Statement from ICTFC THE JOINT RESPONSE GROUP CAN CONFIRM THE DECISION OF THE SCOTTISH FA BOARD TO SUSPEND ALL DOMESTIC PROFESSIONAL AND GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE SCOTTISH FA UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE Read the full article here ICTFC have also released a statement regarding one of their players having reported in with similar conditions to Coronavirus. Read the article here
  7. Statement from ICTFC THE JOINT RESPONSE GROUP CAN CONFIRM THE DECISION OF THE SCOTTISH FA BOARD TO SUSPEND ALL DOMESTIC PROFESSIONAL AND GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE SCOTTISH FA UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE Read the full article here ICTFC have also released a statement regarding one of their players having reported in with similar conditions to Coronavirus. Read the article here View full article
  8. tm4tj

    Bronson

    Wonderful testimony to Simon that so many attended his service. Heartbreaking readings from his lovely children who have lost a wonderful father and a great friend to many. Let's make this happen at the Cup final against Raith Rovers and let Simon know he will be missed. Rest easy Simon x
  9. *** 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 !!!!!
  10. Caley Jags weather the storm. Inverness ran out comfortable winners as the game was played out in a mini storm. James Vincent opened the scoring on the half hour from a corner in a dull first half. A brighter second half saw James Keatings score a tremendous swerving free kick from 35 yards before Semple pulled one back for Queens in the middle of a storm. We'll put that one down to the weather. Miles Storey put the game to bed ten minutes from the end when David Carson slid a ball into the box for Storey to poke home off the post. The outcome was never really in doubt and just the tonic on a freezing night when the weather deteriorated as the game went on. Credit to both sets of players for getting through the game without hypothermia setting in. ☃️ Stirling Observer had this to say on CTO............. Good win. Queens were very poor. Took a wee while to settle into the formation but the goal certainly helped. Great corner from Keatings, with whip and dip. Vincent flicked it in. Second goal was a direct free kick from Keatings. It was a Ronaldo-esqe strike through the ball to give it swerve and dip. Keeper appeared to be distracted by this or the runners and messed up his balance. Ball went in quite centrally but moved an awful lot. Good strike from about 35 yards out. 3rd was a good run (again) by Carson. Was fortunate his flick through deflected into the path of Storey who was sharp to pounce and toe poke it in off the far post. Couldn't really see what happened with their goal. <checks video> Defence wasn't overly troubled. Mchattie swept up everything and Toddy won everything in the air. Formation suited most of the players particularly Keatings, Storey and Rooney. Carson had a super game again. Won back so many balls by harassing the opposition. Doran and Walsh seemed to enjoy their cameos off the bench. Corner flag on a bender..... Miles better............ Brrrrrŕrrrrrrrr Date: 10/03/2020 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1811 Referee: Steven Reid Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, Todorov, McHattie, Tremarco, Carson, Trafford, Vincent, Harper (Doran 77), Keatings (Walsh 76), Storey (White 88) Subs (not used): C Mackay; Davies, MacGregor, Scorers: Vincent (30), Keatings (57), Storey (79) Booked: Tremarco (29) Sent Off: none Queen of the South: 1 Lineup: Stewart; Ledger, Kilday, Semple, Kidd (Petravicius 39), Lyon, Pybus (Hamilton 75), Wilson, Mercer, Oliver, Dobbie (Paton 62) Subs (not used): Leighfield, Devine, Gourlay. Scorers: Semple (72) Booked: Ledger (88) Sent Off: none a
  11. Queens visit Another Tuesday, another game at the Caledonian Stadium, this time we host Queen of the South looking to get over the disappointment of a poor result at Alloa on Saturday. The game kicks off at 7:45pm. At the weekend, we went down to the Wasps who were absolutely buzzing. Only two goals which flattered Inverness who also saw a host of opportunities wasted. First half goals from Lee Connelly and Kevin O'Hara saw us leave Clackmannanshire empty handed. However, the disappointment was tempered by the fact that we actually gained a point over our nearest challengers over the week as all other sides drew again. I know, I know, it's clutching at straws a wee bit, but it's all we've got to be happy about after a grim week. Queen of the South went ahead in midweek only for Dunfermline Athletic to peg them back with a penalty just after half time. Gary Oliver had put Queens on their way to their first win in nine games but Jonathan Afolabi levelled from the spot. The Doonhamers have slipped into the play-off slot at the wrong end of the league thanks to Alloa beating us. However, we are still closer to them on points than we are to league leaders Dundee United. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Match Info Tickets Sports Bar Official report v Alloa Digital Matchday Programme ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Two other games on Tuesday night Partick Thistle v Dunfermline Athletic Dundee v Ayr United Queen of the South play Ayr United on Friday night. This is the third meeting between the clubs this season with Inverness victorious in the first two games, both 2-0 wins home and away. Queens are close to the relegation danger zone and will be looking to rectify that so expect a tough encounter where on their day, any team is capable of beating anyone in the league. Given our reluctance to beat teams in the bottom half of the league, this will not be an easy task. Hopefully the rude awakening at Alloa will stir the team and get us back on track. Sean Welsh and James Vincent missed the game at Recreation Park and Lewis Toshney came off injured after only three minutes. The news regarding Toshney is not great, he is expected to be out for at least a month with an injury to his quad muscle, and that leaves us wafer thin at the back with the run-in and Chocolate biscuit cup coming up. Once more Queen of the South will be relying heavily on top scorer Stephen Dobbie. Always a threat, Dobbie has eleven goals to his credit this term, meagre by his own standards. However, he is one of the best finishers in the Championship. Ignore him at your peril......... Simon Macdonald RIP The funeral service will take place on Wednesday 11 March at 12.30pm in the Funeral Home of William T Fraser and Son, Culduthel Road, Inverness, IV2 6AB, and thereafter to Kilvean Cemetery. All friends and colleagues past and present welcome. Family flowers only please, and money donations to the Scottish Burned Children’s Club welcome. As a mark of respect for Simon, the Fans will do their own tribute at the Challenge Cup Final against Raith Rovers. We're planning on having a minutes applause in the 44th minute for Simon / Bronson during this game. Something to note for later this month and feel free to make others around you at the game aware.
  12. *** 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 !!!!!
  13. Wasps Buzzing Inverness had to re-shuffle the back four in the third minute with Lewis Toshney unable to continue, Kevin McHattie replacing him. A deflected shot by Lee Connelly opened the scoring after 12 minutes, the ball entering the net off Brad Mckay. Alloa were on top in the early exchanges but Neil Parry had to make a brilliant save to deny Jordan White midway through the half. Alan Trouten extended the lead before half an hour had gone, scoring from close range. No further scoring after the break, but Alloa were well worth the three points. It should have been more, the woodwork came to inverness' rescue a couple of times in the second half. For Inverness it's a thoroughly disappointing result, undoing the good work in midweek. The only thing in our favour was we only lost one point on everyone else as the rest of the games ended in draws. Therefore, this week saw us gain a point on our nearest challengers. Still, in truth, it's results like this that have cost us big time and left Dundee united alone at the top. One step forward, two steps back! Brad Mckay returned to defence with Kevin McHattie dropping to the bench. James Vincent and Sean Welsh were still out. For Alloa, Ian Flannigan missed out but Neil Parry made his second start between the sticks after returning from injury. Great report on CTO forum from RIG............... Daylight robbery. We should have been absolutely pumped rotten today. I can barely remember troubling Parry until a couple of minutes from the end when Walsh flashed a shot just over / onto the bar. The rest of the game Alloa took us to pieces aided by some lacklustre defending from us. There was no one with the entire mountain range of the Ochils to stop Alloa taking the lead with Connelly having far too much time and space to lash a shot beyond Ridgers. Apparently it took a deflection but it was hard to see for sure from the other end of the ground. Not too long later the second arrived. Harsh free kick against White for handball but again we looked shoddy defending the resultant cross which found Trouten at the back post and he tucked the ball in from close range. There didn't look to be any ICT player in close attendance and if there was there were still other Alloa players unmarked in an apparent breakdown of who was marking who. Our only real chance came when White tried to seize on a knock down but from a couple of yards out he couldn't connect with the ball and Parry gathered. Second half Alloa initially seemed to sit in before quickly realising that a defensive pairing of Brad Mckay and Kevin McHattie can be easily be gotten at, and set up utterly destroying us. Star of the show Scott Banks tested Ridgers when he broke free and curled a lovely shot towards goal but Ridgers leapt across to block it. Alloa then missed what looked like an easy chance to get that third goal. Alloa forced Ridgers into a save but, with the ball bobbling just in front of him, he couldn't hold on and the ball broke free to an onrushing Alloa player who rounded Ridgers but then hit the post from a yard or two out. Banks again showed real class as he did spin after spin to dance through the ICT midfield and defence and he was unlucky to see another good effort go over the bar and Alloa had a further chance when they rattled the crossbar. Our only real second half chance came when Walsh sent a half cross half shot onto the bar but we were well and truly gubbed today. A lot to think about in the coming weeks. Highlights from AlloaTV Honest John..... Date: 07/03/2020 Venue: Recreation Park, Alloa Attendance: 712 Referee: Steven Kirkland Alloa Athletic: 2 Lineup: Parry; Robertson (Buchanan 66), Stirling, Taggart, Dick, Cawley, Hetherington, Trouten, Banks (Brown 86), Connelly (Thomson 76), O'Hara, Subs (not used): Wright; O'Donnell, Scorers: Connelly (12), Trouten (28) Booked: Thomson (78) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, Toshney (McHattie 3), B Mckay, Tremarco (Todorov 76), Doran, Carson, Trafford, Walsh, Storey (Keatings 63), White Subs (not used): C Mackay; Harper, MacGregor, Scorers: none Booked: Trafford (60), Sent Off: none a
  14. This is a piece that has been penned with a view to publication in Scottish football periodical Nutmeg No.16 in the summer about my friend Fabian Yantorno. The mere mention of the word Uruguay in a footballing context might still send shivers down the spine of Scotland fans of a certain age. The scars following the clash between the two nations at the World Cup in 1986 in Mexico live long in the memory, as well as with those immortal words of the late, great Hugh McIlvanney “These Uruguayans are coming in with awfully high tackles Jock”. It was an understated analysis of the hardman Garra tactics prevalent in the Uruguayan footballing psyche, especially in that campaign. The sending off in the very first minute of Jose Batista, to this day still the quickest red card in World Cup history, did nothing to aid the Scottish cause to find that all important goal. It was a dreadful game and a distinct new low for our National team that continues on a downward spiral. Some 25 years later, my best friend, journalist/author Andrew Downie and I were the first Scots to track Jose down since that fateful red card. Jose was living in Gran Buenos Aires, where he was coaching at a fifth tier side Argentinos de Quilmes. We went for a beer with him and some of his stories were hilarious. He did acknowledge that going in hard early was part of the tactics, but they rarely expected to see a first minute yellow card being brandished, let alone a red one. When he went back to the dressing room having been dismissed, the kitman was still in there and he told Jose to get a move on, the game would be starting soon, he couldn’t believe he had been sent off! Only three Uruguayans have played in Scottish football, the first two, Carlos Marcora and Gerardo Traverso played for the Dundee clubs a season apart. Carlos merely played one game for United in 2000/01 and Gerardo managed only two games across the road at Dens the very next season. Five years later in 2007, following the incredible promotion of Gretna to the top flight, Fabian Yantorno arrived from Montevideo club Miramar Misiones to try and aid their ultimately ill fated survival attempt. My own club Inverness Caledonian Thistle had by that time almost bedded into top tier football and by 2007/08 it was our fourth successive season playing the big boys. I was writing an article for the ICT programme for each home game on World Football in those days, and I would try to tailor the subject to something or someone connected with the visitors. It was always going to work a treat for Gretna’s first visit to the Highland capital as not only had I seen Fabian play in Uruguay, but I had taken a team photo of the Miramar team as they posed for the cameras ahead of a derby against Central Espanol with him in it. There is always debate as to what is the closest derby in the world, but when these two Montevideo clubs go head to head you can’t get any closer with both stadiums sharing an adjoining wall that runs the length of both pitches. As Fabian told me once we met up, the visiting team used their own dressing room and went to the away fixture across the wall through a gate separating the grounds. Gretna’s stunning rise up the leagues, and reaching the Scottish Cup final was a real life version of Kilnockie in Robert Duvall’s “A shot at Glory”, but whether the late dramatic winner at Ross County to reach the Premier League was a step too far will be debated for years yet. Interestingly it was a win that sent the Dingwall club back down to the third tier. Having to ground share with Motherwell was always going to stretch resources, and the Fir Park pitch just couldn’t cope with the extra workload. Fabian was a skilful, hard working attacking midfielder and his energy and link up play gave Gretna’s line up a little elan. He quickly became a favourite with the border sides fans. The pinnacle of his 21 games for Gretna was a fabulously struck free kick at Fir Park that sailed over the wall and flew past Artur Boruc in goal to give them a stunning 1,0 lead versus Celtic just before half-time. They held onto the lead until 4 minutes from time when the visitors bagged a brace in the closing moments to break home hearts. In early January 2008 I saw Fabian play for a third time, but once again Inverness overpowered them, following up on our 4,0 away win earlier in the season with a comfortable 3,0 success at the Caledonian stadium. I was always curious as to whether he’d enjoyed my programme article on Uruguayan football, but alas before I could make contact with him, his season took a cruel twist. Two weeks later amid a rare win for Gretna, 2-0 at home to Falkirk, celebrations were tempered when a clash between Fabian and Tim Krul resulted in the Uruguayan being stretchered off. His season was over with a bad cruciate ligament injury. It was an incident that certainly didn’t help Gretna’s cause, the club would enter into administration and be deducted 10 points before the season was over too. They picked up just seven points after Fabian’s injury, including a final day 1-0 win in front of just 1,090 fans versus Hearts at Fir Park in what would be clubs last ever game, with a goal appropriately scored by the clubs stalwart Gavin Skelton. A liquidated employer and a cruciate ligament injury was a terrible predicament to find yourself in, especially thousands of miles from home. A white knight arrived in the form of Mixu Paatelainen who gave Fabian the opportunity to use Hibernian’s medical and training facilities to recuperate and get himself back to full fitness. It was here that our paths finally crossed, as my friend Andrew got in touch with his contact at Hibs asking if I could meet Fabian and indulge my passion for Uruguayan football. Fabian recalled the Inverness programme article and he was delighted to meet up, so our first encounter was over a coffee in Starbucks on Princes Street. The chat flowed between two new friends with a shared love of Nacional, the biggest club side in Uruguay, as well as my ability at surprising him with my enthusiasm and knowledge of the lesser lights clubs of Montevideo and beyond. It was an encounter that set the tone for future encounters in Edinburgh, Hartlepool and Montevideo over the years. I had never befriended a footballer before, but Fabian is such an amiable chap it was always a pleasure. When you consider Uruguay has a population of just over 3 million, in South American it is merely a wee dot in terms of population and area. Quite how it has maintained such a high place in football’s World rankings is testimony not only to the countries enthusiasm for the sport, but also to its club youth system that continues to mould an extraordinary number of highly skilful players. More than half the population of Uruguay resides in the capital and in its midst are 35 of 45 registered clubs in total throughout the country, split amongst the three national leagues, that play in Montevideo, a considerable number of whom have their own stadium too. Fabian started his career with Bella Vista, one of three clubs who have their stadium in the Prado, an enormous park in the city. The stadium is called Jose Nasazzi, a club legend and one of the World Cup winners from 1930, a reminder of just how deep the success vein runs in Uruguayan football. Bella Vista, like the majority of clubs in the city, schooled and trained kids from a very young age. Fabian was with them from a young age and he stayed with them for five years having signed his first professional contract in 1999. However, he rarely broke into the first team and he only managed nine starts and one goal in that period. Despite a lack of game time at Bella Vista, he then moved across to Italy to play for Sambenedettese from the Marche seaside resort of San Benedetto Del Tronto. His one season in Italy’s third tier was a highly eventful first adventure in Europe. His heroics in 16 appearances for Samb helped them stave off relegation despite the players not being paid for months. The fans pleaded with the players to keep going and the town rallied to them, providing accommodation and food to help them through. Those who stayed and kept them up will forever live in the hearts of Samb fans despite the club going bust in the summer and demoted, but by then Fabian was back in Uruguay with Miramar. More recently I went to San Benedetto to see Samb and get a flavour of that miracle campaign. Local journalist Remo Croci still recalls fondly Fabian’s contribution to the cause. Once Fabian had recuperated from his knee problem at Hibs they offered him a contract to stay at Easter Road and although he made only half a dozen appearances as a substitute, his solitary full game for the Hibees ironically came against my mob Inverness, and our 2-1 away win didn’t aid his cause for a regular start. Mick Wadsworth, an English manager with an unusual managerial CV including DR Congo had been the man to see Fabian play at Miramar and he facilitated the transfer to Gretna where he would eventually manage himself after Davie Irons left. Their paths would cross again when Fabian’s time was coming to an end at Hibernian. Mick signed him for Chester City, where this continued curse on Fabian’s clubs arose once more. Despite a good pre-season, Chester went bust and didn’t even start the season. He headed back to Uruguay where he played for provincial club Atenas San Carlos making their debut in the Uruguayan top flight, a campaign that would end in immediate relegation. Mick came in for him once more and took him to Hartlepool in the English third tier where the club were flirting with play offs to step up to the Championship but collapsed alarmingly to just avoiding relegation. We caught up after a fine 2-0 home win against Peterborough near where he was based in the buffed up port area amid bars and restaurants that seemed more appealing and sophisticated than downtown Hartlepool. He was struggling to get a game as the season seemed to be falling apart for the club, and after just 17 appearances that season he headed back to Uruguay never to return to Europe to play. Having played for Uruguayan top flight strugglers IASA and Rentistas in successive seasons, both campaigns ended in relegation, in 2012 he headed to Colombia for his most consistent season of his career with 29 appearances for Atletico Bucaramanga in the second tier. He rejoined IASA the following season, and he has been with them ever since. More recently they have fallen back into the second division where I caught up with him last following a despairing 3,2 loss to Rentistas having led 2,0. I will be heading back to Uruguay at the end of this year, and as he turns 38 towards the end of the season, which runs April to December, I hope I will see him play one last time, but if not we will still share a very Uruguayan delicacy, Chivito Canadianense and a cerveza. We keep in touch despite the distance and I am very proud of our friendship, which long after he has hung up his boots we will still be friends. View the full article
  15. A spot of Recreation After a good set of results in midweek, the Caley Jags head to Recreation Park Alloa, looking to consolidate their position in second place in the Championship, the game kicking off at 3:00pm. Inverness were the only team to win in midweek as the other four games ended goalless. This will be the sixth meeting between the sides this season, with Inverness having three wins, the other two games were draws. Last time together we struggled to a 1-1 draw against the Wasps. A first half penalty was tucked away by Iain Flannigan but Jordan White rescued our day with a goal on the hour. Last time at Recreation Park we were on Scottish Cup duty and edged out Alloa 2-3 thanks to a late goal from Charlie Trafford. Alloa's top scorer Kevin O'Hara scored twice to square matters after Aaron Doran and Jordan White had Inverness ahead twice. We never find it easy on the artificial surface and I expect it will be no different this time round. Championship fixtures this weekend Aloa Athletic v Inverness CT Ayr United v Dundee Dundee Utd v Partick Thistle Dunfermline v Queen of the South Morton v Arbroath Here's Johnny.............. OFFICIAL PREVIEW Sean Welsh and James Vincent missed out in midweek but Lewis Toshney added some much needed solidarity to our defence. Brad Mckay will be available for selection after his red card against Hibs in the Scottish Cup and Robbo is hopeful Vincent will be added to the squad. Alloa's main threat will be 14 goal Kevin O'Hara although he is not the only player we need to be wary of. Kevin Cawley, and Alan Trouten are well aware how to find the back of the net, and at the other end Neil Parry made a welcome return to the goals, shutting Dundee out with a tremendous performance in midweek. That's some save by Neil Parry in midweek................. Bronson It should be noted that after the passing of the legend that is Bronson, his funeral arrangements have been released. RIP Simon. On behalf Simon’s immediate family, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has been in touch, shared their memories of him and offered their support. It has been truly humbling – we knew he was a great bloke, but this has surpassed even our expectations. His death will leave a huge hole in the hearts and lives of all who knew him. The funeral service will take place on Wednesday 11 March at 12.30pm in the Funeral Home of William T Fraser and Son, Culduthel Road, Inverness, IV2 6AB, and thereafter to Kilvean Cemetery. All friends and colleagues past and present welcome. Family flowers only please, and money donations to the Scottish Burned Children’s Club welcome. Please share this information with anyone else you think would like to know. — feeling heartbroken. As a mark of respect for Simon, the Fans will do their own tribute at the Challenge Cup Final against Raith Rovers. We're planning on having a minutes applause in the 44th minute for Simon / Bronson during this game. Something to note for later this month and feel free to make others around you at the game aware.