tm4tj

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  1. *** VOTING IN THE POLL ABOVE IS FOR PEOPLE WHO WERE AT THE MATCH ONLY *** If you were at the match, please use the poll above to vote for your top 3 players. As a bit of fun, we have also added an option to rate the referee .... Please make sure you vote for 3 separate players. If you make an error, let us know so we can fix it. PLEASE ONLY VOTE ABOVE IF YOU WERE AT THE GAME Anyone caught trying to cheat the system WILL be banned from voting in ALL site polls...this is your only warning. **NOT at the game ?** As a result of requests received, we have made a slight change to how these threads work for site users who watched the game on TV or listened to the full game live on the radio ....... You too will now be able to cast your votes, but should do it in the thread below, and NOT in the official poll above. Just list the three players of your choosing and award 5,3, or 1 point(s). You can give the ref a mark if you want too ! These votes will NOT be counted in the official total, as we only count votes from those who where actually at the game, but it IS a way for you to participate in the process .... which many people asked for .... a happy medium we hope !!!!!
  2. Pumped Again As sure as Inverness Caledonian Thistle can beat Ayr United, Partick Thistle can beat us. Partick hold the Indian sign over Inverness this season with another 3-1 win over second place Inverness. James Keatings had levelled an Alex Jones opener for Thistle, but further goals from Steve Saunders and Dario Zanatta made it a long and miserable journey back up the A9. That win moves Partick up to eighth in the table. Immortal Howden Ender was on hand to witness our demise....... Ok I have slept on it and my “report” will be more considered, less emotive but still very critical. I suspect that after savouring the win and performance at Alloa and the positivity following the Dundee game I may well have underestimated Plastic Whistle and I feel that the team did as well. We have been crying out for a Plan B and that has been recently been delivered and in some style. There may be a load of armchair managers on this forum but there were a few things tactically that Robbo was blinded to yesterday. You can play the tippy tappy football on 4G or well cared for surfaces in cold and frosty conditions. Robbo has introduced that recently but – when you are faced with a boggy pitch, it is feckin freezing cold, added to by a strong, swirling wind and driving rain (especially in the second half) then the “hoof” is a more sought tactic. McCall sussed us yet again. He played two lines of four playing deep in defence. They only pressed when we were in the final third. They were only too happy to sit back and let us play meaningless passes across the pitch and often played backwards as well. And did we do just that !! And then we did not use the width. When we did go wide we looked more threatening. How many times did Storey run forwards but then stop and play the ball backwards or sideways. Doran simply does not have the stamina and pace in such conditions and defensive set up. But then again we do not have a holding forward or a striker with the “poacher” penalty box instinct. I would also criticize Doran and Storey for not channeling back and that increased the workload on Carson and Trafford. Plastic Whistle had the old head in Kenny Miller (playing in central midfield) and pace up front which made them always dangerous on the counter. BUT we did not revert to the hoof and Robbo stuck by the starting XI until it was too late. Our following was bellowing for the changes eventually made since the hour mark and then it was too late. We were always “chasing” the game which again wholly suited Partick. Alex Jones, who had been wholly ineffective, popped up early in the second half to put the Whistle ahead. KEATINGS pulled one back and, at that stage, you felt that we would take over. Well we did possession and territory wise but always looked susceptible to the counter. Saunders put those thoughts to bed and Zanatta scored a third with the last kick from an incredible angle. Lets just sum things up as “so disappointing” and three valuable points chucked away. For once I can see the comments made by both managers afterwards. McCall said – “I was really pleased, I thought it was terrific entertainment. "It could have been 5-3 to us but yes a big three points and takes us above Morton. You are only four or five points off fifth place now so we've another big game next week." It was terrific entertainment for the home fans !! Our three would have come from goalmouth scrambles and/or from dead ball situations. Robbo replied - "It was a good game, both teams obviously had chances. I thought we were the better team in the first half, a couple of great saves from Scott Fox, a couple of great chances from set plays. And you need to take those chances." We had at least double the “chances” but they took theirs. We were the better of two bad teams at half time. I would have at least doubled our chances from set plays. And Ridgers kept us in the game in both halves with two sensational saves in both. I am sure that there will be a Happy Clapper stating IF we had gone 2-1 up or IF we had taken one of those second half melee chances. There are no feckin Ifs in football. And as for McLean and the stand side linesman it is more shocking proof of the deterioration in standards this season. Although they gave strange and bad decisions against both sides. I am looking forward to seeing the replay of the alleged White “dive” which did look more like a penalty from our distant viewpoint. Apologies if this Smileymometer is insulting and aggravating but it is a personal perspective and I dare not give points !!. RIDGERS – May have fecked up the third goal but he kept us in the game and is the only player close to being a MOM candidate, far less a MOM ROONEY 🙂 – Wish that he had been playing wide right instead of Storey. He was the one player looking to drive forward instead of the incessant “Ray Wilkins” passing tactics. TREMARCO 🤔 – Looked shaded but does not exactly get much defensive support from Doran. Is Carl hitting the end of his playing days ? DONALDSON 🙄– Appears to be trying to play in the Virgil Van Dyke mode. Unfortunately looked more like Dick Van Dyke at times yesterday. McCART 🙂 – Probably came the closest to scoring from the dead ball situations. Defensively and passing wise he was the Julie Andrews beside Dick Van Dyke. Perhaps he should have retrieved Red Cards brolly. STOREY 😖 – My high hopes blew away in the Maryhill winds. Why did he not run at the defenders ? I lost count of the times that he stopped, back tracked and passed back !! CARSON 😐 – I thought that he played well and gave his all. Again he rarely got forward and tended to be another Ray Wilkins impersonator. TRAFFORD 😫– Bad day at the office. Gave his all but his distribution was poor and he made no impact. DORAN 🥴 – Hugged the touchline for most of the game. Did not defend at all. Most of our good stuff came down the right and even Aaron resorted to the back pass. WHITE 🤐 – I have really tried to give him the benefit of the doubt but he did not win anything in the air and why did we relent with trying to play the ball into his feet. In his defence who was there to play it off to ? KEATINGS 😬– If that was playing number 10 then why was he so deep ? You cant be a playmaker and a No 10. He was deep playing balls into the feet (mainly White) but then who was playing off White. Answers on a small piece of toilet paper. ROBBO 😦 – You should have changed the tactics and McCall sussed that. Keatings......... Date: 14/12/2019 Venue: Firhill, Partick. Attendance: 2144 Referee: Steven McLean Partick Thistle: 3 Lineup: Fox; Williamson, Penrice, O'Ware, Cardle (Zanatta 58), Bannigan, Miller (Palmer 86), Jones (Harkins 72), Cole, Kakay, Saunders. Subs (not used): Sneddon, McGinty, Robson, Slater. Scorers: Jones (48), Saunders (64), Zanatta (90 +3) Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco (Harper 85), Doran (Curry 84), Carson, Trafford, Keatings, White (Todorov 84) Subs (not used): C Mackay, B Mckay, McHattie, MacGregor. Scorers: Keatings (57) Booked: White (35), Robertson (manager 35) Sent Off: none a
  3. Cheers To Mr I H Bender for this Preview
  4. Firhill for thrills..... This Saturday it's the battle of the Jags as Caley Thistle face Partick Thistle, second top versus second bottom with Firhill the venue, 15:00 the time. First time round this season it was the Partick Jags that came out on top in the Highlands but Inverness have put together a tidy wee run of three to bounce back to second in the table whilst the Firhill men are struggling to get away from the bottom end. All to play for on Saturday with a crucial three points for either team available. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ticket Info Adults: £20, Under 16s: £5 Concessions: (Over 65s*, students, disabled supporter including carer, 16-18 year olds) £15 Tickets available from Firhill on the day of the match. Cash gates will be available at turnstiles 40&41 and located in the Jackie Husband Stand. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The new manager bounce is long gone for the Maryhill Magyars, but when Ian McCall had his first game back in charge they were whipped 5-0 by Celtic in the League Cup. However, move forward three days to the Caledonian Stadium and the team with the greater desire on that day ran out comfortable winners as Inverness shot themselves in the foot......twice. It ended 3-1 to Patrick with Inverness the architects of their own downfall. Dario Zanatta opened the scoring early but Jordan White levelled ten minutes later. Kenny Miller benefited from some poor defensive play just after the break to put Patrick back in front and a late goal from Cammy Palmer secured the points. However since beating Inverness on the 28th of September, Partick have struggled to put a run together and still find themselves second bottom of the League with some indifferent performances. Three wins, five defeats and a draw plus 2 wins in the Chocolate cup and a narrow defeat of Penicuik Athletic in the Scottish Cup are the stats. A couple of really low points in that run were the 4-1 humbling from McCalls old team, get it right up ya, and an absolute 5-1 humping from Dunfermline with a 4th minute red card thrown in for good measure for Tam O'Ware. Speaking to BBC Sport after the Pars mauling, Ian McCall said: "We were very confident to come here and win but after four minutes everything changes. I think everybody was in shock, it's inexcusable."We didn't give ourselves an opportunity to win it and it was too easy for Dunfermline. I felt for the fans because it was a non-contest." Their last outing saw them come from behind to beat the inconsistent Queen of the South 2-1. Joe Cardle had pulled Thistle level after Connor Murray opened the scoring for Queens and a late Reece Cole goal nicked the points for McCall's men. How festive, goal king Cole! He's a merry olde soul apparently. Inverness are on a three game winning streak in the Championship, the latest win was a merited 2-0 victory over Ayr United in the Highlands. Superb strikes from Jordan White and a rejuvenated Miles Storey were enough to see off McCalls old side. Previous victories over Alloa and Dundee took us out of the doldrums with a virus possibly partly responsible for defeats by Arbroath and Dundee United. Not so much the fact that we were losing, but the lethargy was palpable. With all the catch up games played in midweek, the table now looks like this after 16 games. Arbroath v Dundee United Ayr United v Alloa Athletic Dundee v Dunfermline Morton v Queen of the South Partick Thistle v Inverness CT Immortal Howden Ender will be Previewing and Reporting on this game for us.......... The Magic Hat derby What is happening? Four clean sheets on the trot – Challenge Cup Semi Final, three vital wins, nine points taking us to second in the league. And there is more – Positive posts galore on CTO and not just the Happy Clappers. Are we going to have a very Merry Christmas or is the bauble going to shatter. Let’s enjoy our trip to Maryhill, let’s take something from the on-form Pars, enjoy Xmas and then gain revenge against the Smokies and enjoy a New Year that we surely could not have envisaged as the dark days of Winter brought initial gloom and doom to Inversneckie. But as the old adage goes “Let’s take one game at a time” so it is off to see the Hipsters of the West End of Glasgow. The Plastic Thistle are more unpredictable than us !! They get hammered by the Pars and then they turn up and turn over the Doonhamers in Dumfries. The one thing that you have to be envious of is the presence of a “Sugar Daddy” in the form of Lottery Winner – Colin Weir. He is the major shareholder, has a holding in the land at Firhill, is going to hand over “ownership” to a Fan Group by April 2020 and is funding a new Youth Academy. But Mr. Weir does not appear to be widely backed by the Magyar diehards and I don’t think that the potential of Jacqui Low and Alan Rough taking control is being heralded. It looks like they are putting a lot of faith in Kakay, Zanatta and Cole but are bemoaning a pedestrian back four which should be good news for us. Weir and McCall will need to dive into the transfer market and may well do in the New Year sales so we need to ensure that we take those three points back with us this weekend. Revenge is needed for the Ian McCall “first game back” defeat at Sneck in late September. That was well and truly three points chucked away and a performance only just worse than the Gayfield gutting. History would suggest that we usually take something away from Firhill and we don’t give away many goals either. Let’s hope that there is a 17-point gap between us come Saturday night. Robbo recently echoed the Seer recently and let’s hope it is an end of 2019 prophecy – John Robertson says Caley Thistle’s ability to string a run of wins together will decide if they are good enough to challenge for the Championship title. “Our problem this season is that we have not put a run together. If you look at Dundee United and Ayr they have managed to put five straight victories together. That is something that we need to do to get ourselves back in there. But I said to the lads find a way to keep winning games, pushing up the table and see where that takes us.” As for our starting 11 – well it is simply a case of “Same Again Please. To me that is not surprising given our injury list but I am surprised, albeit delighted, that our back five appear to have got back their mean defending after a leaky spell – Carson and Trafford have blended and are bossing the midfield – Keatings has returned to form and White has also shown signs of improvement and hopefully will be adding to his goal tally before 2020 as well. But the player who may well shine on Saturday is Miles Storey. The last time that I was in Maryhill we were giving him pelters – so lets hope that this time it will be adulation and applause. This is only my third away day this season, following Ayr and Alloa. Lets hope that it will bring about a hat-trick - another entertaining match and a 2-0 victory. And if we don’t I will eat his Magic Hat. Team News Sean Welsh is still out but recovering well from his broken foot. Carl Tremarco was injured last week and is a doubt. Kevin McHattie will be a ready made replacement should Tremarco not make it. Tom Walsh has missed the last few games with a hamstring problem and misses out along with James Vincent and Brad Mckay. ***Latest News*** Inverness u18 players Millar Gamble and Lewis Nicolson have been called up to the Scottish Schools FA Under 18 Centenary Shield Squad. Both players attend Culloden Academy. Congratulations to them both.
  5. Storey is Miles better.... Inverness did what they had to do to remain in second place, and they did it in style. A fine finish from Jordan White in the 20th minute was built upon by born again Miles Storey after the break who sprinted from ten yards inside the halfway line before drilling the ball through keeper Doohan who will feel he should have done better on that occasion. However, Doohan was the reason that the score remained closer than it should have been with a handful of excellent saves to deny the eager Caley Jags men who thouroughly deserved the win to keep them behind leaders Dundee United. Inverness went unchanged from last weeks win over Alloa Athletic whilst Ayr United were likewise with Steven Bell coming on to the bench. Inverness were looking for their third win on the trot and in contrast Ayr were looking to avoid a hat-trick of defeats on the bounce. A crowd of under 2000 were on hand to watch this game as the miserable weather continued with a blustery wind adding to the clilled downpours. The hosts started in confident mode and Jordan White headed a James Keatings corner over in the fifth minute. Aaron Doran was poleaxed on the edge of the box a minute later but the referee was not interested. The first of many frustrating calls by a referee out of his depth. Keatings volleyed across the box but it narrowly missed the keepers left hand post as the pressure mounted on the Ayr goal. A free kick over and another effort from Keatings showed our intent and a goal was imminent. Ayr's one fleeting glimpse of goal in the first half came when a long ball forward saw Mark Ridgers come thirty yards off his line only to miss the tackle. However, by the time Ayr got the ball under control and lofted it towards the box Inverness had bodies back and the opportunity fizzled out. David Carson picked up the ball in an attacking area inside the centre circle and drove forward before feeding White just outside the box. The big man took one touch then offloaded early as a defender tried to block. This seemed to wrong foot the keeper and the ball was tucked into the bottom corner with Ross Doohan stranded. Great goal from the big striker and no more than Inverness deserved. Miles Storey was beginning to see more of the ball after a sloppy start to the game with some wasted opportunities to deliver a telling ball. He got on the end of a long clearance from Ridgers but Doohan saved comfortably low down. He forced Doohan to earn his money shortly before the break after we dispossessed Ayr near the centre circly. The ball fell to Storey and he strode forward before unleashing atesting 25 yard effort that the keeper did well to claw away with a diving save. Half Time 1-0 Ayr began the second half on the front foot as the Caley Jags looked content to weather the storm, however Ayr got the break of the ball after a clearance fell kindly to them off the back of a defender but Alan Forrest shot across the face of the goal sneaked just wide of the post. Storey was looking sharper as the game wore on and when a clearance from a corner came to him some 15 yards inside his own half he did what he can do best. He sprinted clear with pace and power before deciding whether to cross or shoot. He elected to shoot and the ball squirmed away from Doohan and rolled slowly into the net for a superb individual goal. That eased the pressure in the home stands and gave us a cushion to work with. That second goal seemed to take the wind out of the Ayr sails and we looked most likely to add to our tally. Carl Tremarco went off injured to be replace by Kevin McHattie just after the hour. With twenty minutes left, Keatings and Doran linked well around the box and when Keatings returned the pass to Doran it took a superb reaction save from Doohan to keep the score at 2-0 after Doran's shot from 10 yards was goalbound. Storey was now in full flow and when he burst down the right flank, his cross was met first time by Keatings only for Doohan to pull off another tremendous save low down to his left. Ayr's best moment came soon after when Ridgers did well to spread himself and block an effort from Mark McKenzie after he was set clear on the right side of the box. The Doran and Keatings double act linked well again and after Doran jinked his way into the box it was left to Doohan to once more deny Inverness a third goal with five minutes left. We finished the game on the front foot and Todorov saw a header booted off the line as the game ran away from Ayr. Good afternoons entertainment despite the horrendous conditions and a well deserved three points for the hosts. Miles Storey was given the sponsors MotM award and few could complain about that although David Carson has picked up most votes on the CTO voting. No failures today with the defence once more back to their best, three wins and three clean sheets. Carson and Charlie Trafford were in control of the midfield and Miles Storey used his power to good effect, especially in the second half. James Keating was unfortunate not to score today and but for some heroics from Ross Doohan, Inverness could have gone nap! Weekend Scores in the Championship Inverness CT 2-0 Ayr United Arbroath 1-1 Dundee Dundee Utd 2-1 Alloa Dunfermline 3-1 Morton Queen ot South 1-2 Partick Miles Better...........MotM Robbo impressed........... Match highlights from Caley Jags TV Date: 07/12/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1833 Referee: Gavin Ross Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco (McHattie 64), Doran, Carson, Trafford, Storey, Keatings (MacGregor 85), White (Todorov 86) Subs (not used): C Mackay; B Mckay, Harper, Curry Scorers: White (20), Storey (63) Booked: Rooney (39) Sent Off: none Ayr United: 0 Lineup: Doohan; Houston, Muirhead, Byrne, Harvie, Geggan (McKenzie 68), Docherty, Kelly, Moffat (Kerr 78), Moore, Forrest (McGuffie 69) Subs (not used): Hare-Reid; Bell, Ecrepont. Scorers: none Booked: McKenzie (90+2) Sent Off: none a
  6. Mantis has a post code for ya, ya olde goat...... 3G71 5KO
  7. Ayr Pressure Ayr United will try to keep the pressure on Inverness in this top end clash this weekend as the Honest Men come North looking for three points after their midweek loss to the Pars, whilst the Caley Jags will be hoping to make it three wins on the bounce. It's second versus third in the Championship and an opportunity for the hosts to consolidate their position within the top four whilst doing some damage to the other contenders. Ayr United lost 1-0 at Somerset Park to Dunfermline Athletic thanks to a strike from Kevin Nisbet, his ninth goal in five games. Inverness remained in second place and this game would be the perfect time to lay down a marker and state our intentions. Defeat would be a blow and undo the good work of the last couple of weeks and hand Ayr, Dundee and Dunfermline the impetus to get right in the mix for second place. We overcame a difficult hurdle last week by beating Alloa Athletic 2-0 at the Indodrill Stadium. It took a fortuitous Scott Taggart own goal to get us going but there was nothing fortunate about Aaron Doran's half volley from 17 yards after Jordan White layed off the ball to him just on the break. No further scoring after the interval but the Wasps had a Dick sent off for a rash challenge on James Keatings. The week before, we had battled hard for a narrow win over Dundee, Doran scoring the winner in that game. It's good to see Doran getting back amongst the goals. He is the top scorer in our squad with 44 goals in 263 appearances and has scored four times this season. His form has picked up recently and he is starting to look a lot sharper than he was at the start of the season. The sketch is one by local artist Sophie Robb. There's been a murder & Pick that one out...... Here's the goals from the Rooney show @ Somerset Park... Team News from Ayr United web site: Steven Bell returns to the squad after illness but Kris Doolan and long-term absentees Jamie Adams and Andy Murdoch remain on the sidelines. Luke McCowan serves the second game of his two match ban. Mark Kerr said: “We were extremely disappointed on Tuesday night with the result and the performance so it’s good to have another game quickly to try and rectify that. It is never easy playing against Inverness but we have a big incentive knowing a win will put us back into second place. We are heading up this morning (Friday) and training this afternoon so we will be well prepared.” Championship games on Saturday 14th December Inverness CT v Ayr United Arbroath v Dundee Dundee United v Alloa Athletic Dunfermline v Morton Queen of the South v Partick Thistle Heeeeeeeere's Johnny............ And here's a man on good form just now.............. If you like a wee flutter, our partnership with FansBet can offer you something. Just click on FansBet to get started. "Remember to select CaleyThistleOnline when you register and you’ll be helping us support ICT fan causes." FansBet are partners with Supporters Direct Scotland and already have many impressive stories of giving back to and empowering fans, ranging from funding away travel, share purchases, backing safe standing projects and many more. You can read some of FansBet’s Giving Back stories on their blog at https://blog.fansbet.com/fansbet-giving-back/partners/fan/ .
  8. Our position at second in the league is under threat tonight as Ayr face Dunfermline st Somerset park in the first of their catch up games. Brora v Morton in the Scottish Cup tonight as well.
  9. And here it is, Johndo's full match report complete with extended highlights..........ENJOY!
  10. Wasps Sting Themselves... Inverness moved up to second in the table after a 2-0 win over ten man Alloa who had Liam Dick sent off just before the hour. Both goals were scored in the first half with Scott Taggart heading behind his own keeper and Aaron Doran brilliantly volleying home the second from a Jordan White knock down as the half closed. With Dundee United and Ayr United frozen out, we moved into second spot for now and moved a further two points away from Dundee who lost at home to Queen of the South in a dramatic late ending to that game. There were two games called off for frozen pitches. Ayr United -P- Arbroath Morton -P- Dundee United Alloa Athletic 0-2 Inverness CT Dundee 1-2 Queen of the South Dunfermline 5-1 Partick Thistle Immortal Howden Ender has this report for us........... Well at least I am enjoying my Away Days this season. Ayr and Alloa have been good choices. And here I was travelling up in minus temperatures, blue skies and sunshine. And then Radio Scotland announces that two Championship games have been called off. I forgot that the wasps nest is now of the 4G variety. And good to see a fair smattering of the old brigade in a 100+ following. Relaxed train journey with Mantis, into Bobbin John's with the McDonalds - Lynn and Ronald - only to be called to Drysdale's and participation in a PeaPod cast or something like that. And then a late arrival at the Rec but an enjoyable 45 minutes followed by a tolerable second 45. I would have to say that I was impressed by Alloa. Unfortunately their penchant to play football and dispense with the hoof was admirable but may also be their downfall. I don't think that the most staunch of us would have begrudged them a point at the end. The first half made good watching and both teams carved out chances. We also dispensed with the hoof, played football and used the extra wide flanks. I thought that Rooney was exceptional in that half. Ridgers had made a couple of saves, we had wasted at least two half chances before Inspector Taggart became Inspector Clousseau and headed the ball past the man who won us the Scottish Cup. And the eventual match winner came right on the half time whistle. A Rooney cross, exquisite head back by White and Doran curves neatly passed poor old Rod. As good a goal as you will see all season. Half Time 0-2 And then you would have thought that a complete Dick had opened the flood gates with a double footed, red card, over the top tackle on Keatings. But, we appeared to relax and wait for another opportunity. And a few came along but we fluffed the final touch. I felt that we tried to overpass at times. We should have gone nap really. But Alloa improved with 10 men. As is often the case we looked like the team with ten. When an Alloa shot hit the postage stamp corner there was a shiver, not caused by the minus temperature. But we held on and returned to Drysdale's a happy bunch. I will dispense with the smileys but my marks out of 5 are made up of 3's and 4's. Ridgers, Rooney, Coll, Tremarco, Carson and Keatings get the fours. I may also add Roddy McGregor to that list as his pace and movement was terrific when he came on. Carson sneaks in as my MotM - mainly for his defensive display and a developing partnership with Triffid. Let's hope that McCart has only a minor knock. My only other whinge, apart from not scoring more goals was WHY take on Curry if he is on his way out? So Aloha to Clackmannanshire and I may well be back. Have to save up for the Maryhill Caley Away Xmas party 🍺 From BBC Sport Alloa Athletic manager Peter Grant: "The scoreline was very harsh on us. To lose the goals when we did was a double-whammy. "But I was chuffed with the way the players went about their business. Even when we went down to 10 men we were excellent." Inverness CT manager John Robertson: "Both teams carved out really good opportunities. The first goal was really strange, the second was a cracker. "There were more goals if they showed the quality of the final pass, and that's what let us down second-half. We didn't make the extra man count." Extended highlights from Alloa Athletic FC Date: 30/11/2019 Venue: Recreation Park, Alloa Attendance: 721 Referee: Greg Aitken Alloa Athletic: 0 Lineup: MacDonald; Taggart, Graham, Deas, Dick, Robertson, Cawley, Flannigan, Hetherington, Trouten, O'Hara. Subs (not used): Henry; Gilhooley, Malcolm, Gillespie, O'Donnell, Buchanan, Thomson, Scorers: none Booked: Hetherington (70), Flannigan (80) Sent Off: Dick (58) Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, Donaldson, McCart (McHattie 76), Tremarco, Doran, Carson, Trafford, Storey (Curry 72), Keatings (MacGregor 73), White Subs (not used): C Mackay, Harper, Machado, Todorov. Scorers: Taggart (og 38), Doran (45) Booked: Keatings (72), Sent Off: a
  11. Preview this week from Johndo, have a read.
  12. AGM coming up. https://ictfc.com/club-statement-agm
  13. I have rarely ventured to the famous parthenons of World football, although I have gradually ticked a number of them off, albeit on a tortoise timescale. Occasional big gigs have been drip fed onto my stadia CV over a forty plus year passage of time! The Azteca in Mexico City and Racing Club’s Il Cilindro in Avellaneda run the Centenario in Montevideo close as my favourite, but It took the first ever Kazakh club side to play in England to get me eager to head to Old Trafford to notch up only my fourth “big” English club stadium after Anfield, Hillsborough and St James Park. I guess it makes me a relative novice in such surroundings! Holker Street, The Shay and the much missed Belle Vue are more my domain, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy my treks to more famous venues, and perhaps not being inured in the big stadium culture makes me view these arenas from a fresh perspective! Manchester United are arguably the world’s best supported team. The Ferguson era coincided with the explosion of global appreciation with television starting to bring games from around the globe to a wider audience, and being hugely successful at that time doubtlessly added millions to join their fan base. However, given the clubs stark lack of trophies in the post Sir Alex era, the transient nature of a distant fan might have seen their popularity diminish, but they still command a significant support. The nouveau riche from across the city might be the dominant force in Manchester for now, but it would take decades of City at the pinnacle for them to get close to United’s global loyal fans, and the longer the Champions League continues to evade City, the longer it will take. Money ultimately can only account for a portion of success and loyalty, and for a certain generation, the Busby babes who perished in Munich, with the subsequent team of Sir Matt Busby including the likes of George Best et all, it made them fall in love with the Red Devils of Manchester and started the notion that Old Trafford was the theatre of dreams! Old Trafford has changed beyond recognition from those black and white images of Bobby Charlton, Nobby Stiles and George Best weaving magic on a sodden pitch with what seemed like a white picket fence surrounding before the vast terraces rose skyward. The modern day stadium is flawlessly slick, sat in its own considerable grounds with no buildings in its immediate wake to spoil the view, making it look even more impressive! Outside the stadium in a separate building is the enormous ticket office, giving credence to the sheer scale of ticket organising. This office is just to the right of a walkway that has doubtlessly been constructed to replicate the feeling of Wembley Way! No sooner are you off the walkway than a statue of Sir Alex Ferguson greets you at the back of the stand given over to his name. The great man was so successful, and still in attendance as a fan, but even he must see that he has left an enormous problem for the club, just quite how do you get a team together now that could even come close to his hugely success “golden” generation where Beckham, Giggs, Scholls and the Neville brothers were the backbone that allowed the occasional stardust of Eric Cantona or a young Ronaldo to name but two, sufficient freedom to add that elan to a remarkable, and consistently successful United. The Munich air disaster is poignantly recalled on a wall near the sizeable club shop housed under the stand opposite the Stretford End. In front of the shop is a statue of Dennis Law, Bobby Charlton and George Best, perhaps capturing the most famous trio of heroes of the club from yesteryear on one large plinth, The United Trinity as it proclaims, and who could argue with that! Catering is available outside the ground, a veritable caravan of different varieties of takeaway munchies ahead of going through the turnstiles. Once inside, beer is for sale, unlike outside, as well as the clubs own catering menu, and then it is out through any given walkway towards your seat and that first sight of the hallowed turf and the full arena. It is a superb stadium with the Sir Alex Ferguson stand in particular an absolute colossus, towering high above the other three sides, and from the very back row you must be able to see out over the main stand towards the Manchester skyline. With the visit of FC Astana for the opening game of the Europa League group stage, the Kazakhs weren’t the top draw for a classic European Old Trafford night. Swathes of the upper tiers were empty, but a near 50,000 audience was still easily my biggest crowd of the season! The famous Stretford end to my surprise isn’t where the hardcore fans do the cheerleading. They are housed in the corner to the right of the main stand, and if thinking from a TV camera viewing perspective, they are largely out of sight from the cameras and extraordinarily close to the away fans. FC Astana’s enthusiastic 200 or so supporters would pale into insignificance against a Liverpool visit, although I immediately thought the next Euro guests Partizan Belgrade with their formidable Ultras would be a potential flashpoint if they are so close to the singing United core. Thankfully that encountered passed off without any undue incident, although I have to call out one or two naughty songs directed at the Kazakhs the night I was there, which appalled me! I have seen Kazakh clubs and the National side play in Scotland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and in none of these countries did I hear blatant racist chants, nor even one slight on the visitors from the East. I was on the point of walking out at Old Trafford, especially because of the sniggering at the songs by people around me in the Sir Alex lower stand, where my perception seemed on the face of it, a section housing fans who should have known better. It seems a topic quick to be called out when visiting other lands but it starts at home and their is a problem. It was over in a few minutes and doubtlessly swept away by those in authority on the night, but it was distressing, especially for the visiting fans, most of whom study here. This match-up would certainly not sit high on the roster of famous European nights at the old venue, with FC Astana happy to sit in and frustrate an ultimately youthful United side. As a keen scholar of the Kazakh game, and a Kairat Almaty fan at that, going to watch their fiercest rivals would be close to heresy in the grander scheme of fan loyalty! However, the lure of this morsel of Kazakh club football history with a first ever competitive game in England, it acted as the main ambition for my trip, as well as capturing a taste of Old Trafford for Football Weekends of course! The game stubbornly got stuck in the mould of defence versus attack, with an occasional attempt to break out by the Kazakhs, but just as they had started to look more comfortable, the introduction of a few United A listers with a quarter of an hour to go, Mata and Lingard especially had the desired effect of upping the tempo. It brought almost instant dividends with an exquisite strike from the most impressive youngster on the field, Marcus Greenwood to score the games only goal after some fine build up play.. No one could deny Man Utd weren’t good value for the win, but I am sure having held out until the 77th minute the long flight back to the Kazakh capital would have included discussions about “what if”. The subsequent lose at home to Partizan was enough for Astana to chuck aspirations of progressing in the Europa, fielding weakened sides in both ties with AZ Alkmaar as the need to retain the Kazakh league title became more pressing, winning the vital clash with Kairat and the title by a mere point. Manchester United are still a club in transition, still searching for the perfect formula to re-establish themselves as a title challenger, and while that looks a little way off presently, knuckling down in the Europa League is the new access to the Champions League by virtue of winning the tournament, just as Jose Mourinho managed amid growing pangs of angst amongst the United faithful that his tactics were too defensive and dull for the Man Utd template of more expansive and exciting ways of playing. There are accommodations a bit closer to Old Trafford near the Lowry Centre, but driving down from Scotland and uncertain of where would be a sensible place to park, I decided to hole up at a relatively new Holiday Inn Express near the Trafford Centre just off the M60 motorway Manchester ring road. There is just one bus route but that goes from the Trafford Centre to the city via Old Trafford with a stop right outside the Holiday Inn, and it goes past the Kellogg’s factory, a “who knew” moment for me! I had bought a return bus ticket but after the game with the traffic in the vicinity of the stadium slowed by virtue of the volume of people and traffic setting off, so I decided to walk the 2 ½ miles to the hotel with the idea that if I saw a bus coming I would hop on. However I was nearly back at my overnight base when the first bus sped by! It was an enjoyable experience, a rare chance to dip into one of the great stadiums of world football, albeit on a relatively sedate European evening, but we shouldn’t underestimate the significance for the Kazakhs in going toe to toe with one of the great club sides in their own backyard, The Theatre of Dreams, as they’ve coined it! View the full article
  14. *** 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 !!!!!
  15. Getting better! Inverness edged above Dundee in the table after a hard fought 1-0 victory in the Highlands. An Aaron Doran goal in the 16th minute was enough to take all three points in a game that Dundee enjoyed the possession but it was their hosts that created the better chances although we had Carl Tremarco to thank for a wonderful headed clearance to prevent the ball from ending up in the net before the interval. We weathered a Dundee fightback and should have added a second when Doran was clean through but dallied on the ball which allowed Hazard to snatch the ball from his feet when he really should have been bulging the net. However, his early counter was sufficient to move us into third place in the Championship. With the virus on the wane, we managed to get one or two back on the park but were still without James Vincent, Mitch Curry, Roddy MacGregor, Tom Walsh and Sean Welsh with Shaun Rooney and James Keatings making the bench. Dundee had Josh Meekings on from the start but there was no room for Danny Johnson who started on the Dark Blues bench. The hosts brought out the first save of the game when Conor Hazard comfortably denied Aaron Doran in the third minute from a free kick. Declan McDaid was looking dangerous for the visitors but the final ball was proving to be elusive despite Dundee enjoying the lions share of possession. David Carson had a shot blocked but in the sixteenth minute he would be the provider for Doran to score from a very tight angle as he met Carson's cross outside the back post. The wee man tucked the ball away brilliantly into the roof of the net to open the scoring. Carson's next attempt will probably enter the Guinness Book of Records for the wildest sliced shot in the history of the game; ever. We were living somewhat dangerously at times but the lads were putting in some effort as we kept Dundee at arms length with Mark Ridgers having little to do other than gather a few crosses comfortably. For all their possession, we were untroubled at the back until captain Carl Tremarco appeared from nowhere on the line to make a diving headed clearance from one of his own defenders (McCart) with Ridgers caught in no mans land a couple of minutes before the break. Where did he come from??? Half Time 1-0 No changes at the interval and the pattern continued, Dundee with the ball, Inverness with the determination to keep them out. Around the hour and Inverness passed on a glorious chance to seal the points. Doran was sent clean through on goal from the halfway line, but as he decided what to do, Hazard stole the ball off him before he made his mind up when it looked simple enough to shoot into the net. Great opportunity gone for a two goal cushion. The flow of the game was changing now as we became more visible around the visitors box and it was Dundee who were now looking to hit on the break as we flashed a number of balls across their box, but no takers for them. Fortunately our defensive unit was in solid formation and everyone was doing their job which restricted Dundee to fleeting glimpses of our penalty box with some great last ditch tackling preventing Dundee on the few occasions they tried to progress. It had been an edgy afternoon for the fans in the North stand, but we played out the final ten minutes at the right end of the park and Doran should have made the keeper work but his curled effort from the edge of the box dipped over the bar. Keatings did similar with a free kick as we ended the game on top and claimed all three points. This was a much improved performance from the one that saw the side slated for a lack of everything against Clyde in the Challenge cup a week ago. Tremendous effort all over the park although it took Miles Story about 85 minutes to burst into life. David Carson won the sponsors MotM, but today there were a few candidates all over the park. Great to see the defence keep a clean sheet and my MotM is going to Coll Donaldson who along with Carl Tremarco put their bodies on the line time and time again. What a captains clearance from Tommy to keep us ahead at the interval and Donaldson and McCart were back to their best and singing from the same hymn sheets today. Aaron Doran put in some shift, especially in the second half when he back tracked numerous times, much better from the wee man who scored his fourth goal of the season. Good all round effort from everyone, but it will be in vain if we can't keep up the same energy levels when playing the Alloa's and Arbroath's of this league. We have played better, but let's not forget that Dundee were expected to be at the top end of the league, so to take all three points from a tough encounter is pleasing. 😀 Doran's goal with Carson's assist Match reaction from BBC Sport Inverness CT manger John Robertson: "Our game plan was excellent and we had a real threat on the break. Our tactics were spot on today and we were competitive over the park for 70 minutes. "If we'd been a wee bit more clinical we could have won by a couple in the end. "It's a pleasing win. We felt we could keep getting at them. In the end I think we deserved the win and did enough to merit all three points." Dundee manager James McPake: "There wasn't much between the teams but we just didn't perform to the levels we've shown we can get to. "I think we were very wasteful. We had a lot of possession but not in the right areas where we should be hurting teams." Date: 23/11/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2184 Referee: David Munro Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay (Rooney 71), Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco (Keatings 82), Doran, Carson, Trafford, McHattie, Storey, White (Todorov 64) Subs (not used): C Mackay; Harper, Machado, Hyde Scorers: Doran (16) Booked: Todorov (74), Donaldson(75), Doran (83),Trafford (90) Sent Off: none Dundee: 0 Lineup: Hazard; McGhee (Kerr 70), Forster, Meekings, Mackie, Byrne (Todd 61), Dorrans, Ness, McGowan (Johnson 61), Hemmings, McDaid. Subs (not used): Ferrie; McPake, Robertson, Moore. Scorers: none Booked: Hemmings (75), Dorrans (90+1). Sent Off: none a
  16. Dark Blue test Crunch game coming up and the Xmas trees are not even up in living rooms across the North. Dundee venture forth to the Highland capital on Saturday as we look to get back on track after a disastrous run of results that has yielded only one win in our last six games. Kick off is at 3:00pm. Crushing defeats to Dundee United and Arbroath were particular lowlights, but the manner of our performance against League 1 Clyde in the Challenge Cup left a lot to be desired. We looked as uncomfortable as Prince Andrew at an interview but thankfully our penalty kicks were emphatic enough to see us through. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ League Match Ticket Prices Adult Senior Citizen 16-25 Under 16 Main £22 £17 £17 £6 North/Away £20 £15 £15 £6 Tickets available from the Club Shop, over the phone on 01463 222880 and online HERE All Armed Forces personnel can gain entry to Saturday’s game against Dundee for the discounted price of £10. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Having picked up only four points from a possible fifteen in our last five Championship games, we find ourselves above Arbroath on goal difference only and one point behind this week's visitors Dundee with their neighbours United looking likely to run away with the title. This is the only Championship game on this weekend with others involved in the Scottish Cup Dundee have been indifferent lately, but nine points from their last five games have seen them climb above us in the table after an inauspicious start to the season. Two defeats to Partick Thistle and the Arabs were countered by wins over Morton, Alloa and Ayr United. Inverness have suffered badly over the last few weeks as a sickness bug took it's toll on the playing staff and management team. That could explain our recent dip in performances since we beat Queen of the South 2-0 at Palmerston at the end of October. Tom Walsh, Roddy MacGregor and Shaun Rooney will miss out along with Sean Welsh. Here's Robbo talking ahead of tomorrows game. Dundee boss James McPake had this team for the Dundee derby last time out:- Dundee (V Dundee Utd): Hazard, Kerr, Forster, McGhee, Mackie, Byrne, Dorrans, McGowan (Johnson 64′), McDaid, Nelson (McPake 66′), Hemmings. Dundee have a full squad other than keeper Jack Hamilton who misses out through illness.
  17. We have an English side in the semi final.
  18. Click to view slideshow. I am sure when you hear the name Monza in sporting chat, unless you are a Formula One guru, you’ll switch off! The town just slightly north of Milan is synonymous with the race car scene, so fire up the guitar solo from Fleetwood Mac’s, The Chain, but while Monza might be the home to the Italian Grand Prix, there is also a football team too, and they might just be on the cusp of the clubs grandest days! AC Monza are the football option in the town that have been up to this point, in various guises, solidly and reliably playing well under the radar to anyone outside Italy, save the Calcio aficionado. As a club they’ve been going since 1912, but the road has had many potholes, culminating in a most recent bankruptcy coming at the end of the 2014/15 season. The phoenix club SSD Monza 1912 started life outside the professional ranks in Serie D, but they quickly won promotion to Serie C, the third tier, where the story is beginning to gather pace! Monza have never graced Serie A, and while they sit 12 points clear in the third tier nearing the halfway point in the fixture schedule you could be forgiven for thinking such a fine start to this campaign isn’t necessarily going to have anyone dreaming of local derbies with the Milanese giants anytime soon. However, at the start of last term, the financial security of the club found itself a sugar daddy! Having sold AC Milan, Silvio Berlusconi’s love for calcio and the Milan area was obviously still prevalent in his ageing mind, and he bought Monza! A divisive figure in many regards, the ex-President of Italian can’t be faulted for his love of our beautiful game. Last season Monza started to show signs of the form that has taken them well clear this term, and they very nearly added a fifth Coppa Italia C to the clubs roll of honour, coming up short in Viterbo. The home sides need was greater as the winner of this lower tier cup gets into the second tier promotion play offs, and while Monza had already secured a relative high berth in the lengthy 28 team competition, finishing twelfth meant Viterbese needed to win, and they duly did. Neither would make it through the tangled web of that play off series, and while Monza have gone from strength to strength this season, Viterbese continue to muddle along! Monza have been knocked out of this year’s Coppa Italia C competition, beaten 3-2 at home by Aurora Pro Patria, a near neighbour club, so it is very much eyes on the prize, a return to Serie B. Aside from winning the C cup, Monza have four Serie C Championship titles to their name, but no trophy is ever presented for such a success, however they do have a replica Anglo-Italian Cup from winning the 1976 edition. It was the first running of the cup after a small hiatus in the history of the troubled but entertaining tournament where “lesser” lights from both nations started participating from ‘76 onwards. They beat Wimbledon 1-0 in the final having gone unbeaten through the entire competition. The second tier of the Italian game is an old familiar place for i biancorossi (the red and whites), as the club have participated in 38 Serie B campaigns, (an Italian record) and never once truly troubled the promotion slots to A. They were last in B 18 years ago, so it might feel more like unchartered territory should they continue the pace to the automatic promotion place. If they were to shoot straight through the second tier, they wouldn’t be the first to achieve back to back promotions, SPAL certainly were one who did it quite recently. One thing I am sure of is the knowledge that the purse strings will be loosened in order for the club to have the best opportunity to reach Serie A. Monza’s home, Stadio Brianteo has a more than adequate capacity for C and B at 7,499, mostly housed within a sizeable roofed main stand, with visiting fans and home Ultras housed in the “curvas” behind either goal. Opposite the main stand is an imposing two tiered old unroofed stand, and whether it is available, should it be needed, or sat there unused as condemned and in need of upgrade is up for debate. Italian clubs register capacities lower than the actual, partly because the upper figure will rarely if ever be needed, and it also cuts down on bureaucratic paperwork for health and safety, stewarding etc. Monza’s full capacity is quoted as a whopping 18,568! If all of these seats were available for any future shot in Serie A, that would be more than adequate. As it is, the unused seating acts as a vaudeville-esque theatre piece for a game under the lights, with red and white spotlights bringing the whole thing to life, and beyond! In the build up to kick off, all lights, including the floodlights went off and sparked into life on and off as if disco lights to the music, with the strobing red and white effect across from the main stand being quite striking, let alone the dancing bulbs of the floodlight pylons! The floodlights had one final party piece with the letters of the home team being spelt out on them as the announcer read out the team lines! The Brianteo stadium is quite far out of the centre of Monza right opposite the race track area which is considerable in size. The road to the stadium might be long at 3km, but it is almost straight. If arriving by train from Milan at the main station in Monza it is just over three kilometres, but if it isn’t a night game the Sobborghi station comes into play, just two kilometres from the stadium. Monza is not far from Milan, just 15 km, and the frequent trains take between 10-20 minutes depending on the nature of the service. Trenord are the carrier for the local trains, and just beware that after a night match their trains don’t go back to Milan Centrale after 22,15, terminating instead at Milan Porta Garibaldi. With a population of 123,000 Monza is the third largest city in Lombardia. It’s proximity to Milan, the financial capital of Italy doubtlessly makes Monza a popular commuter town. There is nothing special here, only sporting tourism will bring anyone outside the business fraternity to Monza, but you will find hotel accommodation available should you wish to stay, assuming no Grand Prix is imminent! On my first visit to Monza back in 1998 I stayed in the city ahead of joining the away fans of my beloved Ancona at the Brianteo, a vital penultimate Serie B fixture, where only an away win would suffice to potentially avoid the drop. Three nil down, Ancona were waving B farewell with a whimper, but while wounded they weren’t broken, and as storm clouds gathered over head Ancona were throwing everything at the Monza goal looking for a winner, having pulled it back to 3,3 in one of the most pulsating games I have ever witnessed! As the final whistle sounded and the brave visiting players fell to the turf in anguish of being relegated, the heavens opened and instead of giving our brave lads a fine hand, we were all taking shelter under the terracing as it was one of the most biblical showers I have ever witnessed! Twenty one years on, I found myself back in Monza for an evening encounter with Carrarese, having scampered from Brescia where I had watched Torino tear the home side asunder. It was a cold, crisp night and two of C’s most entertaining sides were not about to let us feel the cold! Right from the off this was an absolute belter of a game, with Monza racing into the lead on two minutes powering home a header from their first corner. They kept up a relentless fast pace winning countless corners and keeping the reeling Tuscans hemmed in. What happened next is a script we have all seen played out on a football field before; Carrarese won their first corner, and from the ensuing melee they were level. Buoyed by getting back into the game, the action swung from one end to the other, and with only twenty minutes on the clock they stunned Monza by taking the lead from a well placed shot following a slalom dribble. The game ebbed and flowed from end to end and both sets of players headed down the tunnel for a well earned rest without any more goals, but quite how was mystifying! If Monza were once kings of B, Carrarese are the C equivalent, almost reliably solid and entertaining, but an “always the bridesmaid” kind of team. The second half continued in a similar vein with Monza especially looking the more dangerous side, and just about everyone in the stadium of a home persuasion thought they’d equalised except the important people, the officials. It was a decision that sparked a mini bout of a handbag reenactment of a battle, where just one yellow card was brandished on the field, but a Carrarese coach was told to walk the plank! Having subsequently seen the incident, the ball hadn’t crossed the line, it was a brave save. The tactic of arrowing a dangerous ball from the right wing into the left side of the visitors box was proving a useful weapon, and if the keeper had prevented that ball crossing the line once, the very next time the same ball zipped across, Carraese were a defender light again and this time the net bulged for the equaliser. Carrarese were punch drunk by now and offered little in attack, but they held out for a priceless point, and both sets of players deserved the applause at the end. This had been Serie C football at its very best, a tremendous advert for the Italian third tier. As to whether Monza can scale the heights to Serie A remains to be seen, but if they do, it might just give the place a little more sporting acknowledgement away from the race track! View the full article
  19. Click to view slideshow. As Henley the Scrounger said to the poorly sighted Colin the Forger, “twenty minutes over this ridge, next stop Switzerland” !! Buckle up, we are off to the land of clocks, chocolate, cheese and Calcio Swiss style! I am sure when readers are planning a trip there is always a desire to collect information on all available fixtures within a given travel distance of your chosen base ahead of making the finalised plan. It is always a little more of an allure if that plan includes a cross-border game! That was exactly my situation when contemplating the options for an early November last year with my trip to North Italy, where thankfully TV schedules seemed secured earlier than normal. I had booked flights Friday to Monday but when the Europa League group fixtures became known I contemplated flying out a day earlier as Lugano were scheduled to play Malmo, a city reasonably close to Milan. It had the look of an entertaining joust, but something made me hold off making the flight alteration, which transpired to be a good idea as Lugano’s Cornaredo Stadium isn’t up to UEFA standards apparently and they are having to travel some distance to St Gallen to host games in front of considerably lower crowds than had they been able to play in front of at home. I am sure these circumstances were of great disappointment to the good people of Lugano as it is 250 kilometres to St Gallen! All was not lost on the notion of catching a game in Ticino, the Italian speaking region of Switzerland. Europa League duty guaranteed a Sunday fixture, and a home one at that with Lugano hosting big boys FC Basel! The lakeside beauty of Lugano for a day, or pitch up in the commuter town of Busto Arsizio solely for the game?! The feisty rivalry between Aurora Pro Patria and Alessandria in Italy’s Serie C would have to wait another season! It was a no brainer, Switzerland won hands down! I had been there a few times but not since 1986 or so, and never for a game, but arranging this adventure, Switzerland became the 30th country I have watched a game! I bought my ticket online via the Lugano website (Swiss Francs, 24 for the terracing at the side of the main stand), but even with Basel in town the early purchase had been unnecessary as the ground was nowhere near full. As the train snakes around the hillsides and through tunnels from Como, via Chiasso the Swiss border town, the height of the Lugano Prealps, as the mountains in this region are known, seem to get higher and higher with the snow caps showing more frequently. It is an awe inspiring view as the train edges around the lake ahead of Lugano coming into sight. The railway station sits high above the majority of the city and from just outside it affords wonderful views across Lugano rooftops, spires and out across the lake, as well as allowing the football fan to get a first glimpse of the Cornaredo floodlight pylons off in the distance! It’s a good old hike from here to the stadium, but the game wasn’t until 4pm and arriving at just after 10,30 in the morning following the 90 minute train from Milan, with the sun shining I was relishing plunder the city ahead of the football. Lugano is beautiful, it’s crescent shaped coast affords wonderful lakeside walks with cafe stops aplenty, piers for lake tour boats to whisk you off out to sea, or merely a pedalo for hire for more sedate recreational inshore fun! With a population of 63,185 Lugano is the ninth city of Switzerland, but it is the largest Italian speaking place in the world outside Italy, but it isn’t the capital of Ticino, that honour falls to Bellinzona further north in the region. A funicular railway will take you from the station down into the city, or you can just walk, albeit a zig zag route, steps and all, but it is relatively easy. As you’d expect of a well to do Swiss lakeside city, the streets, the houses and the gardens are immaculate indeed the whole place is pristine and clean, and the shops are largely designer! There are bars and restaurants to accommodate all tastes, and a MacDonald’s that must have one of the most glorious views of any in its franchise portfolio! We might scoff at such a venue for lunch, but if you are on a tight budget it’s an option as nothing is cheap, indeed the local shops etc will happily take your Euros but on a 1:1 basis to the Swiss Franc with change given in the local currency. The Cornaredo Stadium is 3 kilometres from the centre of the city and its shoreline. I was there on a Sunday, a day when some of the bus routes aren’t running, but the walk to the stadium is flat, leisurely and leafy, as well as being as straight as an arrow following a small river that acts as a tributary of the lake. Eventually the buildings dissipate and fenced off practise pitches act as a forerunner to the stadium coming into view. Don’t bank on following the black and white scarves or flags to guide you towards the stadium as I only ever saw a handful of club colours and even then, only in the immediate vicinity of the stadium! With a capacity of just 6,330 the Cornaredo is a relatively small venue, but given it was maybe just over half full for the visit of the big boys from Basel, the stadium perhaps rarely gets close to a sell out these days. It is a municipal facility with one of those pesky running tracks around the pitch. It is also sadly surrounded by unnecessary fencing which doesn’t unduly impinge on your viewing if you are on the top steps of the relatively low terracing, but a seat in either stand will alleviate any viewing issues completely. Next to the main stand is an unusual glass house stand with a lot of soft seating acting as the hospitality zone, and with the visit of Basel this area was certainly full. FC Lugano are in their eighth passage of Swiss club football history in the top flight. Having been founded in 1908 the club made its First Division debut 14 years later in 1922. In 1931 they won their first honour, the Swiss Cup, a trophy that has headed to Lugano on two more occasions in 1968 and 1993, with both wins seeing the club qualify for Europe, with lofty league position also adding to the clubs eight Euro campaigns. The last two Euro outings were relatively fruitless attempts at getting out of Europa League groups in very recent years where they qualified directly, doubtlessly aided by the efforts of FC Basel and Young Boys Bern on the Swiss co-efficiency table! Amongst the first six ever European games Lugano ever played were against three of the giants of the continent, starting with a European debut in the Cup Winners Cup of 1968/69 against Barcelona, losing 4-0 on aggregate. Twenty five years later, having got by Belorussian outfit Neman Grodno 6-2 on aggregate to give Lugano a first ever Euro progression, Real Madrid were next in Ticino, with the Spanish winning 3-1 en route to a 6-1 aggregate success. Two years later, having seen off Jeunesse Esch, Lugano claimed their most famous scalp beating Inter Milan 1-0 at home and holding on for a 1-1 draw at the San Siro! It was the last time the club progressed in Europe as Slavia Prague saw them off with home and away wins in the next round. Lugano also have three Swiss league titles on the clubs roll of honour; 1938, 1941 and 1948 all long before the European Cup came along, so they have never had the opportunity to play in the top competition thus far, not that actually winning the title is paramount for an invite these days! The darkest period in the clubs history came in 2003 after relegation from the top flight, when the club was declared bankrupt. Only in 2004 following that familiar quirk in Italy where the club “merged” with an unassuming backwater side Malcantone Agno, and moving it to Lugano, changing the badge and club colours back to the original black and white kit, essentially a usurping, albeit temporarily becoming AC Lugano. They set about working there way through the Swiss leagues returning to the Super League in 2015 where they have settled ever since, qualifying twice for the Europa League via a high league placing. It was both interesting and sad to read in the excellent little free programme that a Ticino super club is being muted, where Bellinzona, Chiasso and Lugano would all pull resources to compete with the more powerful clubs in the German and French regions. Bellinzona in particular have been struggling to get back to an acceptable level, but if this was going to happen it would be another sad essay on the modern game. I for one hope these three famous Ticino clubs retain their independence. From a home perspective the first half of the Basel game was a shocker. Perhaps the legs were tired after the effort put in during the 0-0 draw on Thursday versus Malmo, coupled with being sent out in a containing formation rather than getting the sleeves rolled up and getting stuck into their more illustrious visitors. It got me thinking that Basel doubtlessly face this tactic in a number of games just as the big duo in Scotland seem to command similar subservience! Leading 2-0 and having rarely broken sweat, it was a good thing the visiting fans were in fine voice otherwise the atmosphere which was already sedate would have edged toward the point of comatose! When I was watching Sassuolo in Reggio Emilia a couple of days before Lugano, the small band of Ultras was positively miniscule by Serie A standards, but they had way more than the thirty or so who gathered on the terrace behind the goal at the Cornaredo and tried to give a little home spin to the atmosphere, but they were badly out sung by the visiting end. Indeed, an attempt by the Basel fans to sing in Italian to insult the Luganese didn’t draw any form of vociferous riposte, merely brought a bout of tutting and head shaking from those around me! We are in the realm of the mature, adult attitudes toward football! The second half saw Lugano a bit more energised as Basel, who also had a Europa League game on the Thursday, resorted to stifling tactics, but the home side did create moments of mayhem, crashing one against the bar and forcing the keeper to show agility. Had they pulled one back it would have seen a cracking conclusion, but as it was, with the last kick of the game Basel scored a third, almost apologetically, a job well done for them. Lugano’s season has started in a spluttering fashion, perhaps hampered by the extra distraction of six Europa League games, all technically away encounters, but I hope they will stay clear of relegation and keep the flag of Ticino flying proudly in the Swiss Super League. View the full article
  20. Clyde pay the penalty Clyde were the visitors for the quarter final tie in the Chocolate Biscuit Cup and it was literally survival of the fittest for both sides who had depleted squads. A sickness bug at the Caledonian Stadium has been doing the rounds on and off the park and Clyde were somewhat diminished with an injury ravaged squad. Strangely, Inverness fielded what on paper was almost a regular first team squad. Not necessarily a good thing to be honest. Clyde were without top scorer David Goodwillie amongst others. Let's be frank, this was a rank rotten performance with Inverness looking like a second division Welfare team. That's maybe doing Welfare league sides a disservice such was our inability to play football. We struggled badly to create anything worthy of note and Clyde looked more likely to score from open play than us. We had MotM Mark Ridgers to thank for a couple of great saves, one in particular warming the palms of the home fans when McStay let fly from 25 yards. We couldn't muster any decent chances in 93 minutes of football. Thankfully, our penalty kicks were brilliant, absolutely clinical and with Ridgers making two superb saves we go into the semi-finals with Raith Rovers, Patrick Thistle and the Rangers u21 team. Our penalty takers were Todorov, Tremarco, Donaldson and Keatings. Grant and McMullin were the Clyde scorers. Nothing to see here, move along............ Bazza after the game.......... Danny Lennon: "Regardless of going out, which is disappointing, we took a lot from the game today. To come and play a team going well in the Championship and compete - and how we did in the second half was absolutely fantastic. We had probably the best two or three chances." "We can take confidence from how well we acquitted ourselves. What's pleasing is how we started the game - that's something that's been indifferent for us in recent weeks. We're stretched at the moment but the players that came in did very well." "Our fans (126) were there to be seen and heard today and I thank all of them for making the journey. Although we're disappointed not to be in the semi-final, we can take a lot of positives from the game and I'm sure the fans - like us - want to see that on a regular basis." Date: 16/11/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1066 Referee: Gavin Ross Inverness CT: 0 (4 pens) Lineup: Ridgers; B McKay, Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco, Doran, Trafford (Carson 81), Vincent, Curry (Keatings 63), Storey, White (Todorov 70) Subs (not used): C Mackay; Harper, Machado, Scorers: Penalty shoot-out: Todorov, Tremarco, Donaldson, Keatings. Booked: Carson (83) Sent Off: none Clyde FC: 0 (2 pens) Lineup: Mitchell, Duffie, McNiff, Howie, Rumsby, Grant, Wallace, McStay, Smith (Lamont 72), Cuddihy, Lyon (McMullin 83). Subs (not used): McGee, Allison, McNiven, . Scorers: Penalty shoot-out: Grant, McMullin. Booked: Duffie (33), Wallace (73). Sent Off: none a