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hislopsoffsideagain last won the day on January 5 2023

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  1. Ah, it's that time of year again. I don't have much time for blogging these days, but I will always try and make an exception for this. The eleven previous 'winners' of our Worst Signing award: 2012/13: Rory Boulding (Kilmarnock) 2013/14: Stephane Bahoken (St. Mirren) 2014/15: Jim Fenlon (Ross County) 2015/16: Rodney Sneijder (Dundee United) 2016/17: Joey Barton (Rangers) 2017/18: Eduardo Herrera (Rangers) 2018/19: Umar Sadiq (Rangers) 2019/20: Madis Vihmann (St. Johnstone) 2020/21: Shane Duffy (Celtic) 2021/22: Matty Longstaff (Aberdeen) 2022/23: Anthony Stewart (Aberdeen) Yes, Mark Birighitti should have won last year, not least because if one of those eleven was a keeper then we could have had a proper starting XI of crap. So as is tradition, the list is split in two. This is the appetiser, if you like; a countdown of the players I ranked from 11 to 25. The main course is still to come, but folk will at least be able to work out the ten names based on who hasn't been mentioned so far. Given they have stunk up the place this season, I am surprised as anyone by the lack of Livingston players. Seems like they just signed an awful lot of 'not very good' rather than 'awful beyond belief' but I'm happy to be corrected on this... Enjoy! 25= OWEN BEVAN (HIBERNIAN), MARCEL LEWIS (DUNDEE) Hooray for loan players who never actually play! Bevan's move from Bournemouth to Hibs lasted about 30 seconds before it was cancelled due to aggravation of an existing injury. Lewis, meanwhile, remained at Dundee for the entire first half of the season without playing a single competitive first team game. He did however get a run out in Cammy Kerr's testimonial where after 70 minutes he was replaced (kind of) by Ivano Bonetti... 24. JILI BUYABU (MOTHERWELL)Signed on loan from Sheffield United on deadline day at the end of the winter window. Played 33 minutes as a sub in the defeat to Morton in the cup. Left 20 days after signing for 'personal reasons'. Maybe one day he can come back, possibly in a coaching role? 23. APHELELE TETO (LIVINGSTON)Is Teto still a Livingston player? Heck, was he ever a Livingston player? The young South African midfielder was signed even though he was denied a work permit, because it was thought he'd be eligible for one once he'd been called up for the next international U-23 squad. The only problem was that South Africa U-23s haven't played since March 2023 and don't have any fixtures scheduled...in the meantime the club announced a plan for him to go out on loan, which never happened, and by January he had to return to South Africa as his visa had expired. The plot thickens still further, as he has three years left on his contract but Livi claim that his wages are paid by his former club TS Galaxy. No, I have no idea why that would be the case either. 22. SCOTT HIGH (ROSS COUNTY) A former Scotland under-21 international (no, I'd not heard of him either) the 22 year old Huddersfield loanee managed 24 minutes of first team action across two sub appearances for County before returning south in January, meaning that he played more first team minutes for his parent club this season (45 in the English League Cup). High has subsequently moved to Dundalk where he is doing rather better. 21. DARA COSTELLOE (ST. JOHNSTONE) Costelloe has done rather better after he switched loan clubs from St. Johnstone to Dundee in January, but Saints fans are unanimous in their derision for his performances in the first half of the season. Costelloe notched up as many red cards as goals for St. Johnstone. Charlie Adam, who is Burnley's loan manager, insisted in October that Costelloe was "loving it" in Perth; Costelloe later admitted it reached the point that he received 'hate mail' from supporters. 20. CALLAN ELLIOT (MOTHERWELL) The 24 year old New Zealand international signed in January after ten months without a club; Stuart Kettlewell boasted that he could "add a lot to the team". So far that consists of five occasions as an unused substitute. Still, I like the picture there that the club used to announce his arrival, which has massive 'cover of former nineties boyband member's debut single' vibes. 19. SAM MCCLELLAND (ST. JOHNSTONE) McClelland seems to have improved Dundee United's defence since moving there on loan, but it seems unlikely that he has a future at McDiarmid Park. The Northern Irishman was one of a number of Steven MacLean signings who were quickly sidelined by Craig Levein. The Saints were winless in his seven appearances for them and his last Premiership game was at the end of September. 18. KEVIN VAN VEEN (KILMARNOCK) Van Veen's incredible 2022-23 season for Motherwell feels like it was a long time ago now. The veteran Dutch striker had lots of loan suitors in January but chose Kilmarnock where a combination of the excellent form of Kyle Vassell and Marley Watkins and some lacklustre showings off the bench have meant nothing but sub appearances (apart from a single cup start). Maybe he just needs a run of games, but he's not done enough to deserve it. And one suspects Killie are paying a decent proportion of a decent wage. Van Veen also gets marked down for his squad number; '99' is an ice cream with a flake, not a number on a football shirt, and no-one will ever convince me otherwise. 17. JAY TURNER-COOKE (ST. JOHNSTONE) Turner-Cooke's season-long loan from Newcastle was cut short in January after just six appearances, ostensibly because of a hernia. However he'd barely played since Craig Levein became manager and has not been missed. The club's record whilst he was on the pitch? Scored zero, conceded six. 16. ANDREW DALLAS (KILMARNOCK) Kilmarnock are lucky that Kyle Vassell and Marley Watkins have stayed fit as well as in form all season. Dallas came off the bench fifteen times and scored zero goals before returning to parent club Barnsley in January. He spent the second half of the season on loan at Oldham, where he hasn't scored either. Curiously, there is an ongoing EFL investigation into the paperwork (at Barnsley's end) regarding the loan move to Killie. 15. MARCO TILIO (CELTIC) Celtic fancy that they can afford seven figure sums on 'developmental players' - see also Kwon Hyeok-kyu - but they really can't. A £1.5m winger needs to be challenging for first team action from the get-go, but Tilio - whose fee was the highest ever for an A-League player - was so far away from that level that he was loaned back to Melbourne City in the January transfer window. His manager in Oz claimed Tilio "hadn't had much fun at Celtic". I imagine the feeling is mutual. The Australian's two sub appearances may ultimately be his only ones for the club. 14. CAMERON BORTHWICK-JACKSON (ROSS COUNTY) It's less than eight years since a teenage Borthwick-Jackson was starting games for Manchester United in the Premier League. The left-back said he moved on loan to Dingwall from Slask Wroclaw because he "felt wanted" by them; that feeling won't have lasted long, as Borthwick-Jackson's only four starts came in his first four games at the club and he's been stuck on the bench ever since a 5-0 pasting at Motherwell ended Derek Adams' tenure.. 13. MICHAEL NOTTINGHAM (LIVINGSTON) Unlike most names on this list, Nottingham has been a first choice for his club this season when fit, but Livi fans are unanimous in their derision for his performances, to the point that I feared a lynching if I didn't put him on this list. The 34 year old was supposed to add experience and leadership to the defence but instead has been one of the factors in their slide towards the Championship. 12. OR DADIA (ABERDEEN) Nine months before signing for Aberdeen, Dadia made his international debut for Israel, meaning that he has played once more for his country than he ever did for the Dons. Dadia rarely made the bench unless it was a Conference League game where each team is allowed a million subs and even when Nicky Devlin wasn't playing he still couldn't get in the team. Terminating his loan in January was a blessing for everyone. And as for that moustache in his signing photo...I can't get the thought of him saying "I have come to fix ze fridge" in a Dutch accent out of my head. 11. MAIK NAWROCKI (CELTIC) Nawrocki avoids the top ten on the grounds that there still seems to be a small chance that his Celtic career can be salvaged. He's also had ongoing issues with a hamstring injury and hasn't completed 90 minutes since August. Nevertheless, one would have expected a £4m centre-back to start more than six league games (at the time of writing) and certainly not to be left out at times in favour of Liam Scales and Stephen Welsh. The top ten will be up in the coming days... Lawrie Spence has whinged about Scottish football on Narey's Toepoker since September 2007. He has a life outside this blog. Honestly. View the full article
  2. So the folk who actually own a significant chunk of the club are the same old names from the good old days - Sutherland, McGilvray, Savage, the Muirfield Mills folk. Should they be either sticking their heads above the parapet or forcing change behind the scenes, before it all goes completely to hell?
  3. From the last info available on Companies House, I believe these are the people/groups with 50,000 shares or more: No. shares Inverness Caledonian Thistle Trust Limited 729500 Caledonian Football Club 600000 Graham Rae 382400 Former Chairman (Muirfield Mills) Inverness Thistle Football Club 300000 Orion Engineering Services Limited 275189 (Alan Savage - Former Director) Dugald McGilvray 275167 Former Chairman Iain McGilvray 191816 Orion Group UK Limited 191317 (Alan Savage - Former Director) David Cameron 175000 Director Roderick Ross 170000 Club President Richard Hillier 164900 (Muirfield Mills) Russell Cameron 102150 (Muirfield Mills) Dornoch Developments Ltd 100000 (Directors include Caroline Clayton, George Fraser, David Sutherland) Paul MacInnes 89150 (Muirfield Mills) Alan McPhee 77150 Former Director (Muirfield Mills) Emeric Innes 57750 (Muirfield Mills) George Fraser 51600 Former Director David Sutherland 50250 Former Director Gordon Allan Munro 50000 Director Caroline Clayton 50000 Anne Sutherland 50000 Catriona Ramsay 50000
  4. This is a fun and welcome thread. I was sure Glancy was a loan signing that was made permanent as well... Here's a pretty good loan XI: Dean Brill Kevin McCann Stuart McCaffrey Nauris Bulvitis Roman Golobart Scott Allan David Davis Logan Chalmers Aaron Doran Miles Storey Dennis Wyness And some not so good ones: Zbigniew Malkowski Andre Blackman Matthew Elsdon Steven Watt Tom Aldred Billy King Aiden Chippendale Larnell Cole Mitch Curry Tobi Sho-Silva
  5. So our total business in the window: IN: Remi Savage (Newcastle United), James Carragher (Wigan Athletic, loan), Jeremiah Chilokoa-Mullen (Leeds United, loan), Cammy Kerr (Dundee, loan), Sean McAllister (Everton, loan), Aribim Pepple (Luton Town, loan), Alex Samuel (Ross County, loan) OUT: David Carson (Livingston), Zak Delaney (Arbroath), Sean Welsh (Queen's Park), David Wotherspoon (Dundee United), Keith Bray (Elgin City, loan), Ethan Cairns (Banks o' Dee, loan), Jake Davidson (Hamilton Academical, loan), Lewis Hyde (Brora Rangers, loan), Robbie Thompson (The Spartans, loan), Cillian Sheridan Regarding the players who have left, obviously we'd have all loved to keep hold of Wotherspoon. Welsh was a great player for us but his fitness has always been an issue and it seems that Dunc prefers Gilmour and Anderson as his starting central midfielders. Moving Welsh on will have freed a significant wage, and he was surely going to leave in the summer anyway. Ditto Carson, who has probably been usurped at right wing-back by Kerr but would have been another option in the middle od the park. Again, Dunc seems happy with his options there, with McAllister brought in as another alternative to the current starting trio of Gilmour, Anderson and Shaw (hopefully Roddy MacGregor stays fit as another option here). Meanwhile Delaney and Davidson have rarely looked of Championship standard and have shown precious little signs of progressing towards that level so we've done well to move them on (Davidson only temporarily, mind - Dodds gave him a two year deal!). It's nice to see us coming up with SPFL loans for youngsters rather than Highland League ones for a change. As for the newbies, McAllister and Pepple are obviously unknowns, but the three centre-backs all look like they have something about them and Kerr and Samuel should do very well for us. In the short-term we seem to have enough quality and depth to stay up (famous last words) though we'll need a pretty decent run to get to the promotion playoffs. The long-term picture is murkier. That's eight loan players we have now. We don't have many folk under contract for next year - Davidson, Nicolson, Savage, Ujdur, Gilmour, Longstaff, Brooks and Mckay plus a few youngsters I think? Ideally we need to get ourselves safe quickly so there is plenty of time to decide who to try and keep and to try and convince them to stay...
  6. It's still more than six months until Euro 2024, and the draw hasn't even been made yet. So of course it's far, far too early to think about who will be in Steve Clarke's squad for the finals. But I'm not going to let that stop me. Rather than just list twenty-three names (current info suggests that the squad size will be cut back to what it was before Covid and Euro 2020), I'm going to break things down by position and look at what options there are, as well as who is most likely to be on the plane to Germany. GOALKEEPERS Certain to be in the squad: Angus Gunn Probably going to be in the squad: Liam Kelly, Zander Clark Outside chance: Craig Gordon, Robby McCrorie, Ross Laidlaw A left-field option: Jason Steele Are we stronger than at Euro 2020? Yes, in that Angus Gunn looks more capable and more reliable than David Marshall was at that tournament. Notes: One of the lessons learned from the Georgia-Norway doubleheader - and an awful lot of Zander Clark flapping - is that we really don't have any depth at the position unless Craig Gordon manages to get himself back to the level he was playing at prior to his broken leg. Liam Kelly and Robby McCrorie emit massive "in the squad because there aren't any other Scottish keepers" vibes. Ross Laidlaw was mentioned by John Carver as someone the management team are aware of. Rumour has it that Brighton's Jason Steele has declined a call-up before, and I doubt he'd enter the fray just to back up Gunn. CENTRAL DEFENDERS Certain to be in the squad: Kieran Tierney, Jack Hendry, Ryan Porteous Probably going to be in the squad: Scott McKenna, Grant Hanley, John Souttar Outside chance: Liam Cooper, Dominic Hyam, Liam Lindsay, Ross McCrorie A left-field option: Liam Morrison Are we stronger than at Euro 2020? Probably, if only because the players now look very well versed in playing a back three (the other lesson learned from the Georgia-Norway doubleheader is we don't seem to be strong enough defensively to get away with a back four). Notes: Kieran Tierney remains key because of his quality in possession and his ability to overlap/underlap Andy Robertson, as well as the fact that there is a big drop off to the next best left-footed centre-back, Liam Cooper. Jack Hendry generally seems the best option on the right, also offering good distribution to go with his height, while Ryan Porteous is the current incumbent in the centre position. Scott McKenna is the next man up if any of that first choice trio are absent, though he hasn't been getting gametime at Nottingham Forest recently. John Souttar finished last season really well for Rangers, but has been injured again recently. If fit, he would have a good chance of getting in. Meanwhile Grant Hanley has been out since the spring with an achilles injury but he was a first choice prior to that so if he gets back to fitness and form he'd be expected to make the squad. Dominic Hyam has been injured recently too but is normally a first choice for Blackburn. The uncapped Liam Lindsay is playing regularly and well for Preston, who are flying just now. Ross McCrorie has yet to play for Bristol City because of illness so he's probably well down the pecking order now; however his versatility might work in his favour. And apparently Liam Morrison has shone on loan for Wigan Athletic; the 20 year old Bayern Munich player is probably one for the future though. FULL-BACKS Certain to be in the squad: Andrew Robertson, Nathan Patterson, Aaron Hickey Probably going to be in the squad: Outside chance: Greg Taylor, Anthony Ralston, Calvin Ramsay, Josh Doig, Max Johnston A left-field option: Tino Livramento Are we stronger than at Euro 2020? Yes, because we've significantly upgraded from Stephen O'Donnell on the right. Notes: Captain Andy Robertson will start at left wing-back and Aaron Hickey on the right; Nathan Patterson will back up the latter unless Tino Livramento declares for Scotland, in which case the Newcastle United player would be in a direct battle with Hickey for a start. Hickey and Tierney would both be more than capable stand-ins for Robertson which means Clarke could potentially skimp on the position. Greg Taylor seems more comfortable in a back four - and didn't look comfortable at all in the Georgia and Norway games. Anthony Ralston is probably too far down the queue just now, while Calvin Ramsay's progress has stalled because of injuries; he hasn't even played yet this season. Josh Doig and Max Johnston have both had call-ups recently to the seniors but are unlikely to be in the reckoning for this tournament. CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS Certain to be in the squad: John McGinn, Callum McGregor, Scott McTominay, Billy Gilmour, Lewis Ferguson Probably going to be in the squad: Kenny McLean, Ryan Jack Outside chance: Elliot Anderson A left-field option: Hayden Hackney Are we stronger than at Euro 2020? Yes, not because personnel have changed much but because we've finally found a role that works for Scott McTominay. Notes: Clarke will either play four central midfielders, with McTominay and John McGinn pushed further forward of Callum McGregor and probably Billy Gilmour, or just go for the former trio with a more attack-minded player inserted instead. Gilmour is most effective in games where we dominate possession, which may not be plentiful in the finals. Lewis Ferguson has been terrific at club level in more of a number ten role and it wouldn't be hard to imagine Clarke deploying him there if he continues his current trajectory. Ryan Jack missed Euro 2020 because of injury and is a polarising figure, but I'm not sure anyone in the squad is better as a purely defensive midfielder. However it may be hard to fit in both Jack and Kenny McLean because of the numbers game. McLean got a lot of praise for Clarke after the Norway match and the manager particuarly likes his reliability and tactical discipline. It's not clear if Elliot Anderson, who was called up for one squad and then pulled out through injury, still wants to play for us or hang fire in the hope of a future England call; he is a real prospect though and is talented enough to be in the 23 if he wants to be. Hackney has shone for Middlesbrough but, having played for Scotland under-21s, he has appeared in recent England squads at that age level and also seems to have thrown his lot in with the Three Lions for now. ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS Certain to be in the squad: Stuart Armstrong, Ryan Christie Probably going to be in the squad: Outside chance: Ryan Fraser, Ben Doak, Siriki Dembele A left-field option: Harvey Barnes Are we stronger than at Euro 2020? Not sure we're much different, really. Notes: The industrious Stuart Armstrong remains a guy who either squeezes into the starting XI or is one of the first options off the bench. Ryan Christie is probably the best player we have for carrying the ball up the pitch though his recent international performances have not been as good as his efforts for Bournemouth. Given that Clarke may not start any of the listed players and doesn't use a system with wingers, it's hard to justify taking any others unless someone hits form or is felt to offer a spark as a substitute. Ben Doak is clearly going to be special but isn't getting enough game time to confirm whether he's ready yet. Ryan Fraser has done well since joining Southampton but Clarke has been suspicious about his commitment in the past. Siriki Dembele has impressed for Birmingham this season but probably not enough to get on the radar yet. But it does sound like Harvey Barnes is tempted to join up, though recent injuries have made sure we couldn't find out if he would have accepted a call for the last few squads. Barnes would be a huge upgrade on what we have, though squeezing him in on the left might require some tactical tweaking. STRIKERS Certain to be in the squad: Lyndon Dykes, Che Adams Probably going to be in the squad: Outside chance: Jacob Brown, Kevin Nisbet, Lawrence Shankland, Ryan Hardie A left-field option: Oli McBurnie Are we stronger than at Euro 2020? No. It's mostly the same names. Notes: An elite forward would elevate this team so much, in the way Robert Lewandowski and Gareth Bale did for Poland and Wales respectively. Instead we have Lyndon Dykes and Che Adams as our best two options. Dykes' industry and attitude are first-rate and he's better at link-up play than Adams, but the latter is a far superior finisher. Neither can be relied on for more than the odd goal though. The other options are quite the motley crew though, and one would think Clarke would pick a third striker based entirely on form in April and May. At the moment Jacob Brown seems to be that option but he struggled against Norway. Lawrence Shankland did score against Georgia as a sub and has more goals than any of the other candidates this season. Kevin Nisbet hasn't really got going since joining Millwall in the summer. Ryan Hardie of Plymouth has six Championship goals and is as good an option as anyone. And then there's Oli McBurnie, out of the picture for nearly three years but playing regularly (when fit) in the Premier League. He'll win lots of headers, but does he offer much else? That's 16 certainties and 7 probables, which of course fits nicely with the numbers. But I bet that a lot will change in a few months time. So shall we look at it again then? We shall. Lawrie Spence has whinged about Scottish football on Narey's Toepoker since September 2007. He has a life outside this blog. Honestly. View the full article
  7. He became manager there five days before the transfer window closed. Not that easy to sign an entire squad in that time. And the few signings he did make included Onyango from Everton (who has been on the bench several times for the first team) and Robbie Savage's son from Man Utd, who had been considered good enough to play once for the first team there. Given our previous managers include Baltacha (first managerial job), Paterson (only managed in the Highland League), Robertson (first managerial job), Brewster (first managerial job), Christie (first managerial job), Brewster again (had been a disaster at Dundee United), Butcher (did great at Motherwell but rotten in Australia and at Brentford before coming to us), Hughes (hadn't been great at Hibs), Foran (first managerial job), Robertson (hadn't managed anyone in forever) and Dodds (first managerial job) I don't particularly see why Ferguson should be considered less qualified than so many of his predecessors.
  8. Well I for one am hugely up for this, probably because it's the first time I've been starstruck by a managerial appointment; Dunc was one of my favourite players to watch when he was at Everton and Newcastle, one of the great target men. As for his coaching credentials, as stated previously his Forest Green stint can be taken with a pinch of salt because they were a shambles that anyone would have struggled to fix. I'm more interested in the fact that so many Everton managers thought he was worth keeping around as a coach. This is a guy who has worked for Rafa Benitez and Carlo Ancelotti, amongst others. Surely he will have picked up a few tips? And like Butcher when he was here, Ferguson should have plenty of contacts for finding players and the charisma to convince them to come here. Fingers (and toes) crossed.
  9. I'd take Brown in a heartbeat. He did pretty well in his first season at Fleetwood - they were expected to go down from League One but finished comfortably mid-table. A year and a bit is an above average length of tenure in the English Football League these days. I imagine he got a decent pay-off from them (which may be dependent on him not finding a new job immediately) so I'd be impressed if he was willing to take a big step down (and English League One to Scottish Championship really is a big step down) to join us. Having an ex-Celtic and Scotland captain as manager has the potential to be a decent pull for players (like when we had an ex-Rangers and England captain as manager). I assume he has some pretty decent contacts out there for recruiting players as well. He would be a far more ambitious appointment than I would have believed we could pull off a fortnight ago.
  10. Maybe it was the realisation that Billy Dodds couldn't even beat Raith Rovers that was the end of him. For what it's worth, Caley Thistle only lost to a late goal away from home to a club who went top of the Championship as a result of their victory. And by all accounts the visitors put on their best performance of the season and squandered numerous chances of their own. But Inverness had this absolutely mental record against Rovers where in twenty-three years and thirty-four competitive matches their only defeats had come in penalty shootouts. However bad it got, Raith Rovers was at least a guaranteed point. But not any more. Of course, if that was the actual reason for Dodds' dismissal on Sunday night then that would raise significant questions about the people running the club. But then choosing to sack him after the Raith defeat - rather than after one of the many worse performances and results in recent months - raises enough questions. As does the fact that he is only three months into a new two year contract that he was given after ICT's Scottish Cup Final defeat to Celtic. Oh, and don't forget how the decision on Dodds' future was left all the way until after that match in early June, which was not exactly a show of confidence in the manager and which can hardly have aided preparations for the new season. Or how, despite the club making somewhere between £1million and £1.5million from the aforementioned cup run, the squad actually seems, on paper and in reality, drastically weaker than it was last season. That's not to suggest that Dodds is some sort of victim here. The cup exploits distracted neatly from a lacklustre league campaign as Caley Thistle finished sixth, their lowest finish in twenty-three years (though had they won their last match they would have come third). Whilst some of the criticism of his tactics by supporters was over-the-top, the slow-tempo, possession-based style was exposed by teams that pressed high up the pitch - after all the Scottish Championship is often short of quality but rarely short of energy - and was ineffective when chasing games against defensive-minded teams. But Dodds' first season in charge ended with a playoff final where, at half-time in the second leg in Perth, Caley Thistle fancied their chances of promotion before a second-half capitulation to St. Johnstone. He was not the next Sir Alex Ferguson, but nor was he the next Richie Foran. Sometimes things just go stale; his tenure of more than two seasons is well above the current average shelflife of an SPFL manager. The biggest concerns stretch back to his appointment in the first place. In March 2021 Dodds was brought in as a coach by Neil McCann, who had taken over temporarily after John Robertson stepped out of the dugout for mental health reasons. When it became clear Robertson was 'moving upstairs' to become sporting director, it was McCann's job if he wanted it...but he didn't want it. A few weeks later Dodds was appointed, to the surprise of nobody even though he had never held such a role at a club before. There was certainly nothing in the public domain to suggest the club had conducted an active search for a replacement or even interviewed outside candidates. This left the feeling that Dodds, who already lived locally, was the cheap and easy option. This turn of events felt very reminiscent of Robertson's appointment as Richie Foran's replacement back in 2017. It also leads to understandable suspicion amongst the support that Robertson - whose relationship with the fans has taken a hit recently with his media work for the BBC (or to give out man of the match awards at Brora Rangers) when his club are away from home - will simply be parachuted back in to his old job. That would be the cheap and easy move again, but then we come to the fear that this is the way the board have to go. The aforementioned cup windfall seems to have been used to save the directors from paying the bills this season; that is not all that unreasonable given the club made a loss of more than £800,000 in 2021-22. There are lots of rumours flying around suggesting that things are even worse than that, though to be fair such tales have done the rounds since relegation from the Premiership in 2017. There is no sign of a wealthy benefactor coming over the horizon any time soon, and when one looks at the list of current shareholders the same old names from two decades ago are still there. Directors come and go but there is no sign that newcomers bring about any meaningful change; the most curious one in recent times is Panos Thomas, a retired orthopaedic surgeon whose only notable role in football previously was as the frontman for an attempted takeover of Watford more than a decade ago by the disgraced businessman Laurence Bassini. However in his nine months at the club there has been no sign of anything so exciting happening in the Highlands...except for claims in the last set of accounts that the club is heavily involved in a hydro pump scheme and a battery farm plan, as well as being in position to be part of Inverness' upcoming freeport. If these ideas already sound pie-in-the-sky, the fact they are being touted by CEO Scot Gardiner - who is not exactly well loved amongst Dundee and Hearts supporters for his spells in a similar role at each of these clubs - does not lend them significant credibility. And in football financial prudence is rarely rewarded. One has to run just to stand still. Amongst their Championship opponents are Dundee United, Dunfermline, Ayr United, Queen's Park and Raith, all of whom have significant backing from their ownership. And if Caley Thistle go any further backward it means relegation. That would surely put their full-time status at risk. If the club goes part-time then, given their location, that would in turn surely mean competing for players in the same sort of pool that the likes of Elgin City fish. There would be no realistic way back to even the Championship under those circumstances. In October 2016, St. Mirren pulled the plug on Alex Rae after a nightmare start to their Championship campaign and replaced him with Jack Ross. They still nearly went down that year, but it was the wakeup call they needed. In 2017-18 they were promoted and they have been Premiership stalwarts ever since, a small club punching above their weight in a way rather reminiscent of Caley Thistle a decade ago. Maybe - hopefully - this will be Caley Thistle's St. Mirren moment. Those in charge of the club need to make sure it is, or football in the city may never be the same again. Lawrie Spence has whinged about Scottish football on Narey's Toepoker since September 2007. He has a life outside this blog. Honestly. View the full article
  11. Whilst there are plenty here that are dubious that the board would change manager so soon after giving him a two year deal, I think that the next three games are a real time of danger for Dodds. Raith away and Dundee United at home are two games which it is easy to see us lose. The third is Arbroath away; a defeat there to a club seen as a likely relegation candidate - which would leave us adrift at the bottom with a just a single point from seven league games - would surely induce panic. Also, after the Arbroath match there is just one more game before a two-week international break in October - that three week period (with a caretaker in charge of that game, against Partick Thistle) would give ample time to find a new manager...or to muck around for a while before just reappointing Robbo...
  12. My current take on the squad, by position: Goalkeepers Fine. A good solid number one and a cheap number two who we can just about get by with if Ridgers is injured/suspended/gets dropped for having a hissy fit with the manager. That's about as good as anyone in this division can afford at the position. Right-back There's been nothing so far from Davidson to suggest he is a better option than either Duffy (who Dodds seems to want to play at CB), Carson (who Dodds seems to want to play in midfield) or Hyde (who has struggled badly when deployed here in the past) Left-back Last season Harper looked better in a midfield role, and he is still more defensively suspect than I would like. Nicolson could have made a real push for this position before his injury, which is a blow. Delaney can cover here in an emergency, I guess. Not the biggest priority (see below) but I would love another LB so Harper can play higher up the pitch. Centre-back If we go through the season playing two of Devine (who has clearly lost confidence from not having a reliable partner beside him), Duffy and Delaney here then we could well be relegated. We need at least one and possibly two new central defenders in. Central midfield Welsh and Gilmour might be a decent first choice pairing. But if/when Welsh is out there seems to be a real drop-off. MacGregor might be a capable replacement but he's always injured too! The Carson-Gilmour combination doesn't seem to be working though. Hyde hasn't impressed when given the chance previously. Attacking midfield/wide players Obviously we are very lucky to have Shaw, but we don't seem to have adequately replaced Henderson or Daniel Mackay. It doesn't seem like Doran is up to two games a week (or even much more than cameos off the bench) any more. Longstaff is this season's Steven Boyd - a cheap option with potential (if we're lucky) to be a rough diamond. Attack We don't seem to have a team with the quality to bring the best out of Mckay right now, so hard to know if he's in decline or just being let down. Dodds' tactics mean that Samuels and Brooks are almost always deployed wide, where it is clear neither are especially comfortable. Lodovica is the big target man you throw on when you're desperate and doesn't seem to offer enough to justify a bigger role. For me, the priorities for new signings this week are: 1) Central defence - a new defence rather than a new defender please! 2) Another wide player 3) At least one starting quality full-back
  13. "No defence I see, I have a hunch that he won't replace Deas, Everyone's morale is dropping, we'll never catch County, He's Billy Dodds and he's not okay, We're s**** all night and we're s**** all day"
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