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hislopsoffsideagain last won the day on July 20

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About hislopsoffsideagain

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  1. hislopsoffsideagain

    Hearts field ineligible player against Cove

    There isn't a perfect precedent for this. Albion Rovers were thrown out of the competition, but that was in a knockout tie rather than the group stage of a competition. Just over two years ago Dundee United did something similar in a league game against us where they won 3-2 - they were deducted three points, but we were not awarded them. I think the most likely outcome is that either Hearts are deducted the points, or that Cove are awarded a walkover victory. I don't see Hearts being thrown out because they have three group games left - if nothing else, it would deny other clubs much needed cash from the matches (assuming gate money is split like in most cup competitions!). Either of the above would be obviously to our advantage as, if we beat Raith, the only way a team could finish above us would be on goal difference.
  2. hislopsoffsideagain

    Who would you like to see at ICT next season?

    Partick Thistle fans I've asked have been effusive in their praise for Welsh - when he's fit. Apparently he's a very good passer of the ball and solid defensively, yet not too bad when he gets forward. Not a bad replacement for Vigurs, potentially. The problem of course is that he seems to be made of glass. He played very little between 2013 and 2015 because of knee problems, and barely played at all in 2017 because of injury, to the point that he was without a club for the first half of last season. Falkirk fans are not positive about his performances for them last season, but he did join a struggling team mid-season which is always tough. Hopefully he's on a pay-as-you-play deal...
  3. hislopsoffsideagain

    Who would you like to see at ICT next season?

    I heartily endorse the McCart signing. I thought he was the most impressive (or, more accurately, the least hopeless) of the players Foran used at centre-back. Given he's only 21 this month, there's plenty room for improvement too. At the very least he offers good depth. It does make me wonder about how Robbo's tactics for next season. Whilst we've signed Rooney, he may still be planning to use Brad McKay as a right-back, perhaps in a similar fashion to how Aberdeen use Considine as left-back to offer an attacking threat at the back post rather than for width in possession. An alternative possibility is that he wants to play three at the back, with McCart, Donaldson and McKay. Donaldson in particular is very comfortable stepping into midfield with the ball...which may compensate for the lack of a deep-lying playmaker. Could this be the solution to life without Vigurs?
  4. hislopsoffsideagain

    Gary Warren told he can leave

    I have a few thoughts after reading this thread. Firstly, it should be acknowledged that none of this is the fault of Gary Warren, a club stalwart for six years and club captain for the last three. In January 2016 (when Yogi was manager, in fact) he was offered a three and a half year contract on (presumably) very good terms, which apparently also contains an appearance fee. He is of course completely within his rights to stand his ground and demand the club honour it. None of us would do anything different in our own walks of life. Even if Warren was willing to leave - because he wants to play regularly, for example - his options are limited somewhat. There is only one other full-time club within 100 miles, so if they aren't interested he either has to move elsewhere (either separating himself from his family or uprooting them) or go part-time (not that his options there are good either unless Elgin fancied him, especially since Brora aren't paying crazy money anymore). And whilst he is a qualified teacher, i imagine he cannot just step back into that role overnight. He may be one of our highest paid players, but a lot of folk don't seem to realize that the wages of SPFL Premiership players (outside the top 5 clubs are so) are not exactly extortionate, especially given that anyone on much more than £1k/week then ends up on a higher tax band. His football career will not have set him up for life, and the contract he is currently on will be his last one of any significance as a professional footballer. I also wonder whether, given he has passed his UEFA A licence, whether his intention was to follow Foran into the coaching setup and that was a reason behind being given such a contract. If that was the case, clearly that door is not open under Robbo. That being said, he is on an onerous contract. Out of those left over from relegation, only he and Polworth (and Fon Williams of course) are still on a contract signed before the drop (Tremarco and McKay have signed new contracts since). And unfortunately his play has declined sharply in the last two seasons; he struggled badly in our relegation season and in the first half of 2017/18, though his form certainly improved in the run-in. McKay and Donaldson are ahead of him in the pecking order though, which means that if he is one of the highest paid players at the club he is not good value for money at all. Worse, his 'appearance fee' means that he costs us less if he sits on the bench or in the stand. If it is true that we could get in three players for his wage - and it may well be - then it is a no-brainer for Robbo to try and punt him, because in such a tight league having those players could make a very significant difference to our promotion prospects. If even one of those three proves more of an asset than Warren is then it will have been worth it. I do sympathise with the manager here - neither he nor the current board were involved with what looks with hindsight to be a terrible contract to give to a player who was already 31; you don't see teams like St. Johnstone offering more than two years at a time to their senior players, and for good reason. His comments to the press appear to be a crass attempt into shaming Warren into leaving by giving people the impression that he is a burden, and I am very uncomfortable with them; they are reminiscent of the way we treated David Raven a year ago. But clearly Robbo had already had the conversation privately with Warren at the end of the season and feels that Warren is not making sufficient effort to find a new club, so he has decided to force the issue. What happens next? I have no idea. The nuclear option would be to freeze him out in preseason, but it would be a shame if it came to that. As stated above, Warren doesn't really have much in the way of alternatives other than standing his ground. It's difficult to see how this plays out in a way that suits everyone. But it does appear that we will be weaker if Warren stays than if he goes.
  5. hislopsoffsideagain

    Dunfermline -V- Inverness CT

    Jamie Durent's match report for the P&J seems to suggest that Cameron Harper's 'injury' looked feigned so that we could sub Brad McKay on - any one got any insights on this? Something doesn't add up. Seems completely crazy that McKay wasn't in the matchday squad in the first place if he were fit. If he were injured then surely we wouldn't have played him for 85 minutes. Did someone make a total ****-up with the teamsheet or something? Are we really as incompetent as that?
  6. hislopsoffsideagain

    CLUB STATEMENT : AGM & Annual Report : 23/11/17

    I'm certainly following this thread with interest. I assume Alan Savage hasn't much/any input at the moment? I assumed after he picked up some of those Hospice shares that he would be getting back into the mix...and also that the return of Robbo had his fingerprints on it.
  7. hislopsoffsideagain

    Caley Jags 2017/18 squad + changes in/out

    I agree that with Austin and Oakley available we don't need Baird, simply because he seems the least able of the trio. However I'm pleased Robbo wants to make a couple of loan signings. A right-back please, so McKay can renew his partnership with Donaldson. And I would still make a few overtures across the bridge, where they have so many strikers that surely they'd let us have a shot of a Mr B. Mckay for the run-in?
  8. hislopsoffsideagain

    Rank ICT Managers

    I think it's probably best to judge Robbo and Brewster's two spells separately - Robbo's because circumstances are different and they are 13 years apart, and Brewster's because his availability as a player made such a significant difference in his first period in charge. Here's how I'd rank them, from last to first: 10. Foran - an absolute catastrophe. Tactically inept, clearly unable to manage a squad and absolutely hopeless at signing players. If we'd ditched him even in March 2017, we would have stayed up. His spell in charge has done this club a huge amount of harm. 9. Brewster's second spell - after an initial strong start things went badly wrong and the last eight months or so were awful. Another manager who struggled tactically and who wound up all the players the wrong way. And giving Andrew Barrowman a three year contract on a big wage?! 8. Baltacha - certainly had some challenges to deal with, given it was our first year in the league. But not even finishing in the bottom half of the Third Division with that squad was a disappointment and too often our style of football was dull as ditchwater. 7. Robbo's second spell - Controversial perhaps, but the bottom line is that we're still only seventh the Championship even though things have certainly improved after a terrible start. Assuming we don't go back up this season, the big test for him will be improving the squad this summer despite a likely reduction in budget. 6. Christie - I have a soft spot for Charlie, who signed some decent players and who often sent out the team to be quite adventurous. And the 2-1 win over Rangers in December 2006 is still one of my favourite ICT moments ever. But he couldn't crack top six. 5. Brewster's first spell - we went from relegation candidates to missing the top six on goal difference in five months. His ability and leadership as a player were undoubtedly huge factors. He also brought in Craig Dargo and established Ian Black (signed by Robbo) in the team. 4. Robbo's first spell - beat Celtic in the cup in his first half-season, won the first division and got us to two cup semi-finals. He had started getting us on the right track for survival when he left for Hearts. Oh, and he signed Darren Dods, who improved our defence about one-hundred fold when he got in the team. 3. Paterson - deserves his legend status because of our rise through the leagues and that incredible win at Celtic Park (and the oft-forgotten win at Tynecastle two years later), along with the reckless attacking football that we played. That said, he had a lot more to work with than most managers in the bottom two divisions did, and couldn't get us over the last hurdle. Not our best manager, but the guy who was managing us when we were the most fun! 2. Hughes - I imagine this will be heavily criticised! If this ranking was entirely on coaching ability he would certainly be top (he turned Carl Tremarco into a footballer!!!) and if it was entirely on transfer market success he would be near the bottom. Bottom line is he took us to third in the league and a Scottish Cup win, feats which may never be repeated - and did so with us playing some pretty sexy football. The fact that his reign started and ended pretty badly shouldn't detract from that. 1. Butcher - obviously left us in pretty acrimonious circumstances, and no-one would suggest that he was a tactical genius. But...he nearly kept us up in 2009 (we were five points adrift when he took over). He got us back up at the first attempt. He turned us into a top six team. The number of quality players he signed was quite remarkable. And man he was good with the media, talking us up all the time. (puts tin hat on, awaits incoming fire)
  9. hislopsoffsideagain

    Falkirk (A) Preview : 27/01/18

    You're right re there being specific rules - the guidance is here https://sportscotland.org.uk/media-imported/1534421/scottish-sports-concussion-guidance.pdf That said, at the end of last season Alex Fisher talked about getting concussed at Dens Park in the penultimate game of the campaign and still started against Motherwell 4 days later. Make of that what you will.
  10. hislopsoffsideagain

    James Vincent

    I'd be tempted if he were cheap (which he won't be) and wasn't injury-prone (which he is). His bust-a-gut bursts into the penalty area to support the centre-forward and the amount of running he would do in games always made a positive difference. That said, in our current system he would best fit into the role that is currently occupied by Polworth, and he wouldn't be a sufficient upgrade to be worth taking any risks on.
  11. hislopsoffsideagain

    New Striker

    I wasn't at the Brechin game so can't comment on Layne's performance. But Brechin fans are not complimentary about him on P&B and he has only 15 goals in nearly 3 years - mostly at Scottish League One level. He isn't the answer. Sounds like we're looking to offload Zssuschchen in January - whilst injuries have held him back, he certainly didn't impress in his handful of appearances. Certainly he's not the 20 goals-a-season forward we're looking for. Neither are Baird or Oakley though. It's more likely that we will grab someone on loan from the Premiership - or someone who is let go from a Premiership club in January. Fisher had come to mind for me too - he only played at the weekend because Moult was unavailable, but is on the bench most weeks and Well probably want him as a reserve. County have loads of strikers, but only play one up front under Coyle. Billy Mckay (!!!) and Thomas Mikkelsen aren't in favour. Just saying, like. Young Premiership forwards who might be available on loan include youngsters such as Steven Boyd (Hamilton), Aidan Keena (Hearts), Willie Graham (Kilmarnock) and Kevin Nisbet (Partick). Oli Shaw of Hibs would be a great option but he's impressed so much that I doubt they'd loan him out. Or we might get a random striker from down south I suppose.
  12. hislopsoffsideagain

    CLUB STATEMENT : AGM & Annual Report : 23/11/17

    My tuppence worth... Turnover was about £3.7m - they haven't given a figure but we know what the drop from last year is, and what the drop from the previous year was. That was our lowest turnover since 2013-14. Budgeting for seventh isn't as crazy as it sounds. Firstly, there is a big leap between sixth and seventh in terms of prize money, income from post-split games etc (assuming one at home against Rangers or Celtic) compared to between seventh and tenth. Moreover, the nightmare scenario is relegation. Budgeting for seventh should get you a squad which at worse finishes tenth - in which case you run at a loss for the season, but its not a disaster by any means (Of course, we gave said budget to Richie Foran, which resulted in said nightmare scenario). Our footballing budget was £2.7m, the third highest in club history (but I assume a little bit lower than in Yogi's last season). Whilst I daresay that includes coaches, we don't have too many of them. Given that 20 players on £1k a week would give you an annual bill of just over £1m, it begs the question - what sort of stupid wages were we paying our players - particularly some of the complete duds?! That said, an oft-recommended ratio of playing staff wages/turnover is about 60% so we should have been close to that mark. The main worry is the prospect of being outwith the top flight beyond this year. Whilst the board seem to have got us sorted till the summer, obviously significant cuts will be required if we are still in the Championship next season (as is likely). That in turn will weaken the playing squad, and we are at risk of being stuck in a cycle where the longer we are out of the Premiership the harder it will be to get back.
  13. hislopsoffsideagain

    Inverness CT -V- Dunfermline

    The performance was much better than the result suggests. We spurned several decent opportunities, and the Pars keeper made three very good saves. In contrast, Dunfermline only had two good chances, both from defensive mistakes. Whilst the crowd were understandably nervous in the last 15 minutes, the players didn't look panicky in the slightest about only having a one goal lead. Confidence is a wonderful thing. I think every one of the starting XI can be happy with their performance. It helps that we've hit upon a system that works for us both defensively and in attack. In that spirit, it's only fair that I point out that Baird and Chalmers, two of my early-season whipping boys, did well. Using Baird to run the channels and stay on the shoulder of the last defender is far more effective and that was the best I've seen him play for us. Chalmers has found his niche in midfield, and keeps things ticking over nicely so Vigurs and Polworth can concentrate on creating things. The three stars were Bell, Vigurs and Donaldson. Bell must have covered every blade of grass and was out on his feet in the last ten minutes. His movement off the ball is great and he's clearly a really intelligent player. Vigurs meanwhile has reinvented himself as a Pirlo-esque playmaker (yes, really!) and I thought the way he controlled our tempo was terrific. And as for Donaldson...wow. Just, wow. The guy looks a class act, which is astounding given his struggles at Dundee United. Our central defence looks about a million times better for having him, just because his positional sense is so good. Every time a ball came into our box it seemed magnetically attracted to him. Clearly he just needed a change of scenery. We need to sign him on a long contract pronto. I'm dangerously close to getting optimistic about our season...
  14. hislopsoffsideagain

    Dumbarton Preview (Away) : 23/09/17

    Ooh, you've acknowledged Fon Williams' existence at last! Does that mean he's in from the cold, and we'll have a competent goalkeeper this weekend?
  15. hislopsoffsideagain

    Robertsons big changes

    A few thoughts: As I wrote on the Livingston matchday thread, we have a real lack of quality at the back and up front. Out of the back four and keeper that played on Saturday, only Raven can be trusted. Tremarco is a huge upgrade, both defensively and going forward, on Chalmers. In the centre we have a real problem; Warren and McKay are both really struggling - I worry that the former's decline is now irreversible (much like Grant Munro around the time County binned him), while McKay has the physical tools but can't put a solid 90 minutes together without several errors. However Elsdon doesn't look ready and Donaldson is a bit of an unknown quantity so I don't know what we can do here. Moving Raven or Tremarco inside would weaken us in the full-back areas. As for in goal, Robbo needs to make his peace with OFW, and fast. Up front, part of the issue is players seem to have been brought in without a specific role in mind, as shown by the frequent changes in formation between matches. The lack of pace is a real weakness - Baird used to have some but, like Warren, he looks to be past his best. Cooper is neat and tidy but offers very little creativity or threat. Bell looks a clever customer who could work well with a partner, but I was disappointed by how knackered he looked after an hour on Saturday. Oakley? He had a good hour against Dundee United; I often feel it is harsh to criticize sub strikers for a lack of impact as it can be hard to pick up the pace of a game. If we were to play him along with a clever creative player and a pacy winger (Bingham-Ritchie-Wilson anyone?) I think that would be a decent combo. Which brings me to Mulraney - I'm going to go against the grain here and defend him a bit. Too rarely is he put in a situation where he can make a major impact - 20 minutes against a packed Livingston defence is no good for a player who is all about building up speed and dribbling past players, as there is no space to operate in. His few good performances have been against teams who have been playing wing backs (Accies in May) or have very adveturous full-backs (Rangers in January) - Livingston fell into the former category and in hindsight he would have been a far more useful option than Cooper from the start. He's not done a lot to justify my faith but I do feel that he shouldn't be written off until he's actually started a few games in succession, rather than a cameo here and there. And he's the only quick attacker we have. When Doran is fully fit I'd play him, Oakley and Mulraney as the front three. (Puts on tin hat, awaits incoming...)