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  1. Save Dave campaign gathers pace as Killie look to get out of trouble. It's the beginning of the end for two of the bottom six clubs this weekend as Kilmarnock visit Inverness on Sunday in the early kick off at 12:30. Dundee United are almost certainly confirmed as one of the clubs destined for the drop. The best they can do is escape automatic relegation and a play off place would be their only hope of avoiding the drop, but it's a tall order. At the moment all of the bottom six are still mathematically in bother, but the focus is on the bottom three of United, Killie and Accies with Inverness hovering on the fringes. A win today would make it highly unlikely that we would face the play-offs. Defeat would bring Killie to within five points of us with the possibility of Hamilton joining us on the same points total but with a vastly inferior goal difference. Aye it's getting a tad fraught at the bottom as the clubs fight it out to be the best of the rest. In a week where the Queen has been upstaged on her 90th birthday by a Prince, it's time for Inverness to produce their own purple patch and steer clear of the drop. Let's go crazy, we don't want to be playing at a Paisley park next season. Despite all that's going on, the big talking point at the Caledonian Stadium is surrounding a Raven lunatic as the story has been made public that David Raven may not be offered a new contract by John Hughes. His preferred option of spending the cash will be to try and bring in strikers to add some fire power to our punchless squad. The fans are no happy about this situation and feel that Raven is being pushed out while he still has plenty to offer this club and would appear to be content to stay with us. It's a tricky one but this just fuels speculation of a rift within as Raven, although injured of late, looks to be frozen out. On the other hand, at 31 and a season littered with injuries, should Inverness be content to offer Dave a new contract? Either way, lot's of feathers have been ruffled over a Raven and a fans protest could well be surfacing. Back to the game and the clubs have played three times this season with the home sides winning each game. Back in October, Kiltie and Magennis put us to the sword with a 2-0 win at Rugby Park. That was Killie's first clean sheet of the season. We're too kind sometimes. In mid December we returned the favour in the Highlands with a 2-1 win. A Vigurs double put us in the driving seat despite a late consolation by Mark Connolly. Back to Rugby Park in January and Killie triumphed 2-1 when Kiltie opened the scoring only for Draper to level it before the break. However, Craig Slater scored a stunning volley early in the second half to secure the points. At that stage of the season Inverness had opened up a four point gap over Killie, it's now stretched to eight. Killie are not to be underestimated here and we just need to look back to their last game where they trounced St Johnstone 3-0. Worryingly for us, Kris Boyd scored twice and he is a player that knows the route to goal pretty well. Kallum Higginbotham scored the other in a tremendous victory over the side that thrashed Aberdeen on Friday night. Our last outing showed up the very worst of Scottish football as we dug out a 0-0 draw at home to Hearts. A dreadful game where chances were at a premium. Story of our season to be honest. The previous game we eased our relegation fears with a good away win at Tannadice, a result that all but scuppers United but kept us just above the waterline. Yogi has dented his relationship with the fans over the Raven affair and despite Dave being declared fit now, allegedly, he did not appear on the bench against Hearts when he is our recognised right back. Our injury list has all but disappeared, just Aaron Doran and Alex Fisher officially out. Dean Brill has played four or five games with the development squad and it's no coincidence that the young side has been performing better of late. Jordan Roberts has also featured but no sign of Raven anywhere. Kilmarnock should be unchanged although the scorer of said stunning volley Craig Slater could be recalled after illness. However, Steven Smith, David Syme and Mark Connolly are out for the remainder of the season and Chris Johnston is nearing full fitness. tm4tj prediction:- It's getting close to squeaky bum time as points are getting harder to come by. This will be no walk in the park with Kilmarnock's need greater than ours and that will be enough to drive them forward. With Kris Boyd back amongst the goals we need to be at our best defensively whilst also looking to create something at the other end. That's been a season long issue with injuries etc etc etc being cited as the reasons for our demise. It's time to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and get out on the park and put on a display. Yogi needs to put on an impressive performance here and forget about any locker room differences and put our best possible team on the park. Can someone tell him we are not clear of trouble yet and show some desire to get forward. His feathers may have been ruffled by the Raven, but it's not about one player, it's about the team. I'm going for a score draw, with Killie scoring an injury time equaliser, probably emanating from our right back position. Meh! The touchy subject is raised in this interview. Carl Tremarco talks about the visit of Kilmarnock, listen here.
  2. Bore Draw Inverness and Hearts ground out an uninspiring no score draw on a bitterly cold Spring evening in the Highlands where a swirling wind made conditions more suitable for flying a kite. This was one of the poorest games of a dreadful void of entertainment season and the 0-0 scoreline sums up the fare on display. Neither side could make much headway in a game littered with errors and poor passing although Hearts looked the more fluent as we stuttered our way about the park seemingly intent on stifling the Jambo's, but offering little in terms of goalmouth action. It was near half time before we tried our luck as long range efforts from Josh Meekings and Liam Polworth just cleared the bar in a forty-five that was sadly lacking any initiative and ambition. Half Time 0-0 The second period continued in the same manner with Hearts looking the more controlled and the Caley Jags feeding off scraps. Owain Fon Williams made an excellent block after substitute Abiola Dauda burst forward but the keeper kept out his effort as he made his way into the box and tried to clip the ball home. Inverness failed to make any headway at all and the lack of attempts on goal by both sides summed up the evening. Full Time 0-0 This result means that Hearts have qualified for Europe and Inverness remain ninth, but one point further away from the play off position. It's into the split now and we start with a home game against fellow strugglers Kilmarnock on 24th April (12:30 KO). A win in that one should be enough to all but banish the relegation play-offs from our heads, defeat would fuel the speculation that all is not well. Date: 12/04/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3202 Referee: Don Robertson Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Fon Williams, Tremarco, Warren, Meekings, Devine, Draper, Tansey, Polworth, Vigurs, Mbuyi-Mutombo (Vincent 46), Storey (D.Williams 75) Subs (not used): Esson, R.Williams, Foran, Horner, Hughes Scorers: none Booked: Vigurs (24) Sent Off: none Hearts: 0 Lineup: Alexander, Souttar, Ozturk, Augustyn, Oshaniwa (Nicholson 80), Zanatta (Dauda 64), Pallardo (Paterson 37), Kitchen, Djoum, Delgado, Walker Subs (not used): Hamilton, Reilly, McGhee, Smith Scorers: none Booked: Walker (21), Djoum (24), Augustyn (48) Sent Off: none
  3. Better Late Than Never. At the third time of asking, Hearts will visit Inverness to fulfil the pre-split fixture list. This game has been postponed because of the weather and called off due to sickness at Tynecastle, but it looks as though it could go ahead this time, fingers crossed. The clubs are separated by twenty points and six places in the Premiership. Hearts have a vastly superior goal difference at +21, the second best in the league whilst we have a negative figure at -3. They are all square this season with home advantage looking like the meaningful factor in these games, both 2-0 wins for the home sides. James Vincent came on as a sub against the Arabs as did Danny Williams but there has been no sign of Jordan Roberts who has looked lively when he has been fit enough to play and that is a concern for the Inverness fans. Iain Vigurs has started to look interested and he scored a thumping goal at the weekend and Andrea Mutombo is a box of tricks. If only he could produce an end product more often. Things are starting to look up and another win will go a long way to banishing all thoughts of relegation in a season where top-six was as likely as facing the drop. Out for Inverness are David Raven who is reported to be almost there and he played 90 minutes for the development squad on Monday afternoon in a 0-0 draw against Hibernian. Aaron Doran, Alex Fisher and Dean Brill are longer term absentees and Yogi will no doubt have the same squad that beat Dundee United ready to go. Hearts could have Callum Paterson back as he nears full fitness following a shoulder injury. Juwon Oshaniwa is available after suspension, but former Inverness player Don Cowie is still suffering from a calf injury. tm4tj prediction:- With Inverness still requiring points to stay clear of the relegation play-offs and Hearts hoping to catch Aberdeen in second place it could make for an interesting encounter. Both clubs had good results last time out with Hearts coming from behind to beat the Dons and Inverness binning Dundee United with ease at Tannadice. We can't now make the top-six but three more points would ease our downward thoughts. Miles Storey is back amongst the goals and our squad is as strong as it has been all season. I'm taking Inverness to take all three points, but it will be close.
  4. Bad Karma. After Jordan Roberts sensational injury time goal against Motherwell in the cup, Karma came back to bite us on the arse as Motherwell turned a draw into three points with a last second breakaway goal to snatch all the points and consolidate their top-six ambitions. Marvin Johnson scored when Inverness were pushing for the winner and his break saw the defenders scurrying back in vain as he raced through and slotted the ball beyond Fon Williams in the 94th minute, a result that has all but confined Inverness to the relegation contest. A bright April afternoon saw Inverness line up without the suspended Greg Tansey, the more attack minded Andrea Mutombo being the only change from the side that trounced Ross County a fortnight ago. Motherwell were without the injured James McFadden and Stephen Pearson, but the dangerous Scott McDonald and Louis Moult started with Lionel Ainsworth on the bench. The opening exchanges were bright without troubling either keeper, but the dazzling footwork of Andrea Mutombo was a joy to behold as he waltzed around the Motherwell defenders. Unfortunately none of his own team mates knew what to expect and more often than not he would be crowded out by the resolute visiting defence. New Scotland u21 cap Liam Polworth drove one just over the bar after twenty minutes as the posturing continued and it looked promising for Inverness with Mutombo bamboozling everyone, including himself. Liam Hughes got a header on target as Inverness began to press but he could not get enough purchase on the ball and it was an easy gather for Ripley in the Well goal and Mutombo flashed a shot over soon after. Hughes had another header saved before Marvin Johnson narrowly missed with a header low to the left as the game opened out. At the other end Miles Storey went just as close with a similar effort, unfortunately the end result was similar as well and the half closed all square. Half Time 0-0 Same pattern in the second half and Mutombo fired over once more. Mark McGhee made the first alteration bringing on Lionel Ainsworth and Jack Leitch for Cadden and Gomis with fifty-three minutes on the clock, but it was the home side that threatened with Hughes and Meekings heading over. Just after the hour Motherwell took the lead in bizarre fashion. Fon Williams needlessly flapped at a cross from the left and when the ball landed near the feet of substitute Ainsworth, his scuffed shot sliced up in the air. It still looked as though we might get away with it, but with a man on the line, Fon Williams scrambled back but could not keep the ball out as it crept under the bar and into the net, along with the defender. Freaky! We took only eight minutes to restore parity. Andrea Mutombo had a shot saved just after the goal but on seventy minutes Ross Draper belied his size as he dropped his shoulder bursting into the box and was promptly scythed down by the clumsy Keith Lasley. Stonewall penalty and Iain Vigurs stepped up to draw Inverness level, the keeper making his mind up early to go to his left, the ball going the opposite way. Two minutes later and Tremarco stole in at the back post and redirected the ball across the face of the goal, unfortunately just wide of the far upright as we looked likely to take the lead. Five minutes on and Ripley did well to block as Tremarco made ground into the six-yard box, his attempt smothered by the keeper and a defender. Vigurs and Mutombo had efforts at goal as Inveness went for the win in the last ten minutes and that would be our downfall. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. Deep into injury time Inverness were still searching for a winner, but after winning a corner Motherwell cleared the ball and Marvin Johnson showed a clean pair of heels as he sped goalwards from his own half. Two defenders were left in his wake and he coolly slotted the ball round Fon Williams and into the net for the winner. Gutted,meh! There was only time left to kick off and it was game over for a frustrating afternoon for the home fans. The visitors were rightly ecstatic and they have virtually confirmed their top-six position. Full Time 1-2 Oh dear, we managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of a draw. Fair play to Motherwell who weathered the onslaught and did what they had to do, but it was a frustrating afternoon for the Highlanders. We can't complain though having meted out similar punishment in the cup game. However, once more we failed to make the most of our superiority and paid the price. Fon Williams needs to take a look at his part in the first goal. Not good enough for the SPFL never mind the Euro Championships. In all honesty it was a fairly open game and one we looked like winning. We lost a freak goal and a breakaway at the end with no time left to recover. We will play worse and win, but the result did not justify the effort. However, the long knives are out as peoples memory fades. That Scottish Cup win is a long time ago it seems. tm4tj MotM is going to Andrea Mutombo who was best aided by Carl Tremarco. Mutombo teased the Well all afternoon with his darting runs and quick feet. Unfortunately Motherwell eventually sussed him out and crowded him out on a number of occasions, but he was a delight to watch. If only one of our players knew how to help him out it would have been a dawdle. Tremarco almost ghosted in a couple of times and backed up the attack well. Draper did well to win the penalty after a slack first half but he grew into the game. A couple of testing games coming up within the week. At home to Hearts on Tuesday and away to Dundee United next weekend. Let's get out there and back the team in this miserable climate. Date: 02/04/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3348 Referee: John Beaton Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams, Meekings (Horner 86), Warren, Devine, Tremarco, Draper, Vigurs, Polworth, Mbuyi-Mutombo, Storey (R.Williams 84), Hughes (D.Williams 73) Subs (not used): Esson, Foran, Roberts, Wedderburn Scorers: Vigurs (pen.70) Booked: Tremarco (40), Draper (82) Sent Off: none Motherwell: 2 Lineup: Ripley, Law, Kennedy, McManus, Hammell, Cadden (Ainsworth 52), Lasley (Fletcher 73), Gomis (Leitch 52), Johnson, Moult, McDonald Subs (not used): Samson, Chalmers, Thomas, Watt Scorers: Ainsworth (62), Johnson (94) Booked: McDonald (89) Sent Off: none
  5. Steelmen are no fools Rejuvenated Motherwell are the visitors as we enter April, a month where fools are tolerated, but just for one day. Going into this game, Inverness trail Motherwell by five points thanks to the Steelmen winning five of their last six games. In stark contrast, we have won only once in our last six as we struggled for some consistency. But what a win it was, 0-3 in the local derby as we crushed Dingwall at the Global Energy Stadium. Top-six looks just out of our reach, but we will have a better understanding of it after the results this weekend. It's almost out of our own hands. Defeat would probably end our aspirations. However, there are six teams vying for three places with St Johnstone, Motherwell and Ross County in pole position. We started our domestic season with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Motherwell but we have the edge over them since then with a 3-1 league win and a 2-1 Scottish Cup win, both games at Fir Park. However, it looks as though Mark McGhee is turning their season round as they have surged into the top half of the table, leaving the relegation battle for others to contend. The last games for either side were fantastic occasions. Motherwell came from behind to beat the once famous Aberdeen. Second half goals from Scott McDonald and Louis Moult overcame a Kenny McLean penalty to secure the points and move Motherwell into fifth place in the league. Something that looked a long way off a couple of months ago. We kept our best performance of the season for Ross County to ensure the Highlands are still ours. We appeared to abandon our error strewn mis-passing game and the direct route paid dividends as we scored three tremendous goals. Miles Storey scored the pick of the bunch with a tremendous volley after great control of a long ball on his chest. Not only did he score, he was running at the County defence all afternoon and a worthy MotM. John Hughes has more choice available after the international break with James Vincent and Andrea Mutombo at his disposal. Still out are Aaron Doran, David Raven, Alex Fisher and Dean Brill, with Greg Tansey serving a one match ban. Mark McGhee can call on the returning captain Keith Lasley and defender Ben Hall to bolster his squad. However, James McFadden is out after breaking his ankle in training and Stephen Pearson and Louis Laing join him on the sidelines. tm4tj prediction:- If we continue where we left off at Dingwall, this should be a walk in the park. Unfortunately our season has been littered with disappointments and nothing is guaranteed in this league. With Motherwell on a roll and Inverness upping their strategy, this could make for an entertaining game. Both sides will be looking for maximum points and that should open the game up and make for plenty of opportunities. Miles Storey will have gained in confidence after last weeks performance and Liam Hughes showed us the value of a giant front man. With Josh Meekings back in defence things are looking up. We will need to shackle the Wells' top scorer Louis Moult as he has a habit of scoring against us. I'm going for a home win
  6. Another Chance. For one of these sides, their season is about to get worse. Hibernian travel North for this Scottish Cup replay at Inverness, hot on the heels of their League Cup final defeat at the hands of our dear neighbours and Highland compatriots, Ross County. It's a 7:45pm kick off at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, the prize for the victor will be a semi-final meeting with Dundee United and a tremendous opportunity to reach the Scottish Cup Final against either Celtic or the Rangers. The first game at Easter Road ended in stalemate as Hibs failed to capitalise on their early superiority. Inverness were content to faff around and wait for something to happen and it did. Hibs scored early in the second half through James Keatings with a smart finish. This roused Inverness and Andrea Mutombo scored an equally impressive goal after great work by Lewis Horner who chased a ball to the bye line before sliding a ball into the box where Jordan Roberts touched it on to Mutombo. He was calmness personified as he rolled the ball under his studs before lashing it home with his left peg. Rumour has it that around eighteen passes were involved in that goal. Both sides will have players returning for this game. Inverness have been seriously understrength of late with a full team of potential starters missing. One bright note on Saturday was the return to action of Richie Foran who injected some urgency and leadership on the park in what was an otherwise luckless display as we went down to legendary timewasters Hamilton Accies. Gary Warren and Carl Tremarco missed that game through suspension, and eight or nine others were out injured. Hibs will have their talismanic top scorer Jason Cummings back and he can be a handful with his shoot on sight ability. Former St Mirren player John McGinn has been called up to the Scotland set up and will also be a menace and Anthony Stokes knows his way around. Kevin Thomson is a seasoned pro and James Keatings is energetic enough to cause problems. Liam Henderson is another that looked promising for Hibs along with Lewis Stevenson. All in, Hibs are not short of talent and this will be another tough test for both sides. Latest team news:- Inverness will be without Greg Tansey, the latest to suffer the archaic rule of two bookings and yer out. It'll be jumpers for goalposts and three corners a penalty next. However, to balance that, Carl Tremarco and Gary Warren should return after their misdemeanours saw them miss the Hamilton match. Richie Foran had twenty minutes against Accies and looked OK. Meekings has started training but there is no hint of a return for Raven, Vincent, Doran, Brill, Fisher or Mutombo. Alan Stubbs will have Jason Cummings back after he missed the first game through suspension. Dylan McGeouch is a major doubt after he limped off in the first game and he missed the League Cup final. tm4tj prediction:- We have had a rough time of it lately and a win here would be a tremendous confidence booster. Hibs have been poor of late as have we, but going down to Morton, Dumbarton and Queen of the South in successive Championship games is not the sign of a side deserving of a promotion shot despite their tremendous facilities and potentially massive fanbase. I said it before the first game that we would go through after a replay and I will stick by that prediction, but only if we up our energy levels and compete from the off. We will certainly need to monitor Jason Cummings closely, but it's what we do at the other end that is more important to the outcome of this tie. We have been less than impressive when trying to create anything and even less impressive getting shots on target. That has to change or we will be handing the Cup back to Hampden Park and then their will only be one Cup left in the Highlands.
  7. Down Down Deeper and Down. A Status Quo song kept coming into my head after watching us slip to another defeat against one of the relegation contenders. Yes, we really are in the shit. Hamilton somehow won the game 0-1 despite us having numerous chances to score but as is the norm these days, we failed to trouble the keeper and paid the price for over elaboration around our own box. Carlton Morris notched the only goal of the game as the visitors broke forward after Ross Draper lost the ball. A crowd pulling initiative brought plenty of youngsters to the game with the away end sparsely populated, the Accies fans reluctant to travel far to watch this drivel. I don't blame them to be honest. Yogi's hands are tied at the moment with suspension and injury robbing Inverness of a settled side. Warren and Tremarco were suspended and Meekings, Raven, Vincent, Doran, Mutombo, Brill, Fisher and Co remained sidelined. This meant a big shuffle for Yogi and he went with three at the back in a bid to accommodate those that were available. As expected the game would turn out to be a non spectacle in the first half, although I have seen worse this season. We did start the better side but it did not take long for the visitors to keep the ball and restrict our forward intentions. However we did forage up the park after fifteen minutes but Liam Polworth blazed a shot over the bar from outside the box when he possibly could have gone deeper into the Accies area. It started to look promising and Jordan Roberts did likewise a minute later. Here we go! Gramoz Kurtaj had Accies first chance of note after twenty-two minutes when he shot just wide, and just before the half hour Michael Devlin might have done better than miss the target with a header. A tribute for Ross Lyall was observed on the thirty minute mark, one minute for every year that Ross lit up this planet with his zest for life. The sixty second applause ringing round the stadium. The game was dire and the play was littered with petty fouls all over the park as both teams struggled to fashion out any clear opportunities, however, just before the interval Dougie Imrie latched onto the ball some 35 plus yards out and his vicious shot whizzed a couple of yards over the bar. Plenty of power as you would expect from the wee man, but not the accuracy. The half ended with Jordan Roberts firing over the bar in an instantly forgettable dirge of a game. Half Time 0-0 We again started the better and Iain Vigurs should have scored with a header after the ball was planted on his head from a Williamsr cross on the left, alas, he tried to glance his header and it went well wide of the keepers left hand post. Inverness were on top of the game since the break but Kurtaj sent a warning as he headed over when Accies broke away. The warning was not heeded though and on the hour Hamilton scored when we lost the ball and Carlton Morris benefited from a Greg Docherty pass to score across the keeper and in off the far post. That was a disaster for Inverness as we all knew what would happen now. Time wasting was a top priority for Hamilton and you can hardly blame them in their predicament, but our inability to put the ball in the net is worrying, in fact we need to get the ball on target before we can dream of scoring. Tansey shot over as our urgency began to sink in and Yogi shuffled the already shuffled pack once more. Jordan Roberts being replaced by Richie Foran. Miles Storey would be next to come on as Liam Polworth was hooked, but Accies were doing their level best to disrupt play at all costs. Petty fouls and substitutions were the only things that broke the monotony of time wasting as McGovern took every goal kick to the opposite side of the box and Imrie getting as far away from the dugout before being subbed. Yawn! With Foran on we looked a bit more direct but were always going to be susceptible to the odd breakaway and we had Fon Williams to thank for keeping out one such attack as he blocked a low shot from sub Darren Lyon. We went for broke in the last quarter but a couple of times the ball would just not roll for us in the box. A couple of melee's and stramashes followed but nobody was able to dig the ball out from the congested Accies penalty box. The final straw came in another scrambulation (I like that new word) when Nat Wedderburn poked his toe at one such bobbling ball in the box, but it bounced off the keepers left post and that was the straw that broke the donkeys back. Fair play to us, we kept going to the end but it was apparent our luck was out today as Tansey blazed over, as did Draper and a Devine header sealed our fate. Full Time 0-1 Well done Hamilton, the masters of time wasting, niggly fouling, timely play acting and disruption. I'm not being bitter, just realistic. We have brought all of this on ourselves and nobody else is to blame. I understand our plight with injuries suspensions etc, but we do have players capable of better. Our back line would not have started today had we had all of our players fit. That's football and we have to get on with it I'm afraid. In saying that, we have played worse and won, but it was back to the typical Hamilton v Inverness encounter after the last one broke the mould. Best of a bad bunch were unlikely contenders in Nat Wedderburn, thrown in at centre back but stuck to his task and always tried to play football. Lewis Horner who is growing on me and Ross Draper who will be disappointed at the goal. Fon Williams did well but was left exposed at the goal. Foran injected some urgency once he came on but it was too little too late. That result leaves us in the mire. Accies have drawn level on points with us and with Killie losing they stay five points adrift in the relegation play off place. Yes, that word relegation has overtaken the top-six word. We can do better, but that needs to start right now, beginning with a result in the Cup against Hibernian to boost our confidence, however avoiding relegation is the important thing here or it will be a bit of Status Quo whether we like it or not. Video from Caley Jags TV...................... Date: 12/03/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3510 Referee: Steven McLean Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Fon Williams, Horner, Wedderburn, Devine, D.Williams, Draper, Tansey, Polworth (Storey 71), Roberts (Foran 64), Vigurs, Hughes Subs (not used): Esson, R.Williams, Brown, Maclennan Scorers: none Booked: Devine (48) Sent Off: none Hamilton Acc: 1 Lineup: McGovern, Gordon, Devlin, Tagliapietra, Kurakins, Imrie (Boyd 86), Gillespie (Lyon 69), MacKinnon, Kurtaj (Redmond 73), Docherty, Morris Subs (not used): Martin, Diaby, D'Acol, Brophy Scorers: Morris (59) Booked: Imrie (62), Gillespie (62), McGovern (93) Sent Off: none
  8. Crucial stage of the season. From looking at securing a top-six place only a few weeks ago, Inverness have hit the wall and are now staring into the abyss which is the relegation dog-fight, and this game has now taken on crucial proportions. Only one point gained in our last four games, all away from home, has seen us spiral out of control down the table. We are now in ninth place only five points of the play off place currently occupied by Kilmarnock. Last season is history and we need to get the proverbial finger out and stop moving sideways and backwards. How nice would it be to take a leaf out of Pele's book and go gung ho once in a while? Unfortunately we appear to be one of the poorest sides in the division at the moment, and unless Yogi can rethink his tactics and take the game to Accies, we could be in major trouble. Should we lose to Hamilton, they will join us on 33 points and with Dundee United starting to perform, the games after the split will be challenging to say the least. With our style of play inviting trouble onto us and a complete lack of attacking flair and creation, it is difficult to see where the rot will stop. On a positive note, Accies can match us in terms of being rubbish of late with just one win in their last fourteen games. The lowlights being an 8-1 hammering from Celtic and that 4-1 Scottish Cup defeat at the hands of the mighty Annan Athletic. We won the last encounter with Hamilton 3-4 in an amazing topsy turvy game full of sensational goals, Liam Polworth scoring a screamer in injury time after we looked to have thrown away a two goal lead earlier in the game. In the first game in the Highlands, Accies came away with all three points after a frustrating 0-2 win. Inverness were caught out having missed numerous good opportunities in our Dani Lopez days and Carlton Morris and Louis Longridge did the damage, although our self inflicted sloppy possession game was already evident this early in the season. Little has changed since then and that is why we find ourselves in a spot of bother. It's difficult to get too enthusiastic over these games given our reluctance to entertain, but we have brought much of the negativity on ourselves and now find it difficult to play open attacking football as the threat of not losing is greater than the desire to try and win. Yogi said after the defeat in Perth that it was difficult to create anything once we went down to ten men. Hello John! I have news for you. We never created anything with eleven on the park, so what's new. We are still suffering through injuries, illness and suspensions, but that has been going on all season and we are running out of excuses for our inability to see out games. Inverness will be without the suspended Carl Tremarco and Wednesday's red card villain Gary Warren. Miles Storey and Andrea Mutombo missed the Perth game through illness and the long awaited return of Josh Meekings and James Vincent has yet to materialise. Same old same old with injuries although Richie Foran appeared on the bench in midweek but he never got off it. Hamilton have their own red card victim. Jesus Garcia Tena is suspended but Danny Redmond is looking to return to the squad after injury. Martin Canning is still short of fitness after his lay off. tm4tj Prediction:- The only prediction I am willing to make is that we will pass the ball sideways and backwards and create next to nothing without troubling the goalkeeper. Hamilton will defend in depth and waste time from the off. 0-0 draw on the cards and if I am wrong so be it. The life of thirty year old Inverness fan and local Filth DJ Ross Lyall will be celebrated in the thirtieth minute at tomorrows game with a minutes applause . The young man who packed a lot into his life and had so much to look forward to sadly passed away last week. Ross was a regular at his beloved Caley Jags games where he will be missed by his many friends. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this difficult time and we would like all to respect Ross 30 minutes into the game. RIP Ross Lyall.
  9. It's tough at the top It's Monday night football at the Caledonian Stadium as we host title challengers Aberdeen who are looking to get back on level terms with Champions Celtic, but it will be a tough task for the Dons. With Celtic beating Ross County 2-0 at the weekend, it's Aberdeens turn to put the Highland clubs back in their box. However, closer inspection shows that the Dons have yet to beat Inverness this season having lost the first game at Inverness 2-1 and they had to come from behind to draw the reverse fixture at Pittodrie 2-2, the Caley Jags throwing away a seemingly comfortable 2-0 lead with twenty minutes left. The sheep are on fire just now and are taking the title challenge seriously. They beat Celtic at Pittodrie and put four past St Johnstone in Perth before conceding a couple of late goals. Inverness have been idle on a couple of occasions recently but our last outing was a deserved Scottish Cup win over Motherwell, the highlight of that was a wonderful winning strike from a now injury free Jordan Roberts. Let's hope there is more of that to come from the former Charlton man who has had his season curtailed by injury since his move North of the border. Recent form shows that Aberdeen are the favourites, but with Inverness getting more settled despite a new influx of injuries there could be a shock in store for the Dandies. Greg Tansey will no doubt be the centre of attention tonight after Aberdeen failed to get their man in a last ditch deal in the January window. I wonder if he can deliver one his substantial hammer blows to show the Dons what they are missing? Anyway, they already have four of our former players, they don't need another one. Inverness Captain Richie Foran is back on the injury train, with long term passengers Aaron Doran, Dean Brill, Josh Meekings and James Vincent. Alex Fisher has joined them after injuring his ankle soon after moving here. So, all is not rosey at the home camp, but we have brought in two midfielders in Liam Hughes and Ryan Williams to bolster the squad. Derek McInnes can call on Willo Flood and Ryan Jack for this one, but Andrew Considine is a major doubt. tm4tj Prediction:- despite the form book leaning towards Aberdeen, I'm taking Inverness to unsettle the Dons and take the points tonight. Miles Storey is due a goal and he has scored against Aberdeen before, netting in the Inverness fixture. Greg Tansey has something to prove to both sides and should be well fired up for this one. Carl Tremarco has shown he could make the left back position his own with a decent performance against Motherwell in the cup, setting up the opener which Storey would like to claim but it looks more like defender Stephen McManus was the unfortunate scorer. Aberdeen are scoring plenty but have shown some vulnerability at the back, and that is where we should be looking for the openings to get Storey and Danny Williams into. Our own defence is also capable of lapses, but Gary Warren should provide stiff opposition for Adam Rooney. Jonny Hayes has also been in fine form recently and he could be the key player which will determine who comes out on top.
  10. It's Jambo Time GAME OFF If you are travelling to this game for the 12:30 kick off, keep an eye open for updates as there will be a pitch inspection at 07:30 We don't want anyone to be marooned. The official ICT twitter account will be your best option https://twitter.com/ICTFC or https://twitter.com/JamTarts Tough match this Saturday at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium in the 12:30 kick off which will see Hearts as our opponents in the Premiership, weather permitting. The Jambos are having a tremendous season since getting back into the top division and are comfortably in third place with 41 points, 12 ahead of sixth place Inverness. They are also second top scorers with 42 goals and their defence is pretty solid too, conceding just 24, only Celtic and Aberdeen can better that. That gives them a goal difference of plus 18 compared to ours at minus 2. Last week we drew 0-0 with Partick Thistle in what can at best be described as a below par performance. In truth we were unable to break down a Partick side who had set their stall out to take a point at all cost, and they got that effortlessly as we huffed and puffed but could not blow the house down Hearts last game was also a 0-0 draw, at Hamilton where the Jambos were reduced to ten men for the whole of the second half, but they still came away with a point. Some good news for Caley Jags fans is that Gary Warren has signed on again, as have Ryan Esson and Ross Draper. We have already beaten Hearts up here this season in an entertaining 2-0 win. James Vincent and Miles Storey scored that day as Hearts finished the game with ten men, Juwon Oshaniwa dismissed after a tussle with Tobi Sho-Silva. The reverse game at Tynecastle was called off and has still to be played, Tuesday 1st of March is the re-scheduled date. Inverness are still plagued by injuries and John Hughes is looking to bring in more firepower given the news that striker Alex Fisher will probably be out for a couple of months with a chipped ankle bone. We have a couple of trialists up this week in the form of striker Victor Zapata-Caicedo and Liam Hughes, an attacking midfielder. Zapata was last with Czech side Banik Ostrava and Hughes has plied his trade for Cambridge United. I'll just call him Zapata, but he was highly thought of at the Tottenham Hotspur Academy before moving on and Hughes has only played for Cambridge United in his career. Inverness are still without Aaron Doran whose season can be written off. Dean Brill is another and Josh Meekings is catching up with them, apparently about another month at least. James Vincent has missed the last few games as well and new signing Alex Fisher is out for possibly two months. This must be our worst ever season for injuries, it's been non stop since the start of the season. With Esson signing on again, I wonder if we will see Brill back in action at the Caledonian Stadium. We persist with keeping Jordan Roberts and Richie Foran on the bench. I say if they are fit enough get them on the park, if not, get them off the bench. Hearts will definitely not have King Billy, sorry Billy King on show as he has gone to The Rangers for the rest of the season, masquerading as the Loan Ranger. Blazej Augustyn and Igor Rossi are both suspended and that could open the door for Oshaniwa and or Jordan McGhee to claim that position for themselves. Sam Nicholson and Jamie Walker could be fit enough to be included in the squad. tm4tj Prediction:- This may sound strange given our reluctance to create much last weekend, but I'm taking Inverness to edge this one. I hear you all laughing and falling off your seats, but here's my reasoning. When we are tasked to break down teams hell bent on keeping a clean sheet, we find that quite a chore and with us lacking some creativity since young Ryan Christie left we struggle to create the openings. However, teams like Aberdeen, Ross County and Hearts are easier for our style of counter attacking and will leave room at the back for us to exploit. So, if our defence can hold firm, I'm taking Miles Storey to hit the net and keep the points in the Highlands. Anyway, having seen Nat Wedderburn's shoulder dip, nothing can stop us now. See for yourself, I kid you not, we are now invincible...................
  11. Mutombo stunner settles ICT Inverness eased into the 5th round with a 2-0 win over Stirling Albion, but it took two superb strikes from Andrea Mutombo and Iain Vigurs to settle the tie against the League Two side. Danny Devine was returned to the heart of the defence after suspension at the weekend and Andrea Mutombo was given a start. Danny Williams was at left back with Carl Tremarco out. A brisk night met the players as they emerged from the tunnel and the crowd was kept to a minimum with Sky Sports covering the game. The first dangerous action of the tie was when Danny Williams brought down Steven Doris on the edge of the box. Doris took the free kick himself and curled his effort over the bar. Encouraging start for the Binos and they foraged forward again only to be blocked on the edge of the box at the expense of a corner which came to nothing as Ross Smith shot just wide. It's the League Two side that were making all the early running against a struggling Inverness, but Gary Warren almost scored with a header after a corner, however the ball got smuggled away from the six yard box and away from danger. Andrea Mutombo is able to showcase his twinkle toed skills and he curled a shot just over after fifteen minutes as Inverness begin to get to grips with the game. Five minutes later and Liam Polworth shoots over as the early Stirling threat seems to have evaporated, but the home side will need to up their accuracy if they want to progress. Back come the Binos though and Ross Smith heads wide to make sure Inverness are kept on their toes. Mutombo has had enough though and goes on another dazzling dribble. This time he cuts in from the left and ends it by exploding the ball behind Chris Smith from 25 yards into the keepers top right hand corner. Extreme goal from the one man showing the ability to get behind the Binos defence. It's all Inverness now and constant pressure brings about a couple of half chances but the final shots get snuffed out, Vigurs and Draper looking to add the second. Despite dominating, we are still finding it difficult to create any premium opportunities to get the second goal and too many crosses and passes are going astray allowing Albion time to regroup and remain in contention. Goal apart, that's another uninspiring 45 minutes from Inverness against a resolute Stirling Albion as the half fades out. Half Time 1-0 The poor touches and poor lay offs continue at the start of the second half, but as Inverness break forward, Ross Smith earns a booking for stopping Danny Williams dead in his tracks. Mutombo is still the one stretching the back line of the visitors defence and he pings a ball across goal, but the defenders hook it clear. Flattering to deceive springs to mind as Inverness play the ball back and fore across the Binos defensive line before once more overrunning the ball. Ten minutes into the half and a free kick causes a bit of urgency in the Inverness box before Mark Lamont fires over from outside the box. Better spell for the visitors as they force a corner and another scrambulation in the home box. Mutombo is still the main threat and he earns a free kick 25 yards out. Iain Vigurs wastes the chance as he hits the defensive wall. He would atone for that a few minutes later. Inverness broke from the back at pace. Raven fed Storey who held the ball until Draper found space. He raced forward before cutting back to the incoming Vigurs who guided the ball into the top corner from 18 yards for another stunning goal. Pick that one out. Inverness once more on the ascendency but more overplay results in Williams crossing behind after some tidy midfield passing. Draper got booked for upending Lamont, a bit soft looking, but it is Ross Draper, and Storey forged his way down the left after riding two challenges. Vigurs goes down in the box and all he got for his troubles was a booking. Oh dear. Two nil up, but we have been here before, Albion not blown out yet with 20 minutes to endure as Storey has an effort saved. Craig Beattie enters the tie as Stirling look to get back into the game, Ross Smith leaving the field and Alex Fisher replaces Liam Polworth with fifteen left. Tremendous work by Williams down the left allows Storey to thrash a ball goalwards, but Smith is equal to it and palms the shot away for a fruitless corner. Richie Foran and Jordan Roberts get some game time as Draper and MotM Mutombo leave the pitch. That sparked the visitors into life again as they forced a couple of corners, but it was Danny Devine that almost curled in a third goal, the ball almost shaving the outside of the post as it went just wide. Jordan Roberts' impact was almost instant. He was booked minutes after coming on. Oh well, we have waited long enough to see him on the park, I suppose any publicity is good publicity. Oh ffs, Alex Fisher is helped off the park with what looks like an ankle injury, that's all we need, and Stirling Albion end the game as they started, on the front foot. A free kick from Doris, a corner and a lob from Darren Smith going narrowly over the bar with Fon Williams stranded. Full Time 2-0 This game was won by the home side with the aid of two tremendous goals, both contenders for goal of the round. Stirling battled hard but it was Inverness who controlled the game and created the chances to get themselves into the next round where Motherwell await. Tonight's MotM goes to Andrea Mutombo. He did a power of work tonight dragging defenders all over the place and his trickery saw him ghost past a few in tight situations. His goal was a tremendous individual effort after drifting in from the left wing then unleashing a stunning strike from 25 yards. Miles Storey did nothing right in the first half but did plenty of unselfish sprinting after the break, unlucky not to score on a couple of occasions. From a selfish point of view, it would have been nice to score a barrowload of goals, but it's credit to Stirling Albion that we never as they stuck to the task and finished the game at our end of the park. Good luck to them for the rest of the season, the banana skin put away for another year. It's Fir Park for us on the weekend of 6th February in the 5th round Date: 19/01/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1231 Referee: Mat Northcroft Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Fon-Williams, Raven, Warren, Draper (Foran 82), Devine, Tansey, Williams, Polworth (Fisher 76), Vigurs, Mbuyi-Mutombo (Roberts 82), Storey Subs (not used): Esson, Wedderburn, Brown, Sutherland Scorers: Mbuyi-Mutombo (28), Vigurs (61) Booked: Williams (3) Sent Off: none Stirling Albion: 0 Lineup: W.Smith, Mazel, Forsyth, McGeachie, R.Smith (Beattie 75), Robertson, Johnston (Cunningham 69), Comrie (Lamont 50), Doris, D.Smith, Dickson Subs (not used): Binnie, Hamilton, Verlaque, Kouider-Aissa, Scorers: none Booked: R.Smith (50) Sent Off: none 0 Quote Edit
  12. Another Chance Cup replay coming up on Tuesday night as Inverness welcome Stirling Albion back to the Highlands. The last time they were here, April 1999, they left Inverness with a point after a 2-2 draw thanks to a double from Alex Bone. Duncan Shearer had scored both Inverness goals. Inverness held the Binos to a scoreless draw at Forthbank a couple of Saturdays ago and the League Two side deserve another chance to progress in the competition as the Premiership side failed to get the better of their opponents. Having avoided the banana skin that day, you would have to fancy Inverness' chances of completing the job on Tuesday, but we are fairly inept at getting the better of underdogs and after a drab display at Forthbank, followed by a toothless performance at Rugby Park, one could be forgiven for wondering which club will be seen as the underdog. Stirling had their game on Saturday postponed at Elgin as Inverness struggled their way to defeat against Kilmarnock and the weather. The game was played out on a snowbound pitch as we once more failed to beat a club floundering at the bottom end of the league. The winning goal was a stunning volleyed strike, but it does not detract from another insipid performance from Yogi's side. The only bright spot for Inverness to come out of that game was our 1500th competitive goal. That landmark was achieved by Ross Draper. Not a regular scorer, 8 goals in 135 appearances, but nonetheless it's his name that goes into the record books. We are bereft of creativity at the moment and added to that is more injury woes that we are unable to cope with. Josh Meekings has not played for a month now and can be added to the longer term casualties. James Vincent missed out at Killie and Jordan Roberts once more filled a space on the bench but is yet to feature since his early season injury. Alex Fisher has been brought into the squad but will need time to get up to speed. Inverness will have Danny Devine back after he missed the Killie game through suspension. Richie Foran is another bench warmer, but not sure if he is ready for a full blooded cup tie yet. Doran, Brill and Meekings will not feature. Stirling Albion are without hamstring duo Kevin McKinlay and Ross McMillan, and new signing Scott Buist is ineligible, having signed too late for this 4th round replay. Motherwell await the victors at Fir Park in the 5th round and there's no guarantee that will be Inverness. In fact, given our reluctance to see games out, it would not surprise me if we struggle through this game as well. We should have enough in the tank to see off the Binos, but you could say that about the first game as well. I won't go as far as to say that Stirling will progress, but I will be pleasantly surprised if we can get through without any drama. Fingers crossed it is then.............
  13. Early Xmas Present Inverness managed to get three points in a 2-1 victory, but not before losing another late goal to keep the fans on edge. An Iain Vigurs double saw us cruise in at the break two up but we conceded a late goal to give Killie a sight of the points. Mark Connolly scored with three minutes left but we managed to see out the game and get a much needed three points. This was a must not lose game and we achieved that. However, we made hard work of it in a poor second half showing when we let a sloppy Kilmarnock off the ropes and gave them every encouragement that they could possibly take something from a game that should have been well beyond them. John Hughes had a stronger squad available for this one as players returned from injury. Oddly, he still persists with Raven and Horner on the bench and Josh Meekings at right back with Danny Devine partnering Gary Warren at the heart of the back four. Carl Tremarco, Tobi Sho-Silva and Andrea Mutombo all started on the bench but all three of them would feature later in the game. Nat Wedderburn started this one with Ross Draper nowhere to be seen. Killie were much as expected with Kris Boyd and Josh Magennis the target men and a small band of hardy supporters had made the long trek to back the Ayrshire club. The opening exchanges were fairly even with Inverness doing their usual crisp passing without any penetration. We needed a little help and Kilmarnock duly obliged in the fourteenth minute. Comedy defending by two Killie players near the corner flag allowed Polworth to smuggle the ball from them. He ran along the line before teeing up Iain Vigurs who had the simplest of tasks to tap the ball home. An early Xmas present for Inverness, gift wrapped by the Kilmarnock defence. For all our dominance and good possession, we were still creating very little in the final third and more often than not seemed reluctant to build on our fortuitous start to the game. Kris Boyd gave the home fans cause for concern when he fired a powerful free kick a couple of feet over the corner of Fon Williams bar as Kilmarnock tried to get back on level terms, however it was Inverness who were busier around the penalty box, but without making keeper Jamie MacDonald work. That changed just after half an hour into the game and there was nothing fortunate about this one. We tore into the Kilmarnock defence down our right flank. Miles Storey got the better of the defenders this time and he rifled a ball into the box. James Vincent stepped over the ball and Iain Vigurs was left with time to pick his spot. Conrad Balatoni eventually got the booking he so richly deserved. The guy is a clown, getting his card not long after handbags when he tried to steal the ball when we were looking to take a throw in. Could easily have been an early bath for the hot-head. The half ended without much further ado and a comfortable position for Inverness to build on, surely. Half Time 2-0 Gary Locke decided enough was enough and he rang the changes at the break bringing on Carrick and Kiltie to replace Slater and Obadeyi. This appeared to inject a bit more urgency to the visitors, but Owain Fon Williams was still pretty much a spectator in the Inverness goal. We helped the Kilmarnock cause by being content to pass the ball sideways for long spells without looking to kill the game off and that would cause some unease in the stands. Storey limped out of the game on the hour being replaced by Andrea Mutombo, who's fleet of foot would entertain us for a bit although we were looking to kill the game off. We were content to hit on the break and at least half a dozen good bursts forward went without troubling the keeper as our efforts fizzled out before working the Killie defence. Liam Polworth missed the best chance of the half as he burst into the box after some intricate play just outside of it. Unfortunately he could not wrap his foot round the ball properly and he slid his shot just the wrong side of the post from close range. The game was slipping away from a lifeless Kilmarnock but we offered them a little help after failing to mop up from a corner. Mark Connolly scored from close range to unsettle the home support and set up a fraught last few minutes of play. Still time for substitute big Tobi to ruffle the side netting from a tight angle as we went seeking a third and Tansey brought out a save from MacDonald. We weathered the final moments fairly comfortably despite Killie winning a corner to keep their hopes alive. Full Time 2-1 Hard earned three points beginning with a gift from Kilmarnock. Cracking second goal and relatively comfortable passage despite Killie scoring late. Liam Polworth was a standout with his driving runs and incisive passing and is my MotM. Well backed up by Nat Wedderburn, especially in the first half and two goal hero Iain Vigurs. We tried to let Kilmarnock back into the game but they were unable to accept our generosity and were really there for the taking, but likewise, we were unable to give them the doing they should have had. However, a welcome three points which moves us in the right direction, up to seventh, but little in it between seventh and eleventh where Kilmarnock now find themselves. Next up is Dundee United, another must not lose game. Keep the faith as we look to enter the top-six. Date: 12/12/15 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2775 Referee: Barry Cook Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Fon Williams, Meekings, Warren, Devine, Williams, Wedderburn (Tremarco 77), Tansey, Polworth, Vincent, Vigurs (Sho-Silva 82), Storey (Mbuyi-Mutombo 60) Subs (not used): Esson, Raven, Lopez, Horner Scorers: Vigurs (14, 32) Booked: Vigurs (21) Sent Off: none Kilmarnock: 1 Lineup: MacDonald, O'Hara, Connolly, Balatoni, McHattie, Smith, Hamill (Robinson 82), Magennis, Slater (Carrick 46), Obadeyi (Kiltie 46), Boyd. Subs (not used): Ridgers, Barbour, Westlake, Ashcroft Scorers: Connolly (87) Booked: Balatoni (22), McHattie (38), Connolly (45), Boyd (90) Sent Off: none
  14. Time to dig deep Kilmarnock are the visitors this weekend and hopefully the weather will allow the game to take place after last weeks chaotic fixture list was blown apart for many teams. Just in case there is another postponement, I'm keeping this weeks effort brief. The enforced lay off can only benefit us as the players get an extra week of recuperation in their search for full fitness. Carl Tremarco has shaken off his hamstring problem and Jordan Roberts has resumed full training. With Tobi Sho-Silva and Andrea Mutombo a couple of weeks ahead in their return things are starting to look slightly healthier for Yogi who will now have the problem of team selection to ponder over. Kilmarnock, on the other hand were involved in a 1-1 draw with bottom club Dundee United. The game was not without incident though. Kris Boyd scored his 95th goal for Killie but he scores when he wants, Billy (small K) Mckay, levelled from the spot. The Rugby Park side were reduced to ten men at the penalty when Stuart Findlay was sent off midway through the first half, but they held on for a point. We lost our earlier meeting with Killie at Rugby Park by 2-0 and the Caley Jags fans were less than enthusiastic with our performance on that October day. Alternative Maryhill was moved to pen - "The second half was as bad as I've seen us all season though: far too narrow, far too many misplaced passes, far too many lazy-looking through balls that seemed to suggest players thinking 'we'll just give it to Miles and he'll do the rest'. I felt sorry for Storey - he ran his socks off, but the Killie defence stuck close to him and dealt with him pretty effectively throughout." Rig backed this up with - "Later on when the game was getting increasingly congested in the middle of the pitch we strangely took off Williams who was playing quite well and at least gave us some kind of width to our play as an alternative to trying to force it through the middle of the pitch where Christie was struggling to impose himself and Storey was getting no change out of the excellent Killie centre backs. It seemed a very odd decision." So, plenty of food for thought for Yogi to get his teeth into. The consensus of opinion suggests that it's not a great idea for us to fall behind, because we seem incapable of turning the game around. Remember, this game was played when we had the services of Ryan Christie. Tobi reckons he would like to stay at Inverness after January should both clubs agree on this. He has some unfinished business I suppose having been injured for most of the time he has been here, but still wants the opportunity to show what he can do. Well, Miles Storey needs some support and Tobi could be the man to provide it. Inverness still have a couple of players out long term. Dean Brill, Aaron Doran and Ryan Christie are way off a return but Roberts and Foran are starting full training, with Foran having been involved in a couple of Development league games. Tremarco could be added to the squad as could bad boy Dani Lopez. Kallum Higginbotham is ruled out along with midfield absentees Rory McKenzie and Chris Johnston. tm4tj Prediction:- It's time we cuffed someone and what better time to start than against fellow strugglers. Our season has been a disaster so far and the league table backs that up, regardless of how we have achieved that. We are on the same points as Killie and Partick and this will surely be seen as a must not lose game. That usually means a bit of a defensive borefest, but we are hardly overladen with attacking flare options, and if we can blunder our way to all three points, I will be most grateful. Kris Boyd has scored 191 career goals in the top flight and will be a major worry for our fragile defence along with the steamroller that is Josh Magennis. I expect nothing less than a tough encounter as the teams battle it out at the wrong end of the table, but will be looking for all three points.
  15. Celtic Edge TV Show Celtic ran out relatively comfortable 1-3 winners eventually, after the Caley Jags had matched them all over the park except in the vital goal scoring area. Miles Storey levelled the game before half time after Callum McGregor replicated his goal against Ajax. After the break Leigh Griffiths scored from close range and Carlton Cole managed to handle the ball into the net off Danny Devine's shins for what could be described as a scrappy own goal. Heavy rain meant an early pitch inspection ahead of this televised game. Inspection passed but the horrendous weather would make for a heavy pitch as Vivaldi's Four Seasons was played out in one day. Gary Warren made a welcome return to the starting X1 along with Ross Draper, but there was no room for David Raven who was joined on the bench by Andrea Mutombo and Tobi Sho-Silva. Danny Williams went to left back and Josh Meekings was the preferred option at right back. Celtic continued with Kieran Tierney in defence and Scott Allan on the bench, but there was no sign of the struggling Kris Commons. Anthony Stokes was on the bench as his twitter account revealed. Something that would not best please the Celtic management team. Both sides started crisply but Celtic took full advantage from a third misplaced pass in a row from Josh Meekings. The ball was transferred swiftly forward and Mcgregor raced towards the home goal and planted the ball beyond Fon-Williams as the home defence went into reverse. We are in good company here as this was a photo-copy of the goal he scored in midweek against Ajax. Craig Gordon was fortunate to keep out a point blank header from Warren. Not sure he knew much about it, but the ball stayed out of the net and from the ensuing stramash, Meekings slid a sot just wide. We had responded well to the early setback and we forced a couple of corners but to no avail and at the other end Lustig headed wide after a Celtic corner. In the 38th minute, Miles Storey broke into the box chasing a neat ball from Polworth who did well when he robbed Armstrong in midfield. His initial shot was saved by Gordon but the ball broke kindly for the speedy hitman and he mopped up by slotting the ball into an empty net. Game on! Bitton shot wide as the game approached the break but all square at the interval was no more than Inverness deserved. Half Time 1-1 A positive start to the second period saw Draper head just wide as we looked to get our noses in front. Celtic responded with a hat-trick of corners which came to nothing before introducing Scott Allan for the struggling Stuart Armstrong. That substitution injected a bit more urgency about the visitors and just before the hour Tierney and Allan combined down the left to set up Griffiths to hammer the ball high into the net from six yards for a smart finish from the Champions. Inverness were restricted to containing Celtic as the visitors tried to assert themselves on proceedings and this was having a detrimental effect on our attacking options. Most of our good work was being done in midfield and neither keeper was being overworked. Carlton Cole almost made an instant impact as he headed downward, but Fon-Williams was alert and saved well, however, the cumbersome Cole was instrumental in the goal that killed the game. Leigh Griffiths unleashed a powerful shot that Williams did well to Parry. The ball hung around the Inverness box and with Cole lying on the deck, he appeared to nudge the ball with his hand/arm onto the unfortunate Devine who could only watch in dismay as the ball trundled into the corner of the net. Goal given and game over with around ten minutes of play left. Mutombo and Sho-Silva also got some game time but were not able to influence this game as we ran out of time and ideas. Full Time 1-3 We competed well and it was encouraging to get Warren and Draper on from the start. Same old problems of not creating enough really and although the third goal should not have stood, we never quite did enough to warrant getting anything from the game after the break. This result has us staring at the play off position, but still within touching distance of the top-six. We don't play Celtic every week so all is not lost as we get more players up to speed. The news that Yogi has signed on for another couple of seasons has been welcomed by most involved with the club and we can now focus on climbing away from danger and maybe even a wee cup run, starting at Stirling Albion in January. The two players that combined for our goal were the pick of our bunch with Fon-Williams making a couple of excellent saves as well, but Hughes can now maybe sort out a contract for MotM and top scorer Miles Storey now that his own destiny has been decided. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVG9Sc6Ol6g Date: 29/11/15 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 5976 Referee: Willie Collum Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams, Meekings, Warren, Devine, Williams, Tansey, Draper, Polworth (Horner 84), Vincent (Mbuyi-Mutombo 73), Vigurs (Sho-Silva 73), Storey Subs (not used): Esson, Raven, Wedderburn Scorers: Storey (39) Booked: none Sent Off: none Celtic: 3 Lineup: Gordon, Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata, Tierney, Johansen, Bitton, Armstrong (Allan 53), Rogic (Cole 59), McGregor, Griffiths (Mackay-Steven 92) Subs (not used): Bailly, Izaguirre, Ambrose, Ciftci Scorers: McGregor (7), Griffiths (59), Devine (og.85) Booked: Biton (65) Sent Off: none
  16. Hangover or Backlash? Fresh from their Euro game against four times European Champions Ajax Amsterdam, Celtic travel to the Highlands on Sunday in a 12:15 kick off to take on Inverness who have just returned from Buckie, the former Highland League champions. Yes, that's the difference a few million pounds can make to your lifestyle. Inverness could face either a Euro hangover or Backlash after a weakened Celtic lost out against Ajax on Thursday night in Glasgow whilst Inverness went to Buckie with a fairly strong squad of recovering casualties to help strengthen their limbs as the fixture list toughens up for the Xmas period. It was a worthwhile exercise for Yogi's men with Ryan Esson, David Raven, Nat Wedderburn, Richie Foran, Ross Draper, Gary Warren, Andrea Mutombo, Tobi Sho-Silva all stretching their legs against the Highland League side. Inverness ran out 6-0 winners with Mutombo notching a hat-trick and Tobi scoring a brace. The opposition might not be a household name in European football, but in terms of getting these players some match practice it was invaluable, and the added bonus of scoring a few goals will boost the confidence of the shot shy Inverness strikers. Our last Premiership game saw us lose yet another late goal as Partick Thistle took all three points with a 2-1 win at Firhill. Miles Storey had scored an early goal but Kris Doolan equalised before the break. Ryan Stevenson fluked a cross into the net to leave us pointless, and in doing so it undid the good work we carried out at Motherwell in the previous game and left us hovering just above the relegation battle. Celtic's last game was a disappointing goalless home draw with Kilmarnock. That broke a five game winning run where they had scored fifteen goals in the process; one less than we have scored all season. The clubs met at Parkhead in mid August when Celtic raced into a 4-0 lead over an understrength Inverness. However as Celtic eased their way to full time, Inverness scored two counters through Ryan Christie and Dani Lopez to give us a more flattering result. We are still underpowered but slowly getting players back on the park and match sharpness will benefit all of our returnees. I would suspect that almost half of that team will not start today. Celtic can call on virtually the full side that won them the points that day. Current form would suggest that Celtic will be massive favourites to win this game and the bookies agree at 1/4 for an away win. You can get 12/1 if you fancy Inverness to win and the draw comes in around 9/2. Your best chance of winning back some dosh would be to put something on Miles Storey to open the scoring (14/1). Miles has notched five of our sixteen Premiership goals. Tobi Sho-Silva could be the surprise packet here though and you can get 18/1 on him scoring first. Celtic have won 11 of their 15 league games this season with 3 draws and a solitary defeat to Aberdeen in the middle of September. We, on the other hand, have only 4 wins. For all the noise about Celtic having a poor defence, they are still the stingiest back line in the division having only conceded 11 goals. However, the league table doesn't lie and that shows that we languish in eighth place, only three points above second bottom. Inverness have dealt positively with the unsavoury incident in the Dani Lopez sending off and have disciplined the player internally on top of the two match ban he received from the SFA. Dani has been fined for his indiscretion which has lost him some respect across the board. The player has unreservedly apologised for the uncharacteristic incident and would now like to focus on getting back on track. On top of the Lopez ban, Inverness will be without Jason Roberts, Aaron Doran and Dean Brill, along with Ryan Christie who has gone to Parkhead for some rehab. The rest of the crocks all came through the game against Buckie unscathed and could be in contention for a place in the squad on Sunday. Celtic midfielder and captain Scott Brown will miss this one and possibly the next two or three months of football with a knee problem following the Kilmarnock game. He twisted his knee at the end of the game and has suffered outside ligament damage. That's fair enough considering the way he throws himself into some of these tackles and the damage he has caused to others. He looks better in his jimjams anyway. Kris Commons also missed the tie against the Dutch side and faces a late assessment to check on his fitness. Nir Bitton and Stefan Johansen were banned for the Euro game but should return with Scott Allan and Kieran Tierney likely to make room for them. tm4tj Prediction:- Not a game I look forward to as the Celtic entourage comes North looking to sweep all before them. In truth this game should be a total mismatch as Celtic come off the back of yet another Euro failure and we struggle to get any consistency with our troubled squad. Six points clear at the top, Celtic should be strong enough to see us off without too much bother, but we are at our best when the chips are down. Good news for us is the return of some more of our injured players and the game at Buckie will have benefited the likes of Warren, Draper and Foran in their journey back to full fitness. With Mutombo and Sho-Silva scoring as well, they could help ease the burden on Miles Storey's young shoulders and gives us more depth to our squad. Celtic showed against Ajax that one or two of their newer players still have a lot to learn, Scott Allan in particular will remember his input for quite some time, as will Callum McGregor, but for different reasons. You can't replace the experience of Scott Brown and Kris Commons with kids and expect it to work immediately. With that in mind, we could be thrown a lifeline. I would bite your hand off for a point out of this game, but I won't be holding my breath.
  17. Survival of the fittest It's Halloween weekend and guisers Dundee FC come to the Highlands dressed as footballers in the hope that they can find Inverness Caledonian Thistle ready to dish out more gifts. We will be kitted up like patients at Raigmore. It's been a rough fortnight for Inverness after the euphoria of back to back league wins over Aberdeen and Ross County. Since then, we have lost two home games in a row. We went down insipidly to 10 man St Johnstone and were easily knocked out of the League Cup by derby rivals Ross County. Defeats are hard enough to take on their own, but the manner of these defeats has alarm bells ringing at the Caledonian Stadium. Against the Perth Saints, we were clueless as to how to break them down and the visiting keeper could have stayed in Perth. The County game was similar although we started brightly and finished strong, but the middle section of the game belonged to County and that was when the match was won. Once more, the lack of a cutting edge was evident as we struggled badly to create clear opportunities. Visitors Dundee have not exactly been a pillar of consistency themselves. They suffered a 6-0 thrashing from Celtic and their only win since then was against fellow strugglers Motherwell. That's one win in the last five for Dundee, but its still enough to keep them ahead of Inverness. They sit three points and two places above us in seventh place. We can't really complain about our league position given our lack of goals and reluctance to have a go at teams. I suppose it's a reflection on our lack of depth due to a lengthy injury list, but there comes a point where those given the opportunity have to grab the chance and stake a claim for a regular starting berth, even when the sidelined players return. Liam Polworth has had a few starts now and should be asserting himself in the engine room and Carl Tremarco needs to make the Graeme Shinnie slot his own as our purse strings seem reluctant to open any further. We drew the earlier game at Dens Park, surrendering an early lead to come away with a disappointing draw. Kane Hemmings popped in a last minute equaliser after David Raven had opened the scoring for Inverness earlier in the second half. We were unable to build on that and suffered a not unexpected lapse, a trait that seems to replicate itself this season. There's plenty of speculation surrounding the future of John Hughes. The silence was deafening after the board refused United permission to speak to Yogi, but the speculation is still rife as we appear no closer to getting the gaffer signed up on a new contract, fuelling the fires of discontent amongst the fans. At the last count, Yogi was said to be considering his options of the new contract, but has plenty to think about. He has been quoted on BBC Sport as saying "[It's] right down to trying to recruit players and budgets," he explained. "That's all part and parcel of me staying at this club, 100%. "I'm quite sure there might be one or two players that are out of contract and want to see what the manager does before they commit. "But I'm honest enough to say this; I would never hold a gun to anyone's head at Inverness to say, 'I want to make sure that this is the budget next year'. "I knew when I came up here I was working with the budget I was working with. It's never changed. "It's just before you sign that contract just getting to know exactly what tools you're working with next year. I don't want to sign a contract and something gets taken away. "I have to speak to my wife and family. I've been away for a long, long time and that's a big part of it as well but I love it up here." We have made cuts elsewhere. The nice lady that always appeared to be in control when you entered the club shop has not had her contract renewed, instead the club look as though they are going down the part-time route. Quality or quantity? Just like on the park, you can't replace quality players like Billy 'small k' Mckay, Marley Watkins or Graeme and Andy Shinnie with inferior products and expect the consistency to continue. Well, it's the same in the club shop. We need leaders on and off the park and it's time this whole sorry mess is sorted before it's too late. Inverness have more misery piled on them this week with the news that Miles Storey might not make the squad. He could join the others on the temporary list like Ross Draper, Andrea Mutombo, Tobi Sho-Silva and Dani Lopez. Looking further away, Gary Warren, Aaron Doran, Richie Foran, Dean Brill and Jordan Roberts are long term shirkers. It really is a case of the survival of the fittest. I sometimes wonder if they are still on our books. Meh! Jake McPake has been injured in training and misses out. He is joined on Dundee's short list by Julen Etxabeguren and Kevin Thomson. tm4tj Prediction:- Surely we won't screw it up three home games in a row? Or will we. We are running out of players fast as injuries ravage our squad. Injuries on top of more injuries. It's like a broken record now but we will just have to get on with it. Who knows who will be fit enough to turn out for us, but let's hope they can at least make the opposition work hard for their point. I'll settle for a draw out of this to help us get back on track. The damage done so far will take a while to repair and we will just have to take small steps before we can think about running. 0-0 is my best guesstimate.
  18. Ultimate Anti Football Inverness and St Johnstone served up an utter borefest of a game as anti-football took over the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. The Perth side took all three points in a 0-1 win over a punchless Inverness who had not a clue how to break down the 10 men of St Johnstone. Both sides should be ashamed of themselves as misplaced passes, poor tackles and miscontrol was the order of the day. Both keepers could have stayed in the dressing room and the score would have remained the same as a 90th minute Liam Craig penalty won the match for the visitors. It turned out to be a decent day for a game of football after overnight rain, the pitch left moist but it great condition. It should have led to an entertaining afternoon's sport. How wrong can you be. Inverness were still unable to field a full strength squad and it showed. Carl Tremarco played at left back, but there is still no sign of Jordan Roberts, Tobi Sho-Silva, Gary Warren, Aron Doran, Richie Foran, and Andrea Mutombo was also out. Iain Vigurs made the bench and James Vincent got a start along with Liam Polworth. St Johnstone had Liam Craig on the bench, but he would be instrumental in our downfall late in the game. Fon-Williams was fortunate a couple of times as he replicated some of Dean Brills twitchy moment from clearances, having to dive full length to save the first one from rebounding in. That was as close as anyone came to breaking sweat in a dire first half. Our only half chance came when Tremarco was well blocked by O'Halloran as he broke into the left side of the box, just before he was able to offload. What a tedious first forty-five, surely the second half would be better? Half Time. 0-0 Well, we didn't know it at the time, but the second half was equally poor, in fact even worse if anything. Dave Mackay was sent off after catching Tremarco on the halfway line. That would maybe give us the upper hand. No. Despite the numerical advantage, and oceans of possession, we hadn't a clue how to get behind the Perth bus and were unable to make Mannus work for his bonus. Fon-Williams was equally idle as the Saints looked to hold on for a point. Little did they know how inept we were about to become and in Michael O'Halloran, they had the only player on the park worthy of his wages. The boredom was now reaching world championship level and it was about to turn into utter chaos as Devine was adjudged to have impeded substitute Liam Craig after ninety minutes had passed. Craig himself took the kick and our misery was complete. Full Time 0-1 Oh dear, what can you say about that. There was lots of head shaking as disgruntled fans left the stadium, muttering the words, shambles, disgraceful, punchless, wet paper bag, useless, no strikers, headless chickens etc. To be honest, that is probably doing a disservice to headless chickens who I'm sure would have shown more aptitude and attitude than those on the park. I would have liked to tell you more about our efforts during the game, but to be honest, there were none, absolutely zilch, zero, nothing. Worst game of football I have ever witnessed. In truth, St Johnstone were no better and we would maybe have done better if they had eleven players on the park. As soon as Mackay went off, they retreated further into their already defensive shell and the writing was on the wall. Yogi needs to turn this around pretty quick or this week will be a complete disaster for us. League Cup action on Tuesday night and the fans might be voting with their feet after this one. MotM. Well, there were none in blue worthy of a mention. They all underperformed. Best on the park was a lively Michael O'Halloran who led the line well. Take note Yogi, we need someone to do this for us. Full match report to follow..............
  19. League Cup derby After their dismal performance in the Premiership at the weekend, Inverness take on Ross County in the League Cup quarter final on Tuesday night and the fans will be hoping for some entertainment in this tie to make up for the non event against St Johnstone. County will go in to this game as favourites given their current status in the league and Inverness' continued struggle against injuries this season. Both sides had poor results on Saturday with Inverness failing to turn up against St Johnstone and losing to a last minute penalty. County had a tougher task at Tynecastle and lost 2-0 to Hearts. There were some similarities in these defeats. Both sides lost against ten men and both sides played poorly. Inverness could not muster one decent attempt but County at least forced the Hearts keeper to work harder. I would like to put the last couple of results down to misfortune, but it's beginning to look a bit deeper than that as we have struggled to create much of note in 180 minutes of football. That's a worry for the fans as we pass the ball around the back line but our inability to open up defences is becoming quite alarming. Miles Storey looked a forlorn figure as he was bereft of supply, and the worrying thing is that won't encourage him to stay here longer than he needs to. We will be better known as Injuries R Us after this season. Our sick list is still the envy of most hospitals and it is crippling our ability to perform at a high level. With enough players out to field another team we will do well to sustain any interest in this competition beyond this round and our league position will remain in doubt until we get sufficient players back on the park. Ross Draper is still doubtful to add to the woes and that was an area of the park that we never got to grip with against St Johnstone. Jim McIntyre will have virtually an unchanged squad to choose from. That means that Scott Fox is still out along with midfielder Rocco Quinn. tm4tj prediction:- I know the Highlands are still ours at the moment after our recent derby win, but that just papered over the cracks. Defeats by Kilmarnock and St Johnstone have shown us up as relegation candidates at the moment and unless we can get more bodies back in action I don't see that changing overnight. Liam Boyce will be the main threat to our defenders and although they lost the last derby, they certainly created enough to suggest that they will not be overawed in this encounter. I can't see past an away win and County into the next round. I'll be pleasantly surprised if we get through, but we have a long way to go to get back to full strength. Worrying times indeed and the need for the club to get a manager tied to a contract is unsettling everybody. I'm afraid it's all doom and gloom for the immediate future, but it's wonderful what a derby win can do for your confidence. Here's hoping.
  20. The Great Unpredictables Inverness host St Johnstone in a busy week for the Highland club, ahead of their League Cup quarter final against Ross County and the league visit of Dundee, with all three games being played at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. A poor result last week for Inverness who went down 2-0 at Kilmarnock despite showing well in the first half hour, but fading badly as the game progressed. We had been on fine form prior to this game, unbeaten in six including the league cup win at Livingston. However, after passing up two or three great opportunities to take the lead, we fell behind on the stroke of half time and lost an unfortunate second with the aid of a deflection to put the game beyond us and halt our revival. Ross Draper took a knock and James Vincent never started, somewhat blunting our engine room supply despite the return of Ryan Christie. Hopefully, we can put this one down to a bad day at the office, but time will tell. St Johnstone have been unpredictable since the start of the season and they too suffered defeat at the hands of the Harry Wraggs, going down 2-1 in Perth. That was also a disappointing result as far as the Perth men were concerned coming off the back of their 5-1 thrashing of Aberdeen and victory in the Tayside derby against struggling Dundee United. They have also meted out punishment to Hamilton when they stuffed them 4-1. Their other win was against Motherwell. That Jekyll And Hyde performances sees them sit only one point above us in the league, but their surprising goal rushes this season has them outscoring us by two to one, although we are defensively more robust normally. The earlier game this season saw the clubs share the points after Inverness were pegged back in the last few moments of the game. Ryan Christie had drilled home in the ninth minute, but substitute Graham Cummins levelled with a header at the death. That was the first points of the season for both clubs. Back to the future, and we have amassed 13 points with 3 wins and four draws. We are eighth in the table, one place below our opponents. Inverness have doubts over the fitness of Ross Draper, David Raven and James Vincent. Andrea Mutombo is out as are the permanently injured Warren, Doran and Foran along with Jason Roberts and Tobi Sho-Silva. Tommy Wright will be able to call upon Michael O'Halloran who featured last week, but Chris Millar is out for a couple of weeks. tm4tj prediction:- Predictions are frightening this year with all the teams below Celtic capable of beating each other on the day. St Johnstone have surprised a few with a couple of uncharacteristic high scoring games and that is a worry. Although we dug ourselves out of a hole with the Dons win and derby win we put ourselves back in it with a shoddy display at Rugby Park. St Johnstone were no better losing to Partick therefore I will sit on the fence and settle for a draw, a scoring one though.
  21. Reds Rocked. Inverness ended Aberdeen's winning start to the league campaign with a 2-1 victory in the Highlands. This was no more that John Hughes' side deserved after a scintillating first half where the scoreline flattered the undefeated Dons. A large crowd were expected with Aberdeen getting 500 extra tickets hoping to see their side get back to winning ways after their shock defeat at the hands of Hibernian in the League Cup in midweek. It was an excellent day for a game of soccer and the large crowd were about to witness a devastating start for Inverness. A couple of surprises before kick off with Carl Tremarco out and Danny Williams dropping back to defence to cover that. In came Liam Polworth to midfield. Still no Tobi Sho-Silva, but the rapid Miles Storey started up top again. Derek McInnes sprung the bigger surprise after telling everybody that Graeme Shinnie would not make this game. But make it he did. His other surprises were having David Goodwillie and Adam Rooney starting on the bench. Jonny Hayes returned after suspension and Kenny McLean and Josh Parker accompanied him up front. Owain Fon-Williams was the first keeper called into action as he dived low to his left to turn a 30 yard effort from McLean round the post. That was the last we would see of Aberdeen as a goal threat until the second half. Inverness took the lead in the seventh minute and a fantastic goal it was too. James Vincent won the ball wide left on the half way line. He fed it inside to Greg Tansey who moved it on to Liam Polworth and he dropped it back to Ross Draper just inside his own half. The big man surged forward before feeding the ball to Ryan Christie. He spun and left his marker Graeme Shinnie for dead before sliding a precision pass to the feet of Miles Storey. He in turn sped forward five paces before rifling a shot across Ward and into the net from fifteen yards to stun the big away support behind the goal. Christie was causing havoc every time he got the ball, and he delivered another inch perfect pass for the runner who was Draper this time. Unfortunately, instead of putting his laces through the ball, he tried to dink it in and his effort was blocked by Paul Quinn eight yards from goal and a grateful Ward gathered the loose ball. Danny Williams injured himself making a thunderous tackle that also took out Meekings. As play raced to the other end, Storey teed up Liam Polworth, but Ward pulled off a tremendous one handed save diving high to his right to deny us a deserved second goal. After treatment, Williams was able to continue. However, our delightful attacking display paid off when Ryan Christie smashed a thirty five yard strike high beyond Ward and into the roof of the net. Draper involved in this again after breaking up play, but what a strike from Christie and no more then we deserved. Aberdeen were down and out at this point but we handed them a lifeline when Devine failed to deal with a cross into the box, his header going for a corner instead of the expected throw in. From the corner, Ash Taylor lost his marker and headed down and up into the net unchallenged. Sloppy from us and a gift for Aberdeen to kick start their game. Christie tried to replicate Taylors header at the other end but again Ward kept the dons in touch with another superb save. The half time whistle saved the visitors from further punishment and we went in with a scoreline that flattered Aberdeen. Half Time 2-1 Could we sustain the attacking threat we showed in the first forty-five? Well, the answer was no and that was obvious as we handed the midfield over to the Dons, inviting them forward to try to level the game. Aberdeen players were now falling to ground at every opportunity as they camped around our box, winning a number of free kicks in dangerous positions, but without troubling Fon-Williams. From one such opportunity, Peter Pawlett rattled a post, although Fon-Williams might have helped it onto the woodwork. Either way he had it covered and the danger was cleared. They did beat the keeper soon after, but Danny Devine popped up from nowhere right under the bar to head the ball away from the net. Now that was a close call. Not the first time Devine has done this either. Aberdeen made it an uncomfortable last fifteen minutes for Inverness with Rooney and Goodwillie on the park but we weathered the late storm and held firm. Our own sub Mutombo took the ball forward a couple of times late on to ease the pressure, but it certainly made a few keeky winkers twitch every time the ball entered our box, but the home side managed to stop Aberdeen's winning start and get a welcome three points for themselves. Only black mark was the sending off for Ryan Christie after his second yellow card for upending the same player. Yes, you've guessed it, that player was none other than our old Captain Graeme Shinnie. Welcome back Graeme. Full Time 2-1 Tremendous first half for Inverness merited this win as they took the game to there more fancied opponents. Ross Draper was involved in lots of the action and Christie's turn that saw him leave Shinnie awol for the first was also exquisite and his threaded passes were game winners. Despite that sending off, Christie was superb in every way and his goal is one to treasure. For all of that, he is my MotM. He was ably assisted by the rest of the side, and Devine, Meekings, Draper, Fon-Williams and Storey were easy on the eye as well. Sorry Hamish, but someone had to do it, and it might as well have been us. Onwards and upwards, exciting times ahead, with the local derby next week in Dingwall. Video from Caley Jags TV............... _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Date: 26/09/15 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 6410 Referee: John Beaton Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Fon Williams, Raven, Meekings, Devine, Williams, Draper, Tansey, Vincent, Polworth (Mutombo 74), Christie, Storey (Wedderburn 83) Subs (not used): Esson, Sutherland, Horner Scorers: Storey (8), Christie (29) Booked: Christie (64, 90), Williams (72), Raven (80), Fon-Williams (92) Sent Off: Christie Aberdeen: 1 Lineup: Ward, Logan, Taylor, Quinn (Pawlett 45), Shinnie, Considine, Jack, McGinn (Rooney 43), McLean, Hayes, Parker (Goodwillie 65) Subs (not used): Brown, Smith, Robson, McLaughlin Scorers: Taylor (35) Booked: Jack (57) Taylor (76), Sent Off: None ______________________________________________________________________________________________
  22. Shinnie's Back....... Unfortunately just for the day as his new club Aberdeen visit the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium in Inverness. However, he will only be watching from the stands after injury in midweek. It's the famous for once versus the once famous as Aberdeen look to reach nine in a row against the Scottish Cup holders. Yes, the one we have been dreading is fast approaching as table topping Dandy Dons come to the Highlands. Not only with Graeme Shinnie, but Adam Rooney, Jonny Hayes and Barry Robson as well. We warmed up for this clash by removing Livingston from the League Cup in midweek, goals from Miles Storey and Danny Devine enough to see us safely through to round four. Not the greatest of displays it has to be said, but that's cup football for you. The important factor is that we did progress, which is more than can be said for some clubs. Our last League game saw us take a point from Tannadice after coming from behind to merit the draw. It was another robotic performance, but it's also another game under the belt for our new look squad and more game time for our returning crocks. Josh Meekings thundered home a header to earn the point after that chap Billy Mckay had opened the scoring in a first half dominated by United. Aberdeen limbered up by beating Hearts 3-1 in Edinburgh to make it eight wins on the bounce in the Premiership. David Goodwillie bagged a brace and Niall McGinn scored the other. That is a fantastic start to the season for Aberdeen who are starting to look as good as their fans believe they are. In the League Cup on Wednesday night they took on Championship side Hibernian. Hibs had not read the script though and took the wind out of Aberdeen's sails with a stunning 2-0 win. Not the result the Dons were expecting, but the loss of Flood and Shinnie early on would not have helped their cause. So, who are the players that have put the Dandy back in front of the Dons. Well, the addition of Graeme Shinnie has proven to be a terrific signing for attack minded Aberdeen, able to get at defences on both sides of the park. Aberdeen have been building towards this for a couple of seasons now and Shinnie is one of the final pieces in the Dons jigsaw. The key pieces have been new keeper Danny Ward who joined on loan from Liverpool and has jumped in ahead of Scott Brown. Midfielder Paul Quinn has come in from Ross County and added some bite to the midfield. Ryan McGlaughlan is a defender signed on loan from Liverpool as well and is a useful squad player. They have also added a pair of strikers to the squad in Joe Nuttal from Manchester City and Josh Parker from Red Star Belgrade. Our own Graeme Shinnie is a difficult one for us to swallow, but he is a vital part of the red machine now. Derek McInnes had to reduce his budget to help subsidise these new arrivals and out went a host of recognised players. Russell Anderson retired, and keeper Jamie Langfield saw the writing on the wall and went to Paisley. Joe Shaughnessy and Nicky Low went to Tayside, Clark Robertson is at Blackpool and Declan McManus nearby at Fleetwood. Former Hearts player Andrew Driver has left the building and promising youngster Lawrence Shankland is on loan at St Mirren. A host of fringe players have also left the building. That's a lot of players out at Pittodrie, but he has brought in more quality and less quantity to continue the Aberdeen resurgence. It seems to be working so far. Recent form will show that Aberdeen are unbeaten since the start of the season in the League. They are not the highest scoring team in the League (15), but have still scored more than twice as many as us (7). Their defence has been rather miserly though conceding only three goals in eight games. We are the draw specialists with four and that could work in our favour given our reluctance to score goals. On the down side, Aberdeen won all four of our meetings last season. Meh! Crocks corner. Inverness are slowly getting players back, but it's three in and two out. Meekings, Vincent and Foran have returned the last couple of games, but Iain Vigurs and Tobi Sho-Silva missed out at Livingston. Longer term absentees Gary Warren, Aaron Doran, Dean Brill and Jordan Roberts are still out. Aberdeen took a couple of knocks in midweek against Hibs. Willo Flood and Graeme Shinnie were removed from the park in the first half with injuries, and Derek McInnes has confirmed that both will be out of this clash. Flood could be out for over a month. Mark Reynolds has a shoulder injury and sits this one out. Jonny Hayes is eligible after his red card ban and will return to the squad. tm4tj prediction:- Oh my, this really is a tough one. Aberdeen on the form of their life and Inverness struggling to get any momentum going. The statistics don't lie and it's difficult to see past a win for The Dons. Graeme Shinnie has settled in brilliantly and Adam Rooney was the top scorer in the land last term. If he's not scoring, then David Goodwillie is eager to step forward and Niall McGinn is not shy either. We are still struggling to come to terms with the loss of Shinnie, Mckay and Watkins, coupled with a crippling injury list which has denied us of our regular back line. Yes, it has been a struggle, but there is light at the end of the tunnel with Meekings and Vincent back. New striker Miles Storey has done well and has pace to burn. Mutombo can add a spark as well and Fon-Williams is looking solid between the sticks. Hibs showed the way to do it in the midweek League Cup encounter and that might unsettle the Dons. Ach well, somebody had to do it. I'll stick my neck out here and go for a dramatic draw to ruin the Dons perfect start in the League. I met a very nice couple called Hamish and Morag Rosie, whilst on holiday in Venice. We had a great time in the few days we spent together. Hamish is a very talented man, author and artist. He is originally from Orkney, but unfortunately he is an Aberdeen fan and has been rubbing it in since we met. I'm sorry Hamish, but it's our turn. Enjoy the preview.
  23. Friday Footie Newly promoted Hearts will be our next problem as we take them on this Friday evening at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium in a televised match that kicks off at 19:45. Another tough task ahead as one of the front runners make their second journey to the Highlands this season, having already edged out Ross County 2-1 in Dingwall. Inverness have been in potential relegation form since the start of the season and are without a win since the Scottish Cup Final against Falkirk. That does seem like a long time ago now. We can't buy a win just now and our chances of that happening have been compounded by the sending off of the wreckless Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo in our last game away to Dundee. How dare he try that on the humble Nick Ross. The Jambos have continued their Championship winning ways into the Premiership and have earned their third position with five wins on the bounce before they were overturned by Hamilton Accies last time out as they ended the game with ten men. That red card has been rescinded though and Callum Paterson will be available for selection against Inverness. Who are the players entrusted with putting Heart of Midlothian back on the footballing map. In came defenders Blazej Augustyn and Nigerian international Juwon Oshaniwa. Three forward players also joined the maroon platoon in the shape of Igor Rossi Branco, Juanma Manuel Delgado Lloria and Gavin Reilly who was plucked from Queen of the South. Out went Kevin McHattie, Scott Robinson and Dale Carrick to Kilmarnock. Brad McKay is off to Perth, Gary Oliver went South to Queens. Jason Holt and Danny Wilson are at Ibrox. Those are the main arrivals and departures and Robbie Neilson will feel that his squad will be good enough to compete at the top end of the table this year. Hearts have also added Danny Swanson to their impressive squad. The former Dundee United midfielder joins them until the end of the season as Neilson assembles a squad capable of pushing on from last years dominating performances. Inverness were involved in transfer activity at the end of the last window. We had some good news, and some bad news. I'll start with the bad news. The inevitable happened as Ryan Christie has signed a four year deal at Parkhead to play for his boyhood heroes. The good news is that he will be staying with us until January before Celtic will probably recall him. I'm sure every fan will wish him well in his career after Inverness. That doesn't mean we are all happy about it, but unfortunately this was going to happen sooner or later. We also acquired the services of two forward players in Miles Storey and Tobi Sho-Silva. Storey has arrived from Swindon and has been capped by England at u19 level. He had not made the hoped for breakthrough at Swindon where he came through the ranks and had been farmed out to Portsmouth and Newport County. He also had talks with St Mirren but nothing came of that. Sho-Silva joins from Charlton and both players appear to be stop gap loan signings until January brought about by our lack of quality in front of goal. Before the international break, we squandered a one goal advantage at Dens park to end up with a draw. David Raven had given Inverness the lead on the hour but Kane Hemmings prodded home a very late leveller for a share of the points. We would have taken a point before the game, but it was disappointing to concede so late in the game for what would have been our first win of the season. However, the performance was still not encouraging and we are not creating nearly enough opportunities to set us up for our first three pointer. Hearts fared little better by going down at Hamilton, having fought back from being a goal down to go ahead, only for Accies to snatch all three points after Hearts were wrongly reduced to ten men. King and Paterson were the Jambos scorers in a see-saw game. That was their first defeat this term, and the Accies have now beaten Inverness and Hearts in successive games. Nonetheless, it has been an excellent start to life at the top table for the capital club. The treatment table has been kinder to Inverness this last fortnight with news that Josh Meekings, Ricjie Foran and James Vincent could be fit enough to be included in the squad for this encounter. However, Jordan Roberts could be out for a further six weeks with an aggravated groin problem. So he can be added to the long term list of Brill, Warren and Doran. It's been a tough start to the season for Inverness injury wise, let's hope that eases a bit in the near future. Not helping is Mutombo as he will be sitting this one out after his ridiculous red card against Dundee. Hearts will have Callum Paterson available after his sending off was overturned. Neilson has a nearly full set of players to choose from and the added bonus of latest signing Danny Swanson. Soufian El Hassnaoui is the only injury worry. tm4tj prediction:- Our troubles are well documented this season and I don't know where or when our first win will come. We can hopefully shore up the defence a bit once Meekings gets back to full fitness, but that won't happen overnight. Our new strikers will need time to get to know how we roll up here so I won't be looking for miracles this Friday. Unlike Juanma, our Spanish striker has not exactly set the heather on fire. It may be time to try something different as it's not happening for Dani at the moment. Maybe the competition will spur him on to greater things. Juanma has netted four times this season and Osman Sow is a big threat as well. Reilly is scoring too and Hearts attacking flair could prove too much for our bedraggled troops. We have only lost one more goal than Hearts, but they have scored 15 times to our 4, and therein lies the problem. Given that horrendous stat, I can't see us picking up anything against Hearts, other than a thrashing. Comfortable win for the visitors by a couple of goals and little in the way of goalmouth action for Inverness. I'll still go along though and keep my fingers and toes crossed for a much healthier outcome. Yogi believes otherwise and thinks we are a match for Hearts. He will probably be tempted to throw in one of his new attacking options at the deep end in the hope that we can end our dismal run.
  24. Striking problem Matchday five this weekend as free scoring Hamilton come North to take on this seasons fall guys at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. In truth, they kept the best for last weekend and scored all of their goal tally for this season in the one game, a 4-0 hammering of Dundee United. The Accies have been busy strengthening their squad for this season and they have parted company with a few regulars since we last played them. Out has gone proven strikers Nigel Hasselbaink and Jason Scotland. Other notable departees are Stephen Hendrie, Jon Routledge and Darren Smith. Christian Nade returns to the Scottish Premiership from Raith Rovers and defender Antons Kurakins arrives from Ventspils. Midfielders Gramoz Kurtaj and Chris Turner have signed on along with keeper Alan Martin from Clyde. Carlton Morris comes in on loan from Norwich City. Hamilton have only played three games so far with one win, one draw and one defeat. They drew the seasons opener against Partick Thistle (0-0). Their next game was at Dingwall where they went down 2-0 to Ross County and there was no reason to believe they would come up with that convincing score against Dundee United. Their goals came from the tricky Ali Crawford, a header from Lucas Tagliapietra, on loan Carlton Morris from Norwich and a very late Cristian Nade strike. Our lack of fire power has been well documented so it was a welcome couple of goals that were scored at Parkhead, albeit after the points had gone when Celtic took their eye off the ball a little. Still, it was good to see Dani Lopez get off the mark and the talented Ryan Christie scoring his second of the campaign. John Hughes has been actively trying to get his hands on another striker and we have had Portadown's Darren Murray on trial all week. Yogi was reasonably impressed, but their may be a fee involved if we were to further our interest and the lad would need time to get up to speed. Inverness will have a similar squad to last week, so no returns for Aaron Doran, James Vincent, Jordan Roberts and Josh Meekings. Longer term injuries will keep Dean Brill, Richie Foran and Gary Waren out. Hamilton are in better condition, and Danny Redmond should return to the squad. Gaffer Martin Canning is not fit enough to feature though. tm4tj prediction:- We dominated all three games against the Accies last season but it looks as though the encounters will be a lot tougher this time round. Accies surprise routing of Dundee United has raised eyebrows and our lack of attacking options is restricting our progress somewhat. The Inverness fans are desperate to get the first win under the belt and would like that to begin tomorrow. I'm not so sure that we are ready yet with our side badly depleted and maybe we will have to be content with not losing. I'll go for a no scoring draw.
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