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  1. City slickers beaten A thoroughly well-deserved victory for Caley Thistle thanks to a cool finish by Juanjo and converted free kicks from Craig Brewster and Barry Wilson. For high-flying Hibs their first competitive visit to Inverness was a bitter one - bitterly cold and a bitterly disappointing result. In early exchanges Roy McBain shot low and wide in 14 minutes and Ross Tokely blocked an overhead attempt by Derek Riordan in 21 minutes. Just after the half-hour mark a measured pass from Russell Duncan set Stuart Golabek free in the box and one-on-one with Simon Brown. As the ICT captain shot low to the keepers left he made a superb full-length diving save to keep the scoreline blank. The opening goal came in 38 minutes when the Hibs defence failed to clear a Richie Hart corner from the right and Juanjo nipped in, rounded two defenders and hit high into the net from an acute angle. Half Time: 1-0 It stood 1-0 at the break but the visitors should have equalised six minutes into the second half. Riordan seized on a short back-pass and headed for goal. He was forced wide by the diving Mark Brown and his angled shot came off the post. Grant Munro shepherded it away and the danger was past. This proved to be a defining moment as Caley Thistle quickly went two ahead. McBain was brought down by Ian Murray 22 yards out and Brewster's low free kick found the corner of the net. Hibee Garry O'Connor came close in 62 minutes but his 25 yard shot came off the bar. This was a rare effort from the visitors who failed to find the form that had taken them to third in the league. They went three down in 77 minutes after Juanjo had been brought down 19 yards out, left of centre. Barry Wilson's free kick took a deflection of the wall and Simon Brown failed to clear despite the assistance of the post. The referee and his assistant decreed that the ball had crossed the line although many in the stadium were unsure. 3-0 it was and, with a minute left, substitute Graham Bayne nearly made it four. His drive from outside the box hit the post and Simon Brown made a superb save from the strikers follow-up. Full Time: 3-0 A vital and unexpected win in the battle for SPL survival. Livingston beat Kilmarnock so the gap between eighth and twelfth is still ten points. On the other hand ICT are now just three points behind seventh-placed Kilmarnock with two games in hand. Now for Ibrox! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness CT: 3 (Juanjo 38, Brewster 52, Wilson 77) Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Wilson, Hart (Proctor 83), Duncan, McBain, Juanjo (Fetai 78), Brewster (Bayne 78) Subs not used: Fraser; McCaffrey, Hastings, Prunty - Booked: None Hibernian: 0 Team: Simon Brown; Whittaker, Caldwell, Smith, I Murray (Shiels 65), Murphy, Orman (Sproule 65), A. Murray (McDonald 46), Scott Brown, O'Connor, Riordan Subs not used: Brown, McCluskey, Morrow, Konte - Booked: None Attendance: 4443 - Referee: John Underhill
  2. until
    Inverness CT -V- Arbroath Championship Football @ The Caledonian Stadium, Inverness Saturday 27th March 2021 @ 3:00pm Covid Restrictions - No Fans
  3. until
    Inverness CT -V- Raith Rovers Championship Football @ The Caledonian Stadium, Inverness Friday 12th March 2021 @ 7:45pm Covid Restrictions - No Fans
  4. until
    Inverness CT -V- Morton Championship Football @ The Caledonian Stadium, Inverness Tuesday 9th March 2021 @ 7:00pm Covid Restrictions - No Fans
  5. Virtual game time It's been a hectic week for the Caley Jags. An away day at Ayr, midweek game in the Highlands, a temporary manager installed, title favourites Hearts visiting the Caledonian Stadium and Neil McCann's first match in the Caley Jags dugout in front of a massive virtual crowd. Welcome Neil and haste ye back John Robertson and Scott Kellacher. Can we have a virtual score of 3-0 please. Thank you! Yes, it's been a massive success the virtual ticket sale and could add some much needed dosh to our accountants wee purse. Thanks to all who contributed and to all who made this possible. "A number of weeks ago, our club CEO Scot Gardiner was approached by Stevie Kilgour, the General Secretary of the Federation of Hearts Supporters, to discuss how Hearts fans could look to assist Caley Thistle during what has been an extremely onerous financial period for Scottish football." Buy Tickets Here Worrying news ahead of the Alloa fixture was manager John Robertson being given compassionate leave after a family bereavement. All this on top of Robbo's recent openness regarding the stress and strain the pandemic has put on all walks of life including his own during these unprecedented times. Add the serious illness Scott Kellacher has been dealing with and it was no surprise that the board felt the need to bring in someone who was prepared to help out and someone who has had previous experience in organising a football team. So here we are with Neil McCann offering his services to help out an old mate. Thank you Neil and good luck to all involved. After clawing Alloa back, going ahead then ending up drawing, it felt like a loss. It ended 2-2 but many felt we undid some of the good work we achieved at Ayr. Alloa benefitted from a couple of close calls, a missed penalty and some defensive naivety to earn their point. Wallace Duffy scored his first senior goal and what a goal it was. Possibly thirty yards into the roof of the net with his standing leg. Boom! James Keatings put us ahead after Miles Storey cut the ball across the box where Keatings hit a controlled volley into the bottom corner. A penalty award should have seen us take all three points but insistent penalty taker Storey shot weakly and keeper Parry saved easily. To then rub salt into the wound Trouten scored a late penalty to level the game and that's how it ended. Here's the goals against Alloa. Duffy..... Booooom! Last 10 Competitive Meetings against Hearts 1 - 2 (A) 0 - 1 (A) 0 - 3 (N) 0 - 5 (A) 1 - 1 (A) 3 - 3 (H) 1 - 5 (A) 0 - 0 (H) 0 - 2 (A) 2 - 0 (H) Looking at the above statistics, our last win over Hearts was on September 11th, 2015, 7:45 PM at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. Incidentally, Miles Storey scored a last minute goal on that Friday night. James Vincent got the opener, let's hope he is fit for this game. Is that an omen? Hearts were held to draws in their last two outings where Morton and Queen of the South came away with a point as Hearts came from behind in both games to level the score. They left it very late at Palmerston where Liam Boyce scored a 90th minute penalty. Neil McCann will have been well versed on the capabilities of his acquired charges despite only getting to know them since after the Alloa game. I'm sure he would have been well impressed by the likes of David Carson and James Keatings and hopefully he can get the best out of the rest. Danny Mackay and Roddy MacGregor will be out to impress and Miles Storey would do well to listen to McCann's advice. I'm sure most of the squad will benefit from some time with the 'new' gaffer. Wallace Duffy was as shocked as anyone to score that spectacular goal. You could tell he was new to scoring judging by his awkward non celebration. What a belter though. I'll let Neil explain how he came to be here... ***Latest Team News*** Usual candidates missing for the Caley Jags; the long term four and as noticed against Alloa Sean Welsh and James Vincent were not on the team-sheets. It looked as though everyone else came through unscathed and there's little scope for change. Hearts have a depth of squad that only Dundee can get close to, so it matters little if they have one or two missing.
  6. Rescheduled Alloa game 7:00pm Tuesday night Weather & Covid permitting... The original preview has been resurrected and irrelevant parts have been greyed out. The section regarding manager John Roberton has been left in as it has been revealed today that he has been granted compassionate leave due to a family bereavement. The club are looking to appoint an interim manager whilst Robbo is away. All at CTO send sincere condolences to John and family and hope everyone gets the support they need. Inverness are due to play Alloa Athletic this weekend, covid and weather permitting. The game is scheduled to kick-off at 3:00pm on Saturday 23rd January. Should it go ahead that will be our first game since 29th December when Dunfermline Athletic came North. There is of course no guarantee's these days with Scotland in lockdown and snow threatening to disrupt sporting events across the country. The aforementioned Dunfermline game ended all square at one apiece. Kerr McInroy rifled the Pars ahead before a second half spectacular twenty-five yarder from Miles Storey earned Inverness a point. Our previous game to that one was an away defeat to the very team we face on Saturday. It ended 2-1 for Alloa despite Inverness taking an early lead through Brad McKay. Unable to build on that, the Wasps sussed us out and once Innes Murray scored with a superb free kick there would only be one winner. The winning goal was gift wrapped by Mark Ridgers. It was an early Christmas present for Robbie Thomson, when from his volley a routine save turned into a blooper when the ball squirmed from his grasp and into the net. Since then we have lost the services of young Kai Kennedy after his loan deal expired. He has since joined Raith Rovers. On top of that Aaron Doran was rendered unavailable after suffering concussion against Dunfermline. However, our inactivity might see Doran declared fit to face Alloa. It's one month since the original fixture was called off. Since then we have played four times, drawing with Morton and Arbroath, disappointingly losing at home to Queen of the South but bouncing back at the weekend to defeat Ayr United 2-0 at Somerset Park. Daniel Mackay and Shane Sutherland with the goals in each half. Importantly David Carson played from the start and put in a MotM performance. The Wasps have been pumped by Raith Rovers (2-5), Dundee (3-1) and Hearts (1-3)since our last meeting. They picked up their only point with a 1-1 draw at home to Morton. Defeat against Hearts had a price tag, Lucas Williamson was red carded late in the game and will miss the game against us. Fast forward one month for the Wasps and they suffered a 4-1 thrashing at Ayr followed by an excellent 2-1 home win over Queen of the South. A home draw with Arbroath led to Saturdays narrow loss at East End Park where word on the street has it that they deserved something from that game. Alloa now find themselves five points adrift at the foot of the table. No room for complacency at Inverness though as we are one of the teams 5 points above Alloa. ***Latest Team News*** David Carson has returned to action and played a big part in the win at Ayr. Danny Devine has been out recently but he also played at Ayr. We are still without Lewis Toshney and Kevin McHattie on long term sickness benefits and they have been joined by Aaron Doran and loan signing Anthony McDonald. James Vincent was missing at Ayr as well. All three picked up injuries in training with Doran and McDonald possibly out for longer term. Peter Grant had this team out against Dunfermline with dangerman Kevin Cawley on target. Team: Parry; Robertson (Thomson 91), Graham, Taggart, Dick, Hetherington Williamson (Brown 90), Scougall, Trouten, Cawley, Cameron Subs: Buchanan, Jamieson, Connelly, Murray, Wright So there you have it, we are up to date now. Last 10 Competitive Meetings 1 - 2 (A) 0 - 2 (A) 1 - 1 (H) 3 - 2 (A) 2 - 0 (A) 2 - 2 (H) 3 - 0 (H) 2 - 1 (A) 3 - 2 (H) 0 - 0 (A) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ LIVE STREAMING £10 Club Statement re- John Robertson & Scott Kellacher Alloa Kick-off 7:00pm ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Manager John Robertson opened up about his own struggles throughout the pandemic and gave everyone food for thought. If someone as effervescent as Robbo is plumbing the depths then we all need to be careful and look out for each other. There has been plenty of reaction to Robbo's thoughts and everyone here at CTO wishes him all the best in what he describes himself as "the hardest year to manage... Things have been so tough during the pandemic that the Caley Thistle boss has even considered walking away from football Taken from a press interview, Robbo said: “It’s been the hardest year to manage: “I’m sure other managers would say the same. My concern is my players’ health and wellbeing. It’s been difficult. “As a manager, you deal with a lot — fallouts with their partners, financial problems, their cars breaking down. A million and one things. “Add all that together and throw in a pandemic that is claiming lives and it’s very difficult. “We’ve had players here who haven’t seen their families for ten months. “I haven’t seen my own children for ten months, or my granddaughter, who was born in November. “We all accept that and get on with it, but it has been very difficult. “I’ve been very down at times. I’ve struggled with my mental health because I’ve had all these added pressures to deal with. “As a manager, I do my best to try and help my players, but who helps me? “I’ve got to go home and chat to my wife about it, but who manages the managers? “I’m lucky I’ve a great relationship with the board and the chief executive and we have chats. “But there have been half a dozen times since March where I’ve felt really low. “Sometimes I have questioned whether I want to keep going because it’s just been so hard seeing what’s happening in the world at the moment. “It doesn’t last very long, you go again. “But I’d be a liar to say it has not affected me.” Championship fixtures this weekend ------------------ League table as at 20th January. Arbroath 1-1 Dundee (Friday) Dunfermline v Ayr United Hearts v Raith Rovers ICT FC v Alloa Athletic Queen of the South v Morton ***Latest Team News*** With our winter holidays since 29th December, I expect to see duracell bunny David Carson getting close to some game time and the same should apply to defender Wallace Duffy. Aaron Doran could be good to go after his enforced down time through concussion. Kevin McHattie and Lewis Toshney will need more time off to fully recover. Robbo has hinted that there are a couple of guys struggling to make this one: "“We’ve got a couple of niggles, the boys have been training very hard. We’ve got a couple of players that we’ll look at on Friday, they may make it but we may not take the chance with the amount of games coming up.” Peter Grant will be without the suspended Lucas Williamson. Kevin Cawley Alan Trouten and Liam Buchanan all offer a goal threat and Innes Murray showed what he can do with a dead ball. Neil Parry was the top shot stopper last season and is a difficult man to get the better of. All in, a tough game on our hands against a team that know how to beat us; hosts beware!
  7. Rescheduled Alloa game 7:00pm Tuesday night Weather & Covid permitting... The original preview has been resurrected and irrelevant parts have been greyed out. The section regarding manager John Roberton has been left in as it has been revealed today that he has been granted compassionate leave due to a family bereavement. The club are looking to appoint an interim manager whilst Robbo is away. All at CTO send sincere condolences to John and family and hope everyone gets the support they need. Inverness are due to play Alloa Athletic this weekend, covid and weather permitting. The game is scheduled to kick-off at 3:00pm on Saturday 23rd January. Should it go ahead that will be our first game since 29th December when Dunfermline Athletic came North. There is of course no guarantee's these days with Scotland in lockdown and snow threatening to disrupt sporting events across the country. The aforementioned Dunfermline game ended all square at one apiece. Kerr McInroy rifled the Pars ahead before a second half spectacular twenty-five yarder from Miles Storey earned Inverness a point. Our previous game to that one was an away defeat to the very team we face on Saturday. It ended 2-1 for Alloa despite Inverness taking an early lead through Brad McKay. Unable to build on that, the Wasps sussed us out and once Innes Murray scored with a superb free kick there would only be one winner. The winning goal was gift wrapped by Mark Ridgers. It was an early Christmas present for Robbie Thomson, when from his volley a routine save turned into a blooper when the ball squirmed from his grasp and into the net. Since then we have lost the services of young Kai Kennedy after his loan deal expired. He has since joined Raith Rovers. On top of that Aaron Doran was rendered unavailable after suffering concussion against Dunfermline. However, our inactivity might see Doran declared fit to face Alloa. It's one month since the original fixture was called off. Since then we have played four times, drawing with Morton and Arbroath, disappointingly losing at home to Queen of the South but bouncing back at the weekend to defeat Ayr United 2-0 at Somerset Park. Daniel Mackay and Shane Sutherland with the goals in each half. Importantly David Carson played from the start and put in a MotM performance. The Wasps have been pumped by Raith Rovers (2-5), Dundee (3-1) and Hearts (1-3)since our last meeting. They picked up their only point with a 1-1 draw at home to Morton. Defeat against Hearts had a price tag, Lucas Williamson was red carded late in the game and will miss the game against us. Fast forward one month for the Wasps and they suffered a 4-1 thrashing at Ayr followed by an excellent 2-1 home win over Queen of the South. A home draw with Arbroath led to Saturdays narrow loss at East End Park where word on the street has it that they deserved something from that game. Alloa now find themselves five points adrift at the foot of the table. No room for complacency at Inverness though as we are one of the teams 5 points above Alloa. ***Latest Team News*** David Carson has returned to action and played a big part in the win at Ayr. Danny Devine has been out recently but he also played at Ayr. We are still without Lewis Toshney and Kevin McHattie on long term sickness benefits and they have been joined by Aaron Doran and loan signing Anthony McDonald. James Vincent was missing at Ayr as well. All three picked up injuries in training with Doran and McDonald possibly out for longer term. Peter Grant had this team out against Dunfermline with dangerman Kevin Cawley on target. Team: Parry; Robertson (Thomson 91), Graham, Taggart, Dick, Hetherington Williamson (Brown 90), Scougall, Trouten, Cawley, Cameron Subs: Buchanan, Jamieson, Connelly, Murray, Wright So there you have it, we are up to date now. Last 10 Competitive Meetings 1 - 2 (A) 0 - 2 (A) 1 - 1 (H) 3 - 2 (A) 2 - 0 (A) 2 - 2 (H) 3 - 0 (H) 2 - 1 (A) 3 - 2 (H) 0 - 0 (A) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ LIVE STREAMING £10 Club Statement re- John Robertson & Scott Kellacher Alloa Kick-off 7:00pm ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Manager John Robertson opened up about his own struggles throughout the pandemic and gave everyone food for thought. If someone as effervescent as Robbo is plumbing the depths then we all need to be careful and look out for each other. There has been plenty of reaction to Robbo's thoughts and everyone here at CTO wishes him all the best in what he describes himself as "the hardest year to manage... Things have been so tough during the pandemic that the Caley Thistle boss has even considered walking away from football Taken from a press interview, Robbo said: “It’s been the hardest year to manage: “I’m sure other managers would say the same. My concern is my players’ health and wellbeing. It’s been difficult. “As a manager, you deal with a lot — fallouts with their partners, financial problems, their cars breaking down. A million and one things. “Add all that together and throw in a pandemic that is claiming lives and it’s very difficult. “We’ve had players here who haven’t seen their families for ten months. “I haven’t seen my own children for ten months, or my granddaughter, who was born in November. “We all accept that and get on with it, but it has been very difficult. “I’ve been very down at times. I’ve struggled with my mental health because I’ve had all these added pressures to deal with. “As a manager, I do my best to try and help my players, but who helps me? “I’ve got to go home and chat to my wife about it, but who manages the managers? “I’m lucky I’ve a great relationship with the board and the chief executive and we have chats. “But there have been half a dozen times since March where I’ve felt really low. “Sometimes I have questioned whether I want to keep going because it’s just been so hard seeing what’s happening in the world at the moment. “It doesn’t last very long, you go again. “But I’d be a liar to say it has not affected me.” Championship fixtures this weekend ------------------ League table as at 20th January. Arbroath 1-1 Dundee (Friday) Dunfermline v Ayr United Hearts v Raith Rovers ICT FC v Alloa Athletic Queen of the South v Morton ***Latest Team News*** With our winter holidays since 29th December, I expect to see duracell bunny David Carson getting close to some game time and the same should apply to defender Wallace Duffy. Aaron Doran could be good to go after his enforced down time through concussion. Kevin McHattie and Lewis Toshney will need more time off to fully recover. Robbo has hinted that there are a couple of guys struggling to make this one: "“We’ve got a couple of niggles, the boys have been training very hard. We’ve got a couple of players that we’ll look at on Friday, they may make it but we may not take the chance with the amount of games coming up.” Peter Grant will be without the suspended Lucas Williamson. Kevin Cawley Alan Trouten and Liam Buchanan all offer a goal threat and Innes Murray showed what he can do with a dead ball. Neil Parry was the top shot stopper last season and is a difficult man to get the better of. All in, a tough game on our hands against a team that know how to beat us; hosts beware! View full article
  8. Well spoil home visit A rare 2004/05 home match at Caledonian Stadium but, by SFA decree, only the stand was in use. Everyone was hoping to see Caley Thistle record another win in this season's CIS Cup, especially as the game was being played in Inverness, but the loss of two goals early in the second half meant it was another uphill struggle. ICT did manage to get a goal back but a late strike by the visitors meant they ran out 3-1 winners and into a place in the Quarter-Final draw. ICT began the game well and Richie Hart was first to threaten Marshall in the 'Well goal with a cracking free-kick but he clutched the ball very confidently. A minute later and Bryan Prunty looked to have been upended in the box but the appeals for a penalty kick were waived away by the referee. Barry Wilson was next to have a go after great work by Prunty and his 25-yard drive went just over the bar. The tempo of the game was quick and both sides looked to be evenly matched throughout the opening 45 minutes. Chances were created by Hart, Hislop and Wilson for Caley Thistle and McDonald (twice) and Foran had efforts for the visitors but it remained goalless at the half-time whistle. Half Time: 0-0 The home support were in shock at the start of the second half as Motherwell netted twice in seven minutes. Two minutes into the half Richie Foran picked up the ball just inside the box and fired home from 12 yards to give the Steelmen the lead. And worse was to follow when Grant Munro lost possession inside the penalty area and Phil O'Donnell had an easy chance to tuck the ball home from eight yards. The home side were stung into action and swarmed over the 'Well penalty area and were awarded a free-kick in 57 minutes. From Richie Hart’s kick, Gordon Marshall parried the ball out to Ross Tokely who struck it goalwards only to see the keeper block his effort. Tokely was on hand to take the rebound and score from a couple of yards. This brought Caley Thistle right back into the game. Tokely nearly levelled the game five minutes later but his shot from all of 25 yards went just over the crossbar. And if that attempt was close ICT captain Stuart Golabek was even closer when his ferocious 30-yard effort was tipped over by Marshall for a corner kick. At the other end Mark Brown pulled off a tremendous save from Scott McDonald before the tie was settled with seven minutes remaining, McBride tapping home from close range. Full Time: 1-3 A disappointing temporary return to Inverness. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness CT: 1 (Tokely 56) Team: Brown; Tokely, Munro, McCaffrey, Golabek, Wilson, Hart, Keogh (Duncan 70), McBain, Prunty (Juanjo 56), Hislop (Bayne 56) Subs not used: Fraser; Dods - Bookings: McCaffrey (60) Motherwell: 3 (Foran 46, O'Donnell 52, McBride 83) Team: Marshall; Corrigan, Hammell, Kinniburgh, Craigan, McBride (Fagan 76), Leitch, O’Donnell, Foran, Clarkson (Paterson 74), McDonald Subs not used: Corr; Burns, Partridge - Bookings: None Referee: Kevin Toner Attendance: 1464
  9. Third time lucky This fixture is looking like it might beat the pandemic, snow, ice and water and is scheduled to be played on Wednesday evening with a 6:30pm kick-off. That is unless the strong winds force another postponement. The original preview is still mostly relevant apart from a couple of fairly serious injuries to a couple of Caley Thistle players. First the good news: We have signed Anthony McDonald on loan from Hearts and there is no pitch inspection planned......yet. Now the bad news: Anthony McDonald is injured and possibly out for most of the season with suspected knee cartilage/ligament damage. Aaron Doran has a torn thigh muscle. Both were injured in separate incidents during training on the artificial surface at the indoor facility and both will be out for a lengthy spell. With Kai Kennedy now at Raith Rovers, the new injuries leave us short on suppliers for the strikers. Maybe David Carson will be fit enough to start, but like most of the squad, match sharpness will be an issue. Plenty room for the young team to get back into the starting XI and give Robbo some food for thought. James Keatings was a casualty after 20 minutes of the Arbroath game, so he might be missing as well. It might be easier to check and see who is not fit...... Queen of the South are a different beast from the team we swept aside 3-0 at Palmerston back on the 4th December. Players like Dapo Awokoya-Mebude, Isaiah Jones, Ayo Obileye and Connor Shields are making the Doonhamers tick along nicely and have added a goal threat to the Queens attack. Not household names, but certainly giving the Dumfries side a lift, especially with goal machine Stephen Dobbie missing a few games through injury. Of course, Mebude might have a problem should his partying be deemed naughty. He might have to sit this one out. Up to the officials to sort that one out. Queens come North on the back of contrasting results. A 2-1 win over Morton, a defeat at Alloa by the same score and an excellent draw against Hearts where it took a 90th minute penalty for the Jambo's to rescue a point. We enter this game after a 1-1 draw at Gayfield followed by two postponements. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ OFFICIAL PREVIEW PPV £10, (cheap at half the price) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Previously: Queens of the ice age frozen off...***GAME OFF*** (30th January) Another rearranged game due to go ahead on Saturday afternoon with Queen of the South the visitors. Should snow, ice, rain, covid or road blockages not stop this one, it is scheduled to kick-off at 3:00pm with live streaming available from Caley Jags TV. Pixie Lott for a £10er. However, let's not get ahead of ourselves as the words that we all dread have been uttered by the club. "There will be a pitch inspection at 9am tomorrow morning ahead of the match against Queen of the South". Now there's a surprise! It could be an opportunity for us to bounce back after a disappointing draw against the ten men of Morton. Easier said than done given our lack of game time over the last month. Last 10 Competitive Meetings against Queen of the South back to Jan 13th 2018 3 - 0 (A) 3 - 1 (H) 2 - 0 (A) 2 - 0 (H) 2 - 0 (A) 1 - 2 (H) 3 - 3 (A) 0 - 0 (H) 2 - 0 (A) 3 - 1 (H) At Cappielow we were without Brad Mckay and more importantly striker Miles Storey. With Kai Kennedy off to Raith Rovers, we were bereft of the guile needed to prize open a stubborn defence, and when we did, a lack of composure ensured we would not run away with the game despite the Ton being a man short for over half of the match. All this has not best pleased Robbo who has let them know in no uncertain terms that it's simply not good enough to just turn up and claim the points. You tell them John... Queens are on a bit of a roll since we last played them on December 4th. They took a thrashing at Tynecastle the week after (6-1) then lost to Morton and Dundee. However, since then they beat Raith Rovers 0-2 on 29th December, they have been on the up. Victories over Ayr United, Queens Park and Morton along with a draw against Arbroath have lifted them above Inverness in the table although we do have three games in hand. In fact we have games in hand over everyone, but that does not equate to points in the bag; think Morton in midweek. Connor Shields is the man on form just now and Queens now seem to have enough talent on board to ease away from the relegation area. Shields has nine goals this season, and more worrying for us seven in the last six games since Xmas. Team news not forthcoming but Robbo hinted at some changes after the slackness at Cappielow. I'll keep it short as there is no guarantee the game will go ahead, so look out early morning for any news from ICT FC.
  10. Third time lucky This fixture is looking like it might beat the pandemic, snow, ice and water and is scheduled to be played on Wednesday evening with a 6:30pm kick-off. That is unless the strong winds force another postponement. The original preview is still mostly relevant apart from a couple of fairly serious injuries to a couple of Caley Thistle players. First the good news: We have signed Anthony McDonald on loan from Hearts and there is no pitch inspection planned......yet. Now the bad news: Anthony McDonald is injured and possibly out for most of the season with suspected knee cartilage/ligament damage. Aaron Doran has a torn thigh muscle. Both were injured in separate incidents during training on the artificial surface at the indoor facility and both will be out for a lengthy spell. With Kai Kennedy now at Raith Rovers, the new injuries leave us short on suppliers for the strikers. Maybe David Carson will be fit enough to start, but like most of the squad, match sharpness will be an issue. Plenty room for the young team to get back into the starting XI and give Robbo some food for thought. James Keatings was a casualty after 20 minutes of the Arbroath game, so he might be missing as well. It might be easier to check and see who is not fit...... Queen of the South are a different beast from the team we swept aside 3-0 at Palmerston back on the 4th December. Players like Dapo Awokoya-Mebude, Isaiah Jones, Ayo Obileye and Connor Shields are making the Doonhamers tick along nicely and have added a goal threat to the Queens attack. Not household names, but certainly giving the Dumfries side a lift, especially with goal machine Stephen Dobbie missing a few games through injury. Of course, Mebude might have a problem should his partying be deemed naughty. He might have to sit this one out. Up to the officials to sort that one out. Queens come North on the back of contrasting results. A 2-1 win over Morton, a defeat at Alloa by the same score and an excellent draw against Hearts where it took a 90th minute penalty for the Jambo's to rescue a point. We enter this game after a 1-1 draw at Gayfield followed by two postponements. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ OFFICIAL PREVIEW PPV £10, (cheap at half the price) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Previously: Queens of the ice age frozen off...***GAME OFF*** (30th January) Another rearranged game due to go ahead on Saturday afternoon with Queen of the South the visitors. Should snow, ice, rain, covid or road blockages not stop this one, it is scheduled to kick-off at 3:00pm with live streaming available from Caley Jags TV. Pixie Lott for a £10er. However, let's not get ahead of ourselves as the words that we all dread have been uttered by the club. "There will be a pitch inspection at 9am tomorrow morning ahead of the match against Queen of the South". Now there's a surprise! It could be an opportunity for us to bounce back after a disappointing draw against the ten men of Morton. Easier said than done given our lack of game time over the last month. Last 10 Competitive Meetings against Queen of the South back to Jan 13th 2018 3 - 0 (A) 3 - 1 (H) 2 - 0 (A) 2 - 0 (H) 2 - 0 (A) 1 - 2 (H) 3 - 3 (A) 0 - 0 (H) 2 - 0 (A) 3 - 1 (H) At Cappielow we were without Brad Mckay and more importantly striker Miles Storey. With Kai Kennedy off to Raith Rovers, we were bereft of the guile needed to prize open a stubborn defence, and when we did, a lack of composure ensured we would not run away with the game despite the Ton being a man short for over half of the match. All this has not best pleased Robbo who has let them know in no uncertain terms that it's simply not good enough to just turn up and claim the points. You tell them John... Queens are on a bit of a roll since we last played them on December 4th. They took a thrashing at Tynecastle the week after (6-1) then lost to Morton and Dundee. However, since then they beat Raith Rovers 0-2 on 29th December, they have been on the up. Victories over Ayr United, Queens Park and Morton along with a draw against Arbroath have lifted them above Inverness in the table although we do have three games in hand. In fact we have games in hand over everyone, but that does not equate to points in the bag; think Morton in midweek. Connor Shields is the man on form just now and Queens now seem to have enough talent on board to ease away from the relegation area. Shields has nine goals this season, and more worrying for us seven in the last six games since Xmas. Team news not forthcoming but Robbo hinted at some changes after the slackness at Cappielow. I'll keep it short as there is no guarantee the game will go ahead, so look out early morning for any news from ICT FC. View full article
  11. Second half substitute Jean Claude Darcheville popped up in the final minute to grab all three points for Rangers in front of a new record crowd at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. Caley Thistle looked to have weathered the storm, including seeing a Charlie Adam "goal" chalked off for offside, but the last minute kick in the teeth means that Rangers have taken 9 points out of 9 from ICT this season. 20/01/08 Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, Inverness Inverness CT 0 Team: Fraser, Tokely, Proctor, Munro, Hastings, Cowie, Black, Duncan, McBain, Paatelainen (Wilson 69), Niculae Subs: Wyness, Bayne, Gillespie, Vigurs, Duff, Malkowski Rangers 1 Darcheville (89) Team: McGregor, Whittaker, Cuellar, Weir, Papac, Burke, Ferguson, Hemdani, Adam, Naismith (Darcheville 46), Cousin (Novo 75) Subs: Boyd, Lennon, McMillan, Broadfoot, Smith Referee Charlie Richmond Attendance 7753 FIRST HALF We are playing a 4-2-2-1-1 - Black and Duncan sat in behind the defence - Patti wide left - Roy wide RIGHT - Cowie (in a Rankin type role) almost in the hole behind Niculae. Thankfully Rangers are also playing a 4-5-1 system which is right up our street. The main danger is Burke who has obviously been tasked to test Rosscoe - and he is having some success. Hastings appears to have a grip on Naismith and with Granty man to man marking Cousin - Proctor is able to cover for Rosscoe. Both teams are playing on the counter attack and both are playing a high line and an offside trap. - to a neutral this half must have been so boring. Rangers are sluggish but we are tactically out manoeuvring them - so far. Patti (24) and Cowie (26) got in behind but McGregor got there first on both occasions. The first shot/header on target was Cousin on 27 but Fraser saved well. McBain showed his skill when he tried to chip McGregor on 38 and Duncan smashed the ball well over in the 42nd just after Fraser had saved well from Whittaker. At the moment we look surprisingly comfortable but I can see Walter hooking Naismith and putting Darcheville on for a 4-4-2. Brew must be happy as Walter, tactically, is playing into our hands - so far. To be fair nobody has really looked like scoring and the final balls from both teams have been simply awful. Tokely is toiling - McBain is "invisible" - Patti has not been seen as an attacking force - Duncan and Black are running the midfield - Cowie is working his socks off and Niculae is benefiting from that but we are not playing it to him - we are going wide all the time. SECOND HALF: Much better second half for the neutrals and to be honest - we blew it and Rangers just about deserved it. Was Walter logged in and followed ma advice??? Burke went left which ultimately won the match - Adam went to the old outside left position - we never got to grips with that but thankfully he didn’t play well. Cousin out muscled Proc early doors which was a taste of things to come. Proc needs to beef up to be a SPL central defender. Munro showed him how it should be done a minute later when he out muscled Darcheville. Walter was evidently going fer the direct route football - we should really have taken advantage of that as Ferguson and Hedmani were nullified because of it. Black and Niculae should both have done better with poor shots on target but never threatening McGregor. I thought the first goal was going to come after a ridiculous referee decision to give Darchville a free kick against Proctor. Setanta showed it was the other way but yet another example of Proctor being out muscled. Adam had a great chance in the 62nd when he smashed it way over after a defensive lapse by Proctor. Niculae "disappeared" in the second half but produced a sweet left foot strike in the 68th but it didn’t really trouble McGregor. Wilson came on for Patti - he was clearly struggling fitness wise. I don’t really understand why it wasn’t a straight swap and allow Bazza to play wide left but Brew swapped Bazza and McBain. Cousin, very fortunately "scored" and the replay clearly showed that it should have stood. Duncan was playing him on and he knew it judging by the expression on his face. I cant understand why we didn’t take Bayne on for Niculae as he was also clearly flagging - as was Hastings who was having a good match but Burke skinned him on several occasions in the last 15 minutes. And then Adam hit the bar in the 83rd. I cannot believe that Rosscoe got the Sponsors MOM - he was struggling against Burke in the first 45 and looked good in the second because he had nobody playing against him and was given loads of time and space. He got in the way of a Niculae header in the 86th and he went for goal in injury time when Niculae had cleverly tailed off to the back post and a pass would have meant a clear goal. Proctor was to blame for the winner and I hope Brew chastises him. He played like an immature full back sticking his hand up in desperation for offside instead of going for the ball or the man. Darchville even miss-hit the shot. Full Time: 0-1 A record crowd of 7,753 saw Rangers pinch it. Congrats to the North Stand as for the first time I recall, you could hear constant singing. It was one of those days that you can endure as we really deserved a point but i have no quarrels that Rangers shaded it at the end.
  12. Despite the 0-0 scoreline this was a relatively entertaining game. Dennis Wyness who will be playing for St Mirren next season could not score in his final game for ICT despite having a chance from two yards out and neither could Marius Niculae who - if speculation is to be believed - may also be moving on. 17/05/08 Tulloch Caledonian Stadium INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE 0 Team: Fraser, Tokely, Proctor, Hastings, McBain, Wilson (Hart 79), Duncan, Cowie, Imrie, Niculae (Bayne 72), Wyness (Black 57) SUBS: McAllister, Vigurs, Kerr, Malkowski ST MIRREN 0 Team: Howard, Barron, Haining, Potter, McCay, Dorman, Mason (Hamilton 72), Murray, O'Donnell (McGinn 90), Mehmet, Dargo SUBS: Burns, Crighton, Docherty, McAusland, Smith Referee Eddie Smith Attendance 378 I think ICT will have been unhappy not have been ahead before being reduced to ten men as we had the better of the chances before Proctors dismissal. After that, while we still had opportunities to go in front, St. Mirren had us on the back foot at times and in the end a draw was about right. Straight from the kick off we put ourselves under pressure when a slack Tokely pass across the centre of defence was seized upon by Dargo who picked the ball up and drove towards goal. Proctor was keeping close attention and eventually, when attempting to put in a challenge, only succeeded in bring down the former Inverness man resulting in a free kick to the Saints. Had Hastings not been tracking back with the ICT defender it could have been worse for Proctor but he was only awarded a yellow card. From the resultant free kick, taken twice after Niculae broke early from the wall, Home keeper Fraser easily held McCays shot. ICT retaliated when a surging Imrie run down the left side resulted in a cross being fired across goal which found ICTs Player of the Season Don Cowie at the back post but he was unable to steer the ball into the net instead firing over much to the relief of Howard in the Buddies goal. Inverness were on the attack again when a McBain cross was knocked down by Paisley bound Wyness to Niculae but the Romanian was unable to dig the ball out from under his feet as he was surrounded by Saint Mirren defenders who cleared the danger. An Imrie free kick was the next attempt on goal but the former Bully Wee star sent the ball wide of the post. Imrie threatened again as more direct running down the left saw him cut infield and send in a shot high towards goal which Howard was able to deal with. Saint Mirren threatened in spells in the first half as well. A superb cross field pass found right back Barron in acres of space. McBain was slow to close him down and gave the Saints man the time to send in a wicked ball right across the six yard box which left Fraser scrambling as Dargo closed in. Luckily for Inverness Dargo was unable to connect with the ball and it trickled out of play and away from danger. Yet again Dargo was involved as Saints built upon their good spell of possession. A Mehmet through ball found Dargo who headed towards goal but was shackled all the way by a determined Imrie who eventually won the ball off him continuing his strong start to the game. Barry Wilson, fresh from signing a new 6 month deal at Inverness sent in a cross which Wyness attacked but he was unable to put Inverness in front. Wilson was next to threaten as he sent in a testing drive which Howard palmed to safety. A wonderful passing move down the right involving Wilson, Tokely and Cowie set Wyness up again but yet again he failed to find the target. Even more staggering was the miss from Wyness minutes later. The ball ricocheted in the box before dropping to the feet of Wyness who somehow contrived to miss from inches out. Marius Niculae had been having a quiet game so far. He was next to test Saints keeper Howard with a drive the just flew over. This was to be the final action of the first 45 minutes in which Inverness had had by far the better chances but Saints still looked threatening on occasions too. Half Time: 0-0 Into the 2nd half and ICT nearly shot themselves in the foot again with another defensive mix up. Shoddy play at the back allowed Billy Mehmet the chance to put Saints in front but he was unable to take advantage as he blazed over. Inverness retaliated with a Niculae header which had Howard scrambling to save. A powerful effort from Saint Mirren's 22 was gathered by Fraser as the game started to open up a little. A Cowie half volley from a Wilson cross squirmed wide of the goal before Inverness were reduced to 10 men after another collision between Proctor and Dargo. With the ball on the far side touchline, a clever through ball sent Dargo scampering away towards goal with Proctor in hot pursuit. The players tangled and Proctor was shown a straight red for a professional foul leaving Inverness to play the remainder of the game with 10 men. Dorman tried his luck from the subsequent free kick but the ball flew over. Imrie was causing problems down the left hand side and drew Barron into a crude foul which set up another chance for Inverness. The free kick found its way to Niculae who had his header cleared by the Buddies rearguard. Brewster shuffled his pack by withdrawing the misfiring Wyness and tightened up the midfield with Black coming on. Wyness was given a standing ovation by the Home crowd in what is likely to be his last game for ICT before joining Saint Mirren in the summer. With the withdrawal of Wyness, Niculae was left to plough a lone furrow up front and he was next to threaten when a darting run saw him squeezed off the ball by three Saint Mirren players. Roy McBain cut in from the left and drove towards goal before unleashing a thundering shot. Unfortunately the shot was hit with his right foot and the ball ended up heading towards the Moray Firth! Saint Mirren then nearly took the lead through an unlikely source as Tokely came close to sending the ball into his own net as Saint Mirren upped the stakes as the clock wound down. A cross to Dargo found the goal shy striker in space but his low shot was saved by Fraser. There was a contentious moment when Bayne looked to have handled in the area with a cross cum shot that was drive at him. It was debateable whether he could have done anything about it but it might not have been too surprising if Eddie Smith had given a spot kick. Bayne, with plenty of time, inexplicably thumped the ball out for another corner under no pressure which prompted a verbal spat with Hastings over the needless pressure put under the ICT defence because of Baynes hurried clearance. Dargo threatened again with a shot that crept wide of the left hand post and Jim Hamilton was the man on the end of another Saint Mirren counter attack but he too was unable to put St. Mirren ahead as he shot at Fraser. Despite a good start to the game ICT were clinging on at the end with only 10 men after Proctors dismissal. They should really have been ahead before then but were unable to take their chances with Wyness guilty of some awful misses. However Saints had some chances of their own and will have been disappointed not to have taken at least one of them. It would seem that is Wyness's last game for ICT so best of luck to him wherever he might turn up next season. He's been a great player for ICT and I'm sorry to see him go. He used to be shite, but now he's alright, walking in a Wyness wonderland.
  13. Caley Thistle ran out rampant 6-1 winners over Gretna at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. It took only 31 seconds to grab the lead with a goal from Dougie Imrie. Rory McAllister made it 2-0 in 23 minutes. Gretna scored in 27 minutes to make it close at the half but 4 second half goals for the Caley Jags allowed ICT to record the second highest scoreline of the season in the SPL. 03/05/08 Tulloch Caledonian stadium, Inverness INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE 6 Imrie (37 secs), McAllister (23), Wilson (51), Cowie (70), Tokely (88), Vigurs (90) Team: Malkowski, Tokely, Proctor, Hastings, McBain, Wilson (Vigurs 80), Black (Kerr 85), Cowie, Imrie, Niculae, McAllister (Bayne 65) SUBS: Wyness, Duncan, Hart, Fraser GRETNA 1 Hogg (27) Team: Fleming, Barr, Meynell, Griffiths, Skelton, Deverdics, Hall (Wilkinson 62), Hogg (Taylor 69), McGill (Fisher 82), Osman, Naughton SUBS: Robinson, Murray, Scultz-Eklund, Sharples Referee Iain Brines Attendance 3639 From Site: That's about as easy as it gets, I think. We cut Gretna open whenever we could be bothered, and once we got Bayne on in the last 20 minutes we started causing havoc. Mostly great goals... 1. Great defence splitting pass puts Cowie in behind, he keeps his head and squares for Imrie to tap in. 30 seconds gone by my stopwatch. 2. Niculae's powerful header wonderfully saved by Fleming, but Rory shows unheard of athleticism to head in the rebound. Gretna goal - appalling marking at a set play, Tokely misses the header and Hogg flicks it in from six yards. Could Zibi have stopped it? I'll give him the benefit of the doubt - it was at close range. 3. Bazza, mate, that was a corker. 20 yards out, he steadied himself and hammered it into the keeper's bottom right hand corner. Magnificent goal, as good as any we've scored this season. 4. Great break by Imrie down the left, and he stood it up beautifully for Cowie to crack home on the volley - great technique from Chipper. Defence gave him all the time in the world to finish it off, mind. 5. Tokely gets on the end of a corner to head it in. Not much power on it, how it went in I have no idea. 6. Vigurs!!! Smashing volley on the turn after another Imrie run and cross. Gretna were utterly guff, but you can only beat what's put in front of you. We were pretty nonchalant in the first half, but only looked vaguely in trouble when defending set plays. Brew may have given them a kick up the rear end at the break. Commendations today for Imrie, Cowie and particularly Bazza who looked very classy indeed. I suspect, even despite his goal, that there may still be criticisms of young Rory, and I have to say that I've seen glaciers that move faster and sloths that put in more effort than he did today. He's like Steven Hislop but without the work rate. Still, he got a goal and that's what he's supposed to do. That's about as easy as it gets, I think. We cut Gretna open whenever we could be bothered, and once we got Bayne on in the last 20 minutes we started causing havoc. Mostly great goals...
  14. Despite Kilmarnock coming out of the blocks the quickest to test ICT Goalkeeper Michael Fraser they did little else to threaten the Caley Jags for the remainder of the game. A fine free-kick from Dougie Imrie saw him score his first goal for the club. The second goal was awarded as an o.g. to Lilley and we'll have to wait for the television replay, but there's every chance that McBain had a foot on it. Marius Niculae scored the third with a World Class finish on 79 minutes, and got booked for jumping the hoardings to celebrate in front of a Romanian flag. All in all it was a successful day at the office. 19/04/08 Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, Inverness INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE 3 Imrie (10) Lilley OG (71) Niculae (79) Team: Fraser, Tokely, Proctor, Munro (Paatelainen 86), Hastings, Wilson (Hart 72), McBain, Cowie, Imrie, Niculae (McAllister 86), Wyness SUBS: Vigurs, Black, Kerr, Malkowski KILMARNOCK 0 Team: Combe, Fowler, Lilley, Hay, O'Leary, Clancy, Invincible, Flannigan, Locke (Hammil 63), Wales (Dalglish 60), Fernandaz (Di Giacomo 68) SUBS: Rascle, Murray, Ford, McInnes Referee A Muir Attendance 3420 This was the first of our post-split fixtures and as has been the case since the introduction of the split setup the run in to the end of the season becomes an almost meaningless affair, even more so this season as events at Gretna have already confirmed them as taking the drop. Things haven’t been too great at ICT since the start of the year with only 2 wins, both against Gretna, to be shown for “efforts” on the park, so I went in to this game with very little expectation and simply wanting to see some entertaining football and a bit of team cohesiveness and fight. Some indication that we were making the turn and starting to get things back on track seemed to be the common wish for those who ha met up before the match for a swift pint (or four) before heading to the Stadium. The meeting in the Innes turned up a surprise visitor for many as Scotty (site owner) had arrived from Canada earlier in the week, and the moment got a little more surreal when it transpired that Canuck, also from Toronto, was to be in attendance. Despite only living a (relatively) short distance from each other in Canada, the Innes Bar was, yet again, to prove to be the International meeting point for ICT fans. With vocal cords suitably lubricated it was off to the game. The sun was shining, spirits were high and with any luck the result wouldn’t spoil the day. The game got off to a relatively slow start, but Kilmarnock were creating the early chances with Michael Fraser called in to action to tip one over the bar and then see another safely round the post. In fact, things were so slow in the first 10 minutes that we found the idiotic antics of a Steward far more entertaining as he childishly tried to “stare down” the fans in Section G….although it later transpired he might have actually been in a Coma as he had to be woken from his slumber twice by his supervisor….lol. A huge Cheer then erupted from the Caley Jags faithful…oh damn, we’d missed our opening goal…apparently it was a well taken free-kick where Imrie managed to dupe the defensive wall and stick it straight in the back of the net for his first ever ICT goal. Eyes back on the game now, we weren’t going to miss anything else. Their wasn’t much to split the teams during the first 45 minutes of the match other than Caley Thistle creating more chances at the front. Barry Wilson and Dougie Imrie were delivering some great balls into the box, and they were coming with pace which was catching out the Kilmarnock defence...and unfortunately our own players too who have been more used to long balls or floated balls into the area in recent weeks (and months). We were getting contact on the ball, but were a little slow to get the feet off the ground to get above them and send them downwards instead of over the bar. Wyness, Niculae and Cowie all recorded half decent efforts before the half and our back four looked comfortable as they kept Kilmarnock at bay and made it a quiet half for Michael Fraser. HALF TIME: Inverness CT 1 v 0 Kilmarnock For the first time in long enough I can’t imagine Brewster would have had too much to shout about during the break. The first half had been slow, but it was controlled and the team were playing as a unit. If anything Brewster would be asking them to just pick up the pace a little. Both teams came on for the second half looking as if they were going to lift the tempo, but still Kilmarnock had little to offer in the final third of the pitch, and had it not been for their defensive it could have easily turned into a more comprehensive battering. Tokely was first to get a shot away within a minute of the re-start when he found himself with the ball on the right and he stuck his head down and made for goal. His shot from just inside the 18 yard box going narrowly wide on the left. The longer the game went on, the more comfortable ICT looked on the ball and the more Kilmarnock fell out of it. We were getting the ball down and passing it well in all areas of the park. Wilson and Imrie were commanding the wide areas, Cowie was sitting comfortable in the centre and McBain was covering ground like a man possessed…not in a long time have I seen one player appear in so many places on the park, and he was doing it with real purpose creating chances like they were going out of fashion. His rewards were to come in the 71st minute when his perseverance saw him chasing down a ball and pressuring Kilmarnock’s Lilley. Hard to tell who got the final touch on the ball, but no doubt at all that it beat a scrambling Combe to go in at the bottom corner to make it 2-0 to Caley Thistle. So far we’d seen Tokely miss narrowly wide and head one over, a Wilson shot saved, a Wyness lob tipped over the bar and Cowie shot also go over…so we were creating plenty of chances and getting our rewards. Wilson had taken a knock around about the hour mark so it wasn’t surprising to see him substituted in the 72nd minute. With Hart having already signed a pre-contract with Ross County for next season it was a little surprising to see him come on to the field and being 2 goals up it would have been nice to see one of the younger lads getting a chance, but que sera…Hart came on and slotted in well without upsetting the controlled and effective formation we’d been displaying all afternoon. Wyness hadn’t having his typical type game and looked a bit rusty when it came to the twists and turns we expect, but he had been doing a great job of holding up the ball and allowing us to get forward in numbers to support. This had been showing for almost the entire game when we seemed to have 5 or 6 guys in or around the goal for every cross ball and attacking play. A double corner was to lead to our next goal. Kilmarnock cleared the first but it came straight back at them and they were forced to play it out for a second corner. This too was cleared but not far enough and the ball came back to Niculae who was sitting on the right hand edge of the 18 yard box with only the on rushing keeper between him and the goal. He showed his class by staying composed and lifting the ball over and round Combe to find the back of the net and make it 3-0 for the Highlanders on 79 mins. If anyone ever doubted Niculae's passion for the game or the team then that was firmly put to bed as he showed his appreciation to the fans by jumping the wall to go and meet them in celebration. It might have resulted in the only card of the game, but you can be sure the fans aren’t complaining and chants of “Marius Niculae” were belted forth from the stands…his contract might have been the cause of some tension behind the scenes, but there’s no doubting that he is a firm favourite among the Caley Thistle followers. A double substitution on 86 minutes for ICT saw Niculae and Munro being replaced by McAllister and Paatelainen. Not sure if it was some streetwise antics by Niculae or not, but he made a bit of a meal in leaving the field to run down a little more of the clock, and ensured he shook the referees hand on the way. Both he and Munro were applauded from the park and deservedly so as both had had a great game. The final shot of the game came from Hart from 20 yards out after McAllister looked to pass up the opportunity for himself and send the ball into the middle. Once again Combe denied us a goal, but when your 3-0 up, nobody really cares. FULL TIME: Inverness CT 3 v 0 Kilmarnock Overall the game was pretty much what I had been hoping for. It wasn’t the worlds best ever display, but we were solid, we were passing well and creating chances. Our defence was solid at the back for the whole 90 minutes and we were once again playing as a complete unit. One Swallow does not make a summer…but our performance in the last 3 games has been much improved and the signs are there that we are starting to turn the corner. It’s off to Tynecasle next week to play Hearts and I’m sure todays results will go along way to adding a few to the crowd for that one….long may it continue.
  15. Aberdeen only went and did it again didn't they!!!! 4 minutes into second half injury time Chris Maguire scored Aberdeen's 4th goal in a 4-3 win to keep their top 6 dreams alive and make it 17 games without a win against the Dons for ICT. This was a sickener for Caley Thistle in a game where the effort seemed to return to the players. This game had it all - 7 goals, 10 players booked, 2 sent off for off the pitch actions, and yet some excellent entertainment. Its been doom and gloom for the last few weeks but today's game, despite the last minute goal might have contained a glimmer of hope. Its bad for the defence to lose 4 goals, but there was effort, there were ICT goals, and there was entertainment... all things that had been missing in recent weeks. 29/03/08 Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, Inverness INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE 3 Bus (21 o.g.), Duncan (40), McBain (58) Team: Fraser, Tokely (Paatelainen 82), McGuire, Munro, Hastings, Proctor, Cowie, Duncan, McBain, Imrie (Hart 75), Niculae SUBS: Wyness, McAllister, Vigurs, Kerr, Malkowski ABERDEEN 4 Aluko (7), Nicholson (45), Miller (54), McGuire (94) Team: Soutar, Maybury, Considine, Bus (Maguire 46), McNamara, Foster, Nicholson, Severin, Aluko, Mackie (Duff 73), Miller SUBS: Pawlett, Walker, Touzani, Mair, Langfield Referee Dougie McDonald Attendance 5655 RIG: Just going to list various things I noticed or thought of during/after the game: Overall the game was poor in terms of the football played. Aberdeen seemed more likely to try and pass it but we were too reliant on hoofing the ball up the park as usual. However, there was some nice passing in places I felt. Our line up was odd. Not sure about Tokely in midfield really. He was caught out a lot by Aluko but stuck to his job well on most occasions. However, in our system the right midfielder needs to help cover back with our right sided full back and this he couldn't to due to this lack of pace and Proctor was often left exposed. The first Aberdeen goal was abysmal defending from Proctor, Tokely, Munro and McGuire. Far too easy for the lad to cut inside and stroke the ball past Fraser. Niculae being ball greedy! Why oh why did he not pick out Cowie all alone with an empty net in front if him? Worst decision by anyone of the entire 90 minutes. Odd goal to level with but we'll take it. I thought it was going to head out of play till Bus(s) arrived to smash a header into his own net. Duncans finish was a sweet strike and I believe his yellow for his celebration was incorrect however the highlights might clear this up as to what happened. Seemed that it was the reaction of Aberdeen players and fans that got him booked. Especially when you consider Nicholson celebrating in front of/baiting the ICT fans. Personally I think both should have been allowed but if MacDonald was to book Duncan then he should book Nicholson. It was a fantastic goal they equalised with but Hastings was too slow to close down and allowed Foster (?) too much time and space to pick out the runner into the box with McGuire static as Nicholson rose. Could Ikey have come for it? Cracking goal nonetheless but we made it easy. Duncans sending off - will be interesting to see just what he does with regards to "kicking the ball away" from MacDonald. Can't help but feel that there wasn't too much in it but we'll see (hopefully) in the highlights. Put us on the back foot for the 2nd half but we coped well under intense pressure at times though on other occasions we were falling apart. Seemed to galvanise the effort from the lads so that was appreciated given recent performances showing so little enthusiasm. Munro had a spectacular goal line clearance from Miller or Mackie I think it was. Miller then went on to miss an open goal as he sidefooted wide. More dodgy defending from us allowed this opportunity. Our free kicks at the edge of the box were atrocious. We had a horror one from Duncan against "Team X" but Imrie topped that yesterday with his one. Something we need to work on clearly. Any chance of Rankin giving the lads some pointers? Subs were interesting. I actually think the players he brought on were good - Hart added fresh legs and plenty of effort in the midfield and putting Marcus on retained our balance. However we could have used another pair of fresh legs in there to help us hold the ball up away from the goal. That's where Wyness came in. Players like McBain and Cowie were tiring badly although that's too be expected. We still looked a threat on the counter. Forced some corners and had a few reasonable efforts e.g. Marcus going for glory and I think Hart and Tokely both had breaks into the box that just failed to result in anything. Killer goal at the end where we just couldn't clear our lines and up popped Maguire to steal in to get the winner. Positives The sheer effort from the team was a huge positive and something we haven't seen in a long time. Some of the goals we scored were excellent I felt. I thought McBains goal was a great finish as it could so easily have got stuck under his feet (see Brown in the Rangers v Celtic game) Niculae was brilliant in holding the ball up and looking for the clever pass into space - no long ball mince here! Negatives The result obviously The possible lack of discipline from Duncan and Munro that resulted in the red cards The defence still needs a lot of work The fact that we were crying out for another pair of fresh legs to help take some of the heat off the lads towards the end was ignored FROM CTO Just back...traffic was shocking, much like our defending! However, I've been moaning about being bored at the last few games, and even though we lost that was an absolutely magnificent football match. We feared the worst after the Aberdeen opener, and at 3-2, but for the first time in months we had players out there who were sweating blood. Hundreds of fans stayed behind at the end to applaud the players off and they deserved it. Our third goal was a work of art as well - Niculae's one touch flick releases Cowie down the right, and his first time cross picks out McBain striding through the centre to score. Magic. POSITIVES Rossco - I was horrified by the decision to stick him on the right wing, and it took a while for him to settle there. But in the second half he was incredible. Had to be subbed because he looked like he would collapse from exhaustion. Roy McBain - also put in a magnificent shift second half, capped with a goal. Marius - simply a class act. Held up play well and set up so many of our attacks with clever flick on's. Hart - did well off the bench Brew - not his fault we lost. Tactically we were a bit better today, and the players gave everything second half. NEGATIVES Russell b***** Duncan - I think it is reasonable that your teammates receive a public apology. Whatever you got sent off for, you are an absolute moron. We're running out of central midfielders fast. Mind you, in his absence we looked twice the team we were. Phil McGuire - a wheelie bin would be more useful at centre-half. Utterly hopeless and a liability. Grant Munro - I don't care if the referee and standside linesman were completely incompetent (which they were) - if you were sent off after the game then you are a total idiot. Ian Black (or the absence of)- was apparently in the Heathmount while we were playing. Anyway, the best we've played in ages. At 3-3 we had at least as much chance of nicking it
  16. Caley Thistle lose to an 86th minute Billy Clarke goal in a game that could certainly not be described as a classic. That's still only 1 win in 2008 for the Caley Jags and if Gretna go to the wall before the end of the season, that solitary win might even be expunged from the records !!! 15/03/08 Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, Inverness INVERNESS CT 0 Team: Fraser, Tokely, Munro, McGuire, Hastings, Duncan, Black, Cowie (McAllister 80), McBain (Imrie 80), Niculae, Wyness (Bayne 53) Subs: Proctor, Kerr, Vigurs, Malkowski FALKIRK 1 Clarke (86) Team: Olejnik, Aafjes, Scobbie, Barr, Milne, Cregg (Riera 57), McBride, Arfield, Moutinho (Clarke 70), Barrett, Finnigan (Latapy 57) Subs: Bradley, Stewert, Ross, Supple Referee Calum Murray Attendance 4012 ICT’s wretched run of form continued unabated as Billy Clarke‘s late strike gave visitors Falkirk a deserved win. The visitors had to work rather harder for a victory than Hearts did a fortnight ago, but otherwise there were few positives for Craig Brewster to find after yet another lukewarm, passionless performance. Caley had only a single victory, against Gretna, to show for their first ten matches of 2008 and Brewster reverted to a 4-4-2 after the defeat to the Jambos two weeks previously. Dennis Wyness and Roy McBain were recalled, with Dougie Imrie dropped to the bench and Markus Paatelainen left out of the matchday squad altogether. Falkirk, meanwhile, continued with the same eleven that drew with Motherwell in their last match, with John Hughes continuing to go with an attacking triumvirate of Moutinho, Barrett and Finnigan. Under the backdrop of a clear blue sky and some unseasonable warmth, it was the Bairns who dominated possession throughout the opening period, with Hughes clearly upset that his side, clearly missing the injured Michael Higdon, had few chances to show for it. Carl Finnigan had the best of them, but his stabbed effort from six yards was blocked by a spread-eagled Michael Fraser when a corner caused chaos in Caley’s box. The first forty-five minutes followed a familiar pattern, with Falkirk given licence to knock the ball about and Inverness happy to sit deep and soak up pressure. Robert Olejnik was briefly called into action to turn a Niculae shot round the post, though the shot was drifting wide anyway. That was the exception, though, as the Austrian keeper saw very little action in a first half best described as uninspiring. The only thing the sides had to show for their stalemate was a bit of a suntan. Half Time: 0-0 Unfortunately for the increasingly frustrated home support, there was little change in proceedings after the break, leading both managers to make early substitutions; Caley hooking Wyness for Graham Bayne and Falkirk replacing Cregg and Finnigan with Latapy and Riera. Caley finally found some impetus, with Bayne inches away from reaching McBain’s ball across goal, then somehow managing to head wide from six yards while unmarked. Ultimately, though, it was the introduction by Falkirk of their veteran Trinidadian schemer that decided the game. Caley threw on McAllister and Imrie as they looked to nick the win, but instead got caught on the break. Receiving the ball in the centre circle, Latapy waltzed through the Caley defence, dummied Phil McGuire with a lovely body swerve, and squared the ball for another substitute, Billy Clarke to tap home for his first goal for Falkirk. Clarke was booked for over celebrating, but his delight was understandable with the three points keeping his side in the driving seat for a top six place. In the remaining four minutes Caley never looked like grabbing an unlikely equaliser, and the home support vented their fury at another dour, pointless performance with a cacophony of boos at the final whistle. Full Time: 0-1 They now head to Rugby Park next week with any hopes of finishing in the top half well and truly extinguished, and aware that their campaign is now increasingly in freefall.
  17. Inverness Caledonian Thistle were deserving losers in what has to be one of the worst performances they have ever put together since joining the SPL. The display on the park today was so bad it was verging on the comical and at times it was hard to know whether to laugh or cry. 0-3 going on 0-6 and we had nothing to respond with. 01/03/08 Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, Inverness INVERNESS CT 0 Team: Fraser, Tokely, McGuire, Munro, Hastings, Cowie (McAllister 83), Black (Proctor 73), Paatelainen (Wyness 46), Duncan, Imrie, Niculae Subs: Vigurs, McBain, Kerr, Malkowski HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN 3 Karipidis (22), Elliot (33, 47) Team: Banks, Neilson, Karipidis, Berra, Wallace, Jonsson, Palazuelos, Driver (Ivaskevicius 64), Mikoliunas (Screpis 72), Nade (Beniusis 84), Elliot Subs: Glen, Tall, Zalukas, Ridgers Referee Alan Freeland Attendance 4489 With only one win under our belt since Craig Brewster and Marius Niculae picked up Manager and Player of the month awards you could be forgiven for thinking that our demise is some kind of sick conspiracy. ICT seem to be on self-destruct and nobody seems to know what to do other than watch as the clock tics away!!! Recent results against Hibs and Celtic weren’t the best, but at least the team showed some willingness to fight and attempt to battle back in those matches, but against Hearts it was an entirely different kettle of fish. We got off to not too bad a start and were the ones applying pressure to Hearts in the first 20 minutes, albeit it phases and without much in the way of an end product. The only shot I can remember going in the direction of the goal was Duncan around the 15 minute mark, but even that sailed harmlessly high over the bar. We weren’t playing brilliant football, but we seemed to be edging it over what looked like an equally mediocre Hearts team….that was until the 22nd minute. Hearts won a corner and Driver delivered a high ball in to the middle of the box which Fraser looked to be coming to collect with ease, but for some reason he stopped and decided to back pedal towards his line giving Karipidis all the time in the world to pick his spot and head the ball in to the back of the net. This was the moment when the wheels really fell off for ICT, our midfield started to sit so deep they had the defence in their back pockets and even when we did manage to avoid tripping over each other and get the ball up the park, we had nobody to keep it there and it came straight back at us. The only time our midfield seemed willing to cross the half way line was when Fraser was taking a goal kick. To rub salt in the wounds, Referee (I use the word in it’s loosest form) Alan Freeland seemed to be making it up as he was going along. Despite Mikoliunas diving about like the Sugar Plum Faerie for most of the game it wasn’t until he tried to break the legs of Hastings that he caught the refs attention…and even then he got a yellow card for what was clearly a dangerous challenge and would have seen any other ref give a red without hesitation. On the few occasions we did push forward we were slow to get back and defend once we gave up possession and that was a regular occurrence during this match. Hearts second goal, and the first for Elliot in 2 years came when ICT were caught napping. We had lost possession on the left and failed to break down a run on the right before the ball was played down the line to Nade. Nade then made it look like he was out for a stroll in the park as he nutmegged Munro, stepped over a fresh air challenge by Duncan and then cut the ball back past McGuire who had left Elliot standing alone in the middle of the box….0-2 Hearts. The best efforts for Caley Thistle came towards the end of the first half when Niculae was unfortunate not to have stuck 2 half efforts away to level the scoring. The first chance came from a cross ball deep in to the box, but it was a little too high for Niculae to get above it to head it done and he nodded it over. The second chance saw Niculae again make a break deep in to the box as Tokely crossed the ball from the right. Niculae stuck out a leg, but the ball took a bounce and even at full stretch he couldn’t get enough on it to put it in to the net. 2 Goals down at half-time, but a glimmer of hope that we could actually create something up front and might be able to come back in to this if we could send out the real Caley Thistle team for the second half. For the first time I can remember in long enough, we actually made a tactically sound substitution at half time. Half Time: 0-2 Paatelainen made way for Wyness to give us 2 strikers up front. It wasn’t long before all hopes of a comeback were dashed though and on 47 minutes Black made the biggest error of the game. He attempted to pass the ball back through a crowd of players to Fraser, but he failed to get enough on the ball and it forced the Caley Jags goalkeeper to come out to the edge of his area to make the challenge. He was first to the ball but failed to clear it and was slow to get back to his line….this gave Elliot time to pick himself up off the ground and float the ball over the sauntering Fraser to make it 0-3 for Hearts. At this stage most of the team seemed to give up, even those who might have been accused of putting in some effort just weren’t bothering and the only people who seemed to be playing with any passion were Niculae and Tokely…we hadn’t exactly been peppering the Hearts goal, but for the bulk of the second half nobody seemed to be interested in having a go, even from distance. Freeland’s catalogue of ridiculous decisions continued to grow when he failed to book Mikolionas for diving, even after gesturing that is what he had done and telling him to get up. He also produced his card from his pocket in another tussle, but seemed to change his mind after much remonstrating from the Hearts players. The most bizarre decision of all came when the nearside linesman made what felt like the first correct decision of the game in awarding ICT a corner, only for Freeland to overrule it and give the goal kick. In all honesty, the poor refereeing had no effect on the outcome, but it’s no wonder other teams don’t want Freeland officiating their matches when you see such a poor and incompetent display as that…it really was a performance of the lowest order. Rory McAllister replaced Don Cowie on 83 minutes and showed that he was at least hungry to prove himself and win a starting place in the team on a more regular basis. A late drive from 25 yards would have had the Hearts Keeper beaten but it inched narrowly over the bar to put an end to what should have been a more comprehensive loss. Full Time: 0-3 “I Believe” is the adopted motto of the ICT fans, and they tried their hardest to lift the team throughout the match, but it becomes difficult when it is obvious to all that the team have lost belief and that the Manager and ICT Board are making decisions which are having a serious negative effect on the performances on the park.
  18. Midfielder Markus Paatelainen came off the bench to grab a late equalizer for Caley Thistle. A match of few chances appeared to be heading in the visitors’ favour, after Prince Buaben struck midway through the second period but the home side managed to nick a point when the Finnish midfielder struck with only six minutes left on the clock. 16/02/08 Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, Inverness INVERNESS CT 1 Paatelainen (84) Team: Fraser, Tokely, McGuire, Munro, Hastings, Cowie, Black (Paatelainen 80), Duncan, McBain, Niculae (Bayne 61), Imrie Subs: McAllister, Vigurs, Kerr, Watt, Malkowski DUNDEE UTD 1 Buaben (68) Team: Zaluska, Dillon, Kenneth, Wilkie, Grainger, Flood (Swanson 58), Kerr, Buaben, Gomis, O'Brien, De Vries (Hunt 46) Subs: Odhiambo, Conway, Robertson, Dods, McLean Referee Stephen Finnie Attendance 4087 Craig Brewster made two changes for the clash with his former side, with Douglas Imrie making his first start and Phil McGuire returning from suspension to compensate for the loss of the injured David Proctor. Imrie was preferred to Dennis Wyness, conspicuously absent from the bench, in a 4-5-1 formation. Craig Levein, meanwhile, clearly felt the need to freshen things up after the midweek cup defeat by St. Mirren, making five changes, the most notable being the decision to leave ex-Caley skipper Darren Dods on the bench, with Garry Kenneth partnering Lee Wilkie in defence. United also relegated Noel Hunt and David Robertson to the substitutes, with Mark De Vries partnered up front by winger Jim O’Brien. It was the home side who started brightest on a cold, icy afternoon in the Highlands, as first Ian Black fired high and wide, and then Don Cowie raced clear but pulled his shot wide of the post. Unfortunately, this proved to be the best chance of an opening period that could be only be described as mediocre, as neither team proved capable of keeping or using the ball, and the match descended into a midfield scrap. Cowie had another half-chance, shooting straight at Zaluska in the United goal, while Michael Fraser was required to make two fairly routine stops from long range Prince Buaben efforts. Caley got little joy in the crowded midfield area, with only Imrie offering a spark with some darting, incisive runs, while Marius Niculae was left isolated and lonely up front for much of the half. Half Time: 0-0 It was United who attempted to change things, bringing on Hunt at the interval for the ineffectual, and possibly injured, De Vries. And though the second half began in much the same vein as the first, it was the Irishman’s tenacity which broke the deadlock, as he side-stepped Ian Black and fired a low ball across the face of goal for Ghanaian midfielder Buaben to tap in. By this point, Caley had tried to find a spark of their own, bringing off Niculae and replacing him with Graham Bayne. Bayne brought a save out of Zaluska with a tame half-volley, while Imrie then had an effort deflected past the post. However, with his side looking impotent in their search for a goal, Brewster threw on Paatelainen for Black and the move paid quick dividends, the leggy Finn latching onto a Roy McBain pass and lashing the ball into the top of the net with time running out. Having looked comfortable, United were rocked and suddenly looked vulnerable as Caley looked for the winner. Don Cowie nearly provided it, his late lob catching Zaluska off his line, but Kenneth headed clear the danger. Full Time: 1-1 In the end, it would have been harsh, for this was a game where the draw was very much the right result.
  19. Guest

    ICT 2-0 HIBS - Reserve game

    Basking in sunshine akin to the Caribbean, around 100 fans bathed in the heat wave, picnics in abundance and bikini's of all colours shapes and sizes on display. An interested array of managers also looked on, Brew and Patti of course, with Alex Rae, Kevin Drinkell, Neale Cooper and ex ICT leader John Robertson taking in the wares on offer. But I digress, on to the main ingredient, the game itself. An early chance for Hibs saw Zibi save with his legs from close in. Hart then had a shot blocked at the other end for a fruitless corner. After about seven minutes, Zibi effortlessly plucked an 18 yard shot out of the air, and two or three minutes later, Hibs did 'score' but the effort was ruled offside. Zibi seems better with his legs than his hands as he blocked another brisk shot from the angle of the six yard box with his shins, decent save this. Twenty minutes gone and Rory did some good hold up play after beating the defender, played the ball inwards to Hart but his low shot skidded just wide of the keepers right hand post. Some slack play all round as the bobbly pitch started to get the better of both sides. After twenty five minutes, Rory deservedly won a free kick in an encouraging position, but alas, Barry curled his effort into the keeper’s left hand side net, but the wrong side of the post. Half an hour gone and Watt started a decent move after a strong challenge deep in his own half, he surged forward before feeding Barry who shipped it on to Hart, but the shot was well blocked by the back tracking Hibees defenders. Hibs next to threaten when a free header from eight yards centre of goal was not powerful enough to beat a well positioned Zibi. Hibs number 8 was impressing in the first half and a good run and lay off from him resulted in one of the forwards curling a shot a yard too high. Next to show for ICT was Hart, but his final piece of action in his thrust through the Hibs defence saw him swipe at fresh air almost, and the ball eventually trundled towards the Hibs keeper. Good showing from Zibi Watt and Hart in the first half with Hibs having the sharper movement, but poor finishing from both sides evident. Half time picnics taken and still the afternoon sun blazing down, the teams returned to the fray and continued where they left off. Hibs first to attack but Zibi easily plucked the ball out of the air, like picking cherries for the ex Hibee. Another 'goal' for Hibs when Zibi was allegedly unfairly challenged twenty five yards from his goals and the ball was prodded home, but the ref gave a belated free kick to ICT. Regular reservist Richie Hart tried his luck again with a volley from 25 yards and forced the Hibs keeper to dive low to his right to save. About the hour mark, Deano came on for Martin Jack, who worked away without really threatening. Corner ensued for ICT who were beginning to get to grips with the slicker Hibees, and ball headed on to Patti, whose header was flicked wide. Centre half Bayne made not his first gaff in the box, but no takers for Hibs as the ball was cleared. A couple of minutes later, Hart shot over after decent three man move and Zibi then had to dive to his right as Hibs swiftly countered and shot goalward from right side of box about ten yards out. The game came bursting into life as the sunbathers were treated to a storming last twenty minutes with Rory shooting goalward but the keeper saving comfortably. Vigurs then burst forward but his shot was blocked. The action was coming faster than the shorthand from the reporter and a Hart corner and Watt header failed to break the deadlock, Hibs again countering quickly and a good step-over resulted in a shot deflected for a corner. Seventy five minutes gone and another strikers challenge from Bayne as he unceremoniously upended the impressive Mutumba. From the free kick Hibs effort was saved at the second attempt by Zibi as he blocked the rebound. Seconds after a Hart free kick was cleared, the ball landed at his feet and like a true Brazillian, he curled the ball with the outside of his boot to the unmarked Rory on the keepers right edge of the six yard box, he brought the ball under control, rounded the keeper and slid the ball home from six yards, a well taken goal and an impeccable cross from Hart............or maybe it was a badly sliced shot that landed lucky for Rory, anyhow, good finish from Rory. Hibs almost replied straight away but shot wide and had another close attempt a minute later. The sun-scorched crowd were just commenting on how disappointed Mixu must have been with his wee brother Markus, when out of the lengthening dark shadows on the left wing, he cut across the face of the box and struck a low right footer curling away from the diving keeper into his right hand side. Another good goal as unexpected as it was. Kerr fired in a low drive that whistled just wide as Hibs wilted in the afternoon haze. Patti was suddenly enjoying this and he dropped his shoulders to body swerve a couple of defenders but Hart again failed to trouble the scorers. Hibs were now demoralised and no doubt wondered how their slick play brought no rewards and an industrious ICT picked up all three points. Dale Gillespie just back from representing Scotland and playing against Dutch league players from Feyenoord, had a solid game playing in an unfamiliar role at right back. Pick of the ICT bunch were Zibi, Watt and Hart, with Rory and Patti taking their goals well. Deano played but nothing happened for him to make the visiting managers sit up and take notice. Barry was ineffective and Patti well shackled before coming to life. Bayne at centre back.... leave it out, too many mistimed tackles, but he also did a fair bit of clearances, although Watt was the one holding the back line firm. Kerr played at left back and did ok as well and Vigurs played deep left middle in the Roy McBain invisible man role. The sun was just dipping behind the distant snow capped hills as the teams left the pitch, the fans now able to take their hands down from their tanned faces to applaud the victors from the field, a hard fought victory but eventually deserved despite the ball being in the Inverness net three times. TM4TJ Man of the Match goes to Zibi, but Hart can once again be proud of his effort and Watt must be looking to stay as he put in a decent performance. Mutumba impressed for the visitors and McCann and Stevenson also showed up well. Sorry, no team lines available.
  20. Caley Thistle recorded another victory over Gretna today. Today's 3-0 victory takes the season tally to 10 goals scored against the borders side with none against. Another double from Marius Niculae, and a penalty from John Rankin all in the first half meant that Caley Thistle were on easy street but despite numerous chances in the second half, the Caley Jags still fell one goal short of scoring competitive goal number 1000 but its the three points that matter. Here's hoping that goal 1000 may come at Easter Road next week 05/01/08 Tulloch Caledonian Stadium INVERNESS CT 3 Niculae (34, 41), Rankin (39pen) Team: Fraser, Tokely, Proctor, Munro, Hastings (McBain 75), Cowie (Paateleainen 66), Black, Duncan, Rankin, Wyness, Niculae (Bayne 77) Subs: Gillespie, Vigurs, Duff, Malkowski GRETNA 0 Team: Caig, Barr, Collin, Innes, Horwood, Makinwa (McGill 88), Jenkins (Osman 51), Yantorno, Murray, Skelton, Deuchar Subs: Grady, Deverdics, McLaren, Canning, Fleming Referee Dougie McDonald Attendance 3919 Craig Brewster made two changes to the starting lineup after a disappointing defeat in the New Year fixture against Aberdeen. On-loan defender Phil McGuire was suspended for what might have been his last game for the Caley Jags - at least for a while - if a permanent deal cant be worked out with Dunfermline. His place in central defence was taken by the versatile David Proctor who may not have had success at Dundee United but is once again proving to be a very capable player in Inverness colours. Dennis Wyness also returned to the side with Graham Bayne dropping to the bench. Gretna had endured a horrendous journey up the A9. Opting to come up a day early, but were thwarted at Perth for 6 hours because of bad weather and didn't arrive until very late Friday night. Saturday was to be no better for them as Caley Thistle once again triumphed at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium with a 3-0 victory and made it 10 goals scored and none conceded against the visitors this season. This win was Caley Thistle's fifth home victory in a row at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium and seventh in the last 9 games, a record that has seen the club climb up the table from the relegation spot to currently lie seventh and only 4 points off third placed Motherwell. Going into this game Caley Thistle had scored 996 competitive goals but try as they might, they could only take the tally to 999 after this game and will have to wait for that 1000th goal. The home side, often slow to start was quick off the blocks in this game. Gretna has had a habit of completely capitulating if hit hard and early and this appeared to be Craig Brewster's gameplan. The first real chance fell to Ian Black in only 4 minutes when he forced a save out of Tony Caig after some neat build up play from Ross Tokely and Don Cowie. Dennis Wyness was next with a chance when a volleyed effort went close in 13 minutes but was again saved by Caig. David Proctor then had a header saved by the keeper and Ian Black had one blocked by Skelton and with 23 minutes on the clock, Caley Thistle had another three efforts on goal courtesy of a John Rankin corner. First Ross Tokely saw his headed effort blocked on the line, then the keeper blocked Grant Munro's attempt and finally Proctor had a shot diverted off the bar and out for a corner which came to nothing. Goals were coming, and even the neutrals could tell that only one team was going to score them. The first came in 34 minutes and it was from Marius Niculae with a major assist from Russell Duncan. Duncan surged forward from his own half deep into Gretna's and then laid the ball off to Niculae who looked up and then drilled a perfect shot low into the corner from 25 yards to make it 1-0. Five minutes later, it was Niculae again harassing the Gretna defence and this time he was needlessly pulled down by Chris Innes as a dangerous Tokely ball curled into the box. The ref had no hesitation in awarding a spot kick. John Rankin stepped up to take it and made no mistake. 2-0. At 2-0 Gretna did have a decent effort from Craig Barr but Mike Fraser held it easily enough. Back to the other end then and another goal from Niculae in 41 minutes. Marius doesn't seem to score single goals and today was to be no different. A Cowie corner was headed to far side of penalty area, Tokely headed back to edge of box and Niculae hit a downward volley into the net off the keepers left hand post Half Time: 3-0 If the first half was exciting and enjoyable from an ICT point of view, the second was a bit more mundane. Caley Thistle were on the hunt for competitive goal number 1000 but despite numerous chances, they couldn't get it. Gretna on the other hand, although they tried, put very little pressure on the Caley Thistle defence and when they did ICT usually went back up the park and had a go themselves. Niculae was the first to have a go just after half-time before Skelton tried his luck for Gretna. Just after that, Russell Duncan hit a tremendous twenty five yard shot to Caig's top left corner but he pulled off a fantastic save to tip the ball for a corner. Wyness then went close with a header that went just inches wide and then Rankin curled a shot just past Caig's post. Caley Thistle then came within a whisker of goal 1000 through substitute Markus Paatelainen. A Rankin cross found Markus in the box and he headed powerfully at the keeper but Caig managed to tip it over for a corner. From the resultant corner, Markus again went close but Caley Thistle just couldn't get that fourth goal. Gretna had a chance at a consolation goal in 77 minutes but Mike Fraser managed to push away Fabian Yantorno's shot. At the other end four minutes later Proctor hit the post and Paatelainen hit the rebound over the bar and that was about it. Full Time: 3-0 A fine victory, a clean sheet and 999 competitive goals. Its Hibs at Easter Road in the cup this week so a hard game but with confidence running high and Hibs lying below ICT in the SPL table, a win is definitely possible.
  21. There's usually goals when ICT and Killie meet and today was no exception. After an insipid performance a few days ago at the Falkirk Stadium, the Caley Jags were a lot more classy today. A Marius Niculae double and a Don Cowie goal earned Caley Thistle a deserved victory in the final fixture of 2007. Kilmarnock got a late consolation with a soft penalty award that Colin Nish put beyond Michael Fraser. 29/12/07 Tulloch Caledonian Stadium INVERNESS CT 3 Niculae (42,76), Cowie (52) Team: Fraser, Tokely, McGuire (Proctor 88), Munro, Hastings, Cowie, Black, Duncan, Rankin, Bayne (Wyness 83), Niculae Subs: McAllister, Vigurs, Wilson, Duff, Malkowski KILMARNOCK 1 Nish (86pen) Team: Combe, Hamill, Ford, O'Leary, Hay, Fernandez (Johnston 79), Fowler, Bryson (Koudou 72), Taouil, Nish, Wales Subs: Flannigan, Locke, Noble, Clancy, Harpur Referee Craig MacKay Attendance 4169 The Caley Thistle lads bounced back from a lack-lustre performance and narrow 1-0 against Falkirk on Boxing day to put together a convincing performance against Kilmarnock at home and secure all 3 points. The opening goal nearly fell to on loan defender Phil McGuire when the ball came to him inside the area. The fact that he found himself with his back to the goal didn’t seem to deter him and had it not been for the sharp reflexes of Alan Combe in the visitor’s goal then we would have been looking at one of the most impressive goals ever scored at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. Inverness CT were on the ascendancy and Kilmarnock were doing little to threaten Mike Fraser and the Inverness goal. Bayne was next to have a go for ICT, but his header went narrowly wide. Kilmarnock never really came in to the game until the 25th minute when Fraser found himself well positioned to stick a boot on an effort from Fernandez who managed to penetrate the ICT defence for the first time in the match. Nish, who has a habit of scoring against us, was next to be denied when Michael Fraser had to dive full stretch to prevent a low ball from finding the back of the net. Marius Niculae has been starting to find his range in recent games and on 38 minutes he tested Alan Combe’s resolve when he hit a solid 25 yard volley towards the bottom right corner, which the keeper did well to push wide. Had it not been for Combe then ICT could easily have found themselves a couple of goals up at this stage, but we were keeping the pressure on and the effort was rewarded just before half-time when John Rankin placed a powerful shot at Combe who could only block it and watch as it fell to Niculae who slotted it away with relative ease. Half Time – Inverness CT 1 – 0 Kilmarnock It wouldn’t be your typical Caley Jags v Killie match if it finished with just one goal, and true to form another one was soon on its way after the break. Richard Hastings had been pushing forward and he played the ball into the path of Cowie who pulled off a sublime piece of finishing making it 2-0 to the home team on 52 minutes. Hastings was next to find himself in position and should have done more to reward himself for his efforts after his initial shot was blocked by Combe but fell to him again only a few yards out….thrashing at the ball he could only mange (somehow) to send it over the bar when it would have been easier to score. Kilmarnock were doing nothing which even looked like coming close to threatening Michael Fraser in the second half with the ball rarely finding it’s way into the Caley Thistle third of the park. With all the excitement being at the other end it was only going to be a matter of time before Inverness added another with Niculae feeling confident and taking every opportunity to pressure the on-form Alan Combe. He had another 25 yard effort go narrowly wide and somehow managed to fight his way through a crowded Kilmarnock defence before seeing another shot blocked, but he wasn’t to wait to much longer before he found himself on the scorecard for the second time. Combe had done well to block a shot from Graeme Bayne only to see the ball land at the feet of Don Cowie. As we all know Cowie is more than capable of finding the net, but Niculae obviously thought he was better placed as he cheekily pinched the ball from his under his nose and blasted it towards goal. Combe, again, managed to get a hand to it, but the pace this time was too much for him to have any real chance of keeping it from bursting the net in 76 minutes. It was pretty much the same story for the next 10 minutes with Caley Thistle being the ones applying all the pressure, but 4 minutes from time a moments slackness on the part of Phil McGuire gifted Kilmarnock a penalty kick after he handled it in the box. Colin Nish, desperate to keep up his scoring record against us no doubt, stepped up and slotted the ball home to finish off the scoring for the day. Full Time: 3 – 1
  22. Caley Thistle were 2-0 down before half an hour had been played after Vennegoor of Hesselink had hit a quickfire double in 24 and 26 minutes. A Rankin penalty after Pressley had fouled Niculae in 42 minutes reduced the deficit to 1-2 at half time and another quickfire double, this time from Proctor and Cowie for Caley Thistle ensured that Craig Brewster's men made it 4 wins on the trot, achieved their first ever SPL win against Celtic and moved up to 7th spot in the table. All in all, a pretty good day at the office !!! 16/12/07 Tulloch Caledonian Stadium INVERNESS CT 3 (Rankin 42pen, Proctor 57, Cowie 61) Team: Fraser, Proctor, McGuire, Munro, Hastings, Cowie (Wilson 85), Black, Duncan, Rankin, McBain (Tokely 69), Niculae (Bayne 79) Subs: McAllister, Vigurs, Duff, Malkowski CELTIC 2 (Vennegoor of Hesselink 24, 31) M Brown, Caldwell, Pressley (Riordan 77), McManus, Conroy, S Brown, Hartley, Donati, McGeady, Vennegoor of Hesselink, McDonald (Killen 80) Subs: Jarosik, Sno, Balde, O'Dea, McGovern Referee Alan Freeland Attendance 7004 This game had the lot, and would certainly have been an entertaining game for the neutral spectator. With a penalty, a sending off, counter attacking football and most importantly goals, you cannot argue that only one word sums up the full 90 minutes - FANTASTIC!!! The game kicked off in the usual fashion - ball knocked forward and then passed back over the line - with Celtic attacking the North Stand. I couldn’t quite, however, understand the booing of Mark Brown when his name was announced over the tannoy. A superb servant to ICT through there progression to SPL football should surely require a little more respect towards the opposing ‘keeper. Anyhoo, the match took a wee while to get going, and the first real opportunity started with a sublime pass (or should that be ricochet) off referee Alan Freeland on 10 minutes. Ian Black taking the ball nicely in his stride, and with an attempt to thread through John Rankin, the ball ricocheted well off Freeland for Celtic to produce the counter. Phil Maguire, remaining as strong as he has done in recent weeks, was able to clear off the line. The ball rebounded back to Scott Brown, whom had the ball gathered at his feet by a brave Mike Fraser. Inverness took the game to Celtic, and with 3 wins and 3 clean sheets before this game, confidence was high at Fortress Longman and it showed in the flowing football that was on display. Marius Niculae again produced some superb touches and held the play up well for Rankin to slot back through only for Niculae to bring out a fine save from Mark Brown. Moments later, Ian Black was presented a chance from David Proctor, but his 25 yard drive went straight to the hands of the former Caley Thistle number 1. Despite plenty of pressure from ICT, it was Celtic who produced the opener in what was to be a very bad 60 seconds for the home side. On 25 minutes, Jan Venegoor of Hesslink nodded the ball to Fraser’s left hand post to produce a goal from a disputed Hartley free kick. And it was the Dutch man who once again hurt the heart of the ICT defence with another header, connecting with Aiden McGeady’s nicely curled cross from the right to make it 2-0. The scoreline at this stage certainly didn’t reflect how the teams performed. Scott Brown was rather lacklustre with his passing and ball control, and could not capitalise on the mistakes made on the ICT left when both McBain and Hastings drifted further and further into the centre of the park. Fortress Longman certainly lived up to its nickname, however, as ICT refused to rest or sit back. Michael Fraser had little else to do in the first half, as Celtic struggled to produce any more clear cut first half chances. A clearance from the back created some fine football to allow Niculae to break and change to course of the game. With only Stephen Pressley nearby, Marius Niculae was judged to be brought down in the box, and the penalty was rightly rewarded. Oh how I’d wished Fraser go one on one with Brown at this stage! John Rankin placed the ball and smashed it straight through Mark Brown. A let-off for Pressley you might say without so much as a booking, and silence in the South Stand as the first half petered out to a 1-2 scoreline. Half Time: 1-2 Renowned for their ‘never say die’ attitude in recent weeks, Inverness once again took the game to Celtic in the second half, but again it was Celtic who produced a chance. JVoH was just shy of his hat-trick when his driven shot from 18 yards deflected clear off the post. This was to be Celtic only real charge on goal for the coming quarter hour. Don Cowie and our Romanian superstar were linking up well with almost every break that ICT produced. Niculae holding up the play to set Cowie on his mazy runs and Niculae following up the play with a couple of efforts at goal. The initial shots not really troubling Mark Brown. The Equaliser was sure to come, and with 55 minutes played ICT worked hard enough for Celtic to concede a corner. Don Cowie sent in a superb cross, and certain contender for Man of the Match David Proctor, leaped high above 3 defenders to power his header past a helpless Brown. Silence remained in the Celtic enclosure as the ICT faithful played the part of 12th man in spectacular fashion. The drums on full force and even the Main stand singing, it was great to hear a chant of ‘Give Mark Brown a game, does he know it’s Christmas time?’ If Inverness were the side with heads held high, Celtic were a side who were obviously stunned to throw away a 2-0 lead. And it showed 5 minutes after the equaliser when Don Cowie produced what was to be the winner. Celtic were pressing but not producing any sort of quality balls for their strike pair and Richard Hastings' pelt up the park was to prove decisive. Stephen McManus was unable to deal with the high ball and Cowie managed to stick a toe to produce the end result. Absolute delight in the North and Main stands, and total devastation in the South. Celtics best chance for an equaliser came from a free kick on the edge of the box soon after. Phil McGuire was unable to connect fully to a clearance and Scott MacDonald was through. With David Proctor leading the chase, he unceremoniously brought down MacDonald and was rightly sent for an early bath. Surely this was to be yet another turning point to this fixture? It was Aiden McGeady with the resulting free kick on the very edge of the box, but his dipping effort didn’t have enough curl to sneak in at Frasers far post and a goal kick resulted. Brewster was forced to change the formation with Rossco making his return from suspension in place of Roy McBain. Celtic also rang the changes soon after as Gordon Strachan looked for an equaliser from his million pound superstars. Riordan was sent on as a 3rd striker, making way for centre back Pressley - who on a whole had a rather poor game. Celtic certainly didn’t want to loose on the road with Rangers on their tail with a game in hand also. Mike Fraser was a hero in goal, as wave after wave of Celtic attack ended in the grasp of the Caley Jags ‘keeper. Some superbly taken crosses from both set pieces and open play made it frustrating for the Celtic attack. Every ICT player was clearly on top form, and deserved to hold on for victory. But Celtic still had a few more chances to find an equaliser. ICT resorted to deep defending and the occasional counter attack, and could have made it 4-2. Once again Rankin, Cowie and Niculae were the centre pieces of the attack, constantly supplied by decent balls from Ian Black. Niculae was sent though charged towards the Celtic goal. Pulled back by McManus, no free kick resulted and again the ICT defence was forced to defend deep. More changes made, this time by ICT, as Cowie and Niculae were replaced by Wilson and Bayne. Standing ovations all round and Wilson was soon set through. Another chance for a 4th, but Wilson simply couldn’t get enough of a touch and the ball rolled steadily to Mark Brown. The closing stages were constant pressure from Celtic as they closed in on an equaliser, but Tokely, Munro, McGuire and Hastings stood firm. The traditional injury time goal from the East End outfit was not forthcoming, and Fraser produced a world class save to deny a top corner effort from McManus' powerful header. The 3 minutes of injury time were over, and Inverness recorded a well worked, well fought and well deserved first ever SPL victory of the greener side of the Old Firm. Full Time: 3-2 The run continues for ICT as they become the leagues on form side. Who would have thought that just 5 weeks ago, Inverness would go from 2nd bottom to 7th - just 2 points off 6th spot. Absolutely superb football for the full 90 minutes and even the half time entertainment produced more goals than the rest of the season. 75 points to 50 the final score!!
  23. Sponsor's Man of the Match Marius Niculae grabbed his first ever goal in the SPL just before half-time, and then scored another in the second half as Caley Thistle maintained their dominance over Hibernian at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. Hibs have not won, or even scored at the stadium in more than three years and we are delighted to say the only scoring duck that was broken today was Marius' SPL one... 08/12/07 Tulloch Caledonian Stadium INVERNESS CT 2 (Niculae 42, 78) Team: Fraser, Proctor, Munro, McGuire, Hastings, Cowie, Rankin, Black, Duncan (Wilson 85), McBain (Bayne 72) , Niculae Subs: McAllister, Vigurs, Kerr, McCaffrey, Malkowski HIBERNIAN 0 Team: MaKalambay, McCann, Hogg, Noubissie (Antoine-Curier 80), Murphy, McCormack, Morais (Beuzelin 57), Kerr, Stevenson (O'Brien 57), Donaldson, Fletcher Subs: Zemmama, Joneleit, Gathuessi, McNeil Referee Kenny Clark Attendance 4224 Craig Brewster sent out the same starting line-up for the second week running, and this was hardly surprising given how successful we had been in taking 3 points from Dundee Utd the week before. From the off it was obvious that this game was going to be played at a tremendous pace and with both teams opting to keep the ball down and passing it about then we could be in for a pretty entertaining 90 minutes of football. With our formation of 5 across the middle Hibs were finding it hard to find a gap through to the goal and the first shot of the game came in 8 minutes as a result of a free kick after Black had fouled Donaldson. Murphy had decided to shoot direct from 20 yards out but the curled ball was easily taken by Fraser. Players on both sides were finding conditions underfoot a little difficult to cope with as the surface appeared a little greasy. This was resulting in some mistimed and clumsy challenges from everyone and it was such a challenge that lead to McGuire getting a yellow card on the 12 minute mark. The action was being played out mostly in the middle of the pitch with neither team doing much to trouble the opposition’s defence. Roy McBain managed to get a shot on target in 17 minutes but it lacked pace and was easily gathered for the save. Things looked like they were about to go sour for ICT on 25 minutes when Fletcher managed to find himself through one on one with Fraser. Fraser had been quick to react and had pushed out off his line to cut down the angle. Fletcher attempted to play the ball into the right hand corner but Fraser managed to make contact and parried it to safety. Hibs seemed to be caught in the frustrations of the miss and ICT got the ball forward quickly. Rankin spotted the keeper off his line and sent in a lob from 25 yards out. Had it been anyone other than Makalamby then the ball would have found the net, but the towering keeper managed to recover and used his height to great advantage in tipping the ball over the bar. The resulting corners saw ICT apply the first real period of pressure that any team had shown, but despite a 12 yard drive from Niculae they were unable to convert it in to a goal. Fouls conceded within range at both ends offered opportunities to get the scoring underway but neither team were able to capitalise. Caley Thistle were relying heavily on playing on the counter, a result of the lone striker role being filled by Niculae and the midfield sitting a little deeper than many of us would have liked to have seen. However, it was just such a play that saw Rankin play a defence splitting ball on to the edge of the box for the on rushing Niculae. Makalamby found himself committed and a long way off his line and Niculae made sure this was punished. For all his height there was no way the Hibs keeper was going to manage to get a hand on this one as it was coolly lobbed over his head and in to the back of the net. Given his frustration in the goal department since arriving at ICT it was hardly surprising that Niculae was over the moon to finally see one go between the sticks and he was joined in grand celebrations by his team mates as the Home Support roared from the stands and the final 4 minutes of the first half played out without much to report on. Half Time – Inverness CT 1 v 0 Hibernian Conditions hadn’t improved much when teams took to the field for the second half and I come to realise (not for the first time) that the trade off for a better view in the main stand is often having to suffer the full force of the brass monkey weather that comes hurtling along the Glen. Collins half time talk seemed to have sparked a little more urgency into the Hibs squad and they looked the brighter for the opening spell. Despite this the Caley Thistle back line seemed to be holding strong and it was 10 minutes in before Hibs managed to get a shot away when Donaldson should have done better than to shoot wide from the edge of the box. Makalamby seemed to be pushing his luck a lot when it came to collecting and distributing the ball and not for the first time in the match it looked like he had deliberately handled the ball outside his area. Fortunately for him, this was something that all three officials seemed blind to despite calls from the fans on each occasion. Collins decided to make some early substitutions on 56 minutes when Stevenson and Morais were replaced by Beuzelin and O’Brien. O’Brien getting an early welcome from Proctor with a heavy challenge only moments after stepping on to the pitch. Duncan shot narrowly over on the 60 minute mark and the return play saw Donaldson’s shot saved…shortly after Fraser pulled of another great save when Kerr managed to get a shot on goal from 12 yards. The clearance wasn’t the best and Donaldson found himself in a bit of a scuffle on the edge of the box before getting his shot in. The ball came off the underside of the bar before bouncing and being collected by Fraser. Hibs players were claiming that not only should it have been a penalty for Donaldson being pulled down, but that the shot had crossed the line…fortunately for us the linesman and referee disagreed and play was waved on. Fraser had come under a bit of unfair criticism from the North Stand in our last game at TCS but the cheers this week were “There’s Only One Mikey Fraser”…what a fickle lot we really are!!! The ICT dugout signalled that they wanted to make a substitution and Bayne was ready to take to the pitch. Niculae looked prepared to make way and had even gone so far as to roll his socks down. Much to his surprise he was not the man being hooked, and nobody could have faulted his effort if he had been, but it was a none to happy McBain who was waved from the field. The philosophy seemed to be that the best form of defence was attack and by bringing on the second striker this prevented Hibs being able to push so many men forward without leaving themselves exposed at the back. Black, Rankin and Cowie all had efforts on goal in the next 15 minutes of the game demonstrating just how important they are to this squad in terms of providing an attacking midfield option. However, it was that man Niculae who was to prove deadliest again on 77 minutes. He tee’d up his first shot at goal with his left foot, but despite it heading wide it was blocked and fell back to him, this time he took it on his right and made no mistake when sending it in to the bottom left corner beyond the reach of the outstretched Makalamby. Noubissie and Black had been having a right battle in the middle of the park the whole game with the smaller of the two men not giving an inch to his Hibernian rival. Black had taken a few knocks and almost come off worst in a couple of the encounters so it would have come as a relief to see Noubissie being replaced by Antoine-Curier on the 80 minute mark. The temp of the match had been high since the first kick of the ball and neither team seemed willing to let up as it continued in to the final 10 minutes. Russell Duncan had taken a knock and tried to continue but it wasn’t happening and he signalled to the bench that he needed replaced…Wilson coming on to relieve him. Hibs were pushing forward desperately in an attempt to claw the game back which was leaving them a little more exposed at the back. Every time they came at us we were ready to hit them on the counter it was an end to end affair for the final minutes of the game. Niculae came close to securing his hat trick, and it would have been well deserved had he not gone inches wide in the final play of the game. Full Time: 2-0 All in all a great team effort with every ICT player getting full marks for effort and commitment. With Tokely due back from suspension and Wyness hopefully available soon after problems with a hamstring then Brewster will be facing problems in terms of team selection as we head towards the festive fixtures. These are the kinds of headaches that no manager would ever complain about. We face Celtic next week, a match which we would have been dreading a month ago when things weren’t looking to good. However spirits are high among players and fans and I for one am thoroughly looking forward to the clash. Like a Phoenix from the ashes…Tulloch Caledonian Stadium is one again re-establishing it’s Fortress Status….long may it continue.
  24. Man of the Match Don Cowie was the match winner today. His 6th minute strike for the Caley Jags was enough to secure the points and pull the team up one place in the table. For the second game in succession, there was a red card produced, but this time it was the Buddies Will Haining who got two yellows and not one of the ICT players. 24/11/07 Tulloch Caledonian Stadium INVERNESS CT 1 Cowie (6) Yeam: Fraser, Proctor, McGuire, Munro, Hastings, Wilson (Rankin 63), Cowie, Duncan, McBain, Niculae, Wyness (McAllister 90) Subs: Brewster, Vigurs, Duff, McCaffrey, Malkowski ST MIRREN 0 Team: Smith, Van Zanten, Millen, Haining, Miranda, Brady (Birchall 55), Mason (O'Donnell 81), Murray, Corcoran, Mehmet, Kean Subs: McGinn, McCay, Barron, Potter, Howard Referee Crawford Allan Attendance 3699 Since both teams have come head to head in the SPL, there has never been more than one goal separating the sides, and this match was never going to be any different. St Mirren came to Inverness with the prospect of going 8 points clear of ICT with a game in hand, so for ICT this was a must win fixture. The prospect of climbing further away from Gretna was also at the back of the mind. The only real surprise in the line ups was the loss of Ian Black, whom after his ‘huff’ against Motherwell a fortnight previous couldn’t get a place on the bench. Bayne and Rossco were both suspended for this fixture, again due to actions during the visit of Motherwell. The back 4 lined up Proctor, McGuire, Munro and Hastings with Fraser keeping his place in the ICT goal. Wilson, Duncan, Cowie and McBain filled the midfield with options in front through Wyness and Niculae. Former ICT star, Craig Dargo, was not included for this fixture with prolonged injury keeping him out of the side. Smith, Van Zanten, Mason, Haining, Murray, Mehmet, Brady, Corcoran, Miranda, Millen and Kean completing the starting opponents. It was ICT who took kick off with Allan Crawford officiating, and it was St Mirren who had the first opportunity 4 minutes in. From the first corner of the game, taken from the right, ICT managed to scramble the ball clear with no real threat from the St Mirren front line. Early on Stewart Kean and Franco Miranda combined well to maintain some slight pressure to the back 4, but Procter was always on hand to clear the danger. Caley’s first attack resulted in a superbly taken goal from Don Cowie to put them 1-0 ahead on just 7 minutes. Some fine one-touch passing in the centre of the park resulted in Roy McBain picking up the ball to deliver a lovely weighted cross from the corner of the box for Cowie to volley on the outside of his right foot into the bottom corner. Smith appeared to get a slight touch to it, but without a strong wrist to push it wide. The first half didn’t see many more great chances for either side, although Marius Niculae was showing some great ball control and link play with Wilson and Wyness. Dennis was clearly liking the ball played to feet more than the long punt up the park, and he managed to hold off the defence on a few occasions to hold up the play. Don Cowie was unable to make it 2-0 on 25 minutes. David Proctor, providing strong sliding tackles and very little in terms of mistakes, found himself assisting in some fine passing movements to deliver this opportunity. High and wide with this effort, but St Mirren remained on the backfoot for the next few minutes building up to half time. Niculae had a chance to run at the St Mirren defence soon after the goal kick, with a rare error from the Saints midfield allowing Russel Duncan to slot through for Marius. He checked past one defender with another to beat, and his snap shot appeared to take a deflection just wide of the post. To the surprise and disgust of the Caley Thistle support, a goal kick was awarded, allowing St Mirren to show they were not down and out in this fixture. Richard Hastings seemed to leave his man all to often in the first half, leaving Mark Corcoran with enough space to create an opportunity. David Proctor on hand to clear for a corner. Strong defending from Marius Niculae saw him clash heads with Miranda on the 6 yard box and the game was paused momentarily. Half Time: 1-0 Not by any means the most entertaining game of football so far, and far from the performance a few years back that saw would be 1st Div Champions St Mirren get gubbed 5-0!!! St Mirren came out fighting in the second half and created their first real chance of a goal. Stewart Kean, who has been the burden of so many teams during his career, was unable to remain stable in the wet conditions. His turn and shot after some nice link play saw his effort head high and wide of target with 50 minutes on the clock. From Fraser’s kick out, Cowie set Marius Niculae on yet another run. Wyness would have been a better option in hindsight, as Marius’ snap shot from just outside the box was not hit cleanly enough, and the slippery ball was easily gathered by Chris Smith. Wyness was evidently enjoying the ball played to feet, and had we stuck to the usual long ball routine, he would have certainly been out the game. His wee dinks to create chances, his ability to hold the ball up and his partnership with Niculae up front ensured we maintained decent spells of pressure in the early stages. The second half was end to end stuff for the majority, and St Mirren’s next chance came from a Free Kick on 53 minutes. Phil McGuire, who was having a good game in central defence, was on hand to clear off the line and set the midfield off. Russel Duncan, who was the match day sponsors eventual man of the match, sent the ball through to Niculae, who in turn provided Dennis Wyness with an opportunity to extend the lead. Once again the weather conditions making the game play sloppy, and Dennis could only see his weak shot saved once again by Chris Smith. St Mirren's best chances of the game fell in the last 20-25 minutes. Alan Millen provided a deep free kick into the box which was headed onto his own post by Phil McGuire. A fortunate escape! Franco Miranda on the right, was causing lots of problems for Richard Hastings and Grant Munro, and eventually managed on the odd occasion to provide decent deliveries into the box. With the continued pressure at the back, Inverness struggled to get the ball to the front pairing, and with the introduction of John Rankin, the ICT faithful were expecting good things. Stewart Kean and Gary Mason had superb opportunities to level the score with the later seeing a decent volley flash past Frasers’ left hand post, whilst Kean was only able to fire wide when one on one with the Caley number one. Approximately 10 minutes remained on the clock, and the Buddies were reduced to 10 men. Marius Niculae was released down the right flank, and managed to thunder his was past Gary Mason before being chopped down by Will Haining. Had he not already been booked it would have surely been a straight red. There seemed to be no real attempt to play the ball, and the referee had no hesitation in producing a second yellow card. John Rankin provided one of his trademark free kicks into the box and Niculae was unable to connect. The ball was cleared only as far as Russel Duncan. Provided with acres of space, Duncan was able to shoot from 25 yards but could not test the keeper. Referee Crawford had an indifferent game, with some decisions questionable. Deflected shots wide were not given as corners, strong tackles were awarded but some players went unpunished, but the most questionable decision came on 84 minutes. Marius Niculae managed to fight his way through for an attempt on goal, and was seemingly pulled back in the box. Cries of Penalty from players and fans fell of deaf ears and play was waved on. Inverness continued to hold on for a deserved and much needed victory. Craig Brewster said pre match that he wanted an early goal and it is that which proved decisive in keeping 3 points in Inverness. Full Time: 1-0 St Mirren now lie just one point ahead of Inverness in ninth with a game in hand, with that victory meaning ICT climb out of the bottom two for the first time this season. Falkirk taking their place above Gretna. 3,699 were in attendance on a wet and windy day at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, and most were glad to not only see a victory, but some well worked play by the front two, some solid defending at times by McGuire and Proctor (whom replaced McCaffrey and Tokely) and John Rankin showing why he should regain his status as a first team regular. Still work to be done mind, and perhaps some play seen on the training field should be brought into the fray on the park. Onwards and upwards to the dizzy heights of 9th for us next time round with a decent display at Tannadice? Lets hope so!!!
  25. You ever had one of those days where nothing went right? For Craig Brewster, this match will rank up there as being one of the worst..... Graham Bayne and Ross Tokely were both red carded, the fans were furious at what they saw as bad refereeing and the game was lost 0-3 as the team simply did not perform. Add the horrible early winter wind, rain, and sleet to this and it made today's game feel even worse. Motherwell's goals came from David Clarkson - one in each half - and Darren Smith who got a goal 3 minutes from time. 10/11/07 Tulloch Caledonian Stadium INVERNESS CT 0 Team: Fraser, Tokely, Munro, McCaffrey, Hastings, Cowie, Duncan, Black (Wilson 46), McBain (Rankin 79), Bayne, Wyness (Niculae 75) Subs: D. McDonald, Vigurs, Kerr, Malkowski MOTHERWELL 3 Clarkson (15,53), Smith (87) Team: Smith, Quinn, Reynolds, Craigan (Kinniburgh 81), Paterson, McGarry (Smith 70), Lasley, O'Donnell, Clarkson, Porter, McCormack (Grabban 70) Subs: Corrigan, Fitzpatrick, Murphy, Meldrum Referee Chris Boyle Attendance 3608 Craig Brewster made one change to the side that lost last week against Rangers. Don Cowie returned to the side and David Proctor dropped out altogether. John Rankin, whose continued absence from the squad prompted much discussion on the forums was listed as a substitute. Mark McGhee named the same side that started the previous week for Motherwell which meant an attacking 4-3-3 formation. Referee Chris Boyle was in charge of only his 4th SPL match in two years and had issued 12 yellows and two reds in the previous 3 SPL games. That would rise to 14 and 4 by the end of this game. The whistler has also been card happy in his other games this season with his stats for all 7 games he has officiated this season being 30 yellows and 6 reds !!! Anyhow, on to the game itself …. The first fifteen minutes were pretty turgid and there were no real chances. Motherwell probably had the better of play but the closest they came to goal was earning a corner in 10 minutes which went out for a goal kick. Another corner came in the 15th minute and Motherwell went ahead. Ross McCormack took an inswinging corner. It was headed on by Stephen Craigan and David Clarkson was on hand to turn it into the net. A couple of minutes later and Motherwell might have been two ahead – Chris Porter headed the ball into the net from a Ross McCormack cross but it was judged as offside. A minute after that Ross McCormack had another effort but his drive went over the bar. Graham Bayne had been getting pulled up all afternoon by the ref and after giving away more fouls in 23, 24 and 26 minutes, the ref finally booked him for persistent fouling. Although Motherwell were in the ascendancy, it was not all one-way traffic and Caley Thistle had three good chances near the end of the half. Tokely and Wyness combined to setup Russell Duncan and he decided to have a go from 20 yards. Unfortunately it went way over the bar. A couple of minutes later a Cowie free-kick was headed into the six yard box and Grant Munro got on the end of it. Despite some cheers from the crowd as the net bulged, it soon became apparent that it was bulging the wrong way and the shot had hit the side netting. 4 minutes from half-time and it was Russell Duncan again who had another chance, this time he shot from 18 yards but put it left of target. Half-Time ICT 0-1 Motherwell Craig Brewster made a substitution at half-time and this too has been the subject of a lot of debate. Many felt that Niculae for Bayne may have been sensible given the referee’s apparent dislike for Graham’s style of play but it was Barry Wilson who came on and Ian Black that was subbed. Rumours of a half-time dressing room bust-up and sightings of Blackie leaving the stadium before the second half even kicked off have been rampant ever since …. The folly of not subbing Graham Bayne at half-time would come back to haunt the Caley Jags gaffer after just 5 minutes. He was adjudged to have fouled David Clarkson on the half way line and the referee deemed it a bookable offence. As he had already been booked the red was produced and Caley Thistle were down to 10 men. Barely two minutes later and the game was effectively over. Ross McCormack made a run down the left wing and crossed to the back post for Clarkson. It was blocked near the line by Motherwell player Chris Porter but Clarkson blasted the rebound high into the net to make it 2-0. The fact that this goal was allowed to stand, with Porter not once but twice being in an offside position in many fans and players eyes ended it for Caley Thistle. From this point on every decision the ref made was questioned, the players became frustrated and it was inevitable that more yellows or reds were to follow. Roy McBain was the next one into the book as he lambasted the so-called “assistant referee” after a challenge from James Paterson and then he went back for more and was lucky not to walk for it. A red card however was coming in the near future and in the 62nd minute, it was issued to fan favourite Ross Tokely who was judged to have elbowed/punched Steve McGarry as the pair tussled off the ball. There is a suggestion that McGarry made the most of it, and that his own manager may have made a diving gesture to the player when he was subbed a little later, but the bottom line is that Tokely raised his hands (or elbow) to the player and you just don’t do that … to do it with 11 men on the park is bad enough, but to do it when you are 2-0 down and already down to 10 men is inexcusable. It is also somewhat reminiscent of a similar incident at Ayr a few years ago where the big man lost it, got sent off and was forced to spend the rest of the match in the team bus as ICT were hammered 5-1. The scoreline didn’t get that bad in this match, but it might have had the Motherwell attackers got more on target. In 66 minutes David Clarkson shot over the bar and Porter did similar in 70 minutes. Fifteen minutes before the end, Marius Niculae replaced Wyness but he could do nothing to get ICT back into it. It was definitely a rearguard action as the team went to a 4-3-1 formation with Cowie covering at right back and this meant that Motherwell could basically attack at will. The third nearly came in 77 minutes as Lasley powered through the ICT defence but his cross to Porter was intercepted by Hastings who did well to stop the attack. The last throw of the dice was to bring on John Rankin for Roy McBain in 79 minutes but it was too little too late by this time. 11 minutes isn’t very long to have an impact with 11 players on the park but with 9 its asking for a miracle. Although Don Cowie had just been announced as the sponsors’ man of the match, Motherwell sealed the win with a third goal just 3 minutes from time when “real” man of the match David Clarkson crossed for substitute Darren Smith who slotted home an easy chance. Many ICT fans didn’t see this goal as they had left in droves long before the final whistle in what was undoubtedly one of ICT worst performances in the SPL. Full Time: 0-3 Speaking after the match Craig Brewster had sympathy for Graham Bayne but lambasted Tokely saying “I certainly thought the first sending off is harsh as it seemed that everytime Graham Bayne went up for a ball in the first half he was punished and we told Graham at half-time to be careful. However the second red card is a disgrace, Tokely has let himself down and his team mates down, with ten men you are up against it but with nine men it is damage limitation and I will deal with him internally on Monday.” [source: www.ictfc.co.uk] Club Captain Grant Munro said something very similar “Ross's was a definite red card; what he did was very stupid and he let himself down firstly and also the team. I thought Graham's red card was harsh - it seems for some reason that he gets booked in every game he plays. He's a centre forward so he's got to be strong and I don't think he did much wrong from my own and the team's points of view. It's not about the referee, though, it's about how we perform and we were disappointing, simple as that. The game was very difficult when Graham was sent off and it was an uphill task when Ross stupidly got sent off so it was about digging in and keeping it respectable, but I thought we did that and played a lot better with nine men than we probably did with 11” [source: Scotsman newspaper]
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