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  1. Six Goal Thriller in the Highlands. The points were shared in the Highlands in an entertaining 3-3 draw where the drama started before the match had begun and continued throughout the game. Owain Fon Williams pulled out in the warm up and Cammy Mackay replaced him between the sticks. That was just the beginning. Carl Tremarco had to be replaced after nine minutes and his replacement scored the opener five minutes later. None other than Dave the Rave, what an introduction from the fans favourite. Lonsana Doumbouya continued his scoring run with the second to double the advantage. Hearts were thrown a lifeline before the break when Bjoirn Johnsen scored and they went for broke in the second period. Faycal Rherras got a fortunate equaliser and it looked as though Hearts had the impetus, but Aaron Doran put the home side ahead again. His first goal since returning from his injury nightmare. Hearts turned the screw again and Arnaud Djoum levelled to set up a tense final fifteen minutes, but neither side could get their noses in front and a point each it was with all the punters going home happy after a highly entertaining contest. Old Caley Girl will have a full report for us when she takes time to digest the afternoon's spectacle. Back in December I had the misfortune to witness the Tynecastle 5-1 horror show, however, what a difference in ICT that day. Richie Foran in his post match interview that day said he knew what was wrong and how to sort it and he has been true to his word. At 3pm at the TCS the music played for the arrival of the players but instead of the players running on to the pitch the music went on and on and on…….............. Eventually both teams appeared but with Cammy Mackay in goal instead of the already announced Owain Fon Williams. OFW apparently had a back problem from the warm up and had to drop out. After nine minutes play David Raven replaced an injured Carl Tremarco and the home crowd wondered if it wasn’t to be our day. We were wrong though as this turned out to be a terrific match to watch with end to end action. Caleyjags started off brightly with Doumbouya hitting the crossbar and on the 15 minute mark David Raven opened the scoring with a cracking volley, finished like a striker after a headed knockdown from Ross Draper following some tidy teamwork. ICT extended their lead in 32 minutes with a right footed shot into the top of the net from 17 yards. We broke up a Hearts forward move and swiftly transferred the ball forward. When it came to Lonsana Doumbouya just inside the box, he wasted no time in smashing it high into the net Liam Polworth with the assist. Hearts huffed and puffed but really were not causing too much problems in front of goal until a slip from Josh Meekings allowed Johnsen to run into the box and pull one back for the visitors eight minutes before the break, rifling the ball home from ten yards on the right side. Hearts continued to press for an equaliser before half time but the Caleyjags went into the break in the lead. Half Time 2-1 Both teams came back out from the break pushing for more goals and it was Hearts who leveled in 51 minutes with Rherras taking a chance from long range and hitting the target beyond Cammy Mackay who was wrong footed and bamboozled by the cross/shot which everyone missed as it bounced into the net. One of those awkward ones I'm afraid. At that point you had to wonder if heads would go down but no, Aaron Doran had other ideas pinching the ball of Don Cowie following a lob and firing low past Hamilton in the Hearts goal. The end to end action continued and Hearts were rewarded with another goal to equalise, Djoum hitting it across Mackay from fifteen yards on the right side. Hearts continued to pile on the pressure with subs Tony Watt and Conor Sammon but fortunately for us, they couldn’t find the winner. In the end 3-3 seemed fair I suppose but I think both players and fans will be disappointed not to take all three points. Full time 3-3 A hugely entertaining match with plenty to thrill fans of both teams and any neutrals present. Defensive mistakes stopping us take the 3 points. An interesting post match debate could be had from comments made by Gary Warren that he would prefer to win ugly than by entertaining draws. Given the injury dramas a point was welcomed by most and cemented our top six place on merit. A small worry is the injuries sustained. Owain Fon Williams, Carl Tremarco, Aaron Doran and Iain Vigurs. Hopefully all not too bad. An unpleasant feature of this game that I feel I must mention was Hearts tendency to go down every few minutes (polite way of mentioning a lot of diving) and the fact that Craig Thomson seemed to be falling for it at every turn. Is it just me or is the standard of refereeing dropping again in this league? OCG MotM – Several candidates but my vote goes to Lonsana Doumbouya. Improving every game, put in a shift and knows where the back of the net is. He is full of promise and hopefully lots more goals to come. Date: 29/10/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium, Inverness Attendance: 3565 Referee: Craig Thomson Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: C.Mackay, B.McKay, Warren, Meekings, Tremarco (Raven 9), Tansey, Polworth, Draper, Vigurs (Horner 89), Doran (Mulraney 81), Doumbouya Subs (not used): Hoban, Boden, Sutherland Scorers: Raven (15), Doumbouya (32), Doran (55) Booked: Meekings (78), McKay (84), Vigurs (85) Sent Off: none Hearts: 3 Lineup: Hamilton, Paterson, Igor Rossi, Souttar, Rherras (Ozturk 59), Cowie, Kitchen, Djoum, Muirhead (Watt 54), Walker, Johnsen (Sammon 76) Subs (not used): Noring, Buaben, Oshaniwa, Nowak Scorers: Johnsen (38), Rherras (51), Djoum (74) Booked: Rherras (50) Sent Off: none
  2. Time for revenge The visitors this Saturday are a team we have a wee score to settle with. We were trounced at Tynecastle earlier in the season and it would be nice to reverse that and possibly get our goal difference back to level par. It has taken us since then to get back into the top-six as our goal difference took a pounding that day. Justice would be done if we can get a win, and even better by two goals, that would see us retain our top-six status for now. Old Caley Girl has been busy checking out the stats for this fixture and she has given us this excellent Preview. After a morale boosting bumper 3-0 away win on Wednesday, Hearts are next to visit the TCS on Saturday. My favourite awayday is Tynecastle but our August visit was thoroughly miserable. In fact, fellow CTO scribe, IHE described our performance that day as “toothless”. Richie Foran stated post match that he could see what our team issues were and knew how to solve them and to be fair we have done fairly well since, although some of the points gained have not been pretty to watch. Wednesday was also our first clean sheet this season and the reports from those there seem to suggest that our defence is returning to its reliable self with Brad Mckay looking like a very astute signing and the Courier describing Carl Tremarco as arguably the best full back in the league at present. With our A team of Warren and Meekings in the centre hopefully a few more clean sheets are on the cards. I would be very surprised if Foran changes the favoured four tomorrow. There has been lots of debate on the site re the recently preferred midfield and forward picks. Iain Vigurs seems like marmite at the moment with some praising his unsung work in the team with others not impressed by his form of late. Tansey and Draper are also said by some to not be reaching the performance level displayed in the past. There is also no doubt that Liam Polworth is a sublime striker of the ball as shown with his goals this season so far. The local press are reporting that Alex Fisher is to be offered a new deal next week which is welcome news in my humble opinion. Doumbouya appears to be becoming a fans favourite and is starting to show promise with his goal scoring tally so far. Aarron Doran was a welcome starter on Wednesday with King shining when he came on a sub. My guess is that we will line up the same as Wednesday but Foran has options and it is especially pleasing to see a bench line up this season offering change if needed. Hearts have been riding high in the table this season but have stuttered at times including midweek at Killie. There is no doubt they will be dangerous and eager to get back to winning ways to continue to challenge in the European place race. CaleyJags will be keen to remain in the hard earned top-six place we occupy at present. Fans were also delighted to see us go above our near neighbours on points for the first time in a long time. Brad Mckay has had an Xray on his finger for a suspected fracture and the gaffer awaits the outcome of that. Alex Fisher has a minor niggle and will miss out again as will Larnell Cole. Ryan Esson and Kevin McNaughton are out longer term. The visitors have only one absentee and that is winger Sam Nicholson who has had knee surgery. Billy King will have to sit this one out; parent club ruling for the Hearts loanee. OCG prediction – Hard one but going to go with a hard fought home win.
  3. Another late goal earns a point. Lonsana Doumbouya rescued an unlikely point for Inverness in a dismal display that left the home fans frustrated at the poor performance. Soulimane Coulibaly won and converted a penalty to give the visitors an early lead and it was them that looked most likely to add to their tally until the late strike leveled the scoring. Richie Foran placed Billy King on the bench with the tricky Jake Mulraney getting a start. Iain Vigurs' inclusion was a big talking point as we have not been seeing the best of him recently and Josh Meekings returned to the back line having missed out against the Rangers with David Raven returning to the bench. Liam Polworth did start, but he looked like a fish out of water given his wide position. Kris Boyd made the bench for the visitors who were looking to build on their excellent result from last week where they won at Perth. Killie belied their low key start to the season and looked to get behind the home defence at every opportunity. Nathan Tyson saw an early header sail over the bar from a good position and in just seven minutes they took the lead. From a ball into the box, Garry Warren and Brad Mckay converged on Soulimane Coulibaly. Mckay saw fit to clumsily barge the striker to the deck and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. No complaints from me either as Mckay was rather rash with his challenge. Coulibaly got up and took the penalty himself, low to Fon Williams' right. The keeper got a good hand on the ball but it had just enough pace to reach the back of the net. Not the start we had been looking for, but it was early doors and we had plenty of time to respond. Unfortunately we didn't. A complete lack of understanding and dearth of quality was on display as we toiled to create anything, the visitors leading by example as they managed to unsettle us at the back. Coulibaly almost doubled the advantage as we opened the back door and Fon Williams denied him from close range. He really should have scored, and Josh Meekings made a timely block as we were carved open once more. This provoked a reaction and Lonsana Doumbouya and Liam Polworth brought Jamie McDonald into the game. Greg Tansey latched onto one outside the box but the swerve on the ball brought it too close to McDonald and he saved relatively comfortably, although the shot had plenty of power. That was about as close as we got in a first half lacking endeavour from the home side. Half Time 0-1 The home fans were looking for a vast improvement after the break, but it was still the visitors that looked more threatening and Coulibaly headed over five minutes after the restart. Luke Hendrie tried his luck from outside the box but his swerving shot dipped just wide of the net. At the other end, Liam Polworth had a shot blocked as we tried to salvage something from the game but the harder we tried the more frustrating it became. Substitute Kris Boyd almost extended the lead but his shot was charged down and bounced just wide, possibly glancing off the frame of the goal. But, if nothing else, we are triers. And God loves a trier. With time running out and all our efforts coming to nothing, Carl Tremarco swung over a deep cross. Aaron Doran nodded it back into the mix and Doumbouya chested the ball to the side, nicking it off the toe of Alex Fisher before forcing it over the line from close range. There was still some defending to do though and Killie hit the post again as Rory McKenzie drilled a shot from outside the box that hit the outside base of the post with Fon Williams scrambling across his line. That was it though and the final whistle brought an end to an uninspiring game. Full Time 1-1 We just about deserved a point for neatness, although Kilmarnock will feel hard done by after passing up some gilt edged chances, especially in the first half. They can also point to a couple of shots that came off the woodwork. On the other hand, we will be thankful that we played rubbish but never lost. tm4tj MotM is going to a wee guy with a big heart. Carl Tremarco kept plugging away and thanks to his willingness to get down the left flank we snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat. Many wondered why Iain Vigurs was still on the park at the end, but to be honest there were plenty of candidates to catch Richie Foran's eye as suitable bench warmers. A poor day at the office was the general consensus of opinion. Killie played their part in that though and they will be well chuffed with a point in the Highlands. We are off to Motherwell in midweek and Hearts visit Inverness next weekend. It's not rocket science to see that we will need a vast improvement if we are to take anything from these games. Despite ourselves, we toppled into the top-six on goal difference, and on the bright side, we can only get better. Surely? Highlights will be available to view later today from SPFL website Here's what Killie manager Lee Clark thought about it all Date: 22/10/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2591 Referee: Nick Walsh Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams, McKay (Boden 79), Meekings, Warren, Tremarco, Tansey, Vigurs, Mulraney (King 66), Draper (Doran 56), Polworth, Doumbouya Subs (not used): Mackay, Raven, Horner, Fisher Scorers: Doumbouya (86) Booked: Polworth (63), Meekings (80), Vigurs (94) Sent Off: none Kilmarnock: 1 Lineup: MacDonald, Hendrie, S Boyd, Addison, Taylor, Dicker, Coulibaly (K Boyd 79), M Smith (S Smith, 66), McKenzie, Jones, Tyson Subs (not used): Mackay, Boyle, Bojaj, Frizzell, Paterson Scorers: Coulibaly (pen.7) Booked: S.Boyd (26), Hendrie (88) Sent Off: none abcabc
  4. Time to kick on We welcome Kilmarnock to the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium this Saturday for a 3:00pm kick off with both clubs sitting on nine points, so it's an opportunity for one of these clubs to climb into the top-six with a win as there is only one other match on Saturday, Partick at home to Ross County. The clubs had contrasting fortunes last time out. We lost our five game unbeaten run, going down 1-0 to the Rangers, courtesy of a stunning strike from Kenny Miller. Kilmarnock steadied the ship after a run of six games without a win by beating St Johnstone 1-0 in Perth, an excellent result given the mediocre results of the previous six games. They did however manage a 1-1 draw against the Rangers during that spell, but were also hammered by Celtic and Aberdeen. It's a topsy turvy league with every team capable of performing well on the day making it difficult to predict any outcome. But, It's time to kick on now, and try to create the gap that will ensure safety for another season. Our opponents made sweeping changes in the close season. Lee Clark removed eight defenders from his inherited squad in a bid to resolve his defensive frailties, and Lee McCulloch retired from playing. In came defenders Dapo Kayode (Dinamo Bucharesti), Jamie Cobain (Newcastle United), Joshua Webb (Aston Villa), Jonathan Burn (Middlesborough), Luke Hendrie (Burnley), William Boyle (Huddersfield) and Scott Boyd from our neighbours Ross County. Midfield has also been revamped with Callum McFadzean (Sheffield United), Martin Smith (Sunderland), Jordan Jones (Middlesborough), George Green (Burnley), Charlee Adams (Birmingham City). Forwards coming in are Flo Bojaj (Huddersfield), Nathan Tyson (Doncaster Rovers) and the young man who has made the biggest impact Souleymane Coulibaly, an Ivory coast u17 international. The most notable players making way for these guys are Irish international Josh Magennis (Charlton Athletic), Tope Obadeyi (Dundee United), journeyman Kallum Higginbotham, Craig Slater (Colchester United) and Mark O'Hara (Dundee). Conrad Balatoni, Lee Ashcroft, Kevin McHattie and Jamie Hamill have all dropped down to the Scottish Championship. Add to that a bit of boardroom unrest and it's an unsettling time to be a Killie fan. Michael Johnston appears to be the reason that Russel Smith has stepped down as one of the directors at Rugby Park. So, big changes at Rugby Park, but manager Lee Clark has kept a strong backbone to his squad, starting at the back with keeper Jamie MacDonald and up front he can still call on the experience of Kris Boyd. Killie were expected to be one of the sides that would have their hands full trying to avoid relegation, along with us. Those predictions looked ominous when we lost our first three games. Killie won one of their first three followed by three draws and two defeats before winning at Perth. It's early days but both clubs need to find a level of consistency to be able to climb the table. That has proved difficult with teams still finding their feet and positive results hard to come by. Richie Foran thought we played well last week and could have taken more from the game. "We just lacked that wee bit of quality in front of goal. I think it's our best performance over the last six games. I knew we'd get chances. Bringing Jake Mulraney and Aaron Doran on can turn a game for you and I thought they might have nicked us a goal". To be honest, we were second best in a first half dominated by Rangers after Lonsana Doumbouya missed a great opportunity as early as the third minute. It did however take a goal of the month strike from Kenny Miller to separate the sides as we fought back in the second period and fell just short as we failed to capitalise on the three or four half chances that came our way. We have played better, but we have also played much worse. We gave Rangers too much freedom in the first half which saw us chasing shadows. I doubt we will offer Kilmarnock the same respect and sit off them in the same manner. It could be time for the luxury that is Iain Vigurs to feel the bench as he has been posted missing for long spells during games, occasionally surfacing to show a touch of class, but just as likely to display a cynical side to his game that we can do without. Liam Polworth would benefit from this by moving more central where we get the best out of him. Jake Mulraney and Aaron Doran made their cases clear for a start as they livened the game up last week after their introduction. Billy King was rather subdued last week and maybe a rest will be good for him. He will be missing for the Hearts game next week anyway, so Foran will need to shape his side without him. We missed Josh Meekings last week due to a hamstring injury. David Raven stepped back into his right back role with Brad Mckay moving inside. It's the midfield where the problems start with Tansey supposedly pulling the strings. We do drift out of games and seldom seem to dominate the middle area which is odd considering the physical presence we have in there with Ross Draper being prominent every week. It's the use of Polly that is open to criticism and the inclusion of Vigurs that raises most eyebrows. The next quandary is who is our best striker. None are prolific and both Fisher and Doumbouya had glaring misses last week whilst Scott Boden appears to be out of favour. Lot's of choices for Richie the Rookie, rather him than me. By the way, Kevin McNaughton has had his protective boot removed and has discarded his crutches, so some positive news for Kev in his long road back to fitness. Larnell Cole is doubtful with an injury. Killie will be without Johnny Burn who has a broken nose, but Kris Boyd and Steven Smith should return to the squad. However, midfielders Greg Kiltie and Callum McFadzean are out injured. tm4tj Prediction:- Both sides looking to climb up the table and both capable of producing the goods on the day. Historically we have been getting the better of Killie in the Highlands, one defeat in fifteen, and we should be able to have a go at them easier than we did against the Rangers. Souleymane Coulibaly is an exceptional talent and he has scored some spectacular goals already since his arrival. He is definitely one to watch and we will need to keep our focus at the back if we want to keep him out. We might just sneak this one, but a draw is not beyond the bounds of possibility. I find it difficult to see anything better for Killie. Former Inverness manager and Hearts legend John Robertson, 52, has been rushed to hospital yesterday (Thursday) after falling down a flight of stairs at Tynecastle. It is understood that Robbo has been treated for broken ribs and is recovering in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. All the best for a speedy recovery Robbo.
  5. Miller Stunner Stings Caley Jags Inverness went down 0-1 by virtue of a stunning volley from Kenny Miller to end our five game unbeaten run. It was his 100th goal in the blue jesey having previously played in the green and white of Hibernian and Celtic. He won't score many better goals as he smashed a volley past Owain Fon Williams from a deep Lee Wallace cross from around 15 yards, the ball searing past the keepers outstretched hands on it's way to the back of the net. Inverness passed on glorious opportunities, at either end of the game, both headers and both well off target from great positions, but it was Rangers that held on to take all three points back down the A9. Immortal Howden Ender has this TV report for us all the way from Chorley.......... I should begin by emphasising that I was not in attendance at the TCS and this report is based on watching BT Sport in my “snug” in Chorley. It is often stated that it is a different perspective watching on the telly. I concede that but the telly throws up different angles, replays and commentator perspectives. From a BT perspective the only aspect that I feel may be agreed by all is that Chris Sutton is an absolute ****. Paul Ritchie, Craig Brewster, Marius Niculae and even Rory McAllister must be stumped to explain how our two centre forward options, Doumbouya and Fisher failed to connect and score from crosses in the 3rd and 86th minute. I would have knocked them both in maself. Doombars’ was more culpable as it was clear cut. Fishers’ needed a flick but they were both practically unmissable. We simply do NOT have a striker of Premiership class. Draper could well be the answer but what a feckin waste that would be. I still feel really disappointed that we did not pick up at least a point. Richie Foran said that it was our best performance in the last six games. I would disagree with that but it certainly was above average. We looked very threatening in the first 15 minutes. If Doombar had netted then we may have wreaked havoc. Rangers controlled the first half but did not really dominate. They are John Hughes “tippy-tappy” like and have not got that last killer touch. But lets face it Kenny Miller’s volleyed goal / winner was superb. Blame probably is shared between Raven and Polworth for not tracking back. Fon Williams kept us in it with a great stop in the 25th minute. Waghorn and company claimed that it had crossed the line but it clearly didn’t. Polworth then missed a half chance on the 27th minute when he ballooned a 25 yarder well over. Tansey then tried to showboat when a straight strike would have been better. To me the second half was even-stevens but we just about won it – in possession and chances – but not goals unfortunately. It could have been 3-3 in the end but for skied or blocked efforts. We were again lacking in width and we are simply impotent up front. Full Time 0-1 FON WILLIAMS 7/10 – No chance with the goal but look assured and kept us in it, although he did not really have that much to do. RAVEN 6/10 – Worried when I heard of his inclusion but he was more like the Raven of old. WARREN 6/10 – Worries me with his undisciplined impetuousness at times. Warriors do not put themselves at risk and do not take one for the team when there is cover. MckAY 5/10 – Lucky not to be dismissed. Went for balls that were never his. Clearly a better full back. TREMARCO 7/10 – Continues to be solid and consistent. Never given a chance of being an attacking option. POLWORTH 6/10 – I simply cannot believe that he is being played wide right. Drifted inside most of the night and was culpable at not giving Raven cover on quite a few occasions. TANSEY 5/10 – Scored him lower as he feckin annoys me. It was probably a 6 ½ out of 10 but why did he keep his best display of the season to the Showroom game. VIGURS 4/10 – Almost the same comment as Tansey. Appeared to make more effort tonight than he has done for weeks. KING 5/10 – Followed up from a disappointing game at Hamilton to another. Clearly right footed and not looking comfortable wide left. DRAPER 8/10 – My MOM for again filling in so many positions in one night – even taking over the main striker role in the second half. He showed his frustration by dropping too deep at times. DOUMBOUYA 3/10 – Thought that he was shocking even giving him a let off for the glaring 3rd minute miss. Simply does not appear to be Premiership quality. No real pace, won little in the air and allowed himself to be bullied. MULRANEY / DORAN 6/10 each – Have clearly staked the claims to start next game. FISHER 4/10 – Missed another chance at glory. My preference to start as he is more mobile, pacier and better in the air – What the feck more does he need !! Footage from SPFL website INVERNESS CT 0 Fon Williams; Raven, Tremarco, Warren, Mckay, Polworth, Draper, Vigurs (Doran 67), Tansey, King (Mulraney 67), Doumbouya (Fisher 80). Subs unused: Mackay, Horner, Boden, Cole. Booked: Mckay, Warren. RANGERS 1 Fotheringham, Tavernier, Hill, Kiernan, Wallace, Miller, McKay (Garner 70), Halliday, Kranjcar (Windass 75), Holt, Waghorn (Dodoo 70). Subs unused: Gilks, Forrester, Hodson, Senderos. Booked: Waghorn. Scorer: Kenny Miller (22) Referee: W Collum Attendance: 7012
  6. If you know your History Friday night Footie returns to the Highlands with a bang as new club The Rangers visit the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium for the first time in their short history, the game kicking off at 19:45. They have made a meteoric rise to fame since their inception, climbing through the leagues in four years and getting to the final of the Scottish Cup. It's a touch of Gretna revisited. Unfortunately for them, like Gretna they also failed to win the cup at the hands of an Edinburgh club. They do look pretty slick though, having tailored their needs for each division as they made their way into the Premiership and they now have a squad capable of challenging most with Mark Warburton leading the way. Richie Foran has been named Manager of the Month for September after turning the fortunes of his slow starters around. However, we all know the repercussions of the curse of the Manager of the Month. Sounds like an adventure from Scooby Doo. Yikes! Come to think of it, have you ever seen Richie Foran and Shaggy in the same room? Me neither. Immortal Howden Ender has given us this fabulous whirlwind history lesson to rival Charlie Bannerman's Against All Odds This could be entitled the Inaugural meeting of the “Young Firm” of Scottish football. Both teams having painful and traumatic experiences in the not too distant past. Both teams are lamenting and many still grieving for the teams that they did support, whose existence was sadly terminated. Caley were even called “The Rangers of the North”. Caledonian Thistle F.C. was formed in August 1994 by the merger of Caledonian and Inverness Thistle who had been members of the Highland Football League since 1885.The league restructured in 1994 to four divisions of ten teams each. The merged clubs were elected in to the Scottish Third Division. The club's name was amended to Inverness Caledonian Thistle F.C. in 1996 at the request of Inverness District Council. Many still refer to the team as Caley or Thistle. They rose through the divisions at some speed, given their finances and many teams trying to halt their rise, especially when initially promoted to the SPL. The original Rangers came into existence in 1872, 13 years before the Inverness giants. The Rangers Football Club PLC entered liquidation on 31 October 2012. Sevco Scotland Ltd later changed its name to The Rangers Football Club Ltd. The new team, The Rangers FC started off life, akin to ICT, in the Scottish Third Division in the 2012-2013 season, a mere 18 years after Inverness. Due to their superior finances they climbed the leagues far quicker than ICT and made it this season. So Inverness Caledonian Thistle and The Rangers FC take to the park to on Friday 14th October 2016 in the first ever league meeting between the two clubs. Sadly I suspect that there may be as many old Caley and Thistle diehards (and their families) in the Rangers End as there are in the Main Stand and The North Stand. The two previous outcomes of meetings between the new clubs have been Scottish League Cup affairs. Inverness hammering Rangers 3-0 at Ibrox in October 2012 and Rangers scraping a fortunate 1-0 win in September 2014. In their history Inverness have only met the old Rangers team in League encounters and, at home, it does not make good reading with Rangers winning 8 and Inverness 1 and two drawn. The only ICT win was in December 2006 (Live on Setanta Sports !!) and the match was an all ticket SELL OUT. Nacho Novo scored for Rangers from the penalty spot (Craig Thompson was at it even then) before Darren Dods equalised. And many will recall the winner screamed in by John Rankin in the last minute. And we all had a fleeting look at the wondrous SEBO. We have a better record at Ibrox, winning three and drawing four of the thirteen encounters. My own personal lasting memory has to be the injury time penalty winner by Iain Black in March 2009. And Zjebi-Zadi was MotM and David Proctor won the penalty, drawing a foul from Davie Weir who was sent off. And Rangers were frightened by the pace of Dougie Imrie and Eric Odhiambo. It was fair rocking in “Brechins” that night. Going back to the Howden End days memories fade back to 18 February 1984 when the mighty old club known as Rangers visited Telford Street Park on Scottish Cup duty. A crowd of 5,500 packed in to watch Rangers win 6-0. Somebody called McCoist scored a brace that day and somebody called Billy Urquhart played against his old team. He should have stayed in Wigan !! I fail to recall any great Inverness Thistle v Rangers encounters although that was probably reserved for Brora Rangers. And finally on the trip down memory lane – we simply can’t leave out the initial Scottish Cup meeting with the old Rangers. A quarter final moved to the “neutral” ground of Tannadice Park in Dundee, on the 9th of March 1996. A crowd of 11,296 was in attendance (an estimated 5,000 from Sneck) when Rangers were the “visitors”. Rangers won 3-0, with Brian Thomson scoring an own goal and a certain Paul Gascoigne hitting a double. I can only suggest that you read the account made by Pele Paterson in his book “Confessions of a Highland Hero” - “We were Third Division and they were Champions”. That was one feckin hoore of a weekend. Hopefully the thought of the forthcoming Betfred Cup tie with Celtic will be a distraction and the Joey Barton debacle lingers on and on. Rumours are rife that Joey has put a pony on Inverness winning 2-1. That is certainly worth a wee gamble although it is unclear whether he is purely doing this out of churlish malice. Rangers have had what only can be described as an inconsistent start to the season and are clearly struggling to identify a starting eleven. The Central Belt Bluenoses however appear confident that Rangers have a clearer starting XI and expect to line up in a 4-3-3 formation. Wes Foderingham should keep his place in goals ahead of veteran Matt Gilks. James Tavernier and Lee Wallace will start in the two full-back positions. Rob Kiernan missed the last few games with an injury but looks likely to start. Kiernan and Wilson appear to have claimed the first-choice centre-back pairing (unfortunately) despite the arrival of experienced but aging duo of Clint Hill and Philippe Senderos. Andy Halliday should start in defensive midfield with Joey Barton missing (or running scared of Ross Draper). Jason Holt provides a lot of energy in the middle of the park and should keep his place whilst Niko Kranjcar impressed against the Plastic Whistle. Kenny Miller is likely to start up front as the target man with Martyn Waghorn operating as the wide forward from the right. Barrie McKay, to me the big danger, will keep his place on the left. If that is the Rangers line up then we need to go wide and offensive. Both Wallace and Tavernier are prone to leave their defensive duties and will leave space up front. Personally I would go with Fisher up front, if he has shaken off his knock, rather than Doumbuoya. Keep Draper “in the hole” behind him Tansey and Polworth to hold central midfield. I have not been impressed by Tansey this season but this is a “shop window” and I expect him to put in a MotM performance. Two wide players are a must and it looks like it will be Mulraney and King to start with. The back five pick themselves. McKay and Tremarco will be tested by McKay (need to check with CaleyD about the spelling). We certainly went backwards at Hamilton but escaped with a point, leaving us on a 5 game unbeaten run. That has led to Richie Foran being awarded the coveted Manager of the Month Award. Let’s hope that his lucky shamrock can ward off the curse that the award has placed on previous ICT Managers. And a 2-0 win would take us into the Top Six and ahead of Rangers on goal difference. But three points and a scabby one goal win will suffice. Shaggy Richie looks ahead to the game........
  7. Dundee's Dismal run continues. Inverness took all three points with a relatively comfortable 3-1 win over Dundee who have never won in the Highland Capital, and never looked like changing that after the hosts early flurry gave them a two goal cushion. Despite Dundee seeing plenty of the ball, they were unable to do much with it and their dismal form in Inverness continued. Lonsana Doumbouya nodded his first goal for Inverness in the seventh minute and Greg Tansey lashed home a penalty nine minutes later to give the hosts the lead at the break. A smart third from Liam Polworth settled the game before Inverness took the foot of the gas. Dundee scored from an excellent set piece as Nicky Low picked his spot from twenty yards with six minutes remaining. Not the most impressive performance from Foran's men, but the three points have catapulted Inverness up to eighth in the table and we remain unbeaten in four now. Old Caley Girl was at this one and here is her thoughts about the game Comfortable Comfortable was the word of the afternoon. Dundee continued their poor record in Inverness as they returned home pointless. ICT took to the pitch looking confident and hoping to add to an unbeaten run of 3 games with only one change from the team that started against Celtic. The visitors had former Caley Jags player Nick Ross in the starting XI, but Danny Williams and James Vincent were on the bench. A few eyebrows were raised at the omission, from the starting line-up, of Iain Vigurs but that was soon forgotten when, 8 minutes in, CaleyJags took the lead. Brad Mckay popped the perfect cross into the centre of the box to find the head of Doumbouya who headed into the top left hand corner. This game was essentially all over 8 minutes later when Etxabeguren was adjudged to have fouled Billy King in the box. From the North stand my view of the incident was poor but it appears King was shoulder barged in the box with a leading elbow and the referee was correct in his award of a penalty kick. Up stepped Tansey and slammed home the spot kick. The penalty effectively ended the game as a contest. Dundee have not won since the opening day of the season and it showed. They huffed and puffed but could'nt blow the house down, and if it hadn’t been for Bain it could have been a rout. They play nice football at times but El Bakhtaoui looked a lonely man up front with non-existent support, although Fon Williams did have to pull off a tremendous reflex save just before the break as we tried to offer Dundee a lifeline. Half Time 2-0 They certainly looked much brighter in the second half but in 51 minutes any lingering doubts of a Dundee comeback were ended. Brad Mckay earned himself a second assist by charging through the middle and passing perfectly to Polworth who slotted home past Bain. Polworth could, and should, have added another a few minutes later but decided to pass to Mulraney in front of goal but he fluffed his lines by shooting straight at the keeper. Maybe too eager to get on the scoresheet, but Bain blocked his shot. The only disappointing part of the afternoon, if being picky, was the failure to keep a clean sheet. Owain Fon Williams did not have to get anywhere near having to repeat the performance of last week. Nicky Low gained a consolation goal from a spectacular free kick into the top corner about 20 yards out in 84 minutes. Full Time 3-1 Special mention to Dundee’s odd formations at corner kicks. Bizarre, just bizarre! Make no mistake this was an important win. These are the sort of games we need to be winning if we have aspirations of top 6 this season. The league table looks a lot more pleasing reading but another 3 points at Hamilton next week could see us climb into a top six slot for the first time this season. Old Caley Girl MotM:- A harder choice this week. The match sponsors went for Jake Mulraney who continues to show promise. There were competent performances throughout the team. My jury is out on Doumboya though, as he kept earning the referees attention with some awkward challenges. Brad Mckay had an excellent game and looks like he might be a top signing by Foran. My choice however, was the excellent Liam Polworth who bagged himself a goal and was our standout midfielder. He divides opinion, within our support, but more of this type of performance please. Match footage from SPFL Website Match reaction from Caley Jags TV Date: 24/09/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2884 Referee: Kevin Clancy Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Fon Williams, Tremarco, Warren, Meekings, Polworth, Draper, Mulraney (Cole 87), Tansey, King (Doran 75), McKay, Doumbouya (Fisher 61) Subs (not used): Mackay, Vigurs, Boden, Sutherland Scorers: Doumbouya (8), Tansey (pen.17), Polworth (51) Booked: Doumbouya (47), Warren (74) Sent Off: none Dundee: 1 Lineup: Bain, Holt, O'Dea, Hateley (Loy 54), Low, Duffy (Teijsse 61), Etxabeguren, Ross (Williams 75), McGowan, El Bakhtaoui, Kerr Subs (not used): Mitchell, Vincent, Gadzhalov, Wighton Scorers: Low (84) Booked: Ross (53), Etxabeguren (62), Low (85) Sent Off: none
  8. 16 undefeated and counting... After the euphoria of a last minute equaliser against Celtic, it's back to the more mundane, but nonetheless important task of a home game against Dundee on Saturday with a 15:00 kick off. Prior to kick off, there will be a minutes applause in memory of club Director Donnie Fraser who passed away last Sunday night at the age of 59. Our condolences to his family, friends and extended Caley Thistle family from all here at Caley Thistle Online. Club chairman Kenny Cameron said: "Donnie's passing comes as a severe shock to us all and although no words can ease his families pain our deepest sympathy and condolences go to his wife Theresa and the family." Mr Fraser was born in Helensburgh but had lived in Inverness for over thirty years. He was the successful managing director of Korrie Mechanical and Plumbing in Inverness and became a director at the club in 2015. Full story at Official ICTFC RIP Donald Fraser 1957-2016. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ More sad news for football fans and especially Dundee FC as former player Alan Cousin has died at the age of 78. He was signed by the then Dundee manager Willie Thornton in 1955. He made 288 appearances scoring 103 goals in more than ten years at Dens Park, and he was the clubs top scorer three years in a row playing alongside the likes of Alan Gilzean. He later moved to Hibernian and then Falkirk. Another great gone from the game. RIP Alan Cousin - 1938-2016 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Old Caley Girl is your previewer this week and she has been checking out our opponents ahead of the game once she got over the shock of the photos in the ticketing promotion. Sponsors McEwan Fraser Legal held a Competition to design the cover of the match programme and this has been won by Sienna Hastings, none other than the daughter of former Caley Jags defender Richard Hastings. Well done Sienna. More here Things are looking up. It’s not been too bad the last few weeks. 5 points from 9 against arguably the three top teams in the league is not too shabby. However, being so close to the bottom of the league even this early feels a tad uncomfortable. The table remains very close though and even one win can take you far up the table. Dundee up next, first of two fixtures before the next International break and two very winnable fixtures on paper. In fact these are the type of games that we must be picking up full points from if we have aspirations of top-six this season. ICT look in good shape. No known injury worries apart from Lewis Horner (ankle) and Ryan Esson (elbow) and the players are having to fight to gain/retain a first eleven spot. Owain Fon Williams was on fire against Celtic and surely his next aim will be to secure the first clean sheet of the season. Brad Mckay is looking like a promising addition by Richie Foran and Carl Tremarco will be looking to continue the form he displayed against Celtic. Meekings and Warren continue to show they are our best central pairing and thankfully under Foran have been able to resume this partnership. I would expect the midfield for this one to line up as on Sunday. Up front, Foran finally has a bit of choice, but the jury is out on which one of the three strikers will turn out to be our number one. My money is on Alex Fisher, a hard worker who wears his heart on his sleeve, and now that he is off the mark I have high hopes he can push on and make the lone striker spot his own. A startling statistic is that Dundee have only ever beaten us once in 18 league matches from the 1st division into the SPL with their one win coming in our first ever season in the top flight, 17 games ago. They did of course win the Challenge Cup in 2009, but that doesn't count, does it?. Dundee have only picked up 3 points once this season so far, beating our neighbours in the first game of the season over the bridge. Since then they have managed 2 draws whilst losing to the Rangers and last week against Aberdeen. They are sitting in 8th but only one point ahead of us. So,Dundee come into this one without a win in their last five games. We are unbeaten in our last three after a slow start, should make for an interesting afternoon. They appear to have recruited a fair few players pre-season including James Vincent and Danny Williams from ICT. Neither are apparently setting the heather on fire with Vincent carrying on his reputation of being made of fragile stuff. It is always nice to see Nick Ross and his move to secure a regular first team place seems to have worked out for him. There was one less than encouraging comment on Danny Williams from the excellent Pie & Bovril website. When asked by an Inverness fan how he was getting on, the reply was that "he should be melted down for glue." And that was one of the more polite replies. Sounds like a sticky end for our Danny. The main ins after Vincent and Williams are defenders Kevin Gomis (Nice), Tom Hately, the former Motherwell player, (Slask Wroclaw), and Mark O'Hara (Killie). In charge of getting the goals will be Faissal el Bakhtaoui and Yordi Teijsse. They have lost some top quality however in the shape of Greg Stewart (Birmingham), striker Kane Hemmings (Oxford), Paul McGinn (Chesterfield) and Glorious Gary Harkins who could light up any stadium with his silky skills. Richie Foran looks forward to this game with a touch of poignancy. His last outing as a player was in the final game of last season in a 4-0 win over Dundee where he scored a late penalty. But he sees this as the biggest game so far despite three excellent results against top sides. He said "Those were three tough games. Those will count for nothing if we don’t win on Saturday – this is our biggest game of the season so far. It’s huge." Latest news from the City of Discovery is that Dundee will be without the suspended Kevin Gomis and Mark O'Hara. Gomis is on his second of two games out while O'Hara pays the price for a late sending off against Aberdeen last week. Meh! Old Caley Girl Prediction:- I am hopeful we can finally start to climb the league and carry on with the improvement of the last few games. The passion and togetherness seems to be back and confidence appears to be growing game by game. With that in mind, I'm going for a narrow home win with hopefully a clean sheet. Let’s hope so anyway……. High praise for Owain Fon Williams in Richie's pre-match interview................ And here is Brad. No, it's not our new Brazilian signing Brangelina, but our very own Brad Mackay.............
  9. Owain Fon Williams saves the day Inverness keeper Owain Fon Williams was the reason Inverness were still interested in the game as it approached the ninety minutes and a very late Alex Fisher header earned an unlikely draw. Tom Rogic had knocked home the opener but his strike was bettered by a fantastic goal from Billy King. Sloppy play in midfield led to Scott Sinclair going it alone to put the visitors ahead before the late action around the Celtic box saw substitute Fisher level. Ross Draper was denied a penalty and a probable sending off just before Sinclair scored when he was felled on the edge of the box by Sviatchenko, but referee Don Robertson was the only man inside the ground that saw it differently. Man of the Match Fon Williams kept the eager Celtic attack at bay, especially in the second half, and he was aided by the woodwork on at least three occasions. Richie Foran stuck to his game plan to attack when they could, although Celtic pinned Inverness back for long spells. With Celtic unable to take advantage of their superiority, Inverness delivered the sucker punch in the final minute to earn another point which will keep us off the foot of the table. Richie Foran made one change to his side from the one that drew at Pittodrie bringing Lonsana Doumbouya into the starting line-up. Brendan Rodgers went with a strong attacking X1 but without the injured Leigh Griffiths. Scott Sinclair, Moussa Dembele, Callum McGregor and Patrick Roberts all started as Celtic looked to bury the memories of Barcelona. Inverness took the game to Celtic in the opening exchanges and Iain Vigurs had a shot blocked before Brad Mckay directed a header wide, but Celtic would respond with efforts from Cristian Gamboa and Scott Sinclair missing the target. Greg Tansey also fired one well over as the game picked up pace. Tansey had another effort saved comfortably in the top corner of the goal by de Vries but Celtic would take the lead following this. Sviatchenko lofted a ball down the left and Kieran Tierney cut inside Liam Polworth before sending a probing ball into the box with the outside of his left peg. Tom Rogic was quickest to react and he got in front of the defender to knock the ball home from seven yards. Soft goal defensively, but well set up by the ever improving Tierney. Lonsana Doumbouya showed some nimble feet when he turned on the edge of the box but his left footed shot lacked power and de Vries collected again. Moments later, Inverness were level. A long ball forward from the right back area was neatly transferred to Billy King by Ross Draper. Now then, Billy had plenty to do here. He was wide left some 35 yards from goal. He cut inside Gamboa before unleashing a rocket of a shot over de Vries from around 27 yards, the keeper only succeeding in helping the ball into the opposite corner of the goal. What a stunner, he really is King Billy! Biggest talking point of the game followed soon after. Ross Draper mugged Callum McGregor on the halfway line. He burst forward to the edge of the box hotly pursued by three defenders. Sviatchenko got there first as Draper looked to protect the ball right on the edge of the box but referee Don Robertson bottled it and awarded nothing. At the very least a free kick on the line and a sending off surely. At the best a penalty and yellow card. However, Robertson saw nothing wrong. Unbelievable officiating but not surprising against the big Bhoys. That incident was sorely punished almost immediately after a blunder by Inverness' central pairing. Josh Meekings rolled a short ball to Gary Warren on the halfway line who was caught on the back foot. Scott Sinclair gathered and raced towards the Inverness goal. We were caught short with most players upfield, and as we backed off Sinclair strode forward before curling an effort from the edge of the box round Fon Williams into the net. A good finish from the Celt, but shocking defending from the hosts. Six goals in six domestic games for Sinclair. Not a bad return from the former Aston Villa player. Celtic controlled the last quarter of the half without threatening too much as we went back into our shell, content to give Celtic the ball but defending resolutely as Scott Brown, Rogic, Sviatchenko and Sinclair all fired attempts at goal without troubling Fon Williams. He would be busier in the second half. Half Time 1-2 There seemed to be more purpose about Celtic in the second half and they went for the third goal that would probably end the tie as a contest. Moussa Dembele tested Fon Williams as he spun on the edge of the box but the Welsh keeper dived to his left to deny him. That was the start of the onslaught. Tierney did brilliantly to burst into the box on the left side and he lashed a shot goalwards. Fon Williams was equal to it though and pulled off a brilliant save diving high to his left. Soon after Rogic and Dembele combined to set up McGregor and his shot from eighteen yards was tipped onto the crossbar by the keeper for a hat-trick of brilliant saves. He wasn't finished yet though. The game had now become shooting practice for Celtic and last ditch defensive tackling for Inverness. But one man stood defiant; Owain Fon Williams was simply superb. He would be helped out by the woodwork on another two occasions. Fon Williams pushed away a curling shot from Sinclair as the pressure mounted and it was from that corner that Sviatchenko fluffed his lines. He might have done better with a close range header that bounced off the outside of the post as our back line miraculously kept them out. McGregor almost danced his way onto the scoresheet, but for another magnificent save from Fon Williams. McGregor waltzed through the heart of the defence and when the ball held up slightly, he tried to chip the keeper, but Fon Williams acrobatically clawed the ball away from danger. It was woodwork to the rescue as Tierney had another thunderous shot from the left side smack off the bar. It really was backs to the wall stuff as Celtic piled on the pressure looking to exorcise the ghost of Barcelona. But Messi had morphed into Nessy and there was one more twist in this tale. With one minute left of normal time, Inverness made one final effort and an Aaron Doran shot was deflected wide for a corner. From that corner substitute Alex Fisher made a nuisance of himself in the box as he tried to slide the loose ball towards the goal. The ball was blocked and it spun out wide to Tansey who swung over an inviting cross. Fisher was back up on his feet again and he rose high to glance a header downwards and behind de Vries for an astonishing end to a quite astonishing game. Absolute pandemonium after the goal and delight all round as three minutes of added time came and went, but not before Fon Williams fittingly plucked another ball out of the air. He had been superb all afternoon and won't have a finer game. Full Time 2-2 As they say, a one goal lead is a precarious one and Celtic paid the price for not getting the cushion a third goal would have offered. Celtic may count themselves unfortunate and on another day might have score six goals. But this was not another day, it was Owain Fon Williams' day and he defied belief with an exceptional display of quality goalkeeping. Of course, it might have been oh so different had Don Robertson awarded a penalty or free kick or a sending off. The new rules indicate it could have been a penalty and a possible yellow, but that is the subject of much debate now. Not difficult to pick out MotM. Owain Fon Williams take a bow. Immense display from him with at least half a dozen inspired saves. He got tremendous help from an overworked defence with Carl Tremarco once again defying the odds. The woodwork surely deserves a mention too, heroic stuff. Billy King will struggle to score a better goal in his life. Credit to Richie Foran who showed belief in his players to go for attacking options and what a great way to repay the managers faith by nodding in the leveler in the final minute. Celtic did not do too much wrong here apart from not putting the ball in the net often enough. In Kieran Tierney, they have a tremendous player and the Celtic front line will score plenty throughout the season. When they go forward at pace it's a wonderful footballing sight, but look what can be achieved with hard work and belief. That's three unbeaten for Inverness and off the foot of the table. Plenty to look forward to now and Dundee come North next weekend. Bring it on. Delighted for Richie and the whole team who showed an attitude that was instilled in Foran the footballer. Video from SPFL website Date: 18/09/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium, Inverness Attendance: 6061 Referee: Don Robertson Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Fon Williams; McKay, Meekings, Warren, Tremarco, Tansey, Vigurs (Doran, 59), Polworth (Mulraney, 68), Draper, King, Doumbouya (Fisher, 81). Subs (not used): Mackay, Raven, Boden, Cole. Scorers: King (28), Fisher (89) Booked: Vigurs (41), Tremarco(66) Sent Off: none Celtic: 2 Lineup: De Vries; Gamboa (Simunovic, 68), Lustig, Sviatchenko, Tierney, Brown, McGregor, Roberts (Forrest, 75), Rogic (Armstrong, 85), Sinclair, Dembele. Subs (not used): Gordon, Izaguirre, Christie, Bitton. Scorers: Rogic (17), Sinclair (34) Booked: Brown (26), Sviatchenko(90) Sent Off: none
  10. From Messi to Nessy It's a big ask this weekend early in his managerial career, but Brendan Rodgers takes his domestically all conquering Bhoys North to face Richie's rookies at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium in a 3:00pm kick off on Sunday. Celtic are going from Messi to Nessy in the space of five days. They will find it easier in Nessy. It took Lionel just three minutes to breach the Celtic defence in Barcelona. He did it again before the half hour was up and had a hat-trick before the hour. Could it be that Celtic struggle against teams in red and blue stripes? We're no Barcelona but stranger things happen at sea. Celtic have been in great form in the domestic League and topped it off by trouncing the Rangers 5-1 last week before heading to Barcelona in the Champions league. Fifteen goals in four games is testament to their attacking intent and new striker Moussa Dembele looks like a class act. So, who are the people that have transformed Celtic? For a start, they have replaced the much maligned Ronnie Deila and John Collins with the well respected Brendan Rodgers and Chris Davies. Their player signings are a who's who in the wish lists of most football clubs outside the English Premiership. Scott Sinclair is an attacking wide midfielder and already has five goals. Moussa Dembele has just scored a hat-trick coming in from Fulham and seven goals in total. When you add these to Scotlands star striker Leigh Griffiths (7 goals) and wide player Patrick Roberts, it's not difficult to see why Celtic are banging in the goals. Defensively, Kolo Toure joins from Liverpool, Christian Gamboa from West Brom, keeper Dorus de Vries to challenge Scotland International Craig Gordon and midfielder Kristoffer Ajer to the engine room. The Brendan Rodgers clear out was ruthless and swift. The main departures were Scotland full back Charlie Mulgrew, Athony Stokes, Mr clumsy-Colin Kazim-Richards, Stefan Scepovic, Scott Allan and Carlton Cole There is a raft of others who are littered across the Scottish lower leagues, enough to make a couple of teams to be honest, but Rodgers looks to have built a squad based on quality rather that quantity which was enough to see Celtic lift the title last season, but not with the panache their fans wanted to see. Richie has had a steep learning curve in the Premiership games hitting rock bottom after three before clambering off the foot of the table with a hard earned draw at Pittodrie, following on from a gritty home win over St Johnstone. The signs are encouraging after a poor start to the campaign and it's good to see we are moving in the right direction. We will need to be at our best on Sunday and it's a tremendous boost how the team have bounced back since the 5-1 thrashing at Tynecastle. That was Josh Meekings' first game back from injury and he and Gary Warren are beginning to return to the solid partnership they forged previously. Owain Fon Williams has got rid of his Euro holiday hangover and looks more focussed and young Brad Mckay had a decent debut in a baptism of fire at Pittodrie and with Carl Tremarco claiming the left back slot our back line is taking shape nicely. The midfield should be a match for most teams and Ross Draper has never looked sharper. Luxury player Iain Vigurs showed just why he is in the team with a superb goal at Aberdeen, but can we afford his laid back style with a bit of cynicism thrown in? We were wasteful in the final third and I'm sure Richie Foran will be working on that this week. We have wide players with pace now with Aaron Doran gaining more match time and in Lonsana Doumbouya we have a powerful front man when Alex Fisher runs himself to a standstill. Aye, it's a difficult job being the Invermess target man. Despite Celtic going down in Spain, the gulf in class between Celtic and Barcelona is as big as the gap between Celtic and the rest of the clubs in Scotland. That's how difficult this task is for Inverness. The pace of Moussa Dembele and Scott Sinclair is a worry for our back line, although Dembele's penalty kick routine is suspect. Our best hope is that one or two players are rested and Leigh Griffiths is still injured. However, their depth of squad is such that it won't make too much difference who plays. We lost all three games against Celtic last season conceding twelve goals in those games while scoring only two. Apart from the Cup semi-final win, our last win over Celtic in the Highlands came in August 2014 when we won 1-0 thanks to an Eoghan O'Connell own goal. Celtic had made 10 changes from the side that played NK Maribor in midweek and paid the price. I wonder if they will be so lenient this time after the thrashing at Barcelona. Richie Foran has no fresh injury worries and will have an almost full squad to pick from apart from Ryan Esson who is out with an elbow injury. I would expect a similar side to the one that performed well at Pittodrie. Brendan Rodgers is not expected to make any drastic changes despite the sides thrashing in Barcelona. However, Leigh Griffiths is still out injured. tm4tj Prediction:- I can't see us taking much from this game and damage limitation could be the way forward. Celtic's pace going forward is frightening but they are suspect at the back. In saying that, you have to get into those areas to be able to hurt them and that's not our strong point at the moment. Difficult to see anything other than a convincing win for Celtic but there's always the chance of a Champions League hangover. A draw would be seen as a success and that will be enough to drive us forward. I feel we might fall just short on this occasion, but the experience will stand us in good stead for games against teams of a similar calibre.
  11. The Season has started Inverness beat St Johnstone 2-1 with a Josh Meekings goal in time added on to kill off a stubborn Perth outfit. It might not have been the best strike Meekings has ever hit, but the important thing here is that the ball ended up in the net and we have finally got our season off and running. With challenging games ahead after the international break, this was a vital win to lift the fans, players and Richie Foran alike. Ross Draper rose highest in the box to crash a header home, but that goal was cancelled out by a thunderous strike from Richard Foster before the scrambulated (there's that word again) winner after the ninety. Manager Richie Foran promised a couple of changes and he was bold enough to do just that. Dropping to the bench were Scott Boden, Jake Mulraney and David Raven. In came Alex Fisher, Billy King and Lewis Horner. New signing Lonsana Doumbouya was on the bench also and he would make his debut late in the game. Tommy Wright had Murray Davidson on the bench, but he would replace Blair Alston at the interval and the dangerous Danny Swanson was looking for his eigth goal of the season playing wide left. A typically meagre crowd for what has been historically dour affairs saw St Johnstone kick off on a bright and pleasant day for a game of football, the crowd bolstered by Paul Gablonski all the way from down under and wee Ava hoping to see Inverness beat St Johnstone this time. Staright from the kick off, you could sense that this was going to be be an open game played with pace and a bit of freneticism thrown in. And it was as we took the game to the visitors from the off. Alan Mannus made the first of many saves from a Gary Warren header as we pressed for an opener, and Danny Swanson was drifting past defenders at the other end, creating havoc along our back line but missing the vital telling cross that would create the chances. The heavily criticised Owain Fon Williams had to look spritely to stop a Steven Anderson header as the Super J's began to get to grips with the game and as play opened out Liam Polworth went close with a shot from outside the box, unfortunately the ball always just the wrong side of the post. Mannus saved headers from Ross Draper and Alex Fisher in quick succession as we continued to take the game to St Johnstone, but Chris Kane fired over at the other end with the goal gaping. Iain Vigurs, Billy King and Alex Fisher all went close with Mannus required to save two of the three attempts as the game raced towards the interval, but try as they might, Inverness were unable to get the ball behind Mannus who was largely responsible for the 0-0 scoreline at the break. Half Time 0-0 The chances kept coming after the break and Fisher fired over from the angle. A goal was coming as we kept pressing forward and a cracker it was too, just before the hour. Billy King drew a foul and a booking from David Wotherspoon and from the resultant free kick, Ross Draper wanted the ball most and he powered a header beyond Mannus for the opening goal. No more than we deserved really. St Johnstone forays forward were becoming rarer, but in one such attack, Murray Davidson headed wide from a decent position. A warning that the visitors were still very much in the game. St Johnstone sub Graham Cummins was seeing plenty of the ball now as the visitors sensed they might snatch an unlikely draw. He had fired a free kick just over then Williams had to save a header from him. Wright's men were given some hope though when out of the blue, Foster bludgeoned a shot home with the keeper well beaten with over ten minutes remaining. That goal sparked Foran into action and soon after Lonsana Doumbouya entered the scene. He is slightly ungamely, but looks like he will cause problems with his height and power. Boden and Mulraney joined him on the park soon after as Richie layed all his cards on the table, going for all three points. Boden brought Mannus into action again and MotM Ross Draper shot narrowly past before testing Mannus with a header. That looked to be it as the clock reached the ninety, but a minute into time added on, Josh Meekings jabbed the ball home after a scrambulation on the goal line when it looked as though the bobbling ball would not fall kindly for us, but persistence paid off and it eventually found the back of the net from Meekings' toe. Mulraney almost added a third as he broke forward with Saints trying to salvage a point, but he sliced his shot at pace as he drove into the box and it went high, wide and not very handsomely into the North Stand. Full Time 2-1 A highly entertaining game with both sides giving it a go. You could see what it meant to the players as they broke their duck. Massive celebrations in the corner of the stadium after the goal and relief all round. Richie Foran was delighted to get off the mark as you can see with his match reaction here, talking to Davie, who is showing a tremendous appetite for this interviewing lark. Lewis Horner did brilliantly coming in at right back and shows plenty of promise when going forward. Fon Williams looked much more assured as his Euro holiday fades into the past. The whole back line worked tirelessly and did a great job of eventually shackling Danny Swanson. Greg Tansey looks as though he is still holding something in reserve and Vigurs and Polworth were good in flashes. Striking has been a problem area but I thought Alex Fisher led the line well and all the substitutes played their part when they came on. But for sheer industry and his goal, Ross Draper was head and shoulders above everyone else and is my MotM. So, international break coming up, then away to the Dons and home to Celtic after that. Tough games ahead, but nobody said it was going to be easy. However, a weight was lifted off the shoulders yesterday and it should set us up nicely for the rest of the season. Foran is still trying to add a couple of players and that should be good enough to see us start to climb the table. Onwards and upwards! Here's Davie talking to match winner Josh Meekings after his screamer....... Footage of game from SPFL website -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Inverness CT - 2 - Draper (59) Meekings (90 + 1) Fon Williams, Tremarco, Warren, Meekings, Polworth, Draper, Vigurs (Boden 84), Tansey, Horner, Fisher (Doumbouya 82), King (Mulraney 85). Subs not used: Esson, Raven, Doran, Sutherland. Booked: Draper (67) St Johnstone: - 1 - Foster (79) Mannus, Alston (Davidson 46), Anderson, MacLean, Wotherspoon, Swanson, Shaughnessy, Paton (Craig 67), Foster, Easton, Kane (Cummins 63). Subs not used: Clark, Millar, Coulson, Gordon. Booked: Wotherspoon (58) Referee: Stephen Finnie. Attendance: 2729.
  12. Time to stand up and be counted Inverness face St Johnstone this Saturday as they look to avoid a fifth straight defeat, but this could prove difficult as it comes hot on the heels of a 5-1 thrashing at Tynecastle, not to mention a derby disaster, a dumping out of the League cup by League One Alloa and an opening day loss at Partick. Aye Richie, nobody said it was going to be easy, but the fans are finding it difficult to understand how this season has become a struggle already as we are in danger of being cut adrift at the foot of the table only three games in. With St Johnstone, Aberdeen and Celtic to come, it could get worse before it gets better. We have already lost the services of Kevin McNaughton, probably out for the season with an Achilles injury as we find it difficult to keep the ball out of our net. Josh Meekings returned at Tynecastle, but he will need game time to get back to full match sharpness and he must have wondered what has happened as we shipped goals like nobody's business. David Raven was retained at the end of last season, despite Yogi trying his best to move him on. Has fan-power overruled shrewd judgement here as Rave has not coped well since his reinstatement. Mind you, he is not alone as the normally reliable Gary Warren has looked vulnerable, posted missing, presumably trying to cover for missing defenders easily pulled out of position. Carl Tremarco showed what he could do towards the end of last season, but we have yet to see the best of him in this campaign. Was it wrong to let Danny Devine leave without trying too hard to tempt him to stay? Our midfield has not changed that much, but our one paced engine room are simply going through the motions. Tansey, Polworth, Vigurs and the exempt from criticism Ross Draper. These guys should be a match for any team outside the top two or three, but already look jaded. The addition of exciting prospect Jake Mulraney should be providing the width we have been screaming for over the last couple of seasons and Billy King and the returning Aaron Doran should compliment that. Striking looks to be our weakest area with the jury still out on Scott Boden and Alex Fisher, but that does not explain the fact that we have conceded eight goals in our last two games. To the untrained eye it would appear that not much has changed apart from the results, and the manager! Foran has taken on this job much to the delight and backing of most of the Caley Thistle support, however, has our hearts ruled our heads here. A Premiership club taking on an untried manager with no previous experience anywhere and apart from a four year deal, little monetary backing from the board as of now. It does smack of the cheap option. Maybe we are still paying for Yogi? When has a new manager not taken in his own second in command, yet Richie has to make do with a used product in Brian Rice; seconds anyone? Can we not afford to pay him off either? It all smacks of a sorry mess with Richie trying to paper over the cracks. Maybe the writing was on the wall when Laura was released from the ticket office in what looks like a penny pinching exercise. Why else would you remove your highest achiever? Anyway, our immediate concern is on the park, and points are proving more difficult to find than those pokemon gadgies. St Johnstone are surely confident of coming North and taking the points given our recent demise. We have found it difficult enough to beat them in recent times and seven points went to Perth Last season with only one solitary point going to the Highland Capital. I always feel we should be able to match the Perth outfit on and off the park, but we are finding that difficult on both counts at the moment. Tommy Wright is as decent a manager as there is in the Premiership, guiding St Johnstone to fourth over the last two seasons whilst we finished in with the also rans last term. They have added full back Richard Foster from Ross County and defender Keith Watson from St Mirren. Midfielders Paul Paton from Dundee United and Blair Alston from Falkirk look to be their key signings and will add plenty of class and a bit of dig. Amongst their departures are the experienced striker John Sutton and midfielders Simon Lappin and Scott Brown. Like Foran, Wright is still searching for Mr Right up front before the transfer window closes. The Perth team won two of the three games last season in what are usually pretty dour encounters, notoriously bereft of goalmouth incidents. I'm painting a pretty bleak picture here, unfortunately that's how it is and the fans are getting frustrated over our dismal start to the league after a reasonable League Cup run that ended with an at that time unexpected defeat to Alloa Athletic. We were absolutely thrashed at Tynecastle last week with Hearts scoring five going on fifteen. That was preceded by a dismal derby defeat at home. Eight gifts goals in two games smacks of heads going down. St Johnstone were capitulating against Celtic, but did score a couple of late goals in the second half, so they still have some fight in them, something we need to display. Can we expect to see an upturn in our fortunes? Well, I was excited at the prospect of our campaign given the goals we racked up prior to matchday one. However, the wind has been taken right out of our sails and we are well and truly in the doldrums now. Strangely though, if we can make the breakthrough and cut out the comedy defending, we might see our first point on the board. Billy King will be available again after having to sit out the Hearts game (parent club ruling) and Aaron Doran is working his way back into contention. Jake Mulraney has declared himself injury free after being taken off at Tynecasle with cramp, but Kev McNaughton is out long term. Owain Fon Williams could do worse than sit on the bench with maybe the experienced Ryan Esson due a recall to cut out some of these free headers we have been subject to. I also wonder if it's time for Lewis Horner to step up to the plate. That might horrify some, but it could be the lesser of two evils. Hopefully Gary Warren will get his mojo back with Josh Meekings likely to be alongside him. Now then, it's time for our midfield to stand up and be counted before we get any worse or they might find themselves on the dole bench as well. We had Farid El Alagui on trial over the last couple of weeks but although he showed up well in friendlies he has not been signed. Another pair of trialists turned out for our development squad in midweek and they are reported to be Gavin Gunning (yes, he of the picking up the ball and walking off the park fame), and Spanish third tier striker Jamar Loza who has been declined a contract. With Kevin McNaughton out for the season, we do need another centre back, but come on, Gavin Gunning! On a positive note, forward, Lonsana Doumbouya (26) joins Inverness from Belgian second division club Cercle Brugge on a 2 year deal (subject to clearance). Lonsana is a big lad at over 6 foot 3 inches and sounds like he could be an ideal target man. Richie Foran reckons he will add pace and power to our front line, something that has been lacking of late. Good luck to him and I hope he is the answer to our striking problems. Foran is hopeful he can be included in the squad for the game tomorrow. Here he is talking about signing for the Caley Jags. Managers advice: It will be worth keeping an eye on Steve MacLean and Danny Swanson. MacLean has hit the target five times and in form Swanson has seven goals to his name. You have been warned. St Johnstone's Tam Scobbie, Dave Mackay and Keith Watson all miss out through injury, however, Chris Millar and Michael Coulson could return after both failed to feature at Parkhead last week. Interesting times ahead. Defeat against St Johnstone is not really an option and it's now time for Foran the friend to be be binned and Foran the manager to enter the scene. I'm going for a home win. Yes, I may be going off my head, but we have to start sooner rather than later, so let's do this on Saturday, for everyone's sake. I'm just not sure where the goals are going to come from though.
  13. Highland Derby Day Second League game of the season and it's derby day already with Ross County making the short trip over the Kessock Bridge to face Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Close Both sides have made a poor start to the League on matchday one taking zero points and both sides exited the Betfred League Cup. I'm not sure who made the biggest hash of that, County failing to get out of their group stage or Inverness failing to beat Alloa, the side that also topped County's group. It's early days yet in the Foran revolution, but the last two results have taken the shine off the free scoring results of the previous fortnight. Instead, we reverted to type and have created little in our last two games for the fans to enthuse over. Our normally reliable defence has shown some frailties and we have conceded a couple of avoidable goals. Josh Meekings has still to make an appearance and should help to toughen up the back four, with maybe the reprieved David Raven the one who will make way when Meekings proves his fitness. Midfield has been discussed in depth with Ross Draper only making the bench in our last couple of games, presumably carrying a slight knock. Jake Mulraney has been closely watched as word got out about his pace and trickery, so much so that he has been ineffective in the last two. Our common concern is still regarding our lack of striking quality, with both Scott Boden and Alex Fisher having a go, but neither setting the heather on fire. However, it was good to see Aaron Doran emerging from his injury nightmare and getting back on the park against Alloa as a late substitution. County have lost the services of the hard driving midfielder Jackson Irvine who is off to Burton Albion. Another midfielder Rocco Quinn has gone to Paisley and Stewart Murdoch has joined Dundee United. In come defenders Jay McEveley from Sheffield United, Kenny van der Weg from Breda and Erik Cikos of Slovan Bratislava, Goalkeeper Aaron McCarey replaces the departed Gary Woods. So, Jim McIntyre has prioritised in defence, but has not yet replaced the huge midfield gap left by the loss of Irvine and Co. We have held the upper hand in the derby, winning all three last season although County did take advantage of our injury crisis and put us out of the League Cup. It is too early to gauge how either side will perform, but on the basis of their exploits so far, it's not looking too promising for either set of fans. The Staggies look to be setting their stall out to defend in numbers, but do we have the guile to break them down. I hope Mulraney will be given a free role on the wide pitch and Billy King can operate effectively on the other flank. Ross Draper is a must for these games, if nothing else he annoys the County fans. Making a prediction is difficult just one game into the season, so I will sit on the fence and go for a share of the points whilst hoping we can root County to the bottom of the table. ***Note Reminder : Home fans needing to purchase tickets tomorrow should do so from the Ticket Office BEFORE going to the turnstiles. @RCFCStaggies Matchday Tickets : Cash sales at the South Stand Kiosk, Card Sales at the Main Ticket Office. 7 hours ago
  14. Magnificent Seven Inverness routed luckless Arbroath 7-0 with a superb attacking display that had the home fans licking their lips in anticipation ahead of the start of the Premiership next weekend. The first was a howler from Smokies keeper Robbie Mutch as a trickler from Billy King squirmed through his hands and his open legs into the net. Scott Boden (2) and Carl Tremarco made it 4-0 at the break. Further goals from Iain Vigurs, Boden and Tremarco again completed the scoring. He never got on the scoresheet, but Jake Mulraney gave the Lichties defence a torrid time of it all afternoon and they were grateful when he went off after 73 minutes. Smokies Burnt A decent day for a game of football and the pitch was in pristine condition as the Fun Day gave way to the Betfred League Cup game with the Red Lichties the opposition. Aaron Doran was on the bench but Owain Fon Williams returned from his Euro vacation to get between the sticks. We were set up to have a go with Billy King on the left and Jake Mulraney on the right. Ross Draper was left on the bench with Tansey and Polworth doing the donkey work. Arbroath had former Inverness player Bryan Prunty starting up front, but given their list of missing players, there was only going to be one outcome. It took only ten minutes for the hosts to open the scoring although visiting keeper Robbie Mutch won't want to see that one again. Billy King looked to have spoiled a brilliant move down the left as he shot rather tamely at the goal. In golfing terms, he topped it. However as Mutch crouched down to scoop the ball up it went under him and trickled into the net. Disaster for the Smokies, maybe the scuffed shot confusing the issue, pleasing for the Caley Jags. Goal machine Carl Tremarco (yes you read it right) incredibly missed an open goal but Scott Boden scored a beauty as he drilled a shot wide of the keeper eight minutes after the opener from an incisive through ball from Tansey as Inverness built a head of steam. Arbroath were being put to the sword I'm afraid, and that was before someone switched on Jake Mulraney. This boy is electric, like a younger and quicker Cristiano Ronaldo. He will terrify defences this season with his pace and ball juggling skills. Iain Vigurs rattled the bar with a header from a King cross as the one sided contest raged on and it was no surprise when Boden scored a third, heading home from close range after a Tremarco cross was headed off the post by King before landing on the strikers napper. Tremarco would not be denied though and he got on the end of a Raven cross to score the fourth a few minutes before the break. Four up and Arbroath could have no complaints as King and Mulraney were causing havoc on the flanks. Half Time 4-0 The second half was only two minutes old when Iain Vigurs banged in the fifth from six yards. A tremendous ball from Polworth set Mulraney on his way and he picked out Vigurs who cracked the ball high into the net. For a moment, it looked as though he might have clipped it too high, but it hit the roof of the net for number five. That goal sparked the Smokies best spell of the game as they had a minor resurgence. Tremarco went back to his defensive duties when he hooked a Steven Dorris flick off the line when the striker should probably have scored and Fon Williams kept out a snapshot from Bobby Linn to keep his goal intact. After seventy-one minutes normal service was resumed and Scott Boden rounded off his day with a hat-trick, curling in after Vigurs slipped him through as the visitors ran out of power. Left back come striker Carl Tremarco ended the scoring late on after Gary Warren went on a mazy run, oooh. He picked the ball up around halfway, and waltzed past three defenders. He had obviously been watching Jake closely as he sped forward before teeing up Tremarco to bundle home number seven. Full Time 7-0 As comprehensive a result as you could ask for. Nobody is getting carried away after this given the difference in class of the opposition, but Jake Mulraney is going to set the Premiership alight if he keeps up this form. The guy is just awesome and well worth the entrance fee alone. He was my MotM despite tremendous displays from Boden, Tremarco, King, well everybody really. We will have tougher games ahead, but the Foran revolution is taking shape nicely and it was like going back in time to the Pele era as we went for the jugular. Seven goals going on a dozen. Tough luck on Arbroath who will have better days I'm sure, but we had a job to do and did it in style. The season begins in earnest next week as we head to Firhill to take on Partick Thistle. They won't know what hit them if we continue in this form with Mulraney the man for the job. Date: 23/07/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1316 Referee: Greg Aitken Inverness CT: 7 Lineup: Fon Williams, Raven, Tremarco, McNaughton (Brown 62), Warren Polworth, Vigurs, Mulraney (Fisher 73), Tansey, Boden, King (Draper 56) Subs (not used): Mckay, Doran, Horner, Sutherland Scorers: King (10), Boden (18, 25, 71), Tremarco (37, 88), Vigurs (47) Booked: none Sent Off: none Arbroath: 0 Lineup: Mutch, Thomson (Dunlop 46), Whatley, Hamilton, Phillips, Kader, Gold, Callaghan, Linn, Doris, Prunty (Hester 78) Subs (not used): Gomes Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none
  15. "We're top of the league and you're no" After a mere 4 months of residency in Dingwall, the Scottish League Cup became homeless on Tuesday night – minutes after Inverness CT convincingly beat Dunfermline to top Group C. The 5-1 score line at East End Park has put us in pole position to win the group, thanks to a +5 goal difference which we share with Dundee United who arguably have the tougher remaining fixture. Ross P has been looking at the revamped League Cup in more detail ahead of the visit of Arbroath. Before looking in detail at Saturday’s opponents, it is worthwhile refreshing the memory at the structure of this new tournament and address our chances of progression. The new format of the competition has 12 teams progress from the group stages, to join the 4 teams who are participating in or have been already been knocked out of European competition. The top 4 performing group winners become seeds in the last 16 with these European participants. The other 4 group winners are joined by the 4 best performing second placed teams. Up to speed so far? As mentioned, ICT need to win by a greater GD than any Dundee Utd win v Dunfermline to secure top spot in the group. What's also important to consider is GD will likely decide who finishes as one of the top 4 group winners and be seeded in the next round: Group B - St Johnstone 7 points, GD +5 Game to play = St Johnstone v Stirling Albion Group D - Alloa 9 points, GD +7 Game to play = Raith Rovers v Alloa Group D - Raith Rovers 8 points, GD +2 Game to play = Raith Rovers v Alloa Group E - Partick Thistle 9 points, GD +5 Game to play = Partick Thistle v Queen's Park Group H - Morton 8 points, GD +3 Game to play = Morton v Berwick Rangers have secured one of the top 4 already, leaving 3 up for grabs. In order for ICT to qualify as a seed they may have to outscore any St Johnstone win v Stirling AND hope that one of Morton or Partick Thistle mess up (assuming one of Alloa v Raith are also mathematically likely to qualify). All in all, the odds are against us. With this in mind, will Richie change the formation/style further to ensure we win by a large margin? Two (our only two) strikers starting perhaps? Will Jake Mulraney, so impressive against Dunfermline, have recovered from the kicking he has received in each game he’s played so far, in order to start? Will Owain Fon Williams start ahead of Cammy Mackay to give him at least 90 minutes of match action ahead of the first league game of the season? I think it will be a yes to each of these questions, as we have to go for the jugular against our League Two opponents to give us the best opportunity to qualify from the group as a seed. Inverness have enjoyed a very positive record against the Smokies, winning over two thirds of the fixtures played since first meeting in 1995. The most recent match was a 7-1 rout in an away pre-season friendly in 2013/14. Billy Mckay scored 5 that day, with current squad members Josh Meekings and Liam Polworth also netting. Other players of note taking to the field included David Raven, Gary Warren, Richie Foran, Aaron Doran, Carl Tremarco and Cammy Mackay… in addition to former striker Graham Bayne turning out for our opposition. Arbroath are missing quite a few of their more experienced starters due to suspension (Little, McCord and ex County player Jimmy Scott), with rumours online suggesting they may be missing up to 8 first team players in total. The three suspended players are an important part of the spine of the team, which will be significantly weakened through their absence. In an effort to strengthen the team ahead of Saturday Arbroath are attempting to bring in an unnamed defender on loan from Championship team Dundee United. Should no-one be signed in time Arbroath will be going into the match with a team short in height and experience, against an Inverness team who enjoy a myriad of tall, experienced players in comparison. Opposition players to look out for include former Inverness CT player Bryan Prunty who once scored for us in a 1-1 draw v. Rangers at Ibrox and fellow striker Steven Doris, who despite failing to score regularly at all his other clubs, went on trial at English Championship side Birmingham City in 2013. Late news from the Inverness camp is that Aaron Doran is very close to a return to action and could be considered for some game time against the Smokies. It would be fantastic to have Aaron back on the park, another option for Richie Foran to have with King and Mulraney already showing their worth in the wide areas. RossP prediction - The need is great for a win by a considerable margin. That, partnered with Arbroath's lower league status and missing personnel leads to significant confidence in a comfortable Inverness CT win. I predict a 4-0 victory, which should be enough to top the group. And our Welsh International Keeper has returned from the Euros...................
  16. United Win Bonus Inverness drew 1-1 with Dundee United in Richie Foran's first competitive home game in the Betfred League Cup group stages. United went on to claim the bonus point scoring all four of their taken penalties with only Carl Tremarco scoring for ICT Inverness held the upper hand in the first half without over extending the United defence. Scott Boden headed home the opener ten minutes before the break. United responded well after the interval and scored a superb equaliser through Stewart Murdoch. Simon Murray should have won the tie for the Arabs but placed a shot the wrong side of the post. Late flurries from the hosts brought out a couple of good stops from Cammy Bell but it ended all square after ninety minutes. Old Caley Girl has this excellent report for us. So we start afresh after the summer break with lots of changes. 1st home game in charge for new gaffer Richie Foran. 1st home game in the revamped Betfred League Cup and 1st home game with new turnstile arrangements in operation. Several home players making their home debut including Kevin McNaughton and Billy King. Scottish football fans quite often express a liking for summer football however, attendances in this cup are maybe are not backing up this talk. A disappointing attendance for a 3pm kick off against arguably the top tie in group C. This also may be the only chance ICT fans will have to see Dundee United this season following their relegation to the championship before the summer. It was a new look United side with Willo Flood back on board and Cammy Bell between the sticks. For ICT it was a home debut for young keeper Cammy Mackay and a chance for the home fans to see the new signings including striker Scott Boden. Most of the ICT faithful are hopeful of seeing more attacking football under Foran and they weren’t disappointed with the attacking style of play on display. However, although dominating possession in the first half, it took until the 35th minute to break the deadlock. A Tremarco throw in was flicked on by Warren to the head of Boden and straight into the net. Cammy Mackay was rarely threatened at the other end in this half with the defence standing firm. Toshney hitting the bar was perhaps their best opportunity although a flag had gone up prior to this. Half Time 1-0 This was to change in under a minute following the resumption of the second half. Caley Thistle were caught cold when Murray found Spittal following a run on the right where Warren was skinned. The ball was cut back quickly to Murdoch who gave Mackay absolutely no chance from twenty yards. We huffed and puffed for a while but eventually regained the bulk of possession. The home debut for Jake Mulraney half way through the second half gave United problems with foul after foul being committed to try to stop him. Richie Foran is sure he will soon become a fans favourite and his fast pacey football makes him one to watch. Unfortunately little protection was coming his way from ref Euan Anderson and I would imagine he knows he was in a game with bruises to prove it. Both teams had chances to win this with Simon Murray chipping wide when it looked easier to score, and our best effort being perhaps a free kick from Tansey that was well saved by Bell who also saved Polworth's shot from the rebound. Full Time 1-1 A point apiece then at full time but in another first, a penalty shoot-out was held with the lure of a further point on the board for the winners. Obadeyi stepped up first sending Mackay the wrong way with a left handed shot into the net. Tremarco dispatched his penalty for ICT then Donaldson for United in a carbon copy of their first. Next up was Tansey who unexpectedly saw his effort saved by Bell. Murdoch dispatched his efficiently leaving Ross Draper to try and save the day. Unfortunately his right footed effort to the left hand corner was poor and saved easily by Cammy Bell. All that means is that United get an extra point in this group stages. Early days then for our rookie manager but he will, I’m sure, be disappointed we didn’t manage to secure all 3 points within the 90 minutes. This now leaves us with no room for any further slip ups if we have any ambitions to progress in the competition. Steak Bridies await Caleyaway on Tuesday at East End Park and nothing less than a win will do. OCG MotM:- goes to Kevin McNaughton with an impressive home debut with honourable mention going to Cammy Mackay for whom a great future hopefully awaits. All videos can be seen at Date: 23/07/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1839 Referee: Euan Anderson Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Mackay, Raven, Warren, McNaughton, Tremarco, Polworth, Draper, Tansey, King, Vigurs (Mulraney 58), Boden (Fisher 84) Subs (not used): Fon Williams, Horner, Brown, Sutherland Scorers: Boden (35) Booked: Draper (37) Sent Off: none Dundee Utd: 1 Lineup: Bell, Toshney, Donaldson, Durnan, Dixon (Dillon 46), Spittal (Obadeyi 66), Flood, Murdoch, Van der Velden (Anier 78), Smith, Murray Subs (not used): Zwick, Fraser, Telfer, Soutar Scorers: Murdoch (46) Booked: Van der Velden (48), Durnan (79), Obadeyi (81) Sent Off: none PENALTIES DUFC:Obadeyi - scored ICT:Tremarco - scored DUFC:Donaldson - scored ICT:Tansey - saved DUFC:Murdoch - scored ICT:Draper - saved DUFC:Murray - scored DUFC win 4-1 on pens and gain 1 additional point
  17. Richie's Revolution It’s been a week since Richie’s revolution kicked off against Cowdenbeath, Well now it is time for his managerial home debut. With the league campaign still a few weeks away these games will help get the team physically ready but in a competitive nature as we aim to progress in the newly revamped League Cup. If last week was easing Foran into it, this game will likely be the hardest test in the group stages, Dundee United may now be a championship club but their relegation may make them more dangerous than the team that finished miserably bottom of the premiership. The likelihood is that the squad will be added to before the team take to the pitch against Partick but things are shaping up quite nicely. As expected a number of the deadwood that John Hughes brought in with his ‘larger than normal budget’ have been released and Foran is looking to return the good times by making some exciting signings. Scott Boden has come in to add competition up front but the signings of former QPR trainee Jake Mulraney and on loan Hearts winger Billy King give an idea of what we are likely to see this season. Last season was frustrating with lots of slow passing making it a largely boring spectacle with many draws and low scoring matches. The fact Foran wants a return to quick tricky wingers and getting the ball in the box as much as possible indicates he wants to return to the DNA that made us so successful just over a year ago. The signing of Kevin McNaughton could prove a masterstroke as the new gaffer looks to add some steely experience to a back line that failed to hold out on a number of occasions last season. It was more about job done than winning in style at Central Park last week but the narrow 2-1 win could have been more handsome had the woodwork not intervened on a few occasions. As for our opponents, it has been a summer of reflection and rebuilding after the Terrors went from finishing 4th to being rock bottom and relegated a year later. Jackie McNamara did a decent job during his tenure but a poor start to last season saw him replaced by Mixu Paatelainen. However, the bounce that was expected with the change of manager never came and they plummeted down into the championship with a whimper. Ray Mckinnon has now come in to stabilise the ship and return them back to the big time at the first time of asking. United’s last trip up north saw them pick up a fully deserved 3-2 victory but Richie will not allow such a limp performance this time. They made an unconvincing start by conceding a late goal against Arbroath to only gain a point although they picked up a bonus point by winning the new penalty shoot-out system. But they followed that up by smashing our first opponents 6-1 at Tannadice to put them top of the group as they head north. This game will be a challenge. There is no doubt about that and it will be a good work out for ICT as they step up preparations for the new premiership season. GJ Predictions – Won’t be an easy game and as the top seeds the pressure is on with only the group winners guaranteed to progress to the last 16. Dundee United will see this as a fresh start as they look to get over their nightmare, and that mentality will make them dangerous but I am looking us for Richie to get us off the mark in front of the home faithful at the TCS. There is a good feeling around Caley Thistle at the moment and I fully expect Richie to give us the best possible start and the home fans to give him and the team the best possible backing. Home win. Preview by Ginger Jaggy Fans should note that the club will not be operating cash turnstiles this coming season. For HOME fans, tickets should be purchased from the ticket office before proceeding to the Turnstiles....for both Cash & Card Sales. Additional ticketing windows will operate to improve upon the effectiveness of this system when it has been used previously, but it still requires fans to arrive at the ground in good time to ensure access to the ground before kick-off. No matter the system, if everyone shows up 10 minutes before the game is due to start then we'll never get everyone in on time. Where possible, fans should purchase tickets in advance. This can be done online at or by phone on 0844 847 1888 (both available 24 hours per day). Obviously with cup matches there is an increased number of ticket purchases involved....please keep that in mind and allow a little more time than you might for a league match. The Turnstiles on the West side of the ground will not be in operation for this weekend's match via Dundee Utd. For any AWAY fans visiting the forum....Cash sales will take place from the KIOSK located at the end of the South Stand. Card sales need to be done at the Ticket Office located at the front of the Main Stand. United tickets.jpg-large
  18. Annus horribilis comes to an end. Last game of the season at Home to Dundee with a 12:30 kick off at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, a game which will decide the final pecking order for this campaign. The two sides battle it out to see who will be the best of the rest. A draw will be enough to ensure that Inverness finish in seventh place, whereas a win for Dundee would see them jump ahead of us, and more importantly get the extra cash that goes with every League position gained. It's been a difficult season for Inverness after the euphoria of last term when we finished third and won the Scottish Cup. This season has been blighted by injuries and failure to hold onto our top players whilst not replacing them with the required quality. It's also been a reality check for Yogi and the fans. Maybe winning the cup went to his head, but we have been playing some real mind-numbingly boring football of late. Maybe his hands are tied in terms of what he can and can't do, but one major issue has been gnawing away at the fans for a couple of months now. David Raven is presumably fit, but why oh why does he not get a start as one of our recognised and experienced right backs with Yogi keeping him benched while employing central defender Josh Meekings in that spot. It's a mystery to everyone and it looks like the end of the road for Raven as an Inverness player given the way he has been treated. Tactical genius he is not and the fans were also left wondering why our most creative talent in Jordan Roberts was left out of the starting eleven at Hamilton as well as Andrea Mutombo. Two players that are capable of changing a game, but not if they are left on the bench. It's all getting a little confusing down at the stadium. The fans have been looking for some entertainment recently, well that's not been in abundance of late with dour anti-football on show. Richie Foran is another who is seeking talks over his future at the club. He reckons he could do a turn for another year, but that won't happen sitting on the bench. Are we coming apart at the seams or can we stitch ourselves together and get a quality squad to the Caledonian Stadium in time for a new season. The sides have drawn all three games this season so far. Inverness have won four of their last six games, but Dundee have only two wins over the same period. As you would expect, there's little between the sides and another close encounter is on the cards. Inverness will say farewell to one or two this weekend, but the big talking point is will he or won't he let Dave the Rave take to the pitch. I imagine we will be on recent familiar team lines as most of the squad are back to fitness. Your call Yogi. Dundee might be without top scorer Kane Hemmings who has strained a hamstring. Missing will be Paul McGowan, Gary Harkins, Nicky Low, Thomas Konrad, Cammy Kerr and Jake McPake. tm4tj prediction:- Can we finish with a flourish. I'm no holding my breath on that one either. We might be capable of seeing off Dundee, but our lack of creation ensures that we make life difficult for ourselves and leaves the fans looking for something extra. When was the last time we put another team to the sword and threw in a bit of swashbuckle? Partick recently, but other than that it's been a stop start season and one to forget. I know, I know, injuries etc, but that wore thin a while ago. Anyway, let's get this one out of the way and then look forward to next season. No scoring draw, but it will be as tight as a ducks posterior. However, it will net us another £53K if we can do it.
  19. Sluggish Jags as United sign off with a win. Dundee United signed off from the Caledonian Stadium with a surprise 2-3 win on their way to the Championship as Inverness flattered to deceive in another uninspiring home performance. The Arabs were 3-0 ahead before Inverness responded with goals from Jordan Roberts and Liam Polworth. But despite going down to ten men, United held on to win with their goals coming from Simon Murray (2) and Edward Ofere. A pleasant afternoon gave way to a bright but bitter evening as the Arabs came calling for their last visit of the season before they tumble out of the Premiership. Friday night football and television screening made sure there would be a low crowd, bolstered only by the appearance of Scotty, all the way from Canada. Inverness went with the side that demolished Partick Thistle last week and they should have been good enough to beat a side 22 points below them in the league. United had Edward Ofere and Billy Mckay on from the start but no swathing changes as they looked to claw back some respect after a depressing week at Tannadice. They started well enough and got the first shot away through Ofere and a Scott Fraser follow up was also blocked by Fon Williams in the home goal. However, the keeper was caught flat footed when Simon Murray latched onto the ball nearly thirty yards out and quickly fired a powerful shot towards goal. Fon Williams seemed slow to react and the ball whistled behind him a yard to his right. Good strike by Murray, not sure Fon Williams will want to see it too many times though. We had plenty of possession but as is our want, we created very little of note until Storey raced into the box. He tried to flick it past the keeper but it was blocked and the rebound suffered the same fate. Storey maybe should have done better, but credit to the keeper for the blocks. It was Storey again who made the keeper work as he tipped over a dipping shot from twenty yards and it looked like we would go in at the break a goal behind. However, United stole a second right on half time as they broke down the right. A bit of a stramash followed in the area which ended with Murray bundling in his second in a crowded six yard box with Meekings in close attendance. Half Time 0-2 The home fans were not best pleased and were looking for better after the break, but in all honesty, we were too pedestrian and United were able to keep us at arms length. Boredom was setting in but there was something to entertain the fans in the North Stand when an over officious steward meddled with the young team. After an exchange of fingers, the steward was substituted. It might be his last appearance as he waved at the throng on his way to the bench. Meanwhile, back at the match, because we were chasing the game, United were able to pick us off again ten minutes into the half when Murray fed Mckay who rolled his ball to Ofere and he stroked it home to the delight of the long suffering Arab fans. 3-0 down to the team already relegated. Not good enough Yogi. Inverness were simply not doing enough, and when we did do anything, we did it wrong and we were merely going through the motions. Jordan Roberts reduced the deficit almost immediately, 13 seconds apparently, with a superb strike from twenty two yards and when Liam Polworth tapped in a second things started to look up. It got even better when United were reduced to ten men with Calum Morris receiving a second yellow with twelve minutes left, but Inverness could not make another breakthrough despite piling on the pressure in a frantic final few minutes. The ball would just not fall kindly and time ran out to end a disappointing night for the home fans. Full Time 2-3 Of dear, we turned up looking for a performance and what we got was the runaround from relegated Dundee United. A hugely disappointing result and performance. To go three nil down was an embarrassment and one we need to get over quickly. Struggling to find any crumbs of comfort from this pedantic showing, especially in the first half although Jordan Roberts scored a cracker and Ross Draper put himself about well. Why oh why we waited until it was too late to show some urgency I'll never know, but it was back to the too little too late scenario that we can do without. This was a fantastic opportunity to go back up to seventh place, instead we managed to make Dundee United look good in what was only their seventh win of the season. Enough said! Video from spl website _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Date: 06/05/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium, Inverness Attendance: 2587 Referee: Don Robertson Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Fon Williams, Meekings, Warren, Devine (R Williams 83), Tremarco, Draper, Tansey, Roberts (D Williams 83), Polworth (Foran 76), Mbuyi-Mutombo , Storey Subs (not used): Esson, Horner, Raven, Hughes Scorers: Roberts (56), Polworth (69) Booked: Storey (73) Sent Off: none Dundee Utd : 3 Lineup: Eiji Kawashima, Durnan (Donaldson 74), Morris, Dillan, Knoyle, Fraser, Rankin, Dixon, Murray (Coote 77), Ofere, Mckay Subs (not used): Johnson, Robson, Smith, Zwick Scorers: Murray (6) (45+1), Ofere(55) Booked: Morris (76) Sent Off: Morris (78)
  20. Last visit of United for a while. Championship bound Dundee United come North on Friday evening after their relegation was confirmed last Monday night when Dundee put the final nail in their coffin. The job losses have already started with Mixu Paatelainen being the first head to roll. Notable others to be ditched are John Rankin, Ryan Dow, Edward Ofere, Florent Sinama Pongolle, Guy Demell and Callum Morris. There's no room for gloating though as we know only too well the hardships that can follow relegation, some clubs taking years to recover, and some clubs never come back again. United have been at the forefront of Scottish football since 1995 and remain undefeated in four European ties against none other than Barcelona with a 100% record. They won the Scottish Premier League in 1982/83 and were runners up in the UEFA Cup in 1987. losing out to IFK Gothenburg in the two legged final. Plenty of memories for United fans to cling onto, season 2015/2016 won't be one of them. Inverness have kicked on since the split, beating Kilmarnock and Partick Thistle, scoring seven goals in the process to steer well clear of the play-off place. We have only one defeat in our last six games and four wins. Dundee United have lost their last four league games including a 2-0 defeat by Inverness at Tannadice over three weeks ago. This has signalled the end of their Premiership status and Championship football beckons. Danny Williams could return after injury saw him miss the Partick game. Mind you, his deputy fared rather well and Jason Roberts would be my preferred starter. Iain Vigurs misses another game through suspension and Andrea Mutombo did not disappoint at Partick. Aaron Doran and Alex Fisher are injured. Other than that, we have a reasonable squad to pick from again and could be on similar lines to our last outing at Partick, which means there could be no game for Dave the Rave unless he gets to say goodbye should he not be getting offered a new contract. Dundee United will be guided by assistant Gordon Young after Paatelainen's departure. It appears that only four still to be contracted players are welcome back at Tannadice. Blair Spittal, Simon Murray, Luis Zwick and Scott Fraser. So who knows who will be turning up to wear the tangerine strip that will be missing next year. tm4tj prediction:- United's demise is not our focus, but trying to finish above Dundee in seventh place is a priority as places mean cash for spending. Maybe some of the United players will be out to prove something now that the threat of relegation has become reality. In that respect, they could be difficult to beat, but given our recent form, I would expect us to finish with a flourish against the Arabs and take all three points although we may have to be patient to take the points. Home win by two goals.
  21. Killie Pay The Penalty. Inverness eased any lingering doubts about their Premiership status for next season with a resounding 3-1 win over troubled Kilmarnock who are now looking like favourites for the play-offs. This game hinged on a penalty for Inverness and a red card for Kilmarnock keeper Jamie MacDonald less than ten minutes into the second half. Kallum Higginbotham had given the visitors the lead at the end of the first half and Greg Tansey put away the penalty after the break. Further goals followed from Ross Draper and the outgoing Danny Williams to put Killie in the mire and push us up to eighth in the league. A bright but brisk Sunday morning saw the teams warm up prior to kick off and with the game being televised live there was always going to be a low crowd in attendance. David Raven was a notable addition to the home bench and he was joined there by Andrea Mutombo who gave way to Danny Williams. Other than that, Hughes fielded the same side that drew with Hearts in their last outing. Killie were without Josh Magennis and had prolific scorer Kris Boyd up top as they looked to get themselves out of bother. For what was at stake, it was a rather grim first half with Kilmarnock looking livelier and Inverness content to keep them at bay. The first effort of note came from the visitors when Greg Kiltie smashed a powerful shot a couple of yards wide after ten minutes. Inverness responded on the half hour, and after Miles Storey raced across the front of the box, Danny Williams took over and curled a shot goalwards but Jamie MacDonald pulled off a TV save to deny the Inverness player, parrying the ball to his right. Ross Draper might have done better after a Danny Devine knock down found the big man at the back post, but the ball seemed to bounce high and Draper awkwardly turned the ball onto the outside of the base of the post and past for a goal kick. Five minutes before the break and Meekings fired a shot just over but just when it looked like Inverness were getting on top, Killie scored an excellent goal through Higginbotham. He started the move in midfield and fed Kiltie. He returned the ball to the overlapping Higginbotham who cut inside and placed a low shot from seventeen yards behind Fon Williams to silence the already silent home crowd. In fairness, they did break into a boo for the ear cupped Higginbotham as he celebrated his goal right on half time. Half Time 0-1 It had been a poor first period but that would change after the break as an unlikely hero would emerge from the gloom. Take a bow Conrad Balatoni. The Killie defender would take centre stage when he cocked up a pass back to his keeper. Ross Draper showed a tidy fleet of foot as he reacted to the pass and nipped in to round MacDonald. The keeper brought him down and was subsequently red carded. Greg Tansey was cool though and he smacked the penalty to sub keeper Conor Brennan's right to level things. A disappointed Higginbotham being subbed as a result showed his anger as he left the field. Here's a pic of Greg about to put the ball low down to Brennan's right, the keeper guessing correct but Tansey had enough direction and power to put the ball into the net. That was a game changer if ever I saw one and Inverness looked to take the game by the scruff of the neck against ten man Killie. After some Killie pressure, Inverness got another break when a low curling free kick from Kris Boyd struck the base of the post with Fon Williams at full stretch, the ball rebounding to safety. Meekings missed a sitter from a Storey cross as play opened out, the defender really should have done better as he met the ball at the back post and bulleted his header wide. Maybe he was too close to the post and took his eye off the ball, but it should have been the second. Draper stabbed in number two from a knock down following a corner, the Killie defence failing to clear the ball as the big number eight turned it home. Breathing space followed soon after when Williams ended a thirty nine pass move when he slickly cut the ball home from fifteen yards to spectacularly complete the scoring and take the wind out of the visiting sails, sending them into the doldrums. There was still time for the obligatory scares and heart in mouth moments. Killie were not completely out of it though and they hit the woodwork again when a cross from Faubert wide left bounced off the top of the bar. Not convinced it was a shot, but it almost sneaked in, a throwback to the Motherwell game, fortunately, this time the ball stayed out. But the damage had been done and Killie were by now stretched and bedraggled as the game wore on and we looked to capitalise on numerous surges forward. However, the score stayed at that as we saw out the remainder of the game, and the home fans were pretty pleased. Full Time 3-1. The best and worst on display here. A first half littered with inactivity and a sucker punch goal and a second half full of attacking options and a tremendous team goal to round off the scoring when Williams finished a 39 man move, where ball retention was lasting for ever. Ross Draper was my MotM. Scoring one, setting up another at the penalty and generally driving Inverness forward at every opportunity, especially in the second half. Carl Tremarco was at his best as well and Danny Williams showed what we will miss next season. Good three points ultimately deserved but it took the penalty and sending off to ignite our fires. After that there was only going to be one winner, although Killie, to their credit, almost got a second through Boyd, but I always felt we could get another if required; It wasn't and we didn't so 3-1 it was and a welcome three points. Big cheer for David Raven when he trotted out to warm up. Take note Yogi, the fans are on his side. video from SPFL website Date: 23/04/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2228 Referee: John Beaton Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Fon Williams; Meekings, Warren, Devine, Tremarco, Draper, Tansey, Polworth, Vigurs (Mbuyi-Mutombo, 74), D. Williams, Storey Subs (not used): Esson, Raven, R. Williams, Foran, Horner, Hughes Scorers: Tansey (pen.55), Draper (73), D.Williams (76) Booked: Tansey (23) Sent Off: none Kilmarnock: 1 Lineup: MacDonald; Faubert, Addison, Balatoni (Ashcroft, 77), Hodson, Higginbotham (Brennan, 53), Dicker, O'Hara, McKenzie, Kiltie (Obadeyi, 77), Boyd Subs (not used): Findlay, Henshall, Taylor, Frizzell Scorers: Higginbotham (44) Booked: none Sent Off: MacDonald (53)
  22. Save Dave campaign gathers pace as Killie look to get out of trouble. It's the beginning of the end for two of the bottom six clubs this weekend as Kilmarnock visit Inverness on Sunday in the early kick off at 12:30. Dundee United are almost certainly confirmed as one of the clubs destined for the drop. The best they can do is escape automatic relegation and a play off place would be their only hope of avoiding the drop, but it's a tall order. At the moment all of the bottom six are still mathematically in bother, but the focus is on the bottom three of United, Killie and Accies with Inverness hovering on the fringes. A win today would make it highly unlikely that we would face the play-offs. Defeat would bring Killie to within five points of us with the possibility of Hamilton joining us on the same points total but with a vastly inferior goal difference. Aye it's getting a tad fraught at the bottom as the clubs fight it out to be the best of the rest. In a week where the Queen has been upstaged on her 90th birthday by a Prince, it's time for Inverness to produce their own purple patch and steer clear of the drop. Let's go crazy, we don't want to be playing at a Paisley park next season. Despite all that's going on, the big talking point at the Caledonian Stadium is surrounding a Raven lunatic as the story has been made public that David Raven may not be offered a new contract by John Hughes. His preferred option of spending the cash will be to try and bring in strikers to add some fire power to our punchless squad. The fans are no happy about this situation and feel that Raven is being pushed out while he still has plenty to offer this club and would appear to be content to stay with us. It's a tricky one but this just fuels speculation of a rift within as Raven, although injured of late, looks to be frozen out. On the other hand, at 31 and a season littered with injuries, should Inverness be content to offer Dave a new contract? Either way, lot's of feathers have been ruffled over a Raven and a fans protest could well be surfacing. Back to the game and the clubs have played three times this season with the home sides winning each game. Back in October, Kiltie and Magennis put us to the sword with a 2-0 win at Rugby Park. That was Killie's first clean sheet of the season. We're too kind sometimes. In mid December we returned the favour in the Highlands with a 2-1 win. A Vigurs double put us in the driving seat despite a late consolation by Mark Connolly. Back to Rugby Park in January and Killie triumphed 2-1 when Kiltie opened the scoring only for Draper to level it before the break. However, Craig Slater scored a stunning volley early in the second half to secure the points. At that stage of the season Inverness had opened up a four point gap over Killie, it's now stretched to eight. Killie are not to be underestimated here and we just need to look back to their last game where they trounced St Johnstone 3-0. Worryingly for us, Kris Boyd scored twice and he is a player that knows the route to goal pretty well. Kallum Higginbotham scored the other in a tremendous victory over the side that thrashed Aberdeen on Friday night. Our last outing showed up the very worst of Scottish football as we dug out a 0-0 draw at home to Hearts. A dreadful game where chances were at a premium. Story of our season to be honest. The previous game we eased our relegation fears with a good away win at Tannadice, a result that all but scuppers United but kept us just above the waterline. Yogi has dented his relationship with the fans over the Raven affair and despite Dave being declared fit now, allegedly, he did not appear on the bench against Hearts when he is our recognised right back. Our injury list has all but disappeared, just Aaron Doran and Alex Fisher officially out. Dean Brill has played four or five games with the development squad and it's no coincidence that the young side has been performing better of late. Jordan Roberts has also featured but no sign of Raven anywhere. Kilmarnock should be unchanged although the scorer of said stunning volley Craig Slater could be recalled after illness. However, Steven Smith, David Syme and Mark Connolly are out for the remainder of the season and Chris Johnston is nearing full fitness. tm4tj prediction:- It's getting close to squeaky bum time as points are getting harder to come by. This will be no walk in the park with Kilmarnock's need greater than ours and that will be enough to drive them forward. With Kris Boyd back amongst the goals we need to be at our best defensively whilst also looking to create something at the other end. That's been a season long issue with injuries etc etc etc being cited as the reasons for our demise. It's time to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and get out on the park and put on a display. Yogi needs to put on an impressive performance here and forget about any locker room differences and put our best possible team on the park. Can someone tell him we are not clear of trouble yet and show some desire to get forward. His feathers may have been ruffled by the Raven, but it's not about one player, it's about the team. I'm going for a score draw, with Killie scoring an injury time equaliser, probably emanating from our right back position. Meh! The touchy subject is raised in this interview. Carl Tremarco talks about the visit of Kilmarnock, listen here.
  23. Bore Draw Inverness and Hearts ground out an uninspiring no score draw on a bitterly cold Spring evening in the Highlands where a swirling wind made conditions more suitable for flying a kite. This was one of the poorest games of a dreadful void of entertainment season and the 0-0 scoreline sums up the fare on display. Neither side could make much headway in a game littered with errors and poor passing although Hearts looked the more fluent as we stuttered our way about the park seemingly intent on stifling the Jambo's, but offering little in terms of goalmouth action. It was near half time before we tried our luck as long range efforts from Josh Meekings and Liam Polworth just cleared the bar in a forty-five that was sadly lacking any initiative and ambition. Half Time 0-0 The second period continued in the same manner with Hearts looking the more controlled and the Caley Jags feeding off scraps. Owain Fon Williams made an excellent block after substitute Abiola Dauda burst forward but the keeper kept out his effort as he made his way into the box and tried to clip the ball home. Inverness failed to make any headway at all and the lack of attempts on goal by both sides summed up the evening. Full Time 0-0 This result means that Hearts have qualified for Europe and Inverness remain ninth, but one point further away from the play off position. It's into the split now and we start with a home game against fellow strugglers Kilmarnock on 24th April (12:30 KO). A win in that one should be enough to all but banish the relegation play-offs from our heads, defeat would fuel the speculation that all is not well. Date: 12/04/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3202 Referee: Don Robertson Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Fon Williams, Tremarco, Warren, Meekings, Devine, Draper, Tansey, Polworth, Vigurs, Mbuyi-Mutombo (Vincent 46), Storey (D.Williams 75) Subs (not used): Esson, R.Williams, Foran, Horner, Hughes Scorers: none Booked: Vigurs (24) Sent Off: none Hearts: 0 Lineup: Alexander, Souttar, Ozturk, Augustyn, Oshaniwa (Nicholson 80), Zanatta (Dauda 64), Pallardo (Paterson 37), Kitchen, Djoum, Delgado, Walker Subs (not used): Hamilton, Reilly, McGhee, Smith Scorers: none Booked: Walker (21), Djoum (24), Augustyn (48) Sent Off: none
  24. Better Late Than Never. At the third time of asking, Hearts will visit Inverness to fulfil the pre-split fixture list. This game has been postponed because of the weather and called off due to sickness at Tynecastle, but it looks as though it could go ahead this time, fingers crossed. The clubs are separated by twenty points and six places in the Premiership. Hearts have a vastly superior goal difference at +21, the second best in the league whilst we have a negative figure at -3. They are all square this season with home advantage looking like the meaningful factor in these games, both 2-0 wins for the home sides. James Vincent came on as a sub against the Arabs as did Danny Williams but there has been no sign of Jordan Roberts who has looked lively when he has been fit enough to play and that is a concern for the Inverness fans. Iain Vigurs has started to look interested and he scored a thumping goal at the weekend and Andrea Mutombo is a box of tricks. If only he could produce an end product more often. Things are starting to look up and another win will go a long way to banishing all thoughts of relegation in a season where top-six was as likely as facing the drop. Out for Inverness are David Raven who is reported to be almost there and he played 90 minutes for the development squad on Monday afternoon in a 0-0 draw against Hibernian. Aaron Doran, Alex Fisher and Dean Brill are longer term absentees and Yogi will no doubt have the same squad that beat Dundee United ready to go. Hearts could have Callum Paterson back as he nears full fitness following a shoulder injury. Juwon Oshaniwa is available after suspension, but former Inverness player Don Cowie is still suffering from a calf injury. tm4tj prediction:- With Inverness still requiring points to stay clear of the relegation play-offs and Hearts hoping to catch Aberdeen in second place it could make for an interesting encounter. Both clubs had good results last time out with Hearts coming from behind to beat the Dons and Inverness binning Dundee United with ease at Tannadice. We can't now make the top-six but three more points would ease our downward thoughts. Miles Storey is back amongst the goals and our squad is as strong as it has been all season. I'm taking Inverness to take all three points, but it will be close.
  25. Bad Karma. After Jordan Roberts sensational injury time goal against Motherwell in the cup, Karma came back to bite us on the arse as Motherwell turned a draw into three points with a last second breakaway goal to snatch all the points and consolidate their top-six ambitions. Marvin Johnson scored when Inverness were pushing for the winner and his break saw the defenders scurrying back in vain as he raced through and slotted the ball beyond Fon Williams in the 94th minute, a result that has all but confined Inverness to the relegation contest. A bright April afternoon saw Inverness line up without the suspended Greg Tansey, the more attack minded Andrea Mutombo being the only change from the side that trounced Ross County a fortnight ago. Motherwell were without the injured James McFadden and Stephen Pearson, but the dangerous Scott McDonald and Louis Moult started with Lionel Ainsworth on the bench. The opening exchanges were bright without troubling either keeper, but the dazzling footwork of Andrea Mutombo was a joy to behold as he waltzed around the Motherwell defenders. Unfortunately none of his own team mates knew what to expect and more often than not he would be crowded out by the resolute visiting defence. New Scotland u21 cap Liam Polworth drove one just over the bar after twenty minutes as the posturing continued and it looked promising for Inverness with Mutombo bamboozling everyone, including himself. Liam Hughes got a header on target as Inverness began to press but he could not get enough purchase on the ball and it was an easy gather for Ripley in the Well goal and Mutombo flashed a shot over soon after. Hughes had another header saved before Marvin Johnson narrowly missed with a header low to the left as the game opened out. At the other end Miles Storey went just as close with a similar effort, unfortunately the end result was similar as well and the half closed all square. Half Time 0-0 Same pattern in the second half and Mutombo fired over once more. Mark McGhee made the first alteration bringing on Lionel Ainsworth and Jack Leitch for Cadden and Gomis with fifty-three minutes on the clock, but it was the home side that threatened with Hughes and Meekings heading over. Just after the hour Motherwell took the lead in bizarre fashion. Fon Williams needlessly flapped at a cross from the left and when the ball landed near the feet of substitute Ainsworth, his scuffed shot sliced up in the air. It still looked as though we might get away with it, but with a man on the line, Fon Williams scrambled back but could not keep the ball out as it crept under the bar and into the net, along with the defender. Freaky! We took only eight minutes to restore parity. Andrea Mutombo had a shot saved just after the goal but on seventy minutes Ross Draper belied his size as he dropped his shoulder bursting into the box and was promptly scythed down by the clumsy Keith Lasley. Stonewall penalty and Iain Vigurs stepped up to draw Inverness level, the keeper making his mind up early to go to his left, the ball going the opposite way. Two minutes later and Tremarco stole in at the back post and redirected the ball across the face of the goal, unfortunately just wide of the far upright as we looked likely to take the lead. Five minutes on and Ripley did well to block as Tremarco made ground into the six-yard box, his attempt smothered by the keeper and a defender. Vigurs and Mutombo had efforts at goal as Inveness went for the win in the last ten minutes and that would be our downfall. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. Deep into injury time Inverness were still searching for a winner, but after winning a corner Motherwell cleared the ball and Marvin Johnson showed a clean pair of heels as he sped goalwards from his own half. Two defenders were left in his wake and he coolly slotted the ball round Fon Williams and into the net for the winner. Gutted,meh! There was only time left to kick off and it was game over for a frustrating afternoon for the home fans. The visitors were rightly ecstatic and they have virtually confirmed their top-six position. Full Time 1-2 Oh dear, we managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of a draw. Fair play to Motherwell who weathered the onslaught and did what they had to do, but it was a frustrating afternoon for the Highlanders. We can't complain though having meted out similar punishment in the cup game. However, once more we failed to make the most of our superiority and paid the price. Fon Williams needs to take a look at his part in the first goal. Not good enough for the SPFL never mind the Euro Championships. In all honesty it was a fairly open game and one we looked like winning. We lost a freak goal and a breakaway at the end with no time left to recover. We will play worse and win, but the result did not justify the effort. However, the long knives are out as peoples memory fades. That Scottish Cup win is a long time ago it seems. tm4tj MotM is going to Andrea Mutombo who was best aided by Carl Tremarco. Mutombo teased the Well all afternoon with his darting runs and quick feet. Unfortunately Motherwell eventually sussed him out and crowded him out on a number of occasions, but he was a delight to watch. If only one of our players knew how to help him out it would have been a dawdle. Tremarco almost ghosted in a couple of times and backed up the attack well. Draper did well to win the penalty after a slack first half but he grew into the game. A couple of testing games coming up within the week. At home to Hearts on Tuesday and away to Dundee United next weekend. Let's get out there and back the team in this miserable climate. Date: 02/04/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3348 Referee: John Beaton Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams, Meekings (Horner 86), Warren, Devine, Tremarco, Draper, Vigurs, Polworth, Mbuyi-Mutombo, Storey (R.Williams 84), Hughes (D.Williams 73) Subs (not used): Esson, Foran, Roberts, Wedderburn Scorers: Vigurs (pen.70) Booked: Tremarco (40), Draper (82) Sent Off: none Motherwell: 2 Lineup: Ripley, Law, Kennedy, McManus, Hammell, Cadden (Ainsworth 52), Lasley (Fletcher 73), Gomis (Leitch 52), Johnson, Moult, McDonald Subs (not used): Samson, Chalmers, Thomas, Watt Scorers: Ainsworth (62), Johnson (94) Booked: McDonald (89) Sent Off: none
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