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  1. 1000 not out. It's a landmark day as Inverness Caledonian Thistle play their 1000th competitive game. Opponents for this will be the newest side in Scotland, The Rangers. The Caley Jags have come a long way since they entered the big boys leagues in 1994 and their first league game, a 5-2 win over Arbroath at Telford Street. Alan Hercher scored a twenty minute hat-trick for Caledonian Thistle that day and set the tone for Inverness as they would make their way through the Leagues to the present day. Their competitive debut was a 2-0 win over East Stirlingshire in the Coca Cola cup, Wilson Robertson scoring the first ever goal. There is an excellent programme available to commemorate this occasion. 1000th Game We had an unwelcome visitor to these shores this week. Doris day has been and gone and hopefully the weather will relent a bit as Inverness welcome the Rangers to the Highland capital. Scotland shivered in the wake of storm Doris as high winds and snow caused chaos across the land. The Highlands missed the worst of the storms but travel throughout Scotland was disrupted, so take care. Richie Foran saw his beleaguered side battle hard for a well earned draw at Tynecastle last weekend. Carl Tremarco had given the Highlanders the lead with a spanking header before Arnaud Djoum bundled home in the second half. Under fire keeper Owain Fon Williams did his confidence no harm as he held firm and saved a penalty as Hearts pushed for a winner. An unexpected point given our lack of resources through injuries and suspension. The Ibrox side lost their last game going down 2-1 at Dundee. The Dark Blues were two up before Joe Garner scored with a swerving long range effort but it was not enough to deny Dundee a deserved win. Inverness are entrenched at the foot of the table some 24 points behind the Glasgow side. Our goal difference is 12 goals worse off. They have scored 33 goals, 4 more than Inverness. It's in defence where the vast difference can be found as we have shipped 46 goals, 18 more than the Rangers. The Ibrox side have won both fixtures already this season, winning 1-0 in the Highlands thanks to a stunning volley from Kenny Miller and 1-0 in Glasgow, although Inverness were unfortunate not to take something from this game as Brad Mckay put the ball into his own net. Inverness can call on the services of Gary Warren, Brad Mckay and Iain Vigurs, all free from suspension. Aaron Doran is continuing to build his strength after a virus floored him for a couple of weeks and could feature. Josh Meekings, Lewis Horner and Kev McNaughton will all miss out. Louis Laing deputised well last week in defence and could continue with youngster Jamie McCart possibly dropping to the bench to accommodate the return of Warren. The Rangers will have Lee Wallace and Josh Windass back. Clint Hill will not make it after being injured against Dundee. tm4tj Prediction:- An encouraging draw at Tynecastle will give Richie Foran some belief that his side can steer themselves away from the relegation slot. This is the second of three really tough games with Celtic up next and points are at a premium. Nobody thought we stood much chance at Tynecastle given our injury and suspension crisis, but a back to basics work ethic saw us take a point and that is what will be required on Friday night against the Rangers. The elements could be a great leveler as well and it could be that we will take something from this game as managerless Rangers seem to have taken a confidence dent in recent weeks. Clean sheets are a thing of the past at Inverness so I'll go for a scoring draw.
  2. Bottlers battle back Richie Foran branded his team bottlers after the crushing defeat at Hamilton in midweek but they fought back from the brink to get a deserved draw against Dundee. The Dee were cruising at the break two goals to the good when Inverness showed some of the bottle that manager Richie Foran was looking for despite passing up on a second penalty opportunity. Marcus Haber and Darren O'Dea had given Dundee a scarcely deserved lead at the interval but Billy Mckay notched his first goal on his return from the spot. Unfortunately he failed with a second penalty effort but was involved in the equaliser when Bain blocked his attempt only for Greg Tansey to follow up and knock the ball home. A lively encounter with both sides having plenty chances but at the end of play it was a point each. Under fire manager Richie Foran made a few changes after his side slumped badly at Hamilton. Dropping to the bench were Welsh international Owain Fon Williams who has been culpable over the last couple of months, defender Brad Mckay and midfielders Liam Polworth and Larnell Cole. Ryan Esson made his first start of the season and David Raven was the right back. New recruit Jamie McCart from Celtic started alongside Gary Warren at the heart of the defence and Billy King returned to the wide midfield. Billy Mckay made a welcome return to Inverness two years after his departure and he was partnered up front by Henri Anier. Dundee came North with a trio of former Inverness players but they all stayed on the bench with Henrik Ojamaa making his debut for the Dee. Kevin Holt and Darren O'Dea returned after suspension to bolster Paul Hartley's squad. The Inverness side were smarting after being branded bottlers in midweek and there was a freshness about them as they started briskly. Carl Tremarco was unlucky in the sixth minute as he turned a cross onto the junction of post and bar with his head after a cross from the left. Dundee were not idle though and Marcus Haber was making a nuisance of himself with his power as he headed wide and Paul McGowan, Mark O'hara and Tom Hately all shot wide in quick succession as the Dark Blues came more into the game before Henri Anier tested Scott Bain in goal. Esson did likewise from McGowan at the other end. It was a lively affair and Greg Tansey drew a save from Bain as Inverness looked to get on the scoresheet, but in the 37th minute the visitors took the lead when Haber headed home a cross from Cameron Kerr. A bit harsh on Inverness, but worse was to follow. Two minutes before the break our defensive frailties were exposed again when O'Dea headed in number two. That hurt given our bright opening to the game. Just before the break Gary Warren headed just wide as our winless run looked set to continue. Half Time 0-2 Harsh words must have been spoken at the break and Iain Vigurs hit a post with a free kick five minutes in and Bain made another save from Vigurs moments later. Julen Etxabeguren was adjudged to have fouled Billy Mckay after a corner and it was Mckay himself who took the kick. Never the greatest penalty taker, Billy had the balls to take this one and he managed to put the ball down the middle with Bain stretching out a leg in vain, the ball just missing his studs on it's way into the net. Lifeline! McGowan should have restored the two goal advantage but shot wide from a tremendous position inside the box and Ojamaa almost nicked one from close range but David Raven popped up on the line to scoop clear. Dundee were hitting well on the break and looked dangerous when sweeping forward. Inverness were still having the bulk of the play and Etxabeguren tried his best to help out again, conceding another penalty. This brought about a fit of rage from McGowan who could not believe his stupidity. Undaunted, Billy felt he could cope with a second one and stepped up again. Strange, considering he was not the sharpest of penalty takers first time round and this time Bain came out on top saving his weak effort. Ross Draper saw a shot and follow up header saved as we turned the screw and showed plenty of determination to overcome adversity. Our persistence paid off when a Billy Mckay shot was saved well by Bain, but the ball fell to Tansey on the edge of the box and he buried the ball with precision and power. Game on! The final ten minutes were played out without further scoring, both sides fairly content with holding on to what they had, and that's not a criticism, it was for the best after what had gone on before. Full Time 2-2 Richie looked for a reaction and he got one. We still conceded goals, but instead of crumbling, we came out fighting and a draw was no more than we deserved, so full marks to the guys for not capitulating like they did at Hamilton and at least giving it a go. MotM is a toss up between a pair of Billy's. Mckay and King did well and look as though they could build a good understanding. As opposed to some weeks, it was encouraging to see more than one player stand out and there were interesting cameo's all over the park. We are still vulnerable at the back, but that is also understandable with the enforced changes and new players slotting in. Jamie McCart will only get better with games. An altogether much more positive outlook than there was after the Hamilton abyss. Only downside was that we failed to gain ground on the others at the bottom, although the signs are there that we are not relegated yet. Date: 04/02/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2606 Referee: Nick Walsh Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Esson, Raven, Tremarco, Warren, Draper, Vigurs (Polworth 86), McCart, Billy McKay, Tansey, King (Mulraney 85), Anier Subs (not used): Fon Williams, Ebbe, Boden, Brad Mckay, Cole Scorers: Billy Mckay (pen.53), Tansey (79) Booked: Billy Mckay (58), Tremarco (75) Sent Off: none Dundee: 2 Lineup: Bain, Holt, O'Hara, O'Dea, Hateley (Klok 84), Extabeguren, McGowan, Haber, Ojaama (El Bahktaoui 86), Kerr, Gomis Subs (not used): Mitchell, Vincent, WIlliams, Ross, Wighton. Scorers: Haber (37), O'Dea (43) Booked: O'Dea (48), Extabeguren (52), McGowan (63) Sent Off: none a
  3. Heading for last chance saloon The games keep rolling in and this weekend it's the turn of Dundee to take on the challenge of the six-pointer as they visit the Caledonian Stadium for a 3:00pm kick off, with Billy Mckay sure to pull in an extra few bums on seats to see if he can rescue our season. Midweek at Hamilton was a disaster for us as we turned in an abysmal display and deservedly got turned over by Accies who looked to have the better appetite for a relegation dogfight. Richie Foran drew audible gasps from the Caley Jags fans by re-signing (on loan) our favourite son, the almost prolific Billy Mckay until the end of the season. However, Accies had their own agenda and went about their business in the right manner. We showed Billy how far we have come from the successful team he left two years ago. Sadly that direction is downwards and with little leadership on and off the park, it's difficult to see where and when that will change. So, 3-0 it was to Accies and the most disappointing aspects from our point of view was the lack of quality, leadership and desire on display. We played with no recognised wide players, instead deploying them on the bench and choosing to thump long high balls up to a vertically challenged striker. Can someone tell Richie that isn't working too well. Dundee had a night off in midweek and now have a game in hand, as have Killie and Motherwell from the bottom half of the league. Their last game saw them go down 3-0 at Pittodrie. They were also dabbling in the transfer window and took on Henrik Ojamaa the Estonian ex-Motherwell striker and they also hired former Ross County midfielder Marc Klok. Dundee have lost as many games as Inverness (12), but have won twice as many (6). They sit two places above Inverness in tenth place having accumulated five more points than us. They ended a barren spell against Inverness with a 2-1 victory at Dens Park in November. Since that game, they have lost four and won two with one drawn, gaining seven points. We have failed to win any, losing five and drawing three from eight games. We are on our worst ever league run, no wins from twelve games since we defeated Motherwell in October. The stats don't lie I'm afraid and that's why we prop up the league table. Many fans are beginning to question the judgement of the board in appointing a rookie manager with no credentials whatsoever and giving him a four year contract. Practically everybody was delighted that Richie Foran followed John Hughes and were willing him to succeed. However, it's a results driven business and we are languishing precariously close to the dreaded relegation slot with only three wins from 23 league games. That in itself is a shocking statistic that will only lead to one thing. A lot of fans were coming out of the woodwork after the Hamilton debacle to vent their displeasure at the demise of our club and many are looking for a change of leadership. As results show, we are bottom on merit and the game at Accies was the last straw for many. Maybe in the harsh light of day, we have all had time to reflect on this. We have been talking about six-pointers for a few weeks now and we have failed in every one of them. However, there is still not a huge gap between us in bottom to Motherwell in sixth (seven points). I doubt anyone wants Foran to fail, but unless we start to win some games, there appears little doubt as to where we will be playing our football next season. It shouldn't come as a massive surprise to anyone although it's taken a long time for some to get their heads out of the sand and see the reality of our position. If it's any consolation, the Dundee fans feel the same about their side! Josh Meekings, Kevin McNaughton, and Lewis Horner are all out long term. Aaron Doran hopes to have shaken off this virus that has been going through our dressing room and forced him to miss the midweek game and Billy King is also a doubt. It looks as though a calf injury will keep David Raven out. Jamie McCart could make his debut in defence following his signing from Celtic. Dundee will have Kevin Holt back after injury and Darren O'Dea will return after suspension. Henrik Ojamaa could make his Dundee debut along with Marc Klok. tm4tj prediction:- It pains me to say, but with no confidence, no leadership, no defence, no tactical nous and not enough quality in the squad, I can see Dundee getting their second win over us this season. What can we do to stop this happening. Well, we need to get rid of the players who are not pulling their weight and put players on the park who will display some fight for the jersey. How about some wide players to give Billy Mckay some half decent service that he will thrive on, not rugby style punts that fall on the heads of the towering defenders. If fit, get Mulraney, King and Doran on the park and dump Vigurs, Tansey and Warren onto the bench. Fon Williams needs a break, his goal keeping has been sloppy of late bar the odd game or two. I hope Esson is fit enough to play. Our pedantic midfield needs a massive kick up the arse, let's hope we don't capitulate as easy as has been happening most of this season. Draw at best, but defeat is on the cards. Go on, prove me wrong, I'll be delighted. Don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger
  4. Clean Sheet, but no wins in eleven. Inverness and Partick served up a bit of a borefest with a no score draw at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium at the weekend. If anything, Partick just shaded it and the only positive for Inverness was our second clean sheet of the Premiership Season. Partick had the better of the clear chances but Owain Fon Williams upped his game after recent lapses with a tremendous display to deny the Firhill Jags. In his post match interview, manager Richie Foran mentioned some players were struggling with fitness and that showed as we struggled to create enough clear opportunities. The only other positive worth mentioning was that we pulled level on points with Hamilton at the bottom of the table and Tuesday nights encounter with the Accies is being labelled a six-pointer this early in the season. Full Report to follow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlHJSYsrPdk Date: 28/01/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2823 Referee: Stephen Finnie Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Fon Williams, Raven, McKay, Warren, Tremarco, Draper (Doran 80), Tansey, Polworth, Cole (Mulraney 60), Doumbouya (Vigurs 37), Anier Subs (not used): Esson, Ebbe, Boden, Gilchrist Scorers: none Booked: Warren (65), Anier (72) Sent Off: none Partick Th: 0 Lineup: Cerny, Booth, Welsh, Lindsay, Erskine, Lawless, Barton, Elliott, Azeez (Doolan 66), Keown, Edwards Subs (not used): Ridgers, Dumbuya, Amoo, McDaid, Nisbet, McCarthy Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  5. Absolutely Brutal Inverness slumped to another defeat, this time at the hands of relegation rivals Motherwell. That's nine games without a win and this result leaves us as firm favourites for the drop. If this was a boxing match, the referee would probably have taken both boxers aside and reminded them they would have to show some intent or risk losing their purse. However, Clay delivered a sucker punch with a bit of a freak blow as Fon Williams did not cover himself in glory, the wind aided strike catching him unawares. Another body blow from Scott McDonald ended the contest. Despite a late flurry of activity, probably borne out of embarrassment we only had a scrambled effort from want away midfielder Greg Tansey to show for it. We had plenty of possession in the second forty-five, but similar to most games this season we were unable to capitalise on it. Ross Draper had what looked like a decent claim for a penalty turned down and Aaron Doran struck the crossbar, but as is the norm these days, nothing went for us and in the end the three points left Inverness destined for North Lanarkshire. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Old Caley Girl will have a full report for us when she thaws out and her anger subsides....................... and here it is. Not sure where to start here to be honest. However, the hard luck excuses this season are wearing a bit thin. The Caley Thistle line up was unchanged from the last game at Ibrox. As mentioned in the match preview McHugh returned to the Motherwell line up following a lengthy spell out with concussion. A decent crowd, for a cold post-Christmas midweek match were in good spirits led by a noisy young team in the north stand. However, this optimistic mood was to be misplaced. Motherwell had the first chance of the game with a free kick from Hammell taking a deflection forcing Owain Fon Williams to make a save. However, this led to Caley Thistle having chances of our own with Polworth and Cole coming close. It was end to end chances with Tansey forcing a great save from Samson from a 25 yd free kick. There was bit of drama when Cole had a hefty challenge on Lucas earning a yellow card. Arguably he was perhaps lucky it wasn’t a different colour. This flashpoint kicked off Scott McDonald into a rage and it seemed like everyone on both sides piled in. Tansey tested Samson again on the stroke of halftime but without result. Half Time 0-0 ICT started the 2nd half with a great chance with Doumbouya crossing the ball right across the goalmouth but Cole could not connect. However, in 50 minutes the game changed completely with a Clay shot from the edge of the box catching the wind and finding itself right in the top corner of the net. Not much Owain Fon Williams could do about it as just a freak shot. This did however, change the game with ICT panicking and reverting to the “hoof and hope” tactic. We did have chances to pull the game back with Vigurs and Doran forcing good saves and a possible call for a penalty when Draper was pushed over in front of goal. Draper also had another claim turned down a few moments later but it would have been soft. We continued to press for the equaliser but to no avail and indeed there was the worry that we would be caught on the counter which indeed proved to be the case when Moult stormed down the right passing to McDonald who shot past a static OFW who seemed unwilling to move off his line. Motherwell 2-0 up and the home fans left in droves. Tansey did bundle the ball over the line in the dying minutes but too little too late for the home team. Full Time 1-2 Worrying times. Motherwell looked a poor side but we just couldn’t get our act together. Bottom of the table with just one win in 13. Only 2 home wins this season with only one clean sheet. Apparently we also have the lowest points total at this stage, in any division, in our history as a club. The stats also show that most clubs bottom at the turn of the year go on to be relegated. Richie Foran also a bit fortunate in the lack of criticism coming his way, at the moment, in my opinion. County up next and it really really is a must win but I’m personally not full of confidence. We do have the personnel to sort this and it really is time for some leadership on the field from the experienced players and a bit of backbone to show what they really are capable of. Bad luck maybe but let’s make our own luck. An ugly 1-0 on Saturday will do fine. OCG MotM – To be fair to the match sponsor there really wasn’t a lot of choice. However, the choice of Iain Vigurs drew audible gasps then boos in the north stand. Personally I wish he would roll up his sleeves and stop being a passenger for most of the game. I’m going with Tremarco for the simple reason that I can’t remember him doing much wrong. Date: 28/12/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3097 Referee: Barry Cook Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon-Williams, Tremarco, Warren, Meekings, Polworth (Mulraney 70), Draper, Vigurs, Tansey, McKay, Doumbouya (Fisher 58), Cole (Doran 55) Subs (not used): Esson, Boden, King, Sutherland Scorers: Tansey (90) Booked: Cole (35), McKay (39), Fisher (77), Vigurs (88) Sent Off: none Motherwell: 2 Lineup: Samson, Tait, Hammell (McMillan 62), Heneghan, McManus, McHugh, Cadden (Ainsworth 25), Lucas, Clay, McDonald, Moult Subs (not used): Brill, Bowman, Ferguson, Campbell, Mackin Scorers: Clay (50), McDonald (87) Booked: Moult (58) Sent Off: none a
  6. Basement battle continues. Inverness welcome Motherwell on Wednesday night as the frantic festive football continues with another game where points are getting more crucial as the season goes on. 4 4 40. That's not a new football formation or our goals against column, not even our win-draw-defeat column, but it has been causing a bit of a kerfuffle.A pricing initiative to get more bums on seats has not gone down well at Well. Apparently the season of goodwill did not extend as far as away fans and they are not amused. For home fans, it means that four people can get in for £40, that's £10 a head. Great offer for us, but maybe seen as a bit harsh on the far travelled visitors, many who would have been carrying gifts as they travelled to our stable at this time of year. Merry Xmas.. Our last game ended in defeat at Ibrox on Xmas Eve, but not for the want of trying. we outplayed Rangers but Foderingham put in a great shift to deny the Inverness forwards, saving the day on three or four occasions, and when a gift came along, Liam Polworth picked his spot from eighteen yards. Unfortunately that spot was just the wrong side of the post. To rub salt into the wounds, we even scored the goal for Rangers, Brad Mckay being the unfortunate recipient of a Martyn Waghorn ball into the box, the ball cannoning off his shins and into the net. Even worse, it was his sore shins. Motherwell's last outing also ended in defeat at the hands of the Dons. Former Inverness players Graeme Shinnie and Adam Rooney scored in the first half, as did Scott McDonald for the Steelmen, but Niall McGinn settled it with a late third. So, 3-1 defeat it was, the same score we managed against the Dons just over a month ago. Motherwell were the last side Inverness beat. Mind you, there has only been three, the others being Dundee and St Johnstone. Our win at Motherwell was as surprising as it was welcome. A three goal blitz in the second half saw us cruise home with the three points thanks to goals from Carl Tremarco, Lonsana Doumbouya and Liam Polworth. That result put us into the top-six and we were looking to kick on from there; we are still waiting and we have now reached the bottom of the pile. We are now eight games without a win, Motherwell have no wins in their last five. We have the usual crop of walking wounded with Kev McNaughton and David Raven out longer term and Lewis Horner added to that for at least a couple of months. Alex Fisher and Scott Boden got an airing at Ibrox. The keeper crisis is ongoing but both were prepared to play despite lingering niggles. Motherwell's Carl McHugh could be fit enough to be included in the squad but captain Keith Lasley has a shoulder injury that could rule him out. Joe Chalmers, Kieran Kennedy, Jacob Blyth and Ross MacLean are all set to miss out. tm4tj prediction:- It's been a tough couple of months and a disappointing run of results without a win, but there were very encouraging signs against Rangers that our outfield play deserves better. We will be more positive at home and play with at least one wide player, possibly utilising the pace and trickery of Mulraney to provide the ammunition our strikers need. A win would be a fabulous result but a draw seems to be the likeliest outcome. Greg Tansey looks like he will be away at the end of the season, choosing not to renew his contract. We need that kind of player in our side, but we need one that is fully focused on giving his all for Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Old Caley Girl made sure we had our Preview organised and sent this one in as well, two for the price of one, enjoy....... Things are not getting any better in ICT land with festive results not doing us any favours and we found ourselves bottom of the league before taking to the pitch on Saturday at Ibrox. Despite reports of an excellent performance we still did not win and the need for us to start winning is becoming desperate. No wins in 8 is relegation form and the only saving grace is that the league is so close and means a couple of wins can propel you up the table. Motherwell are the visitors tonight and it goes without saying that it is a game we must not allow ourselves to lose. The ugliest win imaginable would be acceptable. Motherwell themselves will be desperate to win this one having not won themselves in 5 games and having only won on the road once this season. Keith Lasley is major doubt with a shoulder injury and Chalmers, Kennedy, Blyth and MacLean are definitely out. Carl McHugh may feature, for the visitors, having been out with concussion since August. There is a bit of chat on the Motherwell forums about giving Dean Brill his chance. Could we see the return of “Deano” at the TCS albeit in the wrong colours. As to ourselves, Richie Foran is looking for a bit of consistency from the players. A lack of goals is a worrying feature as is our failure to keep more than one clean sheet this season. Raven, McNaughton and Horner are definitely out with Ryan Esson apparently a major doubt. There is also a lot of press speculation about potential moves in the January transfer window especially regarding Tansey and Meekings. The players need to keep thoughts of moves out of their heads tonight and dig in to obtain us the result that we so badly need. OCG Prediction – Hoping we can keep the 3 points in the Highlands and obtain a 3rd home win of the season but I predict a score draw with 1-1 the most likely.
  7. Cole Goal Earns Point Larnell Cole scored his first goal for the club in a 1-1 draw with Hamilton as Accies once more surrendered the lead in an entertaining encounter in the Highlands. This point was enough to lift us off the foot of the table for now as Partick Thistle take over at the bottom. Injuries and suspension robbed Inverness of their standard back line but Brad Mckay and Lewis Horner stepped in to a makeshift back four with Gary Warren suspended and David Raven injured. Mckay was not 100% fit, but that did not deter him from taking to the field to bolster our fragile defence. Fon Williams also took to the field nursing back pain and that was evident as Accies opened the scoring. Accies were coming North with high hopes of a result given their decent record in Inverness in recent times, having won on their last two visits. When Jake Mulraney gave away a free kick wide of our eighteen yard box, there seemed little imminent danger as Ali Crawford sized up his options. I'm not totally convinced his choice was a shot, or was it a low ball to the keepers near post but the end product was a goal as the ball deceived Fon Williams to bounce just inside his near post when a cross looked on the cards. It had been a bright opening quarter as we buzzed around the Accies half with Larnell Cole and Jake Mulraney scampering forward at pace. Lonsana Doumbouya was getting well involved and causing havoc in the Accies rearguard and things looked promising up till this point. Fon Williams stuck up an apologetic glove to the unimpressed fans behind the goal as Accies celebrated this early Xmas gift. Still, plenty of time to get back into the game and we surged forward at will, but as per norm, found Accies a tough nut to crack. A deep cross from Lewis Horner caused problems in the visitors goalmouth and when Doumbouya nodded goalwards, it was knocked clear by the hand of defender Dan Seaborne. Penalty was the obvious choice, but we are talking about Scottish referee's here and play continued without anything given. Rather odd considering Mr Aitken had a good view of the incident. Doumbouya was giving the defenders more hassle and he headed a through ball down towards Iain Vigurs. The ball broke kindly to Mulraney but a despairing lunge by a defender blocked what would have been a certain goal. Greg Tansey twisted and turned his way into the box on the end of a ball forward, but as defenders fell around him, he took one turn too many and the chance was lost as former County keepr Gary Woods narrowed the angle to make a tremendous block and deny the twinkle toed midfielder. I felt he could easily have scored with one touch less as he looked for the immaculate finish. We cut open Accies again as Ross Draper was brilliantly set up by Doumbouya and a busier than usual Iain Vigurs, but he lashed his effort from the edge of the box just over the bar when it looked easier to score. Plenty to enthuse over in a busy first half, but no goals for us as the visitors went in at the break a goal to the good despite Inverness dominating the game. Half Time 0-1 Just after the interval D'Acol brought out a smart save by Fon Williams, low to his left and Doumbouya headed just wide at the other end. We started to up the pace even more after the break and six minutes in we were rewarded with a spanking goal from Larnell Cole, his first for us. Mulraney and Vigurs combined well as they entered the box before Cole stepped in to lash the ball high into the net from seventeen yards, ably assisted by the underside of the bar. Fabulous goal and great reward for the young loan star. That goal opened the game out once more and Accies tried to get their noses in front again. It took a flying save from Fon Williams to prevent them from doing so as a tackle come shot was heading for the top corner before the keepers timely intervention. It was end to end stuff now as the action picked up and Tansey was foiled again, this time it looked as though his goalbound shot struck the back of his own players legs and the ball was hacked clear by a relieved defence. Ali Crawford saw an effort similar to Draper's one curl just over as both teams looked for a winner, but try as they might it never came. Fon Williams made a meal of a long range free kick, pushing the ball out when it looked easier to gather it, but hey ho, he kept the ball out this time. and as the Hamilton corner count increased the game ended with no further scoring. Full Time 1-1 Both sides will feel they could have won this game and fair play to Hamilton for coming out of their shell and having a go to make it an enjoyable spectacle for the fans. Good to see that Fon Williams has a sense of humour after his suspect positioning for the Accies goal. Another free kick in a similar location saw a stinging comment from one fan who shouted, "mind your near post this time". Despite the occasion, he found time to give the thumbs up to quell any fears we all had. Happy days. To be fair to the keeper, he had been struggling all week to make the game and it was touch and go whether we would actually have a keeper at all with Esson also unable to kick properly. Ross Draper courted a red card after his booking earlier in the game. We all held our breath as he made a couple of robust challenges. Careful Ross, Careful. tm4tj MotM is going to Larnell Cole, not just for his tremendous goal but his work rate was good and he got involved in plenty of attacks. This was a vast improvement from the grim performance at Perth and with news that Liam Polworth, Alex Fisher and Scott Boden are nearing full fitness then things will hopefully pick up. Gary Warren should be back from suspension so we might have a full bench next week. Anyway, good to come back and get a point, a point that lifts us off the bottom. Date: 10/12/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2473 Referee: Greg Aitken Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams, Tremarco, Meekings, Draper, Vigurs, Mulraney, Tansey, Horner (King 86), Mckay, Doumbouya, Cole Subs (not used): Esson, Doran, Sutherland, Gilchrist, Robertson, Maclennan. Scorers: Cole (51) Booked: Draper (35), McKay (85), King (89) Sent Off: none Hamilton Acc: 1 Lineup: Woods, Seaborne, Gillespie, Imrie, Docherty, D'Acol (Redmond 67), Crawford, Longridge (Bingham 67), Mackinnon, McMann, Sarris. Subs (not used): Thomson, Brophy, Donati, Cunningham, Hughes Scorers: Crawford (16) Booked: Imrie (57), Gillespie (73), McMann (75) Sent Off: none a
  8. Winning Ugly Will Do Due to results last week, we find ourselves looking up the table at the rest of the teams in the league and the visit of Hamilton takes on a bit more significance given the respective position of both teams. It doesn't have to be pretty, it's points that matter. We have hit rock bottom after defeat at Perth and from here on, the only way is up. It's still early days, but given our indifferent form and injury problems then it's difficult to see an instant solution to the mini crisis that we find ourselves in. Of course, we are not helping our cause by having key players suspended at a time when injuries are wreaking havoc with our continuity. Greg Tansey, Lewis Horner and now Gary Warren have all fallen foul of the beaks in the last few weeks and that was on top of injuries robbing us of Liam Polworth in midfield and with defenders David Raven and Brad Mckay out it has left us struggling to fill the vacancies. Last time out we went down after an insipid display in Perth. It ended 3-0 to St Johnstone and we can have no complaints after Gary Warren was stupidly sent packing. Luxury midfielder Iain Vigurs has been taking some flak for his lackadaisical approach and inability to track back after giving away possession. This has been well documented in recent topics on the forum and it's something that needs addressed. The lack of protection for our overworked defence is one reason we are conceding more goals than ever. As for the Accies, they once more let a lead slip after Alex D'Acol opened the scoring 15 minutes in. As is their trademark this season, they turned three points into one when Partick equalised through Welsh on the hour. We think our season is bad with only three wins to date, Well Accies can top that with just two wins. The reason they are above us is nine draws. They have the ability to turn defeats into draws, whereas we manage to turn draws into defeats. In saying that, there is only one point between the clubs. The league is so congested we could jump from 12th to 6th depending on other results provided we can beat Accies. On the other hand, defeat would be a bit of a mini disaster. The first meeting between the clubs this season ended in stalemate but it took a very late Liam Polworth strike to snatch a point after D'Acol scored in the eighteenth minute. That ended a six game winning sequence at New Douglas Park for us and it was the second time in a week that Accies had thrown away a winning advantage. Times have changed though and since Richie Foran won the manager of the month award in September, the curse has struck and we find ourselves floundering at the bottom, unable to stick together a run of results to steer clear of problems. It's the same for all the clubs in the lower part of the league though as only the top five are making any headway with Celtic the clear winners at this stage. They did everybody else a favour last night by beating Partick Thistle. A chink of light at the end of the injury tunnel as news that Liam Polworth is making better than expected progress on his injured ankle and could return within the month or sooner. Even better news is that Brad Mckay could return against Accies to ease our defensive problems and on top of that Lewis Horner is free from suspension, albeit he is just a stop gap defender at the moment, but this will be seen as an opportunity to further his case for inclusion every week with David Raven out for at least another month. Gary Warren is suspended and that's a blow as our defence has been creaking all season. Up front Alex Fisher and Scott Boden are both out and that leaves big Lonsana Doumbouya on his lonesome again. Accies have midfielder Gramos Kurtaj out for around a month with an ankle knock. Also out are long term absentees Remi Mathews (GK), Jesus Garcia and Craig Watson. tm4tj prediction:- Oh dear, if ever we needed a morale boosting win, it has to be today against one of the other seven sides in fear of relegation. Below St Johnstone, nobody is safe and any side that can get a winning run going will feel an awful lot better. We are terrible at the back this season with an unsettled formation due to injuries and suspension. Our midfield is depleted and work shy and up front it's the same old same old with a lone striker and underachieving wide players I don't see much changing to be honest as we struggle to get players on the park. Accies have always given youth a chance and in Ali Crawford they have a match winner worth watching closely. We have never found it easy to get the better of Hamilton in the Highlands and I don't see it being any different today. As we find it embarrassingly difficult to keep a clean sheet, I'm going for a score draw as Accies dig in. Nothing new there.
  9. Too easy for Dons Aberdeen won convincingly 1-3 with Kevin Clancy instrumental in the first two Dons goals. He was probably man of the match as the Dons won for the first time in five attempts. Lonsana Doumbouya glanced a wonderful opener for Inverness but after that it was Aberdeen that took full advantage of Clancy's assistance. A dubious free kick saw McLean level the scores and after another accidental clash, Clancy saw fit to award a spot kick which Rooney gratefully accepted to slot home. Clancy continued to control the flow of the game as the Aberdeen players threw themselves to the ground at will and it was no surprise (or maybe it was) when Maddison was eventually booked for simulation. They added a third deep into the game when they broke swiftly and McLean completed the scoring. One more assist from Clancy and he would have kept the match ball. Unbelievable Jeff! Plenty to ponder over for Inverness boss Richie Foran as the injury list grows, Brad Mckay stretchered off in the second half as we begin to court the fringes of the relegation tussle this early in the season. RIG was a bit miffed, but managed to squeeze out this report for us................... Some absolute telt today from Aberdeen to Inverness. A really comfortable Dons performance and an easy three points heading back along the A96. Decent start from Aberdeen but we took the lead against the run of play when Draper lifted a cute ball into the box and Doumbouya appeared in acres of space to steer a header past Lewis to put us one up. After that it was pretty much all Aberdeen with any chances for ICT at a premium. Hayes turned in an absolutely stunning performance and a lot of the Aberdeen attacks were coming down the ICT right with Hayes linking up well with Shinnie and also Maddison who was always on offer when Aberdeen drove through the middle. After a Maddison free kick was easily repelled by the Inverness wall McLean had better luck when he curled the ball low round the right edge of the wall and inside the post. A really good free kick and it brought Aberdeen deservedly level. The award of the free kick looked pretty suspect. Maddison seemed to go down very easily, a recurring theme over the course of the game sadly, but disappointing that we didn't defend the resultant strike a bit better. Minutes later Aberdeen were ahead. Hayes scampered into the box and Warren struggled to stay with him and Hayes went down as he collided with Warren. There was certainly contact between the two as Hayes clearly tripped over Warrens outstretched leg but, and this is coming with massive ICT bias, I did wonder if perhaps Warren had just planted his leg slightly ahead of Hayes which the winger then went down over. Regardless, I can probably see why Clancy gave it and again it was poor defending in the first place to let Hayes break into the box like that. Rooney had no issues finding the net with the penalty. Sadly, given how little we had threatened since our opening goal even at 2-1 down I couldn't see a way back into the game for us. However Tremarco saw an effort go wide and McLean nearly bagged his second when a shot that looked like it was already going wide was turned around the post by Fon Williams. Half Time 1-2 Into the second half and it was much the same with the Dons dominating proceedings and ICT resorting to lumping long balls in the vague direction of Doumboya. Aberdeen almost went 3 - 1 up when a fine cross from the right found Considine in the box and his downward header was met by Fon Williams who somehow managed to scramble it away. Aberdeen then saw a great chance for Shinnie go begging as he sped down the left and was picked out with a fine pass from Maddison however the former ICT man shot straight at Fon Williams. Maddison then paid the price for some of his earlier antics when he went down in the box under a challenge by Meekings and was booked. It was difficult to tell from the other end of the pitch if this was justified or not but given his previous histrionics and because I'm a seething, bitter mess right now I'm inclined to say yes. Shortly after Maddison nearly made headlines for better reasons as a fine free kick cracked off the base of the post with Fon Williams well beaten. ICT then lost Mckay to injury after a bad challenge from Shinnie which inexplicably went unpunished from Clancy. Aberdeen eventually got their deserved third goal when they seized on ICT losing possession after a corner and Hayes broke rapidly towards goal and he teed up McLean who drilled the ball past Fon Williams to seal the points. A really good counter attacking goal which triggered a mass exodus from the home support. Full Time 1-3 We seldom had a chance to speak of in the second half. A header from Doumbouya had Lewis scrambling to turn it over the bar, Draper wriggled into the box but his shot wasn't powerful enough to get past Lewis and Tremarco poked a late effort goalwards without really causing any difficulty. If we had got a goal back it would have made the game look a lot closer than it really was. Overall there can't be any complaints about the result and having read the comments from Foran it's good to see he's not trying to dress it up as anything other than what it was - a sound beating by a much better team. Clancy was an absolute omnishambles today with some really questionable calls. His decision not to at least give Shinnie a yellow card for his challenge on Mckay was bizarre as was his incredible call to allow Maddison to go down claiming he was injured, wave play on but then halt play as we got to the edge of the Aberdeen penalty area and allow Maddison to get treatment. But he wasn't the reason for our downfall today. There were plenty of errors from ICT that we should look to address before the next run of crucial games coming up against the likes of Dundee, Hamilton and Killie. Granted we were missing important players in Tansey and Polworth but our sole tactic of leathering it towards Doumbouya was easily being snuffed out by Considine and O'Connor yet we still persisted with it. Joe Lewis is enormous yet we played high balls into the six yard box most of the time we got our crosses in. As for our free kicks....Jesus wept. We really lack a striker who can play off the last defender and a midfielder with a real eye for a pass to play that hypothetical striker in. As it stands we are quite direct and rigidly stick to that direct style come what may. It might work well against some teams but it definitely wasn't working today and we didn't really have a clue what to do about it. In summary.... Date: 19/11/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium, Inverness Attendance: 4867 Referee: Kevin Clancy Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams, McKay (Horner 76), Warren, Meekings, Tremarco, Draper, Vigurs, Doran, Cole (Mulraney 70), King (Fisher 84), Doumbouya Subs (not used): Esson, Boden, Sutherland Scorers: Doumbouya (15) Booked: Vigurs (53) Sent Off: none Aberdeen: 3 Lineup: Lewis, Logan, Considine, O'Connor, Shinnie (Reynolds 91), Maddison (Taylor 74), McLean, Jack, Hayes, Stockley (McGinn 73), Rooney Subs (not used): Alexander, Pawlett, Morris, Storey Scorers: McLean (28, 89), Rooney (pen.33) Booked: Maddison (67) Sent Off: none
  10. A visit from our second string Aberdeen are the visitors on Saturday as domestic football returns after the international break. It's a distraction from the domestic scene that we could do without, although sometimes it enables one or two to recover from injuries. Unfortunately, not in our case with Polly and Raven sidelined and Tansey falling foul of the beaks. Sounds more like an aviary than a dressing room. I'm sure the Dons will be showcasing a handful of our ex-players as they come to the Caledonian Stadium looking for their first win over us at the fifth time of asking. So hello Jonny, Graeme, Adam, Miles and Greg. It will be a frosty reception for them in more ways than one as the temperatures dropped overnight leaving the surrounding area with a crisp white coating. I hope the cental heating is on. Some good news for Caley Jags fans this week as Alex Fisher and Carl Tremarco are reported to be pretty close to signing on for more duty in the Highlands. Our last outing saw us go down 3-0 at Parkhead. We kept it close until half time but with the sending off at the second goal we were always going to be under the cosh and I suppose we got off lightly by keeping it to 3-0. Aberdeen's last game was a hard earned 2-1 win at Partick Thistle. Anthony O'Connor and Jayden Stockley scored the goals that gave them all three points. That shows them sitting in second place in the league on twenty-one points, seven ahead of Inverness. James Maddison is one to watch for the Dons. The youngster on loan from Norwich City has been in sparkling form and can take a decent free kick as he showed with that winner against the Rangers. Miles Storey has been a noticeable omission from Aberdeen line-ups since leaving us. Interesting suggestions that a swap for Greg Tansey might be on the cards is certainly exciting Caley Jags fans. I think we can live with that. We have a loan player of our own who is looking to get more game time after a series of setbacks since coming North. Larnell Cole, on loan from Fulham has struggled with injuries since joining but the absence of Polworth and Tansey could offer him the chance of a start against the Dons. Lonsana Doumbouya made his international debut for Guinea during the break. Unfortunately they lost out 2-1 to the Democratic Republic of Congo after leading. Great confidence for Doumbouya though and some recognition for his recent goal run prior to the Celtic game. If we can provide some service for the big striker, he may get back on the goal trail, and he makes a decent target for Jake Mulraney, Billy King and Aaron Doran to hit. Inverness will be without the suspended Greg Tansey after his early bath at Parkhead. Liam Polworth also fell foul in that game after an unpunished tackle by Leigh Griffiths saw the promising Inverness youngster end up with a leg/ankle plaster. He will be out for at least two months. David Raven will miss out with a head knock and Kevin McNaughton is out long term. Aberdeen have pretty much a clean bill of health with defender Ash Taylor looking for a start and Scott Wright ready for action. tm4tj prediction:- It's been a turbulent world over the last couple of weeks. What, with Donald Trump winning in America and Ed Balls still in Strictly despite doing a Gangnam style Salsa. It just goes to show that anything is possible. Prior to the Celtic game I was looking forward to this clash, but the edge has been taken off our squad with suspension and injury. That could open the door for Aberdeen to exploit. On the other hand, it will also create change in our engine room, an area we have been sadly deficient over recent weeks. It may make for more creativity if players are deployed in their best positions, like Iain Vigurs pulling the strings in central midfield and Ross Draper dictating in the holding roll. I'm not sure I can see any better than a point from this one as we regroup, although Aberdeen have not beaten us in four games now. A plus for us is that the Dons might be keeping one eye on next weeks League Cup final
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. 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
  14. 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.
  15. 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
  16. 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........
  17. 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
  18. 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.............
  19. 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 https://www.youtube.com/user/splofficial 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
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. "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...................
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