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  1. Weather Permitting............. We will try and play Falkirk again at the Caledonian Stadium on Tuesday night with a 7:45pm kick off. There has been heavy frost for a few nights now on top of a pretty wet surface and a pitch inspection has been called for 11:00am on Tuesday morning to see if the game will go ahead. Inverness went down 1-0 at Paisley over the weekend despite creating plenty of opportunities to get something from the game. Both managers agreed it could easily have been a draw but with 20 goal Gavin Reilly in your side, it was St Mirren that took all three points whilst our goal shy strikers, (using the word loosely), squandered everything that came their way. However, Robbo was not too despondent given the effort they put in and the chances created but admits a bit of quality in front of goal would not go amiss. Unfortunately Nathan Austin lasted less than ten minutes before pulling up with what appears to be a slight hamstring injury. George Oakley, John Baird and Connor Bell all missed from decent positions, that's been a familiar pattern this season. Conversely, Falkirk went goal happy and absolutely thrashed Dundee United 6-1. What was so unusual about that scoreline was the fact that the Bairns were the lowest scorers in the league prior to this game. Only twelve goals from eighteen games - that equates to 2/3 of a goal per game. Billy King had the temerity to put United ahead, but goals from Peter Grant and Reghan Tumilty before the break and a double from new signing Louis Longridge after as well as strikes from Tommy Robson and Lewis Kidd ended the humiliation for title contenders United. That really was a bolt from the blue but could be just what the Bairns needed to kick start their season. Despite that crushing win, Falkirk are still seven points adrift of Inverness, have scored less, and conceded more. Since the 0-2 League Cup defeat up here, we have drawn 0-0 at Falkirk and won the IrnBru tie 1-0, which shows that we have improved from a slow start to the campaign. This game has been postponed a couple of times already, here's hoping the weather relents a bit. Inverness missed the control of Iain Vigurs at the weekend through suspension but he will be included in the squad for this one. Nathan Austin pulled up during the Paisley game and will miss out. Coll Donaldson also missed the weekend game after being injured against Brechin City. Falkirk welcomed Louis Longridge into their squad and they got instant payback when he scored twice against the Arabs. Along with Longridge, Tommy Robson, Andrew Nelson, and Reghan Tumilty all started against United and their squad is now unrecognisable since the start of the season when little went right. It would appear that Paul Hartley is slowly starting to turn things around which is bad news for the teams above the Bairns. tm4tj prediction:- despite our loss at the weekend, there was enough on display to suggest we were close to getting something out of the game against the leaders. Since the defeat to Falkirk in the League Cup, it was clear that they were not the force they had been in previous seasons and we have upped our game as well, especially in defence. We will do well to keep our distance from Falkirk and that might be the game plan. I'm going for a scoring draw with a home win as second best bet. If you like goals and seeing Dundee United getting thrashed, here's the seven goals from United's destruction at the weekend.
  2. Time for Vigurs to grow up. For the third game in a row, Inverness were reduced to ten men after Iain Vigurs got a second yellow for an attempted overhead kick. However it was the circumstances surrounding the first yellow that leaves a nasty taste in the mouth and something our talented midfielder needs to grow out of. Many felt that his sending off changed the game. We were leading 1-0 at the time after Aaron Doran drilled in the opener, but Livi levelled in the second half when Alan Lithgow headed home unchallenged. John Robertson made a few changes to the starting XI, some enforced and some to freshen up the side. Carl Tremarco missed out through suspension and Colin Seedorf through injury. John Baird paid the price for his lack of goals and George Oakley started. Connor Bell made way for Aaron Doran and captain Gary Warren returned to the defence. Brad Mckay was the right back and Joe Chalmers filled Tremarco's boots. Nathan Austin began on the bench with David Raven who would make his last home appearance for the Caley Jags later in the game when Chalmers had to leave the field through injury. It all started so well for Inverness and Aaron Doran scored in the sixth minute with a low shot placed beyond the keeper from within the left side of the box. It was starting to look good for the hosts and a Doran cross/shot bounced off the crossbar as we searched for a second goal. Liam Polworth was booked for fouling Josh Mullin in the 36th minute. Iain Vigurs poked his nose in and was also foolishly booked and that would lead to his dismissal later in the game, just before the break. Gary Warren had a header saved as we pressed hard then in the 43rd minuted after a scramble in the Livi box Vigurs was shown a second yellow followed by a red for his attempted overhead. The Livi defender doing the dying swan act obviously caught the referee's attention and that was sufficient to see Vigurs head for an early bath. Livi were nowhere to be seen in the first half, but that sending off would change the shape of the game and ultimately the outcome. Half Time 1-0 Robbo reacted at the interval by removing Jake Mulraney and fitting Ricardo Calder in at left back and moving Joe Chalmers into the space vacated by Vigurs' departure. That would change again when Chalmers had to leave the field and Raven ended up at left back with Calder moving into midfield. Down to ten men for the third game in a row is something that Robbo needs to look into and the flow of the game began to swing towards Livi now as we reshuffled. However, we still looked dangerous on the break and should have scored a second when Trafford burst into the box only for his cross to fall awkwardly for Doran and the moment passed without him getting a clean shot away. Livi were seeing plenty of the ball but most of their crosses were mopped up by the home defence and keeper Mark Ridgers. Just when it looked as though we might hold out for all three points, Livi equaised. Raven and Calder combined to give away a free kick on the Livi right. When Raffaele De Vita swung in the ball it was Lithgow who climbed first to head past Ridgers as our defence watched on. Liam Polworth almost scored after the restart when he gathered a ball just outside the box but his curled effort just shaved the side netting on it's way past the post with the keeper beaten. We did manage another couple of moments around the visitors box after the introduction of Nathan Austin who seems to have the abiity to drift past defenders as if they were not there. Surprisingly, we almost lost the game in injury time when Dale Carrick skied a shot over when it looked much easier to at least hit the target and thus endedeth the match. Full Time 1-1 Iain Vigurs needs to have a word with himself. Having an abundance of skill is no use to anyone when you are taking an early bath. There is no doubt in my mind that his sending off cost us two points and the chance to climb the table next week. Nathan Austin looks a tasty addition and Aaron Doran took his goal well. Mark Ridgers was fairly comfortable all afternoon and will be disappointed in the defence at the goal. Chalmers went off injured as well and that will be another midfielder missing for the next game with Vigurs needlessly out. David Raven played his final home game coming on around the hour and got a good send off at the end as the fans chanted his name. Difficult to pick a MotM in this one with so many playing in unfamiliar roles. I'll go for Gary Warren who returned to the heart of the defence and made some crucial tackles and blocks as Livi used their extra man to good effect late in the game. However, it's not a point gained but two dropped when others around us were drawing, so Vigurs, think about your actions next time for the good of the team and not your own inflated ego. You let your team mates down today. If I'm honest, it's not just today as he has been booked far too many times for petulant immature actions all too often. Tough game next week away to St Mirren who were held to a 1-1 draw by Morton today. Video footage and match reaction to follow....... Date: 02/01/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2239 Referee: Greg Aitken Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay, Donaldson, Warren, Chalmers (Raven 58), Polworth, Trafford, Vigurs, Mulraney (Calder 45), Oakley, Doran (Austin 70). Subs (not used): .Esson; Baird, Bell, Cooper. Scorers: Doran (6) Booked: Vigurs (36), Polworth (36), Calder (81) Sent Off: Vigurs (43) Livingston: 1 Lineup: Alexander; Lithgow, Halkett, Gallagher, Longridge, Byrne, Mullin (Todorov 66), Cadden (Carrick 58), De Vita, Mackin (Robinson 66), Pittman Subs (not used): Knox, Malley Scorers: Lithgow (82) Booked: Gallagher (41), Halkett (84) Sent Off: none a
  3. New Year, New Striker? Livingston are the first footers on 2nd January 2018 at 15:00 as we look to build on our hard fought away win at Brechin in the final game of 2017 when we came from behind to win with ten men. An upset looked to be on the cards after we squandered an early lead at Glebe Park. Jordan Sinclair scored from the spot then volleyed home a tremendous second before the break to give Brechin some hope. Substitute George Oakley levelled the game but Carl Tremarco picked up a second yellow, therefore a red to give the hosts some impetus. However, some baller skills from big Coll ended up with Oakley tapping home his second and the winner to give us all three points which might have been harsh on Brechin, but showed some real determination from Inverness and that was not lost on Robbo in his post match reaction. Livi had a break before the bells when their game with Dunfermline was called off, one of six SPFL games to fall foul of the weather. Their previous game saw them thump Dumbarton 4-1 at the Rock, with goals coming from Craig Halkett, Scott Pittman, Dylan Mackin and Scott Robinson The current report card for Livi will show that they have made a tremendous start to life in the Championship and sit comfortably within the play-off positions at the end of 2017. However, more recent defeats to St Mirren and Dundee United and a draw against Falkirk have taken some of the shine off their results. Our own report card will show much improvement, but more required to make the play-off zone. Livi are third in the table on 29 points, four places above Inverness on 23 points. Defensively there is nothing between the sides, but Livi have the edge in attack with 28 goals to our 21. In fact, if you take Brechin out of the equation, then we would have only ten goals to our credit! Thank you Brechin City, call again. In the previous games this season, Livi came out on top in the first encounter winning 3-1 at the Caledonian Stadium when Todorov, Robertson and Halkett answered a Connor Bell strike. The return at the Pasta Place saw us draw 0-0 during our record breaking clean sheet run. So, we have improved, but a draw at Palmerston, defeat at Cappielow and a scrambled win at Brechin show we still have some way to go before we can consider ourselves candidates. David Raven could return after suspension in what could be his final game for the Caley Jags. Carl Tremarco will miss this one after being red carded at Brechin. Collin Seedorf is a doubt after being subbed at Brechin. New signing Nathan Austin could be in line for a start, but will have to climb over George Oakley to get it unless Robbo realises that scoring goals is not John Baird's best attribute and finally benches him. There's no doubting Baird's commitment, but scoring goals is not for him at the moment. Matt Elsdon and Big Susan look to be on their way out after failing to impress for whatever reasons. Nathan has plenty of style as you can see from this photoshoot. Welcome to the Caley Jags. Livi will have to do without the Mullen streak. Five goal striker Daniel Mullen signed for St Mirren on loan in mid-December and that will become permanent in January along with a five figure fee. Possible line-up for Livi: Alexander, Penrice, Lithgow, Gallagher, Halkett, Mullin, Jacobs, Byrne, Pittman, Boyd, Toderov or Makin. tm4tj prediction:- Let's not get too carried away after a stirring performance to beat Brechin. Yes, that's right, it was only Brechin. With Neil Alexander in goal, that makes it a more difficult task, and having Halkett, Pittman and Todorov in your side, goals are a distinct possibility. However, with results mainly on the up I will be looking for at least a point from this game. Anything less would be a severe setback to our aspirations and will have us looking over our shoulders once more. More info on Official Site
  4. I was there when John Baird scored. Inverness cruised to victory against bottom club Brechin City thanks to two early goals and another two later in the second half to secure a comfortable 4-0 win. Goals from Brad Mckay, John Baird, Connor Bell and George Oakley secured the points on a chilly winter night, the pitch heavy and proving difficult to move the ball around quickly. A crowd of 1801 braved the dropping temperatures to witness a rare occasion, a John Baird goal in this re-scheduled fixture, the first one being postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. Gary Warren returned to the bench with Brad Mckay re-instated alongside Coll Donaldson after his suspension. The disciplined Iain Vigurs was replaced by Charlie Trafford in midfield. Brechin were as expected, with Isaac Layne ploughing a lone furrow up front.The same man has the power to carry it off though and caused a few problems with his burly physique. There was almost a dream start for Brechin as a long ball forward sat up nicely for Connor McLennan on the edge of our box. Ridgers was caught in no mans land and a subtle lob left him stranded, but the ball bounced back out off the base of the post. A let off for Inverness before we got going and a warning we heeded. In the seventh minute we went ahead, Brad Mckay crashing a close range volley high into the net direct from a Polworth corner. Two minutes later and it was joy for John Baird. The striker had not scored for over a couple of months, but he capitalised on a defensive mix up by a pair of Smiths to squeeze the ball home from ten yards for number two after it broke kindly to him off the defender and keepers lack of communication. We dominated the half but the game went quiet, for long periods, akin to a Sunday afternoon kick-about. Isaac Layne made some powerful bursts, but Coll Donaldson and Brad Mckay were equal to him overall. Jake Mulraney was a menace to the visiting defence throughout and he was unfortunate not to break his duck on a couple of occasions. Half Time 2-0 Connor Bell headed in number three early in the half to put the game to bed and that allowed us to make some alterations with Aaron Doran getting more game time. Our intricate play was not helped as the heavy pitch deteriorated and made simple things difficult. Substitute Alex Cooper hit a ferocious shot that Keeper Smith did well to beat away but he was helpless when another sub, Goerge Oakley ran onto a tidy through ball from Trafford to flick it round the advancing keeper. Cool finish from Oakley who is beginning to look the part. As said earlier, Layne was the one Brechin player that looked mildly menacing but Ridgers was untroubled for the entire ninety minutes as he froze his bells off between the sticks. Full Time 4-0 A convincing win for Inverness against a side that drew with Dundee United at the weekend. Conditions were not conducive to silky football, and what skill was displayed came from the home side. Overall, an excellent win in what could have been a potential banana skin game. Best for Inverness were Brad Mckay, Jake Mulraney (first half) Liam Polworth, and my MotM Coll Donaldson. Good in defence, quick and willing to play the ball out of defence when required. Date: 28/11/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1801 Referee: Craig Charleston Inverness CT: 4 Lineup: Ridgers; Raven, Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Chalmers, Polworth, Trafford, Mulraney (Cooper, 80), Bell (Doran, 63), Baird (Oakley, 63) Subs (not used): Mackay, Warren, Calder, Seedorf Scorers: Mckay (7), Baird (9), Bell (52), Oakley (87) Booked: Chalmers (57) Sent Off: none Brechin City: 0 Lineup: G Smith; McLean, Dyer (Lynas, 55), Dale, Graham, Layne, Watt (Sinclair, 70), Spark, McLennan (Orsi, 76), Crighton, E Smith Subs (not used): Fusco, O'Neil Scorers: none Booked: Dyer (12) Sent Off: none
  5. Still 693 and counting. With the Brechin game being called off in midweek, our next visitors will be a much more difficult proposition and the clean sheet record will be well tested. St Mirren are the next club attempting to breach our defence, something they managed four times in the previous fixture this season in Paisley. To be honest, the record, 693 minutes, is a welcome notch in the clubs history, but let's not let it detract from the job in hand. Three points is the aim in each match, clean sheets or not. The Brechin game fell foul of the weather on Tuesday. Constant heavy rain for hours on end scuppered any chance of the game going ahead as it got heavier as the day wore on. St Mirren went on a scoring spree last Saturday as they were involved in a Scottish Cup 3rd round encounter with Lothian Thistle Hutchinson Vale.The Championship side knocked in seven goals in the first half, with Gavin Reilly helping himself to four before being substituted in the 67th minute. The Buddies sit second in the table despite no wins in their last three. Draws against Falkirk and Morton and defeat at Tannadice has seen the Arabs hit the top, but St Mirren have a game in hand over leaders Dundee United who lead by three. St Mirren have scored 24 goals in their dozen games so far and have conceded 17. That's 11 goals more than us although we are one better off in defence thanks to our recent run of seven games without conceding. They got the better of Inverness earlier in the season by virtue of a 4-2 win. It rained goals in thirteen second half minutes. When the dust settled, it was the Buddies that took the points. Goals from Lewis Morgan, Gregor Buchanan, Cammy Smith and Ian McShane did the damage with John Baird and Liam Polworth replying for Inverness. John Robertson has Aaron Doran back after a two year injury hell. The wide player featured against Falkirk in the IrnBru cup and will benefit from more match sharpness as the season progresses. Jake Mulraney returns after international duty with the Irish u21 side where he scored a superb solo goal. Brad Mckay is suspended and that opens the door for a return to the heart of the defence for captain Gary Warren. Collin Seedorf and Zak Elbouzedi are making progress and could be included in the squad. Big Susie is still out. Jack Ross has Gary McKenzie's back in training but not available for this one. tm4tj prediction:- St Mirren have not fared as well away from Paisley where they have only dropped two points this season. Away from home they have lost three times which offers us a glimmer of hope. Our form has got better as the season lengthens. A win is a big ask, but we are well capable of matching the opposition. I'm looking for a narrow home win. More details are on the Official Site
  6. 693 minutes and counting. Bottom club Brechin City are next up for Inverness at the Caledonian Stadium on Tuesday evening with a 19:45 kick off scheduled. City are without a win this season from the twelve league games played and have only two points to show for their efforts. That has planted them firmly at the foot of the table and are no doubt the bookies favourites for automatic relegation. They have scored just eight goals and more importantly have conceded twenty-five. So, scoring 0.6 of a goal a game and losing just over two. That's the form that justifies their position at the moment. On the face of it, City have a lot to do. However, closer inspection shows that their last five league games were tight affairs only losing by one goal in each game. Those defeats were by St Mirren, Morton, Queen of the South, Livingston and Dumbarton. The Dumbarton game was particularly hard to take with the Sons scoring the winner in the 90th minute. And the icing on the cake; it was a Willie Dyer own goal. Brechin had a Scottish Cup game at Buckie on Saturday and were 2-1 down at the interval. Jordan Sinclair had scored a leveler in the first half and substitute Isaac Layne equalised again on the hour. Layne scored the winner with four minutes left. It may only have been Buckie Thistle, but that was a tremendous and much needed confidence booster for Brechin, and Isaac Layne will be one to watch when they come North on Tuesday night. He may just have played himself into the starting eleven for Tuesday. Inverness are on a record breaking run at the moment. Seven games without conceding has seen us edge our way up the table. Still a long way to go, but what a transformation from our opening couple of months. Defeat at Dumbarton on 23rd September with Gary Warren red carded saw us only two points better off than Brechin and morale at an all time low. we started the record breaking run with a hard fought goalless draw against Queen of the South. It was not a classic, but a determined effort and the team were under strict orders to keep Queens at bay. It worked and things have looked up ever since. It's great credit to Mark Ridgers and his defence that we have continued that run. Coll Donaldson is doing so well at the moment that captain Gary Warren can not get back in the side just now. Long may it continue. The manager of the month curse has not struck yet and our last game saw us beat Falkirk 1-0 in the IrnBru cup quarter final. Our previous game was a 0-0 at Livingston. A far cry from the beating we took in Inverness by Livi two months earlier. Robbo has one or two more players available since the break. Aaron Doran was a surprise substitute against Falkirk. He had played in a charity game at Dingwall, as did Collin Seedorf and Zak Elbouzedi. The injury list is shortening, though the returning players may well need more fitness training before being rushed into a full match. It was great to see Doran back on the park after his two year injury hell and he will be like a new signing when he is fully fit. Jake Mulraney missed the cup game against Falkirk but is available after playing with the Ireland u21 side where he scored a confidence boosting spectacular solo goal. Brad Mckay is suspended which paves the way for Gary Warren to return to the heart of the defence alongside Coll Donaldson. Darren Dods starting XI at Buckie was: Smith, Crighton, Fusco, Smith, McLean, Watt, Graham, Dale, Dyer, Orsi, Sinclair. On the bench were Love, Layne, O'Neil, Lynas, Spark, O'Neil. tm4tj Prediction:- Brechin are not the soft touch that their league position suggests. However, having defeated them twice already this season I would expect us to eventually be too strong for them. Comfortable home win after grinding them down. Maybe we can continue the clean sheet run as well, that would be a bonus, but it's the three points that are important here. Jake Mulraney should come back into the starting line-up and that will give us plenty pace up front. He and Connor Bell were starting to form a willing partnership and a couple of assists for Bell from Jake were sowing the seeds for the future. The Scottish Cup draw has given us an away tie at Premiership club Dundee in January. On Sunday 26th November, Hibernian will be the challengers for our youth squad in the 4th round of the Scottish Youth Cup. Admission is free, so come along and support the young team. The game kicks of at 13:00. Watch Jake Mulraney goal from 30 seconds in to this highlights................
  7. Bell ends the contest Inverness eased their way into the semi-final of the IrnBru Challenge Cup thanks to a second half goal from striker Connor Bell, his fifth goal of the season. In doing this, we also established a new record for consecutive clean sheets. That's seven in a row now. By my calculations, that's 693 minutes of play without conceding, give or take a minute or two. Fantastic effort guys. Alex Cooper replaced Jake Mulraney who was on u21 international duty. For Falkirk, Kevin O'Hara began his eight match suspension and Nathan Austin, Alex Harris and James Craigen all started. Chances were at a premium in this tight contest but after a dogged first half, Inverness gradually got on top and their presence in the Falkirk half eventually paid off when the ball broke to Bell after a headed clearance cannoned off the back of John Baird into the path of Bell. He steadied himself before firing through Robbie Thomson to score the only goal of the game. Inverness were able to see out the game without too much fuss. Falkirks best moments came in the first half when Coll Donaldson cleared one off the line and Myles Hippolyte fluffed a couple of good opportunities. Carl Tremarco was voted MotM on Alba TV, Connor Bell got the vote from the match sponsors, but there were a few worthy winners. Aaron Doran was a surprise inclusion on the bench and he got on the park for the final twenty minutes. Great to see the wee winger back on the field after his horrendous injury problems over the last two seasons. The draw for the semi-finals will take place on Tuesday. Included in this are Crusaders from Northern Ireland, Dumbarton and the winners of Sunday's tie between Welsh league side New Saints and Queen of the South. Robboquote:- "The players are now playing for the name on the front of the jersey rather than the name on the back". Falkirk Manager Paul Hartley felt his side were a bit unfortunate. Highlights from Falkirk TV The BBC Alba broadcast of the game can be seen on iplayer for the next six days ICT -V- Falkirk Date: 11/11/2017 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1078 Referee: Euan Anderson Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: : Ridgers, Raven, Tremarco, Chalmers, Polworth, Baird (Oakley 79), Vigurs, Bell (Calder 86), Cooper (Doran 71), Mckay, Donaldson. Subs (not used): Cameron Mackay (GK), Warren, Trafford, Daniel Mackay. Scorers: Connor Bell (57) Booked: Bell, Tremarco Sent Off: none Falkirk: 0 Lineup: Thomson, McGhee, Muirhead, McKee (Loy 63), Austin (Dunne 71), Hippolyte, Longridge, Harris, Balatoni, Craigen (Blues 84), Watson. Subs (not used): Mutch (GK), Grant, Gasparotto, Gallacher. Scorers: none Booked: Craigen Sent Off: none a
  8. Fizzy Pop Football It's the Irn Bru quarter final today at the Caledonian Stadium and Falkirk are the visitors in a game that will kick off at 17:15. The chance for some silverware for the lower league clubs starts to gain some credence as the latter stages of the competition looms large. For fans living further afield, this game will be live on BBC Alba at 17:15 on Saturday 11th November. The curse has landed at the Caledonian Stadium. You can see the concern etched over the face of Tommy and Robbo on the image here. John Robertson won the Manager of the Month award for October after his side played four games without conceding, winning three and drawing one (Falkirk). Carl Tremarco was part of that achievement and his return to the side after long term injury and his defensive qualities were also rewarded with the Player of the Month trophy. A well deserved double for the club, congratulations to all concerned. Since beating Peterhead 3-0 in the last round, we find ourselves on a bit of a roll. Inverness are gaining in confidence after a sluggish start to the campaign. Goals from Liam Polworth, Riccardo Calder and young Daniel MacKay flattered us slightly, but the clean sheet was instrumental in our confidence booster. The recent league game between the two sides at the Westfield Stadium saw Inverness unfortunate not to win. We are on a bit of a resurgence with six clean sheets in a row, something that was unimaginable earlier in the season. Falkirk have also struggled to get their season going and sit second bottom in the Championship. It's not the position you expect to find the Bairns, but they too are going through a bit of a transition period. In the last round they disposed of Dunfermline Athletic 2-0, goals from Conrad Balatoni and Myles Hippolyte winning the tie. Like us, they have started to pick up recently, but a 4-2 defeat at Queen of the South was not what new manager Paul Hartley was hoping for. An Inverness XI played a bounce game against a Ross County XI in midweek for a good cause, the proceeds going to the Maggie's Highlands Appeal. It was an opportunity to get some of our injured contingent some game time. Collin Seedorf, Aaron Doran, Zak Elbouzedi all featured with Doran scoring. He likes a strike against the County. The game was won by County 3-2, but the real winner was the charity. George Oakley was our other scorer. Jake Mulraney is on international duty with the Ireland u21 squad. Collin Seedorf, Zak Elbouzedi and Aaron Doran will miss out despite playing the challenge game at Dingwall in midweek. Riccardo Calder will be a ready made replacement for Mulraney. Tom Taiwo and Craig Sibbald are out. Paul Hartley confirmed that both have started to do some light running but are well short of first team action. tm4tj Prediction:- It's a break from the league campaign and a chance for some silverware. I expect Falkirk to go into this one with more energy than they showed in the recent league game against us. We are a different beast though and the confidence gained from our unbeaten run will do us no harm at all. This will be a tight affair but home advantage could swing this in our favour. Inverness to edge this one, but it might take penalties to do it. One of our own fans has been getting some high praise for the fantastic sporting artwork she has been producing amongst other things. The talented Sophie Robb, who lives on the Black Isle overlooking the Caledonian Stadium has been producing remarkable images of great local sporting moments, captured in paintings. Some of her work can be seen here. There is also a great article on the BBC website about Sophie. Sophie's Art Well done Sophie, you are a very creative and artistic person. I hope Inverness Caledonian Thistle give you more opportunities to recreate the moment.
  9. Five in a row Inverness recorded their fifth clean sheet in a row to beat Dunfermline 1-0 thanks to a Connor Bell tap in in the 23rd minute after some tidy play down the right flank involving Raven, Baird, Polworth and Mulraney. No surprises in the starting eleven for Inverness as the impressive Coll Donaldson and Brad Mckay continued at the heart of the defence with Joe Chalmers further forward. Gary Warren and Charlie Trafford were on the bench. Goal shy striker John Baird led the line with on fire Jake Mulraney wide right on a bitter and blustery afternoon. Dunfermline started with Fraser Aird keeping Joe Cardle on the bench, but still had plenty of fire power in Kallum Higginbotham, Nicky Clark and Callum Smith all on from the start. Inverness started brightest with the visitors looking content to bide their time. Iain Vigurs tested keeper Sean Murdoch after just four minutes with a rasping shot that seemed to move on it's way to the target, the goalie pulling off a tremendous diving save to deny Vigurs. Fraser Aird replied for the Pars but he shot over as they came out of their shell to check out the other end of the park, and John Baird had a similar attempt in front of the South Stand. Vigurs saw a close range header blocked close to the line as we held the upper hand and it only looked to be a matter of time before we scored the opener. Baird missed the target again but soon after we got our just reward. From a throw in on the right midway through the half, some tidy interplay set Mulraney sprinting along the line before drilling a low cross into the box. An outstretched defending leg only succeeded in teeing up the effervescent Connor Bell who accepted the gift and tapped home. Liam Polworth brought out another fine save from Murdoch as we searched for a second goal, but it was at the other end that an unlikely goal almost came along. An error deep in Inverness territory by Brad McKay let Callum Smith run in on goal from the inside right position. Fortunately for McKay, he scuffed his shot badly and it dribbled well wide of Ridgers' right hand post. It was equal to the effort David Raven tried moments earlier, which looked more like a pass back than a shot from a promising position, meh! Pars had a couple booked in the first half due to there clumsy efforts to stop us overrunning them. Half Time 1-0 Mark Ridgers had to deal with a swirling cross that floated close to his crossbar, Ridgers acrobatically tipping the ball behind for a corner as the ball got caught in the gusty wind. Dunfermline were racking up the bookings by now as the game turned towsy, the visitors resorting to some rough house tactics. The home side had enough of this and retaliated with a couple of bookings of their own. Undaunted, Higginbotham won the fifth booking for Pars shortly after. There followed a spate of substitutions for Dunfermline, playing all their cards within a few minutes. Nicky Clark and Liam Polworth exchanged shots over the bar as we returned to some footballing action and John Baird spurned a couple of great opportunities to seal the points, Murdoch blocking the first volley well. His second misdemeanour brought a stiff rebuke from Polworth who was less than happy at Baird's reluctance to shoot for goal. Polworth should have scored from close range after a scrambulation in the box. A bit of composure would have won the day but he chose to smash the ball home. However, his shot smacked off the bar. A late flurry from Dunfermline saw some jitters run through the stands, but we dealt with it comfortably and the visitors were unable to fashion out any decent attempts throughout the full 96 minutes of play. Full Time 1-0 A gritty display from Inverness and we should have won at a canter had we taken the number of chances that came our way. The Pars started off a bit cagey and pressed higher after the break, but we remained untroubled and should have added to our tally. Comfortable win in the end despite their presence around our box late in the game which could have seen them picked off on the break had our final ball been better. We could also have benefited from some better refereeing decisions and on another day might have been awarded a couple of penalties. A few contenders for MotM. Coll Donaldson was once more pretty solid at the back, one or two loose moments apart. Mark Ridgers looks more confident by the game and another clean sheet will add to that. Iain Vigurs was totally dominant in midfield, spraying the ball at will. Liam Polworth and Jake Mulraney beavered away, Liam unfortunate not to score and Jake skinning defenders with his searing pace and trickery. However, my choice this week goes to a giant amongst men. Well, maybe not, but Connor Bell gets the nod for his Duracell Bunny impression and goal. His work rate was second to none, in attack and defence. What a find he has been. That result lifted us into seventh place in the league. The next target will be Morton who sit four points above us. Off to Livingston next week, another tough game against an in form team. Goal highlights and Robbo interview from Caley Jags TV Date: 28/10/2017 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2948 Referee: Kevin Clancy Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers, Raven, Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Chalmers, Vigurs, Polworth, Bell (Warren, 90), Mulraney (Calder, 72), Baird (Oakley, 78). Subs (not used): Esson, Elsdon, Trafford, Mackay. Scorers: Connor Bell (23) Booked: Baird (57), Tremarco (60). Sent Off: none Dunfermline: 0 Lineup: Murdoch, Williamson, Morris, Ashcroft, Talbot, Splaine (Shiels, 76), Wedderburn, Aird (Cardle, 67), Higginbotham, Clark, Smith (McManus, 67). Subs (not used): Gill, Martin, M'Voto, Ryan. Scorers: none Booked: Morris, Splaine (45), Williamson (52), Clark (53), Higginbotham (65). Sent Off: none a
  10. Time to get one over Pars We welcome Dunfermline Athletic to the Caledonian Stadium on Saturday and the opportunity to avenge the 5-1 thrashing we suffered at East End Park back in August. That was a sore one when we were still searching for our best eleven and formation. We might not be the finished article yet, but we have come a long way since then and four clean sheets in a row is testament to that. Build from the back they say. We have done that recently and an impressive display at Falkirk, coupled with a dominant performance at Tannadice has given us more optimism than was evident earlier in the campaign and shown that we are capable of competing with our revamped squad. Goals from Iain Vigurs and Connor Bell saw off United, but it was the overall display and composure that pleased most fans. Mark Ridgers was much criticised previously, but he also stepped up to the mark and looked more confident. Much of that will be gained from having a more efficient defence in front of him. He had a difficult time off the park recently and this article in the Inverness Courier explains all. Dunfermline are in great shape just now. Twenty points gleaned from their opening ten games from six wins, two defeats and two draws. Their defeats came at Morton and at home to the Arabs. However, they are the top scorers in the Championship with twenty-five goals, that's more than twice as many as we have managed. The Pars sit second only two points behind leaders St Mirren. Their last outing saw them defeat Livingston 3-1 thanks to a first half blitz, with goals from Kallum Higginbotham (2) and Fraser Aird. Inverness will soon be boosted with the return of a couple of players. Aaron Doran and Zak Elboudedi have returned to training but are short of full match fitness. They did play half a game in midweek and came through it unscathed. Warren and Trafford are recovering from hand injuries but are able to play, however, Alex Cooper is the latest casualty having injured an ankle. Collin Seedorf, Owain Fon Williams and Felitciano Zschusschen remain out. The Pars have top scorer Joe Cardle available again. Former Caley Jaggy Nat Wedderburn will feature for the Pars. tm4tj prediction:- We should offer a much stiffer test for Dunfermline than we did at East End Park. We must be wary of the fire power from the Pars who have the top three scorers in the league. Joe Cardle is an obvious threat, but Kallum Higginbotham likes a goal or two against us as well. Recent clean sheets have been very welcome, but scoring goals is not our strong point just now. For a striker, John Baird is not ideal, but his work rate can not be questioned. Jake Mulraney could be a key player today, his pace will be a tremendous asset and hopefully an end product will materialise. Might have to settle for a point, but that will be a massive improvement on the previous encounter and a good gauge of where we are at this stage of the campaign. More details in the Official Website preview.
  11. Daniel's a record breaker. Congratulations to Daniel Mackay who became the youngest player to play a competitive game for Inverness Caledonian Thistle. He came on as a late substitute for Riccardo Calder and made an immediate impact. Not only did he replace Liam Polworth as the youngest ever player, he scored a debut goal to round off the game as Inverness beat Peterhead 3-0 to advance into the hat for the next round draw on Tuesday. Well done Daniel, a fantastic achievement. Owain Fon Williams was in goal, Raven and Tremarco started in defence with Donaldson and Chalmers as Gary Warren was out with a sore thumb. Charlie Trafford was suspended after his red card in the previous round. Riccardo Calder was given another opportunity to show if he has anything to offer after a lethargic showing last week. Rory McAllister was spearheading the Blue Toon attack. A crowd below the 1,000 were on hand to witness this encounter and Inverness couldn't have asked for a better start as Liam Polworth fired us ahead after just 90 seconds, drilling a low shot behind the keeper from distance, possibly aided by a deflection. Peterhead responded well though and Rory McAllister tried a spectacular overhead but it went just over and Jamie Stevenson had an effort that was close, but no cigar. Baird saw a shot tipped over after Calder slipped him through on goal. A minute later Fon Williams had to punch a 30 yard volley clear from Williamson. Willie Gibson was getting some joy on the flank and has put in a few decent crosses, but no takers, and McLean deflects a shot from Gibson just over the bar. Although the hosts held the advantage, it was difficult to tell which team were in the higher division. Half Time 1-0 The second half was just five minutes old when a tidy one-two with Polworth saw Riccardo Calder clip home to double the lead. Neat play and a confidence boosting goal for Calder and indeed the whole team. That second goal sapped some of the energy from the visitors who looked resigned to losing the tie although we made heavy weather of ensuring there would be no banana skin ending. The highlight of the game came a couple of minutes after 16 year old Daniel Mackay came on as a late substitute. He is the youngest player to play for the club and took that accolade away from Liam Polworth. His first few touches saw him break forward but he chose the wrong option and the chance for his debut goal disappeared. A lay off to Baird might have been a better option, but that will come with more game time. However, moments later his debut was complete when he nodded home to end the scoring and rubber stamp his debut with the third goal for the Caley Jags. Full Time 3-0 There was a bit of cage fighting in the home dugout after Polworth had been substituted. It appears that what can best be described as an angry exchange took place between coach Scott Kellacher and Polly. I'm sure the club will be taking some action against the pair as tempers seemed to run a touch high. Interesting to find out what sparked this confrontation, but it's not in the best interest of either party to be seen having powder puffs at five paces in full view of the manager, the press and 1,000 fans. I don't think Conor McGregor has much to worry about to be honest. Expect another board statement soon. Coll Donaldson justified his selection and put in a good shift. One particular tackle on McAllister as he bore down on goal crucial to the outcome at the time and is our MotM. So, into the next round we go, the draw being made on Tuesday lunchtime I believe. Thanks to Ian Broadfoot for the Daniel statistics. Date: 07/10/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 930 Referee: Alan Muir Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Fon Williams, Raven, B.Mckay, Chalmers, Donaldson, Tremarco, Vigurs, Polworth (Cooper 86), Calder (D.Mackay 89), Bell (Oakley 76), Baird Subs (not used): Ridgers, Elsdon, Brown Scorers: Polworth (2), Calder (51), D Mackay (92) Booked: Chalmers (55), B.Mackay (58), Raven (86) Sent Off: none Peterhead: 0 Lineup: Fleming, Stevenson, J Brown, McCracken, Macilduf, Gibson, Ferry, S Brown (Lawrence 86), Leitch, McLean, (Smith 55) McAllister 6 (Adams 76) Subs (not used): Hobday, Robertson, Dikobo, Gabriel Scorers: none Booked: McAllister (58) Sent Off: none a
  12. Embarrassing Inverness turned in another lifeless performance that makes a joke of the £20 ticket price to enter the ground. Despite gaining a point, we have actually dropped down a position in the table to second bottom after Falkirk beat Morton. Only Brechin City have fewer points than us and that statistic does not look likely to change in the near future. Attendance patterns remain low as another crowd around the 2K mark witnessed one of the poorest games ever with statistics showing that we had no shots on target over the entirety of the game. Coll Donaldson was at the heart of the defence with Gary Warren suspended and David Raven made a return to right back with Carl Tremarco starting on the left. Chalmers and Elsdon were omitted and all three strikers started, Oakley, Baird and Bell. Queens had James McFadden on the bench alongside Derek Lyle. The much maligned Alan Martin did keep his place in goal, but to be honest he could have been replaced by a fluffy toy, such was our lack of effort and creativity. It didn't take long for Queens to work out that we were totally useless and incapable of threatening their goal. We did however have the first attempt, a Brad Mckay header that flew a couple of feet over. Owain Fon Williams was called into action to tip over a dipping shot from Shaun Rooney as the visitors ventured forth, but for the main part of the half, the game was littered with niggly fouls and misplaced passes. We were our own worst enemies in this department which meant that we struggled to make any headway. Jason Kerr headed just wide as the half wore on with little or no activity around the visitors box. Shortly before the interval Stephen Dobbie had a couple of attempts, but his rangefinder was switched off as he fired a free kick high and wide and drilled a shot across the box and wide of target. Half Time 0-0 The second period showed absolutely no improvement from the home side, in fact we were worse and Queens took control of the game driving forward at will. Oakley was hooked ten minutes in, the hapless striker (using the term loosely) being swapped for Riccardo Calder. He should have stayed in the dressing room as his general lack of interest in the game was getting on the fans nerves. We don't need players like this wearing the jersey. Just before the hour, OFW saved well from Dobbie as Queens turned the screw. There looked to be only one winner as we failed to muster an attempt on the fragile but untroubled Alan Martin in goal. Dobbie by now realised that he could just waltz through our defence and he could have scored a barrowload but thanks to wayward finishing, last ditch defending and Owain Fon Williams we managed to keep him out, more by good luck than good play. Callum Tapping was next for the shoot-in but Williams denied him as well and Dobbie, Tapping, Kerr and Rooney all had opportunities to win the game. We ended the game on the back foot and managed to hold out for a draw despite a couple of penalty claims being denied our visitors with Dobbie looking less than impressed. Full Time 0-0 Oh dear, what a shambles. It's a word that's being used a lot these days as our demise continues. Robertson was less than impressed after last week, this week will just make matters worse I fear. An entire game without an attempt on goal means one thing. We are not going to win this game and we can count ourselves fortunate to take a point. Top marks can only go to Owain Fon Williams who kept us interested. The rest can hang their heads in shame after an utterly gutless performance. One unbelievable moment during the game and it came for the visitors. A free kick from a seemingly dangerous position came to no harm as the ball cleared the top of the visitors stand from around twenty yards out. A miss of biblical proportion and one that will be remembered long after this game has been forgotten. What now for Inverness? Some tough games coming up in the league and a tricky Irn Bru cup game against Peterhead to come. It's getting worse I'm afraid. Let the relegation battle commence. Robbo was interviewed after the match. Gary Naysmith was happy enough Finally, something to cheer about. Our youth side beat Forfar 1-3 after extra time to move into the next round of the cup. Goals from Ryan McRitchie, Andrew Macrae and Kieran Chalmers sealed the win. Well done lads, great stuff. Date: 30/09/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2082 Referee: Euan Anderson Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Fon Williams, Raven, Tremarco, Polworth, Baird (Mulraney 81), Vigurs, Oakley (Calder 52), Bell, Mckay, Donaldson, Trafford Subs (not used): Ridgers, Chalmers, Elsdon, Cooper, Brown Scorers: none Booked: Tremarco (17), Raven (52), Trafford (75) Sent Off: none Queen of the South: 0 Lineup: Martin, Rooney (Rooney 86), Marshall, Fordyce, Tapping, Stirling (Lyle 68), Rankin, Kane (McFadden 84), Dobbie, Jacobs, Kerr Subs (not used): Leighfield, Murray, Mercer, Dykes. Scorers: none Booked: Tapping (92) Sent Off: none a
  13. Queen to visit Inverness No, not Elizabeth, nor Freddie Mercury, but Queen of the South are the visitors on Saturday to our new look stadium with the old portacabin gone and a shiny new shop installed within the walls. No tears were shed as the old temporary shop come ticket office was forcibly removed from the premises, many years after being installed. In it's place we now have a brand spanking new ticket office shop front to greet the fans as they approach the stadium. That's the good news. Unfortunately we still have the same old problems on the park with Robbo getting torn into his struggling side as we languish perilously close to the foot of the table. Another tough game ahead as we try to battle our way out of the slump. Gary Naysmith has a decent squad at his disposal. Notably former Inverness player John Rankin who captains the side. They also have something that we need, proven goal scorers like Stephen Dobbie, Derek Lyle and the latest addition of James McFadden the former Scotland international and scorer of that goal against France. Last time out we suffered another defeat with a second half slump away to Dumbarton. Connor Bell had given us an early lead but the Sons hit back with two second half goals to deservedly take all three points. That performance prompted Robbo to berate his half hearted performers in a frank interview after the game. Some like it out in the open, many fans would rather this was done behind closed doors. Whichever way you like it, the message was quite clear. Get your finger out or things will get worse. Queens went down for the second successive game, losing 3-1 at Paisley having lost out to Morton in their previous game. They sit only two places above Inverness in sixth place, but are six points better off than us with ten points. Three defeats in a row for Inverness and we find ourselves looking over our shoulders with only Falkirk and Brechin City below us. That's the statistic that hastened the departure of Peter Houston from Falkirk. I don't expect they will be at the bottom end for too long, so it's up to us to put a run of results together to climb the table. Not easy with visits to Falkirk and Dundee United coming up in the next two games. Gary Warren sits this one out after his sending off last week, the result of two yellow cards. It looks likely that we will be along similar lines to the one that played at Dumbarton. That's not going to help our shambolic defence. Owain Fon Williams played in goal last week and if he is not injured then he should start again. Difficult to predict who the back four will be as we have a different one every week and so far nothing has worked. David Raven missed out against the Sons with a virus allegedly. Midfield seems to be our most settled area but up front is a major concern with only Connor Bell getting pass marks although he appears to run out of steam around the hour mark. We still have long term injuries for Aaron Dorran, Zak Elbouzedi and Collin Seedorf. Gary Naysmith could be without winger Dan Carmichael who is reported to be struggling for fitness. Otherwise they will be pretty much unchanged from this side that went to Paisley last week. Martin (GK), Fordyce, Brownlie (Tapping 63), Kerr, Marshall, Rooney, Rankin Jacobs, Dykes (Kane 63), Dobbie, Lyle (McFadden 73) tm4tj prediction:- Defeat will be a disastrous result as we can not afford to lose more ground on the teams above us. With the bottom pair within two points of us, defeat could plant us firmly at the foot of the table, a position that on the evidence so far would be richly deserved. To be honest, I fear another difficult day and a draw would be a good result, but I'm not sure we are capable of that at the moment. With Queens fans elsewhere on social media bemoaning their comedy defending, this could be a classic encounter of two error strewn sides. Keeper Alan Martin coming in for plenty of criticism with young Jack Leighfield being touted as a suitable replacement for the butterfingered goalie. It all sounds rather familiar I have to say. Here's hoping we can eliminate the schoolboy defending or it will be a case of jumpers for goal posts and three corners a penalty for some.
  14. Grim Stuff Inverness slumped badly against Livingston who were able to win the game 1-3 without having to try too hard. Our defensive frailties were exposed once more as we struggled to clear our lines with any authority. Nikolay Todorov was given the freedom of the box to slot home from a corner. Connor Bell scored a beauty from a tight angle to level matters three minutes later. Scott Robinson restored the visitors lead after some shoddy defending and it was no surprise when Craig Halkett benefitted from a couple of poor clearances to sweetly volley home and end the scoring. Connor Bell started with Ricardo Calder missing out through injury and the game kicked off on a sodden surface with just over 2000 fans looking on. John Baird should have opened the scoring inside a minute as he was slipped through by Iain Vigurs, but Neil Alexander blocked the strikers effort. It was looking good for the hosts as they stroked the ball around with Livi looking second best for long spells. It was a bit of a false dawn however as despite plenty of possession, we never really troubled Alexander thereafter. The sucker punch came after a corner from Livi. The home defence parted like the Red Sea. The ball landed on the foot of Todorov who found himself totally unmarked and he knocked the ball home from ten yards to open the scoring. The lead was short lived as Connor Bell chased a ball down the left side of the box from Vigurs. He turned inside and and from a pretty tight angle he caught Alexander out as the ball flew high into the net for a tremendous equaliser. Moments later we should have been ahead when Bell nodded home. However, the linesman flagged him offside, a poor decision by the official that would set the tone for the rest of the game. Unfortunately, that was about the only action of note in a half we dominated, but failed to get the upper hand. Half Time 1-1 The second half should have seen us take the game to Livi. Instead we were treated to a third rate display and more schoolboy defending. This time the finger will not be pointed at under fire keeper Mark Ridgers, but the whole defence should hang their heads in shame. Sloppy defending of the highest order gave Livi the opportunity to get back in front and they duly accepted the gift with Robinson poking the ball home from close range, again, without much attention from the creaky defence. The fans were expecting some sort of urgency. The fact that it never materialised made the game flat and it was no surprise that it was Livi that took advantage of another poorly cleared ball. Nothing wrong with the strike though as Halkett drilled a volley home from the edge of the box to part empty the ground. Many fans had seen enough by this time. It's not just the comedy defending, it's the lack of desire to do something about it and a complete dearth of quality that is cheesing most people off. I don't recall us troubling the keeper in that second 45 and the players looked resigned to defeat long before the end. Full Time 1-3 It looked promising early on but that never lasted. Livi were there for the taking but we were not capable of sustaining any sort of challenge and the table is beginning to take on a rather sinister look with Falkirk unlikely to struggle for much longer. Connor Bell was our liveliest performer with Vigurs, Trafford and Polworth controlling the midfield for long spells without causing too many problems for the visitors, who were much more streetwise and their no nonsense approach turned out to be for the best. This was a great opportunity for Inverness to settle into the Championship table, but a weak second half performance and defensive blunderland cost us dearly. It's clear that on this evidence it's going to be a long slog this season with far too many players not of the required standard to get us out of the League at the correct end of the table. At the moment, they look quite capable of getting us back to back relegation's. That's a mere 4 points out of a possible 18. It's not looking good at the minute. A dejected looking Robbo interviewed after the game. Date: 16/09/2017 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2007 Referee: Craig Charleston Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; Raven, Mckay, Warren, Chalmers (Tremarco, 78), Trafford, Polworth, Vigurs, Bell, Cooper (Oakley, 64), Baird (Mulraney, 71). Subs (not used): Esson, Elsdon, Calder, Donaldson. Booked: Trafford, Vigurs. Scorers: Bell (27) Booked: Trafford (35), Vigurs (67) Sent Off: none Livingston: 3 Lineup: Alexander; Lithgow, Halkett, Todorov, Mullin, Byrne, Longridge, Pittman, Robinson (McMillan, 64), Mullen (Penrice, 74), Mackin (Cadden, 59)Subs (not used): Maley, Jacobs, Carrick, De Vita. Booked: Mullen, Lithgow, Byrne. Scorers: Todorov (24), Robinson (52), Mackin (72) Booked: Mullin (43),Lithgow (45+2),Byrne (54), Sent Off: none a
  15. The Eagle versus the Lion. The visitors this weekend are Livingston, a side we have had some great tussles with over the years as we came through the ranks together. Some common denominators are, Robbo once managed Livi, Barry Wilson played for both sides as did Davide Xausa, Mark McCulloch, Steve Hislop, Liam Fox, Coll Donaldson and the talented David Bingham. Just as we have come a long way since the amalgamation of Inverness Thistle and Inverness Caledonian, Livingston have also made an arduous journey since beginning life as Ferranti Thistle in 1943 and making their way to Livingston via Meadowbank Thistle. The clubs have had mixed fortunes since the heady days back in the late 90's. Both have tasted European football, both have dabbled in the Premier Division, both have had Barry Wilson, and both are back in the Championship. Livi almost tasted liquidation in 2009 and Inverness are noted for their ability to survive on a shoestring, but they will meet on league business for the first time since April 2006 when Inverness won 0-1 thanks to a Barry Wilson goal. Livi were so good in those days that not even Robert Snodgrass or Graham Dorrans could get a start. Richard Brittain and Wes Hoolahan did though. Inverness boasted some great servants of their own, with Dennis Wyness, Craig Dargo, Darren Dods and Ross Tokely all starting. Rory McAllister was a sub, (whatever happened to him). There was a league cup game at the same venue in 2015 where Inverness ran out 0-2 winners with Miles Storey and Danny Devine both scoring. Livi came up at the end of last season after winning the League 1 title. They will be without 27 goal Liam Buchanan who has opted to remain in that league with Raith Rovers (how strange). He is the biggest loss for Livi and it could be argued that keeper Neil Alexander will be their best signing for this season. The former Rangers and Hearts keeper returns to Livingston after a 16 year exile. His longest spell was at Cardiff City where he made 213 appearances. The form guide for this season shows that Livi have one win, three draws and one defeat. Unlike us, they have remained competitive in every game, their only loss was a 3-1 defeat to St Mirren. That results give them six points from the five games played, and they sit one place above us in the league. Josh Mullin and Dylan Mackin were the men on target in their last outing when they drew 2-2 with Queen of the South. Our last game against St Mirren went pear shaped as we gifted a couple of goals. We showed good character to get back on level terms twice, but eventually were beaten by the better side. Whilst it was pleasing that a striker scored (John Baird), it's a tad worrying that the defence once again contrived to throw away goals like they are going out of fashion, with Mark Ridgers not covering himself in glory once more. It's been a torrid start for Ridgers, but the whole defence need to give him a bit more assistance as he is seen as the scapegoat for numerous blunders in the final third of the pitch. John Robertson has three long term absentees, Aaron Doran, Zak Elbouzedi and Collin Seedorf. Carl Tremarco has returned to the squad after a couple of cameo appearances from the bench although he did not get on the pitch at Paisley, the intensity of that game maybe coming just too soon for our enigmatic left back given the length of time out after ligament damage. Gary Warren returned last week but even his appearance failed to steady the defence. Ricardo Calder is a doubt. David Hopkin, the former Scotland international has taken Livingston forward with a purpose. Winning the title last season by a massive nineteen points. The Livi Lions last line-up looked like this. Alexander, Lithgow, Halkett, Gallagher, Longridge, Byrne, Mullin, Pitman, Jacobs (Carrick 78), Todorov (Makin 61), Mullen (De Vita 78) tm4tj prediction:- As we all knew before the season started there will be no easy games in the Championship. Forget what has happened in previous years, this is a new build team where getting to know each other is a priority. Until that happens, we will not see the best of our new look squad although there are some signs that we are beginning to head along the right track. Livi have competed well in all their games so far and could easily have turned a couple of draws into wins. We will need to cut out the schoolboy defending and comedy keeping before we can contemplate winning games. The midfield is beginning to take shape and Liam Polworth is flourishing in a more direct role which will hopefully create more space for the main strikers to work. John Baird did score last week, so that particular monkey is off the back. We need to get bodies forward in numbers, especially at home and if we can cut out the errors, then we could reap the benefits and take all three points. I'll stick my neck out here and go for a 3-1 win, and that's allowing for the given comedy goal for our opponents. If the comedy is overpowering, then it could be a long day. The club are firing out Previews in style at the moment and here's the official one with some finer details from the ICTFC Website. Here's a bit of nostalgia for you. Cast your mind back to the old second division in 1999.........
  16. First Point of the Season John Robertson's side gained their first point of the season with a home draw against Morton. It looked promising early on as Inverness took the game to the visitors with some swift interchanging and incisive moves. It paid off when Gary Warren turned in a Liam Polworth free kick to open the scoring. However, instead of building from there, Morton grew in confidence and thoroughly deserved to level matters with a goal early in the second half when Robert Thomson headed in a tremendous Ricki Lamie cross. That's how it ended. Gary Warren was thankfully restored to the heart of the defence after recovering from injury and new signing, Canadian international Charlie Trafford was handed a start by Robbo. Coll Donaldson warmed the bench along with David Raven, Jake Mulraney, Connor Bell and Matt Elsdon. Jim Duffy had the pacey Jai Quintongo leading the line assisted by former Falkirk forward Bob McHugh with the talented Gary Harkins making the bench. Duffy had made four changes to the side dumped out of the League Cup by Livingstone as he returned to a more regular starting XI A decent away support were hoping the Ton would continue where they left off having thumped St Mirren 4-1 in their last Championship match. Inverness, on the other hand were looking to bounce back after being mauled 5-1 at Dunfermline. Early exchanges showed that we were intent on making amends from our dismal display at East End Park with new signing Charlie Trafford getting involved early. He doesn't want the tag of being a Ross Draper type of player. He'll do well to shake that one off then, he even looks a bit like him from the safety of the North Stand. Liam Polworth looked to have been given a more roving role and he darted forward on a number of occasions making the keeper work as early as the seventh minute. A couple of minutes later and he was involved again, teeing up John Baird who placed his shot over the bar. Moments later he fired a shot from distance, however Gaston was able tip it over the bar. From the resultant corner, John Baird half volleyed over. George Oakley was next to have a go but his shot was deflected for a corner. Bright start for the hosts and it looked to be only a matter of time before we opened the scoring with Morton keen to hack the ball anywhere to keep us at bay. Riccardo Calder was weaving his way towards the box and Doyle upended him perilously close to the line. Polworth took the free kick low into the box and Gary Warren reacted first to slam the ball behind the startled keeper. No more than we deserved at this moment. Vigurs and Seedorf were booked around the half hour mark as Morton were getting to grips with the game. The best they could muster in a half dominated by Inverness was a couple of sprints from Jai Quitongo who showed the defenders a clean pair of heels, but he was crowded out on both occasions before it came to anything. As the half drew to a close, it was apparent that the momentum was swinging towards the visitors as they grew in confidence, Inverness' early grip on proceedings starting to slip. Half Time 1-0 Baird had the first effort of the half but his shot was too straight at the keeper who gathered comfortably. Six minutes into the second period and Morton were level. A ball was blocked clear out wide on the Morton right. Ricki Lamie fetched and turned in the same movement as he swung a brilliant ball into the box which was met be Robert Thomson who was facing the wrong way, but he delicately guided the ball into the net to level matters. We had the occasional moment in the second half, an Oakley header just drifting narrowly wide, but for the most part, the ball was at the other end as possession began to level out. From there on in, Morton looked the likelier to take all three points and should have scored just after the hour when Quitongo, Thomson and McHugh were all thwarted in a goalmouth melee by defenders and keeper alike. Close shave, but well done to Mark Ridgers on that occasion. Bob McHugh saw a shot saved and at the other end Gary Warren headed into the keeper. Morton were keeping the ball in the Inverness half much to the frustration of the home fans as we struggled to recreate our opening twenty minutes. We did however have probably the miss of the match when substitute Jake Mulraney, on for the injured Calder, hung a fabulous cross into the six-yard box. George Oakley seemed destined to score and the whole of the North Stand thought so as well, but the ball appeared to stop in mid air after connecting with Oakley's head and the keeper was able to smother the ball and prevent it crossing the line from five yards. We ended the game on the back foot as Morton's corner count grew, with the struggling Collin Seedorf receiving a second yellow right at the end, but we managed to hold on for a draw. Full Time 1-1 The draw was probably deserved over the piece, but slightly disappointing after a fiery opening twenty minutes when we looked like running up a cricket score. Liam Polworth looked very lively in the first half but like the rest suffered as a very well organised Morton marked us out of the game, pressed high and really took control in the second half. Despite that we did have one superb opportunity to win the game but only Oakley will know what really happened. Charlie Trafford certainly looks like a great addition and will get even better when he gets to know his playing partners. Gary Warren shored up the defence and led by example scoring a cracking goal and he was my Man of the Match. He was ably assisted by Ian Vigurs, (pity about his petulant and cynical side), and the aforementioned Polworth and Trafford. Mark Ridgers gets the fans jittery when facing needless passbacks, but he also pulled off a couple of great saves, so credit where it's due. Chalmers looked less risky with Warren guiding him so that's another plus, but Seedorf did not look comfortable, culminating in a couple of rash challenges and a sending off. All in, we can take some positives from this encounter knowing that Morton are an established and very well organised bunch. It's been a tough few opening exchanges in the Robbo revolution and it will take a bit of time before we see his fruits ripen. It's not the worst thing that could have happened in a week where Josh Meekings joined Dundee and Big Ben stopped chiming. Ding Dong. If you are a bit more thick skinned, check out this enterprising fans views of the Morton game from the Greenock sides perspective. Ton TV Jim Duffy was candid as always Brechin City away next week, hedge trimmers at the ready Date: 19/08/2017 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2202 Referee: Stephen Finnie Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers, Chalmers, Warren, Polworth, Baird, Vigurs, Oakley, Calder, Seedorf, Mckay, Trafford Subs (not used): Esson, Raven, Elsdon, Mulraney, Bell, Donaldson Scorers: Warren (19) Booked: Vigurs (30), Seedorf (32), Trafford (50) Sent Off: Seedorf (90) Morton: 1 Lineup: Gaston, Murdoch, OWare, Lamie, Doyle, Forbes, Quitongo, Thomson, McHugh, Tidser, Russell Subs (not used): Dodhan, Oliver, Harkins, Tiffoney, McManus, Iredale Scorers: Thomson (51) Booked: Doyle (17) Sent Off: none a
  17. Summer of discontent. Morton are the visitors this weekend as our summer of discontent continues with tales of woe clouding the atmosphere at the Caledonian Stadium where the stench of relegation is getting right up everyone's nose. New chairman Willie Finlayson is set to leave his position less than three months after taking the hot seat over. Graham Rae pictured on the left will be the new Chairman. The club are in such a shambles at the moment that the board felt they needed to send out a statement to the fans to try and quell any unrest amongst the support. There's a lot of content in the message, so I'll just post a link to the Official site. Board Statement However, there is plenty for the fans to feel uneasy about. Here's a few of the Premier League gaffs since relegation. The signing of a manager who apparently never actually applied for the job. The season ticket fiasco that has since been addressed. The media and technology side of things are now a laughing stock given the release of Duncan Shearer by text (allegedly), the Twitter account showing links to naughty sites and the general lack of information coming forth from the official website. We failed to progress in a relatively comfortable group in the Betfred League Cup. We have signed some utter useless jobbing players, some of them masquerading as footballers. The final straw this week saw stalwart midfielder Ross Draper move over the Bridge to our local rivals to join former legendary Caley Jags striker Billy Mckay at Dingwall. Talk about rubbing our noses in it. All this after the club that has gone from Bucharest to Brechin in less than 2 years get an absolute mauling at East End Park with Dunfermline thrashing us 5-1, and we got off lightly at that. ICT Chris summed it up neatly on the forum: "The only way it could be worse is if Finlayson invited a few Japanese trawler boats to dock outside the stadium and slaughter some of the dolphins". It's going to be a long season if we continue in this vein of form, and given that the quality of our defence appears to be the worst in the history of the club, the midfield is lacking confidence and leadership and the strikeforce is non-existent, then I believe we might be making the play-offs at the wrong end of the table. There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon, but it's a long shot. Talk of an injection of cash coming soon might enable us to strengthen the squad. I'll not be holding my breath on that one, but here's hoping the new chairman will uphold the boards statement. To the game in hand, Morton come North on the back of a 4-1Championship thrashing of their local rivals St Mirren. This result hinged on a sending off and a pair of penalties for Morton, (Michael Tidser scoring both), with Jack Baird of St Mirren seeing red. That result gives them four points after an opening day goalless draw at Dumbarton. The big derby win came out of the blue after results in the group stages of the League Cup saw Morton win two, lose one and draw one. Like us, they did not make the next stage of the competition. Since beating St Mirren, they have gone out of the Challenge Cup going down 2-0 at home to Livingston. That's a result that did not please manager Jim Duffy who said “We made a couple of changes, but nothing overly dramatic; all the boys have been in and around the first team, so it’s not as if we threw in all young boys. “There wasn’t a department that played well, taking Derek Gaston out of it. The defence was poor, the midfield looked dead on their feet, and up front there was no spark. “I feel like the fans in a sense – frustrated. I’m angry, and I think if the players are honest with themselves, they’ll know they totally underperformed tonight.” We have hit rock bottom after losing both of our opening fixtures in the Championship. The defeat against United was narrow but not the end of the world. However, the defeat at Dunfermline was crushing and seemed like the end of the world. We are shipping goals at an alarming rate and creating very little. The defence is a shambles from the keeper out. The midfield has a Ross Draper & Greg Tansey size hole in it, and that shows up the vulnerability of the players left to fill that void. Up front we seem to have strikers that are not really strikers. Willing runners maybe, but not the type of poacher we have been used to. John Robertson hopes to turn this around given time. I hope he is right. We have a decent head to head against Morton with nine wins from twelve games, and there were some thumping victories amongst those games. Unfortunately that was in a previous life and it will be a foolish person that believes we can pick up where we left off. The last meeting was a Scottish Cup tie in November 2013. We won convincingly 4-0 with Nick Ross scoring just before half time. Billy Mckay scored a couple after the break and Aaron Doran completed the scoring with a penalty at the end. The best result in the Highlands for Morton was a 1-1 draw way back in September 1999. Martin Glancy opened the scoring for Inverness but after going down to ten men, Paddy Connolly equalised to earn a point for Morton in this first division game. Inverness could be without influential captain Gary Warren who has missed the last few games through injury. Carl Tremarco and Aaron Doran are out for the next few months, and Zak Elbouzedi has not featured since his pre-season injury. We have/are signing Canadian international Charlie Trafford, a midfielder and had former Dundee United defender Coll Donaldson on trial in a midweek game at Nairn. Both are believed to have agreed to sign on. Morton have just given experienced manager Jim Duffy a two year contract extension. He seems to be doing all the right things at Cappielow and Chairman Douglas Rae is delighted with the way Duffy has tackled his job. This was the starting eleven against St Mirren. Gaston; Doyle, O'Ware, Lamie, Russell; Forbes, Tidser, Murdoch, Thomson; Quitongo, McHugh. Gary Harkins was on the bench and he has more talent than our entire squad. tm4tj prediction:- We have not found our feet in the Championship and could be in for more trouble before we see any improvement on and off the park. Jai Quitongo is a bundle of tricks that will cause defenders problems with his pace. The signings of Elsdon and Chalmers has flopped badly with no Gary Warren to keep them right. We need to tighten up at the back and get stuck in across the midfield or it could be another barren day for our strikers. With a bit of fortune, we could get a point, otherwise it will be another harsh lesson in the Championship.
  18. Card Happy Craig ruins the day. Inverness went down to a Craig Thomson decision to award a penalty after Paul McMullan burrowed his way into the box and through a blockade of legs and bodies. He made the referee make the decision and he pointed rather hastily to the spot. McMullan took the kick himself and scored with ease as Mark Ridgers went the opposite way from the ball. A large away contingent made for a healthy crowd for the opening game of the season as Inverness took to the park minus the injured captain Gary Warren, Ross Draper handed the armband. Quality defender Collin Seedorf missed out through injury. John Baird and George Oakley were the pairing trusted to get the goals. Dundee United were without the suspended Scott McDonald and Mathew Smith which meant that Paul McMullan continued to spearhead their attack. It was with much trepidation that many Caley Jags fans ventured forth after last seasons relegation and changes to personnel, the Betfred Cup games offering little reassurance to the home fans. However, they turned up to see how we would fare against hot tips Dundee United. Early exchanges showed that we were willing to take the game to United and we carved out a few opportunities to create chances, but there were no takers for the trickery of Ricardo Calder or the class and prompting of Iain Vigurs. We went behind on thirteen minutes when McMullan lunged into the legs blocking his route to goal and Thomson did not hesitate to offer the penalty to United. A bit harsh on the defenders who were already on the ground but McMullan made the most of it and converted thereafter. Calder was causing havoc down our left flank, skinning the defenders with ease, but the final ball evading all but the keeper and his defenders in the visitors box. Plenty of long diagonal balls finding Calder, alas, he was unable to make the most of them. Mark Ridgers did pull off one brilliant save early on when United threatened inside the box, the keeper able to parry the ball to safety when a goal looked the likeliest outcome. For all our territorial superiority, we never managed to create the clear chances that United were able to, and Ross Draper took it upon himself to burst into the box along the byeline. Unfortunately his grounding looked a bit suspect, and when Tam Scobbie squared up to Draper, the pair found themselves in the refs wee black book. We reached the break just one goal down, but not too dispirited given our bright opening to the game. Half Time 0-1 The lack of a goal threat was worrying and that theme continued after the interval with us having the possession, but United having the better chances. They should have wrapped up the points late in the game after a bit of slackness at the back. The game seemed to pause, or go into slow motion and it ended with Sam Stanton curling a shot over the vacant net, the defence not covering themselves in glory at that point. We put plenty of effort into this one, but nobody was willing to take the bull by the horns as the game became littered with shameful play acting and general thuggery, mostly on the part of the visitors who killed the flow of the game any way they deemed necessary. However they seemed to have a decent alibi in Craig Thomson who allowed them to get away with most of the attempts to disrupt the beautiful game. He did however almost wear out his yellow card, nine bookings in total Full Time 0-1 Despite this loss, we can take heart from the overall performance against the Champions elect. It took a disputed penalty to win the game. The biggest disappointment from Robbo's point of view will be the lack of clear opportunities we created. Lewis in goal never really had to break sweat other than the amount of crosses or corners he had to gather out of the air untroubled. Ricardo Calder looked a big threat wide on the left. He was literally dealt a huge blow that went unpunished from the shoddy Craig Thomson, having to leave the game after ten minutes of the second half. Iain Vigurs looked to be a class above anyone else and was my MotM, especially in the first half and he did break sweat with one track back and crucial intervention. Mark Ridgers pulled off one tremendous save, although some of the pass backs put him under pressure and the clearances were a bit iffy. The defence were missing Warren and Seedorf and that's an area Robbo will be keeping a close eye on. Another area worth watching is up front. Where are the goals going to come from? So, not too disheartened, but still a familiar feel about the defeat. We all knew it would take a bit of time for everyone to find their feet, so patience will be a virtue this season. Off to Dunfermline next week in matchday two. Date: 05/08/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3415 Referee: Craig Thomson Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; Raven, Elsdon, Mckay, Chalmers, Polworth, Draper, Vigurs, Calder (Mulraney, 58), Baird (Bell, 74), Oakley (Zschusschen, 85) Subs (not used): Esson, Cooper, MacDonald Scorers: none Booked: Draper (43), Raven (63), Vigurs (76), Mckay (89), Elsdon (92) Sent Off: none Dundee Utd: 1 Lineup: Lewis; Toshney, Scobbie, Edjenguele, Robson, Allardice (Keatings, 67), Briels, Stanton, Fraser (Flood, 87), King, McMullan Subs (not used): Mehmet, Murdoch, Donaldson, Chalmers, Thomas Scorers: McMullan (pen.13) Booked: Scobbie (44), Stanton (74), McMullan (80), Briels (86) Sent Off: none a
  19. Here we go The start of a new campaign will take one of the big favourites for promotion North, as Dundee United visit the Caledonian Stadium on matchday one of the Championship. We couldn't have asked for a much more difficult opening game for Robbo's new look Caley Jags. With around ten new faces, it's quite difficult to keep tabs on what's going on at the stadium as secrecy is the preferred mode at the moment. Even the twitter account dried up last week as fans were left in the dark during the Forfar Athletic game. Aye, that's relegation for you. If any fans were left in doubt about how tough this season will be, look no further than our performances in the Betfred League Cup, where we failed to progress from our seemingly comfortable group A. The massive changes throughout the club have repercussions everywhere, and on the park it's no different. New Players, new manager and a new challenge in extremely challenging times makes for a season where it might take a long time before we reap the benefits. Sadly, we still seem to be plagued by last years nemesis. Injuries are already affecting Robbo's squad with some key players struggling to get on the park, Tremarco and Doran out until Santa comes down your chimney. Gary Warren and Zak Elbouzedi crocked before the first game, and niggling injuries keeping another three or four out of contention. The Arabs are fresh from a frenetic Dundee derby where they matched their Dark Blue rivals in the league cup, and the draw has thrown them together again in the next round where they will get another crack at a proven Premiership side. These games will set United up for the challenge ahead, something that we appear to be unprepared for at the present. United have strengthened their squad over the summer. The loss of Simon Murray to Hibernian was tempered by the signing of proven goal scorer Scott McDonald from Motherwell. Billy King preferred Tangerine to our own red'n'blue stripes and James Keatings and Sam Stanton arrived from Hibs. Tam Scobbie and Paul McMullan will bolster the squad and keeper Harry Lewis came in from Southampton on loan. Less familiar names are Patrick N'Koyi, forward (Maastricht); Jordie Briels, midfielder (Fortuna Sittard); Deniz Mehmet, goalkeeper (Port Vale). The latest higher profile addition is former Aberdeen player Fraser Fyvie. Out went Blair Spittal, midfielder (Partick Thistle); Luis Zwick, goalkeeper (Hansa Rostock); Sean Dillon, defender (Montrose); Aaron Murrell, forward (Berwick Rangers); Paul Dixon, defender; Charlie Telfer, midfielder; Frank van der Struijk, defender; Wato Kuate, midfielder; Jordan Garden, forward. Loan ended: Tony Andreu, midfielder (Norwich City); Thomas Mikkelsen, forward (Odense); Alex Nicholls, midfielder (Barnet); Brett Long, goalkeeper (Motherwell). Team news from the Caledonian Stadium is that Gary Warren joins Carl Tremarco and Aaron Doran on the longer list with wide player Zak Elbouzedi out as well. Collin Seedorf is expected to return with David Raven on standby should he be needed. Jake Mulraney will be a key player this season and should be fit for the opener. New signing Connor Bell is ready to go as well Scott McDonald will not feature for the Arabs as he is suspended, as is Matty Smith, but Billy King is poised to play against his former team mates but ex-Jambo James Keatings is struggling with injury. Paul McMullan could find himself as the main striker once more. We start the season in sixth place, albeit alphabetically. We will do well to get above that this term. It's going to be a long hard season methinks, with a play off place the aim. Visitors United will be one of the hot favourites for promotion, and it's difficult to see past them being in pole position at the end of the season. tm4tj prediction:- This game against the Championship favourites comes a bit too early for us with our preparations hindered by injuries already. United limbered up for this with a Dundee derby and they looked sharp and ready for the season ahead. We'll do well to take a point, but the likelihood of an opening day defeat looms large. Fingers crossed for a point. Robbo was talking to the Inverness Courier ahead of this clash and he had this to say.................. “United are flying, have topped their group and got a win over their rivals. It was a fantastic spectacle at Dens Park, so they’ll be in fine fettle and bring a good crowd up the road. “It’ll let us know where everybody is right from the start. You get straight into it against a title contender and hopefully we’re in the position after the match celebrating three points. “People talk about relegation – it has financial repercussions but we’re dealing with it. We have a budget and we work to it. We’ve brought younger more athletic players in to bolster the players we’ve got at the moment. “Dundee United and Falkirk are most people’s favourites and we respect that. But we want to show we’ll be right up there challenging because there’s a very good United squad coming up this weekend.”
  20. Robbo no happy after home defeat Inverness' disjointed side slumped to a 0-2 defeat at the hands of Championship contenders Falkirk who did all their hard work in the first half and coasted in from there, the hosts unable to fashion out any clear chances over the entire game. Inverness were without captain Gary Warren and Jake Mulraney, both injured at Forthbank in midweek. Alex Cooper was a surprise inclusion on the bench having earned a short term contract as we struggle for fit players. Matt Elsdon came in at the back and John Baird faced his former club up front. A blustery but dry afternoon greeted the sides as the game kicked off, a bit of haar coming in from the Firth keeping the temperature down. Falkirk were prepared to take the game to their hosts looking to get an early advantage, but it was Inverness that passed up on the first snippet. A free kick from Polworth found it's way into the box and bounced into an awkward area, but the defence reacted quicker and cleared the danger. An excellent bit of ball retention saw Nathan Austin get clear in the box after a neat flick set him up, but he smothered his shot from twelve yards and Mark Ridgers was able to block with his legs to avoid a certain goal. When Susan was robbed in midfield, Falkirk went forward again and Sammy Hyppolite tried from distance but his shot was always heading just the wrong side of the post with Ridgers scrambling across his line to escort the ball round the sticks. Pressure was mounting on the home defence but they were coping at this point. However, a long diagonal ball from Rory Loy was well taken by Alex Harris wide on the Falkirk right as he raced forward. He delivered a superb cut back into the box which was asking to be dispatched, and up popped Joe McKee to drive the ball low behind Ridgers for the opening goal from around the same spot as Austin missed from earlier. Ridgers had to scamper well out of his box as a long ball caught out the entire home defence. He just managed to get a toe nail on it to foil Austin as the striker sped towards him some forty yards out. Our only moment in the first half saw a deep cross find John Baird under pressure at the back post from Aiden Muirhead, but alas, between the defender and the keeper, the ball was blocked from Baird's header. One minute later and that miss would prove costly. Ridgers was less fortunate with his next piece of the action a couple of minutes before the break. He scuffed a clearance about thirty five yards straight to the feet of Rory Loy who promptly fed Nathan Austin who in turn curled the ball low past the culprit in goal. Just enough time for Ross Draper to fire a shot wide before the whistle blew. A bit harsh on Inverness maybe, but two down at the interval and a mountain to climb, the lack of creation evident. Half Time 0-2 The second period saw Falkirk go into their shell as they looked to hold onto what they had with Inverness not showing much attacking intent or commitment, and ten minutes in Ricardo Calder was replaced by Alex Cooper. He had a run into the corner of the box, but his effort was blocked for a corner from a tight angle. On the hour Robbo had seen enough, or maybe not seen enough of Felitciano Zschuschenn and hooked him for George Oakley. The result of that substitution showed that we looked slightly more menacing with Oakley able to hold up the ball better and battle for his place in the team. He almost reduced the deficit after seventy-five minutes but Robbie Thomson brought off a TV save to deny him from twenty-five yards. Little was seen of Falkirk in this half, but we were still making heavy weather of producing moments in the ever increasing swirling conditions that brought in even more chilling winds. As the game wore on we looked less likely to carve open the visiting defence and that's how it ended with Falkirk going to the top of group A with a game in hand. Full Time 0-2 For Inverness, Collin Seedorf looked to be the most accomplished player and George Oakley did his chances of a start no harm when he was introduced. Most of the rest need to take a look at themselves and see if they want to play for this club or not, and one or two appear to be lacking in confidence just now. Defeat for Robbo in his second game at home with his new look side and he pulled no punches in this frank and cutting interview after the game. Peter Houston also gave his thoughts. Great video & commentary from Falkirk TV Date: 22/07/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: ???? Referee: John Beaton Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers, Chalmers, Elsdon, Polworth, Draper, Baird, Vigurs, Calder (Cooper 55), Seedorf, Zschusschen (Oakley 59), McKay Subs (not used): Esson, Raven, Foy, MacDonald Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none Falkirk: 2 Lineup: Thomson, Muirhead, Watson, Grant, Gallacher, McKee, Taiwo, Hippolyte (Miller 80), Harris (Shepherd 71), Gallacher, Austin (Kerr 79), Loy Subs (not used): Mitchell, Gasparotto, O'Hara, Craigen Scorers: McKee (21), Austin (43) Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  21. Renewing old rivalries as Bairns come North Falkirk come North on Saturday for our third Betfred League Cup game this season. We opened with a comfortable 3-0 defeat of Brechin City. That same day Falkirk cuffed Stirling Albion 4-1. In midweek we struggled to create many clear cut opportunities against the same Stirling Albion at Forthbank as Falkirk enjoyed a night off. We crept through on penalties to gain the extra point in a shoot-out made famous for it's lack of goals. It's reputed to be the lowest winning score recorded in a penalty shoot-out, Inverness winning 2-0. Given that both clubs have played the Binos, they will be the benchmark for deciding who is best placed to succeed in this encounter, and you would have to say that the Bairns look like the favourites here. Here's a worrying stat for you. In each of our last four games against Falkirk, we have had a man sent off. In fact, out of the last ten games, Inverness have only two wins, Falkirk have seven. The one win that did really matter won us the Scottish Cup. However, they will struggle to recognise our squad since we last played them in the Scottish Cup Final two years ago. Ryan Esson is still in our squad, Ross Draper and Liam Polworth could be on the park, and that's it! Plenty alterations at Falkirk as well, who have taken on Rory Loy from Dundee, Alex Harris from Hibs and David Mitchell, a goalkeeper from Dundee. They have an extensive list of players who have left this summer: Craig Sibbald, midfielder; Bob McHugh, forward (Greenock Morton); Luke Leahy, midfielder (Walsall); David McCracken, defender (Peterhead); Lewis McMinn, goalkeeper (Stenhousemuir); Cameron Eadie, defender (Elgin City); Fraser Aird, midfielder; Kyle Johnson, defender; Cameron Eadie, defender. Loan ended: Danny Rogers, goalkeeper (Aberdeen), and of course John Baird who joined us. So, the new season has brought plenty of personell changes at both clubs, but it looks like it has hit us harder than most, that's what comes with relegation I suppose. Falkirk are perennial battlers in the play off's, but once again they failed to go up in a sort of Groundhog Day. However, I would expect them to be one of the serious contenders once more. Tough game ahead and it will provide us with something to gauge ourselves against in the coming Championship season. Inverness could be without captain Gary Warren who is rated 50/50 for the Falkirk game. Zak Ebouzedi is out. Aaron Doran and Carl Tremarco are not expected to be ready for action until November. Josh Meekings is going or injured or both. Owain Fon Williams and A N Other, (possibly David Raven), have been told to look elsewhere for their football as their wages will free up resources for a few more signings. Felitciano Zcheuschen could make his home debut in this one. Robbo reckons he will be a tremendous asset once he and his team mates get to know each other. Mitchell Foy could return to the squad. He looked an exciting prospect in the short time he played at Forres in pre-season. John Baird will be looking to get one over his former club. He scored 36 goals for the Bairns in just over 100 games but will be wanting to impress his new gaffer if he gets a chance. For Falkirk, new signing Rory Loy will be a big danger, but Joe Mckee will be one to watch at set pieces as he certainly packs a punch from distance. Watch his stunning free kick in the play-off game against Dundee United at 3.23 in to the video
  22. Dawn of a new Era The new season kicks off with the visit of Brechin City to the Caledonian Stadium for a Group A Betfred League Cup encounter, Robbo's first competitive game back at the helm. Brechin did well to win promotion having finished fourth in the first division, but they pipped Alloa in the play-offs to send them into the Championship. It's over thirteen years since we last played a competitive match against The City who now have former Caley Jags machine Darren Dods as their player manager. The last game ended in a narrow 1-0 victory for Inverness in the Highlands. John Robertson was our manager that day and Barry Wilson grabbed the only goal from the penalty spot. When we first entered the Leagues, Brechin held the upper hand over Inverness, winning two and drawing one, with ICT taking the last encounter in 1996. Since then, Inverness gradually got the better of the Angus club and in season 2003/2004 we won all five games against Brechin, scoring 17 goals in the process. However, although the manager remains the same at Inverness, it's all change on the park and there was little given away in pre-season to give us any indication of what to expect this campaign. Signings were arriving at the double with striker George Oakley coming in from AFC Wimbledon and Inverness lad Mark Ridgers via Partick where he was back up keeper last season. Collin Seedorf a nephew of the great Clarence Seedorf arrived from Dutch football and Ricardo Calder and Mathew Elsdon were next to wave the Red'n'Blue scarf above their heads whilst proclaiming their lifelong ambition was to play for Caley Thistle in the Championship. There is also an exciting prospect in Zak Elbouzedi coming in from the West Brom set-up, a flying winger similar to Jake Mulraney, so that could be interesting. Former Motherwell defender Joe Chalmers has been added to the squad gaining a two year deal. Alex Cooper has also been linked with a move to Inverness having featured in a couple of pre-season games. A lot has changed since the end of the season, chairmen, directors, managers, players, ball boys, tweeters and ticket sellers have all been removed. Some have been replaced and it's not easy to keep tabs on. Notable faces out or on their way are Richie Foran, Kevin McNaughton, Scott Boden, Alex Fisher, Larnell Cole, Josh Meekings, Owain Fon Williams and another as yet unnamed high earner (if there is such a thing at ICT), an endless list really. Struggling for information this early in the season, but apparently over the close-season Dougie Hill, Ross Caldwell, Gareth Rodger, Alan Trouten and Darren McCormack have all left the Hedge at Brechin. No doubt due to cuts and trimming the squad. However, Willie Dyer, Liam Watt, Aron Lynas, Finn Graham, Chris O'Neill, Gary Fusco and Elliot Ford are all staying. Top signing appears to be Ryan McGeever ex-Falkirk who has signed on as has Isaac Layne, defender Ewan Spark. Late arrivals from Livingston are midfielder Jordan Sinclair and defender Sean Crighton and winger Kalvin Orsi from St Mirren. All are expected to be in the squad for tomorrows game. We begin the season with a lengthy injury list. The aforementioned Zak Elbouzedi is out (he'll be just Zak from now on), his crutches a bit of a giveaway. Strikers John Baird and George Oakley are struggling with knocks, Carl Tremarco and Aaron Doran have longer term injuries. After that it's anyone's guess who Robbo will be selecting for this seasons opener. Brechin have Liam Watt out with a broken wrist. They also have a few suspended, allegedly, Chris O'Neill, James Dale and Finn Graham. Star signing Ryan McGeever is reported to be on holiday at the moment. Over to you Dods, you're on the bench, so who are the other two subs? Name yer team Machine.
  23. Annus Horribilis Endum Relegationus Our Annus has at last ended in relegation after we defeated Motherwell 3-2, but Hamilton thumped Dundee to ensure they live to fight another day. The inevitable happened, albeit later than most of us expected, but after getting some false hope in midweek, the great escape was called off before half-time with Accies 2-0 up at the interval. So, the worst team in the league got their just reward, automatic relegation. A lot of unhappy bunnies at full-time with many fans turning their anger to the board, or more specifically the lack of action from the board and a rookie manager who will be made the scapegoat in all of this. Foran was given the role by a board which we all hoped would work out. When it never happened the board did nothing. When it all went tits up the board did nothing. The silence from the board is deafening and the stench of relegation will linger around for a long time. Anyway, congratulations to Accies who took the pressure and went about their business the right way. For us, it's championship football next season with no guarantee that we will bounce back. Bigger clubs than us have found it's tough to get out of this league and float around the championship for several years. However, that's the position we find ourselves in and we just have to get on with it. Foran fielded the same side that started against Dundee and a big crowd turned out to see if the impossible would happen. Motherwell were without the departing Scott McDonald, but Louis Moult made the starting XI. It was a cagey opening half for us and we looked nervous, afraid to make the errors that would see us relegated. It took 23 minutes for us to feel uneasy as news filtered through that Accies had taken the lead. The frustration doubled two minutes later as Accies bagged a second and we all knew it was game over. It looked as though the players knew something was wrong as the first half was poor, and heads were dropping, but in all honesty it was the same fare we have been treated to all season, so nothing new there. Despite the poor first half, we did create the best opportunities and Laing fired a long range effort that worked the keeper. Polworth skewed wide and Draper opened his body too much when he should have found the top corner. However, Motherwell did look slicker than us for the most part which in itself was a tad worrying. Half-Time 0-0 We needed goals and upped the pace after the break but had Raven to thank for clearing what looked like a netbound effort away from goal. Dougie Imrie sealed our fate when he scored a third for Accies from the spot in the 56th minute. Relegation assured, and Just when it looked as though we had run out of ideas, we hit Well with a triple whammy. Greg Tansey punched the air in delight as his parting gift was a goal rifled across the keeper in the 64th minute. Three minutes later and Alex Fisher had us 3-0 ahead. It mattered not a jot though although the goals were pleasing. Motherwell beavered away and were rewarded with a couple of goals, one from sub James McFadden and a late penalty from Bowman. Full Time 3-2 Many fans had seen enough long before the end and may have missed Well's mini revival, but they fell just short of utterly ruining our day completely although relegation was punishment enough for a season of dross. I'll stick to comments regarding the game for now and my MotM goes to Iain Vigurs who looked assured on the ball, the one player who looked to have class in abundance on a dark day for the club. Greg Tansey also impressed in his final game before joining Aberdeen. However, it's not just about this one game, the whole season has been littered with failures, from top to bottom and that is why we are going down. It has taken twenty-two years to build this club into a force to be reckoned with. It's only taken one year to demolish it and set us back fifteen years. ICT v Motherwell Foran Interview on BBC Sport I'm not sure about bad apples, but something is rotten to the core. As someone commented somewhere, "Budapest to Brechin in just two years............... See you all next season in the Championship Date: 20/05/2017 Venue: Caledonian Stadium, Inverness Attendance: 5351 Referee: Craig Thomson Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Esson, Brad Mckay, Warren, Laing, Raven, Polworth (Mulraney 77), Tansey, Draper, Vigurs (McNaughton 83), Fisher, Billy Mckay. Subs (not used): Hoban, Cole, Anier, Boden, McCart. Scorers: Tansey (64), Fisher (66,67) Booked: none Sent Off: none Motherwell: 2 Lineup: Griffiths, Cadden, Heneghan, McHugh, Hammell, Clay, Campbell, Ainsworth (Livingstone 56), Moult (McFadden 73), Frear, Gordon (Bowman 67) Subs (not used): Turnbull, Lasley, Jules, Pain, Scorers: McFadden (73), Bowman (pen 93) Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  24. Survival Saturday It's squeaky bum time as Motherwell visit the Caledonian Stadium for game 38 in the Premiership. Who knew we would still have a chance to remain in this division after the season we have suffered. Thanks to a stirring performance on Wednesday night, we defeated Dundee, and that result brings us to squeaky bum Saturday. Hold on to your seats folks. Yes, it's still possible to make the play off final. That in itself would be a major feat, but it will be an extremely difficult opponent that will await the second bottom side with Dundee United or perennial challengers Falkirk waiting to ambush the unlucky side. ***Latest News*** United defeat Falkirk 2-1 (agg 3-4) after coming from behind to book their place in the Play-Off Final. With Accies losing a late goal to County on Tuesday night, that gave Inverness the impetus to go out and have a go at Dens Park. We did this with some authority and scored two goals inside ten minutes to create this phenomenon. Motherwell made their season safe with an excellent 3-1 win over Kilmarnock and justified their decision to remove Mark McGhee from his position. Caley Jags fans were gobsmacked by the fighting qualities and confidence displayed against Dundee. The defence won everything in their own box and we looked confident and assured. The mystery is why has it taken a whole season to come out with a result and performance like this. This was only our third clean sheet of the season in the League. What a time to do it. Motherwell away was one of our clean sheet games when we smacked them 3-0 back in October. Tremarco, Doumbouya and Polworth were the scorers that day. Only Polworth will be available for selection this time around. The other two games against Well have ended in defeat, 4-2 at Fir Park and a disappointing 2-1 reverse at the Caledonian Stadium, despite dominating most of the game. Motherwell have two wins since the split, that's the same as us. Well have won on their last three visits to Inverness. We have not kept a clean sheet at home in our last seven games. So, it's come down to this. It's all or nothing. Only a win will benefit us as long as Hamilton do not win against Dundee. If we can show the same confidence that was on display at Dens Park then we will give ourselves a chance, something that looked a long way off a month or two ago. Richie Foran said we have no fresh injuries ahead of this crucial game and Scott Boden will be fit enough to be included in the squad. Josh Meekings, Aaron Doran and Owain Fon Williams are all long term casualties. Stephen Robinson had an extra day to rest his players after beating Killie. However he does have some problems ahead of this clash. Scott McDonald is leaving Motherwell at the end of the season and will not feature at Inverness. Fellow striker Louis Moult is also reported to be struggling with an injury. Craig Samson, Stephen Pearson, Stephen McManus, Richard Tait, Jacob Blyth, Jack McMillan, Lee Lucas and Ross MacLean are all out. If we can believe that all of these are out then it's like one of our injury lists. tm4tj prediction:- You won't get a prediction out of me for this one. Suffice to say I am bricking it. However, after that confident, assured and clinical display against Dundee, more of the same would not go amiss. I'll say no more, it's time for the talking to stop and let the action on the park speak for all of us. Mon the Caley Jags.
  25. Rare win for Inverness gives hope. Inverness threw themselves a slender lifeline with a deserved 2-1 win over Hamilton Accies in the relegation scrap at the foot of the table. It was only our second win in twenty-four games and our fourth of the season. This win closes the gap to Accies and Well to four points with only three games left. We should have been out of site by half time and Accies could have had no complaints had we been four or five up at the break. As it was, an early goal from defender Brad Mckay and a penalty by Greg Tansey was all we had to show from numerous attempts. Accies left a bitter sweet taste in the mouth as they notched a goal through Redmond with the last kick of the game as we got ourselves in a fankle. Pity about that but it was a welcome three points that gives us a glimmer of hope and keeps our premiership status alive for another week at least. Full report to follow......... Date: 06/05/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2478 Referee: Andrew Dallas Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Esson, Raven, Warren, Draper, Billy Mckay, Mulraney (King 90+2), Tansey, Fisher (Boden 68), Laing, Brad Mckay (McNaughton 90), Anier Subs (not used): Hoban, Horner, McCart, Cole Scorers: Brad Mckay (10), Tansey (pen.36) Booked: Draper (40), Billy Mckay (51), Tansey (54), Boden (74) Sent Off: none Hamilton: 1 Lineup: Matthews, Mcmann, Sarris, Devlin, Skondras, Imrie, Donati (Crawford 46), Docherty (Brophy 82), MacKinnon, D'Acol, Bingham (Redmond 46) Subs (not used): Woods, Gillespie, Templeton, Adams Scorers: Redmond (94) Booked: Donati (35) Sent Off: none a