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  1. Tynecastle Test Inverness make the first of two consecutive trips to the capital with a Tuesday night game against Hearts at Tynecastle in a 19:45 kick off. On Sunday we continue our mission to retain the Scottish Cup at Easter Road, but it's the Tynecastle game we will concentrate on for now. Hearts sit comfortably in third place in the Premiership on 47 points, fourteen ahead of Inverness who are just outside the top-six, but theoretically could jump into fourth place with a win over the Jambos. The Gorgie side are the second top scorers in the league and can also boast the second best defensive record as well. They have just one defeat in their last nine league games, at the hands of a battling Dundee United, although four of the other eight games were draws. Inverness are in the congested area between fourth and eleventh, separated by just eight points, and a quick learning Dundee United who are making a late charge to stave off relegation. We have two defeats in the last nine games with three wins and four draws, so there's not that much between the sides in terms of current form. In the only meeting between the clubs this season, Inverness recorded their first win in a 2-0 victory over the much fancied Hearts side. James Vincent opened the scoring that day and Miles Storey opened his account on his debut. How we could do with some more goals from our young striker now to end his barren spell. No goals in nine games since he scored against Ross County on January 2nd. I'll discount his credited goal against Motherwell as it was clear that Steven McManus knocked the ball home, Miles was miles away from the ball. Losing a two goal lead against their bitter city rivals Hibernian, then losing the replay will have knocked the confidence from Hearts young squad somewhat. That was followed by a 2-1 loss at Tannadice, although the Arabs are on a bit of a resurgence, but nonetheless their form has been more erratic in recent weeks which will give Yogi's lads plenty of optimism about facing Hearts. Robbie Neilson had made five changes to the side that faced Kilmarnock from the previous game. Callum Paterson could shrug off a shoulder injury from the Killie game and Jordan McGhee is free from suspension having missed the win over Killie. Liam Smith is ready to fill in should Paterson not recover in time. Otherwise, Hearts should have an unchanged side unless tactical changes are made. John Hughes conceded that we played second fiddle to Dundee, especially after we went ahead, and will be looking to change that. David Raven has missed the last three games with Lewis Horner deputising. Josh Meekings, James Vincent and Alex Fisher are out with Foran and Doran on the permanent casualty list. Andrea Mutombo missed out at Dundee, but that was seen as precautionary with bigger games coming up. Danny Williams will start in place of the suspended Ross Draper. tm4tj Prediction:- Well, if we try to defend in depth against the free scoring Jambos I fear for our goal difference. We struggled badly at Dens Park looking to hold what we had, but we surrendered territory and paid the price at the end. Jordan Roberts will be a key figure for us along with Miles Storey, but it's our defence that will have to work hardest to keep the eager Tynecastle lads at bay. Our midfield should be able to compete with a Don Cowie fuelled Hearts engine room and that will be another important area where we need to challenge well and set the ball rolling. Sam Nicholson and Jamie Walker will be lively customers and we have to make sure they are not given the freedom of Tynecastle, but with Osman Sow off to China then we might have enough to stifle the free flowing Jambos. Score draw at best, but we need to be on our toes until the final whistle. A win would be a huge bonus, defeat keeps us deep in the mid-table dog fight.
  2. The battle for top-six hots up Inverness are on the road again as they visit Dens Park to take on top six rivals Dundee, who are unbeaten at home in their last six games. This looks to be a tough test for Inverness with Dundee boosted by recent form, their last game at Dens Park a 5-0 thrashing of Championship side Dumbarton in the Scottish Cup. Paul Hartley has built a tidy team over the last couple of years. Gary Harkins undoubted technical ability in the creative department has seen the Dark Blues consolidate and build over the last two seasons, and in Kane Hemmings they have a striker who knows his way to the back of the net, his 15 goals so far a testament to that. Former Peterhead and Falkirk forward Rory Loy is another who will provide a threat along with the talented Greg Stewart, and both are capable providers. Dundee sit just two points above Inverness in the league, and that is enough for them to hog sixth place. They have scored 39 goals compared to Inverness' 33, but the Highlanders hold the upper hand in defence, five goals better than the Tayside club. There's not a lot between the sides, but home advantage could be the crucial factor here. Inverness gained plenty of plaudits for their tremendous approach and performance at Parkhead, but plaudits don't win matches and Celtic ran out flattering 3-0 winners. That result undid a bit of the good work completed against Aberdeen in our previous league game, but our encouraging forward play will give confidence to the side. The only thing missing against Celtic was a couple of goals our endeavour merited. The sides have yet to be split this season, two 1-1 draws so far and who would bet against another one. In August, they drew in Dundee, David Raven an unlikely scorer before a late Kane Hemmings goal levelled it and Andrea Mutombo saw red for hacking down Nick Ross (how dare you). In the return fixture in the Highlands, Raven was involved again, this time being sent off after fifty minutes and Rory Loy converting the resultant penalty. However, it was a tale of two penalties and Greg Tansey equalised from the spot. It's well documented that Danny Williams and James Vincent could be on their way to Dundee after the season closes. I doubt we would miss either player much given Vincent's injury riddled time here, although his most important contribution yet came in last seasons Scottish Cup final. Danny Williams has been a bit part player, although often effective when he has played and is a firm favourite with the fans. Dundee will be without Jake McPake who is out for the season. Daryll Meggatt is on the recovery trail and Nicky Low is back in training, but won't make this one. Inverness' season long injured crew are, well, still injured. Most recent injuries are Josh Meekings, Alex Fisher, James Vincent and David Raven who was not risked in the last couple of games. Lewis Horner deputised well in those games while most fans were somewhat wary of his inclusion, but like Tremarco on the other side, he has won over more followers with his displays. tm4tj Prediction:- With two draws already, and Dundee not the happiest of hunting grounds for us, it would be prudent to put your money on another draw here. Our play last week was worthy of a better outcome and would probably have seen off most other teams in the league, but putting the ball in the net has been a season long problem that needs addressed. Young striker Miles Storey has played well recently but the goals have dried up. He really needs a boost to his confidence right now and a goal or two would not go amiss. Kane Hemmings has 15 goals already this season and we need to keep him quiet. The midfield is where this game will be won or lost, and we are as strong as we have been all season. We could be just the team to end Dundee's good home form, but I will settle for a point. Third 1-1 draw coming up.
  3. Champions v Cup Winners. Toughest game on the calendar I suppose as Inverness head West to the East end of Glasgow to face Champions Celtic at Parkhead. It's not worth dwelling too much on this game, and if I'm honest anything we can get from Parkhead is a bonus. It's as difficult as they come with Celtic still looking for points to keep their noses in front of Aberdeen, who were last weeks victims at the hands of Willie Collum, if you listen to Derek McInnes' bleatings. Baaaa, baaaa........... We have shipped seven goals against Celtic this season, going down 4-2 in Glasgow and 3-1 in the Highlands. We have recovered somewhat from our early season demise and should provide stiffer opposition for the leaders. However, should the lackadaisical side that saw off the mighty East Kilbride 2-0 in the cup turn up, then we have a chance of upsetting the bookies. Celtic's last outing saw them defeat our good neighbours Ross County 2-0 in Glasgow, Leigh Griffiths scoring his 30th goal of the season in that one.Dedryck Boyata scored the other. County put up some stern resistance until just on half time, that's the same determination we will need to show if we harbour any thoughts of taking something from this game. I doubt it will be pretty, let's hope it is effective though. Our last game was the 3-1 win against Aberdeen where we fought back from a goal down to win comfortably. Three goals from Willie Collum did the damage, thankfully he is not in charge today. Ronny Deila should have an unchanged squad to call upon, plus a few million pounds worth of talent just sitting around, some spare Arabs and some new foreign imports. The usual suspects are out long term, and Alex Fisher, James Vincent, Josh Meekings and possibly Davis Raven are also out. tm4tj prediction:- It's always an uncomfortable fixture for us and I would expect Celtic to be strong enough to win this game. But should they display any of the qualities that they showed in their last two Cup games, then they will find us eager to take advantage. Miles Storey has been tremendous recently without scoring and Jordan Roberts continued on from where he left off against Motherwell. The focus will be on our defence though and Gary Warren and Danny Devine will be bust lads today. Celtic have the countries top scorer in Leigh Griffiths and he will be a big danger. I would like to predict a win, but we will do well to take a point, although that is looking on the bright side. ps, I wonder if we will get a glimpse of our own superloon Ryan Christie. A fantastically gifted player and one we would have liked to have kept at Inverness.
  4. Cup Defence. It's time to continue the defence of our trophy as the Scottish Cup fifth round draw takes us to Fir Park to face the 1952 & 1991 winners Motherwell. It's not the most glamorous of ties and certainly a tougher one than we would have liked at this stage, and one that Motherwell will feel they can win, but that's the luck of the draw I suppose. The transfer window came and went and it caused a bit of a stushie up North with the Greg Tansey affair taking all the headlines. The on off saga detracted slightly from the fact that Inverness did add a couple of players to our squad. Liam Hughes and Ryan Williams are both midfielders and will hopefully add a bit of craft to the squad. So, rightly or wrongly, Greg Tansey remains an Inverness Caledonian Thistle player for now amid much speculation and guesstimating. Greg's official agent is blaming a third party for all the confusion. We'll not add to the mystique and leave it at that, content that he will be pulling on an Inverness shirt this weekend. This is a cup game, but as far as league form goes there's not much between the sides and home advantage could be the deciding factor. Inverness sit just three points above Motherwell, the main disparity being a much superior goal difference. We have sored more and lost less showing a difference of 13 goals in our favour. We have played twice already this season and it's one win apiece. We opened our campaign with a 0-1 defeat to Motherwell in the Highlands. We were in a transition period then, prior to our injury ravaged era and went down rather tamely to an early Wes Fletcher goal. In the reverse fixture at Motherwell we pulled of a surprise but nonetheless welcome 3-1 victory. A Greg Tansey penalty and a Miles Storey deflected strike saw us go in at the break two ahead. Iain Vigurs scored a superb volley after the break before Louis Moult pulled one back for the Well. But that's how it ended, 1-3 for Inverness and a mini revival started in December to boost our points tally. Motherwell made their way to this stage by thrashing Cove Rangers 5-0. They took just two minutes to open the scoring through Moult and were 2-0 up after six minutes when Scott McDonald scored. Further counters from Marvin Johnson and Stephen Pearson put them in at the break four up and Pearson added his second to end the scoring after the hour. Since that game, the Steelmen have been thrashed 6-0 by Hearts, lost 2-1 to County, drawn with Dundee and lost a late goal when slipping to defeat at Partick. While Motherwell were cruising into the next round, we made heavy weather of our tie at Forthbank and Stirling Albion fully deserved another crack at their Premier opponents. It took two spectacular goals to see off the Binos in the replay, many Inverness fans just happy to get into the draw, but not overjoyed by another lack lustre performance. Their pessimism justified in our next league game, a drab 0-0 draw with Partick following on from defeat at Kilmarnock. Carl Tremarco is the latest player to extend his contract. That comes on top of Gary Warren, Ryan Esson and Ross Draper putting pen to paper, so some good news for Caley Jags fans after a nail biting transfer window comes to a close. Inverness can call on their new signings to boost the squad. Yogi looks likely to flood the midfield given our lack of strikers available. Dean Brill is almost ready to pull his gloves on, but Aaron Doran and Josh Meekings are out. James Vincent has been a recent omission and his box to box play has been missed. Richie Foran and Jordan Roberts continue their rehab on the bench. The unfortunate Alex Fisher is out for six weeks with a chipped ankle bone. Motherwell have added Morgaro Gomis on loan from Hearts, and he is eligible for this game. A couple of notable outs is David Clarkson who has been loaned to St Mirren and midfielder Liam Grimshaw has returned to Manchester United. There's not much fresh news coming out of Fir Park, but defender Ben Roberts is reported to be struggling to make this one. tm4tj Prediction:- It's a chance to forget the rigours of league football and serve up a footballing treat for the fans. Inverness as holders will be looking to remain in contention and Motherwell will be hoping home advantage will benefit them. On paper, it should be tight. Louis Moult will be one to keep an eye on. He has scored 13 goals this season and has picked up 5 yellow cards, so one way or another, an exciting prospect. We have been under the hammer recently, struggling to create sufficient opportunities for Miles Storey, but the young striker has been plugging away and the goals will come, eight so far for him. Our last game at Fir Park saw us run out 3-1 winners, it'll be tighter than that and might take a replay to sort this one out. Of course, we have put Motherwell out of the cup at Fir Park before. Barry Wilson scored with a spectacular goal from all of 75 yards. I believe next season it will be up to 80 yards, gets better with every passing year. Bring it on! The romance of the Cup goes on for some teams. Ross County have an intriguing home tie against the first Junior side to reach the 5th round, Linlithgow Rose. They are well travelled in their quest for cup glory having been to Galashiels, Inverness, Wick and Forfar. Good luck to Ross County in that one. The big tie is the Capital clash that pits Hearts at home to Hibernian, a club looking for their first Scottish Cup triumph in over a century. And good luck to East Kilbride as they try to inflict Celtic's third domestic defeat in a row. We are all East Kilbride. Shock troopers Annan Athletic were rewarded with a home tie against Greenock Morton after pumping Hamilton 4-1 in the last round. There's an early kick off at Ibrox where Championship leaders the Rangers take on Premiership strugglers, managerless Kilmarnock, and an all Premiership game at Tannadice as basement side United play Partick Thistle. The final tie has Dundee visiting the Sons of the Rock at Dumbarton.
  5. It's Jambo Time GAME OFF If you are travelling to this game for the 12:30 kick off, keep an eye open for updates as there will be a pitch inspection at 07:30 We don't want anyone to be marooned. The official ICT twitter account will be your best option https://twitter.com/ICTFC or https://twitter.com/JamTarts Tough match this Saturday at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium in the 12:30 kick off which will see Hearts as our opponents in the Premiership, weather permitting. The Jambos are having a tremendous season since getting back into the top division and are comfortably in third place with 41 points, 12 ahead of sixth place Inverness. They are also second top scorers with 42 goals and their defence is pretty solid too, conceding just 24, only Celtic and Aberdeen can better that. That gives them a goal difference of plus 18 compared to ours at minus 2. Last week we drew 0-0 with Partick Thistle in what can at best be described as a below par performance. In truth we were unable to break down a Partick side who had set their stall out to take a point at all cost, and they got that effortlessly as we huffed and puffed but could not blow the house down Hearts last game was also a 0-0 draw, at Hamilton where the Jambos were reduced to ten men for the whole of the second half, but they still came away with a point. Some good news for Caley Jags fans is that Gary Warren has signed on again, as have Ryan Esson and Ross Draper. We have already beaten Hearts up here this season in an entertaining 2-0 win. James Vincent and Miles Storey scored that day as Hearts finished the game with ten men, Juwon Oshaniwa dismissed after a tussle with Tobi Sho-Silva. The reverse game at Tynecastle was called off and has still to be played, Tuesday 1st of March is the re-scheduled date. Inverness are still plagued by injuries and John Hughes is looking to bring in more firepower given the news that striker Alex Fisher will probably be out for a couple of months with a chipped ankle bone. We have a couple of trialists up this week in the form of striker Victor Zapata-Caicedo and Liam Hughes, an attacking midfielder. Zapata was last with Czech side Banik Ostrava and Hughes has plied his trade for Cambridge United. I'll just call him Zapata, but he was highly thought of at the Tottenham Hotspur Academy before moving on and Hughes has only played for Cambridge United in his career. Inverness are still without Aaron Doran whose season can be written off. Dean Brill is another and Josh Meekings is catching up with them, apparently about another month at least. James Vincent has missed the last few games as well and new signing Alex Fisher is out for possibly two months. This must be our worst ever season for injuries, it's been non stop since the start of the season. With Esson signing on again, I wonder if we will see Brill back in action at the Caledonian Stadium. We persist with keeping Jordan Roberts and Richie Foran on the bench. I say if they are fit enough get them on the park, if not, get them off the bench. Hearts will definitely not have King Billy, sorry Billy King on show as he has gone to The Rangers for the rest of the season, masquerading as the Loan Ranger. Blazej Augustyn and Igor Rossi are both suspended and that could open the door for Oshaniwa and or Jordan McGhee to claim that position for themselves. Sam Nicholson and Jamie Walker could be fit enough to be included in the squad. tm4tj Prediction:- This may sound strange given our reluctance to create much last weekend, but I'm taking Inverness to edge this one. I hear you all laughing and falling off your seats, but here's my reasoning. When we are tasked to break down teams hell bent on keeping a clean sheet, we find that quite a chore and with us lacking some creativity since young Ryan Christie left we struggle to create the openings. However, teams like Aberdeen, Ross County and Hearts are easier for our style of counter attacking and will leave room at the back for us to exploit. So, if our defence can hold firm, I'm taking Miles Storey to hit the net and keep the points in the Highlands. Anyway, having seen Nat Wedderburn's shoulder dip, nothing can stop us now. See for yourself, I kid you not, we are now invincible...................
  6. Rugby Park Test. Off to Ayrshire this weekend as we get back to league duties with a visit to Rugby Park to face an upbeat Kilmarnock who will provide a stern test for our top six side. Killie got a massive boost last weekend as they ousted St Johnstone from the Scottish Cup at Perth, having drawn 2-2 the previous week against Hearts. While Killie were marching on, we stumbled around Forthbank in a dirge of a game and left needing a replay to sort out our tie with Stirling Albion. It was the lack of creation that left most fans despondent, and we are thankful that we managed to avoid the big banana skin that Hamilton Accies stood on. That said, we are now six games unbeaten, although a much improved performance will be required if we are to take anything from Rugby Park. Since we last met on the 12th of December, we have remained unbeaten, winning two of our five games and drawing the others including the cup game at Forthbank. Kilmarnock have not fared as well, and their only other win apart from the cup tie was at Hamilton where they scored the only goal. They lost to Aberdeen and Ross County in that sequence as well as the draw against Hearts. Killie's last home win was in mid October when they beat none other than Inverness CT. We were rather sluggish that day and failed to take early chances and paid the full price as goals from Greg Kiltie and Josh Magennis won the game rather comfortably in the end. That should be enough of a warning for Yogi as he looks to keep his side above the relegation tussle. Inverness will be looking for new signing Alex Fisher to get up to speed and add some much needed backing for striker Miles Storey. Kilmarnock's defence could be just the tonic our new strike pairing will be looking for as they boast the most goals conceded in the league (41). Their strikers are not much better bagging just 24, giving them a goal difference of minus 17 compared to minus 1 for the Caley Jags. Kilmarnock will be minus three suspended players with the burly Josh Magennis, Steven Smith and Kevin McHattie all missing one game for accumulative bookings. Mark O'Hara, Scott Robinson and Chris Johnston are all sidelined, but Lee McCulloch will make himself available for selection. Inverness will also have to re-shuffle their back line with Josh Meekings still out injured and Danny Devine suspended for one game. Also out are Aaron Doran and Dean Brill. Richie Foran could make the bench but is unlikely to feature. With Alex Fisher now on the books, Spanish striker Dani Lopez has returned to Spain after failing to establish himself high enough up the pecking order. tm4tj Prediction:- We are a stronger unit than the one which lost back in October, despite being able to call on Ryan Christie for that one. With players back to full fitness we are better prepared and should be looking to take something from this game. However our negative approach at Stirling has riled some fans and maybe we need a bit more time before we can get back to some semblance of free flowing football. The tightness of the league dictates how we set our stall out, but sometimes you have to give it a go. The onus will be on Killie as the home team, I hope we don't offer them the same time on the ball that we donated to Stirling Albion, as that could be our downfall. We might have to settle for a point, but it will be better than none at all, so I expect Yogi to take the cautious approach. Go on, surprise me! Scoring draw, with us losing a goal deep into injury time. 2-2.
  7. New Year Derby 2016 It's a new Year and the first derby beckons at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium with Ross County first footing on the 2nd of January at 15:00. Inverness made the most of Storm Frank at Hamilton as they blew the Accies away in a stirring, epic encounter. We were well in control and cruising at 2-0 ahead when the wheels fell off. This is a worrying trend this season that needs addressed urgently. We allowed Accies to draw level before restoring our lead with Tansey's second thumping free kick. However, we were caught cold again and plenty of finger wagging went on in the box amongst our own players. Liam Polworth became an instant hero though as he exploded a shot behind the Accies former County keeper in time added on to secure a remarkable three points. County beat Kilmarnock 3-2 in Dingwall the night before in another topsy turvy game. Craig Curran had given County the lead before Killie forged ahead just after the break. Man of the moment Michael Gardyne became County's all time record scorer with two goals to seal the win and move County on to 30 points, 5 above Inverness. The clubs have met twice this campaign with one win apiece. Inverness ended County's seven match unbeaten sequence in the Premiership encounter at Dingwall when Miles Storey and James Vincent opened up a two goal lead, but despite Liam Boyce scoring a late goal, Inverness won 2-1, a somewhat shock result given the circumstances of both clubs. County gained revenge in the league cup quarter final by the same margin at Inverness this time. Irvine and Gardyne put County two up before Tansey reduced the deficit, but it was too little too late for a depleted Inverness as County moved into the semi-final. Inverness should be able to field an unchanged side from the one that performed heroically at Hamilton on Wednesday afternoon. Josh Meekings missed that one and he looks like missing out again along with season long absentees, Aaron Doran, Dean Brill and Richie Foran. Jordan Roberts made the bench and could provide an unknown alternative should Yogi decide to use him. One or two players could need time to prove their fitness for this one. Ross County should also be unchanged from the squad that beat Kilmarnock on Tueday night. That's a luxury that Yogi has not been afforded all season. tm4tj Prediction:- We are a different beast from the one that limped out of the league cup. In saying that, County have been on form recently and scoring for fun. Liam Polworth is our man of the moment for Inverness and he has grown in stature over the last couple of months. He has scored four goals in his last three games, his final one at Hamilton an absolute screamer. Miles Storey has not been scoring, but his pace is still causing all sorts of problems for defenders. With David Raven back in his role at right back and Ross Draper adding more muscle in midfield along with Nat Wedderburn, we have become more difficult to beat. Greg Tansey has found his free kick shooting boots and that should concern the County keeper. The downside of our displays has been after the hour we seem to surrender possession to the opposition and retreat into our own wee bubble. If we can sort that out and keep the County hotshots quiet, then it could be a Happy New Year. Home win on the cards; the Highlands are ours. One trivia stat that has been unearthed by one of our regular forum users Sneckboy is that we are getting very close to our 1500th competitive goal. As far as his painstaking statistics show, we need another three goals to reach this milestone. 500th goal was scored by Davide Xausa, Grant Munro scored the 1000th. It would be nice to complete the full set against our near neighbours and maybe another local lad could get the job done. Hat-Trick for Polworth anyone?
  8. Mid Table Congestion. It's a mid-table battle to end the year at Hamilton as Inverness head to New Douglas Park to take on the Accies as both clubs strive to get into the top half of the table. Inverness fought hard for their point at Pittodrie on Boxing Day and will be a tad disappointed at only coming away with the draw after surrendering a two goal lead. It was great to have an almost full strength X1 available at Aberdeen with only Josh Meekings being the obvious exception. Hamilton lost to second bottom Kilmarnock on the same day and that result saw us jump above them in the league on goal difference. Accies are on a shocking run just now with only one win out of their last ten games, that being a defeat of bottom club Dundee United. They have now lost their last three games, conceding eight goals and scoring one. However, they did win in Inverness back in August, inflicting a 2-0 defeat on us in the Highlands. We have not made the most of some of our visits to NDP and often come away empty handed. In saying that, we have won our last four games there. Back in August on matchday five, Hamilton came North and goals from Carlton Morris and Louis Longridge won the game for them. That result put Accies fourth in the table and we were bottom equal with just two points after five games. We are starting to get a more settled side on the park now while Accies slide down the table and John Hughes will be looking to get something from this game. There's little to choose between the sides. We have scored one more goal but have conceded three less, hence we sit above them in the table. Recent form hints that we should be favourites to win this one, but that's never a good status for us. Inverness will be able to call upon Iain Vigurs after suspension, But Josh Meekings is still struggling with an injury after he missed the game at Pittodrie. Also out are long term victims, Aaron Doran, Dean Brill and Richie Foran. Jordan Roberts is fit enough to claim a spot on the bench and will be like a new signing when he is unleashed on the unsuspecting SPFL. Hamilton have no new injury worries although Michael Devlin and Darren Lyon are not ready to return, but Daniel Redmond played his first game this season last weekend in the defeat by Kilmarnock when he came on as a substitute in the 81st minute. tm4tj Prediction:- I suppose I was a bit scathing in the lead up to the Aberdeen game, but with players returning, we are starting to see a better all round balance to the side. Ross Draper was excellent at Pittodrie as was Miles Storey who ran himself to a standstill. With David Raven also returning at right back, we will be healthier defensively. If we can nick a goal or two then Dougie Imrie and Co will be staring at four defeats in a row. Here's hoping.
  9. Festive Feast of Footie. Inverness take on a revitalised Aberdeen on Boxing Day with the Dons looking to close the gap on leaders Celtic while Inverness look anxiously over their shoulder at the fight for relegation. It has been a tremendous season for the Dons as they try to halt Celtic's dominance in the Premier League. They sit just one point behind the champions as we enter the festive feast of football which often makes or breaks teams aspirations for the season. Aberdeen can look forward to their challenge and a probable European slot with their finely tuned squad beginning to show great promise on the park. Included in that will be former Inverness favourites Adam Rooney, Jonny Hayes and cup winning captain Graeme Shinnie. Rooney has now scored 50 goals in 91 games for the Dons, 7 in his last 8 games. Might be worth keeping an eye out for him. Inverness fans will have a different outlook. The prospect of relegation is unfortunately very real as we have struggled with injuries and squad depletion from the start of the season. In reality, we are only a couple of wins away from the heart of the top six. Turn those wins into defeat, and we will be preparing for a relegation battle until the end of the season; it's that tight. The Dons limbered up for this game by thrashing Kilmarnock 4-0 at Rugby Park last week. They battered Killie stupid, a result that puts the Ayrshire club second bottom. Whilst the Dons were giving Kilmarnock the runaround, we were struggling to snatch a draw at home to bottom club Dundee United. It took an injury time goal by Lewis Horner to salvage a point after former players Rankin and Mckay looked to have given United all three points, something that never went down well in the North Stand. To boo or not to boo, that is the question. Anyway, we did enough to earn a point, but we were so close to nothing from a game we were hoping to have done better in. Since we last met in September, a game we won by the way, we have earned just eleven points from nine games. Aberdeen have fared slightly better. They have gathered seventeen points and are back on track after winning five of their last six games. They are, however, beatable as St Johnstone proved when they hammered the Dons 5-1 at Pittodrie as their season began to disintegrate temporarily. That's the kind of result that we have to cling on to, and hope that we can get in on the act ourselves. Aberdeen have a wealth of talent to draw upon, including four of our former players and they will be further bolstered by the return of Andrew Considine and Mark Reynolds. Inverness will be without the suspended Iain Vigurs, but some Xmas cheer with Josh Meekings and Ross Draper returning to the squad. We could also see David Raven and Jordan Roberts after they featured in a development game in midweek. Raven at right back is a must for Inverness and let's get Meekings back into the heart of the defence with a left back playing at left back. Well, that's my Xmas wish list sorted. tm4tj Prediction:- We couldn't have asked for a tougher game than this one. The Dons are on a roll just now, winning their last four on the trot, conceding only one goal in the process. Adam Rooney is on fire just now and scoring for fun while we stutter our way down the league. I have to say that the omens are not great for us and we will do well to take anything from this game. It might be a case of damage limitation, but beware of the scalded cat. However, I can't see past a comfortable win for the home side, although we could be stronger than we have been in recent weeks. Fingers crossed.
  10. Return of the Mac. Basement boys Dundee United will be our last visitors before Santa comes along. The Tayside strugglers are propping up the league and thus far have made themselves favourites for the automatic relegation slot, although there is plenty of time to overhaul that eight point gap to second bottom Kilmarnock before next May. The clubs met back at Tannadice in September and bludgeoned their way to a 1-1 draw with Billy Mckay scoring for the Arabs after his return to Scottish football. Josh Meekings squared the game in the second half and a point each was just about right. Jackie McNamara was still in charge but things were not going well for the ex-Celtic player. That result left them on five points from eight games and second bottom of the league. Fast forward to the present, and they have hit rock bottom, sacked their manager and slipping into the Championship at an alarming rate. In the ten games since our last meeting, United have gained a mere four points out of a possible thirty. That's relegation form in any league. Their only win in that run was against Ross County, a draw with ten man Kilmarnock their only other positive result. Looks like new manager Mixu Paatelainen has plenty of work to do if he wants to avoid relegation being stamped on his CV. We have not had a lot to crow about either, but the return from injury of some influential players has seen us gather thirteen points over the same period. Four wins in that run of games, the Aberdeen one being the pick of the bunch. Also worth mentioning a 2-1 derby defeat of Ross County and despite our dismal start and erratic form we find ourselves eleven points above United in seventh place and knocking on the top-six door. Inverness have been able to field Richie Foran in development matches, although he got a smack on his face in the last one and left the field for treatment. Jordan Roberts also took part and that is good news for us. Ross Draper is struggling for fitness and will be assessed later. Definitely out are Aaron Doran and Dean Brill with Roberts and Foran likely to miss out. More good news, Miles Storey is fit enough to be included in the squad and John Hughes is looking to extend the young strikers stay at Inverness along with Tobi Sho Silva. Dundee United will be without Paul Paton, Ryan Dow until New Year and Florent Sinama Pongolle is out for a month. Japanese keeper Eiji Kawashima has still not completed his work permit tests based on his understanding of the English language. Not sure how much English he will need to get by in Dundee. United have struggled since losing Gary Mackay-Stevens, Stuart Armstrong and Nadir Ciftci, three players who could change a game. tm4tj Prediction:- Well, everybody else is taking plenty of points from the Arabs so anything less than that will be seen as a disappointment. Miles Storey will be vital to our success and the striker should start. The ongoing question of who plays at right back is one for Yogi to decide, but general opinion seems to be that David Raven should be there if fit. Plenty of choices now for the manager to ponder over and that's a bonus. Billy Mckay is worth keeping a close eye on, rumour has it he has an eye for goals. Home win for me, let's not make the mistake of underestimating a team down on their uppers.
  11. Time to dig deep Kilmarnock are the visitors this weekend and hopefully the weather will allow the game to take place after last weeks chaotic fixture list was blown apart for many teams. Just in case there is another postponement, I'm keeping this weeks effort brief. The enforced lay off can only benefit us as the players get an extra week of recuperation in their search for full fitness. Carl Tremarco has shaken off his hamstring problem and Jordan Roberts has resumed full training. With Tobi Sho-Silva and Andrea Mutombo a couple of weeks ahead in their return things are starting to look slightly healthier for Yogi who will now have the problem of team selection to ponder over. Kilmarnock, on the other hand were involved in a 1-1 draw with bottom club Dundee United. The game was not without incident though. Kris Boyd scored his 95th goal for Killie but he scores when he wants, Billy (small K) Mckay, levelled from the spot. The Rugby Park side were reduced to ten men at the penalty when Stuart Findlay was sent off midway through the first half, but they held on for a point. We lost our earlier meeting with Killie at Rugby Park by 2-0 and the Caley Jags fans were less than enthusiastic with our performance on that October day. Alternative Maryhill was moved to pen - "The second half was as bad as I've seen us all season though: far too narrow, far too many misplaced passes, far too many lazy-looking through balls that seemed to suggest players thinking 'we'll just give it to Miles and he'll do the rest'. I felt sorry for Storey - he ran his socks off, but the Killie defence stuck close to him and dealt with him pretty effectively throughout." Rig backed this up with - "Later on when the game was getting increasingly congested in the middle of the pitch we strangely took off Williams who was playing quite well and at least gave us some kind of width to our play as an alternative to trying to force it through the middle of the pitch where Christie was struggling to impose himself and Storey was getting no change out of the excellent Killie centre backs. It seemed a very odd decision." So, plenty of food for thought for Yogi to get his teeth into. The consensus of opinion suggests that it's not a great idea for us to fall behind, because we seem incapable of turning the game around. Remember, this game was played when we had the services of Ryan Christie. Tobi reckons he would like to stay at Inverness after January should both clubs agree on this. He has some unfinished business I suppose having been injured for most of the time he has been here, but still wants the opportunity to show what he can do. Well, Miles Storey needs some support and Tobi could be the man to provide it. Inverness still have a couple of players out long term. Dean Brill, Aaron Doran and Ryan Christie are way off a return but Roberts and Foran are starting full training, with Foran having been involved in a couple of Development league games. Tremarco could be added to the squad as could bad boy Dani Lopez. Kallum Higginbotham is ruled out along with midfield absentees Rory McKenzie and Chris Johnston. tm4tj Prediction:- It's time we cuffed someone and what better time to start than against fellow strugglers. Our season has been a disaster so far and the league table backs that up, regardless of how we have achieved that. We are on the same points as Killie and Partick and this will surely be seen as a must not lose game. That usually means a bit of a defensive borefest, but we are hardly overladen with attacking flare options, and if we can blunder our way to all three points, I will be most grateful. Kris Boyd has scored 191 career goals in the top flight and will be a major worry for our fragile defence along with the steamroller that is Josh Magennis. I expect nothing less than a tough encounter as the teams battle it out at the wrong end of the table, but will be looking for all three points.
  12. Capital Return Game Off A welcome return to the Capital for Inverness Caledonian Thistle this weekend. It's been too long and this is our first League visit to Tynecastle since February 2013 after both Hearts and Hibs tasted relegation over the last couple of seasons. We have all missed our trips to Edinburgh since the demise of the Capitals big two, and this one comes along just in time for some Xmas retail therapy and mulled wine ahead of the festivities. However, if you are travelling from the North side of Edinburgh, be aware that the Forth Road Bridge is closed both ways for structural repair and you will have to take the long way round. I don't see why we can't use the fifth bridge. It doesn't rain but it pours, and a pitch inspection will be carried out at 07:30 tomorrow. Inverness looked relatively comfortable last weekend against Celtic but the same old failings cost us dear. A bit of slackness in defence and a lack of creation were evident as Celtic ran out eventual winners by three goals to one. It was great to have Gary Warren and Ross Draper back in the starting line up, but without the tenacity and creativity of the injured Ryan Christie, we were pretty toothless up front, despite the best efforts of Miles Storey who scored his seventh goal of the season. Celtic recovered well from their disappointment in the Ajax tie. They were deservedly hauled level at the break but they were able to ease towards the three points without much fear of retaliation in the second half. We could consider ourselves a tad unlucky given the circumstances of the killer third goal, but if you don't create sufficient chances for the front men, then you will invariably come up short. We had to play Danny Williams at left back against Celtic with Carl Tremarco out through injury. That is no bad thing, but one wonders why we are persisting with Josh Meekings at right back and David Raven on the bench, unless of course he is carrying an injury. Meekings and Warren were a formidable force in our cup winning season, but since Warren's injury, we have played Danny Devine in the centre back position. That was fine when we had no other options, but what are we waiting for now. Scoring goals has been a problem all season and with Yogi penning a new deal, will we see one or two following in his footsteps. It would be prudent to try and get Miles Storey on board before someone else notices his potential and prises him away. We have yet to see the best of Tobi Sho-Silva since he arrived. His best wee cameo was in our first win of the season ironically against Hearts in Inverness. He played a starring role in that game when he came on as a substitute, hitting the woodwork and winning headers in the box. He was involved in the sending off of Juwon Oshaniwa just before we sealed the points with a debut goal from Miles Storey. James Vincent had opened the scoring earlier in the second half after great work by Ryan Christie. Since that game in September, we have picked up only eight points from a possible twenty-seven, while Hearts have accumulated sixteen points in their nine games. That damning stats are consistent with the season so far as the Jambo's have almost twice as many points as we have, (31 against 17). The table is a good reflection on the difference between the sides this year. Hearts sit third and we are hovering just above the relegation play-off place. The Edinburgh side are ahead of us in every statistic, scoring 29 against our 17, and conceding 17 compared to our 22. It makes you wonder how we managed to beat them already. It's a funny old game. Our injury crisis has improved to just drastic now after the return of Warren and Draper, with news that Foran has also returned to playing some development games. Andrea Mutombo and Sho-Silva were substitutes against Celtic and will benefit from more game time. Dean Brill has even managed some glove work so things are looking up, although Carl Tremarco missed out against Celtic and could miss out again to add to Ryan Christie, Aaron Doran and Jordan Roberts on the sidelines. Dani Lopez is clear of SFA suspension and it will be up to the Inverness management if he is to feature. Hearts were boosted by news that Arnoud Djoum and Igor Rossi have signed contract extensions until May 2017. Alim Ozturk is fit enough to be added to the squad but Jamie Walker is out. tm4tj Prediction:- We are not in the best of condition right now and although we won the first encounter this season, we don't look capable of stringing a few results together to get us out of the rut we are in. Hearts on the other hand are sitting pretty, third in the league on merit and can produce some sparkling results. I hope we have turned the corner in terms of injury, but I still fear for us in games like this when we could get overrun. I hope I am wrong here, but we are still a long way from our best and it could be a bleak day out in the capital.
  13. .........Celtic travel to the Highlands on Sunday in a 12:15 kick off to take on Inverness who have just returned from Buckie, the former Highland League champions. Yes, that's the difference a few million pounds can make to your lifestyle.
  14. Hangover or Backlash? Fresh from their Euro game against four times European Champions Ajax Amsterdam, Celtic travel to the Highlands on Sunday in a 12:15 kick off to take on Inverness who have just returned from Buckie, the former Highland League champions. Yes, that's the difference a few million pounds can make to your lifestyle. Inverness could face either a Euro hangover or Backlash after a weakened Celtic lost out against Ajax on Thursday night in Glasgow whilst Inverness went to Buckie with a fairly strong squad of recovering casualties to help strengthen their limbs as the fixture list toughens up for the Xmas period. It was a worthwhile exercise for Yogi's men with Ryan Esson, David Raven, Nat Wedderburn, Richie Foran, Ross Draper, Gary Warren, Andrea Mutombo, Tobi Sho-Silva all stretching their legs against the Highland League side. Inverness ran out 6-0 winners with Mutombo notching a hat-trick and Tobi scoring a brace. The opposition might not be a household name in European football, but in terms of getting these players some match practice it was invaluable, and the added bonus of scoring a few goals will boost the confidence of the shot shy Inverness strikers. Our last Premiership game saw us lose yet another late goal as Partick Thistle took all three points with a 2-1 win at Firhill. Miles Storey had scored an early goal but Kris Doolan equalised before the break. Ryan Stevenson fluked a cross into the net to leave us pointless, and in doing so it undid the good work we carried out at Motherwell in the previous game and left us hovering just above the relegation battle. Celtic's last game was a disappointing goalless home draw with Kilmarnock. That broke a five game winning run where they had scored fifteen goals in the process; one less than we have scored all season. The clubs met at Parkhead in mid August when Celtic raced into a 4-0 lead over an understrength Inverness. However as Celtic eased their way to full time, Inverness scored two counters through Ryan Christie and Dani Lopez to give us a more flattering result. We are still underpowered but slowly getting players back on the park and match sharpness will benefit all of our returnees. I would suspect that almost half of that team will not start today. Celtic can call on virtually the full side that won them the points that day. Current form would suggest that Celtic will be massive favourites to win this game and the bookies agree at 1/4 for an away win. You can get 12/1 if you fancy Inverness to win and the draw comes in around 9/2. Your best chance of winning back some dosh would be to put something on Miles Storey to open the scoring (14/1). Miles has notched five of our sixteen Premiership goals. Tobi Sho-Silva could be the surprise packet here though and you can get 18/1 on him scoring first. Celtic have won 11 of their 15 league games this season with 3 draws and a solitary defeat to Aberdeen in the middle of September. We, on the other hand, have only 4 wins. For all the noise about Celtic having a poor defence, they are still the stingiest back line in the division having only conceded 11 goals. However, the league table doesn't lie and that shows that we languish in eighth place, only three points above second bottom. Inverness have dealt positively with the unsavoury incident in the Dani Lopez sending off and have disciplined the player internally on top of the two match ban he received from the SFA. Dani has been fined for his indiscretion which has lost him some respect across the board. The player has unreservedly apologised for the uncharacteristic incident and would now like to focus on getting back on track. On top of the Lopez ban, Inverness will be without Jason Roberts, Aaron Doran and Dean Brill, along with Ryan Christie who has gone to Parkhead for some rehab. The rest of the crocks all came through the game against Buckie unscathed and could be in contention for a place in the squad on Sunday. Celtic midfielder and captain Scott Brown will miss this one and possibly the next two or three months of football with a knee problem following the Kilmarnock game. He twisted his knee at the end of the game and has suffered outside ligament damage. That's fair enough considering the way he throws himself into some of these tackles and the damage he has caused to others. He looks better in his jimjams anyway. Kris Commons also missed the tie against the Dutch side and faces a late assessment to check on his fitness. Nir Bitton and Stefan Johansen were banned for the Euro game but should return with Scott Allan and Kieran Tierney likely to make room for them. tm4tj Prediction:- Not a game I look forward to as the Celtic entourage comes North looking to sweep all before them. In truth this game should be a total mismatch as Celtic come off the back of yet another Euro failure and we struggle to get any consistency with our troubled squad. Six points clear at the top, Celtic should be strong enough to see us off without too much bother, but we are at our best when the chips are down. Good news for us is the return of some more of our injured players and the game at Buckie will have benefited the likes of Warren, Draper and Foran in their journey back to full fitness. With Mutombo and Sho-Silva scoring as well, they could help ease the burden on Miles Storey's young shoulders and gives us more depth to our squad. Celtic showed against Ajax that one or two of their newer players still have a lot to learn, Scott Allan in particular will remember his input for quite some time, as will Callum McGregor, but for different reasons. You can't replace the experience of Scott Brown and Kris Commons with kids and expect it to work immediately. With that in mind, we could be thrown a lifeline. I would bite your hand off for a point out of this game, but I won't be holding my breath.
  15. Partick Test Inverness resume their challenge for points in the Premiership after the break with an away game against Partick Thistle, a ground where we never seem to get the better of the home side often enough, and this will be a stern test for Yogi's walking wounded. The gap week has been beneficial for us this time as it has allowed another two or three players to get back on the park and test their fitness, notably Ross Draper, Andrea Mutombo and Tobi Sho-Silva, so that's a bonus. However, there is always a sting in the tail at Inverness and Dani Lopez will not be available after the club suspended him following an alleged gobbing incident in the development league match against St Johnstone when he earned himself a red card during the spat, no pun intended, but it fits the crime; (allegedly). Our last venture to the central belt stronghold produced a welcome return to winning ways with a 3-1 win at Motherwell. Iain Vigurs scoring a peach of a volley the pick of the goals. A retaken Greg Tansey penalty and a Miles Storey deflection were the other scorers and the home sides consolation was also a bit scrappy as a Moult knockdown deflected in off Horner on the goal line. Partick also got a welcome point after being pegged back by a late Kane Hemming goal at Dens Park; sounds familiar. Defender Liam Lindsay had opened the scoring earlier for second bottom Thistle who are being kept off the basement by much troubled Dundee United. The sick list at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium is shortening slightly after the last break. Gary Warren, Ross Draper and Andrea Mutombo all featured in the development game in midweek and Tobi Sho-Silva and Richie Foran have returned to training. David Raven is available after suspension but the aforementioned Dani Lopez has been suspended by the club pending an investigation into what went on. A huge miss will be Ryan Christie who might have played his last game for Inverness and is now longer term injured, along with Aaron Doran, Jordan Roberts and Dean Brill. Partick are in better shape with Robbie Muirhead and Gary Miller back from injury and keeper Ryan Scully returning after suspension. Stuart Brannigan is suspended and Christie Elliot and Tomas Cerny are out injured. tm4tj Prediction:- I predicted a hammering for us last time out at Motherwell and that went badly wrong..............or right. A tremendous away win against the odds brought us out of our mini slump. Partick have been a thorn in our side in recent years and we will do well to take points back up the A9 without the precocious talents of Ryan Christie. We will have to get used to life without him sooner or later and with players returning that eases the burden on others, but the headache is all Yogi's as he decides who to keep in and who needs a rest. I will settle for a point.
  16. From insult to injury Inverness face a tricky away day at Motherwell on Saturday as the Premier League table begins to pan out. With teams beginning to find their feet after settling down into a routine, points are getting harder to come by with any team capable of winning on the day. Motherwell will be a difficult game for us considering our injury crisis and given the runaround they gave us in the opening fixture of the season, it could be a long day at Fir Park. A win for either side could catapult them up to seventh place if other result are favourable. The defeated side will be looking over their shoulder at the relegation battle. It really is that tight. Inverness are now totally reliant on Celtic bound Ryan Christie as the sole threat and creative player as injuries cripple our squad. On top of the injuries, David Raven is suspended and to add insult to injury, John Hughes is also banned for, well, insulting the referee. Most people agree with him on that one though and maybe it's time the SFA looked at the standard of officials in this country rather than hammer those that are willing to speak out about something we all know about, but basically have just got to put up with week in week out. Last week we had to come from behind in a tale of two penalties at home to Dundee. Greg Tansey slotted our spot kick home to earn us a point as we toiled to make headway after David Raven was red carded. It's a difficult time for us just now as our squad has been decimated with injuries in a plague like manner. This is Mark McGhee's fourth game back in command at Fir Park. He started with a defeat at the hands of Celtic before a draw against Aberdeen. Things got progressively better last week when they beat Kilmarnock 1-0 at Rugby Park and they will be looking to continue their revival against us. Brian Rice will be the direct contact this week with Yogi suspended along with David Raven. I am not aware of any comebacks apart from the possibility of Dani Lopez getting nearer recovery. Whoopee I hear you all shout in unison. It would probably be easier to name who is fit, however the ones out are Dean Brill, Ross Draper, Jordan Roberts, Aaron Doran, Tobi Sho-Silva, Andrea Mutombo, Richie Foran and maybe or maybe not Dani Lopez. Two important players facing fitness tests are ooohhh Gary Warren and the swift Miles Storey. Let's hope the last two at least can get on the park or we might be totally fecked. Mark McGhee has returned to Motherwell and will now know that Stephen Pearson is also struggling for fitness, but Keith Lasley and Steve Hammell are out. tm4tj prediction:- I will be backing Mark McGhee to keep his side on track by turning our depleted troops over. Neither side has been prolific at scoring this season and both defences have been pretty frugal. I see nothing in our squad to trouble Motherwell and if Gary Warren does not get on the park then we are in big trouble. Without Storey we will have nothing to offer up front and our only hope is that superBhoy Ryan Christie can carve out some openings for himself. We have only won twice in our last fifteen visits to Motherwell and they have already stuffed us this season. It does sound a bit doom and gloom, but to be honest, it's exactly that.
  17. Preview ahead of tomorrows game. Remember the olde days when folk used to come on here and get worked up about a wee game of fitba..........."We have made cuts elsewhere. The nice lady that always appeared to be in control when you entered the club shop has not had her contract renewed........................................
  18. Killie Pie Time Inverness head to Kilmarnock on Saturday after the international break for a game that could shape the seasons of both clubs after their poor starts to the season. International breaks are usually quiet affairs, but not so for fans of Inverness Caledonian Thistle as the vacant post at Tannadice was played out in the full glare of the media. This break was fraught with tension as John Hughes became the bookies favourite to take over at Tannadice after Tommy Wright's St Johnstone told the Arabs where to go. The Inverness board did likewise with Hughes, but the silence was deafening after that fuelling speculation that Yogi was gone. However, in stepped Mixu to save the day at the eleventh hour, and, after the dust had settled, John Hughes remains at Inverness and Mixu Paatelainen starts the task of getting Dundee United off the foot of the table. We like our International breaks to be gentle, a time for getting injured players up to speed and players relaxing with their families. Not this one as our gaffer played hard ball. However, it's mentally not the best way to prepare for your next League encounter. So, with all the guesswork and wind ups put to bed, let's get on with the season, a season that started slowly but is now building a head of steam as we take the Leagues longest current unbeaten run (six games since last defeat) down to Ayrshire to face a resurgent Kilmarnock. Killie finished 10th last term and would have fancied their chances to better that this season. Let's find out who are the in's and out's at Rugby Park that Gary Locke believes will see them climb the table. Well, the main man given the task of scoring the goals is former Rugby Park idol Kris Boyd. He has returned from the Rangers a few stone heavier, but the same man knows how to find the back of the net given half a chance. Add in a trio of signings from Tynecastle in the shape of Kevin McHattie (defender), Scott Robinson (midfielder) and forward Dale Carrick. Another striker, Kallum Higginbotham has joined from Partick Thistle and the experienced Lee McCulloch came in from Championship side the Rangers. Cup final clanger Jamie MacDonald has signed from Falkirk along with another keeper, Oliver Davies on loan from Swansea City, Stevie Smith has also gone up in the world coming from Ibrox as well, and a loan signing from Celtic in defender Stuart Findlay. To make way for the new guys, out went former Scotland striker Lee Miller, the experienced Manuel Pascali, Paul Cairney to Stranraer and keeper Craig Samson. Midfielder Sammy Clingan has gone, so no more Star Trek jokes and the luxury that was Alexei Eremenko, a tremendous player on his day, but has probably gone out to seed now. A raft of lesser mortals have also left the building and Gary Locke will be looking for these guys to blend with what he already has, although it's been a less than pleasing start for the Killie fans. Last season we did hold the upper hand in the three games played between the clubs. A 3-3 draw at Inverness was followed by a 2-1 victory at Rugby Park. The final game saw Inverness take all three points in a 2-0 win. Rugby Park was also the ground where we recorded our best ever away win with a 6-3 trouncing of Kilmarnock on Guy Fawkes day 2011. There were certainly plenty of fireworks that day as Inverness sparkled on the pitch whilst Killie were like damp squibs and old bangers. We scored a few crackers as well and a rocket from Jonny Hayes. Gregory Tade even managed a couple and Andy Shinnie went one better as he fired a hat-trick. Ahhh, those were the days. Killie's highlights this season have been a 2-2 draw with Celtic and their two wins against Dundee United and St Johnstone. Unfortunately for them, they have also suffered too many low points, a 4-0 hammering from Dundee was repeated by Ross County, both games played at Rugby Park. Just when it looked as though they had turned the corner with consecutive wins, they lost to Hamilton although they drew with Hearts last time out. A bit similar to us from the beginning and the stats show that we have scored only one goal more than Killie but our defence is less porous. There's a gap of four points between the clubs and Killie sit where they finished last season in 10th place with Inverness in 8th. Sick list has the usual suspects for Inverness. Dean Brill, Gary Warren, Jordan Roberts, Aaron Doran, Richie Foran and Tobi Sho-Silva. Ryan Christie will be available after missing the derby through suspension. Iain Vigurs scored from a free kick in the development game in midweek and Dani Lopez notched a goal as did Andrew MacRae, so these guys will be looking to push into the starting eleven. All that happened in a 3-1 win at Clach Park over Hearts. Gary Locke could have the option of fielding captain Mark Connolly who is returning after medial ligament damage and Lee Ashcroft will return after suspension. However, Scott Robinson, Darryl Westlake and Dale Carrick are unlikely to feature after resuming training following injuries. tm4tj prediction:- Things are looking up for Inverness after a dismal opening sequence and to be fair, Kilmarnock have perked up a bit as well. Great news on the managerial front with John Hughes staying put, but it remains to be seen if that will encourage the board to lash out with a new contract for Yogi. That aside, it is a boost to keep the status quo and the emergence of Miles Storey as a goal threat and James Vincent as a box to box predator has lifted the gloom around Inverness and gives the fans renewed hope for the rest of the season. Owain Fon-Williams has been performing well since the Europa games and the defence is more settled with Josh Meekings back. Kris Boyd will always be a threat, no matter what size he is and Gary Locke will be looking to push on after an erratic start to their campaign. Another man who will be useful is the human battering ram that is Josh Magennis who is returning on a high from international duty with Northern Ireland. Our season has transformed quicker than Killie's and I can see us extending our unbeaten run. Johndo, our regular soothesayer, will be at Rugby Park and will have a full report for us after the game once he returns to his present form.
  19. Auld Enemies League Cup duty beckons on Tuesday night as Inverness lock horns with an old enemy in the shape of Livingston FC at the Tony Macaroni Arena. (I kid you not). For most of us, it is better known as the Almondvale Stadium. We have had many a tussle with Livingston over the years as both clubs came through the divisions together. Our first SPL game was a steep learning curve with a 3-0 defeat at Livingston. We did learn quickly though. Many familiar names playing for both sides back then in August 2004. Fortunes have changed since then and Livingston find themselves struggling at the foot of the Championship with only one point from seven games while we have the Scottish Cup in our trophy cabinet. Here's how the sides lined up back then. Livingston: McKenzie, McNamee, Rubio, Dorado, McLaughlin, Boyack, O'Brien, Easton, Lovell, Lilley, Libbra (Hamilton 65). Subs Not Used: Meldrum, McMenamin, Dair, Brittain, Snowdon, Bahoken. Goals: O'Brien 44, Easton 57, Lovell 66. Booked: Lovell, McNamee. Inverness CT: Brown, Tokely, McCaffrey, Munro, Golabek, Wilson, Duncan (Hart 58), Keogh, McBain (Black 65), Hislop (Juanjo 58), Bayne. Subs Not Used: Fraser, Dods, Proctor, Prunty. Ach, nostalgia, it's not what it used to be. Back to the future though and it's the 3rd Round of the competition. It's our first game in the event this season but for Livi, it's their third game. They saw off Clyde 1-0 in the first round, but it took extra time to do it, Jordan White scoring the all important goal. The second round saw them travel to Paisley and they came away with an excellent 3-2 win after a fiery encounter with the Buddies. It was not without controversy and they had six players booked and ended the game with ten men after Daniel Mullen was red carded. But after eight minutes of added time, it was Livingston that went into the draw thanks to goals from Liam Buchanan, Daniel Mullen and Declan Gallagher. That will be the same Liam Buchanan who had been around a bit and played for Partick Thistle and Dunfermline in the top flight, and the same lad has scored 125 goals in a 13 year senior career. Livi have had a disastrous start to the season with only one point from seven games. Their goal difference is the worst in the League at -11 having scored only 4 times. Their solitary point came in a 1-1 draw at home to St Mirren, although there were encouraging signs for manager Mark Burchill in their last League game, a 1-0 defeat by Hibernian. A word of warning however. Livingston have won this trophy before. They beat Hibernian 2-0 in the 2004 final and we normally make hard work in taking anything away from the Almondvale Macaroni Park in the pasta. Our own form is nothing to write home about with only one win so far from eight games. We have something in common with Livi, we are struggling to score goals as well, with only seven from our eight games. We are unbeaten in our last three as our injury list eases slightly. Richie Foran has been on the bench for the last couple of games but he needs game time to get up to speed. Iain Vigurs is out having injured himself against Clach and Tobi Sho-Silva was a late withdrawal at Tannadice. Warren, Doran and Brill are all out but Andrea Mutombo could be considered having served his two game ban. Burchill will be without the suspended Daniel Mullen. tm4tj prediction:- I predict us struggling to get into the next round. We don't do anything the easy way and if our performances this season are anything to go by then we could be in for extra-time to settle this one. We have looked more solid at the back with Meekings returning to the heart of the defence and new runner Miles Storey has pace to burn. He was quieter against United at the weekend but he was the lone player for long spells and will benefit from some company. Maybe this game will allow us to open up a bit and Ryan Christie could be a key figure. I'll go for a win to get us into the next round, ugly or otherwise, but as it's a cup game, that doesn't matter much.
  20. News Storey... After our first win of the campaign last weekend, it's off to see fall guys Dundee United at Tannadice this Saturday, Billy Mckay and all. It does leave a nasty taste in the mouth seeing Billy in an orange shirt, a bit like seeing Graeme Shinnie in a red one, but we have to move on. Miles Sorey could be the man to start a new chapter in the history of Inverness Caledonian Thistle. The curse is strong and anyone leaving will regret it sooner or later. We broke our duck against Hearts in a game that was always interesting and entertaining but never really took off until we scored in the second half. Tidy goals from newly repaired James Vincent and debut striker Miles Storey sent the Edinburgh club home with nothing other than a red card for Oshinawa who thought he could get away with knocking people on the head without repercussion. The plus for us was the return from injury of Vincent and defender Josh Meekings. This allowed Carl Tremarco to play in a more familiar position at left back and Ross Draper was released from his withdrawn role at Centre Back. With new boy Storey showing his pace up front, suddenly the league has become more interesting for Caley Jags fans, and our other new force is Tobi Sho-Silva who could be quite a character to have around. He certainly wanted to get involved in everything on his debut from the bench and is an exciting prospect. Dundee United have taken on the Kilmarnock FC role as one of the frontrunners in the race for relegation. They have gone into free fall since the Dundee derby, losing all four games since then. Their only win was against Motherwell 2-0 at Fir Park and those results have them sitting second bottom on four points, one more than Partick Thistle. Last week they were shocked at home by Killie going down 2-1, Mckay notching his first goal for the Arabs with a spot kick. Who are the men responsible for the demise of Dundee United this season. Jackie Macnamara apart, they have put their faith in Darko Bodul, Coll Donaldson, Mark Durnan, Justin Johnson, Adam Taggart and Aaron Kuhl. Who, I hear you say. Well, here is one name more familiar to us. It's Billy (small k) Mckay. The former Inverness favourite failed to get into relegated Wigans elite squad and is at Tannadice on loan for the season. Darko Bodul has plenty of experience at top European clubs in Portugal, Denmark and Austria and is expected to be the ideal candidate to replace the extrovert Nadir Ciftci. United have more departures than arrivals and Ciftci left for Celtic, surprise surprise. Keeper Radoslaw Ciernziak and Jaroslaw Fojut are back in Poland, Calum Butcher at Burton Albion, Brian Graham and Michael Gardyne at County. Keith Watson, Darren Petrie and Jamie Montgomery dropped divisions in Scotland and Robbie Muirhead has been loaned to Partick Thistle while Henri Anier finds himself at Hibernian. That's a lot of bodies to replace, especially on top of Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Stevens who joined Celtic last season. It's not worked out for United yet and their season got off on the wrong foot, going down to Aberdeen on matchday one. They defeated Motherwell the week after, who we all thought would be a decent benchmark after they thrashed us on opening day. But being pegged back by city rivals Dundee in the derby sparked a run of four defeats on the bounce. We could have the impetus with us, coming off the back of that win over Hearts, but it's a tight league with anyone outside the top two capable of beating each other. Our injury crisis eased slightly over the international break and James Vincent and Josh Meekings returned to the starting eleven. Richie Foran was also in the squad but remained on the bench for the visit of Hearts. We do however, still have an extensive list of first team crocks. Dean Brill, Gary Warren, Aaron Doran, Jordan Roberts are out longer term. Andrea Mutombo sits out his second game for the sending off at Dens Park. United have no fresh concerns, but Jackie is keeping it all close to his chest as we have no further information at time of going to press. tm4tj Prediction:- Things are looking more positive for Inverness after new signings Miles Storey and Tobi Sho-Silva gave us a pacey injection that was sadly lacking since the start of the season. Dani Lopez could find himself on the bench for some time having witnessed the immediate impact this pair provided. With Meekings and Vincent returning to bolster the defence and give us more drive box to box then life's not so bad after all. United badly need a win before the long knives come out for Jackie McNamarra and loan signing and former Caley Jags favourite Billy Mckay is the man they have put their trust in. Confidence is low at the moment though, and I will predict that our away form will benefit from the pace of Miles Storey and that will see us take our second win of the season and leave the United board with a decision to make. Away win by two goals. It's been a tough week off the park for the Tannadice club and indeed all concerned with football. The passing of Ralph Milne has left the footballing world all the poorer. Milne was one of the legendary players for United in the early eighties and our thoughts go out to his family, friends and the Dundee United community. He will always be remembered for that magnificent chipped goal in the Dundee derby that ensured United would win the SPL in 1983. He was a very pacey wide player and was a joy to watch in his prime. Milne played 28 times for United, scoring 75 goals and had been inducted into the Tannadice hall of fame. He played for Charlton Athletic, Bristol City and Manchester United after leaving Dundee United. RIP Ralph Milne 1961 - 2015.
  21. Third time’s a charm Next up for Inverness Caley Thistle is Partick Thistle at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium in this week’s midweek fixture card. Caley Thistle currently sit 9th place in the table only gaining 1 point from the first two games of the season. Partick sit in at 11th having also started in similar style to Inverness where they only picked up 1 point however Thistle have failed to score a goal so far. Both teams will be eagerly looking to get their first win of the season which should make for a good game to watch for the spectators. Last Saturday saw Caley Thistle earn a hard a fought point which could have easily been all three. The performance at McDiarmid park was undoubtedly a massive improvement from the previous week and Yogi got the boys fired up for this one from the off as it only took a mere 9 minutes for Ryan Christie to drill the ball into the back of the net. I was pleasantly surprised with the ‘makeshift’ defence as I felt that Ross Draper and Danny Devine combined for a good defensive pairing. Liam Polworth got the nod ahead of Nat Wedderburn and it proved to be the correct decision by Yogi as he put in a good shift in the middle of the park with a range of very good passing play from the local lad. As the game went on the Inverness players started to tire and Tommy Wright brought on Graham Cummins who headed a bitterly frustrating equaliser for St Johnstone. Partick Thistle hosted last year’s league champions Celtic at Firhill. Celtic got all three points in what seemed to be a dominant 2-0 victory for the parkhead side. It was also said that the Jags played the game without a real striker and a couple of important players in defence were missing through injury/suspension - sound familiar? Tomorrow night’s game will see Pogba grace the highlands for the first time. Fortunately for the Caley Jags it will not be Juventus superstar Paul Pogba, it will be his older brother Mathias Pogba brought in from Crawley Town following his release. All the eyes will be firmly on how Pogba will fare against Inverness especially with the ‘makeshift’ back four. Alan Archibald has also added David Amoo from Carlisle United, Callum Booth and Tomas Cerny from Hibernian and also Gary Miller from St Johnstone. Thankfully for Caley Thistle, Partick Thistle will be without winger Kallum Higginbotham after he departed for Kilmarnock. Conrad Balatoni, James Craigen, Ryan Finnie, Scott Fox, Dale Keenan, Stephen O’Donnell and Ben Richards-Everton also left the club in the summer window. Last season’s results against Partick do not really paint a good picture for Inverness especially in the home fixture. Since Partick Thistle got promoted back up to the top flight in 2013, Caley Thistle have only won once against them at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. Inverness New signing Iain Vigurs could make his second debut for the club tonight. Aaron Doran, Carl Tremarco and James Vincent could make a return to the side. Richie Foran, Josh Meekings and Jordan Roberts remain doubtful ahead of the game. Dean Brill and Gary Warren remain on the sidelines due to long term injuries. Partick Thistle Frederic Frans returns from his one match suspension. Steven Lawless and Danny Seaborne are injury doubts. Christie Elliot will be unavailable for the visitors. ICTRoughi’s prediction:- I honestly think we will pick up our first win of the season here. Partick Thistle always had our number last season in the league but I think the tides will change and we will get a good hard fought win.
  22. http://caleythistleonline.com/page/index.html/_/previews-2014-15/inverness-ct-v-kilmarnock-spfl-r1177 I'm sure Jamie Hamill will get a rapturous welcome, he of the infamous Derek Adams barging incident, still one of the most hilarious football clips ever. Legend.
  23. http://caleythistleo...ct-preview-r983 Guy Fawkes is back, by popular demand..................
  24. http://caleythistleo...ct-preview-r962 Gringo has penned this weeks preview for the visit to The Steelmen, have a gander and give us some feedback.
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