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  1. Season Ends Now Whilst the final scoreline looks comfortable enough, the outcome of this game hinged an a dubious penalty offered by Kevin Clancy in first half injury time. It's no shock that we succumbed to a controversial refereeing decision, the first leg went the same way, but it did leave a bitter taste in the mouth for the near 500 away support who were right behind the team. However, that incident on the stroke of half-time took the last embers of resistance out of the players and the second half just emphasised the difference a few grand makes. Nicky Clark scored from the spot and further goals from Osman Sow and Pavol Safranko ended our season, but not the bitterness as John Robertson said what we all knew. Looks like Robbo will be hauled in front of the beaks, but maybe it's about time they investigated their own backyard to see if the people they employ are up to the job. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ On BBC Sport:- Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Robertson branded the "arrogance" of Scottish officials as a "disgrace" after his side were condemned to another season in the Championship. Robertson was sent off after Dundee United were awarded a penalty in his side's 3-0 Scottish Premiership play-off semi-final defeat at Tannadice. The 4-0 aggregate loss loss ends the Highlanders' chances of promotion. "I've had enough; I'm happy to go all the way with it," Robertson said. "This can't be allowed to go on. The inconsistency of the refereeing is incredible. It might sound like sour grapes, and it is a wee bit tonight, but the standard is poor." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Up to the penalty award, Inverness had been the busier side with Tom Walsh Aaron Doran and Joe Chalmers being denied by Siegrist in the Arabs goal. Jordan White headed just over from a corner and all was rosy. Up steps cowboy Kevin Clancy to ruin the entertainment and the rest is history. Nicky Clark hit woodwork twice when it looked much simpler to score, it mattered not, the damage had already been done, thanks Kev. Absolutely titanic effort from the players who gave their all and were out of their feet at the end after being sunk by the iceberg Clancy. It was also a titanic effort by the Caley Away fans, some of them going over and above the call of duty to get behind the team. And when was the last time United had over 8500 fans at Tannadice. Great crowd and I'm sure the Premiership accountants will be glad it's United that progress and not the famous Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Here's one such account from Immortal Howden Ender:- Well I sat in a motorway queue for four feckin hours, made me hit the Forth Road Bridge at rush hour and got to Dungdee 45 minutes before the kick off. Feckin stone cold sober !! Up until that ridiculous penalty decision we were the better team, playing some nice football and looking the team to score by a country mile. But our lack of power and flair up front and the age old inability to take chances let us down again. We really should have been 2 or 3 up and there were scoreable chances for Walsh, White and Doran. The penalty, it's conversion and the timing appeared to simply break our hearts. But we put so much into that first half that it would have been a miracle if we had maintained that level after the second. Only a sniff of a comeback would have possibly riled us up. But the Arabs went for the throat from the start of the second half, pressed higher up the pitch and the second was the beginning of the end. It could well have been 5 or 6 in the end and we never looked like scoring. You would have to say that everybody gave their all but I thought that some showed their flaws. There weren't many who didn't look absolutely flecked 10-15 minutes before the end. Again that is the cruelty of our play off system. I will leave the Smileymometer alone but Ridgers did nothing wrong, Rooney ran and ran and did well before being flecked. McCart was superb and my MotM. Should Coll have been playing when clearly 50 to 60% fit - I would say not. McHattie was caught out for the second goal and struggled defensively. Our midfield ran their socks off but we went for the long, high ball [often diagonal] too often and did not utilise the width and especially Walsh snuffed. Doran played like he did against Hearts and did not come up with the goods. White had little support but did not hold things up enuff and lost too much in the air. Not sure either where Brad McKay was playing but it did look like he was employed to provide cover for the ailing Coll which was a waste of a player. May sound critical but we played well until half time and missing chances killed us again. Some of the officials decisions, other than the penalty, were shocking and there were some ridiculous offsides called. BUT what an away support and not a bad home one either. Glad I was there to the seasons death. Bring on the anguish of 2019-20. Caleytillidie It's All Over Now............. Date: 17/05/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 8540 Referee: Kevin Clancy Dundee United: 3 (4) Lineup: Siegrist; Watson, Connelly, Reynolds, Robson, Bouhenna, Harkes, McMullan, Clark (Stanton 78), Pawlett (Safranko 63), Sow (Booth 73). Subs (not used): Currid; Frans, Chalmers, Smith. Scorers: Clark (45+1 pen), Sow (54), Safranko (89) Booked: Reynolds (33). Sow(58), Safranko (70) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 (0) Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay, Donaldson, McCart, McHattie, Rooney (Austin 56), Trafford, Chalmers, Walsh (Harper 90), Doran (McDonald 74), White Subs (not used): C Mackay; McCauley, MacGregor, Gunn. Scorers: none Booked: Mckay (45+1), Doran (38) Sent Off: none a0
  2. Advantage United John Robertson's side were reduced to ten men just after half time and that swung the pendulum towards the visitors. Jordan White headed against the post in the first half, but Liam Polworth was red carded three minutes after the break. Despite the numerical advantage, Inverness made United work hard for their break and it came in the 78th minute after substitute Nicky Clark hit the post and Paul McMullan slotted in the rebound. Harsh on Inverness who had battled really hard to make up for the loss of Polworth. Only half time in the tie though and still all to play for at Tannadice where we won 2-1 in the Scottish Cup. United will know they will be in for a hard time and our lads will give it everything, similar to tonight. Great effort with Shaun Rooney outstanding. Jamie McCart was immense at the back and Mark Ridgers assured dealing with early crosses. Aaron Doran looked lively early on before fading in the second half when we were down to ten. The winners over the two legs will face either St Mirren or Hamilton Accies. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ On BBC Sport:- Inverness CT manager John Robertson: "We don't feel it's a red car. It could easily have sufficed with a yellow. For the referee to change the whole complexion of the game on that incident - we feel hard done by. "I can understand why he's given it - we know the laws of the game. It is what it is. We are 1-0 down. We've won at Tannadice before. We go down there full of confidence." Dundee United manager Robbie Neilson: "Pleased with tonight but by no means are we on easy street now. We've got a tough, tough game coming up. "The sending off has a bearing on the game. I've been delighted with Paul McMullan since I came in. He's got potential to really go far in the game because he's got that pace and he's got the fitness levels as well." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness were without the injured Tom Walsh and Carl Tremarco, with Anthony McDonald and Kevin McHattie starting. Dundee United had a clean bill of health after a ten day break whilst Inverness had battled through two tough games against Ayr United to get here. It was a wonderful sunny evening as United took to the park in front of a healthy and vociferous travelling support of over 1,000, welcoming their team into the Caledonian Stadium as if they had won the world cup itself. The North Stand was sparsely populated and like a morgue in comparison. Apathy rules in the Highland capital I'm afraid. The visitors kicked off and Coll Donaldson was immediately the target of their small minded section who took every opportunity to have a go at him as he won a free kick inside the first minute. Get over him Arabs. Liam Polworth fired a cross into the box which Siegrist parried clear as we made our intentions clear, but it was Mark Ridgers that had to make the first save after Peter Pawlett fed Osman Sow and Ridgers saved down low as the big striker smothered his shot from a good position. Polworth headed on to Joe Chalmers and the Dingwall target fired just wide as the game ebbed and flowed in the evening light. In the 23rd minute, Jordan White almost broke the deadlock as his header back across the keeper bounced off his right post, Siegrist beaten but the rebound was smuggled clear. The hosts were getting on top and a poor clearance by the United keeper almost led to a chance for White and Polworth, but it was snuffed out for a corner. From the clearance, the energetic Shaun Rooney fired a shot from Richie Hart area a couple of yards over the bar. United's main threat was Paul McMullan, he of dubious diving decisions and errant hand balls. Tonight he was simply playing football and his pace was causing Kevin McHattie a torrid time. Ridgers had to be alert to catch a high shot towards goal from the wee neckless hunchback as he demonstrated his menace. Pavol Safranko shot wide from the resultant corner. Siegrist gathered a White header as we pressed for the opener, but it lacked any power to beat the keeper. To the delight of the Dundee United fans, Coll Donaldson was booked for felling Pawlett, the biggest cheer since the teams came out onto the park. Right on half time he foolishly gave away another free kick on the edge of the box, the forward heading away from the box but Coll tested the patience of the referee and brought another round of soccer rage from the vising fans. The free kick came to nothing fortunately and that brought an end to a high tempo first half with both teams having a go. Half Time 0-0 Safranko stayed in the dressing room after the break with Calum Booth replacing him. It made Donaldson lighter as the big forward had now left his pocket. Three minutes into the second period and disaster for Inverness . As Polworth tried to flick his toe towards the ball on the edge of our box, Mark Connelly lowered his head and made a meal of going down and clutching his face. Surely an ambulance would be called. No, instead of blue lights, we got a red card for Polly who could have made his final contribution for the Caley Jags. Surprisingly there seemed to be little if any damage to the Arabs player who was on his feet soon after. The free kick came to nothing, but the red card changed the dynamics of the game. Aaron Doran and big Jordan linked well with White's shot blocked as he pulled the trigger, close call for United as the ten men continued to cause them problems. None moreso than the marauding Shaun Rooney who was like a duracell bunny all night. United were beginning to wear down Inverness, gradually, and substitute Nicky Clark tested Ridgers with a low drive. Cameron Harper had replaced a tiring Doran by now for the hosts. Ten minutes after coming on, the fresh legs of Clark saw United take the lead. McMullan benefited from a McHattie headed clearance that rattled off his chest, he then toe poked the ball to Clark and he fired a low shot back across the keeper from around the penalty spot. It cannoned off the left hand post of Ridgers and as we failed to react quick enough, McMullan buried the ball low into the net off the opposite post. Incredible set of circumstances and very harsh on the ten men of Inverness who had still looked dangerous on the break. Charlie Trafford had a shot saved and Callum Smith shot over as the game just ran away from us, but what an effort from the guys, just a pity so few bothered to turn up to watch the game and preferred watching on TV or washing their hair. Everything to play for at Tannadice and United will be wary of us. Red card or no red card? Well, if you ask the referee to make a decision and put him on the spot then there's every chance they will get it wrong and ruin what was a highly entertaining game up to that point. Many pundits (and Robbo) reckon a yellow would have sufficed, but we are talking third rate Scottish referee's here. Meh! No failures in the red and blue of the Caley Jags who were best served by sponsors MotM Aaron Doran until he tired, Jamie McCart who continues to impress and was a rock at the back, Charlie Trafford who just keeps getting better and the guy that impressed me with his Tokelyesque marauding runs down the flank, Shaun Rooney. Unfortunately United were best served by the three that mattered most, Nicky Clark, the menacing sprinter Paul McMullan, and Siegrist's right hand post. Doh! Here's the action from the SPFL site And here is Robbo................ Date: 14/05/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2604 Referee: Nick Walsh Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay, Donaldson, McCart, McHattie, Rooney, Trafford, Polworth, Chalmers, Doran (Harper 72), White (Austin 81). Subs (not used): C Mackay, MacGregor, Gunn, McCauley, McDonald. Scorers: none Booked: Donaldson (38), Ridgers (48) Sent Off: Polworth (48) Dundee United: 1 Lineup: Siegrist; Watson, Reynolds, Connelly, Robson, Harkes, Butcher, McMullan (C Smith 85), Pawlett, Sow (Clark 68), Safranko (Booth 45). Subs (not used): Laidlaw; M Smith, Frans, Bouhenna. Scorers: McMullan (78) Booked: Booth (90+1) Sent Off: none a
  3. One down, two to go. Inverness booked their place in the next stage of the play-offs after a rather uncomfortable 1-1 draw with Ayr United. As expected Ayr came out of the blocks flying and deservedly took the lead through Luke McCowan in the 19th minute. It took until the 79th minute before we eased the pain on the supporters when Coll Donaldson claimed he got a touch on Liam Polworth's inviting free kick into the danger area. It mattered not who scored it, but it was a crucial goal that scuppered Ayr's hopes of taking the tie into extra time. Inverness will now play Dundee United on Tuesday night, the return at Tannadice on the Friday night. St Mirren are in pole position to be the Premiership fall guys unless Accies blow a four point lead going into the final two games, Dundee already relegated. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ TICKET PRICES FOR Dundee United ARE AS FOLLOWS: Adult: £15 Concession: £8 Tickets can be bought online HERE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A noisy crowd in the away end met the teams as they came out on a sunny afternoon at the Caledonian Stadium. Carl Tremarco was still injured and Kevin McHattie started again in a familiar looking side for this crucial second leg tie. Ian McCall had Luke McCowan on from the start and Robbie Crawford was deemed fit enough to take his place in the side. Michael Moffat was on the bench for the Honest Men and top scorer Lawrence Shankland would be the man to keep an eye on. Around 2500 watched this one and Ayr started brightly without causing too much concern. However, it was Jordan White who had the first couple of attempts. The first was blocked by Ross Doohan in the visitors goal after White was fed through on the right side, Doohan blocking as White tried to dink the ball behind him. The second effort was a shot on the turn from the edge of the box which the keeper gathered with ease. From that save, Ayr took the lead when a crossfield pass from Shankland found Declan McDaid scampering down the right flank. His cross took a slight deflection off Jamie McCart's leg but it still found McCowan sprinting across the box to fire high into the net from six yards. Ayr were looking slick at this point and their passing game was outdoing the stifled approach from Inverness who looked a little edgy in the opening half. White saw an effort saved and Robbie Crawford could have done better than shoot wide at the other end. As Inverness upped the pace heading to wards the break Aaron Doran shot wide and they ended the half on top, but a goal behind on the day. Half Time 0-1 Inverness were dealt a blow ten minutes into the second half as Tom Walsh left the field feeling his hamstring to be replaced by Anthony McDonald. McDaid shot wide as Ayr looked to level the aggregate score and Mark Ridgers had to look smart to deny a header from Skankland. McDaid and Crawford were next to go wide as Inverness restricted the visitors to trying speculative efforts, but it was an uneasy spell for the hosts. We began to get to grips with the game and Jamie McCart headed wide and a couple of minutes later we were level. Aaron Doran was fouled some thirty yards from goal wide on the left. Liam Polworth curled an inviting ball into the mix and White and Coll Donaldson were left unmarked as they both rose for the ball. There was little doubt where the ball ended up, but Donaldson claimed he touched it with his hair and the relief in the stands was instant as Coll took the plaudits from the North Stand, his first goal this season. Ayr almost went in front again just two minutes later as Andy Murdoch unleashed a thumping shot from outside the box but Ridgers was equal to it. Time was now running out for United to take the game to extra time and their frustration showed as they picked up a couple of late bookings as Inverness looked more assured towards the end of a game they had struggled to control for long spells. Not a classic by any manner or means, but that vital 3-1 win at Somerset Park set Inverness up and enabled them to take it easier than they might have done had the match been all square. Great contributions from MotM Coll Donaldson with his partner Jamie McCart also playing well as we defended in depth at times. Aaron Doran was the pick of the forwards as he twisted and turned his way down the wing and Jordan White showed his worth once more, using his power and height to good effect. All in, not a great spectacle, and Ian McCall seems a bit miffed that his side were the best team over the two legs. I've got news for you Ian, Inverness play Dundee United on Tuesday night and Ayr United's wonderful season has ended. So Caledonian Stadium on Tuesday night and Tannadice on Friday night. A schedule John Robertson has voiced his concerns over preferring the option of Wednesday and Sunday. The winners will play St Mirren or Hamilton who meet on Monday night and that could decide who is in the play-off final. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Here's the managers speaking to BBC Sport Inverness manager John Robertson: "It's a strange situation defending a two-goal lead at home - it's awkward. The players weren't sure whether to go for it or to sit back and we were a bit safe. I thought we looked very nervous in the first 15-20 minutes. Ayr got a beautifully-worked goal and that woke us up a bit. These matches are done over 180 minutes and we've come through it." Ayr manager Ian McCall: "I'm very disappointed. I'm very proud of the players and what they've put in over two years and a lot of them will be leaving us for bigger clubs. I thought we were the better team in both games in terms of playing football and passing the ball but ultimately theses games are about getting through. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Not the best performance ever, but this was all about getting through to the next round of the play-off and so far it's mission accomplished with more difficult games to come. Good backing for the Ayr players must have given them a lift when they came on to the park and the moved the ball around better with Inverness looking edgy trying to protect that two goal cushion. Anyway, job done so far. Here's the goals from yesterdays game. No doubt about the Ayr scorer, but difficult to see who got the final touch although Donaldson is claiming the Inverness goal. Here's Johnny................... Date: 11/05/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2323 Referee: Steven McLean Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay (Rooney 63), Donaldson, McCart, McHattie, Walsh (McDonalld 54), Trafford, Polworth, Chalmers, Doran, White. Subs (not used): C Mackay, Harper, MacGregor, McCauley, Austin. Scorers: Donaldson (79 maybe) Booked: McHattie (89) Sent Off: none Ayr United: 1 Lineup: Doohan; Smith, Muirhead, Rose, Harvie, Crawford, Murdoch, Kerr (Cadden 83), McDaid (Miller 77), Shankland, McCowan (Moffat 65) Subs (not used): Hare-Reid; Forrest, Ecrepont, Docherty. Scorers: McCowan (19) Booked: Muirhead (29), Smith (45+1), Harvie (83), Shankland (87) Sent Off: none a
  4. So far so good The Caley Jags take a two goal advantage back to the Caledonian Stadium on Saturday after beating Ayr United 3-1 at Somerset Park in the first leg of the play-off. An entertaining game saw Charlie Trafford open the scoring in the first half with a powerful header. Jordan White doubled the advantage in the second half, Ayr claiming for offside. Coventry City signing Michael Rose headed Ayr back into the game but a Jordan White penalty ended the scoring in favour of the Caley Jags. A place in the Premiership is the prize for the team that can battle their way through the play-offs and that journey started last night at Somerset Park, Ayr. Whoever manages to get into the play-off final will be facing either St Mirren or Hamilton Accies who face each other this weekend. John Robertson was still without captain Carl Tremarco with Kevin McHattie replacing him. Other than that it was a fairly strong starting XI with Coll Donaldson fit enough to resume at centre back. Ian McCall had Liam Smith on from the start with Michael Moffat and Lawrence Shankland up front keeping young star Luke McCowan on the bench. A crowd of nearly 2200 were on hand to watch the first leg with just over 200 away fans making the long trek, and on a school night too. Here's the main talking points from the game. The visitors opened the scoring just after the half hour when Tom Walsh won a corner on the right. Charlie Trafford was first to the ball from the boot of Joe Chalmers and he wanted it most. His powerful header went high into the net with Doohan stranded. Ayr and Ian McCall were left raging when Jordan White doubled our advantage after the linesman failed to give offside against the big striker when Aaron Doran poked a ball through to him on the edge of the box. Jordan carried on and deftly chipped it over the onrushing keeper, a superb finish for a big lad, the defence not happy at the decision. Ayr won a free kick some twenty-five yards out. The ball was rolled to Lawrence Shankland who put his laces through the ball but Mark Ridgers pulled off a tremendous save at the expense of a corner. From the resultant corner, Michael Rose got the run on the defence as Coll Donaldson ball watched. We all then ball watched as it powered into the net to give the Honest men some hope. Another debatable decision would go against United as Mark Kerr was adjudged to have bundled over Jamie McCart as he went for a header in the box. Difficult to spot, but the referee was on hand and White made no mistake from the spot, emphatically firing the ball high to the keepers left. Doohan had already made his mind up that the ball was going to his right. Big stramash near the end which resulted in Jordan White being booked with Shankland and his Ayr cohorts doing their best to get him red carded. Luke McCowan had the final chance to salvage something for Ayr, but Inverness held out and take the the advantage back up the A9 with Trafford, White and Ridgers getting the plaudits. More to come............... Action from the game courtesy of AyrUnitedFCTV............. Here's Johnny............... Two goal hero Jordan White talking on BBC Sport Managers reaction talking on BBC Sport Ayr United manager Ian McCall: "He is a yard offside and it is nowhere near a penalty kick. "We always knew the physicality from Inverness would be a problem, albeit they have a lot of good footballers. Inverness boss John Robertson: "We have said to the players it is a really good away performance. "But the job is not finished. This is a team that knocked five by Dundee United earlier this season. We will prepare for another battle on Saturday." Date: 07/05/2019 Venue: Somerset Park, Ayr Attendance: 2171 Referee: Alan Muir Ayr United: 1 Lineup: Doohan; Smith, Muirhead, Rose, Harvey, Docherty, Crawford (Kerr 45), Murdoch, McDaid (Forrest 80), Moffat (McCowan 62), Shankland Subs (not used): Hare-Reid; Ecrepont, Cadden, Miller. Scorers: Rose (65) Booked: Crawford (42), Kerr (75) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay, Donaldson, McCart, McHattie, Walsh (Rooney 79), Trafford, Chalmers, Polworth (McDonald 88), Doran (McCauley 78), White Subs (not used): C Mackay, Harper, MacGregor, Austin. Scorers: Trafford (33), White (51, 76 pen) Booked: Trafford (68), White (90+1) Sent Off: none a
  5. Third it is After all the speculation as to where we would finish in the league, a 1-0 victory over Dunfermline coupled with Ayr drawing with Alloa ensured we would finish third in the table. That means that the first play-off game will be on Tuesday night at Somerset Park with the return leg at the Caledonian Stadium the following Saturday. Ticket prices have been set at £12 for this game. We achieved this by virtue of a 1-0 defeat of the Pars in a low key game, but one that had an extra £75K bonus for finishing third tagged on to it. Nathan Austin tapped in the winner after a couple of bloopers saw him pick up the loose ball to score easily. Stuart Morrison's chest high pass back was not cleared successfully by keeper Cammy Gill and Austin was left with the simple task of rolling the ball into the net. Simples. John Robertson was without the injured Carl Tremarco and Sean Welsh. Mark Ridgers returned between the sticks after his finger dislocation at Hampden and Jamie McCart, Aaron Doran and Liam Polworth were all benched to give them a break. Darren McCauley and Nathan Austin had rare starts and Kevin McHattie deputised for Tremarco. Jordan White headed wide in the opening minutes and Nathan Austin shot past as we looked to open the scoring. It was however a bit like an end of season game. Wait a minute, that's exactly what it was. Tom Walsh and Austin had further attempts to score and at the other end Mark Ridgers was called into action to deny Bruce Anderson with a comfortable save, the shot lacking any real conviction. Joe Chalmers fired a free kick narrowly over, the ball rippling the roof of the net as it dipped just over the bar and one minute later Inverness broke the deadlock. Stuart Morrison was in no danger when he tried to pass back to keeper Cammy Gill. Unfortunately for Cammy, the ball arrived around head height. He tried to chest it down before hoofing it clear but it bounced off him and Austin reacted well to nick the ball and roll it into the empty net. Calamitous defending but a welcome goal for Austin and the home fans. James Craigen had an effort saved by Ridgers as the Pars tried to respond but we saw out the half to go in at the interval ahead. One worrying moment just on the half time whistle when Caley Thistle Online player of the year Coll Donaldson stretched low to thigh the ball back to Ridgers and looked as though he might have tweaked his thigh muscle slightly. Half Time 1-0 Our fears were confirmed after the break when Jamie McCart replaced Coll, hopefully just a precaution and CTO PotY Donaldson was subbed for Jamie McCart the CTO joint Young Player of the Year (with Tom Walsh). The visitors looked lively at the restart and Kallum Higginbotham's effort was well saved by Ridgers in the top half of the goal. To be honest, it was an uncomfortable second half display by the hosts who were not over exerting themselves, and with Dunfermline unable to take advantage it descended into the proverbial end of season fare. One bright spot was Tom Walsh thumping a shot off the post, the keeper doing well to push the ball onto the wood. We did just enough to hold onto the three points and the result from somerset Park confirmed our third position. Not the most exciting of games, but one with plenty of connotations, and they have been all sorted out now, so Ayr it is on Tuesday night and the prospect of a high energy game back at the Caledonian Stadium next Saturday, and for just £12. Bargain, see you all there. Lots of accolades dished out after the final whistle with Aaron Doran being awarded the Official player of the year by the fans and Tom Walsh the Young Player of the Year. 🏆 Final game, Cammy Gill, look away now..................... Scott Kellacher talking after the game....... OFFICIAL REPORT can be found HERE at ICTFC. Early casualties even before the games kicked off yesterday. Morton parted company with Jonatan Johansson two hours before kick off. A strange one at Palmerston as Queen of the South removed Gary Naysmith at their end of season do, and they still have the play-off's to contend with. WTF! Congratulations are also due to Alloa. Not only did they enable us to climb to third, they have avoided relegation and all done on a shoestring budget. Spare a thought for the Bairns. Scottish cup final in 2015, Scottish third tier 2019/2020 👶 Date: 04/05/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2828 Referee: Graham Beaton Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, Donaldson (McCart 45), Mckay, McHattie, Chalmers, Trafford (Polworth 65), McCauley, Walsh, Austin (Doran 73), White Subs (not used): Mackay; Harper, McDonald, Machado Scorers: Austin (35) Booked: none Sent Off: none Dunfermline Ath: 0 Lineup: Gill; Durnan, Devine, Ashcroft, Craigen, Morrison, Blair (Todd 62), Longridge (Ryan 73), Martin, Higginbotham (McCann 78), Anderson. Subs (not used): Burt; Allan, El Bakhtaoui, Hippolyte. Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  6. Comeback earns Status Quo Alan Trouten gave Alloa hope of the great escape after converting a first half penalty. Inverness showed more urgency after the break and two goals in five minutes put the Wasps back into the mire. Shaun Rooney rattled in the first for the visitors from the edge of the box and Charlie Trafford was on hand to score his first goal for the club and snatch all three points. We didn't quite roll over lay down, but maybe it could be down down for Alloa...... With Ayr United winning and Falkirk losing, it's as you were for both clubs and that means that third position is still up for grabs. For Alloa, it means that Falkirk remain three points behind them although Queen of the South and Partick Thistle are still in their sights above them. The only thing that has been decided is that the village club from the quaint market town of Dingwall have now won the Championship. Robbo hinted that the extra cash would be the driver for Inverness ahead of the play-offs and so it was as he put out as strong a team as possible. That meant a return to defence for Coll Donaldson with Brad Mckay suspended. Cammy Mackay continued in goal with Mark Ridgers recovering from his dislocated finger. Carl Tremarco came back in at left back, but that one backfired as he came off injured leaving us with only ten men as all substitutes had been used. Alloa were desperate for points and had Alan Trouten and Dario Zanatta spearheading their attack as they looked to keep the pressure on those above them and keep Falkirk below them. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ RIG was with CaleyAway and here's his excellent report:- As others have said, the first half performance was pretty rotten. We tried to force our way through the middle of the pitch a lot of the time which was pointless as Alloa frequently had nine men behind the ball and were very disciplined defensively and broke with real pace whenever our attacks broke down which was quite often. The likes of Polworth and Chalmers tried to force balls through to White or Doran / MacDonald cutting in from the flanks but they never found their man. Our best chance probably came when Doran chipped a ball in from the left flank but it evaded White and MacDonald. Prior to this Alloa had taken the lead from the penalty spot when Donaldson bundled over Zanatta and Trouten easily found the net sending MacKay the wrong way. We were lucky to just be one down at the break but Robbo shuffled the pack taking Polworth and MacDonald off for Austin and McCauley and going two up front with Austin slightly withdrawn off White. With this change we were a lot better and started to find a bit of space in wide areas to send a few decent crosses in which Alloa struggled to deal with at times. A Rooney header at the back post was a sign of things to come as Alloa started to struggle with our balls in from the flanks. Chalmers found himself with a bit of time on the left side to loft the ball into the area which Alloa only partially cleared and Rooney strode on to the loose ball to blast in the equaliser. White almost bagged a second goal moments later but Parry was equal to his effort. However we weren't to be denied with Chalmers again the provider. A low corner was hooked into the box by Chalmers and Trafford arrived at the near post to flick the ball into the net. Alloa nearly drew level late on when MacKay spilled a long range effort but was alert to get up and fist the loose ball away before any of the home teams players could seize on the opportunity. There then came a penalty appeal when Graham (?) fell over under pressure from McCart who was clearly incensed and his anger set off a bit of a stramash between the sides but ended with McCart going into the book. Fortunately we hung on. Not our finest performance of the season but it could be a vital win for us. The extra money from 3rd place would be very welcome as Robbo has said already this week. McCart was an absolute stand out for us and a clear MotM. We'll need to improve a lot if we want to progress through the play offs. Cheers Rig, great report from Recreation Park. Here's the goals from Recreation Park........... And Robbo's reaction........... Date: 27/04/2019 Venue: Recreation Park, Alloa Attendance: 826 Referee: Mike Roncone Alloa Athletic: 1 Lineup: Parry; Robertson, Graham, Taggart, Dick, Hetherington, Flannigan, Cawley (Kirkpatrick 75), Trouten (Hamilton 75), Zanatta, Aitchison (Shields) Subs (not used): Henry, Rosscoe, Brown, Peggie. Scorers: Trouten (pen 27) Booked: Zanatta (81), Robertson (90+2), Graham (90+4) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: C Mackay; Rooney, Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco, McDonald (McCauley 46), Trafford, Polworth (Austin 46), Chalmers, Doran (Walsh 72), White. Subs (not used): Fon Williams; McHattie, Harper, MacGregor Scorers: Rooney (68), Trafford (73) Booked: Trafford (34), McCart (90+2) Sent Off: none a
  7. United lay down marker Inverness went down 2-0 to Dundee United in a potential warm up game for the play-offs. Pavol Safranko opened the scoring in the 27th minute when he drove a volley past Cammy Mackay from fifteen yards and Paul McMullan scored the second just after the interval when he appeared to handle the ball in his build up to the goal. Whilst the Inverness defence appealed for the foul, McMullan ran across them and scored the goal. Despite plenty of opportunities, Inverness failed to capitalise on any of the breaks and United eased home to keep County waiting for the title celebrations. Nathan Austin did not endear himself to the home fans after failing to make the effort to get on the end of an Anthony McDonald shot after the youngster waltzed into the box. Great effort by McDonald, the same could not be said of Austin who tried to chastise the youngster for his own failure to get on the end of his shot. The end result mattered not as Dunfermline failed to get a point at Dumfries meaning Inverness are assured of a play-off place. Maybe Robbo was keeping some aces up his sleeve with a view to some tough play-off games looming. Coll Donaldson was on the bench but no sign of captain Carl Tremarco or the dislocated fingered keeper, Mark Ridgers. Sean Welsh is out for the season. United had plenty in reserve with Paul McMullan and Pavol Safranko the preferred partnership up front. It all looked fairly promising for the hosts in the opening exchanges and Jordan White got a header away in the fifth minute but it was well over the bar. United forced a couple of corners which came to nothing and Tom Walsh brought out a save from Siegrist at the other end. Shortly after this Cammy Mackay dived low to his left to ensure a stifled shot from Safranko stayed outside his posts. Jamie McCart was doing well keeping the back line in order with Coll Donaldson out and Inverness were looking the most likely to open the scoring. Aaron Doran saw Siegrist save his header and Tom Walsh fired a terrific shot from thirty yards which the keeper saved well in the top corner as he managed to push the ball behind for a corner kick. Out of the blue, United scored when Peter Pawlett flicked the ball to Pavol Safranko who volleyed low past a helpless Cammy Mackay from the edge of the box. Good strike and the move was similar to the one Inverness did at Partick when Walsh crashed the ball home. On the half hour Jamie McCart went close with a header, but one minute later we had the crossbar to thank when Paul Watson smacked a header off the woodwork, Mackay looking like he had it covered had it tried to sneak under the bar. Joe Chalmers cleared the rebound away with a header from under the bar. Chalmers was next up with a shot from distance on the right side, the ball almost catching the United keeper out as it bounced in front of him but he reacted well to keep it out somehow. Motherwell bound Liam Polworth also broke on the right side but his effort was neither a cross or a shot an Siegrist gathered. We finished the half strongly but an equaliser eluded us and Inited went in 1-0 ahead. Half Time 0-1 We were left chasing the game five minutes into the second half when Paul McMullan appeared to use an arm to control the ball as he ran across the face of our defence. As we appealed for the free kick, McMullan kept going and tucked the ball behind Mackay for a schoolboy error sickener. We went again and after some tidy build up play Doran found himself in space on the left side of the box. Unfortunately his effort was blocked and the chance went begging. Polly went on a decent run and his parting shot had plenty power but rose over the bar. At the other end, Mackay beat away a sizzling shot from Jamie Robson as United were able to hit effectively on the break. Substitute Nathan Austin was somewhat selfish as he shot weakly from an angle. His memory was substandard as soon after he berated Anthony McDonald for doing exactly the same. In McDonald's case he put in the effort to get his shot away and if Austin had bothered his arse he might well have got on the end of it as he watched it slide the wrong side of the post. This exchange brought about an angry reaction from the North Stand, and deservedly so, but for some it extended too far. United would have scored a third on the break as we continued to chase the game but for a brilliant goal line clearance by Shaun Rooney after some trickery on the right flank and a Robson shot driven to the goal. Three corners came and went for Inverness as we tried to get something from the game, but to no avail. In a final flourish we rained efforts towards the North Stand, unfortunately that's where most of them ended. Bizarrely, Brad Mckay was dismissed given two yellow cards for seemingly being tripped in the box, the inept referee booking Brad for diving I presume then his angry reaction to the yellow brought about another one. What did he expect? 'Oh that's OK ref, just one of those things'. Aye right. Jordan White almost got a late consolation as he turned and shot in the box but Siegrist dived full length to deny the striker. He was denied again just before the final whistle as he powered a good header goalwards, Siegrist again thwarting him with another good save. The United keeper could make a claim to say he was their Man of the Match. It was just one of those days I'm afraid. We had plenty of opportunities but spurned them all through poor shooting and good goal keeping. Jamie McCart was outstanding and get's my vote for Man of the Match. He was well supported by Shaun Rooney, Kevin McHattie and Cammy Mackay in our hastily rearranged defence with Ridgers, Donaldson and Tremarco missing. With Dunfermline also losing, that means we can now relax for the next couple of matches ahead of the play-off games. The other good thing was that the title was not won on our patch. Maybe that was the plan! Match footage from Caley Jags TV Inverness Caley Thistle boss John Robertson on BBC Sport: "We spoke to Paul after it and he was honest enough to admit it hit his arm. Six of our defenders appealed for handball but they've made the cardinal sin of stopping and waiting for the whistle to go. The referee got it poorly wrong." Date: 20/04/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2971 Referee: Greg Aitken Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: C Mackay; Rooney, B Mckay, McCart, McHattie, Doran (Austin 62), Trafford, Polworth (McCauley 68), Chalmers, Walsh (McDonald 67), White Subs (not used): fon Williams; Donaldson, Harper, MacGregor Scorers: none Booked: B Mckay (90+2) Sent Off: B Mckay (90+2 two yellows) Dundee United: 2 Lineup: Siegrist; Watson, Reynolds, Connolly, Robson, Harkes, Butcher (Bouhenna 75), McMullan, Clark (Nesbitt 64), Pawlett (Booth 46), Safranko Subs (not used): Laidlaw; Gomis, Smith, Fyvie, Scorers: Safranko (27), McMullan (49) Booked: Robson (29), Butcher (43) Sent Off: a
  8. Play Off on hold.... A makeshift Inverness XI went ahead after eighteen minutes when Anthony McDonald scored a superb solo goal as he cut into the box, curling in off the post. Reece Lyon responded for Morton before the half hour. Brad Mckay then conceded a penalty after fouling Gregor Buchanan and Greg Kiltie scored from the spot just before the break. 2-1 at the interval with Cammy Mackay being the busier keeper. Morton looked to preserve their lead but were undone with a couple of minutes to go as substitute Darren McCauley drove the ball home. This result puts Inverness in pole position for the play-offs but mathematically they can still be caught. John Robertson was forced into a number of changes as injuries hit the squad hard after the Cup tie with Hearts. Out went Mark the finger Ridgers and Carl Tremarco, in came Cammy Mackay and Kevin McHattie. Coll Donaldson was still injured since the Ayr game and with a bit of shuffling, Anthony McDonald was back in the starting XI. Jonatan Johansson was able to field Michael Tidser from the start after he missed the Alloa game, but it might be one of his last as he has signed a pre-contract agreement with relegation rivals Falkirk who Morton play at the weekend. Awkward! Liam Polworth set the ball rolling on a night that Inverness could possibly secure a play-off place whilst Morton were looking to steer clear of the relegation battle and it was the hosts that made most of the early running, with Michael Tidser dinking an effort just wide after a short corner. Deputising keeper Cammy Mackay had to look smart to save from Gary Oliver as Morton continued to press for an opener and Tidser dragged a shot wide. Oliver flicked one just over the bar as the pressure built on the visitors defence but after 18 minutes Anthony McDonald scored a superb solo goal, cutting in from the right and sending a shot into the net via the post. Reece Lyon tested Mackay and shortly after he was rewarded as he picked up a headed clearance and rifled a low shot into the bottom corner. Inverness responded with Polworth firing over and Shaun Rooney trying from distance but going wide. With the break approaching, Brad Mckay was adjudged to have pulled Buchanan in the box and Kiltie made no mistake from the spot, Mackay going the wrong way, to put Morton ahead just before the break. Half Time 2-1 Kiltie almost added a third for Morton just after the break but his dinked effort was cleared of the line by Rooney. Just after the hour White missed a sitter as he headed over from six yards, the striker holding his head in his hands. He would head wide a few minutes later as Inverness began to dominate without overly exerting the keeper. It was a half of few clear opportunities as Morton looked to hold what they had and they camped close to their 18 yard line. Robertson went for broke with just over ten minutes left with his final two substitutes, Darren McCauley and Nathan Austin, and it eventually paid of when Liam Polworth sent a ball to the far post for McCauley to smash the ball home on the run and on the half volley. Another great goal and a hard earned point as the game fizzled out. Timely substitutions for Inverness and that point may well be enough to secure a play-off place with our goal difference twelve better than Dunfermline with both clubs having three games left. Cammy Mackay can be pleased with his contribution tonight making a couple of fine saves early on to give him a boost. Given our injury list prior to this game then that's a decent point away from home against a club battling hard for every point as they try to recover their league position. Inverness CT manager John Robertson: "The penalty's a strange one because the referee had warned Gregor Buchanan twice about holding on to Brad McKay and yet he gives the penalty the other way. The same's happened in the other box and that's where managers and coaches get annoyed about the consistency levels. "I think we got the point that we deserved for our passing and play and keeping it going. Both teams deserved something. It's a good point for us and it could be a valuable point for Morton as well." Greenock Morton manager Jonatan Johansson: "It's a very sore one and I feel for the players. I thought they fought excellently. There's no point feeling sorry for yourselves. We've got a massive game on Saturday against Falkirk. Robbo's at the wheel.................. Goal footage from Caley Jags TV............ Date: 16/04/2019 Venue: Cappielow Attendance: 1315 Referee: David Lowe Morton: 2 Lineup: McCrorie; Kilday, Buchanan, McAlister, Tumilty, Lyon, Tidser, Telfer, Iredale, Oliver ( Millar 71), Kiltie (Dallas 86) Subs (not used): Gaston; Dykes, O'Connell, McKeown, McGrattan, Scorers: Lyon (27), Kiltie (pen 42) Booked: Tumilty (52), Lyon (84) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: C Mackay; Rooney, B Mckay, McCart, McHattie, Chalmers, Trafford (Austin 78 ), Polworth, McDonald (Walsh 60), Doran (McCauley 78 ), White. Subs (not used): Fon Williams; Harper, Brown, MacGregor, , Scorers: McDonald (18) McCauley (88) Booked: B Mckay (42), McHattie (84) Sent Off: none a
  9. Ayr Raid Inverness beat Ayr 1-0 thanks to a second half goal from substitute Brad Mckay. Early drama when we spurned the chance to go ahead after seven minutes. Unsurprisingly, Aaron Doran missed from the spot, our second failure in two games. Coll Donaldson went off injured to be replaced by goal scorer Mckay. We held out to gain a valuable three points and jump above Ayr in the table. With Dunfermline drawing at Partick, it was a good weekend for the Caley Jags. John Robertson had to make some enforced changes to the side that went down in the Highland derby Out went the suspended Charlie Trafford, out went the injured Jamie McCart and the jaded Brad Mckay dropped to the bench. Little did we know that he would play a major part in the proceedings. In came Shaun Rooney at Right back, Kevin McHattie in central defence and Nathan Austin up front alongside Jordan White. Ian McCall thrust Nicky Cadden into the starting XI with Calvin Miller and Lawrence Shankland up front. Declan McDaid and Michael Moffat were on the bench as he made some bold changes. It's as clear as mud now for the play-off places, but it should become more transparent this week as Ayr host Queen of the South and Ross County host Dunfermline on Tuesday night. Next weekend whilst we travel to Hampden, Dundee United and Ayr clash and on Saturday, Dunfermline play Falkirk. Full report from RIG Huge win in a quite entertaining game if somewhat short on quality at times. One player who certainly isn't short of quality is Polworth and his superb defence splitting pass sent Austin scampering away and he looked to be clipped by Doohan and from seemingly nowhere we had the chance to go one goal up. Sadly, as is the current ICT style, we fluffed the spot kick as Doran sent a weak shot down the middle of the goal and it was kept out by the trailing leg of the Ayr keeper. Austin was involved at the other end when we failed to clear a corner and Miller sent a fierce shot heading towards goal but Austin was on hand to header away. A few folk around me said it was probably going wide but I'm not so sure. Certainly grateful to have Austin there to keep Ayr out. Doran was next to threaten for Inverness when he picked up the ball on the right edge of the box but his shot was just over the bar although Doohan looked to have it covered. Miller again had a great chance to put Ayr ahead when a cross from Cadden, who was roasting Rooney for much of the opening 30 minutes, was deflected into his path but thankfully he sent a poor header high and wide with Ridgers looking stranded. Then came one of the many goalmouth scrambles of the day. Walsh tried to get onto the ball as it bobbled around in the six yard area but when he did swing a foot at the ball his effort wasn't good enough to beat the Ayr keeper. Half Time 0-0 The start of the second half saw Ayr administer an absolute bodying to the ICT defence save from actually scoring. Almost all the Ayr attacks were coming down the ICT right with a number of low crosses flashed across the goal. However it was Craig Thomson who almost helped set up the Ayr opener when a Donaldson clearance crashed off his back and sat up nicely for Geggan but he pulled a volleyed effort wide. Another goalmouth scramble saw Rooney and Tremarco make desperate blocks to keep United out before Geggan somehow hooked an effort well over from only a few yards out as Ayr started to turn the screw and it looked to be only a matter of time before we would concede especially given that we had lost Donaldson to injury by this point. Almost inexplicably we then took the lead Rooney was felled on the right touchline, Chalmers lifted a ball into the box which was missed by the United defence and Brad Mckay was on hand to score a goal of the season contender from 0.3 yards out. Ayr came right back into the game when McDaid cut inside and sent a low drive towards goal but Ridgers got down well to smother the shot. in the final few moments Moffat managed to create some space in the box but he seemed to hook his effort across the face of goal with no team mate on hand to tuck it away. Something of a smash and grab win for us but, as we've found out this season, if you don't take your chances... I was really impressed with the pace and movement of Shankland, Miller and Cadden and then McDaid when he came on. Rooney had a torrid time at right back and it was only a result of really poor finishing from the likes of Miller and Geggan that we didn't concede about 4 goals. For ICT White had a poor game for the first 60 minutes then turned into a colossus for the final 30 mainly due to having a bit more space to work in as mentioned by Caley Stan above. He went from losing every header he went up for to winning just about everything and linking brilliantly with team mates to really take the pressure off the defence. Austin had a good game as well as did Doran (despite the penalty miss) and Polworth. Huge loss for us with Donaldson going off with what looked to be a knee injury. He appeared in the dugout before full time in flip flops so I am hoping he was just looking to boost early to get a Ryanair flight at Prestwick right after kick off......... 😎 A word for the Ayr fans, almost never stopped singing and getting behind their team for pretty much the entire game. I can't recall a home support like that this season. Great effort. Footage from Ayr United Fc TV Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Robertson on BBC Sport: "We had a superb first half, but our Achilles heel came back to haunt us with another missed penalty. I thought Ayr were superb - they were the team on the front foot in the second half - but then we got the goal and that gave us the impetus to defend and see the game out. We had to dig deep. I wouldn't have complained with a draw but its a massive three points for us. Ian McCall was disappointed to lose "I thought the first half after the penalty we were dominant, a draw at half-time was fair. But the second half, for 25 minutes we battered them. There was silence in the stadium after the goal, there was shock - the second half was so once sided, we just couldn't believe it. I wasn't disappointed with the performance - the Somerset Road end was like a real football ground, it was fantastic, then we lost a silly goal. Its a really hard one to take but we've got to go and win all three points to try and clinch the top four." And on twitter, the banter goes on..... Mark Ridgers: Big 3 points today and great shift from the lads, surely not far away from being on the next penalty Anthony McDonald: Huge 3 points for the boys today dug in and got what we deserved! Happy to get back on the pitch after 6 weeks out, safe trip up the road to the fans👏🏻👏🏻 different class💙 RIG agrees with McCall: Ayr miss a great chance to take the lead. Cadden cross headed over by Miller. It's all Ayr second half: Geggan fires over from a few yards out. How we aren't behind is beyond me! They think it's all over: ICT have been rotten this second half. Lucky to still be level and Donaldson going off injured It is now: Goooooooal! Mckay tucks the ball away from close range after Ayr struggle to clear a Chalmers free kick Zogg made it onto the terraces behind enemy lines, good lad! By the way, the u18's don't seem to have a problem with penalties....... Date: 06/04/2019 Venue: Somerset Park Attendance: 1566 Referee: Craig Thomson Ayr United: 0 Lineup: Doohan; Smith, Rose, Bell, Harvey, Geggan (Adams 69), Docherty, Murdoch (Moffat 79), Cadden (McDaid78), Shankland, Miller. Subs (not used): Hare-Reid; Kerr, Crawford, Moore. Scorers: none Booked: Doohan (7) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, Donaldson (B Mckay 62), Tremarco, McHattie, Walsh (McDonald 70), Polworth, Chalmers, Doran, Austin (McCauley 84), White Subs (not used): C Mackay; Harper, Brown, D Mackay. Scorers: B Mckay (66) Booked: Rooney (66) Sent Off: none a
  10. Refereeing Joke Ruins Derby Using the term 'referee' loosely, Nick Walsh ruined any hope that a fair game would be played out as he sent Charlie Trafford off on half time and proceeded to flash yellow cards willy nilly, especially at those in blue and red. The game was ruined by half time and with County 2-1 ahead after a lack lustre first half from Inverness there was little hope that the hosts would get their noses in front, not with Nick useless Walsh trying to dominate the game. Josh Mullin rifled a shot home in eight minutes before Jordan White won and missed a penalty, Scott Fox guessing right and saving. We did draw level when Carl Tremarco headed home but we shot ourselves in the foot by gifting a sloppy second, Boyle taking advantage of joke defending. With Trafford going off that was it for us and County and Walsh held on for all three points as the weather worsened. Results tonight showed no dramatic changes to the table with Ayr -V- Morton and Queens -V- Falkirk both ending in 1-1 draws. Falkirk climb above Partick Thistle on goal difference at the foot of the table but have played one more game. Top of the table clash on Friday night as County play Dundee United. We face a tough trip to Ayr on the Saturday and the Pars visit Partick Thistle. This was a crucial game for both teams and neither side were able to field their full strength squad due to injuries. Robertson was without engine room penalty taking midfielder Sean Welsh who will miss the rest of the season. County had four or five first team squad players out, notable Michael Gardyne and Keith Watson with Iain Vigurs suffering a setback in his recuperation. Such is their depth of squad it made little difference to their playing routines. A decent day gave way to some heavy showers shortly before kick off and the TV cameras restricted the fans in the stadium. The Inverness fans rightly relished this one after some great performances recently and having held the upper hand in most derby's this season although not always getting the right result. Undiminished, the optimism and belief that we could consolidate within the top four was rife, but that would soon crumble after we made a sluggish start to this encounter. From the kick off, it was evident that County were the team that wanted this more and we were on the back foot in the opening minutes as we defended nervously. Josh Mullin had two or three half chances before he opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Joe Chalmers was disposessed in midfield. It looked innocuous enough as Mullin got the ball but he speared a low shot from outside of the box in the inside right position. However, it arrowed it's way across the keeper and nestled in the bottom right of Mark Ridgers' goal despite a despairing dive from the keeper. All looked a bit soft to me, but 1-0 to the visitors it was. We only had ourselves to blame at this stage as our tackling, passing and commitment were all wayward. This stirred us slightly and just over ten minutes later we were awarded a penalty after Jordan White was released on the right side of the box. As he tried to go round Fox he was sent sprawling and he was awarded a penalty. He took it himself but telegraphed it somewhat to Fox who was cunning enough to have guessed the correct direction and saved the less than impressive spot kick to his right. Meh! Fox only got a yellow for his part in the incident. His next play proved to be more profitable as he headed back for Carl Tremarco to score with a header off the underside of the bar to level the match five minutes later after a good spell from the hosts. On the half hour Charlie Trafford would pick up a booking for a minor foul. That would come back to bite him on the bum before the interval. Ten minutes before the break our recovery process was undone after we lost control of the ball and failed to clear our lines effectively. From the corner, Draper hit the ball into the ground and Andrew Boyle was able to nod the ball home from very close range with a number of defenders looking around and waving their arms at the referee in frustration. Shoddy stuff from the Caley Jags. County now looked to be in control as we reverted to loose passing and half hearted challenges as Declan McManus and Mullin fired efforts at goal. Aaron Doran broke the monopoly and Inverness forced three corners in succession which came to nothing. A free kick brought no joy either, Joe Chalmers hitting the wall. The game changer was upon us. Firstly Ross Draper seemed to bundle Liam Polworth to the ground which the 'referee' chose to ignore. Ten yards further away he penalised Charlie Trafford and gave him his second half baked yellow card which saw Trafford sent for an early bath in the first minute of stoppage time at the interval. Half Time 1-2 Draper had done his job and the County management replaced him at the break. Considering that he already had picked up an early booking and was lucky to stay on the park, that was a shrewd move. There was plenty of effort but little guile as we struggled to create clear openings, Brad McKay coming closest with a header. The weather had now turned decidedly nasty and a vicious swirling wind and sleet, hailstones and rain made conditions difficult and almost impossible to play a passing game. Tom Walsh was our most effective player on the break and he curled a low effort just the wrong side of the post from the left edge of the box. Close, but not close enough. White almost made the right contact with a shot from twelve yards but could not get his foot round the ball enough under pressure from the defender and the shot went wide. Looked as though County hit the bar at one point with a close range header by Lindsay amongst some confusion in our ranks. Conditions were still deteriorating and the Nick Walsh I'm in charge booking extravaganza began. it was almost as if bookings were going out of fashion and four Inverness players were booked in the next six minutes. It seemed as though every tackle was not just a foul, but also a yellow card, yet the visitors were not chastised for anything. Polly was booked for dissent, Rooney for throwing the ball softly towards the shins of a visiting player. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness Caley Thistle manger John Robertson on BBC Sport: "The sending off - they both bookable offences. However, our boys are convinced Ross Draper caught Liam Polworth in the build-up and it could easily have been a red the other way. That was a big game-changer." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Nick Walsh take a bow son, you are absolutely useless, the worst referee in the history of worst referees. The ten men were now physically and mentally drained but we did well to deny County any more goals, Brian Graham having a couple of late attempts. Still time for a late ironic cheer from the Caley Jags fans when Sean Kelly was booked in time added on. That was as good as it got in a hugely disappointing game ruined by a small person with the big chip on his shoulder syndrome. Coll Donaldson was again our best performer with Tom Walsh and Tommy Tremarco putting in a shift. However, we only have ourselves to blame for our poor start to the game where we strolled around making error after error giving County the belief and impetus to go on and win the game. Gone was the passion, commitment and desire of the previous derby's. It had been replaced by shirking tackles, misplaced passes and blaming someone else. All this helped by a totally incompetent official. Nuff said. Video footage from SPFL OFFICIAL youtube Our next game is away to Ayr United on Saturday. Play like we did at the start of this game and it could be a long day. Here's the Top Ten reaction on CTO forum All the mentions of terrible officiating makes it sound like sour grapes...………………..It certainly was not, that Ref was the worst of the season if not in history !!!! Completely ruined the match. Ref decided the game and that was very disappointing. Could have maybe nicked an equaliser but lacked ideas towards the end. Good effort despite being down to ten. The wrong Walsh was substituted. 😂 The refereeing - which is not affecting the score - is now bordering on the ridiculous.Disappointing. Not often I join the ref was a w***** brigade, but where do I join up? Apart from that, our defending at set pieces was poor. Ref killed what was shaping up to be a great game he looked hell bent on booking any player in blue and red for any reason. A new low in refereeing, worse than John McKendrick. I don't believe I've ever witnessed such an inept refereeing performance at any level ever before! It really was a farce. The only tiny mitigating factor might be the fact that the standside linesman was absolutely no help to the ref whatsoever. Geezo we have witnessed some shocking refs through the years, but that must be the worst ever. One word for that.... Shambolic, and I don't mean the players I mean the ref. I'm not one to ever just point fingers at every ref but that was the most incompetent biased and downright laughable officiating I have ever witnessed. The final word will come from this geezer............. Really disappointing. I thought we started poor, got worse, got a lifeline, blew it, got level, fecked up and got a shit ref. Nick Walsh, you are the worst referee ever. Disgusted, North Kessock. With that, I'll let you make your own mind up if the referee was any good! Date: 02/04/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3795 Referee: Nick Walsh 😂 Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay (Rooney 75), Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco (McDonald 85), Chalmers, Trafford, Polworth, Doran, Walsh (Austin 72), White. Subs (not used): C Mackay; McHattie, D Mackay, Machado, Scorers: Tremarco (24) Booked: Trafford (29), McCart (77), Polworth (81), Rooney (82), Chalmers (83) Sent Off: Trafford (45+1 second yellow) Ross County: 2 Lineup: Fox; Fraser, Boyle, van der Weg, Kelly, Mullin, Draper (Spence 45), Lindsay, Armstrong (Graham 71), McManus, Stewart Subs (not used): Munro; Semple, Paton, Cowie, Grivosti Scorers: Mullin (8), Boyle (34) Booked: Draper (9), Fox (21), Kelly (90+2) Sent Off: none a
  11. Bore draw Defences were on top at the Caledonian Stadium as Falkirk came North with a clear game plan; do not concede. It worked as Inverness struggled to break them down with former Partick player Abdul Osman outstanding for Falkirk, and combined with our wayward shooting that ensured the battling Bairns went home with a point. Chances were at a premium in an instantly forgettable first half. The tempo improved in the second but despite some near misses around the Falkirk box it was left to Mark Ridgers to ensure we also took a point as he blocked a late effort from substitute Shayne Lavery from six yards. Some odd results today with County, Dundee United and Dunfermline losing we actually moved further away from the Pars in fifth place. A decent visiting crowd were on hand to see if they could lift the Bairns out of the relegation scrap with a total of over 2800 in attendance on a brisk and blustery afternoon in the Highland Capital. As mentioned above, it was an instantly forgettable first forty-five with the most apt description coming from AJS as he slithered and shivered down the stairs at the interval. Bland! Enough said Sandy. The only plus points for me were that Coll Donaldson was immense at the back for us mopping up every ball forward from Falkirk and Abdul Osman did likewise at the other end to ensure it was a total stalemate. In our defence, the Bairns probably had more to gain from keeping it tight and their tenacity and close shackling of our players made for a dull first half. The pace of the game quickened after the break as Inverness drove towards the North Stand and Charlie Trafford shot wide as more urgency came into our play. Harry Burgoyne saved from man of the moment Aaron Doran as he looked for his fifth goal in as many games, but like his team mates, most efforts were not causing the big keeper too many issues. Harry again denying Doran and a succession of three corners came to nothing. Kevin McHattie had one of our best moments when he flashed a volley just wide from the edge of the box when it looked as though it might find the bottom corner, the ball going agonisingly the wrong side of the post. Brad Mckay met a Chalmers corner from the right but it flashed just wide of the post with defenders relieved to see it miss, the ball rolling out for a corner off Edjenguele's shins . White directed a header well wide on the run under pressure from the two centre backs, the ball just not running for the big man today. Doran came closest of all when he appeared on the left side of the box as he collected a disguised pass from Polworth, but his goalbound shot was cleared away from inside the six yard box by Jordan McGhee. Polly then guided the clearance just wide under pressure from the defender. That could easily have been the opener but for a fortunate block by Edjenguele on Polly, the ball going for a corner. A wonderful jinky run into the box by Trafford almost set up a chance for Tom Walsh but he wanted to take an extra touch to be sure and his right footed effort was subsequently blocked. Would have been nice for Polworth to get one on his 200th appearance but he will need to be sharper if he wants to hit the back of the net. Too ponderous around the box for my liking although he was always looking to create something for others, especially in the second half. The customary late flurry brought little reward for Inverness and right at the death Falkirk almost stole it. Substitute Shayne Lavery pounced on the ball plumb in front of Mark Ridgers but the Inverness stopper stood firm as his shot went into his chest to avoid us losing another sore one to the Bairns. It would have been nothing short of robbery had defence minded Falkirk stolen all three points as they did last time they were here. It was miserable enough dropping two points but as it turned out we lost no ground and as for Falkirk, they actually dropped to second bottom after Partick whipped Morton 3-0. Man of the Match for Inverness was Coll Donaldson. Boy are we going to miss you in the Semi-Final. Abdul Osman was the same for Falkirk proving to be a big obstacle and dominated everything in the air at his end. He's a big unit. Here's the footage from Caley Jags TV Inverness CT manager John Robertson said on BBC Sport: "It was disappointing because we had by far the better chances in the second half. The first half was a total non-event. I don't think people realise how bad the wind was. It was really, really strong blowing straight through the park." Date: 30/03/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2817 Referee: Gavin Ross Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay, Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco, Trafford, Polworth, McHattie, Chalmers (Walsh 65), Doran, White (Austin 77) Subs (not used): C Mackay, Rooney, McCauley, D Mackay, Machado. Scorers: none Booked: Trafford (61), B Mckay (89), Sent Off: none Falkirk FC: 0 Lineup: Burgoyne, McGhee, McKenna, Edjenguele, Osman, Dixon, Paton, McShane, Petravicius (Jarvis 74), Keillor-Dunn (MacLean 62), Rudden (Lavery 86) Subs (not used): Mitchell; Waddington, O'Hara, Robson Scorers: none Booked: Dixon (28) Sent Off: none a
  12. Nothings Easy It wouldn't be the Inverness way if we simply cruised to victory as we suffered a late fright when Alloa launched a last ten comeback that saw them snatch two goals to take the gloss off an otherwise good performance. Aaron Doran continued his goalscoring run to open the scoring followed by a Sean Welsh penalty before the break. Jordan White added a third on the hour to put the game beyond doubt, or was it? Alloa got a penalty with ten minutes remaining and Alan Trouten scored via the post. Iain Flannigan's deflected shot meant for an uncomfortable five minutes but we held on for all three points to move up to third in the table. Alloa remain three points behind Partick at the foot of the table. A chilly night for football saw Alloa pinned back in the early exchanges as Inverness probed for the opening goal. We had a number of early half chances which were mainly from distance but we must have left our shooting boots in the locker room. Liam Polworth came the closest after he created a yard of space to fire a decent effort from twenty-five yards which went a couple of feet over the bar. However, it was that man again, Aaron Doran who opened the scoring with a glancing header into the bottom corner. Sean Welsh swung a curling cross into the heart of the box where Doran met it at the penalty spot to beat Neil Parry from twelve yards for another superb goal from the wee man, his fourth in four games and his eleventh of the season. Suspicion of foul play when Polly and Welsh combined to set big Jordan White free in the box but nothing was awarded as White was brought down left of the six yard box. Mark Ridgers was eventually called into action around the half hour as he gathered a low shot from outside the box. Soon after, Donaldson swung a deep ball into the box where Doran headed it down to White. As the striker tried to turn he was upended in clumsy fashion by Iain Flannigan and there was no dispute about the award this time. Parry dived to his right, unfortunately for him Sean Welsh smashed the ball high down the centre of the goal to double our advantage. Polworth looked as though he almost skimmed the top of the bar with a rasping shot from thirty yards as we continued to play attractive football with Polly and Welsh pulling the strings in midfield. There followed a succession of attempts from outside the box with Joe Chalmers, Kevin McHattie and Jordan White all looking to get in on the act, but the half ended at 2-0 to Inverness. The second period saw little change in the pattern and an inviting cross was inches away from being turned in by dainty feet White. He would not be denied though and he ran onto a through ball from Polworth to neatly dink it over the onrushing Parry. Alloa were still plugging away though and Ridgers had to make a smart save to deny Alan Trouten putting the ball into the top corner after the striker waltzed into our box. White came close to a fourth after shielding the ball well and playing it wide, he then got on the end of the cross but it bounced narrowly wide. Good effort from the big man who is growing into his role well. A needless rash challenge by Jamie McCart threw Alloa a late lifeline when he brought down Trouten who was facing away from goal, but Jamie went through him to give away a penalty. Trouten picked himself up and buried his spot kick into the net off the post. That perked Alloa up and given that our midfield had altered with Wesh, Chalmers and Doran going off Alloa saw an opportunity. We charged forward looking for another and when the move broke down Alloa were presented with a Flannigan shot from outside the box. It looked harmless enough but a massive deflection took it away from Ridgers and that made for a squeaky bum last five minutes. The bums squeaked even louder as Donaldson conceded a corner in the final minute of overtime but we held on to take a valuable three points as Mark Ridgers rose high to collect the ball and end our torture. A tremendous game for 75 minutes then our wheels fell off somewhat. A bit worrying that in form Sean Welsh had to go off injured, hopefully he will recover quickly as we have some crucial games coming up. Aaron Doran was our pick as MotM with great performances from Sean Welsh and Coll Donaldson with Jordan White endearing himself to the hard to please Caley Jags fans with another display showing some deft touches for a big lad. More reaction to follow............ Video action from Caley Jags TV And here is dainty Jordan.............. Date: 26/03/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2006 Referee: Steven Reid Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, Donaldson, McCart, McHattie, Chalmers (Walsh 67), Polworth, Trafford, Welsh (Austin 77), Doran (McCauley 75), White Subs (not used): C Mackay; Tremarco, Machado, B Mckay Scorers: Doran (29), Welsh (35 pen), White (61) Booked: none Sent Off: none Alloa Athletic: 2 Lineup: Parry, Taggart, Graham, Dick, Hetherington, Shields, Kirkpatrick (Hamilton 61), Flannigan, Cawley (Brown 73), Zanatta, Trouten Subs (not used): Henry, Goodwin, Karadachki, Peggie, Scorers: Trouten (pen 81), Flannigan (90) Booked: Zanatta (59) Sent Off: none a
  13. Moving on up Inverness jumped back into the top four momentarily after second half goals from Aaron Doran and Tom Walsh plunged Partick further into the relegation battle. Stuart Bannigan had levelled for Partick before substitute Walsh leathered home a superb volley with ten minutes to go. Only Dundee United v Alloa on this weekend and we play the Wasps on Tuesday night to see if we can take further advantage of the situation. Should Alloa take full points from their two games in hand over Partick, then they will jump to seventh and the Harry Wraggs will slump to the bottom. It's that tight! Inverness had Tom Walsh and Kevin McHattie on the bench after injury alongside Nathan Austin with young prospect Matheus Machado joining the squad after recent impressive performances in training. Partick Thistle had Gary Harkins and Scott McDonald starting with Blair Spittal warming the bench along with Miles Storey, the former Inverness enigma. Keeper Conor Hazard was on international duty with Northern Ireland and Jamie Sneddon replaced him. A wet and miserable night met the players as they came out in front of a sparse crowd and Scott McDonald started the ball rolling in this televised game. It was ten minutes before Carl Tremarco had the first attempt, but his sneaky curler lacked power with better options available. It was a midfield battle at this point with neither side able to get to grips with the conditions. Partick forced a couple of corners and the second one produced a moment of uncertainty in the visitors defence but the ball was hacked to safety eventually from almost on the goal line. Similar followed at the other end after Charlie Trafford won a free kick, but defences prevailed. Another free kick saw the ball fired over the bar by Sean Welsh after Joe Chalmers had been fouled. Aaron Doran drew a booking from Steven Anderson as the Caley Jags player broke over the halfway line. Doran did slide the ball into the net shortly after but was offside. Most of the possession was coming from the visitors midway through the half, but chances were at a premium. Anderson headed over Mark Ridgers' bar after a corner but it was an untidy game so far and Lewis Mansell was booked for fouling Jamie McCart. The first positive action of the half saw Inverness break at speed and Chalmers brought out a good save from Jamie Sneddon at the expense of a corner. Moments later, Doran slid a teasing ball across goal but it was neither a shot or a cross and the chance went abegging. Five minutes before the break another opportunity arose in the Partick box but it was tidied up and chested back to the keeper on the goal line. Inverness almost broke the deadlock but for a superb save by Sneddon from a Brad Mckay header, the rebound being hustled out of play by a sliding Tremarco. Close, but no cigar. Sneddon was the only man keeping the eager Inverness players out and he had already produced two or three excellent stops It had been a brutal first 45 with Inverness looking the most likely to score, but Partick's robust tactics saw them go in level at the break but leading 4-0 in bookings as John Beaton pointed to the dressing rooms. The brutal fare continued at the start of the second half with Partick not shy to stop the game at the expense of free kicks, carefully taking it in turn to foul the visiting players to avoid an inevitable red card. Suddenly, they realised they could play football and it was game on as the play opened out, the tempo of the game increased dramatically and the first half was soon forgotten. Saunders did find the net but it was ruled out for offsides after a Slater volley had been deflected for a corner. Ridgers scooped up a low strike from Slater that went straight at him as Partick decided to have a go and at the other end Doran created a bit of space to fire at goal but Sneddon was untroubled as he gathered. Liam Polworth seriously needs some shooting practice as he fired his nth effort well wide of the target. McDonald must have been studying Liam and he shot twenty yards wide at the other end. Substitute Miles Storey's power and pace was causing some problems and from one burst forward he slid a dangerous ball into the box but thankfully it went behind all the forwards and was cleared. Partick were beginning to look more dangerous since the substitutions but it was Inverness that made the breakthrough. Aaron Doran raced onto a tremendous ball through the middle from Joe Chalmers and a wee dummy from big Jordan White created the space for Doran to fire behind Sneddon. Well worked and well deserved. However, it didn't take long for Partick to level as Stuart Bannigan curled a low effort behind Ridgers from the edge of the box three minutes later. Tom Walsh replaced Charlie Trafford and Coll Donaldson had to look sharp to thwart Storey as he broke forward. Substitute Blair Spittal looked as though he rattled the back edge of the post as Partick broke forward although Ridgers looked to have it covered. Inverness went back in front when Polworth chipped a ball into the box and a cheeky flick from Doran saw substitute Tom Walsh lash a left foot volley home from fifteen yards with ten minutes left. Tremendous goal by Walsh who had scored the winner last time Inverness were here with an equally stunning strike. It could have been three soon after but Sneddon did well to smother an effort from Doran as he closed in on goal. Inverness began to look more composed after getting their noses in front again and took the ball for a walk to the corners to see out the game. Coll Donaldson picked up a booking late on as Partick tried to surge forward but Inverness held firm for all three points in a deserved win at Firhill. Aaron Doran was deserving of his Man of the Match award and he was ably backed up by the fleet footed Jordan White (not a phrase I use often so enjoy it), a wonderful assist for the opening goal by the big striker. Coll Donaldson held the defence together and Tom Walsh's goal was simply stunning. This is not a win to be scoffed at with Partick battling for points to avoid the drop. Our own Stirling Observer saw it like this.......... Was a very intriguing game, conditions were difficult in the first half but we seemed to deal with it much better and were more confident on the ball. Whilst we were the better team we were too slow moving the ball. We made two decent chances in the last 5 mins of the half. Second half the conditions calmed and McDonald starting dropping deep more and more, when they brought on storey his running caused us a bit of danger and opened the game up. All three goals were excellent. The final goal killed Partick and they visibly gave up after it. Think we deserved to win but it was a hard fought one. Thought everyone played their part. Playing Chalmers wide means his natural instinct in the check back or run into the middle and not go beyond the opposition defence like Doran does. Whilst Chalmers did well it harms out forward opportunities. It's harsh to drop Chalmers or Trafford but think it's for the greater good to get Walsh back into the starting 11. Special mentions to Doran, Welsh and White. More reaction and footage to follow........... Inverness boss John Robertson said on BBC SPORT: "It was a great first goal; great ball through by Joe Chalmers and a beautiful step-over from Jordan White, and the finish by Aaron Doran. "But then we fell asleep, Thistle upped the tempo and got their equaliser. We weathered the storm and got another brilliant finish. It was a deserved three points. "The next few weeks are a big ask but we showed tonight we have the players to handle it." If you can access BBC SPORT, here's the winner from Walsh............. If not, try this............. Aye Tom, she's a belter Robbo was pleased.............. And here is the man of the moment, Walsh the Walloper............. Date: 22/03/2019 Venue: Firhill, Glasgow. Attendance: 2149 Referee: John Beaton Partick Thistle: 1 Lineup: Sneddon, Elliott (Cardle 72), Penrice, Anderson, Bannigan, McDonald, Harkins (Spittal 61), Slater, Mansell (Storey 55), McMillian, Saunders. Subs (not used): Lennox, McGinty, Doolan, Fitzpatrick.. Scorers: Bannigan (68) Booked: Anderson (23), Mansell (33), Saunders (43), McMillan (45) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers, B Mckay, Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco, Chalmers, Polworth, Trafford (Walsh 69), Welsh, Doran (Rooney 86), White. Subs (not used): C Mackay, McCauley, Austin, McHattie, Machado. Scorers: Doran (65), Walsh (81) Booked: Trafford (62), Donaldson (90+2) Sent Off: none a
  14. Doonhamers Hammered Doon John Robertson was without the injured Tom Walsh, Anthony McDonald and Kevin McHattie. The bench was thin, with youngsters Millar Gamble and Fraser Russell in the squad. A win for Inverness could put us back into the top four. Queen of the South went into this one on the back of six straight Championship defeats, and that was reflected in the poor crowd and you could see why they had been struggling of late. They fell behind after only seven minutes when Aaron Doran intercepted and scored. B Mckay muscled in at a corner to get the second goal after twenty minutes. Queens had a go after the break and Mark Ridgers had to be at his best to deny Dobbie and Dykes as the hosts threatened to get back into the game. The big keeper pulled off a hatful of brilliant saves to keep Queens at bay as we seemed content to hold what we had. Jordan White almost made it three but was denied by Leighfield in goal with five minutes left and the game just ran away from Queens as it finished 0-2 for Inverness. With Dunfermline also winning, we remain fifth in the league. RIG was in the away day crowd and here are his thoughts on the game............ Easy win yesterday. Despite Queens being on a bad run I still expected us to stumble a bit here so it was a nice surprise to see us easily secure the three points save for a pretty shoddy opening to the second half. Very well taken goal by Doran to open the scoring. I see some reports have stated it was a poor backpass but I thought it was an overhit through ball from one of our players (clearly I wasn't paying that much attention). Anyway, Doran did well to get onto it and round the keeper before finishing well from a pretty tight angle. I thought he might have taken it too wide but he did well to squeeze it in (ooooer). Mckay got the second when he met a corner and found the net via a big deflection off his marker. We should have had a third goal when Polworth saw his shot turned wide and then from his corner McCart (I think) headed against the bar and White shot over. Queens seldom threatened but they were much better after the break and we were fortunate not to concede at least one goal with Ridgers denying Dobbie, Dykes and then Dobbie again as we struggled to get going again. Gone was the nice crisp passing play replaced by hurried balls lumped forward to no one in particular. Only Doran seemed to have the intelligence to try and get the ball down on the ground and start knocking it about again. Once we did that we started to gain a foothold and should have extended our lead when Welsh and the Polworth again shot wide from distance. Great performances from the likes of Doran, Polworth, McCart and Tremarco. Ridgers didn't have too much to do in the first half but made three terrific saves to maintain our two goal lead in the second. Had one of those gone in who knows what might have happened. Caley Stan pretty much agreed with RIG.............. That was very comfortable in the end, a strange feeling. We came flying out of the blocks and maintained a really high intensity for the whole of the first half - Queens had chances on the break but we could easily have put the game to bed before half time. They had a period of pressure after half-time, Dobbie got a few shots away and Ridgers made a number of decent saves. Then came the most pleasing aspect of the performance, the thing that's been missing from our season - we kept the head and saw the game out calmly. Some more positives: - Doran, Polworth and Welsh really trust each other with the ball, they're happy to play it to each other in difficult areas and we're so much more creative as a result. - Trafford and White, two of our most maligned players, are looking increasingly comfortable in their roles, they're playing out of their skins and the fans are responding. Trafford actually looks alright next to Welsh's calming influence. - Rooney came on and played where Chalmers was - it's clear that he's an option up there. Here's the long awaited footage from QotS TV............. Here's Robbo..................... And an under pressure Gary Naysmith...................... Date: 09/03/2019 Venue: Palmerston Attendance: 1066 Referee: David Munro Queen of the South: 0 Lineup: Martin (Leighfield 45), Mercer, Fordyce, Brownlie, Doyle, Stirling, Jacobs, Aird (Murray 76), Wilson (McGrath 76), Dobbie, Dykes Subs (not used): Williams, Maguire. Scorers: none Booked: Aird (43), Wilson (76), Doyle (83). Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay, Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco, Trafford (Rooney 84), Polworth, Welsh, Chalmers, Doran (McCauley 82), White. Subs (not used): C Mackay, Austin, Gamble, Russell. Scorers: Doran (7), B Mckay (20) Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  15. KARMA BIG STYLE Inverness opened the scoring when Joe Chalmers cut onto his left foot and curled the ball into the roof of the net from sixteen yards for a sublime goal. Chalmers almost added a second but he volleyed onto the bar from six yards when the ball found him unmarked. The first half ended at 1-0 with Ridgers a virtual spectator. Substitute Paul McMullan blatantly cheated to earn a penalty and Nicky Clark slotted his second in two games. In a dramatic finish, Nathan Austin had a marginal offside decision go against him as he superbly headed home a Polworth free kick, however, Aaron Doran nodded home after a fantastic knock on from Jordan White to win the tie in the second minute of time added on. Hampden here we come..................... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A place in the semi-final beckoned for the winner and an opportunity for some welcome income to go along with the prestige of a kick about at Hampden. It doesn't get much better than that surely! The last time we were at Hampden Park we came home with a nice wee trophy to show for our efforts against Falkirk as local artist Sophie Robb depicts, despite Tommy Tremarco falling over the ball and making us sweat. That was in May 2015. The Arabs have waited a bit longer for Scottish Cup success. They lifted the trophy in 2010 beating the wee team from the Highlands in the final. The olde adage, big team big cup, wee team wee cup still stands today. A big home support were out in force today as they remembered James Jack, a local fan who sadly passed away recently and a minutes applause would break out in the 31st minute in his remembrance. To the game, and John Robertson made three changes from the side that lost at Tannadice on Tuesday night. In came Carl Tremarco, Aaron Doran and Jamie McCart, and on to the bench went Charlie Trafford, and Shaun Rooney with Kevin McHattie and Anthony McDonald out injured. Robbie Neilson has Fraser Fyvie and Cammy Smith back in but Calum Butcher missed out through injury. Frederic Frans is out for around six weeks. Over 7200 fans were on hand to watch this spectacle as United kicked off but it was the visitors that pressed high and forced United onto the back foot in the opening exchanges. Big Jordan White has grown into his role up front for the Caley Jags and he did well to hold up and feed the ball to Aaron Doran who fired the first effort towards goal. Benjamin Siegrist felt the need to push it round the post for a corner. Doran was teasing the United defence and he was brought down on the left side. Liam Polworth flighted a lovely ball into the box but White got under it and headed over from an inviting position. The opening goal would come in the 19th minute and a thing of beauty it was. We won possession on the halfway and Doran linked brilliantly with Polworth, a cheeky wee backheel from the wee man allowing Polly to chip a ball to the left edge of the penalty box where Joe Chalmers gathered. He stepped inside the defender and curled a magnificently sweet shot into the keepers top right corner. It was his first of the season and I doubt he will score a better goal. Three minutes later it could have been two and no more than our dominance deserved. A teasing ball from Doran skimmed off a defender and Chalmers came in behind to crack one off the bar from six yards. What a let-off for United. Tremarco made a trademark 'putting your body on the line' block as Peter Pawlett tried to get a shot away. Tenacious defending from Tommy. The 31st minute saw a rousing round of applause for James Jack as the whole stadium joined in. United had settled into the game a bit more but the Highland rearguard were repelling the feeble United attacks and Mark Ridgers was a mere spectator other than grabbing a few crosses with confidence. The first penalty appeal for United passed without action from the referee. He would be fooled later in the game. A dominant performance by Inverness in the first half who could easily have been three up. However, the strike from Chalmers it was that separated the sides. Half-Time 0-1 The procession continued in the second half and Polly fired one straight at the keeper. Neilson had seen enough rubbish from his side and removed Cammy Smith to replace him by Paul McMullan who would play an active part in their equaliser later in the game. If memory serves me right, this is not the first time same player has managed to con a referee. The one way traffic continued though and Polly and Chalmers threatened to add a second. It was Charlie Trafford who was inches away from it with a thunderous drive that whistled high past the post with maximum power. United had brought on Morgaro Gomis by now and he seemed to add a bit of steel to the Arabs midfield. They managed to create an opening for a strike that was similar to Trafford's effort. This one from McMullan was a legitimate effort that Ridgers had to deal with, diving to his right to beat the ball away, Coll Donaldson completing the clearance at the expense of a corner. From the corner we failed to execute a decisive clearance and United burrowed into the box. White stuck a toe out and McMullan felt a tap on his boot. His delayed reaction told me he thought about it before leaving his two legs behind to con Steven McLean into awarding a penalty. Like Tuesday night, Nicky Clark took it and like Tuesday night he put it behind Ridgers in a replication penalty. Undaunted we took up where we had left off, on the front foot and big Jordan was denied twice as he forced his way into the box, Siegrist doing well to smother after he had turned his marker. Doran also was foiled by the keeper. With ten minutes left Nathan Austin thought he had scored with a magnificent header across the keeper. The celebrations were cut short when the linesman flagged for offside. Wow, that's some eyes that man has as this must have been down to millimetres. Great effort from the Inverness sub. The board showed that there would be three minutes of time added on as the game was heading for a replay. We still looked the most likely to win the game and in the 92nd minute Doran paved the way for Robbo to sprint onto the pitch in joyous celebration. Brad Mckay would take a throw in deep down the right flank. He launched a beauty into the box where big Jordan was in between two defenders. He won the ball cleanly to head flick it into the box and there was Aaron arriving at the right time to head the ball bravely into the net with Siegrist scrambling the other way across his line and a boot almost connecting with Doran's ear. Scenes! Cue wild celebrations from Robbo, the players and the visiting fans. What a climax to the game and you could see what it meant to all involved. That'll be Robbo out of breath for the week after his exertions. Off to Hampden for a semi-final game and a day out for our fantastic support. Also a wee financial boost for the accountants who will be chuffed about this. Rooney and Austin picked up late bookings as we frustrated United into submission. One booking we could have done without was an earlier one for Donaldson at the dubious penalty award. Aaron Doran was MotM, and not just for his goal, his all round game showed he was a menace to United from the start. To be honest you couldn't fault anyone in a total team performance. Jordan White has become a fans favourite after a stuttering start at Inverness and he showed yesterday how important he is to our game plan. Chalmers was incredible as well and Liam Polworth showed his value with some great through balls. Unsung heroes all over the park and none moreso that Charlie Trafford who was immense in the engine room. So, a cup semi-final to look forward too. We will find our destiny after the Partick v Hearts game tonight. Action can be seen on the BBC Sport website Here's an ecstatic Robbo talking after the game......... Enjoy.................. Here's another version of the game............. Date: 03/03/2019 Venue: Tannadice Attendance: 7274 Referee: Steven McLean Dundee United: 1 Lineup: Siegrist; Seaman, Reynolds, Robson, Connolly, Harkes, Fyvie (Gomis 64), Clark, C Smith (McMullan 53), Pawlett, Safranko. Subs (not used): Laidlaw; Watson, Booth, Nesbitt, Stanton Scorers: Clark (pen 67) Booked: Fyvie (58), Safranko (85) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay, Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco, Doran, Polworth (Rooney 90+3), Trafford (Austin 77), Welsh, Chalmers, White. Subs (not used): C Mackay, McCauley, MacGregor,, D Mackay, Hyde Scorers: Chalmers (19), Doran (90+2) Booked: Donaldson (69), Rooney(90+4), Austin(90+5) Sent Off: none a
  16. Tannadice woe. Dundee United would inflict further woe on cash strapped Inverness after a close encounter of the third kind. A Nicky Clark penalty was sufficient to swing the game towards United with Inverness just failing to get back on level terms. John Robertson would rest Carl Tremarco and Aaron Doran, although Jamie McCart made the bench, but Tom Walsh and Anthony McDonald were out injured. United kicked off with over 4700 watching and immediately put Inverness onto the back foot creating three or four openings inside the first ten minutes. Peter Pawlett and Charlie Seaman narrowly missing the target from great positions inside the box and Nicky Clark heading tamely wide. Kevin McHattie was booked in the 17th minute as the Inverness defence came under sustained pressure. It took Inverness half an hour to fashion out a decent opportunity and Shaun Rooney headed over. Nathan Austin then drove into the box but his shot had the sting taken out of it and Ben Siegrist gathered. Coll Donaldson followed that up by heading over from close range as we began to threaten the home defence. Pawlett was the Arabs danger man as he drove forward and at the other end a Connolly error almost led to Austin getting in on goal. It was Pawlett that was causing most problems for the visitors, but at the break it was all square. Half-Time 0-0 There were no changes at the start of the second half as Liam Polworth kicked off. United were first to try after the break but Ridgers easily mopped up an effort from Clark. Inverness responded with Polworth firing over from outside the box and Austin almost flicked on to White, but United got it clear. Harkes had to clear one away from the line after some confusion in the Arabs ranks. Inverness were having a good spell and a Rooney cross was headed over by Austin................ However, It's the kiss of death and United get a penalty awarded after Coll Donaldson tripped Nicky Clark in the box, Clark converting from the spot. Three minutes later, the problematic Pawlett became a problem for United as he was sent off for a second bookable offence. Charlie Trafford shot just wide from outside the box as we looked to get back on level terms and an Austin header and a Chalmers shot had to be saved by Siegrist. Plenty of Caley Jags pressure in the final ten minutes with United down to ten men and the last fling is Daniel Mackay replacing Joe Chalmers as the clock ticked past ninety minutes. Safranko passed on a great chance to seal the points at the end but he blazed the ball over the bar and Donaldson saw a deflected effort tipped over, but it was too little too late as United held on for all three points. After tonights results, Dunfermline closed the gap to two points behind Inverness after a 3-0 win over Partick Thistle, Morton a further point behind after they beat Queen of the South and Ross County stretched their lead at the top by beating Ayr United thanks to a Billy Mckay hat-trick. Stirling Observer observed thus on CTO:- Entertaining game for one we didn't manage to score. Took a while to settle to the diamond midfield and Utd could have been out of sight. Gradually worked our way into the game and were arguably on top despite not creating much. Second half was really open and end to end. They were on top for a spell when they won the pen. I would have said it was a fair award. Coll lunged in to block the shot but took the players legs before the ball. Mchattie took an awful touch to draw Pawlett into a rash challenge for his second booking. This killed the game as our lack of creativity against there solid unit meant the classic sit deep and let us punt it. Coll's last second deflected shot was the closest I think we got, but Safranko did miss a great chance late on. Speaking to BBC Sport the managers had this to say:- Dundee United head coach Robbie Neilson: "I thought the first half we played well but couldn't get the ball over the line. "It's massive for us. It takes us a step further and now second in the league." Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Robertson: "I'm disappointed. I thought United started very well. Coming down the slope, they got at us with good chances, but then we settled. "We changed our system a bit tonight by playing a diamond in there just to upset them." Action from Tannadice.............. Date: 26/02/2019 Venue: Tannadice Attendance: 4737 Referee: Barry Cook Dundee United: 1 Lineup: Siegrist; McMullan (Nesbitt 59), Clark (Gomis 78), Reynolds, Robson, Butcher, Seaman (Watson 84), Connolly, Harkes, Safranko, Pawlett. Subs (not used): Laidlaw, Fyvie, Sow, Smith. Scorers: Clark (pen 68) Booked: Connolly (32), Pawlett (48, 72), Safranko (82) Sent Off: Pawlett (72) Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, B Mckay, Donaldson, McHattie (Doran 76), Austin, Trafford (McCauley 82), Polworth, Welsh, Chalmers (D Mackay), White. Subs (not used): C Mackay, Tremarco, McCart, MacGregor. Scorers: none Booked: McHattie (17), Rooney (47) Sent Off: none a
  17. No rest for Coll The gruelling recent schedule was taking it's toll as Inverness played out a slender one goal win against Morton. Carl Tremarco glanced an early header home with what proved to be the only goal of the game. The final result was closer than it could have been, but given our recent exertions, then we'll take a narrow win over the Greenock side any day as we tried to conserve our energy levels. This win gives us a five point cushion in fourth place in the quest for a play-off slot, with Dunfermline emerging as the next best placed team to mount a challenge. Queen of the South and Morton are a further point behind the Pars. So it's still all to play for as we get down to the business end of the season with Ross County looking most likely to top the table after a great 4-2 win at Partick who hit the bottom. John Robertson tried to protect some players by giving Shaun Rooney a start at right back and moving Brad Mckay alongside Jamie McCart in central defence whilst resting Coll Donaldson. That plan went pear shaped when McCart had to leave the field after sustaining an injury on the half hour which meant no day of rest for Coll Donaldson. Tom Walsh missed out after picking up an injury against County in the cup and Anthony McDonald took his place. The more mundane atmosphere of the Championship fixture barely whispered round the ground with only a busload or two in the away end amongst some 2400 fans in the stadium. Liam Polworth set the ball rolling as we kicked off towards the away end. Nothing of note in the opening exchanges as both sides jockeyed for position, but Captain Carl would break the deadlock in the eleventh minute as he met a Liam Polworth corner at the near post to send the ball behind keeper McCrorie. The visitors responded and Mark Ridgers had to tip an effort from Chris Millar behind for a corner a couple of minutes after the goal. The ball looked like it might just be heading for the outside of the woodwork, but Mark took no chances and dealt with it accordingly. Brad McKay missed an opportunity after a ball found him in the box. Unfortunately it was more of the ball hitting Brad than Brad hitting the ball and the chance was missed. The game had little flow about it as players from both sides looked too eager to impress, nobody willing to put their foot on the ball and control proceedings. Jamie McCart went down and had to be replaced by courageous Coll on the half hour. Jordan White knocked a header forward but it just evaded the strikers as it ran through to the box after Polly passed on. We saw out the half with little coming from Morton in an attacking sense, the hosts doing just enough to keep their advantage. Half-Time 1-0 Darren McCauley replaced the injured Anthony McDonald at the interval and it was more of the same after the break. Morton struggling to create, Inverness happy with the reprieve. In the 57th minute Tremarco almost got his second goal but his header was cleared off the line by Buchanan to deny the captain as he met a great ball in from Sean Welsh. There followed a spell of Inverness pressure where we threatened to run a way with the game, but some last ditch defending and wayward shooting kept the score at 1-0. The second half was fast becoming an anti-climax as we were content to give the lightweight Morton offence the ball, and fortunately they had little idea what to do with it. Donaldson received more treatment towards the end after going down injured, but he is made of strong stuff is Coll and he resumed after being repaired. As the clock ticked away, we sat deeper and deeper allowing the visitors the freedom of the park. We did counter on a few occasions but in all honesty neither side looked likely to get another goal. The game ended with Morton frantically trying to put pressure on our defence, but we held out comfortably enough to record only our third home win in the Championship. It was a much needed low key encounter and a welcome three points that boosts our play-off chances. Carl Tremarco is the proverbial Duracell Bunny and he gets my nod for MotM. That was his first goal this term and it was good enough to win all three points. The future is bright, the future is orange. It's a difficult week coming up with two visits to Tannadice. On Wednesday it's Championship night and Sunday is the quarter final of the Scottish Cup, so no let up in the intensity and challenges for our stretched squad. From BBC Sport Inverness CT boss John Robertson: "We created plenty of chances today but we had to hang on. The last five or six minutes we decided to just take what we had. I cannot praise the players highly enough for their attitude and application. "They gave it everything and they gave absolutely everything they had on Tuesday, and absolutely everything today so it's a wonderful three points. It was a massive performance from them." Morton manager Jonatan Johansson: "I'm disappointed with the result obviously and I'm also disappointed in the way we lost the goal - another set-play. I know we are a small team but we need to be better at defensive set plays - they've been costing us for a while now. "Before that I felt everything was going alright. I think we played some nice passing football but in the final third we didn't have the spark or belief and it was powder-puff at times. We never really threatened them." Match Highlights from Caley Jags TV Yesterday's goal hero, Tommy Tremarco................. Date: 23/02/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2413 Referee: Steven Reid Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, B Mckay, McCart (Donaldson 32), Tremarco, McDonald (McCauley 45), Polworth (Trafford 83), Welsh, Chalmers, Doran, White Subs (not used): C Mackay, McHattie, Austin, D Mackay. Scorers: Tremarco (11) Booked: Tremarco (36) Sent Off: none Morton FC: 0 Lineup: McCrorie; McAlister, Waddell, Buchanan, Iredale, Millar, Telfer (Tidser 60), Dykes (Lyon 70), O'Connell (Tumilty 59), McHugh, Kiltie Subs (not used): Gaston; Kilday, Thomson, Dallas. Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  18. Inverness progress after dramatic shootout Inverness went through on a night of high drama after the game ended all square at 2-2. It was another bruising encounter and extra-time saw no further goals and penalties it was. Mark Ridgers saved one penalty and that was enough as Inverness went on to convert all five of their spot kicks, Nathan Austin with the final one. Jordan White was the local hero in normal time with both Inverness goals, twice coming from behind after Ross Stewart opened the scoring and Michael Gardyne grabbed a second for County. County resorted to type, some bare knuckle fighting broke out before the end when Van der Weg should have been sent off. Groundhog Derby stirs the passion. John Robertson made three changes from the side that slumped at East End Park. In came Coll Donaldson, Liam Polworth and Sean Welsh. On to the bench went Charlie Trafford, Shaun Rooney and Darren McCauley. County brought back five players that did not start against East Fife in the Challenge Cup. All the big boys were back in, with Scott Fox, Michael Gardyne, Billy Mckay, Keith Watson and Lewis Spence all starting. A great atmosphere greeted the players from both sides as they took to the park on a damp night, over 3600 were about to witness a night of high drama in the Groundhog Derby. The hosts started brightly and Tom Walsh fired a warning shot high over the bar in the second minute. Little did he know his night would be cut short in the 15th minute as he was replaced by Anthony McDonald after picking up an injury. Liam Polworth also fired wide as we gathered momentum. In the 22nd minute Inverness were undone as County surged down the right wing after winning the ball on the halfway line. Josh Mullin received the ball after good work by Marcus Fraser on the right and sent in a tantalising cross. Serial derby scorer Ross Stewart met the ball at the front post to head powerfully down and up and into the net via the crossbar. Good finish by Stewart, slightly against the run of play at that point. Inverness responded well to going behind and the game was being played at a frantic pace with no quarter asked or given. Substitute Anthony McDonald dragged a shot wide from the left side of the box as we searched for a way back into the tie, a corner given for that effort. Jamie McCart missed the best chance so far as he headed over from eight yards unchallenged, he maybe should have at least made the keeper work. Mark Ridgers was looking assured at corners and he had to save from Mullin as County tried to double their advantage. This game was not for the faint hearted and the half time whistle went with County holding a slender lead. Half Time 0-1 The sides swapped corners at the start of the second period and it was from another corner that Inverness were level. Joe Chalmers sent a curling ball into the heart of the box and big Jordan White rose highest to power a great header into the top corner. The North Stand liked that one, John Beaton not so much and he booked White for his celebration with the young team. Just after the hour, Scott Fox pulled off a tremendous save low down to his right as he saved a thumping shot from Liam Polworth. Similar to Doran's goal in the first game, but this time he kept it out with some assistance from the post. Five minutes later and County went back in front when Michael Gardyne picked up a loose headed clearance. He prodded the ball past two players before thrashing a low shot behind Ridgers from ten yards. A bit sloppy from Inverness but another good finish by Gardyne. White was now relishing the challenge and looked like he was enjoying himself as he played his best game since joining the Caley Jags, challenging well and laying off to fellow players. He got another header on target but Fox was well positioned to grab it out of the air. However, Jordan would not be denied and when Doran cut inside and fed Polly, he slid a great ball into the path of White who took a touch before finding the bottom corner from 15 yards. Superb goal and heading for extra time. Nathan Austin was creating havoc around the County defence with his awkward style as he poked his legs between defenders and sprinted forward. He headed one over from an inviting cross as we pressed for a winner. It looked like there was only going to be one winner before the end of the ninety minutes as we took charge. Coll Donaldson was absolutely bossing the County forwards, strolling around like Franz Beckenbauer, and why not. Jamie McCart was his able assistant and between them County were rendered ineffective. The ninety ended too soon for Inverness as they harassed the visitors in their own box, Fox fortunate not to concede a goal as he juggled with a ball facing his own goal, the post helping out again. Ninety Minutes 2-2 Extra time was slightly less eventful as both sides held what they had. In the second period Coll went down injured, but he was having none of that and he returned to the battle as tackles were flying in like they were going out of fashion. Carl Tremarco almost won it before the penalty shoot-out, his effort crashing off the bar after a scrambulation in and around the County box, great effort by the wee man and a let-off for County with Fox beaten. A couple of late free kicks for County were wasted as referee John Beaton went card happy. Gardyne started a brawl after a bit of man hugging with Charlie Trafford as they laid on the ground. Needless stuff, but Kenny van der Weg rushed in from nowhere to start some rather dangerous shoving and pushing. For me he should have been red carded for this assault. If he did that at an Inverness night club he would be in the cells. It seems that they must get this coaching from above, what with Stuart Kettlewell sitting in the main stand and Iain Vigurs in the South Stand. Brian Graham was out though as he appeared as a second half substitute. Anyway, I digress. After the dust settled the failure that is a Scottish referee booked van der Weg and Coll Donaldson when all around were squaring up to each other. Bare knuckle fighting on the park, but it was County that would be dealt the knock-out blow. Anyway, penalties it was. The winner will travel to Tannadice to take on Dundee United in the Quarter Final on the weekend of 2/3 March Here's how it went, County started the process in front of the away end. Gardyne 1-0 White 1-1 Fraser 2-1 Donaldson 2-2 McManus, penalty brilliantly saved by Mark Ridgers, 2-2 Welsh 2-3 Graham 3-3 Polworth 3-4 Draper 4-4 Austin for game set and match.They think it's all over..........it is now. 4-5 Coll Donaldson was my MotM for absolutely cigaring his way through the game. Jordan White was magnificent with his goals and general all round battling display. Liam Polworth was classy and showed it in abundance. Jamie McCart put in a great shift. Nathan Austin was sensational when he came on and caused County no end of problems. To be honest everyone did the fans proud and the celebrations at the end epitomised the desire and effort shown by the players. This was much appreciated by the fans who returned the favour with tremendous vocal backing, especially the young team in the North Stand. So, everybody, give yourselves a round of applause. We have had greater achievements, but this was drama of the highest order and the intensity and passion shown by both sets of players made this one of the best nights of football ever seen at the Caledonian Stadium. Players were almost on their knees long before the end of extra time and it was great to see the passion shown by our players after this well deserved win. Passion. I'll show you some passion said Coll........ Speaking on BBC Sport Inverness CT manager John Robertson: "We had the better of the game, we had the better chances. We've hit the post, we've hit the bar. There's two off the line in the last minute. Scott Fox has produced a wonder save. "We have been horrendous at penalties this season. We practised them yesterday. We actually had the players taking penalties from 15 yards out because if they can score from 15 yards, they can certainly score from 12 and all five of them scored." Robbo was delighted with the home fans contribution..... Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson: "Proud of our team. It was a great cup tie and when it goes to penalties, it becomes that little bit of a lottery and somebody has to miss and it happens to be us. We accept it and we move on. "It's always disappointing to lose the lead. When it's a cup tie like that, it's to-ing and fro-ing all the time and we could've scored again and Caley could've scored again. As far as a cup tie goes, I think everything was squeezed into that." Two goal Jordan White talking after the game......... Night of high drama, have a look. Date: 19/02/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3608 Referee: John Beaton Inverness CT: 2 - Inverness through 5-4 after penalties. Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay, Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco, Doran (Trafford 101), Polworth, Welsh, Chalmers (Austin 76), Walsh (McDonald 15, McCauley 105), White. Subs (not used): C Mackay; Rooney, McHattie Scorers: Jordan White (56, 81) Booked: White (57), McDonald (58), Doran (66), Tremarco (84), Donaldson (120) Sent Off: none Ross County: 2 Lineup: Fox; Fraser, Draper, Watson, Boyle, Van der Weg, Draper, Mullin (McManus 78), Spence (Lindsay 66), Gardyne, Stewart (Graham 100), Mckay (Wallace 112). Subs (not used): Munro; Grivosti, Murray. Scorers: Ross Stewart (22), Michael Gardyne (67) Booked: Draper (89), Gardyne (90+2), Van der Weg (120) Sent Off: none a
  19. Par for the course It was pretty much Par for the course as we slumped to another defeat in the league. It would appear that our league form is not as good as our cup form, or maybe it's just the local derby's we get our act together for. Whatever is the issue, it's a disappointing trend and Dunfermline were untroubled for most of the game with Joe Thomson getting the only goal of a scrappy game. Mark Ridgers will feel he might have done better at the goal. Aidan Connolly smacked the bar, but a late flurry from Inverness produced little of note in another hapless display, the team looking somewhat jaded. John Robertson made several changes after the bruising cup tie at Dingwall last Monday. Liam Polworth was injured and Coll Donaldson and Sean Welsh got some bench time. That meant that Darren McCauley and Charlie Trafford started and Shaun Rooney came back in at right back. RIG was as usual in the away end with Caley Away and here is his report. Hands down one of the worst performances from an ICT that I can recall in a long time, especially that first 45 minutes. We were all over the shop. McCart, who until recently had been a very solid performer, was uncharacteristically sloppy with a number of sliced clearances and slack passes but he got better as the game wore on as did the likes of Trafford who was something of a headless chicken until we went to 442 and he seemed to be a lot more effective. White struggled badly until Austin came on. He (White) didn't get much service and when the ball did come his way he was largely dominated by Ashcroft who was excellent yesterday as were Connolly and Vincent for the home side. McCauley should have been sent off. After he was booked he committed two needless fouls that both could have resulted in a second booking so it was no surprise when Robbo took him off for MacDonald. Pars had a weak penalty claim when Anderson seemed to go down quite easily. Maybe any highlights will show something different but I wasn't convinced at the time. Second half Dunfermline started much the better side. I don't know what Robbo said to the players at the break but most seemed to be still sleepwalking when Thomson dribbled across goal then lashed a shot past Ridgers who seemed to be caught by a deflection or by McCart ducking out of the way or something. In Mark's defence, it appears that he may have been slightly unsighted and the ball also appears to swerve a bit. Meh! Disappointing goal to concede but we were lucky not to be two down when Connolly battered the crossbar with a lovely shot just outside the area. We started to come back into the game when Doran went off and Austin came on giving White a bit more support up front and we started to create some half chances. Walsh had perhaps the best opportunity for an equaliser when he drove towards goal and was afforded a lot of time and space to shoot from about 20 yards but he sent the ball well over. White and Mckay passed up a couple of decent chances to bring us back on level terms but they shot wide of / over the goal. A seriously disappointing performance after what was a good showing on Monday night against County. We were missing arguably three of our most important players in Donaldson, Polworth and Welsh however if we want to stay in the play-off spot we need to improve our performances quickly. Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Robertson was speaking to BBC Sport: "I'm massively disappointed. It was straightforward - Dunfermline showed more hunger, energy and work-rate in first 10 minutes of each half. "I felt they were up for the taking, but they got their goal - Ridgers should've saved it. It was mistake from him. "Then the penny dropped and in the last 15 minutes we were camped in their half, but we had chances through Brad McKay and Shaun Rooney. "It's a missed opportunity because, if we win, we get a wee gap and we start pushing above us. "We're now in a hell of a scrap with Queen of the South, Morton, Partick, Falkirk. What they've done now is give me a blank sheet of paper for Tuesday night because there will be changes." Caley Stan was less than impressed with the value for money That's the worst away performance I've seen this season. We missed Coll and Polly as you would expect, but the absence of Sean Welsh had the most impact, his replacement charged and lunged his way around the park in a way that seemed to unsettle his teammates as much as the opposition. We didn't get the forward midfield 3 into the game at all, and when we finally went to 4-4-2 we looked slightly more threatening but without creating clear-cut chances. It could've been worse - McCauley should've been sent off and a better side would've added to their tally in the second half. We are a very poor side without those 3 players. Yngwie was more supportive to the keeper................ What actually happened with Ridgers for the goal? Routine looking save but the shot went through him. You know it’s not your day when even your most dependable player messes up. Look away now Marky boy............. Site Admin Scotty has this to add from our site sponsors FANSBET Ahead of our replay against County, Fansbet are allowing CTO users to suggest what the special bet to be promoted on their site should be for the game next week ? If you want a specific special listed please put them in the thread on CTO and they will chose one at random, assign it odds and feature it before the game in the fan boosts section. : https://www.fansbet.com/en/betting/sports/fan-boosts/ Here's the full highlights................ Date: 16/02/2019 Venue: East End Park Attendance: 4497 Referee: Steven Kirkland Dunfermline: 1 Lineup: Scully; Craigen, Ashcroft, Devine, Longridge, Vincent, Beadling, Thomson, Blair (Williamson 78), Connolly (Longridge 70) Anderson (Durnan 90+1) Subs (not used): Gill; Todd, Hippolyte, Higginbotham Scorers: Thomson (47) Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, B Mckay, McCart, Tremarco (Welsh 88), Walsh, Trafford, McCauley (McDonald 34), Chalmers, Doran (Austin 64), White Subs (not used): C Mackay, Donaldson, McHattie, MacGregor, Scorers: none Booked: McCauley (27), Trafford (55), Rooney (81) Sent Off: none a
  20. Ayr Raid Inverness surged into a three goal lead inside 20 minutes, Nathan Austin bagging the first two goals and Liam Polworth adding the third with a low shot from outside the box. It remained 0-3 at the interval but substitute Lawrence Shankland made his presence felt as he set up Declan McDaid to open Ayr's account eight minutes after the break. Shankland scored from a free kick with five minutes to go to set up a tense finish but Inverness just managed to hold on to take all three points. That's a tremendous result that has put us back into the top four and denied Ayr a return to the top of the table. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ John Robertson made two changes to the team that drew 2-2 at Falkirk. Jambos loanee Anthony McDonald started in place of the injured Aaron Doran and George Oakley replaced Jordan White. Cammy Mackay kept the keepers jersey with Mark Ridgers still out with back pain. Ayr kept faith with Craig Moore and Michael Moffat up front which meant that Lawrence Shankland was on the bench. Nathan Austin started the ball rolling towards the Somerset Road end on a freezing night at Somerset Park in front of 1559 shivering fans. The 76 visiting ones would be warmed up well before half time. Immortal Howden Ender was one of the 76........... To start with a round of applause for the recorded 76 fans who made it to Somerset Park despite the road conditions in both North and South directions. The records also show that there was 1559 in total attendance although it looked more to me. And we were then treated to the best 9 minutes of the season. The first, in the eight minute, had a degree of luck to it. Superb through ball from Polworth and Nathan Austin took it round Rose and Doohan with a little help from Rose but he finished well which has not always been the case this season. And just as one bus leaves another turns up, three minutes later (certainly wasn’t sponsored by ScotRail). A terrible pass by Smith found Oakley who played in Nathan Austin who again rounded the keeper but knocked it in with his left foot. Not sure how the defender on the line missed the clearance but hey-ho. And as most if not every fan in the ground were shaking their heads we go three up. Liam Polworth sweetly stuck a low 20 yarder which went in via the post. As good a strike as I have seen this season. But any chance of a 7-0 Somerset repeat were soon dashed as Ayr appeared to waken up. They could well have got a goal back before half time. A header came off the crossbar and Cammy MacKay made a fine save just on the half time whistle. In many ways it was fortunate for us that we held out as the second half may have been even more arduous. Enter Lawrence Shankland for the second half. It felt that the combination of a McCall bollicking, Shankland enthusing the crowd and Ayr lifting their effort made the second half a very, very long one. The first goal in the 53rd minute was made by Shankland and finished off by McDaid. Although I would have given the “assist” to Jamie McCart – although the ball did appear to hit a divot. There were two penalty claims thereafter although I feel that both being denied were the correct decision. The ball clearly played Tremarco’s hand and Oakley had lost the ball in a rumble in the box. Also in the 58th minute Robbo made his first substitution which basically puzzled me. He hooks Austin whos’ pace was the main worry for the Ayr back four and would have been a bonus on the break. And he brings on White ?!! Trafford replaced McDonald in the 70th minute but that was understandable. McCauley replaced Oakley in the 82nd minute and that was one that may have been better happening 15-20 minutes earlier. And three minutes later the inevitable Shankland goal made us fear that another draw was on the cards. And it was – and you could hear a collective sigh of relief from 76 Highlanders when Muirhead headed over in injury time – although I thought that Tremarco’s presence put him off. Ayr United manager Ian McCall: "You can't give teams a three-goal start. I thought they had 20 minutes, then we dominated, but we couldn't get an equalizer – have to agree. Inverness CT manager John Robertson: "You know if you lose a goal here, the atmosphere can change and it's a brilliant throw back coming here – spot on again. Robbo added - "If we win on Saturday, we're back in the hunt going into the break for the cup. We're just targeting whatever team is directly above us. – who can argue against that ? SMILEYMOMETER MacKay - Young Cammy did well and I thought that his save before half time was a real game saver. top. At the time I was critical of his Alan Rough impersonation for the second goal but the free kick looks as if it took a mean deflection. Rooney – Disappointed me. Always looks good going forward but I felt that most of Ayr’s chances came down their left wing and Rooney lacking pace. McKay 😎– No nonsense and why not. McCart – 🙄As Mckay apart from the 53rd minute Brain Fart (Rigism) Tremarco – Best defender for me and good to see him back at full fitness. Chalmers – 😀 No sign of his sweet left foot but worked his socks off Welsh – An “old head” which we need at the present time. Looked more like a captain. Polly – My MOM. Super pass for the first goal and super strike for the third goal. Also worked hard which often is lacking at home. McDonald – Thought that Robbo would have played McCauley from the start on physique alone. Has a look of a Doran about him – which we need. Suspect that he will be more effective at home. Austin – Best game in our colours for me. Two good finishes and worked the line very well. So why the hooking in the 58th minute ? White – 😁Actually thought that he was a good out option and he held the ball up quite well. Trafford – Evidently taken on for the Davy Crockett effect McCauley – Wrong game to judge. Here's the footage from Ayr TV Robbo post match on twitter Date: 29/01/2019 Venue: Somerset Park Attendance: 2000 Referee: Nick Walsh Ayr United: 2 Lineup: Doohan; Smith, Bell, Rose, Harvie, Murdoch, Crawford (Muirhead 82), Docherty (Higgins 45), McDaid, Moore (Shankland 45), Moffat Subs (not used): Hare-Reid; Hilton, Ecrepont, McCowan. Scorers: McDaid (53), Shankland (85) Booked: Crawford (79) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: C Mackay; Rooney, B Mckay, J McCart, Tremarco, McDonald (Trafford 70), Polworth, Welsh, Chalmers, Austin (White 58), Oakley (McCauley 82). Subs (not used): MacKinnon; Harper, McHattie, Mackay. Scorers: Austin (9, 12) Polworth (18) Booked: Polworth (36), Oakley (69) Sent Off: none a
  21. All Square at Falkirk It was a depleted Inverness that kicked off with Coll Donaldson, Tom Walsh and Mark Ridgers out and third choice keeper Cammy Mackay in goal. Undaunted, we took the lead after 12 minutes when Shaun Rooney touched in a Joe Chalmers free kick. On the half hour Zak Rudden equalised from close range. Doran restored our lead just on the interval when he volleyed into the top corner in spectacular fashion. Freak goal from McShane levelled the game again 10 minutes into the second half. Inverness had both new signings Darren McCauley and Anthony McDonald available and on the bench for this game, however, we were dealt a blow with Mark Ridgers unable to play because of a back spasm and Fon Williams allegedly with a groin injury. That thrust young Cammy Mackay into the spotlight with Martin MacKinnon as back up on the bench. Nathan Austin and Jordan White started up front with George Oakley on the bench. Falkirk had new keeper from Wolves Harry Burgoyne between the sticks for the first time and prolific scorer Zak Rudden starting. It was a sodden miserable afternoon as Falkirk kicked off in front of nearly 5000 fans, 240 of them supporting the team from the Highlands, Cammy Mackay tasked with keeping the Bairns out. His last game was a month ago, a 2-0 defeat for Rothes in the Highland League against Brora Rangers whilst out on loan. A bright start for the visitors saw Nathan Austin, Aaron Doran and Jamie McCart all make Harry Burgoyne work in the Falkirk goal. Shaun Rooney did even better when he made him pick the ball out of the net in twelve minutes when he diverted a low Joe Chalmers free kick into the net for the opening goal. Great start for the Caley Jags. Austin had a header saved as we pushed for a second and Doran was close with a shot and Sean Welsh dragged another shot wide halfway though the first period. Burgoyne made a tremendous save to deny Doran from distance, fisting the ball away as the visitors continued to dominate and keeping young Cammy Mackay quiet in goal so far. Spoke too soon as out of the blue Zak Rudden tapped in from close range to level the match after good work from Mark Waddington. We fail to convert after a scramble in the Bairns box and soon after Liam Polworth shot wide after a lay-off from White. A quick break from defence saw White's first effort saved and his follow up deflected for a corner. From the corner, Falkirk do likewise as Rudden is denied at the other end. Inverness have had the greater opportunities in the first half and just on the break we regained the lead in spectacular fashion. A Polworth free kick was cleared as far as Doran at the edge of the box, and after taking a touch the wee man smashed the ball into the top corner on the volley, what a strike. Pick that one out Harry! Half Time 1-2 No changes at the break as Inverness set the ball rolling for the second half and we began on the front foot again, Austin doing his best to undo his old club as he drilled a ball across the box but there were no takers. Falkirk were relying on Mackay being in the firing line and they equalised when a corner from Ian McShane deceived the keeper and ended up in the net. Austin tried to reply moments later but his header was too straight and saved by the keeper and Sean Welsh missed from distance. Doran pulled up on a run forward and he had to make way for Darren McCauley to make his debut and it's almost an instant success as his ball is deflected to White and behind for a corner. Jamie McCart took a head knock as well, injuries we don't need at the moment. Substitute George Oakley had a header saved as we looked to get back in front, and Anthony McDonald replaced Jordan White to make his debut. McCauley had an effort blocked as we looked for the winner and at the other end Paul Paton saw Mackay save his shot. Big shouts for a penalty after a McCauley shot is blocked but nothing doing and Rudden blazed a shot over from 8 yards after being played in. That should have clinched it for the hosts. It all ended a bit towsy with a couple of bookings but with no further scoring it finished all square. Inverness will feel it's two points dropped, after having enough chances to win two games, but the injury to Doran could be more worrying. Speaking on BBC Sport Falkirk manager Ray McKinnon: "That's us unbeaten in January but we need to start winning games. It will happen sooner or later, I'm certain of that. "We still need two players. We need someone to hold the ball up front and an experienced centre half. We played a more attacking style but we just weren't clicking in the final third." Inverness CT manager John Robertson: "It was a strange game. Both equalisers come against the run of play. The Falkirk keeper - he was terrific - kept them in the game. "The most disappointing thing was not getting a penalty kick. Their player runs six yards to close down, hands above shoulders, and it comes off both hands. It's a clear a penalty as you'll get." Here's some footage from Falkirk TV on YouTube Where's Harry.............. Here he is............... Date: 26/01/2019 Venue: Falkirk Stadium Attendance: 4843 Referee: David Munro Falkirk: 2 Lineup: Burgoyne; McGhee, Petravicius (Lavery 75), MacLean (Keillor-Dunn 64), Osman, Robson, McShane, Rudden, Dickson, Waddington (Paton 79), McKenna Subs (not used): Mitchell; Kidd, Brough, McKee, Scorers: Rudden (29) McShane (56) Booked: Keillor Dunn (90+2) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: C Mackay; Rooney, B Mckay, McCart, Tremarco, Doran (McCauley 64), Polworth, Welsh, Chalmers, Austin (Oakley 63), White (McDonald 80) Subs (not used): McKinnon; Harper, McHattie, Trafford. Scorers: Rooney (12), Doran (45) Booked: Tremarco (62), Rooney (90+3) Sent Off: none a
  22. Ayr Pressure Down Both sides were somewhat diminished with major players either injured, ill or suspended and it was a battle of the walking wounded as Ayr tried to keep the pressure on at the top of the League with County facing a difficult away trip to Palmerston. Inverness had Brad Mckay and Shaun Rooney suspended with strikers George Oakley and Nathan Austin injured. Angus Beith is still missing and this has now been reported to the polis as nobody has seen him yet! Kevin McHattie made his first home start with Carl Tremarco covering at right back. Ayr were without top striker Lawrence Shankland, Jamie Adams, Mark Kerr, Liam Smith and Alan Forrest with Adam Murdoch suspended. An unseasonably mild January afternoon with a touch of a stiff breeze coming in from the West met the teams as they entered the park in front of a 2283 crowd............. Liam Polworth was first to have an opportunity as he fired goalwards from twenty yards but his shot was weak and wide as he dragged it past the post. Michael Moffat broke clear for Ayr at the other end but his low shot was well held by Mark Ridgers from the angle when the striker might have been better squaring the ball. Aaron Doran should have scored when he latched on to a cross from Tom Walsh but his shot from close range cannoned back off the middle of the post and bounced back out of the box to safety. The home side were starting to dominate and Doran was flagged offside as he sprinted on to a good through ball from Polworth. Ayr were still a threat on the break though and Declan McDaid curled a shot over from one such venture forth and at the opposite end Joe Chalmers went close with a strike from distance as Ross Doohan sprawled across his goal line. Back came Ayr and Ross Docherty fired one over the bar as the game panned out. The end to end stuff continued as Polworth created the space to get a shot away after a delightful drag back, but it was always heading too high. Too high was the order of the day as McDaid sent another one over, the ball dipping too late. Best move of the half saw Jordan White miss a golden opportunity after he linked up well with Doran, but the striker shot just past the near post when it looked easier to score. Half Time 0-0 Ayr went close just after the break as Craig Moore met a great cross unchallenged, but his header was just wide of the junction with Ridgers stranded. That seemed to stir Inverness into action and from there on we dominated the game without overly exerting Doohan in the visitors goal. White was becoming more prominent and had an effort saved by the keeper who just got his finger tips to the ball at the expense of a corner. However he would not be denied in the 64th minute. Following a poor miss when he did not get enough contact on a header, the ball was sent back into the box by Sean Welsh and White had dusted himself down quickly enough to send a powerful header into the net with Doohan merely a spectator. The goal had been coming after a good spell of pressure from the home side. Ten minutes later Doran should have wrapped up the points but he skewed his shot just wide when scoring looked the better option. The dreaded 'hold what we had' was in the thoughts of most fans who had only witnessed one previous home League win this season. However, if truth be told we saw out the game in relative comfort thereafter and ran the clock down in style with some keep ball at the end. Full Time 1-0 Great to witness a win after so long, most had forgotten what it felt like. It was a narrow victory though with big Jordan White powering a header home just after the hour. He can jump after all! Aaron Doran missed that great opportunity to make the game comfortable but skewed wide and that led to a slightly tetchy last ten minutes, but we saw it out safely and took all three points with Joe Chalmers getting the sponsors MotM but Jordan White getting the nod from me. Speaking on BBC Sport, the respective managers had this to say....... Inverness CT manager John Robertson: "It was an even first half, but the second half we started to impose ourselves. It was a terrific goal and I'm delighted for Jordan - what a job he does as a lone striker. "We didn't look like we were going to lose a goal. There was a resilience to them and we thoroughly deserved the three points." Ayr United manager Ian McCall: "We had good chances but I thought Inverness deserved to win. I don't think we played very well, nothing to do with injuries I just don't think we played well enough. "I think the first goal was always going to win it. It was a great chance for us, we knew Ross County had a hard game but the league's going to be really, really tight." Highlights from Caley Jags TV If you can access Facebook, then here is Robbo's post match interview...... Date: 12/01/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2283 Referee: Willie Collum Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; Tremarco, Donaldson, McCart, McHattie, Polworth (D Mackay 71), Chalmers, Welsh, Doran (Trafford 85), Walsh, White. Subs (not used): C Mackay; Nicolson, MacGregor, Brown, Harper. Scorers: White (64) Booked: none Sent Off: none Ayr United: 0 Lineup: Doohan; Ferguson, Rose, Bell, Harvie, Geggan (McGuffie 67), Docherty, Crawford, McDaid (Higgins 73), Moffat, Moore (McCowan 79). Subs (not used): Hare-Reid; Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  23. Xmas Cheer Tom Walsh does like an early goal and he did it again scoring the opener after 17 minutes to put the visitors ahead. It should have been two moments later but Brad Mckay headed just wide from close range. Sean Welsh hit the post from the spot after Kerr Waddell was sent off. Just after the interval Aaron Doran headed home via the crossbar after a short corner had been taken. Scott Tiffoney pulled a goal back for Morton who perked up after a double substitution just after the hour. Mark Ridgers produced a wonder save to deny Reece Lyon an equaliser with ten minutes left. Inverness held on thereafter to record a 2-1 win. Inverness were unchanged from last weeks starting XI which meant George Oakley started up front with Jordan White on the bench. Morton had Kerr Waddell in for the injured Buchannan, but his day was cut short when he was red carded after 34 minutes for fouling George Oakley in the box. Full Report to follow.............. Caley Stan summed it up neatly:- While it was a shame to see us reduced to clear at all costs after such a composed first half performance, I suppose it was at least another demonstration of the great spirit that this side possesses. And it was a crucial 3 points that gives us a wee cushion in 4th place - I'd be delighted with that come May. A word for Cappielow, a delicious relic full of really sound folk. Always a great welcome for the kids (who paid £1 each) and a wide range of well priced sweets. Not complaining about the leg-room, but I'd love to get my feet on that terracing someday. Here's the match footage from Cappielow.......... Here's Robbo on the Official Facebook page talking post Morton..... Jonatan Johansson was disappointed with the outcome but happy with the commitment shown by his 10 men. And to round off our Xmas, thanx for the three points and have a wee sing song with these wonderful singers. Date: 22/12/2018 Venue: Cappielow Attendance: 1608 Referee: Steven Reid Morton: 1 Lineup: Gaston; McKeown, Kilday, Waddell, Tumilty, McAlister, Millar, Tidser (MacLean 84), Telfer (Lyon 62), McHugh, Thomson (Tiffoney 62) Subs (not used): Scully; Bell, Armour, Eardley. Scorers: Tiffoney (73) Booked: Millar (90+2) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, Mckay, Donaldson, McCart, Walsh, Welsh (MacGregor 85), Chalmers, Doran (Trafford 76), Polworth, Oakley (White 45) Subs (not used): Hoban, Austin, Nicholson Scorers: Walsh (17), Doran (49) Booked: Oakley (30), Rooney (66), Macgregor (90+2), Polworth (90+2) Sent Off: none a
  24. New record for ICT as County cling on for a point All the goals came in a frenetic first half with County equalising just on the break with an own goal from Brad Mckay. Jamie Lindsay opened the scoring out of the blue when he chanced his hand from distance, the ball going well wide of Ridgers but into the bottom corner. Two minutes later George Oakley levelled and Shaun Rooney then put the hosts ahead on the half hour before that unfortunate own goal gave County hope they scarcely deserved. Mark Ridgers pulled off a tremendous Gordon Banks moment denying Billy McKay and it was all square at the break. After the interval Inverness looked to be the only team capable of winning and a number of close calls went unanswered, Ridgers eventually having to make another noteworthy save before the end, but the hosts had passed on a few opportunities to seal all three points. Two dropped for Inverness, one gained for County. Caley Jags manager John Robertson was still without captain Carl Tremarco and Riccardo Calder deputised at left back once more. Joe Chalmers came in for Charlie Trafford and George Oakley was fit enough to start with Jordan White dropping to the bench. Aaron Doran started with Daniel Mackay coming on from the bench later. Former Caley Jags players Billy Mckay, Ross Draper, Iain Vigurs and Don Cowie all started for Ross County who had Marcus Fraser back in the side. A healthy crowd of over 4000 witnessed an excellent Highland derby played out in good condition, with both sides looking for the advantage at every opportunity. Where do you start with that game? From the off it was clear that this was going to be a high octane game. The hosts looking sharp as they took the game to the visitors in the opening exchanges forcing a couple of early corners. Shaun Rooney heading wide from one. County got to grips with the pace of the game and Mark Ridgers saved from Josh Mullin twelve minutes in but five minutes later they scored out of the blue when Jamie Lindsay gathered the ball around thirty yards out. He had space to move forward before rifling a low shot beyond the outstretched arms of Ridgers into the bottom right hand corner of the net. Inverness were level two minutes later when George Oakley brilliantly turned a header back into the box from Walsh into the top of the net, the keeper rooted to the spot. That goal was the culmination of a wonderful move after breaking up a County attack on the half way line. The next goal was equally as good. After a Polworth corner was part cleared, Sean Welsh played a one-two with Joe Chalmers before flicking the ball down the flank to Polworth. He raced into the edge of the box before picking out Rooney who side footed perfectly into the bottom corner for a brilliant goal, Fox once more stuck to his line like a Subbutteo keeper. We continued to press and a Chalmers free kick just evaded Oakley as we looked for a third. Save of the day next when Billy Mckay looked to have levelled for County. However Mark Ridgers managed to claw his close range header away as the ball looked to have bounced behind him. Truly a Gordon Banks/Pele moment. What a save! Two minutes before the break and County were level. Vigurs released Billy Mckay who was right on the shoulder of Donaldson. The wee striker turned and sprinted forward before firing a low ball into the box. Unfortunately Brad Mckay thought he could intercept the delivery but only succeeded in turning the ball into the net with Calder ready to clear the harmless cross. Half Time 2-2 The end to end action continued after the break. There were numerous attempts to score from both sides. Unfortunately the strikers at either end were an inch or two away from completing the task of putting the ball in the net. We should have scored a third, maybe even a fourth or fifth given the amount of dangerous balls we were hurtling into the box, but every one just evaded the despairing lunges of the forwards. Liam Polworth will wonder how he missed the best opportunity when we burst forward on the right through Aaron Doran who unselfishly teed up Liam for a tap-in. However, he screwed the ball goalwards and it hit the base of the post with Fox beaten. A glorious chance to win the game. Doran, McCart and White were unable to stretch far enough to divert balls into the net as we pounded the County lines and at the other end Mark Ridgers had the final say in a superb Highland derby as he saved a Brian Graham header near the end. Wow, what a game and I suppose a point apiece is near the mark although we probably should have taken all three. I can't fault anyone out there today in what was a tremendous advert for Championship football. Mark Ridgers save from Mckay was exceptional, a world class save from the big man. Coll Donaldson and Riccardo Calder were immense, Calder firing crosses into the box like nobody's business. Sean Welsh was a powerhouse in midfield and Liam Polworth had his best game in weeks. I could mention them all, no failures. Two superb goals from Oakley and Rooney, not just the finishes, but the build up play as well. The one disappointment was the own goal which in retrospect was unnecessary. Anyway, to put it into context, that's 23 games unbeaten in the Championship, albeit a run of seven draws, but not many will be complaining after witnessing that game. Ross County TV are first up with the highlights.......... Robbo on facebook George Oakley on facebook The opposition view from Steven Ferguson Date: 03/11/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 5500 Referee: Kevin Clancy Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney (McCart 57), B Mckay, Donaldson, Calder, Walsh (D Mackay 74), Polworth, Chalmers, Welsh, Doran, Oakley (White 61) Subs (not used): Hoban; Austin, McGregor, Trafford Scorers: Oakley(19), Rooney (30) Booked: Calder (45 +1) Walsh (49) Sent Off: none Ross County: 2 Lineup: Fox; Fraser, Kelly, Draper, Lindsay, Vigurs, Cowie (Graham 75), Watson, Keillor-Dunn (McManus 66), Mckay, Mullin (Stewart 85), Subs (not used): Munro; Fontaine, Demetriou, Dingwall Scorers: Lindsay (17), Mckay (og 43) Booked: Vigurs (67), Lindsay (90+3) Sent Off: none a
  25. What a surprise, another draw ZZzzzzzzzz.. Inverness produced another text book performance to draw with Dundee United. A first half goal from Tom Walsh was nullified by former Caley Jags player Billy King. It's all become a bit predictable at the Caledonian Stadium and the result was met with plenty of derision by the home support after a gutless second half when the inevitable happened. We all waited for the United winner but it never came. We look like a team short on confidence as we struggled to create anything while United stroked the ball about and were probably unfortunate not to take all three points but for a couple of great saves by Mark Ridgers. Immortal Howden Ender has curtailed his report due to a lack of action on the park, yet he still managed to pick out some moments..... My first home game of the season and so enjoyable - pre and post match !! Good to see so many friends in the Caley Club, the North Stand and the Innes Bar. At least people who know that Johndo is the person and IHE is an alter ego - and neither will go away I have read through the initial posts on the match thread and I could like them all. Apart from the smart, sharp, slick passing move for the Walsh goal and a "worldie" save by Ridgers on the first half whistle there is little else to enthuse about. We went ultra defensive and paid the price. It looked like the tactic was to grab one more on the break but we simply gave the incentive to a team, no better than us, but a team that could pass and sadly looked more passionate and driven to get a result. We practically played 4-3-3 at times and pressed BUT changed it when we scored. And it was soul destroying to see the Arabs out passing us and showing a will to win. If they had netted a second I could not have complained Ridgers Two good stops in the first half and one worldview. Rooney Is it just me but if I was a coach I would have totally bollicked him for his overall attitude. He looks good going forward but his head goes down to easily and he strolls back. Simply not a defender. McKay Let's just say that he looked OK but how much was that due to Coll. Donaldson My MOM - nuff said. McCart Impressive first half followed by an OK second. Polly I feel so sorry for him. I feel that he is our only real true footballer. He is one or two moves ahead of his team mates but my frustration is that instead of getting angry he falls out of games. Chalmers I still think that he has a sweet left foot but a creative midfielder he is not. Another who goes missing. Welsh Disappointed with him today. I would play him just in front of the back four centrally in the Draper role. Doran Has lost that off the mark pace and I feel that he detracts from Polly Walsh He has been in and out of every game I have watched him in. Perhaps we should be just playing him wide on either flank and treating him like a luxury Oakley Another hit or miss although why are we playing a lone striker at home ? Would it not be rash but exciting to see MacGregor and Danny McKay played on a regular basis? I see he has refrained from commenting on White, or maybe he just forgot he came on, like the rest of us??? Here's the action from the Caledonian Stadium with Mark Ridgers keeping ICT in the game. And Robbo on the ICTFC Twitter account Date: 15/12/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2464 Referee: Willie Collum Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, B Mckay, Donaldson, McCart, Walsh, Polworth, Chalmers, Welsh (Trafford 82), Doran (MacGregor 83), Oakley Subs (not used): Hoban; Harper, Nicolson, Austin. Scorers: Walsh (18) Booked: B Mckay (80) Sent Off: none Dundee United: 1 Lineup: Siegrist; Murdoch, Bouhenna, Frans, Booth, Fyvie (Rabitsch 89), Stanton, Smith (Curran 70), King, Aird (McMullan 63), Safranko Subs (not used): Robson, Watson, Rakovan, Edjenguele Scorers: King (76) Booked: Bouhenna (29) Sent Off: none a