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  1. Ayr Pressure not enough Ayr started the day three points ahead of Inverness. They would end the day level. Plenty of pressure from the hosts in a dominant first half but the nearest they came to a goal was a Mark Mckenzie header that came off the bar and the same player missed from six yards after being set up by Dipo Akinyemi. Inverness would be relieved to get to the interval on level terms. Cammy Harper glanced in a header just after the break to open the scoring. That's how it ended after a difficult ninety minutes but it's three wins on the bounce on the road. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ayr were one of the early leaders ahead of the visit from the Caley Jags. They strengthened their push for promotion by adding the man with the sweet left foot to their squad ahead of this encounter, Logan Chalmers, and he started on the bench today. Inverness were still without a handful of players although Max Ram played for an hour last week against Brechin City and he and Roddy MacGregor were on the bench after a few weeks out with injury. Ayr got the game underway and forced two early corners before Andy Murdoch shot wide in the third minute. Inverness responded with Steven Boyd winning a corner from a deflected shot and Ayr cleared the ball effectively. In the twelfth minute, a Mark McKenzie header hit the bar and out for a goal kick after Josh Mullin had crossed into the box. Big let off for the visitors. Quarter of an hour gone and the two Mackay's combined before Daniel brings out an excellent save from Albinson at his near post and Murdoch's looped header cleared Mark Ridgers' crossbar as Ayr went forward again. Billy Mckay sliced wide after Dan Mackay's shot from the left side was blocked and fell for Billy on the volley. More Ayr pressure saw a Mullin effort blocked and Musonda headed over the subsequent corner midway through the half. Ayr were racking up the corners in the first half with half an hour played, one every three minutes and counting with Sean McGinty next to head wide. Ten minutes before the break a rare foray forward saw George Oakley and Billy Mckay interact but the latters cut back was cleared by the defence and five minutes before the interval McKenzie should have done better but he shot wide from six yards after good work by Akinyemi. We went in level at the interval but Ayr were knocking on the door with some intent. HALF TIME: 0-0 Having been on the back foot for most of the first forty-five, Inverness stunned Ayr by opening the scoring through Cammy Harper with a glancing header into the bottom corner two minutes after the break from a Boyd cross. Photo from caleyjags.com shows Harper wheeling away after scoring the only goal of the game. What a start to the second half from the visitors and Oakley had a header saved by Albinson ten minutes later when he met David Carson's cross at the back post. Could easily have been two up. Substitute Jayden Mitchell-Lawson went close two minutes after coming on, shooting just wide from eighteen yards and Brad Young forced Ridgers into making a save from his header. Dodds replaced Dan Mackay with Aaron Doran with some twenty minutes left but it was Ayr substitute Logan Chalmers that shot over soon after with Jordan Houston following suit. A Dempsey corner looked to be cleared away from the line as Ayr pushed for an equaliser with three minutes remaining and the same player shot over in the dying ember, but that was it as Inverness held out for their third win on the bounce away from home. Another tremendous result on the road for Dodds' men, now level on 14 points with Ayr and third equal in the table. FULL TIME: 0-1 Ayr will feel aggrieved that they never took anything from that game having created a raft of chances but Harper took his chance well and Oakley could have added a second. Great clearance off the line near the end and a muted penalty appeal from Ayr and I doubt Billy Dodds will be complaining about the result. Good to see Roddy MacGregor getting a few minutes on the park. Onwards and upwards we go. Date: 01/10/2022 Venue: Somerset Park, Ayr Attendance: 1866 Referee: Colin Steven Ayr United: 0 Manager: Lee Bullen Lineup: Albinson; Houston, Musonda, McGinty, Reading, Ashford (Chalmers 61), Murdoch, Dempsey, Mullin (Lawson 61), Akinyemi, McKenzie (Young 61) Subs (not used): McAdams; O'Connor, Smith, McAllister, Kirk, Bangala Scorers: none Booked: Akinyemi (58) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Devine, Carson, Deas, Delaney, D Mackay (Doran 69), Allardice, Harper, Boyd (MacGregor 85), Oakley (Shaw ), B Mckay Subs (not used): C Mackay; Duffy, Ram, Hyde Scorers: Harper (47) Booked: Carson (65) Sent Off: none a
  2. Brechin pay the Penalty Prior to today, Brechin had only won twice at Inverness in ten encounters. This was a close one that went to penalties to decide who went into the hat for the fourth round draw. Inverness got off to the perfect start through George Oakley in the fifth minute to open the scoring. However, Kevin McHattie levelled the score with a great strike into the top corner after half an hour. Ten minutes before the break Oakley caught the side netting after being fed through by Duffy. A couple of minutes later Nathan Shaw put the hosts back in front. Half Time 2-1. Oakley scored from the spot just after the break, but it was far from job done. Two late strikes from Grady McGrath and Euan Spark took the game to penalties where Inverness just got over the line 4-3. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The first meeting between the sides since 2018 had a low key approach to it. Inverness had Max Ram back in for a start after an early season injury in the League Cup against Kelty Hearts saw him miss the next two months. Billy & Bazza made a number of changes to the side that beat Dundee a week earlier. Cammy Mackay came in for Mark Ridgers with Nathan Shaw, Lewis Hyde and Dan's younger brother Calum all starting. Keith Bray and Mathew Strachan were part of a strong bench for the hosts (Ridgers; Carson, Deas, Allardice, D Mackay, B Mckay, Boyd, Strachan, Bray). Andy Kirk's Brechin had former Inverness players Kevin McHattie and Anthony McDonald in their squad and will be in confident mood after scoring ten goals in their last two games, both away from home. Good to see both these players back performing well on the park after careers disrupted by serious injuries. Aaron Arnott makes his debut for City after coming in on loan from Raith Rovers and Michael McArthur comes back into the starting XI after missing out last week. McHattie started with McDonald on the bench. An early tap in from George Oakley after a great save by keeper Wilson from a Max Ram header set Inverness up nicely but former Inverness defender Kevin McHattie levelled the scores after half an hour with a great curling strike into the top corner from twenty yards. Ten minutes before the break Nathan Shaw put Inverness ahead after Oakley pressurised defender Nathan Cooney into making a costly error before passing to Shaw to score his second goal for the club and that's how it stood at the interval. HALF TIME: 2-1 Oakley converted from the spot 3 minutes after the interval when Duffy was fouled in the box by Cooney. Shaw did well on a couple of occasions after the break but it was Brechin that pulled a goal back through Grady McGrath when he slotted in after Scott set him up with twenty minutes remaining. With ten minutes left they were level after Euan Spark knocked home following a corner. Inverness searched for a winner but time ran out and it went to penalties. Cammy Mackay made a crucial brilliant save from Ryan McInnes in the shoot out then Robbie Deas blasted home his spot kick, and that was the difference. FULL TIME 3-3 Penalties: Brechin City: Bain, McGrath, Loudon, Inglis, McInnes - 3 Inverness CT: B Mckay, Oakley, Boyd, Allardice, Deas - 4 The opening goal was Oakley's 20th goal for the Caley Jags. Incidentally, his first goal was also against Brechin City in a 3-0 league cup win in July 2017 in the 57th minute. Credit to Brechin for making a come back when heads could have dropped just after the interval when Oakley scored his second goal. By all accounts a miserable performance by a side without a number of first picks starting. The only consolation is that we are in the next round, but performances like that won't see us go far in this competition. School report: Must try harder It's no pretty, but we're in the next round From CTO: Awful performance. At 3-1 I thought like most that it was game over despite our midfield setup being so poor. But to concede 2 goals and almost another was criminal, I can't even think apart from Oakley any player that deserved a pass mark! Lethargic, Clueless wrong tactics and player choice made it difficult viewing for the fans.... Well that was painful. 3-1 up and we throw that away. The whole attitude was wrong today. They thought they just had to turn up. No drive,energy,tempo or hunger to win. Passing woeful. This was a great chance for the fringe players to show what they could do and they blew it... Here's Bazza Date: 24/09/2022 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 832 Referee: Barry Cook Inverness CT: 3 (4 pens) Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: C Mackay; Duffy, Devine (Allardice 45), Ram (D Mackay 62), Delaney, Shaw, Hyde, Harper (Deas 45), Doran (B Mckay 83) Callum Mackay (Boyd 62), Oakley Subs (not used): Ridgers; Carson, Strachan, Bray Scorers: Oakley (6, 47pen), Shaw (38) Booked: none Sent Off: none Brechin City: 3 (3 pens) Manager: Andy Kirk Lineup: Wilson; McHattie, Cooney, Northcott, Spark (90+1), Scott (Inglis 90+2), McArthur (Loudon 25), MacLeod, Cruickshank, Arnott (Bain 67), McGrath Subs (not used): Easton; Thomson, McDonald, Naglik Scorers: McHattie (28), McGrath (72), Spark (78) Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  3. Harper stuns Dundee The first meeting of the sides this season ended in victory for the visitors. Dundee took an early lead through Sweeney but Cammy Harper levelled almost immediately with a curling shot from outside the box. Austin Samuels day was over five minutes before the interval. Just on the break Billy Mckay scored from the spot to put the visitors ahead after Harper had been fouled. Paul McMullan made it all square ten minutes after the interval although that goal has now been attributed to Joe Grayson. However, man of the match Harper restored the visitors advantage from twenty-five yards with seven minutes left. That ended the scoring and sealed the points before Sweeney was sent off for a second bookable offence as the game slipped away from Dundee. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness were without Sutherland, Walsh, Duffy, Welsh, and MacGregor but Austin Samuels was deemed fit enough to start with Aaron Doran making the bench. New Dens manager Gary Bowyer had Zach Robinson as the main attacking threat with thorn in our side Paul McMullan one of the providers. Zak Rudden was on the bench. A minutes silence was held prior to kick-off as a mark of respect for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. An early corner for the hosts saw Billy Mckay brilliantly clear the ball off his line whilst lying on the deck with a double block. The corner had been headed towards goal in a crowded box by Ashcroft and flicked on by Robinson two yards out. Mckay kept the header out and as he went to ground Robinson reacted quick to hook a left footed shot goalwards. Miraculously Mckay was in the right place at the post to keep the ball out. Incredibly one Dundee player claimed the ball was over the line. That's remarkable eyesight from thirty yards away in a crowded box. The opening goal would come from another corner in another crowded box minutes later. Grayson's corner may well have come off an Inverness player before entering the net. Difficult to spot with around fourteen players inside the six-yard box. Sweeny given the credit at the moment. Inverness responded three minutes later after a clearance from a corner was miscued. The ball was then laid back to Cammy Harper by Robbie Deas to the edge of the D where Harper curled a precision strike into the keepers top right corner via Sharp's fingertips. What a strike! Yet another corner for Dundee caused problems in the Inverness box as the rugby style scrum rush saw Ashcroft's header tipped over the bar by Mark Ridgers. Austin Samuels was replaced by Aaron Doran five minutes before the interval and Sweeney got his first card for crudely upending Mckay who was skipping past him on the right wing after sucking the defender in. Harper created and won a penalty after bursting into the Dundee box only for keeper Sharp to rashly bring him down. Mckay was faultless from the spot as Sharp went the wrong way and that was half time. HALF TIME: 1-2 We almost went two ahead just after the break after Harper caused problems with a drive into the box, When the ball came back in a massive scrambulation ensued with Doran amazingly unable to turn the ball into the net as bodies threw themselves between him and the goal line three yards away before Sharp grabbed the loose ball. Dan Mackay was getting forward well and he fired a shot just over the bar from the left angle of the box after cutting inside. Billy Mckay would go even closer from a tighter angle on the left as he hooked a volley just over from ten yards. Dundee levelled the game when McMullan shot for goal after a corner was retrieved and it appears that Joe Grayson was the last to stab the ball into the net. McMullan saw an effort saved comfortably by Ridgers as Dundee looked to get back in front. We had our own melee in our box as Dundee went on the front foot, a couple of blocks and timely interventions keeping them at bay. Inverness went back in front again and it was that man Harper once more with another tremendous strike from twenty-two yards. Doran held the ball well down the left side. When he played the ball inside up stepped Harper to drill a low shot across the keeper from the edge of the D into Sharps bottom left corner. Exquisite! The game was now slipping away from Dundee and when Sweeney clumsily brought down Delaney on a seventy-yard run it was game over for Dundee and Sweeney who was given a second yellow and a red card for an early bath. FULL TIME: 2-3 A fabulous result for Inverness after a couple of lacklustre performances with Cammy Harper outstanding. Two tremendous goals and an assist for the penalty. Much more belief and much more passion on display. Defending from front to back with strikers willing to put their bodies on the line for the cause CTO Mantis: Dundee dominated but tbh Ridgers never had a lot to do. Deas and Devine won nearly everything they could throw at us from their many free kicks and corners. McMullan was probably their best player. Looked a bit ominous when they were able to throw on players like McGinn, Rudden and McGowan but after the red card we just took the p1ss. Delaney looks like being a player MotM Cammy Harper Date: 17/09/2022 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 4396 Referee: Peter Stuart Dundee FC: 2 Manager: Gary Bowyer Lineup: Sharp; French, Sweeney, McGhee, Marshall, Ashcroft, Mulligan (McGinn 70), Robinson (Rudden 70), McMullan, Williamson (McGowan 56), Grayson Subs (not used): Legzdins; Kerr, Sheridan, Strachan, Cameron, Anderson Scorers: Sweeney (12), McMullan Grayson(55) Booked: Grayson (16), Sweeney (42), Williamson (57), Sweeney (89) Sent Off: Sweeney (89) Inverness CT: 3 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Carson, Devine, Deas, Delaney, D Mackay (Hyde 86), Allardice, Harper, Samuels (Doran 40), Boyd, B Mckay (Oakley 75) Subs (not used): C Mackay; Ram, Shaw, C Mackay Scorers: Harper (15, 83), B Mckay (45+2 pen) Booked: Deas or Devine (5), Ridgers (56) Sent Off: none a
  4. More rubbish than the streets of Edinburgh The fans turned up looking for a reaction after the feeble attempt at Firhill last Friday. They would leave disappointed after 95 minutes with lots of questions unanswered as they slumped to a second defeat in a row to a bang average Morton side who had previously only ever won three games at the Caledonian Stadium in nineteen encounters. Goalless at the break, Grant Gillespie slotted home a penalty with five minutes remaining after Duffy handled in the box. Woeful stuff from Billy Dodds and his hapless team. Simply another inept performance from the Caley Jags who are now six points behind early leaders Ayr United. It could have been worse but for Mark Ridgers who saved well from Jaze Kabia's twenty yard volley and another great save from a Jai Quitongo effort. Steven Boyd had the first serious attempt in the tenth minute but it was comfortable for the Morton keeper and Austin Samuels shot high and wide as Inverness looked for an opening. However his game ended after 24 minutes through injury with Nathan Shaw replacing him. Roddy MacGregor had a close range effort saved and it was looking promising without being too critical, but in truth we were still too pedestrian with clear chances at a premium in the little goalmouth action there was on display, Morton looking more intent on not conceding than scoring one for themselves. Kabia produced the first bit of decent play followed a second later by the next, a great save in the top corner by Ridgers to deny Morton the lead five minutes before the break. Half Time: 0-0 An untidy opening to the second half came to a close when Ridgers did brilliantly again to deny Quitongo on the hour, tipping his 12 yard volley onto the bar and over for a corner, as we huffed and puffed without doing anything. Nothing noteworthy happened until Duffy handled, Gillespie scored and the fans were left frustrated once more as they could see all this coming a mile away. The decision was maybe a tad harsh as the ball was being knocked out of the box some 18 yards from goal and hit a flailing arm, but penalty was given. Hold on, the referee was Nick Walsh, maybe that explains it. A MacGregor header over and a Dan Mackay shot were all we could muster as the game petered out and another defeat it was. Full Time: 0-1 Well well well, where do we go from here. The two year olde question of where is our right back has not been addressed. Where has our desire gone is also a mystery. Where is our ability to take throw ins, (wait, we never ever had that), where is our ability to attack at pace. Gone are the days of swashbuckling moves late in the game to salvage something, we are now down to punting hopeful balls forward waiting for something to happen instead of making it happen. Below is a selection from the unhappy bunnies on the forum here on CaleyThistleOnline Match Reaction from CTO Well, that was horrendous. I really believe now that Dodds has no idea how to set up and inspire a team. There was no energy, no pace, no desire, no leadership, no tactics, unless you count the hopeful hoofball that the team likes to play. We keep hearing that their all happy campers but that is not what it appears like. You get the impression that something is upsetting the applecart. Battered by Partick mugged by Morton....and not a glove laid on either.... Was like watching a training exercise... no urgency, no creativity, no pace, no tactics, no inspiration, no imagination, no skill, and no heart! Looking at that team today, there's nothing there. There's nothing that says to me that this team can challenge for the title. And the winner is: Two blokes stranded on a desert island, with no way of contacting the outside world. "Caley Thistle got beaten again!" "How do you know?" "Back home, it's ten to five on a Saturday." Date: 27/08/2022 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1924 Referee: Nick Walsh Inverness CT: 0 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Carson, Duffy, Deas, Harper, Samuels (Shaw 24) Allardice, MacGregor, Boyd, Oakley (D Mackay 67), B Mckay Subs (not used): C Mackay; Hyde, Delaney, Devine, C Mackay Scorers: none Booked: Allardice (38), B Mckay (50), Boyd (73) Sent Off: none Morton: 1 Manager: Dougie Imrie Lineup: Schwake; King (Strapp 67), O'Connor, Baird, Pignatiello (Hynes 81), Muirhead, Blues, Gillespie, Crawford, Kabia (McGrattan 80), Quitongo Subs (not used): Green, Lyon, Lithgow. Scorers: Gillespie (pen 85) Booked: Crawford (86), Gillespie (90+2) Quitongo (90+5) Sent Off: none a
  5. Firhill Flops A Brian Graham double gave Partick a first half lead. For the first the defenders got the wrong side of him, the second a gift from the Inverness defence with a loose pass across the box. It was a lacklustre performance from the visitors in the first forty-five with Billy Mckay having the best effort after an Aaron Dorran lay off, but David Mitchell was equal to the shot to deny the striker from twelve yards. We almost gifted a third early in the second half with a short header back, but Ridgers stood tall to deny Graham his hat-trick. A third did come from the spot after Carson was alleged to have brought down his man. Kevin Holt kept his cool to slot home. Anton Dowds bulleted a header home with five minutes left to add to our miserable night. George Oakley powerfully headed a consolation in time added on, but that won't detract from the rubbish on show tonight. Embarrassing night for the Caley Jags, and on national TV too! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness were without half a dozen regulars for this fixture. Out were Shane Sutherland and Tom Walsh on long term injuries. Sean Welsh and Max Ram are in recovery mode with Danny Devine struggling. Wallace Duffy and David Carson are both nursing injuries and were on the bench. Scott Tiffoney and Brian Graham started up front for Partick with Steven Lawless. From the off it was clear that Partick were up for this clash, the inexperienced Lewis Hyde being thrown to the wolves in this one. It's a difficult enough task for an official right back to try and contain the trickery of Scott Tiffoney, but without a go to right back, Billy Dodds hung young Lewis out to dry on TV at Firhill. Already skinned a couple of times in the opening minutes an opportunity arose for Cole McKinnon at the back post but he screwed his effort wide. Perennial thorn in our side Brian Graham also shot wide after eight minutes just after Delaney sliced a clearance over his own bar from another Tiffoney moment. Five minutes later and Steven Lawless brought a save out of Mark Ridgers. The opening goal came after a tremendous reverse pass from Lawless released Mckinnon on the right side for him to cross to the front post where Graham got in front of his marker to score high into the net from a few yards out. Good strikers goal, poor defensively from Inverness. We grew into the game after this and Aaron Doran chested down inside the box for Billy Mckay to get a shot away, but his controlled effort was well saved by David Mitchell in the Partick goal. Moments later a long ball forward was closely watched by Robbie Deas. He cut the ball back across the box to the safety of keeper Ridgers. Unfortunately the first person to spot this move was Tiffoney who nicked the ball away from Ridgers which allowed Graham to step forward to score his second goal. HALF TIME: 2-0 Doran and Hyde were withdrawn at the interval, but the damage was already done, with Carson and Oakley replacing them. The alterations saw a flurry of activity in the opening minutes of the second half, but that would change around the hour. Graham almost notched his hat-trick courtesy of another error when substitute Carson was shorts with a headed back pass but Ridgers stood tall to snatch the attempted lob out of the air. Before the hour Graham was upended as he latched onto a loose ball in the box by the over eager Carson who was booked for his protests. Harsh, maybe, penalty, maybe, goal definitely. Graham was denied his treble though as Kevin Holt took the spot kick calmly slotting into the opposite corner from the keeper. The game was put to bed with six minutes remaining as Anton Dowds stooped to bullet a header behind Ridgers to compound our misery. We ended the game firing in long range efforts from all angles which has probably skewed the statistics somewhat, but lets not beat about the bush, even before our consolation, we were well beaten. George Oakley scored the consolation goal in the 92nd minute to round off the scoring and close the book on a poor night for the Caley Jags as he headed in from a corner. FULL TIME:4-1 One of our worst ever results at Firhill. Our second 4-1 defeat there beaten only by a 4-0 on December 13th, 2014. We were set up wrong and reacted too late to make a difference. Billy Dodds needs to take this one on the chin. Yes we were without some regulars, but that will be the same for big parts of this season. Second to every ball, lack of cover for young defenders, lack of bite in midfield, lack of quality where it was needed. I'm afraid there was only ever going to be one outcome, and frankly, we got off lightly. Meh! Highlights from Partick Thistle FC Date: 19/08/2022 Venue: Firhill, Glasgow Attendance: 2632 Referee: Grant Irvine Partick Thistle: 4 Manager: Ian McCall Lineup: Mitchell: McMillan, Holt, Milne, Tiffoney (Fitzpatrick 74), Bannigan, McKinnon, Docherty (Turner 45), Lawless (Weston 85), Hodson (Brownlie 45), Graham (Dowds 69) Subs (not used): Sneddon; Akinola, Lyon, Mullen Scorers: Graham (21, 35), Holt (pen 59), Dowds (84) Booked: Bannigan (13) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Hyde (Carson 45), Deas, Delaney, Harper, Samuels, Allardice, MacGregor (Shaw68), Doran (Oakley 45), D Mackay (Boyd 62), B Mckay Subs (not used): C Mackay; Duffy Scorers: Oakley (90+2) Booked: B Mckay (33), Carson (58) Sent Off: none a
  6. Austin Powers: Man of Mystery Goals Austin Samuels scored twice as Inverness registered their first win of the Championship this season. Aaron Doran and substitute Nathan Shaw opened their accounts with Robbie Leitch tapping in for Cove just after the interval. An ultimately comfortable win for the hosts that bumps them up the table into second spot behind Dundee. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Megginson got the game underway and in the sixth minute Aaron Doran fed Austin Samuels in to score the opener. Thereafter Inverness mostly dominated the first half before losing their way until Samuels restored the two goal advantage. From CTO Robert: I was nervous when I saw the line up with seven players missing (Duffy, Carson, Devine, Ram, Welsh, Walsh and Sutherland) and only three defenders in the team, all left sided. We came out fast and Samuels’ well finished early goal set us up for as good a 45 as I’ve seen in a long time. I thought Mackay’s shot was goal bound but Doran made sure for the second. We could have had more, with the Cove ‘keeper Gourlay making several good saves. Our most nervous moment came when Delaney (I think) tried to head the ball wide but instead forced Ridgers to make a great save to avoid an own goal. Cove started the second half with Vigurs on, and scored in their first attack. Ridgers could only parry a shot towards Robbie Leitch who scored. We were then unable to keep the ball and were looking poor for the next 20 minutes or so, with Cove looking the more likely to score, but we gradually grew back in to the game. Mckay set Samuels up for the third, which steadied things and Shaw got the fourth after Samuels came close to a hat trick but the goalie palmed his effort towards Shaw. 4-1 maybe flattered us a bit, but it was in the main a good team performance, with four Academy products starting. Ridgers had a couple of saves, with one down at the post as well as stopping the potential own goal. He was also talking the defence through the game well. Hyde is not a natural full back and it showed at times, but he acquitted himself well. Delaney and Samuels both assisted him. I thought Delaney did well, playing on the wrong side of the defensive pairing for a left sided player, whilst Deas steadied everything and got forward a few times, coming close with an overhead kick. Harper has improved from last season, both defensively and with his delivery. Allardice was great in midfield, supported well by MacGregor. Dan Mackay had a couple of decent runs, whilst I thought Doran had a very good game. Billy Mckay was very busy and kept the ball well to bring others into the game. The pick, though, was Samuels, who took his goals well and could have had a third. He had the beating of the defence and made a lot of good runs into space, which seemed to be a deliberate ploy today with players looking for him. What a contrast from his performance against Queens Park. Three subs were used late on with Boyd coming close from a free kick and Shaw being in the right place to get the fourth. All in all, a satisfying afternoon, particularly after the wobble early in the second half. Well done to all, and I hope Douglas Ross “enjoyed” the stick he got Thanks Robert, great summary of today's game Good win for the Caley Jags that moves them on to five points, one point behind Dundee who sit top on six points. It was also a good day for Austin Samuels to bag a double, his sixth in total, with Nathan Shaw getting his first goal for the club. Aaron Doran's goal was his 51st goal in 337 appearances. Date: 13/08/2022 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2106 Referee: Greg Aitken Inverness CT: 4 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Hyde, Deas, Harper, Delaney, Samuels, Allardice, MacGregor, Doran (Shaw 83), D Mackay (Boyd 79), B Mckay (Oakley 88) Subs (not used): C Mackay; Nicolson Scorers: Samuels (6, 74), Doran (31), Shaw (90+3) Booked: Samuels (45), Deas (89) Sent Off: none Cove Rangers: 1 Manager: Jim McIntyre Lineup: Gourlay; Logan, Ross, Reynolds, Neill (Vigurs 45), Scully, Leitch (McIntosh 80), Fyvie (McDonagh 80), Masson (Longstaff 69), Dunne, Megginson Subs (not used): McKenzie: Thomas Scorers: Leitch (46) Booked: Scully (60) Fyvie (68) Ross (82) Logan (87) Sent Off: none a
  7. Smokies held in the wind A first half of few clear cut opportunities ended scoreless with Arbroath just shading the territorial advantage. An enforced change at the break saw Delaney replace Duffy. The second half went much the same way as the first with Arbroath creating more but Inverness attacking on the break and holding out for a point on the road. With both keepers on fine form, it was no surprise it ended honours even at Gayfield. This will be seen as a better point for the Caley Jags than the Smokies. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Billy Dodds was without five regulars, but Danny Devine was deemed fit enough to start. George Oakley accompanied Billy Mckay up front. Arbroath had Daniel Fosu up front with Bobby Linn the provider. Late signing Deri Cofu, a former Man City youth squad player, was on the bench. Daniel Fosu threatened in the first minute with a header that went wide and George Oakley had a shot cleared away from the goal line by Colin Hamiton after clipping the ball past Gaston as the game opened out. Mark Ridgers saved from Bobby Linn and Daniel Mackay did well after cutting in from the left, his shot saved by Derek Gaston. Billy Mckay and Michael McKenna tested the keepers before Mckay dragged an effort wide after twenty minutes from the edge of the box Ridgers made a double save to deny Bobby Linn's cross come shot and the follow up from Daniel Fosu, McKenna involved in the mix as well. The whistle blew to halt the move for offside, nonetheless Ridgers kept the ball out. The half time whistle ended an untidy spell where Oakley picked up a yellow card after half an hour. This game needed someone to put their foot on the ball and show some composure, sadly nobody did that in a frantic first forty-five Half Time: 0-0 Zak Delaney replaced Wallace Duffy at the interval. Hamilton headed over from a corner after fifty-two minutes as the hosts tried to make the breakthrough now playing with the wind early in the second half. The same player headed over minutes later after a couple of corners in quick succession as Inverness lived dangerously. Austin Samuels almost beat the offside trap but a marginal decision saw his 'goal' chalked off after he sprinted clear onto a great ball from Dan Mackay. Scott Stewart fizzed a wind assisted strike just wide from thirty-yards as Arbroath forced the play with the wind behind them, Inverness by now content to hit on the break. Mark Ridgers did well late in the game as he stood tall to deny Kieran Shanks who was through on goal and he reacted quickly to scoop the loose ball clear as the ball bounced towards goal with Shanks lurking. Shanks went down in the process amidst big shouts from behind the goal for a penalty. Full Time: 0-0 A draw was probably about right given both sides were on the ascendency with the wind at their tails. Nothing new in these fixtures, one of the most daunting on the calendar. A lack of clear cut chances and some good blocks and saves resulted in a point apiece. Mark Ridgers probably mostly responsible for the point in his 201st game for the Caley Jags. Date: 06/08/2022 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1861 Referee: Colin Steven Arbroath: 0 Manager: Dick Campbell Lineup: Gaston; Gold, Little, Hamilton, Hancock, Stewart (Shanks 76), Donnelly (Craigen 68), Low, Linn (Corfe 68), McKenna (Hilson 68), Fosu Subs (not used): Gill; Jacobs, Paterson, Scorers: none Booked: Fosu (51) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Carson, Duffy (Delaney 45), Devine, Harper, Shaw, MacGregor, Allardice, D Mackay (Boyd 67), B Mckay (Doran 75), Oakley (Samuels 56) Subs (not used): C Mackay; Nicolson, Hyde, Scorers: none Booked: Oakley (29), Carson (90+3) Sent Off: none a
  8. Queens make their point. Queens 39 year hiatus from this tier of football ended as they ventured into the Championship, and it all started well when Jake Davidson opened the scoring in the thirteenth minute. In a half of many chances, Billy Mckay levelled the score a minute before the interval. That's how it stood until the final whistle with neither side able to make the breakthrough despite numerous opportunities at both ends with thanks to Calum Ferrie and Mark Ridgers and some wayward finishing. Queens Park showed they are not here just to make up the numbers and were good value for their point. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ For the hosts, Robbie Deas was suspended for two games and George Oakley and Nathan Shaw dropped to the bench with Billy Mckay, Austin Samuels and Steven Boyd starting. Dom Thomas and Simon Murray started up front for the Spiders. The visitors were first to test a keeper when Mark Ridgers was called into action in the first minute to deny Simon Murray. The hosts responded well with the eager Steven Boyd having three attempts, one blocked and two off target and in the eighth minute Calum Ferrie denied Roddy MacGregor. Queens opened their Championship account in the thirteenth minute when Jake Davidson ran through unchallenged from the halfway line and his early snapshot was not dealt with by Ridgers, the ball slipped under his hands and body and rolled into the net. Five minutes later and Simon Murray shot narrowly over the bar as Queens grew in confidence with Daniel Mackay doing likewise at the other end. After a few blocked efforts at both ends of the park, Dan Mackay saw Ferrie save his shot from distance in the bottom corner and Boyd went close with another effort that was near the top corner. Josh McPake was denied by Ridgers when one on one with the keeper as Queens responded yet again in a see-saw game. A minute before the break Billy Mckay squared matters when he got on the end of a loose clearance of a Boyd cross to drill home from just inside the box with a low shot into the bottom corner. Charlie Fox almost restored Queens advantage just on the interval but he headed narrowly wide. The early goal from Davidson had rocked Inverness and we still had plenty work to do after the break. HALF TIME 1-1 The second half saw Inverness more in control and numerous chances came and went. Ferrie made a tremendous save to deny Billy Mckay, diving to his right to palm the strikers shot away. Queens Park were not so prominent after the interval but were still dangerous on the break, McPake once more forcing Ridgers to block with just the keeper to beat after he dribbled into the box, Ridgers did well to deny him. A scramble in our box saw another effort blocked as we lived dangerously, Grant Savoury pouncing on the loose ball after a corner. Ferrie clawed a corner away from under his crossbar and smothered a low shot from Doran. The same player would sting his palms later in the game with a ferocious thirty yard effort. Biggest sinner though was George Oakley who miscued from a great position twelve yards out and his shot stayed in play on the right side. In golfing terms; a shank. Naismith took one for the team when he pulled MacGregor back as he burst over the halfway line picking up the only booking of the contest, and that ensured the score stayed level. FULL TIME 1-1 Another disappointing result after the poor game against Cove Rangers. Queens Park looked the sharper side in the first half but Inverness were busier after the break. Mark Ridgers in his 200th game for the club will be disappointed with his contribution for the opening goal. Again substitutions disrupted the flow of the game and Queens were quick on the counter. Both keepers had work to do in the second half and they ensured it would be point apiece. David Carson reached a milestone as well, 100 not out for David. Highlights from Queens Park TV Owen Coyle Date: 30/07/2022 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1993 Referee: Grant Irvine Inverness CT: 1 Manager: Bily Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Carson, Duffy, Delaney (Devine 72), Harper, Samuels (Shaw 63), Allardice, MacGregor, D Mackay (Doran 74), Boyd (Oakley 62), B Mckay Subs (not used): C Mackay; Nicolson, Hyde Scorers: B Mckay (44) Booked: none Sent Off: none Queens Park: 1 Manager: Owen Coyle Lineup: Ferrie; Davidson (Bannon 73), Kilday (Naismith 78), Fox, Robson, Brown, Thomson (Jarrett 45), McPake (Longridge86), Savoury, Thomas, Murray (Williamson 78) Subs (not used): Heraghty, Moore, Bruce, Nicol Scorers: Davidson (13) Booked: Naismith (90+2) Sent Off: none a
  9. Group G Sorted Inverness played the first of five scheduled meetings with Cove Rangers today in the last of the group G qualifiers for the knock out stages of the League Cup. Inverness won the penalty shoot-out 5-3 after Fraser Fyvie saw his weak effort saved by Mark Ridgers. Inverness will now face an away tie at Motherwell in the knock-out stages. Roddy MacGregor opened the scoring in the thirteenth minute when he headed a Nathan Shaw cross into the top corner of the net. Mitch Megginson was left unattended to level the game after twenty minutes and it stayed that way at the break. A relatively uneventful second half saw the game go to penalties to decide the bonus point but as it stood, Inverness topped the group G to enter the knock out stages. ÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷ Our reward for qualifying is an away tie at Motherwell in midweek. Not the most romantic of games, however given their poor performance against Sligo Rovers, then anything is possible. This season is taking the same shape as thirteen years ago. A bright afternoon saw George Oakley Zak Delaney and Nathan Shaw start for the hosts with Mark Ridgers back between the sticks. Roddy MacGregor opened the scoring in the thirteenth minute when he headed a Nathan Shaw cross into the top corner of the net. Mitch Megginson was left unattended to level the game when he scooped the ball behind Ridgers after twenty minutes. Just after the half hour Daniel Mackay turned and shot from the edge of the box, but the keeper saved low to deny Dan. George Oakley was put through by Robbie Deas but Kyle Gourlay pulled off a good save just before the break. HALF TIME: 1-1 After a slow start to the second half, Megginson headed over following a corner and at the other end Cammy Harper put a free kick just over and then Deas diverted a Leighton McIntosh effort wide of the target. Billy Mckay went close to a winner but it went to penalties after ninety minutes and the Caley Jags prevailed 5-3 on penalties with Ridgers saving a weak spot kick from Fraser Fyvie From Robert on CTO Our goal was excellent. Good play by Oakley to put Shaw free and a great cross for MacGregor to score with a rare header. Cove’s equaliser came when we were temporarily down to ten as Duffy took a heavy knock and we seemed disorganised at the back as a result and it was too easy for the Cove player to hit the target. Cove had the best of the early part of the second half but we finished more strongly. I felt we just about shaded it but a draw was probably fair enough. It was good to at least win on penalties. Unfortunately that was not enough and we will be unseeded in the draw. I was disappointed with Cove’s approach. They approached the match in a cynical manner, trying to buy free kicks with play acting. They also tried to run the clock down when even. We have enough teams like that in the Championship already and I had expected more from them. I think our medical staff had to give treatment to players at least four times, generally due to the aggression of Cove. Some of their big names were worst, such as Logan and Fyvie, so justice was done when Fyvie‘s penalty was saved by Ridgers. Shortly after Samuels was harshly booked, a Cove player blatantly dived to try to get him sent off. The ref gave a foul but at least did not produce a red card. Of the new signings, I thought Oakley’s holding up play and distribution was good. Shaw was lively and could develop into an important player for us. Delaney is a calm defender despite playing on the wrong side for a left sided defender. Boyd had a couple of efforts when he came on. At times it felt like a pre-season game again, so hopefully when the league starts next week we get off to a winning start. Date: 23/07/2022 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1020 Referee: Alan Newlands Inverness CT: 1 (Pens 5 Boyd, Samuels, Harper, B Mckay, Allardice) Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Carson, Duffy (Doran 73), Deas, Delaney, Harper, Shaw (Boyd 79), Allardice, MacGregor, D Mackay (Samuels 67) Oakley (B Mckay 67) Subs (not used): C Mackay; Nicolson, Hyde, Cairns Scorers: MacGregor (13) Booked: Oakley (66) Sent Off: none Cove Rangers: 1 (Pens 3 Megginson, Leitch, FyvieLogan) Manager: Jim McIntyre Lineup: Gourlay; Logan, Ross, Reynolds, Towler, Scully, Vigurs, Leitch, McIntosh (McDonagh 78), Megginson, Fyvie, Subs (not used): McKenzie; Neill, Thomas, McAllister, Scorers: Megginson (19) Booked: Megginson (6), Fyvie (55), Ross (60), Towler (90+3) Sent Off: none a
  10. Rovers Return Deja Vu Albion Rovers last visit to the Caledonian Stadium thirteen years ago ended in a 4-0 League Cup defeat. It went the same way this time, another 4-0 thumping. An early header from Billy Mckay was added to before the interval by a super free kick from Cameron Harper. Rovers were not without their moments in the first half but Cammy Mackay was equal to the occasion. Wallace Duffy added a third just after the restart following a corner and Harper got his second minutes later. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It had been hot and sticky for a couple of days but an hour before kick-off the heavens opened to dampen the pitch. Ach well, the garden was needing it. Biilly Dodds went with a strong starting XI against League 2 Albion Rovers. Wallace Duffy returned to action at centre back and Daniel Mackay made his home debut for the season with Cammy Mackay getting his chance between the sticks as Mark Ridgers tested the bench. Before the bums were planted firmly on their seats, Billy Mckay opened the scoring after just two minutes when he followed up his first header from a Daniel Mackay cross to head home the rebound from the keeper after he made a brilliant save. It was just the start that Billy Dodds would have wanted, but Rovers came back at their hosts and Cammy Mackay had to look sharp to deny Kyle Fleming and Scott Roberts. Austin Samuels shot across the face of the goal after sixteen minutes in a lively opening to the game with the visitors looking dangerous going forward and just before the half hour Mackay saved an effort from Callum Wilson. Roddy MacGregor went close and Mckay shot over after a corner as Inverness pressure mounted before the break. That pressure paid off after Samuels was fouled outside the box. Up stepped Cammy Harper and he sent a beauty of a free kick into the top corner to double the advantage five minutes before the interval. Leighfield saved another shot from Billy Mckay before the ref blew for half time. HALF TIME 2-0 Similar to the first forty-five, Inverness came out of the blocks fast and Wallace Duffy scored inside a minute of the restart, firing low into the net following a corner. Harper did likewise seven minutes later with his head as he beat a stranded Leighfield to the ball and that was 4-0 and game over. That brought about a couple of substitutions and Duffy and Samuels were replaced by youngsters Zak Delaney and Nathan Shaw. Lewis Hyde then replaced Allardice ten minutes later as heavy rain fell once more. A bit of a let off for the hosts as Rovers hit the post and bar when Devon McCall shot off the post and Kieron Dolan followed up to hit the bar from close range. McCall then had a header saved as Rovers looked to get on the scoresheet. Substitute Lewis Hyde had a deflected shot from outside the box strike a post at the opposite end of the park and Nathan Shaw and Robbie Deas had efforts over the bar in the closing stages. Aaron Doran saw an effort blocked in the ninetieth minute and that endeth the action as Inverness reach nine points at the top of group G, three ahead of Livingston. FULL TIME 4-0 Date: 19/07/2022 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 871 Referee: Gavin Duncan Inverness CT: 4 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: C Mackay; Carson, Duffy (Delaney 54), Deas, Harper (Nicolson 70), Doran, Allardice (Hyde 63), MacGregor, D Mackay (Cairns 70), Samuels (Shaw 54), B Mckay Subs (not used): Ridgers; Boyd, Oakley Scorers: B Mckay (2), Harper (41, 53), Duffy (46), Booked: none Sent Off: none Albion Rovers: 0 Manager: Brian Reid Lineup: Leighfield; Fernie, Fagan, Sonkur, McGowan, Reilly (Testa 75), Leslie, Wilson (Duncan 71), Fleming, Roberts (McCall 71), Paton (Dolan 66) Subs (not used): Smith; Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  11. Lions Tamed Livingston had the better of the opening exchanges and Nouble had the ball in the net but was flagged offside. Ridgers was the busier keeper early on but a swift counter attack saw Austin Samuels open the scoring after 37 minutes. Inverness held that advantage until the break. Daniel Mackay bundled in a second shortly after Max Stryjek was sent off for felling Austin Samuels in the box. Jason Holt pulled a goal back late on then proceeded to miss a penalty three minutes later as Inverness saw out the game to win 1-2 and go top of Group G. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness were without half a dozen regulars and no defenders on the bench: Sounds familiar. Devine, Duffy, Welsh, Walsh and Sutherland were the main casualties with Saturday's scorer George Oakley benched. Jason Holt was tasked with getting the game underway as Livi kicked off this Premier Sport cup tie. Joel Nouble puts the ball into the net for the hosts but was adjudged offside. The bustling forward who was a nuisance at Arbroath last season will be a nuisance again tonight. Former Hearts player Esmael Goncalves did well to fire a ball across goal for Scott Pittman, but he was unable to get on the end of it. Three minutes later the powerful Nouble and Goncalves combined well but Mark Ridgers saves well on his line. All the early pressure came from the home side but in the nineteenth minute a Cammy Harper free kick was met by Robbie Deas and his header looped beyond Stryjek and the ball came back off the bar before Phill Cancar cleared at the expense of a corner. Stryjek was called into action minutes later when Daniel Mackay bent a shot goalwards and the keeper pulled off a diving save to deny the Caley Jags forward. Ten minutes before the break Ridgers did brilliantly to tip a Nicky Devlin shot from his own half onto the crossbar at full stretch. Two minutes later and Austin Samuels gave Inverness the lead. From twitter @ASutherland1983: Woooof! Scintillating counter attack from Caley Thistle. Starts on our own goal line featuring a stunning pass from Allardice to get MacKay away and he crosses to the back post for Samuels to tuck it away from close range. Just before the interval Jack Fitzwalker was booked for a late challenge on Scott Allardice. HALF TIME: 0-1 Again, Livi came out of the blocks fast without over troubling Ridgers. The main topic of conversation happened on the hour when keeper Max Stryjek did some sort of Kung Fu on Austin Samuels. RIG on Twitter: Livingston are down to ten men as goalkeeper Max Stryjek is sent off for a late challenge on Austin Samuels inside the box! Samuels is released by a quick ball from Ridgers and the Livingston keeper is sent off for a late challenge on the ICT striker.RIG saw it like this: The drama kicked off when a long clearance downfield by Ridgers got Samuels in behind the Livi defence and Stryjek came rushing out and leathered him in the face Street Fighter style. Out came the red card and Livi were down to 10. Cammy Harper was denied from the free kick as sub keeper Konovalov saved brilliantly in the top left of his goal. RIG: A piece of MacKay magic saw us extend the lead. A raking pass sent Mackay away and he ghosted past Devlin using some kind of elastico type skill that had us on our feet. He drove into the box and stabbed an effort towards goal which looked like it may have gone in possibly with a touch off a Livi defender. It was a stunning piece of skill that I hope we get to see back again. Inverness looked comfortable until the final few minutes when Livi got a lifeline. Substitutions maybe played a part in this as we looked disjointed with the incoming players getting up to speed. The final few minutes suddenly became uncomfortable after Jason Holt reduced the deficit with six minutes left after he turned on the edge of the box and drilled a shot into the bottom corner of Ridgers' net. He missed a great opportunity to level the game three minutes later as he ballooned a penalty high over the bar after Oakley was deemed to have pulled Scott Bitsindou to the ground. Game over as we saw out the remainder of the time. Inverness were best served by the three D's. Delaney, Deas and Dan. Sounds like an Irish Showband If you can keep up with the ball, here's some highlights...Worms eye view form Tony Macaroni At home to Albion Rovers next Tuesday night No game on Saturday. Date: 12/07/2022 Venue: Almondvale, Livingston Attendance: **** Referee: Alan Muir Livingston FC: 1 Manager: Lineup: Stryjek; Devlin, Fitzwater, Cancar, Penrice, Kelly (Bitsindou 74), Pittman, Holt, Bahamboula (Konovalov 61), Goncalves (Anderson 46), Nouble (Shinnie 74) Subs (not used): Longridge, Brandon, Montaño, Omeonga, Mullin. Scorers: Holt (84) Booked: Fitzwater (44), Kelly (56) Sent Off: Stryjek (59) Inverness CT: 2 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Carson, Deas, Harper, Delaney, D Mackay (Doran 72), Allardice (Oakley 77), MacGregor, Hyde, Shaw (B Mckay 63), Samuels Subs (not used): C Mackay; Oakley, Cairns Scorers: Samuels (37), B Mckay (67) Booked: MacGregor (21), Delaney (69), Oakley (88) Sent Off: none a
  12. Inverness stay put It was a winner takes all game tonight after a dramatic 2-2 draw at the Caledonian Stadium on Friday night. Inverness were bolstered by the return of Danny Devine and Wallace Duffy to the squad after their harsh dismissals at Arbroath. A big following went down to Perth, alas after a tremendous first half where we created the better opportunities, it was all undone within a minute of the restart by substitute Stevie May. A second goal killed any lingering hopes from a deflected MacPherson shot. The final two goals from Hendry & Rooney mattered not when the game was being chased and the dream ended, but the memory lives on. Fantastic endeavour from the Caley Jags and a magnificent following on the night. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Danny Devine and Wallace Duffy started at McDiarmid Park with Aaron Doran dropping to the bench from the side that drew 2-2 at Inverness. St Johnstone went unchanged. It was a much more positive Inverness that took to the park amid a tumultuous welcome from both sets of fans and with only one minute on the clock Logan Chalmers had an effort on goal but it did not trouble Zander Clark. Danny Devine headed over and Sean Welsh saw a shot blocked as the visitors took the game to their more fancied opponents. In the twentieth minute Billy Mckay tried his luck from distance but his shot was too straight at the big keeper. A minute later saw the hosts first half chance when Murray Davidson headed wide of Ridgers' goal frame. A Wallace Duffy header was blocked en route to goal and at the other end Daniel Cleary headed wide as he Saints came marching on. As in the first leg, Austin Samuels' pace was causing all sorts of problems down he right and Chalmers was having some success down the left. Clark pulled off a good save to deny Samuels as he cut into the box on the end of a Mckay pass. Possession began to level out as we approached the interval, but it was the visitors who had the better of the first forty-five and left Callum Davidson with plenty to think about. HALF TIME 0-0 Davidson brought on Stevie May at the interval for Middleton who had taken a knock in the first half. That was unfortunate for Inverness as inside a minute he pounced on a loose ball in the box after the keeper pushed out a header from Hallberg to knock the ball high into the net. What a body blow for Inverness who had defended so well in the first half just to see all the excellent work undone in a flash. Worse was to follow in the fifty-third minute when Cammy MacPherson took a shot from outside the box. Ridgers moved to cover it but the ball deflected off Sean Welsh to leave the keeper stranded. 2-0 and virtually game over. A great chance for the dangerous Samuels on the hour but his shot from the edge of the box was blocked by Clark, alas nobody was on hand for the rebound and the defence cleared. Them's the breaks you have to take, but when you need them, they often don't go your way, unlike the opening goal for Saints. We went for broke with a spate of substitutions but it was never going to end well, especially after Aaron Doran missed a glorious chance from seventeen yards when he sliced his shot wide when a goal looked a better option. More substitutions late in the game and we were always going to be caught out on the break as we went gung ho. And so be it when Callum Hendry ran through onto a great ball from Hallberg to finish with aplomb. During the ensuing exodus, who else but Shaun Rooney did the same to dink Ridgers to complete our downfall. Booked as well for an over enthusiastic celebration. Hey ho. FULL TIME: 4-0 If ever there was not a 4-0 scoreline, then this was it. But left chasing the game after two adverse moments then who could blame the guys for dropping their guard momentarily. Better team for forty-five, beaten team over ninety, no disgrace and they did their fans proud against a battle hardened St Johnstone who made flares fashionable again. I thought the back four for Inverness were superb with Danny Devine immense. Wallace Duffy had a tremendous first half and Kirk Broadfoot can be proud of his last game for the Caley Jags. Robbie Deas was solid as he has been all season. David Carson had an eventful night and not even an early booking would stop him from playing his own game. Great effort from him with Sean Welsh also prominent. Up front Austin Samuels was the most effective with his bursts of power and pace. Overall, heads held high after a gruelling six game schedule in a season that could have been. From BBC Sport: St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: "Probably relief more than anything else. It's a fantastic achievement from the players. We were in a really dark place November, December. The chairman backed us and we managed to bring some players in. "All credit to everybody involved. This is probably a bigger achievement than winning the cups. It's mentally really tough when you're losing games. Big thanks to my staff, my players and everybody involved." Inverness CT manager Billy Dodds: "Proud and disappointed. Proud of the players for the season. Disappointed the way it turned out. We played really well first half. I thought we had them. "The goal changed the game. When they get the goal and then the deflection, we had to chase and then we're open and they catch us. I think 4-0 was harsh on my boys. We gain experience from it and get ready for next season." That's it for another season from CTO Editorial Team. Grateful thanks to Iain for all the PotY Polls and Eric, who despite being unwell has worked tirelessly behind the scenes updating the stats. A truly mind numbing task, especially with nine subs now to be added. With these guys working mostly in the background that enables me to churn out Previews and Reports. If you enjoyed them, I'm tm4tj, if not then I'm CaleyD (Disclaimer. Only joking) See you next season. 283763016_998965004103204_147483247694216505_n.mp4 Date: 23/05/2022 Venue: McDiarmid Park, Perth Attendance: Lots&Lots Referee: Nick Walsh St Johnstone: 4 Manager: Callum Davidson Lineup: Clark; Rooney, Cleary, Gordon, McCart, Brown, Hendry, Davidson, Middleton (May 45), MacPherson, Hallberg Subs (not used): Parish; Mahon, Sang, Gilmour, Craig, Ciftci, Butterfield, O'Halloran Scorers: May (46), Macpherson (53), Hendry (87), Rooney (90) Booked: MacPherson (5), Rooney (90) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Duffy, Carson (Harper 74), Broadfoot, Devine Hardy (82), Deas, Samuels, Welsh Allardice (82), McAlear, Chalmers Doran (65), B Mckay Subs (not used): C Mackay; Hyde Scorers: none Booked: Carson (20), Broadfoot (71) Sent Off: none a
  13. What a turnaround An understrength Inverness struggled badly for an hour against a solid St Johnstone who took a two goal lead into the interval. Shaun Rooney and Melker Hallberg put the Saints in the driving seat. However, step forward Reece McAlear and take a massive bow. A thumping strike off the underside of the bar and an exquisite curling free kick levelled matters and gives us something to play for in the return leg at Perth, where we should have Danny Devine and Wallace Duffy back after suspension. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ After seeing off Partick Thistle and Arbroath, The Caley Jags faced St Johnstone in the first leg of the Premiership play-off final at the Caledonian Stadium. Unfortunately the final has already been influenced by other factors. Injuries to Tom Walsh, Shane Sutherland and Roddy MacGregor have been added to by the incompetence of referee Willie Collum at Gayfield where he wrongly sent off Danny Devine and Wallace Duffy. What that means is that Inverness will be short on players in an already wafer thin squad. Youngsters Mathew Strachan and Calum Mackay made up a six man bench. Tony Gallacher Chris Kane, David Wotherspoon and Craig Bryson are all long term injuries for St Johnstone who rested six players for their final league game, a 4-0 loss to Hibs. Rain an hour before kick off dampened the atmosphere at the Caledonian Stadium and made for great conditions on a good pitch with Inverness getting the game underway. A breathtaking save from Mark Ridgers denied Glen Middleton as he unleashed a ferocious shot after cutting across the outside of the box in the fifth minute. Ridgers diving high to his right to pull off a fantastic one handed save. As expected, the visitors playing in red and white striped shirts, were making most of the early play and Ridgers was brought into action again to save a low shot from Shaun Rooney after fifteen minutes with a more routine save. St Johnstone opened the scoring after eighteen minutes when Rooney powered in a header after an inviting cross into the box, probably from the area where Danny Devine would normally have been. After a scramble in the home box when Ridgers pushed away a shot from Callum Hendry the ball was eventually forced over the line by Hallberg to double Saints lead. Inverness were finding it difficult to make any headway against a robust looking premiership side and all the half chances were falling to the visitors. When one did come our way Sean Welsh snatched at it and volleyed high and wide. Ten minutes later makeshift central defender Welsh took a knock but continued after treatment with five minutes to go before the interval. Plenty to do for Inverness in the second half with St Johnstone cruising. HALF TIME: 0-2 Dodds replaced Doran and Hardy with Chalmers and Samuels. Early second half pressure saw another scramble in the home box however this time we managed to keep the ball out. St Johnstone were all over us like a rash. If that was not bad enough we made a number of basic errors that led to more opportunities for the Perth side. Scott Allardice replaced Lewis Hyde as we looked to get back into the game, but it was a long shot with the midfielder just back after serious injury. Just after the hour, Middleton went close with a low shot that Ridgers looked to get a fingertip to, however a goal kick was the result. Best effort for Inverness was a run down the left by Billy Mckay where his cross was cleared for a corner. From the corner Welsh volleyed high over again. Chalmers was showing some great touches and turns and he also knocked a dangerous ball into the box but there were no takers. Out of the blue Samuels went down the right and cut the ball back to the edge of the box where Reece McAlear smashed a superb shot into the roof of the net via the underside of the bar from fifteen yards. Game on! Ten minutes before the end McAlear won a free kick about twenty five yards out. He picked himself up and curled a beauty into the top right corner of Zander Clarks goal. What a strike from a man who doesn't do tap ins against a 6ft 5" keeper. Another great burst forward by Samuels almost resulted in a third for Inverness but Mckay was blocked out for a corner at the front post. FULL TIME: 2-2 What a turnaround from Inverness after a torrid first hour. The second half substitutions were crucial to the outcome of this one and has reignited the Premiership flames for the Caley Jags. MotM was Reece McAlear with two absolute belters. On to McDiarmid Park on Monday night and the tie is still very much alive. From BBC Sport Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager Billy Dodds: "I had to change it at half-time, I had to do something. Luckily it worked but it wasn't just the changes, it was because of the desire of my players. "We really played well second half, once we got our goal. The subs were good. Two great goals from Reece McAlear. "We just want to go to McDiarmid with a fighting chance and put some pressure on because pressure tells in football. We've still got a big ask, we have to play better from the start than tonight but I think they realise they're good enough now." St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: "It's a poor refereeing decision for their first goal. It's two yards offside and it was a head knock. Two really poor decisions let them back in the game. They got a little bit of momentum. "For the first 60 minutes, we were outstanding. It's probably a little bit disappointing we didn't score more goals. It goes back to McDiarmid and it's up to us to win the game. "We need to go and perform like that on Monday. If we do, we'll be confident we can win the game. It's one game so let's go." More match reaction Date: 20/05/2022 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 4811 Referee: Bobby Madden Inverness CT: 2 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers, Carson, Broadfoot, Deas, Harper, Doran (Chalmers 45), Welsh, Hyde (Allardice 56), McAlear, Hardy (Samuels 45), B Mckay Subs (not used): C Mackay; Strachan, Calum Mackay Scorers: MacAlear (73, 80) Booked: none Sent Off: none St Johnstone: 2 Manager: Callum Davidson Lineup: Clark; Rooney, Cleary, Gordon, McCart, Brown, Hendry, Middleton (May 69), MacPherson, Davidson, Hallberg (Butterfield 69) Subs (not used): Parish; Mahon, Sang, Gilmour, Craig, Ciftci, O'Halloran Scorers: Rooney (18), Hallberg (24) Booked: Middleton (52) Sent Off: none a
  14. Caley Jags through We did it! If you thought the first half at Inverness was poor, then step forward the first half from Gayfield. Shockingly poor forty five from both sides as Inverness struggled to get out of their own half into the face of a stiff breeze. On the other hand Arbroath did absolutely nothing either. The second half saw Danny Devine sent off, Shane Sutherland stretchered off and later on Wallace Duffy sent off as we ended the game with nine men. Farcical stuff. However, we got through to the play off final after a 5-3 penalty shoot out win. Bobby Linn of all players having his spot kick saved by Mark Ridgers and Kirk Broadfoot with the final winning penalty after that save. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ After a goalless draw in the first leg, the Caley Jags went to Gayfield to conclude the Premiership play off semi-final. The prize in a winner takes all game was a crack at St Johnstone in a two leg finale to the season and promotion to the Premiership for the victor. Logan Chalmers and Austin Samuels came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first leg in a game of limited opportunities. Who will prevail? All would be revealed around 10:00pm on Friday the 13th. Billy Mckay was benched for this one after cutting a lone figure in the first leg. Aaron Doran replaced the striker in the starting XI. Arbroath were unchanged from Tuesday night. A big crowd greeted the teams onto the pitch with similar conditions to the first leg prevalent. Inverness kicked off into the wind and that was the highlight of the first forty-five, apart from Aaron Doran breaking into the box but unable to dig the ball out from under his feet and Scott Stewart firing over the bar from the edge of the box. The only other thing of note was a booking for David Carson . Some things never change. HALF TIME: 0-0 Billy Mckay replaced Austin Samuels at the interval. Shane Sutherland got the break of the ball and burst into the edge of the box on the left side but his shot rippled the side netting. Carson shot over the stand minutes later as the visitors pushed forward. Better spell for Inverness and a wee melee in the box saw Arbroath clear the danger. Out of nothing, Danny Devine was red carded for next to nothing as he challenged for a high ball with Jack Hamilton. What a joke decision that was. Worse was to follow when Shane Sutherland left the field on a stretcher after looking like he has damaged his knee when pulling up. Hardy dribbled forward into the hosts box after the ninety but as the tackle came in his shot was lifted over the bar. A flurry of activity round our box in time added on as the nine men tried to hold out for extra time. We did that so on to another thirty minutes. 0-0 after ninety minutes. Inverness were back up to ten men with Lewis Hyde coming on in extra time. Mark Ridgers kept Inverness in the game when he blocked an effort from Jack Hamilton as he went one on one with the keeper. Colin Hamilton went close with a header after Low recycled a corner back into the box, the ball going just the wrong side of the post. Inverness wasted a free kick and corner just on the break and it was still 0-0 with the final fifteen minutes coming up. Wallace Duffy was given a dubious second yellow and we were back down to nine men for the final five minutes of extra time and Michael McKenna drifted a shot wide after a corner. A Nicky Low cross saw Colin Hamilton head across goal and the ball came back off the crossbar as Arbroath went for the jugular, and after yet another corner was cleared, blundering referee Willie Collum ended the tie and it's on to penalties. FULL TIME (after extra time): 0-0 Penalty Shoot Out B Mckay , Hardy Welsh Harper Broadfoot McKenna Low Colin Hamilton Linn Inverness through to Play Off Final after 5-3 shoot out win. Brilliant save from Mark Ridgers From BBC Sport Arbroath manager Dick Campbell: "Anybody who knows anything about football knows we were way, way in front. But I've seen it happen in the play-offs. We had 600 passes, they had 300-odd. "We're not ones to feel sorry for ourselves. The whole season has been a fairy tale, it'll be memorable. We were close to immortality. We've got to repeat that next year. Christmas has come early for Inverness tonight I wish them all the best." Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager Billy Dodds: "It wasn't about us getting through tonight, it was the circumstances we did it in. I have my feelings - I'm just keeping quiet because I'll get myself into trouble. "My boys gave me absolutely everything. We had to work our socks off That's the best bunch of boys I've worked with. I would have been proud of every one of them if we lost the penalty shootout tonight." Date: 13/05/2022 Venue: Gayfield Park, Arbroath Attendance: 5154 Referee: Willie Collum Arbroath: 0 (3 pens) Manager: Dick Campbell Lineup: Gaston; Thomson (Donnelly 90), Little, O'Brien (Henderson 105), Colin Hamilton, Stewart, Low, Chris Hamilton (Gold 105), McKenna, Craigen (Linn 76), J Hamilton (Wighton 111) Subs (not used): Antell; Swankie, Ford, Bakare Scorers: none Booked: Colin Hamilton (55), Chris Hamilton (73), Wighton (120) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 (5 pens) Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Carson, Broadfoot, Devine, Deas, Samuels (B Mckay 45), Welsh, McAlear (Duffy 74), Chalmers (Harper 68), Doran (Hardy 60), Sutherland (Hyde 90), Subs (not used): C Mackay; Allardice Scorers: none Booked: Carson (27), Duffy (95, 113), B Mckay (115), Hyde (118), Deas (120) Sent Off: Devine (66), Duffy (113) a
  15. All to play for at Gayfield Arbroath were up for this one shutting Inverness down high up the pitch in a poor first half. Logan Chalmers was nearest to breaking the deadlock when he hit the bar with a rasping shot from close to thirty yards. Inverness upped the pace after the break but it was too little too late. Sleeves will need to be rolled up on Friday from the start if we are to get through. The whole of the first half passed Inverness by as Arbroath were in our faces. That needs to change on Friday and it might work in our favour if Arbroath decide to have a go which will give us more space to exploit. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Premiership Play-Off 1st leg paired Inverness with second place finishers Arbroath, everyone's favourite wee team. Could Inverness upset the apple cart and take a lead down to Gayfield for the return leg on Friday? All would be revealed at a breezy Caledonian Stadium. Tom Walsh and Roddy MacGregor were missing for Billy Dodds as he went with the same team that started against Partick Thistle with Wallace Duffy added to the bench along with just six others. Dick Campbell unsurprisingly made eight changes from his last game against Morton and managed a full bench of nine. Arbroath set the ball rolling in between the showers on a blustery evening and as the visitors pushed forward in the fifth minute, Mark Ridgers produced a vital tip away from a deep cross with Nicky Low about to head into the net. It was a typically cagey start from the hosts. Kirk Broadfoot gave away the ball and when Arbroath transferred it into the box a half chance presented itself but the ball was knocked high over. The Smokies were in our face and we were struggling to make any headway with fifteen minutes gone. Any football that was being played was coming from the visitors. Twenty minutes gone and the Caley Jags had not started yet in a scrappy affair. Maybe they thought it was a 7:45 kick off. A long free kick into the box almost found Ricky Little on the lunge but it just evaded him and out for a goal kick. On a rare jaunt forward, Austin Samuels almost set up Billy Mckay, but his awkward flick went out for a goal kick. Moments later Logan Chalmers struck the bar with a superb near thirty yard shot. A booking for Broadfoot gave Arbroath a free kick twenty five yards out, but Ridgers was equal to Low's strike as he made a decent but routine save, and at the other end Logan Chalmers drilled a left footer just wide from outside the box as the interval loomed. That half took forever to get going, but opportunities did manifest themselves just before the break, but there's no scoring so far. HALF TIME: 0-0 Just after the start of the second half a well timed sliding tackle by Devine stopped Arbroath bursting into the box to thwart a run forward. A swift break upfield started with David Carson bursting forward at pace and ended with Chalmers winning a corner from his blocked shot. It was a brighter start to the second period from the hosts. A super run forward by Robbie Deas on the other wing offered Chalmers another opportunity but the final ball wasn't ideal and Chalmers eventual shot missed the target. Arbroath responded and Hamilton drilled a low ball into the box which was put behind for a corner. The action raged to the other end and Derek Gaston denied Samuels with a tremendous save. That would be the closest to a goal all night and moments later Aaron Doran volleyed just over. Chris Hamilton smuggled the ball away from under the feet of Samuels in the box and from the corner Broadfoot headed over when he should have hit the target. A Michael McKenna snapshot saw Ridgers parry to safety and the defence cleared. Chalmers volleyed over after a clearance fell to him on the edge of the box, just after Dick and Dodds had a wee spat on the touchline An untidy spell ensued with play broken by fouls and substitutions. The chances stopped coming for both sides as time slipped away and a late free kick was wasted and that was it. Not a great night for Inverness to be honest, but still all to play for at Gayfield. Best performers were in defence with maybe Sean Welsh the only midfielder to put his foot on the ball. More match reaction to follow... From BBCSport Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager Billy Dodds: "I'm happy we're in there pitching because it's going to be so tight on Friday. There's going to be nerves and tension because both teams have left themselves in a decent position."I didn't think we played our best but we had the best chances. We hit the bar first half but we weren't doing the things we're good at. Second-half was a bit better; thought we created the better chances but we just couldn't take one." Arbroath manager Dick Campbell: "If you'd asked me before the game if I'd be happy with that, I would be. The game is still alive and that's all I wanted to happen. The strongest survives on Friday."We will have a go and have our trumpets out. What does it mean to us? You'll see on Friday. They're part-time players. Two games this week, two games next week. It definitely sways towards the full-time clubs. Even if they lose, they'll still be immortal in my eyes." Dick, you forgot to add that you never played for ten days before this game whilst we played twice against Partick Thistle Why do they call him Clean Sheet Ridgers........ Because there's no Mark Date: 10/05/2022 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2201 Referee: Euan Anderson Inverness CT: 0 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Carson, Broadfoot, Devine, Deas, Samuels, Welsh, McAlear, Chalmers (Hardy 79), Sutherland (Harper 71), B Mckay (Doran 63) Subs (not used): C Mackay; Duffy, Hyde, Allardice Scorers: none Booked: Broadfoot (39), McAlear (65) Sent Off: none Arbroath: 0 Manager: Dick Campbell Lineup: Gaston; Thomson, Little, O'Brien Hamilton, Stewart, Low (Henderson 84), McKenna, C Hamilton, Craigen, J Hamilton (Donnelly 84) Subs (not used): Antell; Swankie, Ford, Linn, Bakare, Gold, Wighton Scorers: none Booked: O'Brien (58), Henderson (90+3) Sent Off: none a
  16. Smokies next A draw would have been sufficient for Inverness to progress in the Premiership Play-Offs after winning the first leg 2-1 at Firhill. After a cagey opening Austin Samuels scored a superb opening goal when Sutherland fed him into the box. Graham rattled the bar and Ridgers denied the big striker from a goalbound header as Partick came back at their hosts but at the break it was advantage Inverness. Inverness weathered the expected storm after the interval and restricted Partick to half chances and but for Sneddon Inverness could have added another couple of goals, but it's job done and Arbroath up next. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ At home to Arbroath was the prize for getting through this game. Inverness carried a slender advantage from the first leg at Firhill into this tie at the Caledonian Stadium. Tom Walsh, Wallace Duffy and Roddy MacGregor were all out for the hosts leaving just six on the bench including the returning from long term injury, Scott Allardice. Cammy Smith and Ricky Foster were in the Partick starting XI with Brian Graham and Scott Tiffoney still the ones to watch. The game kicked off in bright sunshine and in the third minute Logan Chalmers got the break of the ball off Ricky Foster but he shot over as he approached the corner of the box. Robbie Deas lashed one over from the same area three minutes later as a loose ball came back to him outside the box. Partick almost got the opener when Scott Tiffoney whipped a great ball into the area where Robbie Crawford met it on the run but it just cleared the bar. Very close but no cigar this time. Inverness responded and Billy Mckay shot just wide but he won a corner as his effort was deflected. From the corner Sean Welsh had a shot blocked on the edge of the box The game was littered with loose passing with so much at stake, neither side wanting to make the first error. Brian Graham turned Kirk Broadfoot well twenty five yards out but his shot curled three yards wide of Ridgers left hand post. A wayward back header from Ross Docherty gave Inverness a corner but it was curled just behind, possibly off the corner of the bar. Tiffoney was causing all sorts of problems down the Partick left and he drifted inside but his shot was weak and dragged wide with almost half an hour gone. Almost against the run of play Inverness opened the scoring when Shane Sutherland sent Samuels into the left side of the box where he lashed a powerful shot high into the net behind Sneddon. Great strike, two important goals in two games for the striker. What a time to start scoring. AUSTIN POWER Partick struck the bar moments later through Graham when he got the break of the ball off the chest of Welsh after a corner, his shot from ten yards smacking the bar and bouncing clear. Six minutes before the break an absolutely fantastic save from Ridgers denied Graham as he dived low to his left to save what looked like a certain goal for the big striker. Back up the other end and Samuels almost snatched a second for Inverness but the ball just evaded him. Partick may be aggrieved to be one down, but Inverness hold a two goal aggregate advantage at the interval. Inverness would be well advised to cut out the loose passing to avoid a nervy ending to the tie. HALF TIME: 1-0 Immediately after the break Graham gave substitute Jakubiak an opportunity that won them a corner and almost another chance came from that. It was a sluggish start to the half for the hosts. What a save from Sneddon to deny a Broadfoot header after Carson had won a corner. Great agility from the keeper. Samuels then hit the bar from close range but Mckay was adjudged offside when he clipped the ball across goal. Ridgers gathered a speculative effort from Tiffoney just before the hour. Deas returned the speculative efforts and his one went wide. A bit of a lull since the substitutions after sixty five minutes as the game entered the final twelve minutes with Joe Hardy replacing Billy Mckay. Cammy Harper almost got on the end of a great Sean Welsh ball into the box, Sneddon just beating Harper to the ball to snatch it away from the Inverness player as we broke forward at pace. Sneddon made another tremendous save as Sutherland shot goalwards after a corner, that would have been game over but for the keepers reflexes. We appeared to have weathered the mini storm from Partick and their opportunities seemed to have dried up with eighty seven minutes gone. Decent performance in a tough game where we stood up to Partick and eventually nullified them. Great goal again from Austin Samuels and some tremendous defending with Carson MotM and Devine a close second. Onwards to face Arbroath next Tuesday and Friday, another tough tie. On BBC Sport Inverness CT manager Billy Dodds told BBC Scotland: “It’s a brilliant result I'm so happy for the boys! “I can't say I enjoyed the game, we weren’t at our best, but I don't want to be downbeat because we're through. It's a tremendous result to get through and have a crack at Arbroath. "We worked our socks off, we always do. I'd have liked another one to go in because you've always got that feeling in case they got one back. "We deserved to go through over the piece." Inverness' goalscorer Austin Samuels told BBC Scotland: "I thought I took it too wide but the power on the shot took it past the goalkeeper. "Shane is a really reliable player, as long as I've been here he’s always done a job for the team. "We had a tough period but the gaffer always told us to keep positive and that our time was coming, and it looks like our time is now. On facing Arbroath in the semi-finals, he added: "It’s going to be tough, they’re in the play-offs for a reason, we’ve got to focus on ourselves and hopefully we’ll be in the final after it. Goal can be seen HERE on BBC Sport BOOM!!! Date: 06/05/2022 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2470 Referee: Kevin Clancy Inverness CT: 1 (agg 3) Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Carson, Broadfoot, Devine, Deas, Samuels (Doran 66), Welsh, McAlear (Hyde 90+2), Chalmers (Harper 66), Sutherland (Allardice 90+2), B Mckay (Hardy 79) Subs (not used): C Mackay; Scorers: Samuels (29) Booked: Carson (61), McAlear (85), Devine (89) Sent Off: none Partick Thistle: 0 (agg 1) Manager: Ian McCall Lineup: Sneddon; Foster, Akinola, Holt ( Bell 66), Hendrie, Crawford (Murray 82), Bannigan (Turner 45), Docherty, Smith (Jakubiak 45), Tiffoney, Graham ( Alegria 66) Subs (not used): Firth; Stanway, McKenna Scorers: Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  17. Advantage Inverness The first leg of the Premiership Play-Offs saw Inverness travel to Glasgow to take on the Maryhill Magyars as a place in the top division beckoned. Neither side were able to dominate on the Firhill tattie field and they went in goalless at the break although Logan Chalmers looked to be impeded as he tried to get a shot away. Crawford opened the scoring when he got onto a reverse ball from Graham to shoot high into the net from inside the box to put Partick in the driving seat. Inverness turned it round in the second half with goals from Shane Sutherland and Austin Samuels and it's back to the Highlands on Friday night to conclude this tie. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This one's for you big fellow RIP Stew x Aaron Doran was missing along with Wallace Duffy and Roddy MacGregor as the fragility of both squads reared it's ugly head. Scott Allardice was a surprise inclusion on the Inverness bench, his return kept quiet. Lewis Mayo was a big miss for the Jagsters but as expected, Brian Graham and Scott Tiffoney took their place in an attack minded Partick Starting XI. A frantic opening on the tattie field pitch saw a snapshot from players player of the year Shane Sutherland go wide inside five minutes. In the tenth minute Sean Welsh was just beaten to the ball by Crawford as he bust into the box. Unfortunately Tom Walsh took a knock as he tried to shoot and the result of that was Lewis Hyde coming on to replace the wide midfielder in the twentieth minute. Early indicators are that Walsh will struggle to make Friday's game. From a corner Mark Ridgers snatched the ball on his line as Tunji Akinola knocked goalwards and Kirk Broadfoot was the third Inverness player to receive treatment for his troubles in trying to defend. Scott Tiffoney lashed a ball over the bar after yet another corner with neither keeper overly troubled so far. Inverness were denied a penalty when Logan Chalmers appeared to be blocked off from taking a shot by Akinola inside the box, but the referee was not interested. Seen them given, also seen them denied. In truth the intensity of the game and state of the pitch made for a scrappy affair as neither side was able to impose themselves on the game in the first forty-five. Some frantic defending and missed clearances led to an opportunity for Partick but we weathered the mini-storm. At the other end a Reece McAlear free kick was thumped into the body of keeper Sneddon five minutes before the break. A minute before the interval and Billy Mckay dollied a shot towards goal which Sneddon gathered easily. Last effort of the first half fell to Robbie Deas wide on the left side of the box but after he brought the ball down well he dragged it across the goal without troubling the keeper. The half ended goalless but it was the visitors that were having the better of the game so far. HALF TIME : 0-0 Six minutes into the half and Ridgers flopped on the ball just as Brian Graham pulled the trigger from one yard. However a minute later Partick opened the scoring after a neat ball through from Graham found Robbie Crawford who hit the ball high past Ridgers from ten yards. Samuels replaced Hyde in a tactical switch as Sutherland volleyed over, but Partick appeared motivated by their goal. Sutherland showed good feet to get a shot away but it just cleared the corner of the bar. He did better ten minutes later after Billy Mckay hit a powerful shot towards goal. Sneddon parried it but it fell to Sutherland who knocked in the rebound from eight yards to restore parity. Wow! A complete cock up by David Carson allowed Alegria a tremendous chance but the young striker curled his shot over when he should have scored. A let off for Inverness after a slip by Carson. Substitute Austin Samuels put the visitors ahead when he got on the end of a sublime cross from Sutherland to score from six yards and that was enough to turn the game around and put Inverness in pole position. Great away performance from the Caley Jags and our only worry is injuries to key players with Walsh taking a sore one tonight. MotM was Shane Sutherland, a goal and superb assist. A hard fought win on a disgrace of a pitch which apparently will be in use tomorrow for another play-off game. God save the grass CALEY AWAY IN GOOD VOICE Here's the Goals that Mattered Date: 03/05/2022 Venue: Firhill, Partick Attendance: 2919 Referee: Steven Maclean Partick Thistle: 1 Manager: Ian McCall Lineup: Sneddon; McKenna, Akinola, Holt, Hendrie, Crawford, Bannigan, Jakubiak (Alegria 74), Docherty, Tiffoney, Graham (Smith 86) Subs (not used): Firth; Stanway, Foster, Bell, Murray Scorers: Crawford (54) Booked: Hendrie (40), Graham (76) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Carson, Broadfoot, Devine, Deas, Walsh (Hyde 19) (Samuels 60), Welsh, McAlear, Chalmers (Harper 75), Sutherland, B Mckay (Hardy 75) Subs (not used): C McKay; Allardice Scorers: Suttherland (71), Samuels (82) Booked: Chalmers (49), Samuels (90+2) Sent Off: none __________________________________________________________________________________________
  18. End of season rout Inverness rounded off the regular season with big win over hapless Hamilton. Tom Walsh gave Inverness an early lead and Shane Sutherland added a tremendous second after fifteen minutes. Walsh notched his second when Sutherland slipped him into the box and Joe Hardy got in on the act with his first goal. Four up at the break and the foot was off the pedal in the second half as Inverness cruised to victory in the final home game with no further scoring. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The last game of the season ahead of the play-offs saw Hamilton Accies come North looking to secure sixth place in the Championship. For Inverness it was about game management and preparation for the play-offs to come, therefore I wasn't expecting too much from the team as this result counts for nothing other than pride. Dodds rested Broadfoot and Devine with McAlear, Samuels and Chalmers on the bench. Hamilton were claiming a reduced squad due to injuries and covid. After a bright opening, Tom Walsh opened the scoring with a low shot across the keeper in the fourth minute. Popescu headed just wide from a great position after a corner was swung into the box, the defender should really have done better than to place his header wide. Shane Sutherland doubled the lead when Walsh turned provider and played him into the right side of the box. Sutherland stepped onto it and first timed the ball into the roof of the net from around seventeen yards. Mark Ridgers did well to beat away a dangerous shot that bounced just in front of him as Accies responded through Lewis Smith, but their joy was short lived when Sutherland slipped Walsh into the box for him to place the ball behind the keeper with aplomb. Billy Mckay nearly got on the scoresheet after Walsh threaded him into the box, Fulton saving at the expense of a corner. Moments later Joe Hardy almost got his first goal for the club, Fulton saving once more. However, Hardy would not be denied and he rolled in a fourth goal with Walsh involved again. It was all too easy for the hosts and Stuart Taylor hooked Ellis Brown and replaced him with the reliable and experienced Brian Easton in an attempt to shore up at the back against a rampant Caley Jags. Half Time: 4-0 First notable action of a quieter second half saw sub keeper Cammy Mackay deny Popescu who had drilled a low dipping shot near his left hand post, the keeper doing well to keep the ball out. A tremendous sweeping move down the right almost found an acrobatic finish from Austin Samuels but the defence just managed to deny him the opportunity. Samuels went close again soon after as he shot across the face of the goal. MacGregor and Chalmers combined well to win a corner on the left but it came to nothing. Accies looked to have scored a consolation goal when substitute Andrew Winter lashed a through ball into the roof of the net but it was adjudged to be offside, marginal decision if at all. Samuels had a late effort saved by the keeper as he shot from a narrow angle on the right side. Full Time: 4-0 Inverness warmed up for the play-offs with a superb first half which blew Accies away. That's our first win over them this season. Great performance all round with some slick play on show and that afforded us the luxury of coasting through the second half. Man of the Match for me was Roddy MacGregor who strolled through this one and Tom Walsh looked more like his old self with a couple of slick goals. Hot off the press Goal of the season: Reece McAlear (v Dunfermline) Fans' and players' young player of the season: Reece McAlear Players' player of the year: Shane Sutherland Fans' player of the year: David Carson Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts FINAL LEAGUE TABLE AHEAD OF PLAY-OFFS 1. Kilmarnock 36 20 7 9 50 27 67 2. Arbroath 36 17 14 5 54 28 65 3. Inverness CT 36 16 11 9 53 34 59 4. Partick Thistle 36 14 10 12 46 40 52 5. Raith Rovers 36 12 14 10 44 44 50 6. Hamilton Ac. 36 10 12 14 38 53 42 7. Morton 36 9 13 14 36 47 40 8. Ayr United 36 9 12 15 39 52 39 9. Dunfermline 36 7 14 15 36 53 35 10. Q.O.S. 36 8 9 19 36 54 33 Tonights results Caley Jags 4-0 Hamilton Arbroath 3-0 Morton Ayr Utd 3-1 Partick Dunfermline 1-2 Queen of South Rovers 1-1 Killie ***Dates for your diary*** CINCH PREMIERSHIP PLAY-OFFS Tuesday May 3 Quarter-final, 1st leg Partick Thistle v Inverness CT Live on BBC Scotland, kick-off 7.05pm Friday May 6 Quarter-final, 2nd leg Inverness CT v Partick Thistle Live on BBC Scotland, kick-off 7.45pm Date: 29/04/2022 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2131 Referee: Graham Grainger Inverness CT: 4 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; (C Mackay 45) Carson, Duffy (Welsh 25), Deas (McAlear 58), Harper, Hardy, MacGregor, Hyde, Walsh, Sutherland (Chalmers 65), Mckay (Samuels 45) Subs (not used): Scorers: Walsh (4, 22), Sutherland (15), Hardy (28) Booked: none Sent Off: none Hamilton: 0 Manager: Stuart Taylor (head coach) Lineup: Fulton; Mullin, Popescu, O'Reilly, Shiels, Mimnaugh (Hughes 47), L Smith, Spence (Winter 73), Lawson, Brown (Easton 29), Moyo (McGowan 90) Subs (not used): J Smith; McGinn, Newbury Scorers: none Booked: Popescu (35), Easton (57) Sent Off: none a
  19. Absolutely Buffered! After a sloppy opening from the visitors who appeared bus-lagged, Queens opened the scoring through Josh Todd who took advantage of a poor defensive clearance to finish tidily. Logan Chalmers did likewise after Queens gave away the ball in midfield, his finish was stunning. Queens went back in front before the break, goal was scored by buffering. A great finish by East I am told. Half Time 2-1 and there was no further scoring after the break although a few chances went abegging at both ends. Our aim was to get enough points to clinch third place to get the slight advantage of playing at home in the 3rd/4th place play-off second leg with second place pretty much out of our reach. We failed to achieve that, on to the next game. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Kirk Broadfoot was rested completely and Billy Mckay was on the bench with Joe Hardy starting. Queens had a few changes from the team that got pumped by Arbroath, although the result flattered Arbroath somewhat. An early scramble in the visitors box after a corner ended with the ball being blocked but a minute later Queens took an early lead after a slack clearance from Shane Sutherland was fed forward and stroked into the net by Josh Todd after he waltzed into the box in the sixth minute. A really sloppy start to this game from the visitors. Fortunately, Queens returned the favour in the seventeenth minute when Logan Chalmers got the ball in midfield, but wide on the left. He strode forward and his left peg did the job once more from distance with another stunning strike. Unfortunately for me, and most others, the stream from Palmerston was as reliable as both defences tonight and buffering was proving to be more irritating than Michael Gardyne. Buffering put Queens back in front, Euan East, (I am told), with a shot into the top corner. Sean Welsh had a shot saved before the break as we tried to respond but even the interval was plagued by buffering. Get yourselves down a division with this Mickey Mouse show. HALF TIME: 2-1 A second half full of buffering and misplaced passes saw Sean Welsh take a knock ten minutes in after being hit by the buffers. Todd shot over as the game continued on the park. It's maybe just as well we couldn't witness most of this as it appears we have been rank rotten so far against the team heading for league one. Ten minutes left and we fired a free kick high over, one wonders why the man with the magic left peg never took it. Moments later he went really close with a curling effort that just cleared the corner of the bar. Duffy drilled one wide after a good run forward and Billy Mckay trundled a ten yard effort towards goal which Rae saved easily. Danny Devine ended the game with a cut on his head after averting a goal and ending up inside the net off the post, and Innes Cameron missed a one on one which would have wrapped up the points for Queens. Apparently they did win anyway as the live stream gave up the ghost completely in injury time. Messy stuff all round on a frustrating night on and off the pitch. FULL TIME: 2-1 Match reaction to follow... Highlights Date: 19/04/2022 Venue: Palmerston, Dumfries Attendance: 0631 Referee: Mathew MacDermid Queen of the South: 2 Manager: Willie Gibson (caretaker) Lineup: Rae; Gibson, O'Connor, East, Cooper, Todd, McGrory (Gordon 78), Cochrane, Connelly, Cameron (Paton 84), Soares Junior Subs (not used): Cowie; Joseph, Roy, Debayo, McKechnie, Nditi, Folarin Scorers: Todd (6), East (40) Booked: Connelly (51), Cameron (61) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Carson, Duffy, Devine, Deas (Harper 63), Doran (Walsh 73), Welsh (MacGregor 77), McAlear, Chalmers, Sutherland (Samuels 63), Hardy (Mckay 63) Subs (not used): C Mackay; Hyde Scorers: Chalmers (17) Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  20. Title on hold as ICT win. Killie came North with a big following looking to get one hand on the title whilst Inverness were hoping to strengthen their grip on a play-off spot. A win for Killie tonight and defeat for Arbroath tomorrow afternoon and they will have both hands on the title and on their way back to the Premiership. An even first forty-five with Campbell and Shaw coming closest for the visitors and Chalmers and Samuels having the best efforts for the hosts, but it remained scoreless at the interval. The pace warmed up after the break and it was Ash Taylor that opened the scoring after a misplaced header from Kirk Broadfoot landed at his feet. Dodds took the bull by the horns with a double substitution and that seemed to give us the impetus to have a go at Killie. Billy Mckay hustled a poachers goal with fifteen minutes left, and once more Logan Chalmers came up trumps with a well executed goal to round off the scoring. What this means is that Inverness are guaranteed a play-off place and Killie have a bit more work to do. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ No fresh injury worries for Inverness but Aaron Doran was on the bench with Austin Samuels starting and Wallace Duffy started at right back with David Carson benched. Roddy MacGregor returned to the bench after showing no reactions to his appearance last weekend. Kilmarnock were unchanged which meant that Daniel Mackay was on the bench for the visitors. A beautiful calm night for a game of football, also shown on council TV, saw the Caley Jags set the ball rolling and it was a cagey opening ten minutes that followed as both sides probed for an opening. Danger man Kyle Lafferty had the ball in the net in the tenth minute but was adjudged offside as Killie just shaded the opening stages. Inverness were giving away numerous petty free kicks and from one of those Mark Ridgers made a diving interception from a dangerous ball whipped into the box. Oli Shaw had a twelve yard shot blocked by Danny Devine as Killie opened up their hosts down their left wing with Ridgers sprawling across his line. At the other end Zach Hemming made a great interception as Billy Mckay tried to latch onto a ball forward. Ridgers stood tall to make a good save as Campbell burst forward at pace, the keeper using strong hands to beat the ball over the bar for a corner but again Ridgers dealt well with the cross. Half way through the first period and Killie were having the better of the game so far as Inverness struggled to hold onto the ball. However, a tremendous diagonal ball forward from Kirk Broadfoot picked out Logan Chalmers and he shot early from distance on the left, but his effort caught the side net and Austin Samuels had a close range shot blocked six yards out as Inverness opened up. Danny Devine conceded a corner with a well timed interception as Shaw tried to get onto a ball flicked into the box. From the corner, Shaw's header clipped the top of the crossbar on the way behind for a goal kick. Mckay was very close to connecting with the ball as a Sean Welsh delivery curled into the box, but once again Hemming did well to put Billy off his stride and the keeper was able to tidy up. Reece McAlear volleyed over after a free kick as the hosts got to grip with the game, the ball going for a fruitless corner five minutes before the break. HALF TIME: 0-0 Killie came out of the blocks quickest at the start of the second half and Fraser Murray had a shot blocked on the angle of the six yard box by Robbie Deas. Hemming did well to push away a powerful shot from Samuels after he turned well twenty yards out and a minute later Broadfoot was denied by a diving Hemming at the expense of a corner. Blair Alston won a corner as he lashed an effort just wide and seconds later Killie took the lead after Broadfoot inadvertently knocked a header towards Ash Taylor who deftly tucked the ball over Ridgers and into the net. Double sub for Inverness with Samuels and McAlear being replaced by Aaron Doran and David Carson and that triggered an impressive spell for Inverness culminating in a pulsating finale. Some good pressure from the hosts paid off when Billy Mckay scrambled the ball in from close range to restore parity. Even better would follow six minutes later. Once again it was Logan Chalmers to the rescue as he drove a low shot into the net from ten yards at the back post. Get in ya dancer. FULL TIME: 2-1 Inverness saw out the game well in control and thoroughly deserved the three points and a play-off slot. Killie have more work to do to clinch the cinch. Good performances all round with Devine a rock at the back. Ridgers did well with some great interceptions early on, punching dangerous cross balls clear of danger. Deas, Duffy did well to shackle the early advances of Killie. The midfield worked tirelessly and what else can you say about Billy Mckay. He scores when he wants and Logan the loan did it again. Four goals in four games. Good work lad and much appreciated. Match reaction and videos to follow Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts Updated table after Inverness CT 2-1 Kilmarnock 1. Kilmarnock 34 19 6 9 47 25 63 2. Arbroath 33 15 14 4 45 25 59 3. Inverness CT 33 14 11 8 47 32 53 4. Partick Thistle 33 13 10 10 44 36 49 5. Raith Rovers 33 10 13 10 40 43 43 6. Morton 33 9 13 11 36 42 40 7. Hamilton Ac. 33 9 12 12 37 47 39 8. Ayr United 33 8 11 14 34 48 35 9. Dunfermline 33 6 14 13 33 49 32 10. Q.O.S. 32 6 8 18 30 46 26 Winner Winner Chicken Dinner Date: 15/04/2022 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3829 Referee: Don Robertson Inverness CT: 2 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Duffy, Broadfoot, Devine, Deas, Samuels (Doran 70), Welsh, McAlear (Carson 70), Sutherland, Chalmers (Harper 84), B Mckay (Hardy 88) Subs (not used): C Mackay; Hyde, MacGregor, Walsh Scorers: Mckay (76), Chalmers (82) Booked: Deas (72) Sent Off: none Kilmarnock: 1 Manager: Derek McInnes Lineup: Hemming; Hodson, Taylor, Stokes, McGinn (Glass 83), Campbell, Alston, F Murray (Mackay 90+1), Lyons, Shaw, Lafferty, Subs (not used): Walker; E Murray, Naismith, McGowan, Sanders, Burke, Armstrong Scorers: Taylor (60) Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  21. Points dropped Inverness threw away two points with a desperately poor second half performance against Ayr United who thoroughly deserved their point as we regressed. We got off to the perfect start and were two ahead after only thirteen minutes through Shane Sutherland and Logan Chalmers with a wonderful strike into the top corner. Ayr shuffled their pack at the interval and it was only a matter of time before we were forced to hang on grimly for a point when we had three in the bag already. Goals from Fraser Bryden and Markus Fjortoft snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat for the Honest Men as we headed home with egg on our faces. The only thing that took the edge off throwing away points was Raith Rovers losing to Morton and Roddy MacGregor getting a run out as a second half sub after being out for months. A better more accomplished performance is required next Friday when Kilmarnock come North, the title on their fingertips. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ An unchanged Inverness took to the field with Roddy MacGregor on the bench alongside Danny Devine and Austin Samuels. Sam Ashford returned for Ayr who had top scorer Tomi Adeloye on the bench. A fast start for the visitors saw a Wallace Duffy effort blocked after a scramble in the Ayr box, and a couple of minutes later we were ahead after good work by Aaron Doran and Billy Mckay down the right side. Mckay's cross was turned in by Shane Sutherland for his ninth goal of the season. Six minutes later it got even better when Logan Chalmers curled a beauty into the top corner from the edge of the box. What a start from the visitors. Could they capitalise on this.... Well, quite frankly no. Before half time it was evident that Ayr were determined to take something from this game and they looked the hungrier of the sides as we went into non contact second to every ball mode. Half an hour in and Fraser Bryden saw a header saved by Cammy Mackay and at the other end Doran shot over the bar, but Ayr were on our case and our confidence looked fragile. The half ended with Ayr threatening to take control of proceedings. HALF TIME 0-2 Cameron Harper replaced Doran at the interval with Ayr bringing on Tomi Adeloye and Dair O'Connor. Was that the move that gave them the ascendency? Probably as we were now second to every ball and brushed off the ball easily at every opportunity. Mackay pulled off a great save two minutes into the half from Kerr McInroy as Ayr swarmed all over us, and ten minutes after the break Fraser Bryden squeezed a close range shot into the net with our defence not covering themselves in glory after a cross from the right was not cleared. Ayr pressure was mounting as we struggled to string two passes together and failed to hold onto the ball and Roddy MacGregor was introduced with twenty minutes remaining. More telling was Markus Fjortoft who joined the game after Roddy. Three minutes later and he was knocking in the eagerly awaited equaliser as we capitulated. O'Connor had just had a shot saved by Mackay as the pressure mounted then McInroy crossed and substitute Fjortoft scored from close range, the defence looking at each other again as two points slipped away. That woke us up a little and Harper might have done better than volley just over the bar and David Carson dragged a shot wide minutes later. However, Ayr were not to be denied their hard earned point and there was a bonus for them with Killie beating Dunfermline 2-0. So, Ayr ease away from the bottom two and Inverness blunder their way clear in third place thanks to Raith losing this weekend. Difficult to spot a MotM in a Jekyll and Hyde performance. Maybe the travelling fans that suffered the ecstasy and the agony of what feels like a defeat. The Goals From Ayr TV Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts Table after today's games 1. Kilmarnock 33 19 6 8 46 23 63 2. Arbroath 33 15 14 4 45 25 59 3. Inverness CT 32 13 11 8 45 31 50 4. Partick Thistle 33 13 10 10 44 36 49 5. Raith Rovers 33 10 13 10 40 43 43 6. Morton 33 9 13 11 36 42 40 7. Hamilton Ac. 33 9 12 12 37 47 39 8. Ayr United 33 8 11 14 34 48 35 9. Dunfermline 33 6 14 13 33 49 32 10. Q.O.S. 32 6 8 18 30 46 26 Date: 09/04/2022 Venue: Somerset Park, Ayr Attendance: 1756 Referee: Willie Collum Ayr United: 2 Manager: Lee Bullen Lineup: McAdams; Houston (Fjortoft 72), McGinty (Baird 89), Muirhead, Reading, McKenzie (Adeloye 45), Kenyon (Smith 57), McInroy, Maxwell (O'Connor 45), Bryden, Ashford Subs (not used): Albinson; Ecremont, Gondoh, Moffat, Scorers: Bryden (54), Fjortoft (76) Booked: Smith (73) Sent Off: Inverness CT: 2 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: C Mackay; Carson (Devine 83), Duffy, Broadfoot, Deas, Doran (Harper 45), McAlear (Samuels 77), Welsh, Sutherland, Chalmers (MacGregor 71), B Mckay (Hardy 82) Subs (not used): Ridgers; Hyde, Walsh Scorers: Sutherland (6), Chalmers (13) Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  22. Looking promising Inverness took a massive step towards a play off place by defeating Dunfermline Athletic for the first time this season. An encouraging but goalless first half where Reece McAlear had hit the post was replaced by a two goal second half with chances at both ends. The deadlock was broken by a man who only scores screamers. Reece McAlear lashed the ball across the keeper and into the top right corner of the goal from a difficult position wide on the inside right area. What a strike that was but it only woke the Pars up from their lethargy and they had three or four great opportunities before substitute Austin Samuels sealed the points after he sprinted on to a through ball from Aaron Doran to slot neatly behind Mehmet in goal. Comfortable thereafter for the remainder of the game and an excellent three points to strengthen our hold on third place with Raith, Arbroath and Partick all dropping points. Inverness were thin on the bench with Scott Allardice and Roddy Macgregor out longer term and Danny Devine, Joe Harper and Sam Pearson all missing. Dunfermline had Liam Polworth, Joe Chalmers and Col Donaldson starting with Nikolay Todorov on the bench. An enterprising start to the game in bright sunshine saw plenty of crisp passing in the opening gambit with only the telling pass missing. Denzil Mehmet was the first keeper called into serious action as he dived full length to keep out a low strike from Logan Chalmers on the left side of the box with the loose ball missing the strikers before being mopped up by the defence. You can see Denzil using anything to keep the ball out. Pic courtesy of CaleyJags.com. Inverness were buzzing around the visitors box with plenty of movement up front, creating a few half chances. Aaron Doran scooping one just wide on the volley and Chalmers flashing a thumping drive just over the bar from the edge of the box. Robbie Deas might have done better than lift a shot over the bar from ten yards as the hosts pressed for the opening goal and Doran again shot wide after good battling down the right touchline by Carson and Sutherland. Reece McAlear almost scored with a spectacular curling free kick from the left of centre, his right foot shot coming back off the top of the post with Mehmet beaten; the ball bouncing back into the keepers arms after cannoning off a defender. He would do better in the second half, and what a strike it was. HALF TIME: 0-0 Just before the hour, Inverness scored a contender for goal of the season. Sean Welsh's free kick came back off the wall some 28 yards from goal. Without breaking stride, McAlear turned onto the ball and fired an absolute rocket across the stunned keeper into the opposite side of the net. Mehmet rooted to the spot like a subbuteo keeper waiting for the strike. Boom! What a goal from Reece, his third or fourth contender of the season. That sparked Dunfermline into life and Cammy Mackay did brilliantly to deny Dow and Todorov with point blank saves to keep Inverness ahead. It was bodies on the line time as the defenders guarded their keeper well and the Pars would rue those missed opportunities. Substitute Austin Samuels scored his first goal for the club just after coming on. His first kick of the ball saw him slot home after he had played a one-two with Doran who threaded the ball through for Samuels to run on and steer the ball behind the outrushing Mehmet. That goal took the sting out of the Pars and their discipline disintegrated, Donaldson in particular not enjoying his return to the Caledonian Stadium. How does it feel Austin?................ It feels good! Tom Walsh almost benefited from a defensive lapse as he struck a sweet shot from twenty yards in injury time, but it just curled the wrong side of the post with Mehmet beaten. FULL TIME: 2-0 Great three points for the Caley Jags who have now won their last three in a row and are in prime spot for a shot at the play-offs. Reece McAlear was MotM, even if it was just for his superb goal, but his overall performance was solid and he was unlucky with his free kick that crashed back off the post. Great contribution from Cammy Mackay who stayed alert to deny the Pars after we opened the scoring and well done to Wallace Duffy at centre back who never looked out of place and strolled through the game nullifying some dangerous forwards. No failures today and a decent performance to boot. Reece the Thunderblaster... Date: 26/03/2022 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2172 Referee: Graham Beaton Inverness CT: 2 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: C Mackay; Carson, Duffy, Broadfoot, Deas, Doran (Walsh 81), Welsh, McAlear, Sutherland, Chalmers (Harper 67), B Mckay (Samuels 76) Subs (not used): Ridgers; Hyde Scorers: McAlear (58), Samuels (77) Booked: Samuels (83) Sent Off: none Dunfermline: 0 Manager: John Hughes Lineup: Mehmet; Todd (Comrie 79), Donaldson, Ambrose (Cole 79), Edwards, Polworth (Todorov 63), Pybus, Chalmers, Lawless (Kamwa 59), Thomas (Dow 63), O'Hara Subs (not used): Archibald; Allan, Breen, Martin Scorers: none Booked: Donaldson (83), Pybus (90+1) Sent Off: none a
  23. Chalmers to the rescue as Raith see Red The scrap for play-off places intensified as Inverness produced a smash and grab raid at Stark's Park. Rovers had led 2-1 at the interval through Connolly and Poplatnik with Sutherland scoring between those goals. Kyle Benedictus saw red with twenty minutes remaining and it looked like the game was slipping away from Inverness as they entered the 90th minute. Step forward substitute Logan Chalmers who single handedly won the game for the visitors with two outstanding goals. Both strikes hit with power, accuracy and a deadly left foot from distance. Not bad for your first goals for the club. Raith ended the game in total disarray as Ben Williamson was also sent off. Partick were humped 4-0 by Accies and we jump above them to third but Killie and Arbroath power on at the top of the table with wins. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness were still without midfielders Scott Allardice and Roddy MacGregor although the club have stated that MacGregor could be back in full training soon. Inverness were unchanged from the side that beat Arbroath 3-0. Which meant that Cammy Mackay kept Mark Ridgers on the bench. Raith had Ethan Ross back in attack with Varian and Poplatnik and a strong bench although only seven on it. A beautiful Spring afternoon in Kirkaldy as the temperatures soared and greeted the teams as they took to the field. Inverness in their favoured pink strip started the day one point ahead of the dark blue Rovers. And it was Inverness that set the ball rolling at 3:00pm. The visitors were first to threaten inside a minute when Doran and Hardy combined inside the box before it appeared that Hardy's shot came back off the woodwork before bouncing to safety. Open start to the game from both sides who were on the front foot from the off. Raith opened the scoring after the first corner. It was cleared to outside the box but Aidan Connolly drove towards goal where it looked as though it squirmed under Cammy Mackay and into the net. Looks like a blunder from the keeper inside a busy box. Joe Hardy came close to an equaliser but Macdonald did well to save and then denied Sutherland on the follow up. Keeper Jamie MacDonald had to be replaced after an injury forced him out of the game in a clash with Doran. Robbie Thomson replaced him. Shane Sutherland tapped in after an Aaron Doran corner but the leveller was short lived as Matej Poplatnik put Raith back in front minutes later. Sloppy defending by Inverness once more. Half Time: 2-1 Rovers were all over us like a rash at the start of the second half as we struggled to get a hold of the ball. A couple of efforts fired over the visitors bar were warning enough and Austin Samuels came on for Joe Hardy ten minutes into the half. Our attempts at creating anything were becoming predictable and time after time we wasted balls forward which were mopped up easily by defenders or substitute keeper Robbie Thomson. So, long aimless ball after long aimless ball was proving to be a complete waste of time one hour into the game and it was becoming more difficult to see where a goal might come from. An opportunity did materialise from one of those dubious offside interplays but Mackay bounced the ball just past the post as he was flattened on the edge of the box. Cammy Mackay did well to turn a shot round the post for a corner as Rovers broke forward and they were reduced to ten men when Kyle Benedictus was sent off for a rash challenge on Kirk Broadfoot who reacted angrily and was yellow carded. A scramble in the Raith box failed to produce a goal as Rovers managed to clear their lines calmly. Austin Samuels shot over from the edge of the box as Inverness became more desperate in their efforts to level the game as we approached the eighty minute mark, unfortunately our final ball left a lot to be desired. Time after time the final ball would skip through for a goal kick and another wasted chance. It was a difficult watch to be honest, even against ten men. Out of the blue, Logan Chalmers scored a beauty after a corner found him outside the box some twenty five yards out on the left side. He looked up and sent a beauty dipping into the net, unbelievable strike. Even more unbelievable, Logan Chalmers scored another peach from nearly the same position. This time he arrowed a low strike into the bottom corner for another superb goal. A daisy cutter on an artificial pitch, that's a first. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! Raith's Williamson then joined Benedictus for an early bath with seconds remaining. What a turnaround at the end as Raith finally lost their discipline but it took two spectacular goals from on loan striker Logan Chalmers to win the points when it looked like we were heading for defeat and a disappointing performance. It might be seen as papering over the cracks for now, but I'll take that over a disappointing defeat. Raith ended the game with nine men as Ben Williamson was sent off with the last puff of the whistle, their search for a win over Inverness heading towards 22 years and counting. MotM might well go to Chalmers for his two late strikes as prior to that we looked incapable of breaking down Rovers, even when they were reduced to ten men. Billy Dodds post match Match Reaction to follow... Scenes... Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts 1. Kilmarnock 30 17 5 8 41 21 56 2. Arbroath 30 14 12 4 41 22 54 3. Inverness CT 30 12 10 8 41 29 46 4. Partick Thistle 29 12 9 8 41 30 45 5. Raith Rovers 30 10 12 8 37 37 42 6. Morton 30 8 11 11 33 40 35 7. Hamilton Ac. 30 8 11 11 35 45 35 8. Ayr United 30 8 8 14 30 44 32 9. Q.O.S. 30 6 8 16 30 44 26 10. Dunfermline 29 4 14 11 27 44 26 *Dunfermline v Partick on Tuesday night* Next Saturday Arbroath v Raith Rovers Hamilton v Queens Inverness CT v Dunfermline Killie v Partick Morton v Ayr Utd Full Highlights from Raith TV John McGlynn speaking on Raith TV Date: 19/03/2022 Venue: Stark's Park, Kirkaldy Attendance: 1591 Referee: Colin Steven Raith Rovers: 2 Manager: John McGlynn Lineup: MacDonald (Thomson 24); Musonda, Berra (Tumilty 38), Benedictus, Mackie, Connolly, Williamson, Stanton, Varian, Poplatnik (Dick 73), Ross (Mathews 73) Subs (not used): Young, Arnott, Zanatta Scorers: Connolly (13), Poplatnik (30) Booked: Stanton (20), Williamson (56), Dick (90+3) Sent Off: Benedictus (71), Williamson (90+4) Inverness CT: 3 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: C Mackay; Carson, Broadfoot, Devine (Harper 66) Deas, Hardy (Samuels 54), Welsh, McAlear, Doran (Chalmers 66), Sutherland (Walsh 77) Mckay Subs (not used): Ridgers; Hyde, Pearson, Duffy, Samuels Scorers: Sutherland (27), Chalmers (89, 90+2), McAlear (90+5) Booked: Welsh (70), Broadfoot (71), Samuels (76) Sent Off: none a
  24. The slide goes on On a pitch resembling the aftermath of the battle of the Somme, Inverness blew any lingering hopes of promotion with another unacceptable performance at Firhill. Billy Dodds keeps telling us that training is going well. Stats will show something like nineteen shots with only one on target. What the hell do we actually practice? On the plus side, a cut and paste of his post match report will suffice as it's been the same story for almost three months now. Absolutely abysmal, the lifeblood seems to have been sucked right out of the whole team, management and long suffering support. Kevin Holt scored the only goal in the 85th minute after a low corner was driven through a ruck of bodies in the penalty box into the centre of the goal. Game over, season over and surely Dodds over and out! Partick had made four changes from the side that drew at Arbroath. Richard Foster and midfielders Connor Murray and Robbie Crawford all started alongside Colombian Juan Alegria. For Inverness, Cammy Mackay continued in goal with Mark Ridgers on the bench and David Carson replaced Lewis Hyde in the starting XI. Millions of chances for both sides but very few on target. Alegria hit the woodwork in a first half mostly dominated by Partick. However, for professional footballers to fail to strike the ball properly for ninety minutes it's an utter embarrassment. Same old same old... Match reaction from BBC Sport Partick Thistle manager Ian McCall: "It's a big three points. I thought in the first half we dominated, but in the second half Caley Thistle were better than us. "But at Firhill one goal can win a game and Kevin Holt got us that tonight with his right foot. I think any of the top five could win the league and we are in the top five." Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager Billy Dodds: "We are suffering at both ends because we aren't taking those chances and we are getting punished from the one shot Partick Thistle have in the second half. "It's a sore one to take because I thought in the second half we were excellent. There's eight games to go - we need to win nearly every one of them." Excuse me Billy, considering we have not won any of the last eleven, are you being a tad optimistic? It's certainly a big ask. Date: 04/03/2022 Venue: Firhill, Glasgow Attendance: 2099 Referee: Colin Steven Partick Thistle: 1 Manager: Ian McCall Lineup: Sneddon; Foster, Mayo, Holt, McKenna, Bannigan (Bell 90), Graham, Murray (Smith 62), Crawford (Turner 62), Doherty, Alegria (Jakubiak 70) Subs (not used): Firth; Akinola, Stanway, Hendrie, McAllister Scorers: Holt (85) Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: C Mackay; Carson, Broadfoot, Devine, Deas, Pearson (Sutherland 45), Welsh, McAlear, Doran (Chalmers 75), Samuels (Hardy 45), B Mckay Subs (not used): Ridgers; Duffy, Hyde, Harper, Walsh, Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  25. Entertaining draw Accies took an early lead through Josh Mullin after a defensive blunder by Reece McAlear. Great finish from the Accies player though as he arrowed the ball high into the net from twenty yards. We levelled when Sam Pearson scored his first goal for the club on the half hour and that's how it stayed at the break, although David Moyo almost got a touch on a low ball fizzed into the box just on the whistle. No further scoring after the break despite plenty of opportunities at both ends and Joe Hardy almost snatched it at the end with the last kick of the ball. Good point, but ten games without a win now. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness were looking to halt their alarming slump and Accies were trying to close the gap towards the top five. A television audience would see it all unfold. Would the visitors show the reason for their dramatic slump and will Accies show that they are over their poor start to the season. All will be revealed. Usual long term absentees for Inverness in Allardice and MacGregor (if found please return to the Caledonian Stadium), with Ridgers, Duffy Chalmers and Carson added to the missing list. Devine made a surprise return with Tom Walsh on the bench alongside with Ryan Esson as cover for the keeper. Accies were without keeper Joe Hilton, defender Jamie Hamilton and midfielder Lewis Smith. Ryan Fulton put the gloves on with Joe Hilton missing. Inverness set the ball rolling and Accies almost benefited from a blunder by Kirk Broadfoot inside a minute. Kai Kennedy burst forward but thankfully Danny Devine made up the ground to block his route, the ball rebounding for a goal kick to the visitors. The first effort came from Accies when Kennedy raced down the left before picking out Josh Mullin with his cross but he headed just over the bar. All the early pressure was coming from Hamilton as they pressed the Inverness defence on the artificial surface and they took the lead in the thirteenth minute when McAlear fluffed his clearance. Mullin took full advantage and fired a shot from the corner of the box high into the net to give Cammy Mackay no chance. Inverness were finding it difficult to create anything in the opening twenty minutes as we headed towards ten without a win. In our first attack with intent, Sam Pearson picked up a rebound from keeper Fulton to slot home after the goalie had denied Aaron Doran from eight yards. Accies responded again and Mackay saved well from a stinging shot by Spence from the edge of the box. Big shout for a penalty as Robbie Deas looked to be pushed to the ground inside the box as he tried to get to an Aaron Doran free kick, but Alan Muir was not interested. Pearson's trickery brought Inverness a free kick in a dangerous position on the right, but the free kick was wasted five minutes before the interval. HALF TIME: 1-1 No changes at the break for either side and Accies continued on the front foot. Cammy Mackay made an excellent punched clearance from a dangerous inswinging corner as the hosts pushed forward. Billy Mckay forced Fulton into a super save as he was fed through on to the edge of the box, the keeper diving to his right to push the ball round the post for a corner as the Caley Jags ventured forth. Harper replaced Devine on the hour in Danny's first game back after a month out through injury and soon after Shane Sutherland replaced Aaron Doran. Cammy Mackay was in the right place to pluck a volley out of the air and his kick forward sent Billy Mckay through on goal but his shot was clawed away by Fulton with his fingertips. Another inch or two and it was in. Sutherland fed Pearson inside the box but his shot was weak and it went wide of the mark. The game had really opened out and the ball was flying back and fore with Mullin unfortunate to see a snapshot bounce away from the base of the post after a scrambulation in the visitors box. Anyone's game with fifteen minutes to go and a frantic finish to the game already in progress. Good spell for the Caley Jags ended when a speculative shot from Andy Ryan found Moyo coming in at the back post but Mackay spread himself well to block the shot from six yards. McAlear might have done better with a shot from the edge of the box as play swung to the other end, but the keeper saved comfortably. Four minutes of time added on came and went and Fulton saved Accies with his legs as Joe Hardy shot from a tight angle. That was the last action of a highly entertaining game as Inverness go ten games without a win. FULL TIME: 1-1 Despite plenty of opportunities created from both sides a draw was probably a fair result with both managers thinking they could have won this game. Some great goalkeeping on display at both ends given that both keepers are not first choice, so credit to them for stepping in and playing so well. Lewis Hyde never looked out of place either. Nine games left to salvage our season, that's a possible 36 points. To put it into perspective and give it some context, our last nine games gained us only six points From BBC Sport Hamilton head coach Stuart Taylor: "It was always going to be a difficult game, Inverness are an organised side and defensively very strong so it was important we kept a hold of the ball and tried to probe opportunities. We did that but we just need to be a little more ruthless and take our chances." Inverness CT manager Billy Dodds: "I felt as though we had chances to win it but I think Hamilton will be saying exactly the same. We made Ryan Fulton work with great chances rather than not being clinical enough. "There is always pressure. Pressure is game to game in this division when it comes to the crux of it. Tonight my players showed they are desperate to win games and we are close to going on a run again." Date: 25/02/2022 Venue: Fountain of Youth, Hamilton Attendance: 1187 Referee: Alan Muir Hamilton: 1 Manager: Stuart Taylor (head coach) Lineup: Fulton; Lawson, Popescu, O’Reilly, MacDonald, Mimnaugh (Ryan 78), Mullin, Spence (Martin 69), Redfern (Brown 69), Kennedy (Winter 85), Moyo Subs (not used): J Smith; Easton, Hughes, Shiels, Nicolson Scorers: Mullin(13) Booked: O'Reilly (23) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: C Mackay; Hyde, Broadfoot, Devine (Harper 62), Deas, Pearson (Hardy 78), Welsh, McAlear, Doran (Sutherland 68), Samuels, B Mckay Subs (not used): Esson; L Nicolson, Walsh Scorers: Pearson (31), Deas(75) Booked: McAlear (30) Sent Off: none a
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