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  1. Cove Test On Tuesday night 25 year old Inverness Caledonian Thistle welcome the newest club to make the leap into the football leagues. Former Highland League outfit Cove Rangers have stepped up after gaining promotion into League Two since removing Berwick Rangers from the League set-ups. Congratulations to Cove and I'm sure they will make an impact. It's more Betfred action with Inverness looking to recover after a poor start in their opening fixture at Peterhead. We clawed ourselves back into the equation with a 4-1 win over Raith Rovers at the weekend. Goals from Jordan White, Coll Donaldson, Aaron Doran and Nikolay Todorov saw us take the full three points. That sets us up nicely for Tuesday's game against Cove at the Caledonian Stadium. We made life difficult for ourselves against Raith but a couple of swift strikes after they equalised was enough to take the wind out of their sails as we upped the pace and pulled away from them. Despite a lethargic first half, we ended the game well on top with some promising performances. Tom Walsh was the pick of the players on show with three assists, and there were excellent contributions from David Carson, James Keatings Jamie McCart and at times, James Vincent. Overall a deserved win and gives the fans some encouragement for the campaign ahead. The grass looked great as well! Cove began their new chapter with a narrow 2-1 defeat at Peterhead. Only the woodwork, twice, denied Cove from taking something from this game. They went even closer with a 0-0 draw against Dundee before the Premiership relegated Dark Blues took the bonus point after winning the penalty shoot-out 3-2. Daniel Park almost gave Cove the lead but his effort crashed back off the bar. Still, a tremendous performance in front of near 1500 appreciative fans. Sean Welsh and Shaun Rooney are out longer term. Brad Mckay missed the Raith game as did Kevin McHattie, both pulled a sickie. Carl Tremarco took a nasty knock against Raith but it takes a lot to stop the wee man from playing on. Good to see Aaron Doran and Daniel Mackay getting some game time, Mackay scoring twice for a young squad at Brora on Friday night. Cove were without several first choice players against Dundee, notably experienced captain Mitch Megginson. Daniel Higgins just joined the day before the Dundee game and was exceptional in defence. He had previously played under Paul Hartley when at Dens Park. Let's hear it for head groundsman Dale Stephen and his team as they have transformed the playing surface from Wet Sand to the Green Green Grass of Home in the space of six weeks The surface looked in great nick for the opening game against Raith Rovers at the weekend after six weeks of work improving drainage and re-seeding the grass in around 40 days. You can see more of the progress on the official site by clicking HERE And if you have some spare time Dale, my garden is in a bit of a boorach. Just sayin............
  2. ICT 4-1 Raith First game on the new grass and it we christened it with three points in our Group D game against Raith Rovers to put us third in the table on four points. In the other group game, Dundee earned the bonus penalty point to top the group on seven after a 0-0 draw with Peterhead who have six. Inverness eventually eased past Raith Rovers for their first win in the competition this season. However, despite getting an early opener through the head of Jordan White, we failed to build on that in an underwhelming first half where creating opportunities seemed to be somewhat difficult. Fortunately Raith were in no position to take advantage and the first half ended at 1-0 with Rovers building in confidence. Coll Donaldson picked up a needless booking for kicking the ball away after conceding a free kick in time added on at the break. Doh! The second half was only five minutes in when Rovers equalised after we gave them some space down the left flank. When the ball came in Lewis Allan drove it behind Ridgers from 15 yards, the assist coming from Kieran MacDonald. That stirred the hosts into action and within eight minutes we had scored twice to settle the tie. Firstly Coll Donaldson glanced a header in from a Tom Walsh corner and a few minutes later Aaron Doran rounded off a lovely move down the right and hit Walsh's cross first time into the net after a step over from White. Walsh was the instigator in most things ICT and he ghosted through three or four players before forcing Munro to tip his 25 yard effort over the bar for a corner. But he wasn't finished yet and substitute Nocolay Todorov ended the scoring when he headed Walsh's superb cross home from close range. Here's hot Toddy heading home his first for the club........... It's still early in the season but you can sense some promise on the park. We did appear a little cagey in the first half despite the early goal. David Carson is not a right back but he is very energetic and looks like he will be a good box to box midfielder. Donaldson took his goal well as did Doran, and good to see both striker and understudy score. James Keatings has plenty to offer once he is fully up to speed. My MotM today was Tom Walsh who was the man that made us go through the gears as we eased away from Raith Rovers who were well beaten by the end of the game. Tom talking after his MotM performance against Rovers......... And Robbo gives his thoughts post match............ Footage from Raith TV Date: 20/07/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1054 Referee: Gavin Ross Inverness CT: 4 Lineup: Ridgers; Carson, Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco, Doran (Curry 83), Trafford, Vincent, Walsh, Keatings (MacGregor 72), White (Todorov 78). Subs (not used): C Mackay, Nicolson, Harper, Brown. Scorers: White, Donaldson, Doran, Todorav Booked: Donaldson (45+1) Sent Off: none Raith Rovers: 1 Lineup: Munro; Miller, Benedictus, Mendy, MacDonald, McKay, Hendry (Tait 89), Davidson, Anderson (Bowie 78), Allan (Vitoria 82), Mathews. Subs (not used): Watson, Smith. Scorers: Allan Booked: Miller (36), Benedictus (20) Sent Off: none a
  3. New Turf for Betfred Cup Action. Raith Rovers are the visitors on Saturday for our second Betfred group stage game. Both sides will be looking to do better after underwhelming opening results in the competition where Dundee and Peterhead top the group D table with 5 points. We will unveil our newly grassed surface after improvement work on the drainage and soil was undertaken in the closed season. Well done to Dale Stephen and his team for getting the pitch ready for action Here's a wee glimpse of the new grass pictured a week ago, and what a difference they have made in the space of a few weeks. From a sandy lunar surface to the green green grass of home since it was all dug up at the end of last season. Let's hope we can put the grass to good use and start off with a win. We drew 0-0 with Peterhead in our opening group game at Balmoor Stadium. The hosts took the bonus point after an astonishing penalty shoot-out. All the outfield players on the park at full time scored their spot kicks and it boiled down to keepers Mark Ridgers and Greg Fleming. Unfortunately, Ridgers sliced his kick and Fleming made it 11-10 to win the extra point. Raith went down 3-0 to relegated Dundee in their opening game at Starks Park. Raith have always proven to be difficult opponents and I expect no different tomorrow. Let's hope we don't need a 94th minute Richie Foran overhead kick to win the game this time round. In saying that, it's 19 years since they last beat Inverness! Rovers last victory was a 2-1 win in the First Division back in October 2000, and since then, they’ve managed just two draws in 18 meetings. The last time the sides met was in the same competition a year ago, when a late Daniel McKay goal sealed a 2-1 win for the home side after Grant Gillespie had brought Rovers level, following Nathan Austin’s opener. We also face another testing time at home on Tuesday night as new League Two side Cove Rangers come to Inverness. Cove showed their resilience against last seasons Premiership fall guys, Dundee by drawing with them at the Balmoral Stadium. However, they suffered the same fate as us in the penalty shoot-out for the bonus point. We have a number of injury worries ahead of this game. Sean Welsh is still unavailable after breaking his foot last season. Shaun Rooney is out for a couple of months and Brad Mckay was taken off with a hamstring injury at Peterhead. Daniel Mackay and Aaron Doran were also missing on Tuesday night, and Kevin McHattie has reported in injured. Robbo has hinted that we could see more youngsters due to potential injury problems. That could mean a start for Harry Nicolson at right back or maybe Cameron Harper given our defensive issues. It will also be an opportunity for home fans to get a glimpse of our new signings. James Keatings, James Vincent and David Carson are likely starters with Mitchell Curry and Nokolay Todorov maybe getting an airing at some point. And if you haven't already seen young Brazilian Matheus Machado playing, look out for him. He's going to be a star one day and big things are predicted for him along with Roddy MacGregor (he's one of our own). Plenty to ponder for John Robertson who was less than impressed with the way Peterhead dominated large spells of the game last Tuesday night. There was a hastily arranged friendly at Brora on Friday night and the good news is that Daniel Mackay (pictured right) played from the start and on his return from injury scored two goals in the first half, one from the spot. That game ended 2-2. Remember to have a listen to The Wyness Shuffle podcast created by some of our own fans for your pleasure. Here's the Official Preview from ICTFC. Lot of info in there. If you like a wee flutter, our new partnership with FansBet can offer you something. Just click on FansBet to get started. "Remember to select CaleyThistleOnline when you register and you’ll be helping us support ICT fan causes." FansBet are partners with Supporters Direct Scotland and already have many impressive stories of giving back to and empowering fans, ranging from funding away travel, share purchases, backing safe standing projects and many more. You can read some of FansBet’s Giving Back stories on their blog at https://blog.fansbet.com/fansbet-giving-back/partners/fan/ Here's the page for INVERNESS v RAITH where FansBet have ICT as big favourites to win. Just click on Scottish League Cup. Let's hope they are right! Always remember to adopt safe gambling and responsible policies.
  4. Advantage United John Robertson's side were reduced to ten men just after half time and that swung the pendulum towards the visitors. Jordan White headed against the post in the first half, but Liam Polworth was red carded three minutes after the break. Despite the numerical advantage, Inverness made United work hard for their break and it came in the 78th minute after substitute Nicky Clark hit the post and Paul McMullan slotted in the rebound. Harsh on Inverness who had battled really hard to make up for the loss of Polworth. Only half time in the tie though and still all to play for at Tannadice where we won 2-1 in the Scottish Cup. United will know they will be in for a hard time and our lads will give it everything, similar to tonight. Great effort with Shaun Rooney outstanding. Jamie McCart was immense at the back and Mark Ridgers assured dealing with early crosses. Aaron Doran looked lively early on before fading in the second half when we were down to ten. The winners over the two legs will face either St Mirren or Hamilton Accies. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ On BBC Sport:- Inverness CT manager John Robertson: "We don't feel it's a red car. It could easily have sufficed with a yellow. For the referee to change the whole complexion of the game on that incident - we feel hard done by. "I can understand why he's given it - we know the laws of the game. It is what it is. We are 1-0 down. We've won at Tannadice before. We go down there full of confidence." Dundee United manager Robbie Neilson: "Pleased with tonight but by no means are we on easy street now. We've got a tough, tough game coming up. "The sending off has a bearing on the game. I've been delighted with Paul McMullan since I came in. He's got potential to really go far in the game because he's got that pace and he's got the fitness levels as well." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness were without the injured Tom Walsh and Carl Tremarco, with Anthony McDonald and Kevin McHattie starting. Dundee United had a clean bill of health after a ten day break whilst Inverness had battled through two tough games against Ayr United to get here. It was a wonderful sunny evening as United took to the park in front of a healthy and vociferous travelling support of over 1,000, welcoming their team into the Caledonian Stadium as if they had won the world cup itself. The North Stand was sparsely populated and like a morgue in comparison. Apathy rules in the Highland capital I'm afraid. The visitors kicked off and Coll Donaldson was immediately the target of their small minded section who took every opportunity to have a go at him as he won a free kick inside the first minute. Get over him Arabs. Liam Polworth fired a cross into the box which Siegrist parried clear as we made our intentions clear, but it was Mark Ridgers that had to make the first save after Peter Pawlett fed Osman Sow and Ridgers saved down low as the big striker smothered his shot from a good position. Polworth headed on to Joe Chalmers and the Dingwall target fired just wide as the game ebbed and flowed in the evening light. In the 23rd minute, Jordan White almost broke the deadlock as his header back across the keeper bounced off his right post, Siegrist beaten but the rebound was smuggled clear. The hosts were getting on top and a poor clearance by the United keeper almost led to a chance for White and Polworth, but it was snuffed out for a corner. From the clearance, the energetic Shaun Rooney fired a shot from Richie Hart area a couple of yards over the bar. United's main threat was Paul McMullan, he of dubious diving decisions and errant hand balls. Tonight he was simply playing football and his pace was causing Kevin McHattie a torrid time. Ridgers had to be alert to catch a high shot towards goal from the wee neckless hunchback as he demonstrated his menace. Pavol Safranko shot wide from the resultant corner. Siegrist gathered a White header as we pressed for the opener, but it lacked any power to beat the keeper. To the delight of the Dundee United fans, Coll Donaldson was booked for felling Pawlett, the biggest cheer since the teams came out onto the park. Right on half time he foolishly gave away another free kick on the edge of the box, the forward heading away from the box but Coll tested the patience of the referee and brought another round of soccer rage from the vising fans. The free kick came to nothing fortunately and that brought an end to a high tempo first half with both teams having a go. Half Time 0-0 Safranko stayed in the dressing room after the break with Calum Booth replacing him. It made Donaldson lighter as the big forward had now left his pocket. Three minutes into the second period and disaster for Inverness . As Polworth tried to flick his toe towards the ball on the edge of our box, Mark Connelly lowered his head and made a meal of going down and clutching his face. Surely an ambulance would be called. No, instead of blue lights, we got a red card for Polly who could have made his final contribution for the Caley Jags. Surprisingly there seemed to be little if any damage to the Arabs player who was on his feet soon after. The free kick came to nothing, but the red card changed the dynamics of the game. Aaron Doran and big Jordan linked well with White's shot blocked as he pulled the trigger, close call for United as the ten men continued to cause them problems. None moreso than the marauding Shaun Rooney who was like a duracell bunny all night. United were beginning to wear down Inverness, gradually, and substitute Nicky Clark tested Ridgers with a low drive. Cameron Harper had replaced a tiring Doran by now for the hosts. Ten minutes after coming on, the fresh legs of Clark saw United take the lead. McMullan benefited from a McHattie headed clearance that rattled off his chest, he then toe poked the ball to Clark and he fired a low shot back across the keeper from around the penalty spot. It cannoned off the left hand post of Ridgers and as we failed to react quick enough, McMullan buried the ball low into the net off the opposite post. Incredible set of circumstances and very harsh on the ten men of Inverness who had still looked dangerous on the break. Charlie Trafford had a shot saved and Callum Smith shot over as the game just ran away from us, but what an effort from the guys, just a pity so few bothered to turn up to watch the game and preferred watching on TV or washing their hair. Everything to play for at Tannadice and United will be wary of us. Red card or no red card? Well, if you ask the referee to make a decision and put him on the spot then there's every chance they will get it wrong and ruin what was a highly entertaining game up to that point. Many pundits (and Robbo) reckon a yellow would have sufficed, but we are talking third rate Scottish referee's here. Meh! No failures in the red and blue of the Caley Jags who were best served by sponsors MotM Aaron Doran until he tired, Jamie McCart who continues to impress and was a rock at the back, Charlie Trafford who just keeps getting better and the guy that impressed me with his Tokelyesque marauding runs down the flank, Shaun Rooney. Unfortunately United were best served by the three that mattered most, Nicky Clark, the menacing sprinter Paul McMullan, and Siegrist's right hand post. Doh! Here's the action from the SPFL site And here is Robbo................ Date: 14/05/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2604 Referee: Nick Walsh Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay, Donaldson, McCart, McHattie, Rooney, Trafford, Polworth, Chalmers, Doran (Harper 72), White (Austin 81). Subs (not used): C Mackay, MacGregor, Gunn, McCauley, McDonald. Scorers: none Booked: Donaldson (38), Ridgers (48) Sent Off: Polworth (48) Dundee United: 1 Lineup: Siegrist; Watson, Reynolds, Connelly, Robson, Harkes, Butcher, McMullan (C Smith 85), Pawlett, Sow (Clark 68), Safranko (Booth 45). Subs (not used): Laidlaw; M Smith, Frans, Bouhenna. Scorers: McMullan (78) Booked: Booth (90+1) Sent Off: none a
  5. Lets Work Together It'a double header against United this week in the play-off semi-finals, a place in the Premiership still up for grabs after we disposed of Ayr United at the weekend on a 4-2 aggregate score. Its certainly worth the effort to get behind the lads and give them as much backing as possible as we look to take an advantage down to Tannadice for what will be a difficult game considering the gruelling schedule of the play-offs. So, come on now people, lets work together, every boy, girl, woman and man! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ TICKET PRICES FOR Dundee United ARE AS FOLLOWS: Adult: £15 Concession: £8 Tickets can be bought online HERE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Whilst the Arabs have been sitting back relaxing for a couple of weeks, we have been kind of busy. A 3-1 win at Ayr with Charlie Trafford and Jordan White (2) doing the damage to set us up nicely for the return leg four days later. Ayr sniffed an opportunity after scoring a goal in the first leg through Michael Rose to offer them a glimmer of hope, and that hope became reality after Luke McCowan scored early in the first half at the Caledonian Stadium. The home fans were treated to some entertaining football, unfortunately most of that came from the Honest Men. However, we did eradicate the squeaky bums when Coll Donaldson claimed the goal to ease the tension and see us safely through to meet his chums, Dundee United. And breathe. It had been a tremendous season for Ayr, but it was all over for them at the final whistle as their vocal fans were mutually applauded at the end by manager and players alike. They will know that the likes of Michael Rose and top scorer Lawrence Shankland will be moving on, such is the price to pay for relative success in a league where survival is a threat for all but the most affluent of clubs. Shankland has around thirty clubs tracking him. He is a wonderful striker and how I wish we were one of the clubs after him, but I'm afraid he will be looking for a much bigger wage than we could offer so that'll be a no. For Inverness, playing our 50th game of the season, the torture goes on and after a season of draws (15 now), we are still in with a chance of promotion albeit having to do this by the long route. Never before has a team that finished third or fourth been able to get through the punishing schedule designed to assist the top flight teams and run the legs off the rest. I imagine we will line up something like this. We have a couple of worries ahead of this game with Tom Walsh going off before the hour against Ayr feeling his thigh. He looked slightly off the pace on Saturday and might need to rest up. Anthony McDonald replaced him and did very well when he came on, snapping at the heels and making darting runs, something we missed in the first hour. Captain Carl Tremarco was not involved at all as he recovers from a calf injury and rest is the only cure. Other than that no further injuries that Robbo is willing to mention ahead of this encounter. Key players in this tie will be mainly in defence. Mark Ridgers, Coll Donaldson and Jamie McCart will be crucial to our success as a United side brimming with quality players look to avoid the Dundee derby next season. Aaron Doran and Jordan White will be our main goal threat and if ever we needed Liam Polworth to produce his best, then Tuesday night would be a great time for it. Some good news, James Keatings has signed a two year deal with the Caley Jags. He has played for both Hearts and Hibs and was at Celtic in his early days. His most productive days were at the two Edinbutgh clubs and Hamilton Accies where he scored a total of 41 times. Read more on this at ICTFC. Pavol Safranko and Paul McMullan will be on our radar. But incisive midfielders like Peter Pawlett and Nicky Clark are dangerous on the break. We all know that McMullan is prone to fall inside the area, and maybe get away with handing the ball sometimes, but what we also know is that hidden behind his scheming exterior is a quality player with an eye for goal, definitely one to watch. Are you listening ref! The Arabs have had the luxury of a ten day break since losing to Morton on the 4th of May and even then they afforded some of their players the day off as there was nothing at stake for them. Robbie Neilson was happy enough with that given he has no injuries or red cards to deal with ahead of the play-off. That's the luxury that Robbo is not too happy about, but we knew the rules so let's get on with it. Lastly, The Arabs have a secret weapon in their ranks. The lovely Lorraine Kelly has thrown her hat , scarf and knickers into the ring and is firmly behind the Tangerines in their bid to get back into the Premiership. Or is she? Lorraine had been a lifelong fan of United but since we knocked them out of the Scottish Cup she has changed her allegiance to Inverness. Good on you girl, I'll buy you a breakfast for that. An interesting game in Paisley tonight and I'm sure Robertson and Neilson will be keeping an eye on the outcome as one of these teams will be in the play-off final. At the moment St Mirren are favourites to enter the play-offs being four points behind Hamilton with only two games to go. Cue music from the Great Escape! *** UPDATE ST Mirren 2-0 Hamilton. *** Hello George! Another striker made the Championship headlines this season and it's congratulations to the evergreen Stephen Dobbie who scored a hat-trick at the weekend for his 43rd goal of the campaign. That is a seasons best for a Queen of the South player, Nicky Clark and Jimmy Rutherford jointly having the previous best at 41. As big Bob Hite one said to Johndo: Together we stand, divided we fall. So, Lets work together, every boy, girl, woman and man
  6. One down, two to go. Inverness booked their place in the next stage of the play-offs after a rather uncomfortable 1-1 draw with Ayr United. As expected Ayr came out of the blocks flying and deservedly took the lead through Luke McCowan in the 19th minute. It took until the 79th minute before we eased the pain on the supporters when Coll Donaldson claimed he got a touch on Liam Polworth's inviting free kick into the danger area. It mattered not who scored it, but it was a crucial goal that scuppered Ayr's hopes of taking the tie into extra time. Inverness will now play Dundee United on Tuesday night, the return at Tannadice on the Friday night. St Mirren are in pole position to be the Premiership fall guys unless Accies blow a four point lead going into the final two games, Dundee already relegated. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ TICKET PRICES FOR Dundee United ARE AS FOLLOWS: Adult: £15 Concession: £8 Tickets can be bought online HERE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A noisy crowd in the away end met the teams as they came out on a sunny afternoon at the Caledonian Stadium. Carl Tremarco was still injured and Kevin McHattie started again in a familiar looking side for this crucial second leg tie. Ian McCall had Luke McCowan on from the start and Robbie Crawford was deemed fit enough to take his place in the side. Michael Moffat was on the bench for the Honest Men and top scorer Lawrence Shankland would be the man to keep an eye on. Around 2500 watched this one and Ayr started brightly without causing too much concern. However, it was Jordan White who had the first couple of attempts. The first was blocked by Ross Doohan in the visitors goal after White was fed through on the right side, Doohan blocking as White tried to dink the ball behind him. The second effort was a shot on the turn from the edge of the box which the keeper gathered with ease. From that save, Ayr took the lead when a crossfield pass from Shankland found Declan McDaid scampering down the right flank. His cross took a slight deflection off Jamie McCart's leg but it still found McCowan sprinting across the box to fire high into the net from six yards. Ayr were looking slick at this point and their passing game was outdoing the stifled approach from Inverness who looked a little edgy in the opening half. White saw an effort saved and Robbie Crawford could have done better than shoot wide at the other end. As Inverness upped the pace heading to wards the break Aaron Doran shot wide and they ended the half on top, but a goal behind on the day. Half Time 0-1 Inverness were dealt a blow ten minutes into the second half as Tom Walsh left the field feeling his hamstring to be replaced by Anthony McDonald. McDaid shot wide as Ayr looked to level the aggregate score and Mark Ridgers had to look smart to deny a header from Skankland. McDaid and Crawford were next to go wide as Inverness restricted the visitors to trying speculative efforts, but it was an uneasy spell for the hosts. We began to get to grips with the game and Jamie McCart headed wide and a couple of minutes later we were level. Aaron Doran was fouled some thirty yards from goal wide on the left. Liam Polworth curled an inviting ball into the mix and White and Coll Donaldson were left unmarked as they both rose for the ball. There was little doubt where the ball ended up, but Donaldson claimed he touched it with his hair and the relief in the stands was instant as Coll took the plaudits from the North Stand, his first goal this season. Ayr almost went in front again just two minutes later as Andy Murdoch unleashed a thumping shot from outside the box but Ridgers was equal to it. Time was now running out for United to take the game to extra time and their frustration showed as they picked up a couple of late bookings as Inverness looked more assured towards the end of a game they had struggled to control for long spells. Not a classic by any manner or means, but that vital 3-1 win at Somerset Park set Inverness up and enabled them to take it easier than they might have done had the match been all square. Great contributions from MotM Coll Donaldson with his partner Jamie McCart also playing well as we defended in depth at times. Aaron Doran was the pick of the forwards as he twisted and turned his way down the wing and Jordan White showed his worth once more, using his power and height to good effect. All in, not a great spectacle, and Ian McCall seems a bit miffed that his side were the best team over the two legs. I've got news for you Ian, Inverness play Dundee United on Tuesday night and Ayr United's wonderful season has ended. So Caledonian Stadium on Tuesday night and Tannadice on Friday night. A schedule John Robertson has voiced his concerns over preferring the option of Wednesday and Sunday. The winners will play St Mirren or Hamilton who meet on Monday night and that could decide who is in the play-off final. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Here's the managers speaking to BBC Sport Inverness manager John Robertson: "It's a strange situation defending a two-goal lead at home - it's awkward. The players weren't sure whether to go for it or to sit back and we were a bit safe. I thought we looked very nervous in the first 15-20 minutes. Ayr got a beautifully-worked goal and that woke us up a bit. These matches are done over 180 minutes and we've come through it." Ayr manager Ian McCall: "I'm very disappointed. I'm very proud of the players and what they've put in over two years and a lot of them will be leaving us for bigger clubs. I thought we were the better team in both games in terms of playing football and passing the ball but ultimately theses games are about getting through. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Not the best performance ever, but this was all about getting through to the next round of the play-off and so far it's mission accomplished with more difficult games to come. Good backing for the Ayr players must have given them a lift when they came on to the park and the moved the ball around better with Inverness looking edgy trying to protect that two goal cushion. Anyway, job done so far. Here's the goals from yesterdays game. No doubt about the Ayr scorer, but difficult to see who got the final touch although Donaldson is claiming the Inverness goal. Here's Johnny................... Date: 11/05/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2323 Referee: Steven McLean Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay (Rooney 63), Donaldson, McCart, McHattie, Walsh (McDonalld 54), Trafford, Polworth, Chalmers, Doran, White. Subs (not used): C Mackay, Harper, MacGregor, McCauley, Austin. Scorers: Donaldson (79 maybe) Booked: McHattie (89) Sent Off: none Ayr United: 1 Lineup: Doohan; Smith, Muirhead, Rose, Harvie, Crawford, Murdoch, Kerr (Cadden 83), McDaid (Miller 77), Shankland, McCowan (Moffat 65) Subs (not used): Hare-Reid; Forrest, Ecrepont, Docherty. Scorers: McCowan (19) Booked: Muirhead (29), Smith (45+1), Harvie (83), Shankland (87) Sent Off: none a
  7. Opportunity Knocks Inverness have a great opportunity of progressing to the next stage of the play-offs after gaining a 3-1 advantage from the first leg at Somerset Park thanks to goals from Charlie Trafford and a Jordan White brace. Whoever gets through, they will face Dundee United at their own ground on the 14th May, then again at Tannadice on the 17th May. It's a tough schedule and not for the weak. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Just day until we face Ayr United in the Premiership Play-Off Quarter-Final Second-Leg Who's coming along to get behind the Caley Jags in tomorrow's big game? Tickets available online Adult £12/ Concession £6/ Under 12s FREE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Given this week of comebacks of biblical proportions, think Liverpool Tottenham, it's not inconceivable that this tie has a bit to run yet. The first goal will be seen as vital by both clubs. An Inverness goal would virtually kill the tie, a goal for the visitors could well put a spanner in the works. Remember that away goals do not count in the event of the games finishing level over the two legs. The team that scores the most goals over the two legs go through to the next round. If the scores are level over the two legs then there will be extra-time and then penalties if required. What that means is if Ayr were to win 2-0, not absurd by any manner or means given our poor home results, we would be going into extra-time and the possibility of penalties. Bricking it yet? It was a somewhat controversial victory at Ayr with Ian McCall claiming our second goal was offside and the third should not have been a penalty. He always was a greetin faced wee nyaff with a chip on his shoulder if you ask me. It was a hard fought win on Tuesday night. Charlie Trafford broke the deadlock in the first half and Jordan White clipped in the second. Michael Rose pulled one back but White converted a penalty to restore our two goal cushion and that's how it ended. Those goals were White's 15th & 16th of the season. Not a bad return from the big fellow after a slow start. Here's the match video of the goals so you can judge for yourself if McCall was justified in his rant. Inverness have no further injury worries after the first leg. Coll Donaldson came through unscathed after being subbed against Dunfermline the week before. Carl Tremarco missed the game at Ayr with a calf injury with Kevin McHattie stepping up to the plate with ease. The injured Sean Welsh has signed a two year extension to his contract. Good news for Inverness fans and let's hope Sean makes a full and quick recovery from his current broken foot. Team News from Ayr:- Steven Bell, Jamie Adams, Craig Moore and Andy Geggan are out with injuries. Robbie Crawford was replaced at half time in the first leg and will be a doubt One man to be wary of is Lawrence Shankland who collected a new award this week. He picked up the inaugural Ladbrokes Championship Tartan Ball for finishing as top scorer in the league with 24 goals. Amongst that was a four goal haul at Tannadice when Ayr thumped the Arabs 5-0. Here's all his league goals for the season. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you like a wee flutter, new partnership with FansBet can offer you something. Just click on FansBet to get started. "Remember to select CaleyThistleOnline when you register and you’ll be helping us support ICT fan causes." FansBet are partners with Supporters Direct Scotland and already have many impressive stories of giving back to and empowering fans, ranging from funding away travel, share purchases, backing safe standing projects and many more. You can read some of FansBet’s Giving Back stories on their blog at https://blog.fansbet.com/fansbet-giving-back/partners/fan/ Always remember to adopt safe gambling and responsible policies.
  8. Third it is After all the speculation as to where we would finish in the league, a 1-0 victory over Dunfermline coupled with Ayr drawing with Alloa ensured we would finish third in the table. That means that the first play-off game will be on Tuesday night at Somerset Park with the return leg at the Caledonian Stadium the following Saturday. Ticket prices have been set at £12 for this game. We achieved this by virtue of a 1-0 defeat of the Pars in a low key game, but one that had an extra £75K bonus for finishing third tagged on to it. Nathan Austin tapped in the winner after a couple of bloopers saw him pick up the loose ball to score easily. Stuart Morrison's chest high pass back was not cleared successfully by keeper Cammy Gill and Austin was left with the simple task of rolling the ball into the net. Simples. John Robertson was without the injured Carl Tremarco and Sean Welsh. Mark Ridgers returned between the sticks after his finger dislocation at Hampden and Jamie McCart, Aaron Doran and Liam Polworth were all benched to give them a break. Darren McCauley and Nathan Austin had rare starts and Kevin McHattie deputised for Tremarco. Jordan White headed wide in the opening minutes and Nathan Austin shot past as we looked to open the scoring. It was however a bit like an end of season game. Wait a minute, that's exactly what it was. Tom Walsh and Austin had further attempts to score and at the other end Mark Ridgers was called into action to deny Bruce Anderson with a comfortable save, the shot lacking any real conviction. Joe Chalmers fired a free kick narrowly over, the ball rippling the roof of the net as it dipped just over the bar and one minute later Inverness broke the deadlock. Stuart Morrison was in no danger when he tried to pass back to keeper Cammy Gill. Unfortunately for Cammy, the ball arrived around head height. He tried to chest it down before hoofing it clear but it bounced off him and Austin reacted well to nick the ball and roll it into the empty net. Calamitous defending but a welcome goal for Austin and the home fans. James Craigen had an effort saved by Ridgers as the Pars tried to respond but we saw out the half to go in at the interval ahead. One worrying moment just on the half time whistle when Caley Thistle Online player of the year Coll Donaldson stretched low to thigh the ball back to Ridgers and looked as though he might have tweaked his thigh muscle slightly. Half Time 1-0 Our fears were confirmed after the break when Jamie McCart replaced Coll, hopefully just a precaution and CTO PotY Donaldson was subbed for Jamie McCart the CTO joint Young Player of the Year (with Tom Walsh). The visitors looked lively at the restart and Kallum Higginbotham's effort was well saved by Ridgers in the top half of the goal. To be honest, it was an uncomfortable second half display by the hosts who were not over exerting themselves, and with Dunfermline unable to take advantage it descended into the proverbial end of season fare. One bright spot was Tom Walsh thumping a shot off the post, the keeper doing well to push the ball onto the wood. We did just enough to hold onto the three points and the result from somerset Park confirmed our third position. Not the most exciting of games, but one with plenty of connotations, and they have been all sorted out now, so Ayr it is on Tuesday night and the prospect of a high energy game back at the Caledonian Stadium next Saturday, and for just £12. Bargain, see you all there. Lots of accolades dished out after the final whistle with Aaron Doran being awarded the Official player of the year by the fans and Tom Walsh the Young Player of the Year. 🏆 Final game, Cammy Gill, look away now..................... Scott Kellacher talking after the game....... OFFICIAL REPORT can be found HERE at ICTFC. Early casualties even before the games kicked off yesterday. Morton parted company with Jonatan Johansson two hours before kick off. A strange one at Palmerston as Queen of the South removed Gary Naysmith at their end of season do, and they still have the play-off's to contend with. WTF! Congratulations are also due to Alloa. Not only did they enable us to climb to third, they have avoided relegation and all done on a shoestring budget. Spare a thought for the Bairns. Scottish cup final in 2015, Scottish third tier 2019/2020 👶 Date: 04/05/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2828 Referee: Graham Beaton Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, Donaldson (McCart 45), Mckay, McHattie, Chalmers, Trafford (Polworth 65), McCauley, Walsh, Austin (Doran 73), White Subs (not used): Mackay; Harper, McDonald, Machado Scorers: Austin (35) Booked: none Sent Off: none Dunfermline Ath: 0 Lineup: Gill; Durnan, Devine, Ashcroft, Craigen, Morrison, Blair (Todd 62), Longridge (Ryan 73), Martin, Higginbotham (McCann 78), Anderson. Subs (not used): Burt; Allan, El Bakhtaoui, Hippolyte. Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  9. Just the Ticket! The final game of the scheduled season will see us play Dunfermline Athletic at the Caledonian Stadium. However, we will have at least another two games and a possible six should we make our way to the play-off final, fingers crossed. All this could see our season extended to Sunday 26th May where we will find out who will join Ross County in the Premiership next season. As well as the play-offs, there is a great ticket offer for next season to be released on 6th May, so no excuses, get yourself sorted and get behind the Caley Jags next season. Your club needs you............ It's been a bit of a slog, but we managed to get ourselves a second chance at promotion after a slow burner of a season where draws were the order of the day for ICT. We are the draw specialists, Morton running us close, but at 14 draws our run for promotion was seriously curtailed. However, despite being interspersed with some excellent results and mediocre performances, we have managed to stay in touch with the play-off zone for most of the season and we will get our opportunity to progress as a reward for our perseverance. Last time out we had a tough time at Alloa before overhauling them with two rapid goals in the second half. Shaun Rooney rifling home from the edge of the box and Charlie Trafford weighing in with his first goal for the club. That was enough to secure the points after a first half penalty had been scored by Alan Trouten. Worryingly, Carl Tremarco had to come off injured before the end and that is bad news with the extra games looming. Dunfermline's season frittered away after a promising spell when they won a shitload of games to jump above us a couple of months ago. They stuttered badly in the run-in and they have now dropped to sixth, two points below Morton who beat the Pars 2-1 at the weekend. So tight has been the bottom half of the league they could plummet even further if results go against them this weekend. Other games on matchday 36 are Ayr United -V- Alloa, Falkirk -V- Ross County, Morton -V- Dundee United, Queen of the South -V- Partick Thistle. Final day of the season and still lots to be decided. Dunfermline were the side that scuppered our progress last season with a goal late into time added on to time added on. So be it. I won't dwell too much on the game on Saturday, suffice to say we have qualified for the promotion play-offs after a roller coaster season, a Scottish Cup semi-final and some rip roaring derby's in the Highlands. The carrot is dangling if we want more next season. For your information, here are the Play-Off dates, times and TV coverage. ** Tuesday May 7 or Wednesday May 8, 2019 Premiership play-off quarter-final, 1st leg 4th in Championship v 3rd in Championship ** Tuesday May 7 if Ayr United finish fourth ** Wednesday May 8 if Inverness CT finish fourth Saturday May 11, 2019 Premiership play-off quarter-final, 2nd leg 3rd in Championship v 4th in Championship Tuesday May 14, 2019 Premiership play-off semi-final, 1st leg 3rd or 4th in Championship v 2nd in Championship (Dundee United) Live on BT Sport, kick-off 7.45pm Friday May 17, 2019 Premiership play-off semi-final, 2nd leg 2nd in Championship (Dundee United) v 3rd or 4th in Championship Live on BT Sport, kick-off 7.45pm Thursday May 23, 2019 Premiership play-off final, 1st leg 2nd or 3rd or 4th in Championship v 11th in Premiership Live on BT Sport, kick-off 7.45pm Sunday May 26, 2019 Premiership play-off final, 2nd leg 11th in Premiership v 2nd or 3rd or 4th in Championship Live on BT Sport, kick-off 3.00pm Play off prices on Official Site Pars boss Stevie Crawford has Jackson Longridge suspended after a red card last week. Striker Andy Ryan and defender Lewis Martin have made comebacks recently and will be looking for a start. Robbo had talked about keeping the momentum going ahead of the play-offs and the extra £75K will come in handy, but self preservation will also be important and I see little point in wearing out our already knackered first choice squad with crucial games ahead. May the fourth be with you Robbo........... Mark Ridgers has been recovering from his dislocated finger, and it's fantastic news for the fans and the club that Mark has signed a new deal to keep him at Inverness for another couple of years. Hope yer finger is better. Sean Welsh is out with a broken foot. Carl Tremarco was injured at Recreation Park and will miss out with a possible calf tear. Others are flagging as our thin squad gets stretched every week. Robbo will have options though. Coll Donaldson made a welcome return last week and Brad Mckay will return after suspension. Cammy Mackay has deputised well for the injured Ridgers and Kevin McHattie is a ready made replacement for Tremarco. He could also look to the youth set-up where we have some wonderful players emerging and they are fresh from securing the Under 18's Progressive Tier title. Top bananas to these guys. They trounced none other than Ross County 4-0 on Tuesday afternoon. A full report can be found on the OFFICIAL SITE. Caley Thistle Under 18s secured the Under 18s Progressive Tier title in style as they beat Ross County 4-0 at the Caledonian Stadium thanks to a brace from Roddy MacGregor and goals from Donald Morrison and Matheus Machado. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Just the Ticket Coming soon, there's a great offer for you on the official site if you want to get your season ticket at this years prices, regardless of which division we find ourselves in. Here's hoping it's the Premiership, but the price remains the same. Early Bird Season Tickets for 2019/20 season will go on sale from Monday 6th May. The club would would like to thank everyone who bought a season ticket for season 2018/19 and as we come to the climax of an exciting season with a day in the Hampden sun behind us and with the Premiership Play-Offs looming, the club is pleased to be able to announce that Season Ticket prices have been frozen for those wishing to purchase early. _________________________________________________________________________ If you like a wee flutter, our new partnership with FansBet can offer you something. Just click on FansBet to get started. "Remember to select CaleyThistleOnline when you register and you’ll be helping us support ICT fan causes." FansBet are partners with Supporters Direct Scotland and already have many impressive stories of giving back to and empowering fans, ranging from funding away travel, share purchases, backing safe standing projects and many more. You can read some of FansBet’s Giving Back stories on their blog at https://blog.fansbet.com/fansbet-giving-back/partners/fan/ Always remember to adopt safe gambling and responsible policies.
  10. United lay down marker Inverness went down 2-0 to Dundee United in a potential warm up game for the play-offs. Pavol Safranko opened the scoring in the 27th minute when he drove a volley past Cammy Mackay from fifteen yards and Paul McMullan scored the second just after the interval when he appeared to handle the ball in his build up to the goal. Whilst the Inverness defence appealed for the foul, McMullan ran across them and scored the goal. Despite plenty of opportunities, Inverness failed to capitalise on any of the breaks and United eased home to keep County waiting for the title celebrations. Nathan Austin did not endear himself to the home fans after failing to make the effort to get on the end of an Anthony McDonald shot after the youngster waltzed into the box. Great effort by McDonald, the same could not be said of Austin who tried to chastise the youngster for his own failure to get on the end of his shot. The end result mattered not as Dunfermline failed to get a point at Dumfries meaning Inverness are assured of a play-off place. Maybe Robbo was keeping some aces up his sleeve with a view to some tough play-off games looming. Coll Donaldson was on the bench but no sign of captain Carl Tremarco or the dislocated fingered keeper, Mark Ridgers. Sean Welsh is out for the season. United had plenty in reserve with Paul McMullan and Pavol Safranko the preferred partnership up front. It all looked fairly promising for the hosts in the opening exchanges and Jordan White got a header away in the fifth minute but it was well over the bar. United forced a couple of corners which came to nothing and Tom Walsh brought out a save from Siegrist at the other end. Shortly after this Cammy Mackay dived low to his left to ensure a stifled shot from Safranko stayed outside his posts. Jamie McCart was doing well keeping the back line in order with Coll Donaldson out and Inverness were looking the most likely to open the scoring. Aaron Doran saw Siegrist save his header and Tom Walsh fired a terrific shot from thirty yards which the keeper saved well in the top corner as he managed to push the ball behind for a corner kick. Out of the blue, United scored when Peter Pawlett flicked the ball to Pavol Safranko who volleyed low past a helpless Cammy Mackay from the edge of the box. Good strike and the move was similar to the one Inverness did at Partick when Walsh crashed the ball home. On the half hour Jamie McCart went close with a header, but one minute later we had the crossbar to thank when Paul Watson smacked a header off the woodwork, Mackay looking like he had it covered had it tried to sneak under the bar. Joe Chalmers cleared the rebound away with a header from under the bar. Chalmers was next up with a shot from distance on the right side, the ball almost catching the United keeper out as it bounced in front of him but he reacted well to keep it out somehow. Motherwell bound Liam Polworth also broke on the right side but his effort was neither a cross or a shot an Siegrist gathered. We finished the half strongly but an equaliser eluded us and Inited went in 1-0 ahead. Half Time 0-1 We were left chasing the game five minutes into the second half when Paul McMullan appeared to use an arm to control the ball as he ran across the face of our defence. As we appealed for the free kick, McMullan kept going and tucked the ball behind Mackay for a schoolboy error sickener. We went again and after some tidy build up play Doran found himself in space on the left side of the box. Unfortunately his effort was blocked and the chance went begging. Polly went on a decent run and his parting shot had plenty power but rose over the bar. At the other end, Mackay beat away a sizzling shot from Jamie Robson as United were able to hit effectively on the break. Substitute Nathan Austin was somewhat selfish as he shot weakly from an angle. His memory was substandard as soon after he berated Anthony McDonald for doing exactly the same. In McDonald's case he put in the effort to get his shot away and if Austin had bothered his arse he might well have got on the end of it as he watched it slide the wrong side of the post. This exchange brought about an angry reaction from the North Stand, and deservedly so, but for some it extended too far. United would have scored a third on the break as we continued to chase the game but for a brilliant goal line clearance by Shaun Rooney after some trickery on the right flank and a Robson shot driven to the goal. Three corners came and went for Inverness as we tried to get something from the game, but to no avail. In a final flourish we rained efforts towards the North Stand, unfortunately that's where most of them ended. Bizarrely, Brad Mckay was dismissed given two yellow cards for seemingly being tripped in the box, the inept referee booking Brad for diving I presume then his angry reaction to the yellow brought about another one. What did he expect? 'Oh that's OK ref, just one of those things'. Aye right. Jordan White almost got a late consolation as he turned and shot in the box but Siegrist dived full length to deny the striker. He was denied again just before the final whistle as he powered a good header goalwards, Siegrist again thwarting him with another good save. The United keeper could make a claim to say he was their Man of the Match. It was just one of those days I'm afraid. We had plenty of opportunities but spurned them all through poor shooting and good goal keeping. Jamie McCart was outstanding and get's my vote for Man of the Match. He was well supported by Shaun Rooney, Kevin McHattie and Cammy Mackay in our hastily rearranged defence with Ridgers, Donaldson and Tremarco missing. With Dunfermline also losing, that means we can now relax for the next couple of matches ahead of the play-off games. The other good thing was that the title was not won on our patch. Maybe that was the plan! Match footage from Caley Jags TV Inverness Caley Thistle boss John Robertson on BBC Sport: "We spoke to Paul after it and he was honest enough to admit it hit his arm. Six of our defenders appealed for handball but they've made the cardinal sin of stopping and waiting for the whistle to go. The referee got it poorly wrong." Date: 20/04/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2971 Referee: Greg Aitken Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: C Mackay; Rooney, B Mckay, McCart, McHattie, Doran (Austin 62), Trafford, Polworth (McCauley 68), Chalmers, Walsh (McDonald 67), White Subs (not used): fon Williams; Donaldson, Harper, MacGregor Scorers: none Booked: B Mckay (90+2) Sent Off: B Mckay (90+2 two yellows) Dundee United: 2 Lineup: Siegrist; Watson, Reynolds, Connolly, Robson, Harkes, Butcher (Bouhenna 75), McMullan, Clark (Nesbitt 64), Pawlett (Booth 46), Safranko Subs (not used): Laidlaw; Gomis, Smith, Fyvie, Scorers: Safranko (27), McMullan (49) Booked: Robson (29), Butcher (43) Sent Off: a
  11. Promotion warm up? With a play-off slot almost secured, one of the challengers for the final Premiership place comes North looking to set a marker for the forthcoming Championship shoot-out. Dundee United are the visitors and it's still mathematically possible for them to win promotion outright, but that all depended on the Staggies who held a six point advantage going into their game at Ayr on Friday night. I suppose we can now offer our congratulations to County who beat Ayr 3-1 and they have all but won the Championship given their massive goal difference over Dundee United. I wonder if that result will have any bearing on the way United now approach this game tomorrow knowing that automatic promotion is now a distant memory. Here is the updated table showing County almost unassailable. The other game tomorrow which could affect our push for promotion is the game at Palmerston between Queen of the South and Dunfermline Athletic. In the bottom half, it's even tighter with Falkirk facing Morton and Partick Thistle at home to Alloa Athletic who are on a four game winning streak. Bums will be squeaking for sure this weekend. There was a somewhat untimely release by the club this week in the build up to the season finale with the news that our chief assistmeister and playmaker Liam Polworth will be a Motherwell FC player next season in the Premiership. Liam has been around Inverness Caledonian Thistle since he was eight years old. He has made 214 appearances scoring nineteen goals so far and I'm sure he will go on to produce many more memorable moments on the park, just not our one. That leaves Caley Thistle Online with the job of finding a new player to sponsor as we have been Liam's sponsor since he was in the squad making up the numbers. He can be seen pointing the way to Fir Park where he will wear the Claret & Amber of Motherwell. All the best for the future to 'one of our own'. Admission prices: Official site TICKET INFO Adult (Grown up chiel) Concession (olde git or 16-25 noisy fekker) u16 (sober kids) Main Stand Adult £22 - Concession £17 - u16 £6 North Stand/Arab Stand Adult £20 - Concession £15 - u16 - £6 We inched our way towards a potential Premiership place by earning a point at Cappielow in midweek. A partly depleted squad came back to level the game with Morton in the 88th minute as substitute Darren McCauley slammed a Liam Polwrth pass into the net. Anthony McDonald had opened the scoring with a tremendous solo goal but Reece Lyon equalised for the Ton. Greg Kiltie put them ahead just before the break from the spot and as Morton went defensive, we searched for a leveller which arrived just before the final whistle. Dundee United have drawn with County in Dingwall having been ahead up to the last few seconds and they defeated Ayr 2-1 last time out, Safranko and McMullan overturning Ayr's lead through Bell. There has been four games against Saturdays opponents already this season. A 1-1 draw at Tannadice was followed by a similar scoreline at the Caledonian Stadium in mid-December. United won the next one at Tannadice by a solitary goal against an understrength Caley Jags. The fourth encounter was the Scottish Cup tie with a stronger side on the park and we bossed that one before winning 2-1 with a late Aaron Doran goal proving decisive. Joe Chalmers got the opener and it was an absolute belter. So good it was voted goal of the round, and so good we can have another look, courtesy of William Hill. Coll Donaldson, Mark Ridgers, Carl Tremarco and Sean Welsh all missed out through injury at Greenock, Welsh being out for the season. Anthony McDonald came back in to good effect scoring a superb goal but also took a heavy knock. Tom Walsh had a bit of a rest on the bench. Good to see Darren McCauley scoring the second goal and he should push on now that he has completed his degree studying nutrition at the University of Ulster. Plenty of tired legs and plenty of important players for what will be an exciting finish to a gruelling campaign where our thin squad has been pushed to the limits on a number of occasions. Robbo will have to choose wisely over the coming weeks to get the best out of our already stretched squad. Latest news is that Donaldson, Tremarco and Brad Mckay are all major doubts. Robbo still playing it cagey....... Robbie Neilson has a big squad to choose from and one man he is looking towards as the run in to the season begins is former Hearts forward Osman Sow. He is approaching full fitness and has been used sparingly since joining the Arabs in January because of a calf injury, but Neilson expects him to play a big part in the next few games. He also has plenty of other quality strikers he can call on, Paul (the diver) McMullan, Pavol Safranko, Nicky Clark, Cammy Smith and Peter Pawlett are all vying for the starting slot, so no matter who gets the nod, it's going to be a tough job for any defence. The Official Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year voting has commenced and you can cast your votes by following the link provided. The nominees are: PotY Coll Donaldson Mark Ridgers Aaron Doran Sean Welsh Joe Chalmers Young PotY Jamie McCart Tom Walsh Shaun Rooney Cameron Harper Roddy MacGregor ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Here is the registration page to sign in to FansBet Remember to select CaleyThistleOnline when you sign up and 50% of net profits will be returned to CTO If you like a wee flutter, our new enhanced partnership with FansBet can offer you something. Just click on FansBet to get started. "Remember to select CaleyThistleOnline when you register and you’ll be helping us support ICT fan causes." FansBet are partners with Supporters Direct Scotland and already have many impressive stories of giving back to and empowering fans, ranging from funding away travel, share purchases, backing safe standing projects and many more. You can read some of FansBet’s Giving Back stories on their blog at https://blog.fansbet.com/fansbet-giving-back/partners/fan/ Always remember to adopt safe gambling and responsible policies. .
  12. Refereeing Joke Ruins Derby Using the term 'referee' loosely, Nick Walsh ruined any hope that a fair game would be played out as he sent Charlie Trafford off on half time and proceeded to flash yellow cards willy nilly, especially at those in blue and red. The game was ruined by half time and with County 2-1 ahead after a lack lustre first half from Inverness there was little hope that the hosts would get their noses in front, not with Nick useless Walsh trying to dominate the game. Josh Mullin rifled a shot home in eight minutes before Jordan White won and missed a penalty, Scott Fox guessing right and saving. We did draw level when Carl Tremarco headed home but we shot ourselves in the foot by gifting a sloppy second, Boyle taking advantage of joke defending. With Trafford going off that was it for us and County and Walsh held on for all three points as the weather worsened. Results tonight showed no dramatic changes to the table with Ayr -V- Morton and Queens -V- Falkirk both ending in 1-1 draws. Falkirk climb above Partick Thistle on goal difference at the foot of the table but have played one more game. Top of the table clash on Friday night as County play Dundee United. We face a tough trip to Ayr on the Saturday and the Pars visit Partick Thistle. This was a crucial game for both teams and neither side were able to field their full strength squad due to injuries. Robertson was without engine room penalty taking midfielder Sean Welsh who will miss the rest of the season. County had four or five first team squad players out, notable Michael Gardyne and Keith Watson with Iain Vigurs suffering a setback in his recuperation. Such is their depth of squad it made little difference to their playing routines. A decent day gave way to some heavy showers shortly before kick off and the TV cameras restricted the fans in the stadium. The Inverness fans rightly relished this one after some great performances recently and having held the upper hand in most derby's this season although not always getting the right result. Undiminished, the optimism and belief that we could consolidate within the top four was rife, but that would soon crumble after we made a sluggish start to this encounter. From the kick off, it was evident that County were the team that wanted this more and we were on the back foot in the opening minutes as we defended nervously. Josh Mullin had two or three half chances before he opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Joe Chalmers was disposessed in midfield. It looked innocuous enough as Mullin got the ball but he speared a low shot from outside of the box in the inside right position. However, it arrowed it's way across the keeper and nestled in the bottom right of Mark Ridgers' goal despite a despairing dive from the keeper. All looked a bit soft to me, but 1-0 to the visitors it was. We only had ourselves to blame at this stage as our tackling, passing and commitment were all wayward. This stirred us slightly and just over ten minutes later we were awarded a penalty after Jordan White was released on the right side of the box. As he tried to go round Fox he was sent sprawling and he was awarded a penalty. He took it himself but telegraphed it somewhat to Fox who was cunning enough to have guessed the correct direction and saved the less than impressive spot kick to his right. Meh! Fox only got a yellow for his part in the incident. His next play proved to be more profitable as he headed back for Carl Tremarco to score with a header off the underside of the bar to level the match five minutes later after a good spell from the hosts. On the half hour Charlie Trafford would pick up a booking for a minor foul. That would come back to bite him on the bum before the interval. Ten minutes before the break our recovery process was undone after we lost control of the ball and failed to clear our lines effectively. From the corner, Draper hit the ball into the ground and Andrew Boyle was able to nod the ball home from very close range with a number of defenders looking around and waving their arms at the referee in frustration. Shoddy stuff from the Caley Jags. County now looked to be in control as we reverted to loose passing and half hearted challenges as Declan McManus and Mullin fired efforts at goal. Aaron Doran broke the monopoly and Inverness forced three corners in succession which came to nothing. A free kick brought no joy either, Joe Chalmers hitting the wall. The game changer was upon us. Firstly Ross Draper seemed to bundle Liam Polworth to the ground which the 'referee' chose to ignore. Ten yards further away he penalised Charlie Trafford and gave him his second half baked yellow card which saw Trafford sent for an early bath in the first minute of stoppage time at the interval. Half Time 1-2 Draper had done his job and the County management replaced him at the break. Considering that he already had picked up an early booking and was lucky to stay on the park, that was a shrewd move. There was plenty of effort but little guile as we struggled to create clear openings, Brad McKay coming closest with a header. The weather had now turned decidedly nasty and a vicious swirling wind and sleet, hailstones and rain made conditions difficult and almost impossible to play a passing game. Tom Walsh was our most effective player on the break and he curled a low effort just the wrong side of the post from the left edge of the box. Close, but not close enough. White almost made the right contact with a shot from twelve yards but could not get his foot round the ball enough under pressure from the defender and the shot went wide. Looked as though County hit the bar at one point with a close range header by Lindsay amongst some confusion in our ranks. Conditions were still deteriorating and the Nick Walsh I'm in charge booking extravaganza began. it was almost as if bookings were going out of fashion and four Inverness players were booked in the next six minutes. It seemed as though every tackle was not just a foul, but also a yellow card, yet the visitors were not chastised for anything. Polly was booked for dissent, Rooney for throwing the ball softly towards the shins of a visiting player. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness Caley Thistle manger John Robertson on BBC Sport: "The sending off - they both bookable offences. However, our boys are convinced Ross Draper caught Liam Polworth in the build-up and it could easily have been a red the other way. That was a big game-changer." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Nick Walsh take a bow son, you are absolutely useless, the worst referee in the history of worst referees. The ten men were now physically and mentally drained but we did well to deny County any more goals, Brian Graham having a couple of late attempts. Still time for a late ironic cheer from the Caley Jags fans when Sean Kelly was booked in time added on. That was as good as it got in a hugely disappointing game ruined by a small person with the big chip on his shoulder syndrome. Coll Donaldson was again our best performer with Tom Walsh and Tommy Tremarco putting in a shift. However, we only have ourselves to blame for our poor start to the game where we strolled around making error after error giving County the belief and impetus to go on and win the game. Gone was the passion, commitment and desire of the previous derby's. It had been replaced by shirking tackles, misplaced passes and blaming someone else. All this helped by a totally incompetent official. Nuff said. Video footage from SPFL OFFICIAL youtube Our next game is away to Ayr United on Saturday. Play like we did at the start of this game and it could be a long day. Here's the Top Ten reaction on CTO forum All the mentions of terrible officiating makes it sound like sour grapes...………………..It certainly was not, that Ref was the worst of the season if not in history !!!! Completely ruined the match. Ref decided the game and that was very disappointing. Could have maybe nicked an equaliser but lacked ideas towards the end. Good effort despite being down to ten. The wrong Walsh was substituted. 😂 The refereeing - which is not affecting the score - is now bordering on the ridiculous.Disappointing. Not often I join the ref was a w***** brigade, but where do I join up? Apart from that, our defending at set pieces was poor. Ref killed what was shaping up to be a great game he looked hell bent on booking any player in blue and red for any reason. A new low in refereeing, worse than John McKendrick. I don't believe I've ever witnessed such an inept refereeing performance at any level ever before! It really was a farce. The only tiny mitigating factor might be the fact that the standside linesman was absolutely no help to the ref whatsoever. Geezo we have witnessed some shocking refs through the years, but that must be the worst ever. One word for that.... Shambolic, and I don't mean the players I mean the ref. I'm not one to ever just point fingers at every ref but that was the most incompetent biased and downright laughable officiating I have ever witnessed. The final word will come from this geezer............. Really disappointing. I thought we started poor, got worse, got a lifeline, blew it, got level, fecked up and got a shit ref. Nick Walsh, you are the worst referee ever. Disgusted, North Kessock. With that, I'll let you make your own mind up if the referee was any good! Date: 02/04/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3795 Referee: Nick Walsh 😂 Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay (Rooney 75), Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco (McDonald 85), Chalmers, Trafford, Polworth, Doran, Walsh (Austin 72), White. Subs (not used): C Mackay; McHattie, D Mackay, Machado, Scorers: Tremarco (24) Booked: Trafford (29), McCart (77), Polworth (81), Rooney (82), Chalmers (83) Sent Off: Trafford (45+1 second yellow) Ross County: 2 Lineup: Fox; Fraser, Boyle, van der Weg, Kelly, Mullin, Draper (Spence 45), Lindsay, Armstrong (Graham 71), McManus, Stewart Subs (not used): Munro; Semple, Paton, Cowie, Grivosti Scorers: Mullin (8), Boyle (34) Booked: Draper (9), Fox (21), Kelly (90+2) Sent Off: none a
  13. Staggies staggering to title The staggering Staggies pop over the bridge to play the Caley Jags in this game postponed from a couple of weeks ago after heavy rain had left the pitch somewhat waterlogged. It's the 6th and final Highland derby coming up on Friday night with BBC Scotland getting in on the action from the Caledonian Stadium with Ross County the visitors for a 7:05pm kick off. Every one of these games has been passionate, enthralling, dramatic and left the fans wanting more. Well, it's here, the next installment. Other games being played on the same night are Ayr -V- Morton and Queen of the South -V- Falkirk, so interest at both ends of the table. After last weekend, we are in fourth place but five points ahead of contenders Dunfermline Athletic. Dundee United also suffered a surprise home defeat at the hands of Queen of the South. County remained top, but the gap has narrowed. Our last game was a laboured no score draw against lowly Falkirk on Saturday. A poor first half livened up after the interval but we never got the break of the ball and had Mark Ridgers to thank for making a point blank save in time added on to ensure we got a point. It was an opportunity sidestepped to put more pressure on the teams above who faltered apart from Ayr United. County went down 1-0 at Alloa thanks to a first half goal from Dario Zanatta. A surprise result but as said before, no easy games now with the bottom five fighting to avoid relegation and the top five vying for promotion. They have also made a visit to the Caledonian Stadium recently and went away with our IrnBru cup. There's a space on the shelf now............ The games between the clubs this season have been a fantastic advert for Championship football in the Highlands. They have had everything. The first two were drawn before County won the New Year derby 2-1 in Dingwall. There followed two tremendous 2-2 draws in Scottish Cup action including extra time with Inverness winning a dramatic penalty shoot out 5-4. Mark Ridgers making one save and Nathan Austin converting the winning kick to send Inverness into the next round. Thanks to that we can now look forward to playing Hearts at Hampden on April 13th in the semi-final. Aaron Doran has been in sparkling form recently with four goals in the last five games, and but for some last ditch Falkirk defending he would have made it five from five. The wee Irishman loves a goal against County as well although he only has one this season so far in the 2-2 cup draw at Dingwall. Aaron has come back from a few injury setbacks and has never been in better form, scoring 11 times this season. Here's a familiar image of Doran wheeling away after scoring yet another goal and captured in this sketch by our own ICT fan and wonderful artist Sophie Robb. You can see these and many more fantastic images on her twitter account or on her ETSY account. Sean Welsh is out after it has been confirmed that he has broken a metatarsal again. Robertson speaking about Welsh said: “Sean has been terrific for us this season – one of the unsung heroes. “He’s in the team every week and he’s in the team every week for a reason, with the job he does for us. He has been brilliant, he’s been consistent and he does what it says on the tin in the middle of the park. He wins the ball, passes it, breaks play up and he also gets forward. He has also become a very reliable penalty-taker to boot, but I think it is his influence on the team. He is one of our experienced players, patrolling the middle of the park and mixing play up. Here's the youngsters against Ayr United in the 5-2 win. Matheus Machado scored a couple of the goals in a 5-2 u18 win over Ayr United He had been drafted into the first team squad recently and it's good to know he has goals in him. Check out his second goal. How about that for a chip. Iain Stewart, eat your heart out! Ross Gunn and Cameron Harper also scored against Ayr as did Daniel Mackay, and he was on the bench against Falkirk as well. Anthony McDonald is a doubt but could make the squad. Another man who seems to relish these games is Liam Polworth who will be an integral part of Robertson's plans. Liam played his 200th game for Inverness on Saturday against Falkirk. Liam has only three goals to his name this season and is due another. Polly is also on Sophie's sketch list, and as they say on Blue Peter, here's one she prepared earlier. County's depth of squad will not present them with any major issues as they stagger towards the Championship tape. Billy Mckay is out for the rest of the season after breaking his arm whilst scoring a hat-trick against Ayr United recently. Mckay had scored 20 goals this season for County and was in fine form. He proved he is still a winner though, even when out injured and he has won the Championship player of the month whilst wristing up with his stookie. Good luck with the recovery Billy. County's management duo will be without defenders Callum Morris and Liam Fontaine who will not feature until next season and Iain Vigurs will likely miss the rest of the season as his foot injury continues to give him problems despite a forty-five minute outing against Kilmarnock reserves. Keith Watson took a knock at Alloa and is out and Michael Gardyne is struggling, but that could be a smoke screen and I expect he will turn up, even if it's just to try and wind up the Caley Jags players. Sean Kelly and Ross Draper made the bench for the trip to Alloa Athletic and should be included again. County's English defender Callum Semple’s Scotiish FA hearing for betting on football matches has been pushed back a fortnight to Thursday, April 11th. Semple was earlier this month given a notice of complaint accused of making bets between the period of July 1 and March 1, in which he also played for Queen of the South on loan from Sheffield United. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Scottish Cup Semi-Final, Hampden Park, Glasgow North and William Hill South Stands - Adults: £30 Concessions*: £15 East and West Stands - Adults: £20 Concessions: £10 *Concessions: Under-16s and 65 years and over................ Don't forget to buy your tickets for the SemiFinal against Hearts at Hampden. This may appear to be an alien concept for some, but always remember this, in space, no one can hear you scream. If you are sitting in your living room passing round the werther's originals and watching on TV, the lads won't be able to hear you. They have been brilliant to get this far in the cup and it's a great day out at the National Stadium. Be there or be square! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you like a wee flutter, our partnership with FansBet can offer you something. Just click on FansBet to get started. "Remember to select CaleyThistleOnline when you register and you’ll be helping us support ICT fan causes." FansBet are partners with Supporters Direct Scotland and already have many impressive stories of giving back to and empowering fans, ranging from funding away travel, share purchases, backing safe standing projects and many more. You can read some of FansBet’s Giving Back stories on their blog at https://blog.fansbet.com/fansbet-giving-back/partners/fan/ Always remember to adopt safe gambling and responsible policies.
  14. Bore draw Defences were on top at the Caledonian Stadium as Falkirk came North with a clear game plan; do not concede. It worked as Inverness struggled to break them down with former Partick player Abdul Osman outstanding for Falkirk, and combined with our wayward shooting that ensured the battling Bairns went home with a point. Chances were at a premium in an instantly forgettable first half. The tempo improved in the second but despite some near misses around the Falkirk box it was left to Mark Ridgers to ensure we also took a point as he blocked a late effort from substitute Shayne Lavery from six yards. Some odd results today with County, Dundee United and Dunfermline losing we actually moved further away from the Pars in fifth place. A decent visiting crowd were on hand to see if they could lift the Bairns out of the relegation scrap with a total of over 2800 in attendance on a brisk and blustery afternoon in the Highland Capital. As mentioned above, it was an instantly forgettable first forty-five with the most apt description coming from AJS as he slithered and shivered down the stairs at the interval. Bland! Enough said Sandy. The only plus points for me were that Coll Donaldson was immense at the back for us mopping up every ball forward from Falkirk and Abdul Osman did likewise at the other end to ensure it was a total stalemate. In our defence, the Bairns probably had more to gain from keeping it tight and their tenacity and close shackling of our players made for a dull first half. The pace of the game quickened after the break as Inverness drove towards the North Stand and Charlie Trafford shot wide as more urgency came into our play. Harry Burgoyne saved from man of the moment Aaron Doran as he looked for his fifth goal in as many games, but like his team mates, most efforts were not causing the big keeper too many issues. Harry again denying Doran and a succession of three corners came to nothing. Kevin McHattie had one of our best moments when he flashed a volley just wide from the edge of the box when it looked as though it might find the bottom corner, the ball going agonisingly the wrong side of the post. Brad Mckay met a Chalmers corner from the right but it flashed just wide of the post with defenders relieved to see it miss, the ball rolling out for a corner off Edjenguele's shins . White directed a header well wide on the run under pressure from the two centre backs, the ball just not running for the big man today. Doran came closest of all when he appeared on the left side of the box as he collected a disguised pass from Polworth, but his goalbound shot was cleared away from inside the six yard box by Jordan McGhee. Polly then guided the clearance just wide under pressure from the defender. That could easily have been the opener but for a fortunate block by Edjenguele on Polly, the ball going for a corner. A wonderful jinky run into the box by Trafford almost set up a chance for Tom Walsh but he wanted to take an extra touch to be sure and his right footed effort was subsequently blocked. Would have been nice for Polworth to get one on his 200th appearance but he will need to be sharper if he wants to hit the back of the net. Too ponderous around the box for my liking although he was always looking to create something for others, especially in the second half. The customary late flurry brought little reward for Inverness and right at the death Falkirk almost stole it. Substitute Shayne Lavery pounced on the ball plumb in front of Mark Ridgers but the Inverness stopper stood firm as his shot went into his chest to avoid us losing another sore one to the Bairns. It would have been nothing short of robbery had defence minded Falkirk stolen all three points as they did last time they were here. It was miserable enough dropping two points but as it turned out we lost no ground and as for Falkirk, they actually dropped to second bottom after Partick whipped Morton 3-0. Man of the Match for Inverness was Coll Donaldson. Boy are we going to miss you in the Semi-Final. Abdul Osman was the same for Falkirk proving to be a big obstacle and dominated everything in the air at his end. He's a big unit. Here's the footage from Caley Jags TV Inverness CT manager John Robertson said on BBC Sport: "It was disappointing because we had by far the better chances in the second half. The first half was a total non-event. I don't think people realise how bad the wind was. It was really, really strong blowing straight through the park." Date: 30/03/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2817 Referee: Gavin Ross Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay, Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco, Trafford, Polworth, McHattie, Chalmers (Walsh 65), Doran, White (Austin 77) Subs (not used): C Mackay, Rooney, McCauley, D Mackay, Machado. Scorers: none Booked: Trafford (61), B Mckay (89), Sent Off: none Falkirk FC: 0 Lineup: Burgoyne, McGhee, McKenna, Edjenguele, Osman, Dixon, Paton, McShane, Petravicius (Jarvis 74), Keillor-Dunn (MacLean 62), Rudden (Lavery 86) Subs (not used): Mitchell; Waddington, O'Hara, Robson Scorers: none Booked: Dixon (28) Sent Off: none a
  15. Gathering Pace The push for promotion gathers pace after three wins on the bounce and we will be looking for a fourth on Saturday when perennial spoilers Falkirk come North for a 3:00pm kick off at the Caledonian Stadium. I'm sure the players would appreciate a big backing to help get right behind the team and push them on. If you can't make the game, look out for a live audio feed which should appear on the twitter feed as a periscope link. If the gremlins stay away, this should work, fingers crossed................ ps, Please don't be breaking any seats, it's a costly affair and something the club can do without. If you wouldn't do it at home, don't do it here. Read the joint club statement here Yes, three games on the bounce, who knew! Four if you include the cup win at Tannadice, or to put it another way, six out of seven in all competitions. The only defeat in that run was a 1-0 reverse at Tannadice when we were a bit light due to injury. What does it all mean I hear you say? Well it means that we now sit third fourth in the table going into today's game and five points clear of Dunfermline who are the ones most likely to make the push for promotion uncomfortable for us. Ayr have slithered in recent weeks but are not to be discounted yet. The Pars play Ayr on Friday night prior to our game. (Ayr beat Dunfermline 0-1 to go back into third place) There's the updated table above on the left. Other fixtures at the top end are Alloa -V- Ross County and Dundee United -V- Queen of the South. Final fixture is at the other end of the table where Morton play Partick Thistle, a game where Morton could get dragged into the relegation scrap. Our last game was a 3-2 home win over Alloa. Cruising at 3-0, our midfield dynamics changed when Sean Welsh went off injured and Joe Chalmers and Aaron Doran were exchanged. That let Alloa get a foothold and they plugged back a couple of goals through a Trouten penalty and a fortuitous Flannigan deflected shot that wrong footed Ridgers. Doran, Welsh (pen) and dainty feet Jordan White were our scorers. That's eleven for the season for a rejuvenated Aaron Doran who has scored in his last four outings. Great return from the wide midfielder. Dainty feet now has 14 goals in all competitions this season after a slow start to his ICTFC career. Falkirk's last outing was on the 16th of March when they drew with fellow relegation candidates Partick thistle. Ian McShane scored his third of the season to earn the point just before the interval. Previous to that, they went down narrowly at Dingwall (2-1) and beat Ayr United 2-0 at home. Those results show Falkirk sitting third bottom four points above Alloa and it looks as though they are starting to ease away from the dreaded drop. The Bairns are well used to this game of avoiding relegation and are battle hardened to it and will prove to be a tough nut to crack with Zak Rudden in particular a threat. Zak is fresh back from Cyprus where he scored a hat-trick for Scotland u19's. He has also scored three times against Inverness already this season. Another one making an impact is Shayne Lavery. He has two goals in two games after he scored the winner for Northern Ireland U21’s against Mexico last week. As ever, our games against Falkirk have been tough. We started at Falkirk with a 1-0 win back in August thanks to an early George Oakley strike, but he can't help us now. Falkirk came North in December and went away with all three points in a 3-2 win. Walsh and Oakley scored for us but a Zak Rudden double pulled the Bairns level before a late sickener in the third minute of time added on saw Scott Harrison snatch the points. That was the game that ended our unbeaten league run of 25 matches and got the monkey off our back (too many draws). The third encounter was a 2-2 draw at Falkirk as the Bairns twice came from behind (Rudden, McShane) to earn a point after Rooney and Doran had scored for us. John Robertson will have concerns over the fitness of Sean Welsh who was injured against Alloa Athletic. Sean has been a mainstay in midfield recently and his contribution from the spot is reaping rewards after we had tried a series of penalty takers who sadly fell short of the required suitability for the post. Those concerns were justified as it looks like he has cracked a metatarsal. If so he will be out for the rest of the season. Anthony McDonald is not fit enough to return this weekend but could make the squad for the Ross County game. Robbo summed up Sean's contribution perfectly:- “It’s not been confirmed yet but it’s certainly looking that way, we’re just waiting on the scan coming back. That’ll be a blow as Sean has been terrific for us all season and has been one of the unsung heroes, he’s in the team every week and he’s there for a reason because of the job he does for us. Saying that, it’s time for other players to step up now.” Ray McKinnon has no injury worries and had this squad out in the 1-1 draw with Partick. He said this about their current form: "We’ve lost once in our last nine games, our squad is looking good. We are strong and quick, the mentality is good and we’ve just got to go into every game to try and pick something up. We’re in decent form going into the business end of the season, but we’ll be taking absolutely nothing for granted". Don't forget your Scottish Cup semi-final tickets. Don't forget to buy your tickets for the SemiFinal against Hearts at Hampden. This may appear to be an alien concept, but always remember this, in space, no one can hear you scream. If you are sitting in your living room passing round the werther's originals and watching on TV, the lads won't be able to hear you. They have been brilliant to get this far in the cup and it's a great day out at the National Stadium. Be there or be square! Tickets for our William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final will be available for season ticket holders and shareholders on Monday 25th March from 10:00am. General sale will commence on Wednesday 27th March at 9:00am. Tickets will be available from the Club Shop and online from ictfc.tickethour.co.uk. The singing section for this game will be East Stand section G5. South Stand: £30 Adult, Concession £15 East Stand: £20 Adult, Concession £10 Concessions are available for supporters aged over 65 and supporters aged under 16 If you like a wee flutter, our partnership with FansBet can offer you something. Just click on FansBet to get started. "Remember to select CaleyThistleOnline when you register and you’ll be helping us support ICT fan causes." FansBet are partners with Supporters Direct Scotland and already have many impressive stories of giving back to and empowering fans, ranging from funding away travel, share purchases, backing safe standing projects and many more. You can read some of FansBet’s Giving Back stories on their blog at https://blog.fansbet.com/fansbet-giving-back/partners/fan/ FansBet have ICT @ 5/8 - Draw @ 11/4 and Falkirk @ 4/1. Always remember to adopt safe gambling and responsible policies.
  16. Nothings Easy It wouldn't be the Inverness way if we simply cruised to victory as we suffered a late fright when Alloa launched a last ten comeback that saw them snatch two goals to take the gloss off an otherwise good performance. Aaron Doran continued his goalscoring run to open the scoring followed by a Sean Welsh penalty before the break. Jordan White added a third on the hour to put the game beyond doubt, or was it? Alloa got a penalty with ten minutes remaining and Alan Trouten scored via the post. Iain Flannigan's deflected shot meant for an uncomfortable five minutes but we held on for all three points to move up to third in the table. Alloa remain three points behind Partick at the foot of the table. A chilly night for football saw Alloa pinned back in the early exchanges as Inverness probed for the opening goal. We had a number of early half chances which were mainly from distance but we must have left our shooting boots in the locker room. Liam Polworth came the closest after he created a yard of space to fire a decent effort from twenty-five yards which went a couple of feet over the bar. However, it was that man again, Aaron Doran who opened the scoring with a glancing header into the bottom corner. Sean Welsh swung a curling cross into the heart of the box where Doran met it at the penalty spot to beat Neil Parry from twelve yards for another superb goal from the wee man, his fourth in four games and his eleventh of the season. Suspicion of foul play when Polly and Welsh combined to set big Jordan White free in the box but nothing was awarded as White was brought down left of the six yard box. Mark Ridgers was eventually called into action around the half hour as he gathered a low shot from outside the box. Soon after, Donaldson swung a deep ball into the box where Doran headed it down to White. As the striker tried to turn he was upended in clumsy fashion by Iain Flannigan and there was no dispute about the award this time. Parry dived to his right, unfortunately for him Sean Welsh smashed the ball high down the centre of the goal to double our advantage. Polworth looked as though he almost skimmed the top of the bar with a rasping shot from thirty yards as we continued to play attractive football with Polly and Welsh pulling the strings in midfield. There followed a succession of attempts from outside the box with Joe Chalmers, Kevin McHattie and Jordan White all looking to get in on the act, but the half ended at 2-0 to Inverness. The second period saw little change in the pattern and an inviting cross was inches away from being turned in by dainty feet White. He would not be denied though and he ran onto a through ball from Polworth to neatly dink it over the onrushing Parry. Alloa were still plugging away though and Ridgers had to make a smart save to deny Alan Trouten putting the ball into the top corner after the striker waltzed into our box. White came close to a fourth after shielding the ball well and playing it wide, he then got on the end of the cross but it bounced narrowly wide. Good effort from the big man who is growing into his role well. A needless rash challenge by Jamie McCart threw Alloa a late lifeline when he brought down Trouten who was facing away from goal, but Jamie went through him to give away a penalty. Trouten picked himself up and buried his spot kick into the net off the post. That perked Alloa up and given that our midfield had altered with Wesh, Chalmers and Doran going off Alloa saw an opportunity. We charged forward looking for another and when the move broke down Alloa were presented with a Flannigan shot from outside the box. It looked harmless enough but a massive deflection took it away from Ridgers and that made for a squeaky bum last five minutes. The bums squeaked even louder as Donaldson conceded a corner in the final minute of overtime but we held on to take a valuable three points as Mark Ridgers rose high to collect the ball and end our torture. A tremendous game for 75 minutes then our wheels fell off somewhat. A bit worrying that in form Sean Welsh had to go off injured, hopefully he will recover quickly as we have some crucial games coming up. Aaron Doran was our pick as MotM with great performances from Sean Welsh and Coll Donaldson with Jordan White endearing himself to the hard to please Caley Jags fans with another display showing some deft touches for a big lad. More reaction to follow............ Video action from Caley Jags TV And here is dainty Jordan.............. Date: 26/03/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2006 Referee: Steven Reid Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, Donaldson, McCart, McHattie, Chalmers (Walsh 67), Polworth, Trafford, Welsh (Austin 77), Doran (McCauley 75), White Subs (not used): C Mackay; Tremarco, Machado, B Mckay Scorers: Doran (29), Welsh (35 pen), White (61) Booked: none Sent Off: none Alloa Athletic: 2 Lineup: Parry, Taggart, Graham, Dick, Hetherington, Shields, Kirkpatrick (Hamilton 61), Flannigan, Cawley (Brown 73), Zanatta, Trouten Subs (not used): Henry, Goodwin, Karadachki, Peggie, Scorers: Trouten (pen 81), Flannigan (90) Booked: Zanatta (59) Sent Off: none a
  17. Opportunity Knocks After back to back wins in the League plus a cup win over Dundee United, we welcome Clackmannanshire's finest, Alloa Athletic to the Caledonian Stadium. We will be looking to consolidate within the play-off places as Alloa try to extricate themselves from the foot of the table. The games are coming thick and fast at this time of the season as clubs play catch up due to the grim weather and fixture congestion. The Alloa game represents a great opportunity to knock on Ayr United's door for third spot, although the games against the Wasps have been tight affairs so far this season. After this one we have Falkirk, Ross County and Ayr United before we head to Hampden for the Scottish Cup semi-final against Hearts. Last game for us was a fine 2-1 win at Firhill where a Tom Walsh stunner saw us take all three points after Stuart Brannigan had equalised for Partick. Aaron Doran had opened the scoring with a well worked goal involving Jordan White and Aaron played a big part in the winner with a superb back flick for Walsh to volley home in spectacular style. Check out these goals......... Alloa battled hard at the weekend but came away with nothing when Nicky Clark scored a late winner for the Arabs to add to the own goal Andy Graham conceded in the first half. Jordan Kirkpatrick scored the opening goal for the Wasps early in the first half. After last weekends results, Inverness are now back in the top four with Dunfermline the nearest contender only two points behind. Alloa are battling it out at the wrong end of the table with four other teams trying to avoid the drop. Dunfermline v Dundee United play Tuesday night as well and it's Dunfermline v Ayr on Friday (TV) Somethings going to give The two games between the sides have ended in draws with our home game in August producing four goals, three penalties, an own goal, woodwork hit and a sending off. Aye it all happened here, and one of the penalties was missed (Coll hit the bar). Brad Mckay and Sean Welsh (pen) scored for Inverness and a George Oakley own goal and a late Iain Flannigan penalty gave Alloa a share of the spoils. And, just when you think it can't get any worse, ICTFC & Ross County fined £2500. Add to that some broken seats after the IrnBru Cup final thanks to Ross County fans then you just wonder where it's all going to end. We welcomed back Kevin McHattie and Tom Walsh to great effect against Partick with Walsh coming off the bench to score the winner. Nathan Austin has been used sparingly of late and could play a part. Alloa lined up like this against Dundee United :- Parry Robertson Taggart Graham Dick Shields Heatherington Flannigan Kirkpatrick Trouten Zanatta If you like a wee flutter, our partnership with FansBet can offer you something. Just click on FansBet to get started. "Remember to select CaleyThistleOnline when you register and you’ll be helping us support ICT fan causes." FansBet are partners with Supporters Direct Scotland and already have many impressive stories of giving back to and empowering fans, ranging from funding away travel, share purchases, backing safe standing projects and many more. You can read some of FansBet’s Giving Back stories on their blog at https://blog.fansbet.com/fansbet-giving-back/partners/fan/ Always remember to adopt safe gambling and responsible policies. Don't forget to buy your tickets for the SemiFinal against Hearts at Hampden. Remember, no one can hear you scream if you are sitting in your living room passing round the werther's originals. The lads have been brilliant to get this far in the cup and it's a great day out at the National Stadium. Tickets for our William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final will be available for season ticket holders and shareholders on Monday 25th March from 10:00am. General sale will commence on Wednesday 27th March at 9:00am. Tickets will be available from the Club Shop and online from ictfc.tickethour.co.uk. The singing section for this game will be East Stand section G5. South Stand: £30 Adult, Concession £15 East Stand: £20 Adult, Concession £10 Concessions are available for supporters aged over 65 and supporters aged under 16
  18. The Final installment GAME OFF! Another local derby coming up on Friday night with BBC Scotland getting in on the action from the Caledonian Stadium with Ross County the visitors for a 7:05pm kick off. It's the 6th and final Highland derby this season and every one of these games has been passionate, enthralling, dramatic and left the fans wanting more. Well, it's here, the next installment. There has been a pitch inspection asked for ahead of this game at 12:30 today after a week of constant rain has left the pitch the worse for wear. Here you can see a touch of dampness around the goalmouth which has affected the bounce of the ball...... AND IT'S GAME OFF. Our last game was a rewarding away fixture at Dumfries where we held Queen of the South at bay in the second half after we had come out of the blocks flying before the interval. Goals from Aaron Doran and Brad Mckay gave us a platform to build on but that never happened so we consolidated and kept Queens out with Mark Ridgers performing heroics in a challenging second half. That win was only good enough to keep us in fifth place with Dunfermline also winning to hold onto fourth position. Our Championship form has been somewhat patchy and that is why we have dropped out of the top four with Pars on a run akin to County's surge. Ross County have all but won the Championship and the teams below them are all playing for either a play-off place or relegation avoidance. A 2-0 home win over Morton at the weekend put them further ahead of second place Dundee United. Second half goals from Josh Mullin and Brian Graham secured the points. County faced a resurgent Falkirk on Tuesday night and raced into a 2-0 lead after twenty minutes with Brian Graham and Keith Watson both scoring headers. A late Falkirk penalty and Grivosti sending off made for a tense finale but County held on for all three points. That midweek victory over Falkirk gives County six wins on the bounce in the Championship. They have now opened up an eleven point gap to second placed Dundee United. Add to that, a win at Motherwell in the Scottish Cup and a couple of draws with us as well as a Challenge Cup win over East Fife, then it's easy to see why they are heading back to the Premiership. Their last league defeat was a 4-0 thrashing at Palmerston in mid-January. Our squad has been at the thin edge of the wedge recently with injuries to Kevin McHattie, Tom Walsh and Anthony McDonald. That has meant moving players around within our first choice squad. Joe Chalmers is one player who has benefited from his latest role coming in from the right and on to his sweet left foot as displayed by his stunning strike against Dundee United in the cup. County's depth of squad will not present them with any major issues as they sprint for the Championship tape. Billy Mckay is out for the rest of the season after breaking his arm whilst scoring a hat-trick against Ayr United recently. Mckay had scored 20 goals this season for County and was in fine form. He also won the Championship player of the month whilst wristing up with his stookie. Good luck with the recovery Billy. Iain Vigurs has been out for a few weeks and Tom Grivosti will be suspended. Callum Semple is a good bet to be in the squad. His gambling activities have been brought to the attention of the governing bodies and he will face a disciplinary hearing on March 28th. Street fighting, gambling, managers banned, inappropriate dressing room behaviour............It's all going down in Dingwall. There'll be a Netflix documentary out soon! Here's Polly looking ahead to tonight's game Good news is on short supply from the club at the moment, but here's some. Daniel McKay has penned a new three year deal at Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Daniel is one of the hot properties in the Scotland youth set-up and as John Robertson acknowledged on the Official Site he is a tremendous prospect. Robertson said: “Negotiations kicked in after he played his 25th game for the club. We’ve sat down with his agent and his parents to negotiate a new three year deal which will see Daniel continue to play his football in the Highlands.” “It’s another step which shows the youngsters are in our thoughts. It’s been an unlucky season for Dan, he’s picked up a lot of small injuries and he’s struggling a bit with a strain in his knee right now but hopefully this will give him a boost.” “He will be involved between now and the end of the season, and we hope he can kick on because we feel he is a tremendous prospect for the future.”
  19. No rest for Coll The gruelling recent schedule was taking it's toll as Inverness played out a slender one goal win against Morton. Carl Tremarco glanced an early header home with what proved to be the only goal of the game. The final result was closer than it could have been, but given our recent exertions, then we'll take a narrow win over the Greenock side any day as we tried to conserve our energy levels. This win gives us a five point cushion in fourth place in the quest for a play-off slot, with Dunfermline emerging as the next best placed team to mount a challenge. Queen of the South and Morton are a further point behind the Pars. So it's still all to play for as we get down to the business end of the season with Ross County looking most likely to top the table after a great 4-2 win at Partick who hit the bottom. John Robertson tried to protect some players by giving Shaun Rooney a start at right back and moving Brad Mckay alongside Jamie McCart in central defence whilst resting Coll Donaldson. That plan went pear shaped when McCart had to leave the field after sustaining an injury on the half hour which meant no day of rest for Coll Donaldson. Tom Walsh missed out after picking up an injury against County in the cup and Anthony McDonald took his place. The more mundane atmosphere of the Championship fixture barely whispered round the ground with only a busload or two in the away end amongst some 2400 fans in the stadium. Liam Polworth set the ball rolling as we kicked off towards the away end. Nothing of note in the opening exchanges as both sides jockeyed for position, but Captain Carl would break the deadlock in the eleventh minute as he met a Liam Polworth corner at the near post to send the ball behind keeper McCrorie. The visitors responded and Mark Ridgers had to tip an effort from Chris Millar behind for a corner a couple of minutes after the goal. The ball looked like it might just be heading for the outside of the woodwork, but Mark took no chances and dealt with it accordingly. Brad McKay missed an opportunity after a ball found him in the box. Unfortunately it was more of the ball hitting Brad than Brad hitting the ball and the chance was missed. The game had little flow about it as players from both sides looked too eager to impress, nobody willing to put their foot on the ball and control proceedings. Jamie McCart went down and had to be replaced by courageous Coll on the half hour. Jordan White knocked a header forward but it just evaded the strikers as it ran through to the box after Polly passed on. We saw out the half with little coming from Morton in an attacking sense, the hosts doing just enough to keep their advantage. Half-Time 1-0 Darren McCauley replaced the injured Anthony McDonald at the interval and it was more of the same after the break. Morton struggling to create, Inverness happy with the reprieve. In the 57th minute Tremarco almost got his second goal but his header was cleared off the line by Buchanan to deny the captain as he met a great ball in from Sean Welsh. There followed a spell of Inverness pressure where we threatened to run a way with the game, but some last ditch defending and wayward shooting kept the score at 1-0. The second half was fast becoming an anti-climax as we were content to give the lightweight Morton offence the ball, and fortunately they had little idea what to do with it. Donaldson received more treatment towards the end after going down injured, but he is made of strong stuff is Coll and he resumed after being repaired. As the clock ticked away, we sat deeper and deeper allowing the visitors the freedom of the park. We did counter on a few occasions but in all honesty neither side looked likely to get another goal. The game ended with Morton frantically trying to put pressure on our defence, but we held out comfortably enough to record only our third home win in the Championship. It was a much needed low key encounter and a welcome three points that boosts our play-off chances. Carl Tremarco is the proverbial Duracell Bunny and he gets my nod for MotM. That was his first goal this term and it was good enough to win all three points. The future is bright, the future is orange. It's a difficult week coming up with two visits to Tannadice. On Wednesday it's Championship night and Sunday is the quarter final of the Scottish Cup, so no let up in the intensity and challenges for our stretched squad. From BBC Sport Inverness CT boss John Robertson: "We created plenty of chances today but we had to hang on. The last five or six minutes we decided to just take what we had. I cannot praise the players highly enough for their attitude and application. "They gave it everything and they gave absolutely everything they had on Tuesday, and absolutely everything today so it's a wonderful three points. It was a massive performance from them." Morton manager Jonatan Johansson: "I'm disappointed with the result obviously and I'm also disappointed in the way we lost the goal - another set-play. I know we are a small team but we need to be better at defensive set plays - they've been costing us for a while now. "Before that I felt everything was going alright. I think we played some nice passing football but in the final third we didn't have the spark or belief and it was powder-puff at times. We never really threatened them." Match Highlights from Caley Jags TV Yesterday's goal hero, Tommy Tremarco................. Date: 23/02/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2413 Referee: Steven Reid Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, B Mckay, McCart (Donaldson 32), Tremarco, McDonald (McCauley 45), Polworth (Trafford 83), Welsh, Chalmers, Doran, White Subs (not used): C Mackay, McHattie, Austin, D Mackay. Scorers: Tremarco (11) Booked: Tremarco (36) Sent Off: none Morton FC: 0 Lineup: McCrorie; McAlister, Waddell, Buchanan, Iredale, Millar, Telfer (Tidser 60), Dykes (Lyon 70), O'Connell (Tumilty 59), McHugh, Kiltie Subs (not used): Gaston; Kilday, Thomson, Dallas. Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  20. Back to the weekly chore. Back to the mundane weekly chore on Saturday as Morton come North hoping we don't think they are Ross County. If only we could play Ross County every week. It was an exciting time to be alive on Tuesday night as Inverness finally got one over our dear friends and near neighbours in the Scottish Cup. It might have taken extra-time and penalties, but we got there in the end and dumped County out of the cup. Big team big cup, wee team wee cup. We will now face Dundee United at Tannadice in the Quarter Finals of the Scottish Cup on Sunday 3rd March, 15.30 kick-off. Adults £15, Concessions (Over 65s, Students, Under 18s and Under 12s) £5. Get your tickets HERE What an intense experience that was. Noisy crowd, four goals, eight bookings, a fracas in extra-time and Nathan Austin squeezing home the final penalty to win the tie. We have had greater achievements, but for sheer drama, this one will take a lot of beating. There has been nothing between the sides in all five games this season and the tension was palpable as the sides took to the field. County went ahead when Ross Stewart bounced in a header only for Jordan White to power one of his own behind Fox. Gobby Gardyne put County back in front but Jordan stroked in his second of the night. An extra thirty minutes failed to separate the sides although Carl Tremarco hit the junction of post and bar with a hooked shot and it was down to penalties. Mark Ridgers made the breakthrough as he saved McManus' spot kick and we slotted all five to put a smile back on the Caley Jags fans dials. The young team were our secret weapon as they rallied the troops in the North Stand. Overall it was a great night and here's hoping we can recreate the derby experience in a run of the mill Championship game. Morton limbered up for this game with a goalless draw against Ayr United last weekend whilst we were suffering at East End Park in a dire performance, going down to a Joe Thomson strike. Those results coupled with Queen of the South losing to Dundee United saw our play-off hopes suffer little damage and a win this weekend would put some more daylight between us and Morton who are only three points behind us at the moment. The cup tie in midweek was a hard battle and Tom Walsh was injured early on. It looks like he will miss this one with a groin injury although that has not been confirmed yet. The pace of the game took it's toll on the players and it was a survival of the fittest, both mentally and physically. Don't be surprised if one or two require more time to get over that game. Donaldson took a few knocks but was last man standing at the end. The heavy pitch took it's toll as well, so it's up to Robbo to see who has the desire, mental and physical ability to get back on the park again. Morton had this starting XI against Ayr United:- 23. McCrorie 8. McAlister 5. Waddell 4. Buchanan 3. Iredale 7. Millar 6. Telfer 15. Dykes 44. Dallas 11. McHugh 20. Kiltie Subs used: 17. O’Connell (for Dallas, 67), and 32. R.Lyon (for Dykes, 90+1) Here's another date for your diary. The IrnBru Cup Final will be played at the Caledonian Stadium on Saturday 23rd March with a 16:30 kick off. I suppose it's handy as the Cup is in our trophy cabinet anyway. The final will be between Ross County who will have to make the arduous 12 mile journey over the Kessock Bridge, and Connah's Quay Nomads from Wales who will only have to make the 400 mile trip which will take six and a half hours by car. Seems fair enough to me. Just so they know where they are going, here's Sophie's painting of our stadium. Here's a wee song to while away the hours for all the travelling folk. Our site sponsors FansBet will have some good odds for you to take advantage of this weekend. If you like a wee flutter, our new partnership with FansBet can offer you something. Just click on FansBet to get started. "Remember to select CaleyThistleOnline when you register and you’ll be helping us support ICT fan causes." FansBet are partners with Supporters Direct Scotland and already have many impressive stories of giving back to and empowering fans, ranging from funding away travel, share purchases, backing safe standing projects and many more. You can read some of FansBet’s Giving Back stories on their blog at https://blog.fansbet.com/fansbet-giving-back/partners/fan/ Always remember to adopt safe gambling and responsible policies.
  21. Inverness progress after dramatic shootout Inverness went through on a night of high drama after the game ended all square at 2-2. It was another bruising encounter and extra-time saw no further goals and penalties it was. Mark Ridgers saved one penalty and that was enough as Inverness went on to convert all five of their spot kicks, Nathan Austin with the final one. Jordan White was the local hero in normal time with both Inverness goals, twice coming from behind after Ross Stewart opened the scoring and Michael Gardyne grabbed a second for County. County resorted to type, some bare knuckle fighting broke out before the end when Van der Weg should have been sent off. Groundhog Derby stirs the passion. John Robertson made three changes from the side that slumped at East End Park. In came Coll Donaldson, Liam Polworth and Sean Welsh. On to the bench went Charlie Trafford, Shaun Rooney and Darren McCauley. County brought back five players that did not start against East Fife in the Challenge Cup. All the big boys were back in, with Scott Fox, Michael Gardyne, Billy Mckay, Keith Watson and Lewis Spence all starting. A great atmosphere greeted the players from both sides as they took to the park on a damp night, over 3600 were about to witness a night of high drama in the Groundhog Derby. The hosts started brightly and Tom Walsh fired a warning shot high over the bar in the second minute. Little did he know his night would be cut short in the 15th minute as he was replaced by Anthony McDonald after picking up an injury. Liam Polworth also fired wide as we gathered momentum. In the 22nd minute Inverness were undone as County surged down the right wing after winning the ball on the halfway line. Josh Mullin received the ball after good work by Marcus Fraser on the right and sent in a tantalising cross. Serial derby scorer Ross Stewart met the ball at the front post to head powerfully down and up and into the net via the crossbar. Good finish by Stewart, slightly against the run of play at that point. Inverness responded well to going behind and the game was being played at a frantic pace with no quarter asked or given. Substitute Anthony McDonald dragged a shot wide from the left side of the box as we searched for a way back into the tie, a corner given for that effort. Jamie McCart missed the best chance so far as he headed over from eight yards unchallenged, he maybe should have at least made the keeper work. Mark Ridgers was looking assured at corners and he had to save from Mullin as County tried to double their advantage. This game was not for the faint hearted and the half time whistle went with County holding a slender lead. Half Time 0-1 The sides swapped corners at the start of the second period and it was from another corner that Inverness were level. Joe Chalmers sent a curling ball into the heart of the box and big Jordan White rose highest to power a great header into the top corner. The North Stand liked that one, John Beaton not so much and he booked White for his celebration with the young team. Just after the hour, Scott Fox pulled off a tremendous save low down to his right as he saved a thumping shot from Liam Polworth. Similar to Doran's goal in the first game, but this time he kept it out with some assistance from the post. Five minutes later and County went back in front when Michael Gardyne picked up a loose headed clearance. He prodded the ball past two players before thrashing a low shot behind Ridgers from ten yards. A bit sloppy from Inverness but another good finish by Gardyne. White was now relishing the challenge and looked like he was enjoying himself as he played his best game since joining the Caley Jags, challenging well and laying off to fellow players. He got another header on target but Fox was well positioned to grab it out of the air. However, Jordan would not be denied and when Doran cut inside and fed Polly, he slid a great ball into the path of White who took a touch before finding the bottom corner from 15 yards. Superb goal and heading for extra time. Nathan Austin was creating havoc around the County defence with his awkward style as he poked his legs between defenders and sprinted forward. He headed one over from an inviting cross as we pressed for a winner. It looked like there was only going to be one winner before the end of the ninety minutes as we took charge. Coll Donaldson was absolutely bossing the County forwards, strolling around like Franz Beckenbauer, and why not. Jamie McCart was his able assistant and between them County were rendered ineffective. The ninety ended too soon for Inverness as they harassed the visitors in their own box, Fox fortunate not to concede a goal as he juggled with a ball facing his own goal, the post helping out again. Ninety Minutes 2-2 Extra time was slightly less eventful as both sides held what they had. In the second period Coll went down injured, but he was having none of that and he returned to the battle as tackles were flying in like they were going out of fashion. Carl Tremarco almost won it before the penalty shoot-out, his effort crashing off the bar after a scrambulation in and around the County box, great effort by the wee man and a let-off for County with Fox beaten. A couple of late free kicks for County were wasted as referee John Beaton went card happy. Gardyne started a brawl after a bit of man hugging with Charlie Trafford as they laid on the ground. Needless stuff, but Kenny van der Weg rushed in from nowhere to start some rather dangerous shoving and pushing. For me he should have been red carded for this assault. If he did that at an Inverness night club he would be in the cells. It seems that they must get this coaching from above, what with Stuart Kettlewell sitting in the main stand and Iain Vigurs in the South Stand. Brian Graham was out though as he appeared as a second half substitute. Anyway, I digress. After the dust settled the failure that is a Scottish referee booked van der Weg and Coll Donaldson when all around were squaring up to each other. Bare knuckle fighting on the park, but it was County that would be dealt the knock-out blow. Anyway, penalties it was. The winner will travel to Tannadice to take on Dundee United in the Quarter Final on the weekend of 2/3 March Here's how it went, County started the process in front of the away end. Gardyne 1-0 White 1-1 Fraser 2-1 Donaldson 2-2 McManus, penalty brilliantly saved by Mark Ridgers, 2-2 Welsh 2-3 Graham 3-3 Polworth 3-4 Draper 4-4 Austin for game set and match.They think it's all over..........it is now. 4-5 Coll Donaldson was my MotM for absolutely cigaring his way through the game. Jordan White was magnificent with his goals and general all round battling display. Liam Polworth was classy and showed it in abundance. Jamie McCart put in a great shift. Nathan Austin was sensational when he came on and caused County no end of problems. To be honest everyone did the fans proud and the celebrations at the end epitomised the desire and effort shown by the players. This was much appreciated by the fans who returned the favour with tremendous vocal backing, especially the young team in the North Stand. So, everybody, give yourselves a round of applause. We have had greater achievements, but this was drama of the highest order and the intensity and passion shown by both sets of players made this one of the best nights of football ever seen at the Caledonian Stadium. Players were almost on their knees long before the end of extra time and it was great to see the passion shown by our players after this well deserved win. Passion. I'll show you some passion said Coll........ Speaking on BBC Sport Inverness CT manager John Robertson: "We had the better of the game, we had the better chances. We've hit the post, we've hit the bar. There's two off the line in the last minute. Scott Fox has produced a wonder save. "We have been horrendous at penalties this season. We practised them yesterday. We actually had the players taking penalties from 15 yards out because if they can score from 15 yards, they can certainly score from 12 and all five of them scored." Robbo was delighted with the home fans contribution..... Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson: "Proud of our team. It was a great cup tie and when it goes to penalties, it becomes that little bit of a lottery and somebody has to miss and it happens to be us. We accept it and we move on. "It's always disappointing to lose the lead. When it's a cup tie like that, it's to-ing and fro-ing all the time and we could've scored again and Caley could've scored again. As far as a cup tie goes, I think everything was squeezed into that." Two goal Jordan White talking after the game......... Night of high drama, have a look. Date: 19/02/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3608 Referee: John Beaton Inverness CT: 2 - Inverness through 5-4 after penalties. Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay, Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco, Doran (Trafford 101), Polworth, Welsh, Chalmers (Austin 76), Walsh (McDonald 15, McCauley 105), White. Subs (not used): C Mackay; Rooney, McHattie Scorers: Jordan White (56, 81) Booked: White (57), McDonald (58), Doran (66), Tremarco (84), Donaldson (120) Sent Off: none Ross County: 2 Lineup: Fox; Fraser, Draper, Watson, Boyle, Van der Weg, Draper, Mullin (McManus 78), Spence (Lindsay 66), Gardyne, Stewart (Graham 100), Mckay (Wallace 112). Subs (not used): Munro; Grivosti, Murray. Scorers: Ross Stewart (22), Michael Gardyne (67) Booked: Draper (89), Gardyne (90+2), Van der Weg (120) Sent Off: none a
  22. The Groundhog Derby Yes, it's time for the Groundhog Derby. It's the fifth time these two clubs have met this season, and despite Inverness having played some of their best football of the campaign, we have only three draws and a defeat to show for our efforts. I fully expect Bill Murray to appear at one of these games with Sonny & Cher blaring out of the tannoy........They say we're young and we don't know, we won't find out till we grow............ This replay has come about after a thrilling 2-2 draw at Dingwall when Inverness were pegged back in time added on having led the Gadgies twice. Aaron Doran gave the visitors the lead but Ross Stewart levelled before Brad McKay restored our advantage. Josh Mullin was the man that broke the Caley Jags' hearts with that 91st minute equaliser which takes us back to the Caledonian Stadium for this replay......................I got you babe............... County are the team to beat in the Championship, and the IrnBru Cup. They are going along nicely with big spending Roy keeping them in credit whilst Inverness are the poor relations at the moment. That is beginning to show somewhat with the better depth of squad at Dingwall. We are a bit thin on the ground, and once you take three or four regulars out of the equation we struggle badly as at East End Park at the weekend. Fourth place in the league looks to be our target and that would be sufficient to get a play-off slot. Coll Donaldson and Liam Polworth missed the game at Dunfermline although Donaldson made the bench but was rested. Sean Welsh was benched for the most part, coming on with a couple of minutes left. We are having to play some players through the pain barrier with our replacements a bit off the pace at the moment. Darren McCauley is one of the strugglers and he was replaced for his own good after picking up an early booking and threatening to get a second before being subbed in the first half. County played an IrnBru Cup game against East Fife and that enabled them to rest one or two with this cup tie in mind. Their XI were just strong enough to get by East Fife and that puts County into the fizzy pop final. Maybe they can keep the cup in the Highlands. Robbo was not happy with our application at East End Park and has threatened changes, but that is not likely to be a major event given our lack of resources and the changes will probably involve the regular senior players starting. Mark Ridgers was partly at fault after an uncharacteristic error, but I would expect him to be in goal for this one. Hopefully Coll Donaldson will be back in central defence with Jamie McCart alongside him. That looks to be our best pairing and that will leave Shaun Rooney and Carl Tremarco as our wing backs. We really missed Polly at the weekend and fingers crossed he will return for the cup game. Chalmers, Welsh, Walsh and Doran are the next best across the midfield and wide areas with Jordan White and or Nathan Austin up front. That is an area of concern as strikers scoring goals is not a common feature for us at the moment. Daniel Mackay featured in a couple of u19 internationals last week. Maybe he could get a chance to feature at Inverness with our other strikers firing blanks just now. County have no major concerns ahead of this game. Site Admin Scotty has this to add from our site sponsors FANSBET Ahead of our replay against County, Fansbet are allowing CTO users to suggest what the special bet to be promoted on their site should be for the game next week ? If you want a specific special listed please put them in the thread on CTO and they will chose one at random, assign it odds and feature it before the game in the fan boosts section. : https://www.fansbet.com/en/betting/sports/fan-boosts/
  23. Comedy of Errors The announcement of the team lines filled us with trepidation. We knew it would be bad, we just never thought it would be this bad. An absolutely shambolic performance from Inverness who have plumbed the depths of the abyss after an encouraging midweek performance at Somerset Park, they lost 2-1 to Partick Thistle. Partick Thistle took full advantage of our depleted error strewn lisltess squad and thanks to our defensive blunders scored twice in possibly the worst ever 45 minutes witnessed at the Caledonian Stadium. Steven Anderson and Aidan Fitzpatrick were the benefactors of our slapstick defending and although substitute Darren McCauley pulled one back it was smply not good enough for the season long suffering fans. There's little to report on from an Inverness point of view. Cammy Mackay made a couple of excellent saves before Partick scored. Unfortunately Anderson had the freedom of the back post to tap-in after a short corner. Nobody in defence was able to stop the cross reaching him and Brad Mckay can hang his head in shame at the second goal. He lost the ball thirty yards from goal and left young Cammy exposed as Fitzpatrick accepted the gift, advanced to the box and drove the ball behind the keeper. Shambles springs to mind. We created little of note throughout until a scramble in the box ended with McCauley knocking home from close range. I'm finding it difficult to find any positives. Cammy Mackay pulled off a couple of brilliant saves, Donaldson as a substitute getting some game time and McCauley will add something once he is up to speed. It's the biggest outpouring of public grief since Princess Di departed. I'll let the fans tell you more about this game, here's some views picked from the forum. They shall remain anonymous in case Robbo comes round.......... *Shell shocked!! What I think I watched yesterday was a bunch of amateurs playing together a game of kick about on a field. Worst performance this season giving the ball away with every second pass, little organisation at the back and complete lack of thrust at the front.. I felt sorry for Donaldson being thrown on when he was obviously out of sorts and not ready in fitness* *Worst performance of the season so far. JR comments shows a complete lack of respect for the fans that turned out to watch that drivel. Route one football and hoping that the ball drops to one of our players. There are no tactics just lump in box and see what happens.* *I too agree with Robbo's comments but he really picked the wrong day to say it! None of what happened yesterday was anyone elses fault but his own. Wrong set up from start and it all went downhill. Caleyaway is a small but loyal band of fans some of whom seldom attend home games. You don't ever hear the criticism/pickiness that I hear week in and out at home. Football at home is mainly a joyless watch. Its not helped by performances like yesterday however.* *Have to agree that was the worst performance at home so far. Lost soft goals and never created any chances. Scrambled goal to give us some hope with 12 mins left however you didn't think we could do it. There keeper didn't have a save to make. Very disappointing following good win at Ayr.* *Getting pretty sick of posting the same comments after almost every home game! That first 45minutes today really was the worst I can remember from an Inverness side. Absolutely pathetic!* *You would be hard pressed to see a worse game of football anywhere today . Absolutely shocking no wonder the stands were empty.* *People keep asking why people are staying away. Half way through the first half I suspect most at the game wish they had.* *Five minutes before the end ,McCauley was announced as the sponsor's MOTM. But he only came on in the 70th minute. I think that rather sums it up!* *Poor team selection, poor tactics, poor application and poor, verging on irrational substitutions. The only comfort we can take is that our rivals for that final play off, which appears now to be our only realistic target, fared no better. However, even that final play off place will be beyond us if we continue to play as badly as that.* *Trying to deflect the blame from himself even though his team selection, tactics and substitutions were horrendous. There was absolutely nothing to get the fans excited about watching that today. Taking on a centre half and defensive midfielder when we are two down hardly helps. Embarrassing comments from the manager.* *That's as bad a performance as I can remember. Just when you think we might have turned the corner, we manage to produce a truly woeful performance. I can't remember their keeper making a save. We were second to every ball and made a poor Partick team look good. And for Robbo to blame the home support is totally unacceptable, give the fans something to shout about and they will react.........* *Another week another poor home game. Robbo can huff and puff about home fans but we've had 2 wins at home in the league what exactly does he expect? So many things wrong with todays performance a lot of which the manager and coaching staff need to take the blame for and some things the players.* *I picked the wrong game to take my 7 year old grandson to: that was woeful, and even he knew that. We started ok, but lost two quick goals, and never really got any control of the match.* *That was the worst game so far this season and I am being polite! Why he kept Brad Mackay on he was rank. And the rest weren't much better. I hope we have some of the injured players back for the County game.* *Not up for the game from the start whole team were awful 1st half. The whole bloody lot of them need to take a look at themselves.* *A shocking performance with Brad Mackay at fault for both goals.Never looked like winning this game. No pass marks for anyone except goalkeeper Mackay who had a couple of great saves * However, lets end on a positive note.............. *Only positives for me were the couple of saves from Cammy Mackay, McCart being solid at the back, even when playing on the right of defence, and McCauley: he is definitely worth a start. * *......he then made a couple of good stops and I think has done a good job coming in at the last minute* Here's the offending comments from our Gaffer. Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Robertson: "I thought victory would still make us outside title challengers, and anything else would mean we are fighting for a play-off spot. "We've got a problem at home. We've won two, lost three and drawn the rest. Away from home, we've got a small band of fans that get right behind the team but at home they don't seem to do that." Partick Thistle manager Gary Caldwell: "We spoke about the characteristics you need to win away from home - resilience, desire, togetherness - and I think we showed that second half. "But in the first half, we showed quality. It could have been more than 2-0 and tactically I thought the boys were outstanding." Here's the wee man himself........... Date: 02/02/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2171 Referee: David Lowe Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: C Mackay; Rooney (Donaldson 45), B Mckay, McCart, McHattie, Polworth, Welsh, Chalmers, McDonald (Trafford 45), Austin (McCauley 70), White. Subs (not used): McKinnon; Tremarco, MacGregor, D Mackay. Scorers: McCauley (77) Booked: Trafford (49) Sent Off: none Partick Thistle: 2 Lineup: Hazard; McMillan, Saunders, Anderson (McCarthy 83), Elliot, Slater, Bannigan, Fitzpatrick (Harkins 72), Penrice, Spittal, Storey (Doolan 90+1) Subs (not used): Sneddon; McGinty, Coulibaly, Mansell. Scorers: Anderson (21), Fitzpatrick (25) Booked: Saunders (51), Bannigan (62) Anderson (68), Harkins (86) Sent Off: none a
  24. By George, he's off Struggling Partick Thistle come North on Saturday to the sponsorless and Georgeless Caledonian Stadium, looking to get themselves away from the relegation battle at the foot of the table. It's a great opportunity for Inverness as well as they look to consolidate their position within the top four and keep on the heels of Dundee United whilst making sure the teams below stay there. One man who won't be at the stadium is George Oakley. He was a surprise departure on the final night of the transfer window, leaving for the metropolis of the Eastern Block landscapes of Hamilton. @George_Oakley23 had this to say to the Inverness fans on twitter. Just want to say a massive thank you to everyone @ICTFC for everything they have done with me for the past year and half! Great club and the fans were amazing for me from the day I joined! But I am looking forward to this new challenge with @acciesfc can’t wait to get started👊🏻🔴 Wow! That's a sign of the times as we can't even compete with Hamilton Accies for the signature of a player. Is this the beginning of the end for Inverness Caledonian Thistle? Have the club really got such a lack of ambition that we can't hold on to one of our three strikers? Has George got the talent to succeed on the plastic pitch at Accies? Or, was it a shrewd bit of business to get rid of an injury prone second rate striker whose contract runs out in the summer and we can get some pennies before it's too late. To be honest, the jury is out on the CTO website. Many blame the board but some are coming round to the fact that it might be for the best. It all depends if your glass is half empty or half full I suppose. Plenty of uncertainty on the forums. Here's a selection of the concerns:- "As we are skint then I'm not surprised we took cash for Oakley, we are however left relying on White and Austin, (if fit), as our senior strikers." "We are skint! Also appears we have no real ambition anymore. Gutted." "Well this is depressing news. Ambition - not..." "Easily the best of our strikers allowed to leave for peanuts no doubt. FFS the squad was small enough already without losing any more players." "Well that’s pretty $hit news. Are we now relying on injury prone Austin. Jordan White and two youngsters in McGregor and Mackay." And some almost positive comments:- "Can’t say I’ve ever found myself thinking that Oakley is too good for this league and should be playing at a higher level." "from what I saw last season I didn't think Oakley was that good a striker. He certainly wasn't the sort of striker who would fire you to the title in this league. He was also out of contract at the end of the season and if we thought he wasn't going to re-sign and isn't a starter then cashing in, even if it'll be pennies in the scheme of things, could be the right thing to do." "Slightly shocked, but he's out of Contract at the end of the season, (and the small fee probably covers the laundry bill) anyway I think McCauley can do a job for us in his place." This one sums it up as far as I am concerned "The fact that players see moving to Accies from us as a step up is hardly a laughing matter and is a sad indictment of where we are these days." Anyway, thanks for the effort George and Good luck at Hamilton, I think you will need it. George Joins Accies The other big talking point this week is that the club are looking for a new sponsor for the Stadium and what it will be named now that ownership has been secured. I don't suppose it will be called the George Oakley Arena now. The Harry Gow Dream Ring is a popular one though. Others already in the bin are The Dump, The Stadium of Shite, The Richie Foran Arena of Excellence, The House of Hughes. Here's the official take on the stadium deal. Read about it HERE Meanwhile, there's a game to be won on Saturday. We played Ayr United on Tuesday night and came away with all three points after we blitzed Ayr in the opening twenty minutes. We found ourselves 3-0 up with goals from Nathan Austin (2) and a Liam Polworth belter. Ian McCall changed his side at the interval and we were immediately on the back foot when the hosts scored early in the second half through Declan McDaid. Lawrence Shankland got the nerves jangling when he banged in a deflected free kick to set up a tense ending but we held on for a valuable three points. That was on the back of a 2-2 draw at Falkirk last Saturday when we were pegged back twice. It could be a great week for us on the park should we take the points tomorrow. Partick won their first League game in six since they beat The Pars 2-0 on the 8th of December. They beat our recent conquerors Queen of the South 2-1 thanks to goals from Joe Cardle and Miles Storey. That moved them off the bottom of the table one point above Falkirk. The games between the sides this season have resulted in six points for Inverness. A 3-2 win in the Highlands was followed by a 1-0 win at Firhill. Both tight games but scorer at Firhill, Tom Walsh is out with a broken foot. We survived a late fightback in the first game after White, Rooney and a Welsh (pen) put us 3-0 ahead. Last ten minute goals from Blair Spittal and Kris Doolan almost snatched a point for Partick but they fell just short. ICT 3-2 Partick from September Inverness will obviously be without Oakley and the injured Coll Donaldson, Tom Walsh and possibly Aaron Doran. Look for new signings Darren McCauley and Anthony McDonlad to be more involved tomorrow. Mark Ridgers has missed the last two games with a back problem with young Cammy Mackay deputising, and he put in a decent performance at Ayr. Here he is talking ahead of the Partick game............. Partick will be without the injured Joe Cardle. Gary Caldwell was speaking on the Partick Thistle website about the ins and outs:- “We set the target before January started of coming out of the window a stronger side than we were when we went into the window and I think we can definitely say that is the case. We have strengthened the core of the side with a goalkeeper, a centre back, a central midfielder and two strikers coming into the Club. On top of that we’ve got some great creativity in Joe Cardle and some additional versatility at the back in the form of Jack McMillan.
  25. Quick start settles tie Inverness eased into the last sixteen of the Scottish Cup after removing Lowland League side East Kilbride from the competition. The opening half hour ended the tie as a contest as goals from Jordan White, Aaron Doran and Liam Polworth put the hosts three up before the break. Craig Reid unfortunately turned a cross into his own net to end the scoring midway through the second half. Suspended duo Shaun Rooney and Brad Mckay returned to the starting XI, as did George Oakley who partnered Jordan White up top in a 4-4-2. Tom Walsh is out with a broken foot and Coll Donaldson has had groin surgery, Jamie McCart deputised in central defence. East Kilbride had a couple of familiar faces, David Proctor and Chris Humphrey both started for Kilby. It was a brisk afternoon as just under 1200 welcomed the teams onto the park with the 16th minute on the minds of many. Inverness wanted to get off to a flier and they did just that. Shaun Rooney had already tested keeper McGinley and a minute later Jordan White was on hand to open the scoring when the ball found him in the box and he slotted home. That warmed the palms of the fans but in the sixteenth minute the palms were roasting when a tribute for Dawn Sinclair filled the stadium with applause. Lovely tribute from everyone in the stadium for the youngster who sadly passed away recently. That lifted the players once more and in the 21st minute Aaron Doran tidily dispatched the ball behind the keeper as he guided a low shot from beyond the edge of the box into the bottom corner. The hosts were in full flow with White and Polly going close and it was no surprise that a third goal was added when Liam Polworth finished with aplomb, firing high into the net from ten yards in the 27th minute. McGinley made a fantastic save to deny a lively George Oakley, the keeper flying high across his goal to keep out a roaster from George who had turned his marker brilliantly before unleashing a shot from around twenty yards. Former Motherwell winger Chris Humphrey tested Mark Ridgers with a high strike, but the keeper was able to palm it away. That was East Kilbride's best moment of the half. Half Time 3-0 Ex-Inverness player David Proctor had to retire five minutes after the break and was given a warm reception as he left the field to be replaced by Scott Stevenson. Inverness passed up on a great opportunity as Brad Mckay, in his 100th game for the Caley Jags, skied one from close range when he should have scored. The urgency had gone from the Caley Jags and East Kilbride enjoyed their fair share of the ball without really troubling Ridgers. With twenty minutes left Craig Reid diverted a harmless cross into the net to make it 4-0 with McGinley stranded, the cross looking to be heading nowhere until Reid stuck a leg out. There would be no further scoring and only Nathan Austin will be able to explain why he delayed long enough to allow McGinley to block his point-blank effort when he should have bulged the net. It mattered not as the game played out and ended with Inverness going into the pot for the last sixteen. It was a comfortable afternoon for Inverness but East Kilbride can be heartened by their second half display where Inverness were unable to punish them with any authority although a couple of howlers could have added some polish to the result. Speaking on BBC Sport, Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Robertson said: "It was comfortable but we made it comfortable by a very, very fast start. "I'd like a winnable home tie. We want to progress. We've got a proud record in this competition and just four years ago we won it." His counterpart, East Kilbride manager Stuart Malcolm said: "It's a huge step up for us going from the Lowland League to play against Inverness. We didn't start overly well and they put us to the sword. "The second half was much better. We had a couple of half chances. Inverness were excellent. They are entirely professional and did a good job." Here's the highlights from Caley Jags TV And to round off a good day, did you all cash in with the superb offer from CTO Sponsors FansBet We're looking to start strongly against East Kilbride in the Scottish Cup. Our partners @Fans_bet have boosted odds of 4/1 on ICT to be leading after 10 minutes. Sign up here http://bit.ly/2OBvlLv & select Caley Thistle Online to help us support the forum and ICT fan causes. And would you believe it, another Highland derby in the Scottish Cup. Date: 19/01/2019 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1196 Referee: Mike Roncone Inverness CT: 4 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, B Mckay, McCart, Tremarco, Polworth, Chalmers, Welsh, Doran (MacGregor 85), White (Austin 62), Oakley (D Mackay 70) Subs (not used): C Mackay, Harper, Trafford, McHattie, Scorers: White (6), Doran (21), Polworth (27), Reid (71, og) Booked: none Sent Off: none East Kilbride: 0 Lineup: McGinley, Reid, Proctor (Stevenson 49), Howie (Russell 87), Coll, Humphrey (McNeil 71), Brady, Holmes, Anderson, Malcolm, Woods Subs (not used): Kean; Craig, Longworth, Winter. Scorers: none Booked: Woods (60) Brady (80), Sent Off: none a