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Found 129 results

  1. tm4tj

    NoS Cup v Forres

    ICTFC v Forres Mechanics Tuesday 11th September 8PM KO Tulloch Caledonian Stadium North of Scotland Cup Inverness Caledonian Thistle will play Forres Mechanics in the semi-final of the North of Scotland Cup on Tuesday 11th September with the game kicking off at 8pm at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. ICTFC have advanced to the semi-final after a 16-0 over Fort William in the first round and a 6-0 victory over Lossiemouth in the quarter-finals, with a blend of first-team players and the U18s squad featuring in the games so far. Ross County host Brora Rangers in the other semi-final. As per North of Scotland Cup rules on minimum prices, the admission price for this game will be: Adults: £8 Concession (OAP/Under 16s): £4
  2. Game of two halves It was the proverbial game of two halves. Inverness winning the first half 3-0 and Partick the second 2-0. When the dust settled it ended 3-2 for Inverness which was sufficient to move the Caley Jags to the top of the Championship. Three first half goals from Jordan White, Shaun Rooney and a penalty from Sean Welsh had the home side cruising at the break. However, we sat too deep in the second half and it was no surprise when Partick scored through Blair Spittal. They fell just short with a last gasp counter from Kris Doolan but the Caley Jags held on to take all three points and sit top of the division with Ross County drawing with Queen of the South. At the end of the action, the Caley Jags can be thankful for a penalty save by Mark Ridgers at the end of the first half. That became more important as the second half unfolded. No surprises in the Inverness starting XI, Jordan White chosen as target man with George Oakley and Nathan Austin on the bench. Partick had former Inverness players Miles Storey and Andrea Mutombo on from the start with Kris Doolan and Jai Quitongo making the bench. Old Caley Girl has this report for us, see what she had to say about the game. We’re top of the league and you’re no! Only 5 games in granted but certainly feels good and it’s been a long time coming. We got there in a very odd way to be honest. Summed up by a quote on twitter by our own Renegade “The first half was probably the best Caley Thistle have played all season. The second half was easily the worst”. Partick appeared to start brightly but as the first half went on it was clear this is a team that, like us last season, are a bit shell-shocked after relegation and have yet to gel. With ex-Caley jags men Miles Storey and Mutumbo in the Partick line up there was a bit of extra interest from the home fans with Storey especially getting attention from the boo boys in the north stand. Blair Spittal had a good chance 4 minutes in which was ably saved by Ridgers. However, it was the home fans who were cheering in 11 minutes with Jordan White opening our account. The ball found its way to Polworth who put in a great run and launched a thundering shot from about 20yds out. This hit the post and fell to White who made no mistake in popping it in the net. This was the start of a great spell for the home side with some tidy football on display and in 23 minutes we were 2 up. A Polworth corner was headed down to Sean Rooney who made no mistake with a right footed volley into the net. We were cruising, and the home fans were lapping it up. Walsh and Polworth had further chances to extend our lead and Slater came close at the other end. Just over half an hour in and Polworth broke free on goal to be hauled down in the box by Ntambwe and a penalty was awarded. Madness on the Partick players part and he was extremely lucky to be awarded a yellow and not a red. His manager clearly agrees with me as minutes later he was substituted. Anyway, back to the penalty. Up stepped Sean Walsh and he netted with a calmly despatched shot right down the centre of the goal past Bell. At last we appear to have found the competent penalty taker we have craved since Tansey left. In 41 minutes, referee Greg Aitken enraged the home support with what looked like a very dubious penalty award to Partick. Sean Welsh was judged to have fouled Miles Storey right on the edge of the penalty area. It didn’t even look like a foul to most of us and was arguably not even in the box. As usual the protesting players were not listened to and up stepped Storey only for Mark Ridgers to save in his bottom right corner with the hapless Storey even managing to miss a header from the rebound. Just on half time Rooney was replaced by McCart with the former going off injured. Half Time 3-0 The second half was a total contrast from our point of view. The referee decided to take a starring role and infuriate the home support. There were several bookings for both sides for not very much. The Partick defenders always seeming to get the benefit of the doubt in 50/50 tussles and the game frustratingly very stop start. Oakley replaced White and Calder replaced Doran. We staggered on with too much sitting back for my liking until 82 minutes when Blair Spittal managed to get one back for the visitors. It still felt frustrating but comfortable to be honest. A few players appear to be carrying slight knocks with Polworth limping his way through last 10 minutes or so as we had no subs left. More worryingly Oakley had to leave the park (88mins), in agony, after going down whilst chasing on the main stand side towards goal. As all subs were used we were down to 10 men and in reality, 9 as Polworth was struggling badly and managed to pick up a yellow in 90 mins. In the dying seconds Doolan managed to get Partick a second. That was that though and the players went off to big cheers and the morale boosting news of being top of the league. Full Time 3-2 So, a tale of two halves but a win is a win and we are now 18 league games unbeaten. Off to Dingwall we go next week and that is looking like a tasty fixture now with our neighbours snapping at our heels one point behind. Our second half performance was worrying, and we cannot allow, ourselves to sit back next week or disaster will surely ensue. The Mallard and haggis pies await and hopefully another 3 points. We will have to play at our absolute best and I hope the experienced players such as Tremarco are drumming into the newbies how important this fixture is. More worryingly are injuries to Rooney going off in first half and Polworth struggling. Oakley however appears to be the most serious and I doubt we will see him for a while sadly. OCG MOTM – Id say everyone yesterday got pass marks so a hard choice. Ridgers a contender for that great penalty save and its fab to see Welsh despatch another penalty. However, for me it must be Polworth for his first half performance alone. Was involved in everything and we would be a much poorer team without him. I hope this performance gave the boo boys in our support something to ponder over. Special mention to the match officials. Very inconsistent and pernickety. Partick penalty award looked outside box to me. Standside assistant appeared to stand and watch Doolan elbow Donaldson in the face and do nothing and fans on twitter reporting one of the assistants had to answer his phone mid game to switch it off!!! Doesn’t do much to enhance the reputation Scottish officials are gaining this season. Robbo in this post-match interview was disappointed we only went in 3 up at half time and also felt the 2nd Partick goal took a bit of shine off the day. Sentiments I agree with. Archibald felt his side were hard done by and always a threat? Hmmmm not so sure what he was watching. Always felt comfortable even in the dying minutes for me. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ After the dust settled, here's what we thought of it all on CTO. Despite a grim second half, there were some heartening moments after the break. Inverwegian picked out this one:- "Why has no one mentioned the best thing about the second half?? The Partick keeper falling over the advertising boards! Really, you’ve got to take what you can from that second half and that was mine." Caman was straight to the point:- "2nd half kinda sucked, but three points, still unbeaten and top of the league. Could be worse I suppose!!! " And The Long Man summed it up nicely while looking ahead to next weekend:- "Good Stuff. Remember the doom and gloom after Hearts - now look where both clubs are. Sets up next week beautifully." Rig was feeling sentimental towards the 'Magic Hat' man:- "Great to see them capturing Mckay dishing out some telt to Storey after his penalty miss though I did feel for him a wee bit with the abuse he was getting." You can feel the love😍 See you all in Dingwall next week! Here's the action from Caley Jags TV Date: 15/09/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2424 Referee: Greg Aitken Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney (McCart 43), Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Doran (Calder 76), Polworth, Welsh, Chalmers, White (Oakley 69), Walsh Subs (not used): Hoban, Trafford, Austin, Mackay Scorers: White (11), Rooney (23), Welsh (pen 32) Booked: Chalmers (48), Polworth (90+2) Sent Off: none Partick Thistle: 2 Lineup: Bell; Elliot, Keown, McGinty, Penrice, Mutombo ( Doolan 56), Ntambwe (Bannigan 37), Slater, Spittal, Storey (Quitongo 71) Subs (not used): Sneddon, Melbourne, Fitzpatrick, Jefferies Scorers: Spittal (82), Doolan (90+3) Booked: Ntambwe (32), Bannigan (72) Sent Off: none a
  3. Thistle Test for Caley Jags Relegated Partick Thistle are the visitors on Saturday in a Championship encounter at the Caledonian Stadium to face the only unbeaten team in the league, the game kicking off at 3:00pm. This will be a good test to see where we are at the moment. Prior to the International break, the Caley Jags recorded their best result of the season with a 3-0 win over Dunfermline at East End Park. Three second half goals from Shaun Rooney, Liam Polworth and George Oakley sent the visiting fans home happy and that result moved Inverness up to second place in the table, one point below current leaders Ross County. The Harry Wraggs beat Morton last time out thanks to a goal from Chris Erskine. The game was notable for another 'goal' that was not given when the ball appeared to go into the net off the underside of the bar after Kris Doolan shot from the edge of the box. The referee and his assistant saw otherwise and awarded a throw in. How bizarre. That win puts Partick on six points after four games. With relegation comes the inevitable movement of players and Partick are no different to other sides that faced the drop. Out went keepers Tomas Cerny and Ryan Scully, Ryan Edwards, Steven Lawless, Paul McGinn, former ICT defender Danny Devine, Adam Barton, Callum Booth, Kevin Nisbett, Abdul Osman, the list is endless. Connor Sammon's loan deal ended and he is now loaned out from Hearts to Motherwell. They have made an excellent signing in goalkeeper Cammy Bell and he is backed up by former Raith Rovers keeper Aaron Lennox. Experienced defender Tam Scobbie joins from the Arabs. Mortons Thomas O'Ware has signed on and midfielders Brice Ntambwe, Craig Slater and loanee Shea Gordon from Motherwell. It's up front that Partick have invested well with Morton's Jai Quitongo alongside Souleymane Coulibaly, he of spectacular goal fame. Another interesting late addition is former Inverness midfielder Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo, another who likes a spectacular goal. Partick have two wins and two defeats in their opening four games. They lost to Ayr United and Dundee United but have beaten Falkirk and Morton. We are undefeated in the League, but let's not paper over the cracks. The two draws were against both promoted sides who had been reduced to ten men. Missed penalties are a recurring theme but last weeks win over Dunfermline was a welcome one adding to the opening day win at Falkirk. East Fife surprisingly knocked Partick Thistle out of the IrnBru Challenge Cup after coming from behind to dump the Jags out of the competition. Mutombo scored in the 2-1 defeat with Partick having a relatively strong side out. Inverness played a North of Scotland cup semi-final over Forres Mechanics in midweek and progressed to the final with a 4-0 win over the Can Cans. A side based on squad players and youth were enough to see off Forres and Daniel Mackay put a spanner in the Mechanics work with two goals. Roddy MacGregor and Jack Brown were the other scorers. Squad players George Oakley, Jamie McCart, Riccardo Calder and Charlie Trafford also featured. The final will be against Ross County who edged out Brora Rangers by 2-1. The venue has still to be decided but it will take place on October 6th or 7th. It was however a sad day for North football and journalism as it was announced that former Caley manager Alex Main, who amassed 14 trophies including 4 Highland League titles at Telford Street, had passed away at the age of 86. A tribute to Alex can be found on the Official Site. RIP Alex. Team News John Robertson has no major worries ahead of this game and took a few positives from the NoS cup tie against Forres Mechanics with Daniel Mackay doing his prospects no harm at all. He also scored for the u18's against St Johnstone on Friday evening. Busy lad. Alan Archibald was speaking on the Partick Thistle website and said:- “Miles Storey will come back into the squad for the game. He had a bit of swelling on his knee so we wouldn’t even have risked him for a league game last Saturday but he’s trained all week and comes back in for tomorrow. Stuart Bannigan will come back in on the grass which will be a boost and Jai Quitongo has a chance of making the squad. That should mean we have a much stronger bench than we did last week which can only be good thing for myself.” Here's a wee video that made me chuckle........... rude words within. How will he manage on the short trip to Dingwall.
  4. Can Cans Can't Stop Mackay A damp and blustery night greeted the semi-final of the North of Scotland Cup on a sad day for North football and journalism as it was announced that former Caley manager Alex Main, who amassed 14 trophies including 4 Highland League titles at Telford Street, had passed away at the age of 86. A tribute to Alex can be found on the Official Site. RIP Alex. John Robertson had indicated he would give a handful of squad players a game and Charlie Trafford, Riccardo Calder, Daniel Mackay and Jamie McCart were joined by striker George Oakley in the starting XI. George Oakley got the game underway and it only took five minutes for Inverness to get themselves in front. Daniel Mackay made his way down the right and crossed into the six yard box where Roddy MacGregor headed home. Forres steadied the ship and Milne headed a Duncanson cross wide after 18 minutes, at the other end Daniel Mackay shot over from distance. Halfway through the first half and Knight had to look sharp to come off his line and block George Oakley as he raced through on goal. Former Inverness player Stuart Soane went close with a header from a corner as we neared the interval. Half Time 1-0 The second half brought no changes, but three minutes in and Mackay volleyed home from ten yards after a Gabriel Hastings cross was part cleared by the visiting defence. Charlie Trafford was booked for a late challenge and moments later Daniel Hoban was called into action to deny Soane who had headed goalwards. Inverness stepping up a gear now and Jack Brown wins a corner that is cleared, but it's that boy again as Daniel Mackay scored his second and Caley Jags third after Oakley sent him through on the keeper. Mackay rounded Knight to score. Mackay tried to return the favour to Oakley but he could not take full advantage of the opening. Jack Brown got in on the act as he rounded Knight to score the Caley Jags fourth of the night and put the result beyond doubt. Right at the death, Riccardo Calder went close with a tremendous effort, but there was no more scoring as the ref brought the game to a halt. Full Time 4-0 Inverness progress to the final and await the winner of the Ross County v Brora Rangers tie which will be played tomorrow night. Date: 11/09/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: ???? Referee: Billy Baxter Inverness CT: 4 Lineup: Hoban, Hastings, Harper, Trafford (Gunn 64), Fyffe, McCart, Mackay, Brown (Hyde 85) Oakley (Kennedy 74), MacGregor, Calder. Subs (not used): Mackinnon, Nicolson, Harkness Scorers: MacGregor (6), Mackay (48, 62), Brown (70) Booked: Trafford (53) Sent Off: none Forres Mechanics: 0 Lineup: Knight, MacPherson, Fraser, Groat (Allan 65), Moore, Milne, Pollock (MacPhee 65) , MacRae, Duncanson (Taylor 70), Howarth, Soane Subs (not used): Brown, MacGillivray, Paterson, Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  5. Wasps sting lavish Jags Inverness were held to a 2-2 draw by ten man Alloa after Karadachki was sent packing just after the break. Brad Mckay had headed the opener in the first half but Alloa levelled through possibly the back of Oakley's head, Graham credited at the moment with the goal. We went ahead when Walsh scored a penalty at the Karadachki incident but the visitors got an unlikely equaliser late in the game with a penalty of their own, Flannigan scoring from the spot. Old Caley Girl has this report for us ............. Let me start by saying that this should have been a totally different match report. In fact, one in which we were joint top of the league with 3 points in the bag! I digress though as a totally different scenario played out. A reasonable crowd (these days) of over 2000 sat down on a sunny afternoon at the TCS looking for an entertaining and profitable afternoon. We started off brightly with several goal opportunities early on including a blocked shot by Tom Walsh in 7 minutes. This led onto the opening goal in 10 minutes. A Polworth corner found Brad McKay in the centre of the box, and he headed powerfully into the net. There then followed chance after chance to go further ahead without reward. At this point it looked like we would go on to score at will and felt comfortable. There were several scrappy fouls committed by both sides and in 25 mins Zanatta engineered a foul by getting squashed between Polworth and another ICT player gaining a free kick just outside the box. This led to the equaliser with it looking like a deflection off Oakley to me from behind the goal. However, the news outlets awarded the goal to Andy Graham from a header? From then till half time nothing much of note happened except a succession of fouls again from both sides. It felt like the wind was taken out of our sales after the equaliser. HALF TIME 1-1 The second half was a tale of 3 penalties! Just after half time Karadachki was booked for a foul on Oakley. This led to further madness on his part at the ensuing free kick as he wrestled with Donaldson which led to Donaldson being dragged to the ground. Second yellow meant red and a penalty. I’m sure I was not alone in watching through my hands as Welsh stepped up. There was nothing to worry about here, though, as Welsh coolly stuck the ball into the bottom right hand corner. Smiles all round as word came through that County losing at Morton and the top of the table beckoning for us. It didn’t go like that though despite opportunity after opportunity and good saves from Parry in the Alloa goal. In 56 minutes White replaced Austin and Calder replaced Welsh. In 71 minutes, Calder was clipped in our box and a 2nd penalty was awarded. From my seat there was contact, but it appeared a tad soft. However, penalty it was and what a disaster that turned out to be! Welsh had gone off and no-one seemed to want this task so up stepped a very nervous looking Coll Donaldson to smash it off the bar instead of into the net. Is it just me that thinks it shameful our strikers hid at this particular moment? Shortly afterwards Doran replaced Oakley and did look livelier than of late but to no avail. It looked like we would carry on over the finishing line at this point but then up stepped Shaun Rooney into the spotlight. He tried to foul the Alloa player several times until finally deciding to bundle him over in the box whilst heading towards the by-line. One of the most clueless decisions ever. Up stepped Flannigan to literally steal a point with a thank you very much! FULL TIME 2-2 We are still unbeaten in the league, but this certainly was 2 points dropped not a point gained. The failure to finish off 10 man teams twice this early in the season is worrying and we should be 4 points better off than we really are. We are making chances but being punished for not taking them and it is clear we do not know what our best striking partnership is. Yet again we persist with a narrow formation for a good part of the game and surely everyone, including management, can see Polworth is not and never will be a winger! Calder coming on did create width and as I stated earlier there was glimpses of the old Doran on show during his short appearance yesterday. All 3 substitutions seemed wrong. Is tightening up and seeing a game out not possible for us these days. Robbo was quick to blame the players post-match and yes, we were not clinical enough, but I do feel he has to step up and admit his share of blame as they play to his instructions. There appears a real lack of leadership on the park as well. Tremarco seems very flat and out of sorts to me. I know some wont like me saying this, but we are missing Iain Vigurs terribly. Some players seem totally bombproof as well such as Chalmers whilst others like Trafford and Calder are given little opportunity to shine. Final word of the day is disappointing. Dunfermline away next. They will be smarting from a heavy defeat against Ayr yesterday and 3 points for us is a must. Do I feel confident this team can do that? I’m not so sure sadly. OCG MOTM – A hard one really. Going with Coll Donaldson despite his awful penalty blunder. He showed leadership when there wasn’t much on show by stepping forward and had a steady game overall. RIG summed up his thoughts along similar lines................... All too familiar a tale for ICT fans. Dominate the game in terms of possession but tend not to create much and when we do we are wasteful in taking those chances. Very little width for most of the game until Calder came on and gave Tremarco someone to link with ahead of him instead of having to turn back inside all the time. Welsh had a decent game and we definitely lost a bit of composure in midfield when he went off (presumably due to fitness issues). Donaldson, penalty miss aside, was good at the back but the rest of the squad is quite poor. Austin, Oakley and White all continue to work hard up front but none of them look like they will be particularly prolific for us this season. Rooney was really poor. Defensively naive and poor bringing the ball out from the back. Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Robertson speaking to BBC Sport: "It's inexcusable. You cannot create 15, 16, 17 clear-cut chances and miss them. "We should be sitting comfortably on nine points with a good goal difference but we are now stuck in the middle of the table because we simply haven't been clinical enough at either end. "We've got very good youngsters who may well start to come into plans. We've been loyal to the team that started the vast majority of last season and players who have done well for the club but now maybe we need to start looking to shake it up a bit." Here's the highlights from the game............... Date: 25/08.2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2269 Referee: Barry Cook Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, B Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Polworth, Welsh (Calder 64), Chalmers, Walsh, Austin (White 55), Oakley (Doran 72) Subs (not used): Hoban; McCart, D Mackay, Trafford Scorers: Mckay (10), Welsh (pen 48) Booked: Oakley (24), Walsh (32) Sent Off: none Alloa Athletic: 2 Lineup: Parry; Taggart, Graham, Karadachki, Dick, Hastie, Heatherington (Burt 78), Flannigan, Cawley (Brown 65), Zanatta, Spence (Peggie 49) Subs (not used): Henry, Trouten, Goodwin Scorers: Graham (35), Flannigan (87) Booked: Karadachki (46) Sent Off: Karadachki (48)
  6. The wasps are coming Player manager Jim Goodwin will take his Alloa Athletic side North on Saturday to face Inverness at the Caledonian Stadium in the Championship. It's a 3:00pm kick off with Inverness looking to remain unbeaten and keep the Wasps winless. I notice that Alloa have the most appropriately named keeper in the league. You've guessed it, his name is Parry, but let's not dwell on that. Keeper Neil Parry was voted onto the League one team having completed 13 clean sheets last season. That aside, what an appropriate name for a keeper........ just saying. Caley Stan has been doing his homework and the result is this informative Preview for us all to read.................... Alloa, known globally not just for its brewing but as the unlikely setting for a popular sitcom set during the French Resistance, lies on the north bank of the Forth where some say it ceases to be the River Forth and becomes the Firth of Forth. Fittingly, the town’s football club continually refuses to accept the place in the Seaside League that usually serves as the pinnacle for a club of its size. Under the chairmanship of local tycoon Mike Mulraney, The Wasps have enjoyed a period of unprecedented success, beginning with the appointment of Paul Hartley as manager in the summer of 2011. Hartley oversaw successive promotions and Alloa went on to spend 3 consecutive seasons in the second tier. Now Player-Manger-Master of the Dark Arts, Jim Goodwin, has led them back up at the second attempt with victories over Raith Rovers and Dumbarton in the play-offs. History of the Fixture Won 14 Drawn 10 Lost 6 We played Alloa 28 times in the first 9 seasons of our history and have faced them just twice since. Our first victory came at the fifth attempt – a 5-0 win at Recreation Park in which a Charlie Christie hat-trick and an Ian Stewart brace provided the first sign of the free-scoring fun that was to follow over the next 7 and a half years. By the end of that glorious period, Alloa had been the recipients of a series of unremitting pumpings, and Pele’s last visit to ‘The Recs’ fittingly saw us run out 6-0 winners, with hat-tricks from both Dennis Wyness and Paul Ritchie. I’ve always wondered who got to keep the ball. For all that, it’s a defeat that lingers most vividly in the memory. The 1999 Challenge Cup Final in Airdrie was an epic 4-4 draw that saw The Wasps victorious after a penalty shoot-out. Paul Sheerin, whose hat-trick in the game had included 2 from the spot, missed our opening penalty in the shoot-out and the loss was complete when Mike Teasdale had his saved. To add insult to injury, Alloa keeper Mark Cairns who saved Teasdale's penalty, scored the one before it. It may be difficult to imagine now, but it was a gut-wrenching defeat at the time – just 5 years into our history and in our debut season in the First Division, we were competing in our first final, bringing around 3000 fans down to a less than neutral venue. But in retrospect, with everything we’ve gone on to achieve, it’s difficult to begrudge Alloa a success that takes pride of place in their 140 year-old honours list. And lest we forget, it was not just a victory for Alloa Athletic Football Club, but a significant milestone in the integration of duffel coat wearing headmasters into mainstream society. The teams last met in the Second Round of the League Cup 2 years ago, with Alloa running out 1-0 winners. The defeat turned out to be a harbinger of things to come under the stewardship of Richie Foran and our descent since then has been steep. A maiden victory for Alloa at the Caledonian Stadium would represent a new low. Form Alloa Last 7: WDWLLLW ICT Last 7: WWWLWDL Form is in the eye of the beholder here, as it can be argued that the all competitions figures above don’t tell us much about confidence in the respective squads. Although Alloa have lost their opening two league fixtures, those games have been tight and they have performed well in the cups. There’s little to suggest that they will suffer as Brechin did. From our end, we remain unbeaten in the league since the 13th March, a run of 13 games, but the manner of our departures from the cups, combined with the failure to score against an Ayr side that played over an hour with 10 men, leave the impression that all may not be well. Teams & Tactics Like Dumbarton before them, Alloa’s chances of staying in this division are largely dependent on their ability to supplement a part-time squad with full-time loan signings. That makes August a tricky month, with clubs reluctant to loan players out before the transfer window closes. However, that process has stepped up this week with the loan additions of midfielder Liam Burt from Rangers and forward Dario Zanatta from Hearts. All accounts suggest that Alloa are playing a stuffy, narrow 4-4-1-1, with experienced lower league journeyman Alan Trouten in support of Greig Spence up top. At the back, captain Andy Graham has decent experience at this level and his partnership with Bulgarian Zdravko Karadachki has impressed so far this season. We also seem to be playing a narrow 4-4-2, with a settled back 4 that sees Shaun Rooney pushing up high on the right when we’re in possession. Tom Walsh has made a bright start to the season on the left of midfield, while Liam Polworth and Joe Chalmers are fixtures in Robbo’s starting line-ups. That leaves 3 places up for grabs with Charlie Trafford and Sean Welsh competing for the remaining berth in the centre of midfield, and Nathan Austin, George Oakley and Jordan White all in contention to play up front. It’s difficult to see where Aaron Doran fits into this system and Robbo has made it clear that he sees Daniel MacKay as an impact sub at this time. Angus Beith remains injured and Zak Elbouzedi was absent from the bench for our last match.
  7. No fizzy pop joy this season. The holders wimped out of the IrnBru cup at the first hurdle in what can best be described as a reserve team game. Both sides made massive changes to their starting line-ups and it was the visitors that went through to the next round after surviving a plethora of Inverness attacks, but holding on to score a break away goal at the end. Both sides fielded fringe players with youth players making up the squads for this IrnBru cup game. John Robertson said the players had been knocking on his door looking for some game time. That wish was granted for some, but Robertson was less than impressed after the game with what he saw on the park. Daniel Hoban was in goal and Jamie McCart and Riccardo Calder came into the back line. Aaron Doran started as did Sean Welsh, Daniel Mackay and Jordan White, all getting the opportunity to stake a claim for a regular game. The Pars fielded a whole new starting line-up with seven debutantes since their defeat to County, giving youth a chance to show their worth, and they certainly responded positively, although much of that was due to the inability of the Inverness players to impress their manager. Similar to the first team squad, chances were created and squandered before Dunfermline opened the scoring in controversial fashion. The Pars broke forward after a poor choice of ball by McCart played Trafford into trouble. He failed to deal with the ball and Andy Ryan broke forward to the edge of the box before being fouled by Brad Mckay. It looked to happen just outside the box given the position of the large divot left on the park. However, penalty was offered and Kallum Higginbotham promptly dispatched the ball low and hard to the keepers right hand side. We struggled to make any impact in a first half dominated by a stiff breeze and the Pars went in at the break one goal ahead as the early threat offered by Daniel Mackay eroded. Half Time 0-1 Robbo saw enough ten minutes into the second half and made changes as we continued to disappoint. Mackay and Trafford made way for Tom Walsh and George Oakley, and that coincided with our best spell of the game as Riccardo Calder began to threaten down the left and get some dangerous crosses in with Walsh doing likewise on the right. After three or four false alarms, Jordan White eventually met an inviting cross from the left, meeting Calder's ball ten yard out to drive it into the net for the equaliser. White was now beginning to get plenty joy in and around the box but unfortunately for him he was unable to direct any headers on target or with sufficient force to seriously trouble the keeper. Similar to Saturday, White landed another looping header on top of the net as our frustration grew. We were undone in the final few minutes when Polworth lost possession around the halfway line. Andy Ryan once more benefiting from our slackness and racing forward before rolling a ball into the box from the left side. Callum Smith was first to it and he knocked it high behind an exposed Hoban. We still managed to miss another couple of attempts, White knocking one over the bar from one yard and another header going over. Full Time 1-2 The experimental squad backfired for us but gave Dunfermline a safe passage into the next round. Was it deserved? Maybe not, but you make your own luck or get help from your opponents, and both of these happened on the night. Robbo has taken his squad to task over the display. I'm in agreement with him, it's time to take the cotton wool wrapping of the players and get them to perform to a higher level. So no fizzy pop joy for us this season, but good luck to Dunfermline in the next round. Wee midfielder Aidan Connolly (8) was a handful for our middlemen. Good control, able to beat a man and pick a pass, something we could have done with. He is the son of former Dundee United player Paddy Connolly and he is my MotM. Date: 14/08/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1046 Referee: Alan Muir Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Hoban; Rooney, B Mckay, McCart, Calder, Polworth, Welsh, Trafford (Walsh 55), Doran, D Mackay (Oakley 55), White Subs (not used): C Mackay; Brown, Harper, Fyffe, Kennedy Scorers: White (60) Booked: B Mckay (23), Rooney (34), Welsh (38) Sent Off: none Dunfermline: 2 Lineup: Gill; Allan, Morrison, Beadling (Jordan 63), Luke, Higginbotham, Todd, Connolly, Smith (Robertson 90), Ryan, McCann Subs (not used): Burt; Swanson, Crosbie, Brown, Sawers Scorers: Higginbotham (Pen 24), Smith (87) Booked: McCann (64) Sent Off: none a
  8. No Sweetener for IrnBru Champs It's a tough opening tie for Challenge Cup holders Inverness as we start the defence of our trophy on Tuesday night. However, there's no easy first round tie for the holders with the Pars visiting. Adults: £15 Concessions: £10 Under 16s: £5. Tickets available here Tickets Information for season ticket holders adding the game to their account can be found here How to add to your season ticket Our last involvement in this competition saw us defeat Dumbarton in the final at Perth, a last minute Carl Tremarco goal enough to lift the trophy. It was Championship duty last weekend and we passed up a great opportunity to win all three points against 10 man Ayr United. A penalty amongst other great opportunities went astray and we had to settle for a share of the points with the Honest Men. Inverness looked a bit one paced against Ayr and struggled to make the most of the numerical advantage. At times it was difficult to tell that the visitors were down a man. Nobody took the game by the scruff of the neck and we ultimately paid for our lethargy. Plenty of effort, but not enough guile. The last time the Pars came North they ruined our chances of a play-off slot last season by scoring with seconds left to earn a 2-2 draw in a pulsating game. I fully expect this to be another tough game. Robbo may make some changes for this cup game having gone with the tried and tested over the last few games. We do look as though a bit of pace in the wide areas would be an asset and maybe Elbouzedi or Calder could be more use on the park than on the bench. Daniel Mackay looks certain to make a start in this one. Been a tough week for Liam Polworth with the penalty miss and a minority section of fans getting on his case. Fair play to Liam if he plays through this, but I wouldn't blame him if he were to sit this one out and take stock of everything. Local artist and Caley Jags fan Sophie Robb has sketched this brilliant image of Liam. Let's hope he can put all this behind him and move on with the Caley Jags. Sophie's work can be seen at the stadium, a massive mural on display taken from the IrnBru final against Dumbarton. There's only one Liam Polworth................ The Pars fared worse than us on Saturday as they were unexpectedly beaten 1-3 at East End Park by relegated Ross County. Louis Longridge scored the Pars goal, but County were well worth the three points. Dunfermline might be more interested in the League Cup next weekend and that could lead to both sides fielding one or two fringe players. This was the side that Dunfermline put out at the weekend Robinson; Williamson, Durnan, Ashcroft, Longridge, Craigen, Thomson, Vincent, Longridge, El Bakhtaoui, Hippolyte Subs: Higginbotham, Ryan, Connolly, Gill, Smith, Todd, McCann An excellent digital Preview from the official site can be seen Here
  9. Inverness pay the penalty Inverness were held to a 0-0 draw by newly promoted Ayr United who had been reduced to ten men after half an hour. Despite the numerical superiority we were unable to capitalise and wasted a few good opportunities to take all three points, including a missed penalty. Prior to kick-off, a minutes silence was impeccably held in memory of Alan Hercher who died at the tender age of 52. Alan was our first club captain and scored our first, second and third goals with a hat-trick against Arbroath in 1994. How we could have done with Herchies drive in this game. RIP Alan Hercher 1965 - 2018. The visitors took along a healthy support amongst the 2376 crowd and were looking for wanted man Lawrence Shankland to see them through the game. Inverness were pretty much as expected with Nathan Austin and George Oakley up front and Jordan White, Aaron Doran and Daniel Mackay starting on the bench. The hosts started brightly and buzzed around the visitors box without actually creating too much for keeper Ross Doohan to deal with, Tom Walsh going close but missing the target in the third minute. Unfortunately that would be a recurring theme for the afternoon. Ayr's Daniel Harvie received a yellow card in the 13th minute that would come back to haunt him after half an hour. Robbie Crawford called Mark Ridgers into action as the keeper saved his effort in the 17th minute as Ayr began to get to grips with the pace of the game with their hosts not able to penetrate their defence. Harvie looked to push George Oakley over as he went for a high ball into the box and promptly got his marching orders from Andrew Dallas. Unfortunately Liam Polworth could not take advantage and directed his spot kick well wide of the post with the keeper going the wrong way. Five minutes before the break Nathan Austin should have scored when put through one-on-one with the keeper. He also picked his spot with his shot, but unfortunately that spot was two yards wide of the post. Great opportunity that went abegging. He also managed to hit the keeper right on the break for a frustrating end to the half for the home fans. We should have been at least two up at the break but through our own inability to hit the target Ayr went in at the interval on level terms. Half Time 0-0 Ayr came out of the blocks flying at the start of the second half and dangerman Lawrence Shankland used his strength and speed to good effect, but his angled shot went across the face of the goal with Ridgers scrambling across to cover it. Michael Moffat could also have opened the scoring but like everyone else he shot narrowly wide six minutes into the half. Robbie Crawford followed suit as Ayr looked for the opening goal. Inverness gradually came back into the game and Joe Chalmers stung the palms of Doohan. His shot had plenty of power but was too direct at the keeper. Robbie Crawford tried his luck again as the game opened out and Coll Donaldson took matters into his own hands and surged forward a couple of times. Plenty of effort from the hosts in the last half hour but we were unable to fashion any really clear opportunities. Donaldson fired a shot just over in one of his runs forward and substitute Jordan White could not quite direct a header on target, the ball landing on the roof of the net. A flurry of corners came and went and Ayr managed to hold on for an excellent point for them. Full Time 0-0 A frustrating afternoon all round and to be honest this felt like a defeat, but credit to Ayr for having a go especially once they went down to ten men. Difficult to select a MotM from an Inverness perspective with nobody catching the eye. Shankland gave our defenders a hard time with his powerful play and quick feet as did Moffat and Crawford. Donaldson might just be our best player on the day after making a couple of early mistakes which he recovered to deal with himself. He was one of the few players to drive forward with any menace and gets my vote. Miserable day for Liam Polworth not helped by some of our own fans venting their displeasure towards him with some unsavoury chants. Clean it up please. Dunfermline visit on Tuesday night in the Challenge Cup. They surprisingly went down 3-1 at home to Ross County on Saturday. Expect a difficult game in midweek. Here's the action from the game............. Date: 11/08/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2376 Referee: Andrew Dallas Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, B Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Walsh (Doran 70), Trafford (D Mackay 68), Polworth, Chalmers, Oakley, Austin (White 59) Subs (not used): Hoban; McCart, Welsh, Calder. Scorers: none Booked: Tremarco (19), Rooney (49) Sent Off: none Ayr United: 0 Lineup: Doohan; Geggan, Adams, Rose, Harvie, Forrest (Ferguson 31), Crawford, Kerr (Docherty 83), Murdoch, Shankland, Moffat (Bell 74) Subs (not used): Hare-Reid, Moore, McDaid, McGuffie. Scorers: none Booked: Harvie (13), Crawford (70) Sent Off: Harvie (30) a
  10. Ayr visit tinged with sadness Ayr United come North on Saturday to face Inverness at the Caledonian Stadium in the Championship, round two. It should have been a day to renew old acquaintances, but it will be tinged with sadness as news breaks about the passing of former club captain, legend and all round great guy Alan Hercher. The newly promoted Honest Men find themselves at the top of the Championship after matchday one thanks to a 2-0 win over relegated Partick Thistle. Inverness join them on three points along with Ross County and the impressive Dunfermline Athletic. We opened our campaign with a hard fought win at Falkirk thanks to a tenth minute strike from George Oakley. By all accounts a touch fortunate to get all three points, but the new look Falkirk side with seven new starts took a while to get going and never really looked like getting all three points anyway. So, we can look at this one as a bonus win, and considering our dreadful start to life in the Championship last season, we'll take it. Ayr top the table after an early double from hot property Lawrence Shankland secured the points, the first from the penalty spot, the second a strikers goal from ten yards out smashed into the net. We have had some memorable games against Ayr. Who can forget the 7-0 thrashing of Ayr when we got promoted at the first time of asking and Terry Buther's sermon from the main stand at Somerset Park? What about the 7-3 see-saw league game in December 2000 when it seemed that goals were maybe going out of fashion, a Dennis Wyness hat-trick in that one. My personal favourite, the 4-3 Scottish Cup tie at Inverness in January 2001 when Eddie Annand, Mark Campbell and Marvyn Wilson had Ayr three up after thirty-three minutes. However, four second half goals from Paul Sheerin, Bobby Mann, Davide Xausa and Dennis Wyness put us into the fourth round draw. We would go on to a replay at Rugby Park in the fourth round before going down 2-1 against Kilmarnock. Aye, those were the days! Back to the future now and Ayr have strengthened since gaining promotion. In come Daniel Harvie, a defender from Aberdeen, Andy Murdoch a midfielder from Morton and they have a loan keeper from Celtic in Ross Doohan. Robbo went with the tried and tested players last weekend with Nathan Austin and George Oakley up front. Midfield seems to be our problem area with nobody taking ownership and bossing the play. Tom Walsh is a lively addition though and looks to have a bright future here. Col Donaldson was once again our star man showing his defensive attributes to nullify the Bairns. Look for more of the same tomorrow. Very sad news breaking as we prepare for the game against Ayr is that our first club Captain Alan Hercher has passed away at the young age of 52. Herchie scored a hat-trick in our first ever home league game against Arbroath in a 5-2 win at Telford Street in 1994. There is more details on the official site. Alan Hercher Tribute A minutes silence will be observed prior to kick off against Ayr United. Sincere condolences to Alan's family and friends from all at Caley Thistle Online. RIP Herch. Here's a short clip of Herch scoring the winner against Livingston in the Scottish Cup in 1996
  11. Late Mackay goal sinks Raith Substitute Daniel Mackay scored the winner with three minutes remaining after Grant Gillespie had scored a screamer to draw Raith level. Nathan Austin had opened the scoring after a goalless first half which Inverness had dominated without over exerting the keeper. Tom Walsh kept his starting place after his two goals at Cowdenbeath with Shaun Rooney at full back. Daniel Mackay was on the bench with Riccardo Calder and Jordan White. Raith had former Inverness giant Nat Wedderburn on the bench with ex-Dundee player Kyle Benedictus on from the start. The hosts started briskly and forced a corner within a minute and continued on the front foot for most of the half. Thompson saved an effort from Walsh but Austin couldn't dig the ball out and get a shot away from the rebound. Oakley turned on a through ball but Thompson saved smartly to deny the striker. Lot's of neat interplay from Inverness but little end product as the half wore on with Raith offering nothing up front. Not surprisingly it ended all square at the break. Half Time 0-0 Second half was only five minutes old when Oakley held up a ball from Polworth to lay it onto Austin who steered a low shot to the keepers right hand side into the net. Smart opening goal and no more than we deserved. Could we kick on from here? Well, the answer was no and out of nowhere Raith scored a scorcher of a goal when Grant Gillespie latched onto a loose ball from a corner some 12 yards out and lashed his shot like a missile into the top corner at junction of post and bar. We struggled to make much headway thereafter until substitute Danny Mackay benefited from a blocked shot from Riccardo Calder on the break to send the fans home happy. Full Time 2-1 Hard work but an overall deserved win over a defensive Raith Rovers. More updates to follow........ ICT: Ridgers, Rooney (), Tremarco, B Mckay, Chalmers, Donaldson, Polworth (), Austin (Calder 81), Doran (White 76), Walsh, Oakley (Mackay 68) Subs not used: Hoban, McCart, Elbouzedi, Trafford Raith: Thompson, Watson, Valentine, Davidson (Wedderburn 45), Murray, Benedictus, Gillespie, Milne (Stevenson 81), Matthews, Nisbet, Mackay. Subs not used: McGuff, Barry. Referee: Colin Steven Attendance: 1295
  12. After the biggest home game comes Raith. League Cup action continues on Tuesday night with a group stage game against Raith Rovers in the Betfred sponsored competition. The game kicks off at 19:45 at the Caledonian Stadium. Admission Information: Adult – £10 Concessions – £5 Under 12 – Free Our first two games have brought us six points after victories over Cove Rangers (2-0) and Cowdenbeath (2-5). There was mixed reaction to the Cowdenbeath result with some fans not overly impressed with the performance whilst welcoming the overall result. Tom Walsh scored an excellent brace and Aaron Doran scrambled a couple as well with substitute George Oakley lashing in the other one. Raith began their League Cup fixtures with a disappointing defeat at Bayview by Cowdenbeath. The tie was played there because Raiths new artificial surface was not ready in time. They followed this up by playing Hearts on Saturday at the same venue and fared much better holding the Premiership side to a 1-1 draw. Hearts went on to win the penalty shoot out to earn the bonus point. Kevin Nisbet had put the Kirkaldy side ahead but Michael Smith levelled the match with twelve minutes remaining. Group C favourites Hearts are in trouble with the beaks after fielding an ineligible player in the 2-1 win over Cove Rangers. The club will face a hearing on Monday after Andrew Irving, 18, came on in the 65th minute. Chief executive Anne Budge spoke of Hearts' "embarrassment" after admitting they failed to register the player's new deal, which he signed in January. According to Anne, new internal processes will be put in place to prevent this from happening again. Oh dear, and Jake thought he was joining a more professional outfit. Meh! The result of that meeting was a rather odd decision by the SPFL to deduct two points from Hearts with a £10,000 fine. Robbo has decisions to make ahead of this game with Tom Walsh looking the part and Jordan White showing up well with a couple of assists. A good dilemma to have I suppose with goals coming from new sources providing competition for places across the park. Daniel Mackay missed out again at Cowdenbeath with a niggle. New signing Sean Welsh is in the bad book though and might have to sit on the naughty step after an eventful debut at Brora in a pre-season friendly. After scoring two goals he was red carded for an alleged head butt/face off. Rovers manager Barry Smith has new recruits Robbie Thomson (GK), Grant Gillespie, Nathan Flannagan, Kevin Nisbet and Chris Duggan available to him. Former Inverness player Nat Wedderburn missed the opener and did not feature against Hearts either. Raith have not beaten Inverness in their last seventeen attempts, but they can be cheered by the fact that Inverness faced their toughest home game of the season at the weekend and only managed to scramble a draw against 100 kids despite having the opposition watched numerous times. Here's the video highlights of the 25 all draw ............
  13. The Day Football Came Home Inverness eased themselves to a 2-0 win over Cove Rangers in the opening game of the season without over exerting themselves on the very day when football came home. Holidays, cobwebs and rustiness were common words thrown around the stands. It was a sometimes laboured performance from the Championship side and the holiday blues were still evident, with a bit to go before match sharpness kicks in. Nonetheless, two tap-ins from Nathan Austin were enough to see off Cove who for the greater part looked every bit as threatening as did their hosts. A defensive error allowed Austin to benefit from an Oakley cross and some tidy work outside the box saw Shaun Rooney feed a great ball to Polworth who teed up Austin to tap into the empty net. Some great saves by visiting keeper McKenzie kept the score down along with slackness up front by the hosts, but at the same time Mark Ridgers had to earn his crust to keep a sometimes lively Cove side at bay. A win for Inverness and all credit to Cove for plugging away and with a bit of fortune could have bagged a goal. Inverness could have been made to suffer for squandering a hatful of opportunities but we'll put that down to the pre-season feel about this game. Inverness CT 2-0 Cove Rangers Cove: McKenzie, C. Milne, H. Milne, Strachan, Yule, Kelly, Park, Smith, McManus, Brown, Scully. Subs: McCafferty, Masson, Grey, Emmett.
  14. Betfred kicks off the new season. The new season begins this weekend with the group stages of the Scottish League Cup and it's Cove Rangers that are the visitors to the Caledonian Stadium. The Moscow State Circus are using the home car park as their base so parking at the stadium will be at a premium and the club have issued this statement: We would like to make supporters aware of the following information ahead of this Saturday’s Betfred Cup match against Cove Rangers. We’re looking forward to getting the season underway and would like to inform fans about free shuttle buses that will be running from the Caley Club and Railway Terrace to the stadium for the match. This is due to the fact there will be limited parking spaces available at the stadium, as one of the car parks is currently being used by the circus until Tuesday 17th July. Additional car parking has been kindly made available within the Scottish Provincial Press (SPP) Car Park. Please respect SPP’s property if using this facility. The Shuttle Buses will operate on a loop system taking fans to the stadium from the Caley Club and Railway Terrace from 1:00pm onwards on Saturday, and will be in operation post-match as well. The post-match time may change if the match finishes as a draw and goes to penalties so as to ensure supporters are able to see the conclusion of the match. Supporters should also be aware that Saturday’s match is the first with our new ticketing system so we ask everyone to bear with us and remain patient when entering the ground. Thanks for your excellent support and we hope to see as many as you as possible this Saturday for the start of the new season. If you do have to take your car with you on Saturday, please leave yourself more time than usual as there are likely to be delays. Check out the new online match programme shown below at Inverness CT v CoveRangers An excellent addition to the portfolio. It's another new look Caley Jags with Iain Vigurs off over the bridge. That should mean a better disciplanary record for the club and maybe more penalties converted. His undoubted quality will be missed though. Carl Tremarco will be the man to lead us on the pitch as he takes over the captains armband from Vigurs with Aaron Doran as vice captain. Pre-season friendlies bunched together had Inverness playing two sides on the same days but it meant everybody got a game to bring on the match sharpness. Anyones guess as to who will be performing but one or two have shown up well in pre-season. Tom Walsh banged in four against Buckie Thistle. Nathan Austin and Daniel Mackay have also been amongst the goals. Lot of new names to get our heads round this season and I'm sure they will all get a warm welcome from the home fans. Over to you Robbo, the posturing is over, time to see some action. The big spending Highland League side will provide Inverness with tough opposition. They defeated Falkirk in a pre-season friendly last week and narrowly lost to Montrose in their previous game. Cove secured the return of Blair Yule from Arbroath on a 3 year deal and seasoned striker Mitch Megginson. Both these players were much sought after at a higher level, Yule was a Caley Jags target before he went to Arbroath. Midfielder Ryan Strachan is back to full fitness and is looking forward to this one having missed all the games since April being out with ankle ligament damage. Cove will be without captain Eric Watson, Mitch Megginson, Scott Ross and Alan Redford.
  15. Last Gasp Agony Inverness now require a miracle of biblical proportions to make the play-off after a 95th minute goal snatched our destiny from our own hands in a pulsating match against the Pars. It was always going to be a big ask to win our remaining eight games, but we looked to be getting down to the last two until the stoppage time equaliser ruined the day. Nicky Clark did the dastardly deed with almost the last touch of the ball heading home a set piece to spoil our weekend. The Pars had gone ahead after some slack play at the back, Andy Ryan scoring. However, Joe Chalmers found the bottom corner of the goal with a super free kick and when Nathan Austin surged forward to thunder the ball into the net it was looking good until the last few seconds when a draw was snatched from the jaws of victory. Influential playmaker and the voters & players player of the year Iain Vigurs was suspended and in came Charlie Trafford to the midfield. Gary Warren missed out through injury and Collin Seedorf slotted in at right back with Brad Mckay moving alongside Coll Donaldson at the heart of the defence. Carl Tremarco replaces Riccardo Calder in a straight swap at left back. Dunfermline had on form Fraser Aird keeping Jo Cardle on the bench and former Inverness Cup hero James Vincent starting. Nat Wedderburn was also on the bench. A big travelling support boosted the crowd to near three and a half thousand on a bright Saturday afternoon, no chance of this game being called off. The Pars showed they were going to be difficult to beat in the early exchanges as they moved the ball around swiftly but it was Aaron Doran that got the first shot away, saved comfortably by Lee Robinson in the Pars goal. George Oakley tried his luck with a header that missed the target. Dunfermline made the breakthrough after some slack defending on the right side of our defence. Andy Ryan benefitting and beating Ridgers to open the scoring. Kallum Hegginbotham felt the need to hammer the ball into the North Stand in a peculiar sort of celebration and was promptly booked. Brad Mckay had a shot saved by Robinson as we looked to get back on level terms and we did just that a couple of minutes later when Joe Chalmers curled a free kick round the bottom of the wall into the vacant space beside the near post. Great strike and another that was in as soon as it left his laces. Dunfermline are a class act though and continued to play football as did Inverness and the game was moving swiftly from end to end in a great advert for the Championship. Fraser Aird brought out a fine save from Mark Ridgers with both sides probing for an opening and near the interval Nathan Austin broke down the left, cutting into the box but shot from a tight angle when a ball across the box might have been more beneficial. Half Time 1-1 The hosts exploded out of the blocks at the start of the second half and Liam Polworth and George Oakley both went close. We would do even better a minute later. Nathan Austin tussled for a ball around the half way line. He held the troublesome defender at bay for thirty yards and as he entered the box he landed a thumper of a shot which blurred behind the keeper for an absolutely superb goal. Inverness were in total control at this point and looked most likely to extend their lead with Seedorf and Donaldson going close to doing just that. A bit of a delay as a clash of heads saw Oakley being bandaged like Butcher and a Pars player also receiving attention. That would prove costly later. Substitute Jo Cardle went close for the visitors around twenty minutes from the end as Dunfermline got their second wind. Another substitute, Daniel Mackay could have sealed it for Inverness after great work by Aaron Doran down the left. He cut into the box and rolled the ball across to the other side where young Dan had made great strides to get into the box. Unfortunately his first time strike whistled just past the outside of the post. We would pay for that miss deep into injury time when Dunfermline won a simple free kick some forty yards from goal. Cardle swung a dangerous ball into the box and Nicky Clark silenced the home fans and sent the away fans delirious with a header that found it's way into the net for that all important leveller. Full Time 2-2 There was barely time to kick off and that was that. The dream almost done and dusted unless Dumbarton could do us a massive favour by beating the Pars next Saturday. It could all be irrelevant should we fail to win our last two games anyway, starting with Livingston on Tuesday night and ending at Greenock on Saturday. It had been a pulsating game with plenty of slick football from both sides. Inverness probably should have seen this one out having got their noses in front, but credit to the Pars for hanging in there. I suppose nobody could really complain about the final result but it was a hard one to take. Difficult to pick a clear MotM, but Nathan Austin got my vote for that goal alone. What a strike, showing pace, power, skill and determination. He was ably assisted by Liam Polworth, the tireless George Oakley and Aaron Doran who had the beating of the defence and was a threat whenever he went forward. Young Player of the Year Coll Donaldson put in another good shift at the heart of the defence and he would have been my pick for Player of the Year. It's not over until the fat lady sings, but she's on the final verse now. All we can do is beat Livingston and see what happens next Saturday. Unfortunately I fear the worst, but it has been a great comeback to the season after a horrendous start. Brad Mckay agrees with that, and here is his tweet: Agony that, boys have been unbelievable in the last 2 months. Unbeaten in 10 games, bad start to the season cost us dearly in the end. We keep going last two games and see what’s what. Coll Donaldson was just as gutted............ Such a disappointing end to a fantastic run! Means a lot for the team mates to vote me in as this though. Small consolation on a day like today but already looking forward to what we can achieve next year. Match highlights from Caley Jags TV Here's the goal that ruined our weekend................................ Alan Johnston talks after the game Cup Final hero from 2015 James Vincent has his say................ Date: 21/04/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3316 Referee: Stephen Finnie Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; Seedorf, B Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Doran (Calder 90), Polworth, Trafford, Chalmers, Austin (D Mackay 60), Oakley Subs (not used): Esson; Mulraney, Bell, Elbouzedi Brown. Scorers: Chalmers (16), Austin (48) Booked: B Mckay (32), Trafford (90), Polworth (90+2) Sent Off: none Dunfermline: 2 Lineup: Robinson; Williamson, Martin, M'Voto, Ashcroft, Higginbotham (McManus 66), Clark, Ryan, Aird (Cardle 60), Vincent, Craigan (Morris 90). Subs (not used): Gill; Wedderburn, Armstrong, Talbot, Scorers: Ryan (13), Clark (90+5) Booked: Higginbotham (13), Williamson (45) Sent Off: none a
  16. Must Win Game Five down, three to go. We have had the must not lose games, well, we are at the stage where it's now a must win game. We have come a long way since Dunfermline hammered us 5-1 back in August. Smith, Ashcroft, Hopkirk and Cardle twice putting us to the sword in a Welcome to the Championship game. Iain Vigurs got a consolation goal for us that day but he will sit this one out after yellow cards caught up with him. These are the two form teams in the Championship just now. Inverness are on a winning run of five in a row, the best by any team this season in the league. The Pars are not far behind with four on the trot and they are the target for Inverness to aim for in the race for a place. Other than the 5-1 thrashing, both sides have enjoyed 1-0 wins. In fact neither side has lost since they last played each other on 13th March when the Pars won 1-0 at East End Park. Something is going to give! Ask the players and they will all tell you the same thing. They are taking it one game at a time over the last month with the games coming thick and fast after a winter of discontent disrupting the fixture list. Every win has taken us closer to the possibility of snatching a play-off place and the one game that keeps the dream in our own hands is here. Robbo will be without the suspended Iain Vigurs for the next two crucial games. His midfield partner Liam Polworth will have to take up the slack and he has been is fine form lately, pointing the way to go. Gary Warren came off after less than half an hour in midweek and is out. I would expect Collin Seedorf to return at right back with Brad Mckay teaming up with Coll Donaldson in central defence. Charlie Trafford will surely come back into midfield with Vigurs suspended. Jake Mulraney is another option and may be used later in the game. Allan Johnston has a settled side at the moment and that has shown in their recent run of results. Fraser Aird is a man on form just now scoring twice against Brechin at the weekend. tm4tj prediction:- This is a tough one. We are not talking about brushing aside part time Brechin or Dumbarton, but full time Dunfermline Athletic, a well established unit who are gearing up for a promotion push. Neither side will be wanting to give anything away and it could be a bit cagey. The Pars have only won twice in Inverness, the last time was in 2007. We did win the last time Dunfermline came North but they defeated Inverness at East End Park. Dunfermline's defensive record is similar to ours but they have scored seven more goals than us. In Jo Cardle they have a pacey wide player who can cause problems. Both sides are on tremendous runs and it's about who has the belief and will go the extra mile to complete the job. We might just edge this one, but part of me believes a draw will be the end product and that will end the dream. I hope I am wrong.
  17. Austin Hat-Trick Inverness went goal crazy against a Dumbarton side they failed to trouble for ninety three minutes in the IrnBru Cup Final a couple of weeks ago. This time we showed no mercy and but for some wayward finishing could have scored more, but we can't be vexed at five surely. Dumbarton, to their credit came to play, unlike the final where they did their best to stop us playing. However, after opening the scoring through Grant Gallagher in the 13th minute, Inverness stepped up the pace and blew the Sons away scoring five going on eight. Aaron Doran replied four minutes later with a superb long range effort flying high into the unguarded area of the net. Four minutes before the break Nathan Austin scored his first of three. Five minutes after the break he added his second and Dumbarton heads went down. The influential Iain Vigurs added a fourth before Austin grabbed the match ball finishing off after a Liam Polworth burst into the box. Look what Fash took home with him after the game. John Robertson was forced into making three changes from the last game with Charlie Trafford, Coll Donaldson and Carl IrnBru Tremarco all suspended. In came Riccardo Calder, Collin Seedorf and Aaron Doran with Brad Mckay and Gary Warren taking up the slack in central defence. Dumbarton did their best to field a team of Gallagher's, three of them starting with the talismanic Froxylias on the bench. We fell behind when Calder dived into a tackle wide right but Andrew Stirling was always first to the ball and he skipped round the mis-timed tackle to cut a dangerous ball into the box where Grant Gallagher smashed it high behind a helpless Mark Ridgers. Excellent goal for the Sons, but all it did was wake up Inverness. Four minutes later and Doran crashed a swerving shot from all of thirty yards high into the net. What a strike from the wee man, goal as soon as it left his boot. Polworth almost matched it soon after as the ball sat up but his volley just dipped wide of the mark. His next contribution proved more fruitful as he lifted a ball wide to Doran who saw the run of Austin to the near post. He picked him out effortlessly and Nathan stepped round the keeper to tap in for an excellent finish to a tidy move. Half Time 2-1 Polly's next moment was less productive. After he broke down a clearance from defence, Polworth danced across the box delaying the finish a couple of times before cutting the ball cutely back across the keeper. Unfortunately he cut it back wide of the post as well when it looked easier to score. Gives the boo boys something to moan about I suppose. Great effort from Liam though. His assist rate is second to none though and after bursting into the box he chipped the ball goalwards where Austin was on hand to finish the task. Iain Vigurs showed his midfield companion how to cut the ball behind the keeper in a tight spot from close range as he did just that, Polworth again involved in the goal Austin grabbed his hat-trick after some neat play down the left, the striker guiding a low cross into the net after Calder drove forward, another good team goal finished by a player on song. Connor Bell had a couple of efforts late in the game which could have produced more after the tireless George Oakley did the spade work, but his wee leggies would not get him to the ball soon enough and when Mulraney met the loose ball Gallagher parried away his shot. Full Time 5-1 Biggest win for some time in a league game, probably since scoring six at Kilmarnock in 2011 (double hat-tricks that day from A Shinnie and Tade). First league hat-trick for a long time too, Billy Mckay bagging one against Motherwell in 2013. The statisticians will no doubt have more but it's good to get a couple of monkeys of the back on the same day. Great performance from Nathan Austin who is my MotM, but some unselfish work by others allowing him to flourish in front of goal. Notable grafters were Liam Polworth, Iain Vigurs, George Oakley and Aaron Doran who scored a beaut. All to do again on Tuesday night at Dumbarton where I doubt the home defence will be so generous. Ooooops, nearly forgot, congratulations to St Mirren who are on their way into the Premiership after clinching the title with a draw against Livingston who have secured their play-off place as well. Congrats all round and we hope to join you there. Here's the action from the game............ Johndo made the game and here are the marks from our Chorley scribe with his infamous Smileymometer..... Ridgers 😀😀😀 Must have appreciated the rest. No chance with the goal which was a screamer Seedorf 😀😀😀 some nice touches, especially one showboat that Clarence would have been proud of. But a right back or wing back he is not. And I suspect that his attacking capability is stifled. Warren 😀😀😀Solid but he is no playmaker McKay 😀😀😀 Again solid but again not a playmaker and clear why we missed Donaldson. Fortunately Gary and Brad usually had Polly or Vigurs in space. Calder 😀😀😀 Not a defender either and dived in completely in the run up to the Sons opener. Unlike Seedorf he has attacking flair and was always ready to take on the defender and hit the line in an old winger style that I still appreciated Polworth 😀😀😀 Gawd does that poor lad get some stick or what ? He ran and ran and ran, some of his touches were sublime. He has got bad press for two second half errors. From my perspective if he had completed the final touch on both occasions it would have been a goal of the season contender and he would have walked off with the MOM. Chalmers 😀😀😀 The man with the sweet left foot also appears to be the boo boys target. He basically sat and covered for Vigurs and Polly.I would have said that he was quietly effective. Vigurs 😀😀😀😀 Provided a master class for an hour, pinging balls accurately all over the pitch. I thought he could have been carded for one horrendous follow through tackle in the first half and he clearly tired at the end Doran 😀😀😀 Has lost a bit of pace but he is another with a high skill ability. Cracker of a goal. Oakley 😀😀😀 I thought he had a lazy, lacklustre first half but a real old centre forward second half display. Appears to Be the boo boys favourite as he made more errors than Polly. But he would have been in my top three Austin 😀😀😀😀 Well we have been asking for a goal scorer and he certainly fitted the role. Good turn of pace of the mark and good finisher to boot. I was surprised the he was hooked but I was told that it was a mistake and it was supposed to be Seedorf. Amateurish if correct. As DD alluded to Elbouzedhi looked sharp and I would like to see more. Disappointed that Robbo sent on Bell and not young McKay. Some of the refereeing decisions were bizarre. Good crowd and the Young Team were a credit. My first home game of the season and I can't understand what everybody has been complaining about 😛 Date: 14/04/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2355 Referee: Gavin duncan Inverness CT: 5 Lineup: Ridgers; Seedorf, B Mckay, Warren, Calder, Doran (Elbouzedi 64), Polworth, Vigurs (Mulraney 71), Chalmers, Oakley, Austin (Bell 69). Subs (not used): Esson, D Mackay, Brown, Harper Scorers: Doran (17), Austin (41, 50, 66), Vigurs (63) Booked: B Mckay (22) Sent Off: none Dumbarton: 1 Lineup: Gallagher; Gallagher (Hill 75), Barr, Dowie, McGlaughlin, Nisbet, Wilson (Burt 58) , Hutton, Stirling, Handling, Gallagher (Stewart 67) Subs (not used): Walsh, Ewings, Froxylias. Scorers: G Gallagher (13) Booked: Barr (62), Stewart (76), Hutton (90) Sent Off: none a
  18. Dumbarton Double Header It's part one of the Dumbarton Double Header as we take on the Sons with a place in the top play-off hanging by a thread, and a very thin one at that. After a late win over Falkirk we can still make the top-end promotion push, but as it was prior to the Bairns game, it's a tall order. It sounds simple enough. Win all your games and a play-off place is guaranteed. Try putting that into practice and it becomes a lot more difficult. The best we can do as fans is take it one game at a time and see where that takes us. The team are going the right way about it at the moment, seven games unbeaten including a Challenge Cup Final win over Saturday's opponents, Dumbarton. That's five wins and two draws (St Mirren & Dundee United). We are on our best run of the season with three wins on the bounce (Brechin, QotS, Falkirk). A Jake Mulraney goal was enough to give us a hard earned victory over Falkirk in midweek. Mark Ridgers was called into serious action as the seconds ticked away making a tremendous save to ensure we kept ahead. Dumbarton suffered on Tuesday night when Morton scored a very very late winner to edge the game 3-2. One of Morton's scorers was none other that John Baird. Who would have thought that. Danny Handling had scored the opener for the Sons before Morton went ahead. An og with three minutes to go looked to have given Dumbarton a point until Jack Iredale slotted home in the 94th minute. That leaves Dumbarton fighting to escape the relegation play-off. The second part of the double-header will be played out at Dumbarton on Tuesday 17th April with a 7:45pm kick off. John Robertson has been rotating the squad recently with our hectic schedule and that has worked ok so far. Charlie Trafford is suspended for this weekend which is a pity as the big midfielder has been on a good run of form since getting his chance recently and adds a bit of steel to the midfield. Carl Tremarco and Coll Donaldson have also fallen foul of the beaks and are also set to miss this one. We should have plenty of cover though with a full squad otherwise. Defender Brad Mckay and young keeper Cammy Mackay have both accepted extended contracts to remain at Inverness until 2020. Stevie Aitken has worked wonders to get Dumbarton to where they are just now and took them to the IrnBru Cup final a couple of weeks ago. Not bad for a part time club. Last time out against Morton, this was the Sons line-up: Gallacher; Dick, Barr, Dowie, McLaughlin, Hutton, Wilson, Stirling, Handling, Walsh, Gallagher. On the bench were: Ewings, Gallagher, Stewart, Hill, Froxylias, Nisbeat, Burt. tm4tj prediction:- If we have any aspirations about going up then these are the games we need to be winning, and winning well at that. Dumbarton showed in the Cup Final that they are a difficult team to break down and we have shown over the season that we are not always best at breaking down teams that are well disciplined and organised. Could be a testing afternoon. The introduction of Mulraney against Falkirk proved to be the difference between the sides with his pace a huge asset. Maybe he will be due a start as the player rotation goes round again. Home win, but a tight affair methinks.
  19. Jake makes amends. Inverness kept their faint play-off hopes alive with a late winner from substitute Jake Mulraney. Sweet moment for Jake who had been red-carded in the away fixture at Falkirk earlier in the season which led to Inverness being turned over by the Bairns. This was another must win game for Inverness and after a dour first half they battled hard to get the points in a tough contest with Falkirk. John Robertson went pretty much with the same starting XI that did so well at Palmerston at the weekend. That meant another start for Nathan Austin who would feature against former club Falkirk. The Bairns were without Andrew Nelson and Peter Grant and that saw Tom Taiwo and Paul Watson start with Grant on the bench along with Alex Harris. It had been a pretty miserable day in the Highlands and the evening was no different as the sides took to the park with just over 2000 in attendance. Inverness were on a healthy run and looking to keep the pressure on the teams above them in the race for a play-off place. Falkirk had been seven Championship games unbeaten but lost at the weekend to big rivals Dunfermline. The game kicked off in damp conditions with Inverness playing in the unaccustomed direction of the North Stand for the first forty-five and Iain Vigurs tested his rangefinder with a shot that went wide. Some adjustment needed by the looks of it. Charlie Trafford gave away a free kick in a dangerous position but Mark Ridgers was equal to the shot by Sean Welsh and as the game opened up, Liam Polworth fed Nathan Austin but he volleyed wide. With Inverness keeping the pressure on the Falkirk defence, there were no takers for an excellent Brad Mckay cross to the far post but the defenders got it clear. Polworth fired over a corner and Gary Warren saw his header deflected for another. Mckay's header came back off the bar and Austin saw his effort cleared off the line as the hosts looked for the opener. The game became a bit towsy and bogged down in midfield with a number of petty fouls, neither side able to create the clear opening they were hoping for, but, if anything, the visitors were beginning to get to grips with the pace of the game and Welsh headed wide just after the half hour. Just on the break Polworth was denied by a great block by Watson but in all honesty it was a fairly innocuous opening half with defences rarely tested. Half Time 0-0 The first dangerous moment of the second period saw a Paul Watson header cleared off the line and at the other end just when it looked as though it was opening up for Polworth, he saw his effort blocked en-route to goal. Another Falkirk header from Watson cleared away from goal, this time it's Tremarco doing the mopping up. Ridgers holds an effort from Longridge as Falkirk up the pace. As in the first half, a bit of stalemate and a spate of substitutions by both sides as they tried to break the defensive shackles. Hazard managed to thwart Mulraney and his clearance fell to Mckay, but his effort was cleared by Muirhead. Oakley thought he had opened the scoring but he was ruled offside, however moments later substitute Jake Mulraney scored from inside the box after cutting in and firing low behind Hazard with ten minutes remaining. Sweet revenge for Jake who red misted in the away game. In the final minute, Mark Ridgers made a vital one handed save to deny Jordan McGhee with Peter Grant firing over. Inverness held on to take all three points in a really close encounter, but the all important three points stay in Inverness and the run continues. Full Time 1-0 Another vital win for Inverness which keeps us on track, just, for a shot at the play-offs. With Dumbarton losing a late goal to Morton, we now only need to concentrate on the top end of the Championship. Tonight's win was vital as both Morton and Dundee United picked up full points. We now have a double header coming up against Dumbarton and the possibility of six points that would bring us right back into the mix is making for in interesting finale to the season. All the action.............. Robbo delighted to take all three points Hartley miffed........... Date: 10/04/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2053 Referee: Nick Walsh Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay, Warren Donaldson, Tremarco, Polworth, Trafford (Mulraney 69), Vigurs, Chalmers, Oakley, Austin (Doran 69). Subs (not used): Esson; Seedorf, Calder, Bell, D Mackay. Scorers: Mulraney (81) Booked: Oakley (50) Sent Off: none Falkirk: 0 Lineup: Hazard; McGhee, Muirhead, Tumilty (O'Hara 89), Watson, Sibbald, Robson (Grant 73), Taiwo (Kidd 74), Welsh, Jakubiak, Longridge Subs (not used): Thomson; McKee, Harris, Blair. Scorers: none Booked: Longridge (60) Sent Off: none a
  20. I don't like Tuesday's It's just a typical Tuesday, another game, another must win scenario and another six-pointer as Paul Hartley brings his Grangemouth revival squad North on the back of seven games unbeaten in the Championship since Livingston won 3-1 at the Bairnabéu Stadium. That was until Dunfermline pipped them at the weekend. Inverness were at Palmerston on Saturday trying to keep our slim chances of a play-off place alive and we came away with an excellent 2-0 win after Nathan Austin opened his account at Inverness. George Oakley added a second and that was George's 10th of the season. Whilst we were playing Queens, the Bairns were hosting Dunfermline but left it too late in their comeback. Kallum Higginbotham and Fraser Aird had the Fifers two up but Aaron Muirhead reduced the deficit with a penalty ten minutes before the end. However the Pars held on for an important win that keeps them in a play off position. These sides have met five times already this season. We started by losing 2-0 in the League Cup group game and followed that with a no scoring draw away from home before winning the IrnBru cup game 1-0. The next Championship game saw us rout Falkirk at home 4-1, but when we went South in the next one we lost 3-1 after Jake saw red. Both sides are capable of winning this one but we are coming together at the right time and it would be a brave man to put their money on a Falkirk win. There's little between the sides in goals for, Inverness just edging it by three (40) but we are ten better off in defence (34). That shows us just three points above Falkirk with one game in hand. John Robertson should have a full squad to choose from and Coll Donaldson came through the game at Palmerston without any further niggles. Good to see Nathan Austin get off the mark with the opener against Queens and fellow striker George Oakley beginning to show his worth with ten goals to his name. Paul Hartley has been building well recently, seven unbeaten until the loss to Dunfermline at the weekend. Here's the starting XI from that defeat to Dunfermline: Hazard, Muirhead, Grant, Watson, McGhee, Sibbald, Robson, Nelson, Welsh, Jakubiak, Longridge. tm4tj prediction:- We are building a bit of momentum at the right time and the win at Palmerston was a massive boost Falkirk had been on a run until the Pars pipped them at the weekend. Usually tight games to call but with Coll Donaldson showing his class at the back, Mark Ridgers high on confidence and George Oakley into double figures then I'm looking for a home win to continue our good run. Good cameraderie amongst the squad at the moment, here's hoping that continues tonight.
  21. Stroll for Inverness League whipping boys Brechin City were comfortably beaten by an Inverness side who went about their business and left Brechin winless after 31 league games, a statistic that will see them ply their trade in the next division down next season. Two goals in each half were sufficient to end the contest with Joe Chalmers bagging a brace and Coll Donaldson and George Oakley completing the scoring. A miserable night saw Inverness dominate proceedings and made all the early running. It took until the twelfth minute for Joe Chalmers to benefit from a Liam Polworth ball into the box to tap in the opener. Ten minutes later and Chalmers set up Coll Donaldson to knock in number two. Isaac Layne broke the monopoly and fired a warning shot just wide as Brechin tried to hit back immediately. Liam Polworth had a couple of attempts near the break but no further scoring despite our dominance. Half Time 2-0 Donaldson had a header blocked just after the interval as the game continued in our favour and George Oakley went close with a header of his own. The third goal arrived just before the hour and it was Chalmers who notched his second of the night with a driven left footed shot into the bottom right and that was game over. Eight minutes later the scoring ended when Oakley finished a good move by stroking in Connor Bell's pass. One downside was an injury sustained by Donaldson on the heavy pitch and he was replaced by Gary Warren with twenty-two minutes to go. Fair play to City who had a mini revival and Layne made Ridgers work before half-time substitute Euan Spark fired one just wide. Nathan Austin and Connor Bell both had a couple of close calls and Layne brought out another save from Ridgers, but the result was never in doubt. A comfortable nights work for the home side who possibly could have scored more given our superiority, but credit to Brechin for having a go right to the end. I hope Coll Donaldson was a precautionary substitution as he will be an important player in the final seven games. Good win for Inverness who were best served by two goal Joe Chalmers with Riccardo Calder not far behind. Liam Polworth put in a good shift as well. Date: 03/04/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1963 Referee: Colin Steven Inverness CT: 4 Lineup: Ridgers; Seedorf, B Mckay, Donaldson (Warren 68), Calder, Polworth, Trafford (Austin 67), Vigurs (Doran), Chalmers, Oakley, Bell Subs (not used): Esson, Tremarco, Mulraney, D Mackay. Scorers: Chalmers (12, 58), Donaldson (22), Oakley (66) Booked: none Sent Off: none Brechin City: 0 Lineup: Smith; Smith, McLean, Fusco, Dyer, Tapping (Sinclair 80), Graham, Dale (Lynas 63), Watt (Spark 45), Orsi, Layne. Subs (not used): Morrison, Costello. Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  22. Thick and Fast We are playing catch up now in the Championship and the games keep coming after the winter disruption with relegated Brechin coming North on Tuesday night, kick off at 7:45pm. Been a good week for Inverness, four points in the Championship from two tough games and an IrnBru Cup in the trophy cabinet from the victory over Dumbarton at McDiarmid Park. Who knew? Our last outing saw us rally after going two down to St Mirren but Gary Warren and Liam Polworth restored parity. An excellent point given the gravity of the situation when Lewis Morgan scored a second for St Mirren. However Mark Ridgers was in inspired form with a string of superb saves including a hook off the line with his foot penalty save as he dived the wrong way. Wonderful stuff from the big stopper who has turned his season round after a sticky start. Brechin are already mathematically relegated and they come North after losing 3-0 at Falkirk, the Hedge boys coming apart with two players sent off just before half-time. Not surprising really as they are without a win in thirty Championship games having amassed only four points all season. A word of caution however as we only just beat them in our last meeting in a see saw game. We went from 1-0 up to 2-1 down before George Oakley spared our blushes with a late goal despite ending the game with 10 men. Warning heeded I hope. All the stats are in our favour for this one. We are 34 for & 34 against, Brechin are 19 for & 42 against. In league games this season we have three wins with an 11-2 advantage. So, this is an opportunity to get into positive goal difference territory and maybe jump back above Falkirk. Injury lists have shortened as the season has worn on and Robbo should have a reasonable squad to choose from. Darren Dods will be without his suspended duo of Sean Crighton and Paul McLean as his season fades away. No disrespect to Brechin, but we should be winning games like this comfortably. Alas, games are not played on paper and given our struggle at Glebe Park, Brechin will be determined to finish the season with a mini flourish. Isaac Layne was one who caused a bit of discomfort with his burly robust style, but Coll Donaldson eventually got to grips with him and the threat was nullified. I'm looking for a goal scoring home win to set us up for a wee run in the home straight. The play-offs at the top end of the league are a long shot to be honest, but that could be achieved with an unbeaten run to the wire. We'll see how that goes. Defeat here is unthinkable, but as I said a wee bit of caution will not go amiss.
  23. Champions elect coming North. St Mirren are the visitors on Saturday as we complete a hectic week with the Championship leaders looking to edge closer to promotion whilst we search for a way into the play-off zone. A large away support is expected for this one and the home fans might well be outnumbered given their reluctance to get down to the stadium. It has been a memorable week for Inverness as we won the IrnBru Cup after defeating Dumbarton last weekend courtesy of a Carl Tremarco stoppage time goal. We followed that up by beating pre-season title favourites Dundee United on Tuesday night, thanks to Aaron Doran's strike just on half time. It was a narrow win but well deserved and a decent performance to boot. That was in contrast to the rather dull Cup Final. However the result was the important thing and finals are often like that as nobody wants to be the one that makes the error. St Mirren are closing in on the title. Their charge began last season after being somewhat detached at the foot of the table, but Jack Ross has transformed the Buddies into a formidable side and one that thoroughly deserve to be promoted as Champions. St Mirren have almost double the points that Inverness have accumulated so far and sit top of the league by 14 points from Livingston. They are the highest scorers with 57 goals compared to our 32. Defensively we are much closer with the Buddies conceding three less than us. St Mirren have won the previous encounters this season although the games were closer than the scorelines suggest. St Mirren romped past Dumbarton in midweek banging in five goals without reply. Lewis Morgan bagging a hat-trick in that one. Four wins on the trot for the Paisley side. John Robertson has a doubt in Jake Mulraney but should have an otherwise injury free squad to choose from. Not often we can say that. tm4tj prediction:- Our season seems to have finally begun. We're a bit late to the party, but confidence can be a game changer and we need that from now to the end of the season. It would be a brave man to bet against St Mirren winning this one, but maybe we can take something from the game. Celtic bound Lewis Morgan is a big danger with 22 goal Gavin Reilly and Daniel Mullen on the goal trail as well. Formidable opposition it has to be said but it's not beyond the realms of possibility that we could take all three points, but that's optimism at it's best. A draw might be our best bet. Detailed Preview on Official ICTFC website
  24. Ton too heavy for lightweights. Morton all but ended any faint hope Inverness had of making the play-offs with a clinical two goal victory in the Highlands, their first ever at Inverness. A sorry Caley Jags look destined for another season in the doldrums after failing to win this six-pointer and Morton took full advantage to move above Dundee United into third place in the Championship with their fourth win in the last five games. A first half goal from Scott Tiffoney was added to after the break when MotM Gary Harkins slotted home a penalty. It could have been so different had we hit the net instead of the woodwork, twice, and not had two goals chalked off. However, we were the architects of our own downfall, Brad Mckay having a first half to forget as he allowed the ball to bounce over him which led to the opener, and Collin Seedorf giving away a penalty in the second period. We did try, but Morton seemed to have all the answers and looked a yard sharper than us all over the park, the pace and movement of their front runners causing our Donaldsonless defence problems. Liam Polworth missed what can only be described as a sitter near the break and that summed up our day really. Inverness were dealt a blow before taking to the pitch with news that Coll Donaldson was injured. Carl Tremarco made the bench as did Nathan Austin, and Aaron Doran started with Jake Mulraney suspended after his red card madness at Falkirk. No surprises in the Morton side with Jack Purdue making his debut today coming off the bench and the evergreen Gary Harkins was the orchestrater in chief. Inverness went straight into the visitors box after some neat interplay in the opening seconds, but Trafford shot down the keepers throat. However, it was Morton who looked liveliest thereafter with their front players causing concern with their movement and pace. Inverness appeared second to every ball and anything loose was snapped up by the eager Morton players. The opening goal was a schoolboy error by Brad Mckay who allowed a long punt from Gaston to bounce over his head. Wee Tiffoney new exactly what was happening and turned Mckay to spin in behind him as Brad mistimed his interception. He almost made amends by blocking the first attempt, but Tiffoney mopped up by driving the ball towards the net as Gary Warren tried to recover the situation. The ball eventually going into the net off Warren's outstretched boot. We worked hard enough, but looked to have little up front to trouble Gaston in the visiting goal. However, we should have been level before the break when Liam Polworth tried to turn a Doran cross from the right into the net. He only succeeded in sclaffing it across the face of the goal when it looked easier to score. Great opportunity to get back on level terms before the interval. Half Time 0-1 Nathan Austin was given a part to play as Robbo hooked Trafford at the break. We looked to take the game to Morton but made heavy work of trying to create openings. Austin's day was short lived as he pulled up after only twenty minutes. It appears that he is made of porcelain. Apparently he has done his other hamstring this time. We were unfortunate on a couple of occasions when Joe Chalmers guided a shot onto the post with the keeper stranded and later on when Iain Vigurs rattled the crossbar with the keeper beaten again. From the rebound, Aaron Doran caught a sweet volley but Gaston got down to block at his near post. The keeper just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Right after that double miss, Morton went up the park and ended the contest. It had looked like it was not going to be our day and that was confirmed when Seedorf gave away a penalty with twenty minutes left bringing down Tiffoney as he jinked past him. Gary Harkins was calmness personified as he stroked the ball off the inside of the post and into the net to double their advantage and Inverness knew their fate. Full Time 0-2 We did have the ball in the net twice, but were penalised on both occasions, but in truth, we played second fiddle to a better organised side and Morton thoroughly deserved the win, their first at the Caledonian Stadium. MotM for me was Morton's Gary Harkins who has skill to burn. After Iain Vigurs wilted in the second half, Harkins took control of the nidfield and he was the main reason Morton pulled off this deserved win. Frustrating day for the Caley Jags who could have taken something from the game but in the end, when the going got tough, the heads went down and the all too familiar stench of defeat was there for all to smell. Here's the goals if you can suffer it................ Date: 24/02/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2359 Referee: Steven Kirkland Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers, Seedorf, Warren, B Mckay, Calder, Polworth, Trafford (Austin 47, D Mackay 65), Vigurs, Chalmers, Doran, Oakley Subs (not used): Esson, Tremarco, Bell, Elbouzedi, Harper. Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none Morton: 2 Lineup: Gaston, Doyle, Lamie, O'Ware, Russell, Ross (McHugh 72), Murdoch, Harkins, Tidser, Tiffoney (Purdue 83), Oliver. Subs (not used): Strapp, Brennan, Langan. Scorers: Tiffoney (28), Harkins (70 pen ) Booked: Purdew (90+1) Sent Off: none a
  25. Let the six-pointers begin. Inverness host Morton in the Championship as the battle for play-off places hots up. With only ten games left for Inverness to save their season, many of these encounters will be seen as six-pointers, and this one is certainly a must not lose game. It's game on after the pitch inspection. It had been arranged for 08:30 on Saturday morning as a precaution with the surface struggling to recover recently. It's back to league business for Inverness after the enthralling IrnBru Cup win over Irish side Crusaders last Sunday. It looked all over bar the shouting at the interval as Inverness raced into a three goal lead with goals from George Oakley, Joe Chalmers and Jake Mulraney. However, Inverness were once more reduced to ten men and Crusaders had a real go, Heatley grabbing a brace to make the last few minutes a touch tense. But we held on and even had the luxury of spurning a scoring opportunity when Iain Vigurs made a hash of a penalty kick after CTO Man of the Match Liam Polworth was sent tumbling to the sodden turf. That victory will see us play Dumbarton in the final on Saturday 24th March at 16:15 with the game being played at McDiarmid Park, Perth. Morton moved eight points above Inverness in midweek with a hard earned win over Dumbarton. Thomas O'Ware was the man that consolidated their position in the top four in a game that they always looked like coming out on top. The Greenock side have won three of their last four games, drawing the other one. They have the best defensive record in the league conceding only 23 goals whilst scoring 34, giving them a +11 goal difference, to Inverness' +2gd. We drew 1-1 in the first meeting this season with Gary Warren scoring in the first half. Morton eventually got to grips with the pace of the game and were well worth their point after Robert Thomson levelled just after the break. Collin Seedorf was red carded at the end of this game. In the second game, Morton held the upper hand after David Raven was sent off as he conceded the penalty after twenty-two minutes from which Gary Harkins scored the only goal of the game. Discipline has been a big part of our downfall this season and can probably be attributed to the loss of around ten points, enough to see us comfortably in the play-off zone. After the IrnBru game, we have now had nine players sent off. Whether the referee's decisions have been correct or not, we are putting ourselves in the position of ending the game with less players than we started with, mostly through petty trips, clips, minor indiscretion and often sheer stupidity. What it boils down to is those left on the pitch are suffering because we can't keep our composure when the going gets tough resulting in the ruination of the fans weekend plus our struggle to climb the table is like running in treacle. This really needs addressed Robbo, time to take drastic action against those seeing red where indiscipline is an issue. Inverness were without Carl Tremarco, Aaron Doran, Nathan Austin and Charlie Trafford against Crusaders. Tremarco is almost ready and could feature in the squad. Austin was cup-tied and will return. Doran was not risked on a really heavy pitch and he and Trafford are available. Brad Mckay will be eligible for this game as his red card will only make him miss the final against Dumbarton. John Baird has been loaned to Morton for the remainder of the season therefore I doubt we will see him in the squad tomorrow. No big loss really as although he worked hard, his return of only four goals in thirty-one games was hardly game changing stuff. Talking of red cards; Jake Mulraney will sit this one out after his madness at the end ofJanuary in Falkirk. It was that long ago that even the SFA forgot to put his name on the current list of outstanding suspensions. SFA not as observant as Caley Stan who pointed that one out. Morton were without Australian centre half Jack Iredale against Dumbarton and Robert Thomson has not played in over a month now. Jai Quitongo, Ross Forbes and Keeper Jamie McGowan are all out long term. tm4tj prediction. Well, if they can't be motivated for these final ten games then there's no hope. I expect us to be fired up for this one as we push for the top zone. It's taken a long time for Robbo to suss out his best options and he's nearly there. George Oakley has made the front man job his own. It's possible Austin could compliment him with Calder and Doran the providers. Liam Polworth had his best game for ages last week and his confidence is growing as is Mark Ridgers in goal. So, coming good at the right time we hope, but Morton have got where they are by hard graft and will be difficult to break down as their defensive record suggests. Gary Harkins will always be a threat with his quality. Tight game but we should edge it. 2-1 for Inverness, mon the Caley Jags. Official Preview Here's Morton keeper Derek Gaston pulling of this acrobatic save against QotS recently. Incredible stuff....