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  1. Defeat leaves Inverness looking over their shoulder. At least we managed to get a kick about after the frustrating list of postponements recently. Unfortunately it ended in another defeat that effectively ends our season with James Craigen scoring an early goal. Midweek at East End Park was not the preferred choice of many, but we went down looking to get our slim play-off hopes back on track. Dunfermline were in the same boat as their season has gone pear shaped as well. They were without a win in their last seven games, since they beat Dumbarton 1-0 on the 6th of January. Nevertheless, 2249 folk turned up to watch this one. Inverness were without influential central defender Coll Donaldson and fragile front man Nathan Austin, both out with hamstring injuries. Brad Mckay was also out..........until Riccardo Calder pulled up. That gave 16 year old Cameron Harper his first start and put Brad onto the bench. Collin Seedorf started at right back and Carl Tremarco partnered Gary Warren in central defence. George Oakley was the front runner with Connor Bell on the bench. The Pars were without top player Jo Cardle but Kallum Higginbotham started. Former Caley Jags man and cup final hero James Vincent was on from the start, but Nat Wedderburn found himself on the bench. Vincent has been on loan from Dundee since the end of January. The game kicked off in total confusion over the Inverness team lines with Cameron Harper starting. Harper's only involvement prior to this game was as an unused sub in the 3-1 defeat at Falkirk in January. Alas, his debut lasted only five minutes as he was substituted with Brad Mckay coming on, but the farce was just beginning as James Craigen fired home a free kick one minute later to open the scoring. Inverness were on the back foot as Dunfermline surged forward and Declan McManus was blocked as the Pars looked to increase their advantage. However Inverness started to creep back into the game and Lee Ashcroft had to look lively on a couple of occasions to repel the visitors. Half an hour gone and the contest had become untidy with petty fouls interrupting the flow of the game and that was the process right up until the interval with nothing of note to report. This game has an end of season feel about it. If it continues like this our season will be over. Half Time 1-0 Polworth started the ball rolling for the second forty-five, and the fans were be looking for a bit more life on the park. After a chanceless first half Doran brought Pars keeper Robinson into action as he gathered the Caley Jags' players shot in the 47th minute. Mark Ridgers denied James Craigen his second goal with an excellent save down low as the game livened up, the keeper pushing the ball out for a corner. Meanwhile, the visiting fans were amusing themselves by cheering for Ryan Esson as he warmed up behind the goal. Jake Mulraney had been woken by something and he ventured deep into the home area but the ball eventually going out. However, there has been more activity in the first ten minutes of the second half than there was in the whole of the first. Robbo had seen enough of Mulraney and Doran and they were replaced by Connor Bell and Zak Elbouzedi with twenty minutes left but it was Nicky Clark that almost scored for the hosts with his cross which was missed by Ridgers but hooked clear by Tremarco. A couple of minutes later Clark fed McManus and he hit the post. Polworth had a shot blocked as Inverness looked to get an unlikely equaliser and Zak Elbouzedi had no takers for his cross into the box as Robbo raged while Clancy ticked him off. Iain Vigurs headed straight at Robinson as we tried to make amends for a dismal first half. Inverness had Ridgers to thank for a couple of tremendous saves from Martin and Higginbotham and Brian Rice had his chips as he was sent to the stand by Clancy. Full Time 1-0 Looks like our season has ended in tatters with defeat at East End Park. We petered out and Dunfermline were well worth the three points and should have won by a greater margin. Our lack of funds is showing in the lack of quality and threadbare squad and it's the IrnBru cup or bust. Dumbarton are now only six points behind Inverness and we should now concentrate on avoiding relegation instead of looking for promotion which was always beyond us after last seasons disaster. RIG had this to say after another disappointing display. A truly shambolic performance from ICT that should really be leaving fans very worried at the prospect of a second successive relegation. With Dumbarton playing Brechin again on Saturday there's a real chance they will be just 3 points behind us. Forget about possible Highland Derbies next season and focus on staying in this league. Even though the score line makes it look like a close game I'd say we were as bad as when we were thumped 5-1 there earlier in the season. At the back we floated between competent and clueless. Most of the time we coped easily with the Pars attacks. Other times we flapped at crosses and passed the ball out of defence straight to the home side. Polworth and Vigurs certainly tried but mainly succeeded in giving the ball away. Chalmers was anonymous, Mulraney kept running the ball out of play instead of crossing it and Oakley spent most of the game falling over after wrestling with his opponent. We were an utter shambles. Aimless punts up the park and truly woeful attacking play in the final third. There were very few plus points. Ridgers made some good saves and it was great to see Tremarco and Bell back in the side. But apart from that it was a night to forget for ICT. Here's Allan Johnston talking after his sides first win in eight games. Date: 13/03/2018 Venue: East End Park, Dunfermline Attendance: 2249 Referee: Kevin Clancy Dunfermline: 1 Lineup: Robinson; Williamson, Martin, Morris (C), Ashcroft, Craigen, Beadling, Vincent, Higginbotham, McManus, Clark. Subs (not used): Gill; Aird, Shiels, Armstrong, Wedderburn, Lochhead, Ryan. Scorers: Craigen (6) Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; Seedorf, Warren, Tremarco, Harper (B Mckay 5), Chalmers, Vigurs, Polworth, Doran (Bell 71), Mulraney (Elbouzedi 71), Oakley. Subs (not used): Esson; Brown, Trafford, Mackay Scorers: none Booked: Tremarco (89) B Mckay (90+2) Sent Off: none a
  2. Heading towards last chance saloon After what seems like an entire season of games put on hold in the Winter of our discontent, we should take on fellow promotion hopefuls Dunfermline Athletic on Tuesday night. It's getting to the stage for both clubs where only a win will suffice. This game has been knocked back already due to inclement weather and frozen pipes but it looks like it could go ahead this time. Our last competitive game was on 24th February when we went down 0-2 against Morton in the Highlands. We only managed two games throughout February. The other one was the IrnBru Cup game against Irish side Crusaders which saw us get into the final after a pulsating 3-2 win. We will play Dumbarton at McDiarmid Park, Perth, in a couple of weeks. The fixtures are now stacking up for Inverness and we will be playing twice a week for the foreseeable future. Dunfermline are without a win in their last seven games since they defeated Dumbarton 0-1 on 6th January. Their last game was a 2-0 defeat to leaders St Mirren at the weekend. They still lead Inverness by five points and sit just outside the play-off zone in sixth place, but we do have two games in hand. We were dropped down into eighth position at the weekend when Falkirk beat Morton 3-1, and only Dumbarton and Brechin are below us. Our season now hinges on us making a grandstand finish to the season, but with our player of the year so far Coll Donaldson injured, it looks like the IrnBru Cup might be our only crumb of comfort after the massive rejig following relegation. Dunfermline warned us how tough this league was going to be by trouncing us 5-1 in the second league game of the season. We did gain a modicum of revenge with a 1-0 win at the Caledonian Stadium at the end of October, but only six wins from thirteen Championship fixtures since then has seen us struggle to climb the league. It's like one step forward and two back at the minute. Coll Donaldson and Nathan Austin are both out with hamstring injuries but Robbo should have a full squad otherwise. Here's the Pars line up in their last outing at St Mirren. Dunfermline: Robinson, Williamson, Talbot, M'Voto, Ashcroft, Craigen, Beadling, Vincent, Armstrong, McManus, Clark. SUBS: Gill, Morris, Martin, Cardle, Wedderburn, Higginbotham, Ryan tm4tj prediction:- With our lack of action recently it's difficult to guess how we will react to our inactivity. Coll Donaldson missing out is a big blow and our cover up front is thin with John Baird off to Morton and Nathan Austin injured. Dunfermline fans don't seem too bothered if we were to help remove Magic Johnston from the managers seat, so let's see if we can help them out here and record an away win. It looks like a tall order though, so I'm going with a no score draw.
  3. FIVE OVER PARS This was a fixture that Inverness players and supporters alike probably anticipated with a certain amount of trepidation, realising that anything less than a win would almost certainly spell the end of the team’s involvement in the Betfred Scottish League Cup. When they look back at it at the end of the season, however, will they pinpoint it as the game where the Richie Foran revolution started in earnest? Reflecting what was in many ways a promising performance despite the outcome of the penalty shoot-out, Caley Thistle’s starting line-up showed only one change from Saturday’s match against Dundee Utd, with Ross Draper surprisingly dropping to the bench to make way for Jake Mulraney, who occupied the wide right position with Liam Polworth moving into the centre. That meant a second consecutive start for young goalkeeper Cammy MacKay, experience that could prove invaluable with Ryan Esson approaching the end of his playing days. Dunfermline, despite an impressive win on Saturday, made two changes, Rhys McCabe replacing the apparently unwell Nat Wedderburn (sick at the prospect of facing his former team-mates?) and Lewis Spence coming in for Gavin Reilly. The game got off to a lively start, setting the pattern for what was to follow. A slack Dunfermline back-pass on 5 minutes almost let Scott Boden in for a Caley Thistle opener, and ICT then had a claim for a penalty denied when Jake Mulraney went to ground; not the last time in the evening that he would create problems for the Dunfermline defence. A minute later it was Dunfermline’s turn to claim for a penalty as the action swung to the other end of the ground, and Dunfermline went on to force two corners in quick succession as the Inverness players struggled to withstand some sustained pressure, with Gary Warren uncharacteristically shaky, slashing wildly at a clearance. Eventually regaining some composure, Caley Thistle began to look more threatening, with Mulraney looking to move play forward at speed whenever possible. After combining well with Mulraney down the right, David Raven fired in a dangerous near-post cross that Scott Boden failed to convert. Then, the breakthrough. A comical piece of Dunfermline defending began when a dangerous pass back from Ben Richards-Everton forced keeper David Hutton to make a hurried, shanked clearance, which landed at the feet of Iain VIGURS, who curled home a composed right foot finish from 40 yards. Thereafter, the Inverness team tried to turn the screw, with the two wingers growing in confidence, and a Billy King shot was turned round the post by a Dunfermline defender before Gary Warren was unlucky to see a diving header go narrowly wide. On 27 minutes, Dunfermline had another shout for a penalty with the Pars players claiming that the ball had struck McNaughton’s hand. Within two minutes, however, the Fife side had their equaliser, prolific skipper Andy GEGGAN rising well to head home a dangerous cross by recent signing Kallum Higginbotham. After that, action switched more evenly from end to end, with Mulraney continuing to look threatening and drawing frequent fouls, but with the Caley Thistle central midfield at times seeming atypically hesitant and error-prone under pressure, allowing Dunfermline to create their own moments of danger. With just minutes remaining before half-time, ICT restored their lead, thanks once again to the composure and vision of Iain Vigurs. The ever-impressive Mulraney drew yet another foul, and after a lengthy break for treatment to Lewis Spence, who had injured himself making the challenge on Mulraney, VIGURS stepped up and, having scored with his right earlier, cracked his left-footed free kick into the goal via the underside of the bar. ‘Beautiful, an absolutely fantastic free kick’, according to the BBC’s Steven Thompson. HALF TIME: DUNFERMLINE ATHLETIC 1 – 2 INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE The second half got off to a frenetic start, with Dunfermline’s Michael Moffat threatening within 30 seconds of the restart and then Mulraney again running rings around opposing full back Jason Talbot and almost playing Vigurs in for his hat-trick. And just five minutes later, did Caley Thistle increase their lead, with another impressive goal. A sweeping, multi-passing move from the back after a spell of Pars pressure culminated in Billy KING cutting inside from the left and firing in a shot that deflected over the keeper and into the net. To their credit, Dunfermline, who could justifiably feel aggrieved to find themselves two down, continued to press and create problems for ICT, and after seeing a third penalty appeal turned down around the hour mark, three Pars players found their way into Crawford Allan’s book due to the fury of their protests. Shortly thereafter, Ross Draper replaced the highly impressive Mulraney, and little more than five minutes later, Caley Thistle finally put the game out of Dunfermline’s reach. The scorer? Who else but VIGURS, completing the perfect hat-trick by getting his head to a Tremarco cross. Unthinkably, some ICT supporters (OK, at least one ICT supporter) had suggested on Twitter prior to the game that Vigurs, rather than Draper, should have been the player to make way for Mulraney in the starting line-up. The moral of this story is that the manager is always right. Unless it’s John Hughes last season. Or second-spell Craig Brewster. With a three-goal deficit to overcome, Dunfermline’s heads seemed to go down for the first time in the match, and Greg Tansey found the post with a sweetly-struck shot as Caley Thistle took full control of the game. Next to threaten was Liam Polworth, having moved to wide right after the substitution of Mulraney, who received a pass from King and tried his luck with a chip that ended up just off-target. With around 10 minutes remaining, Alex Fisher replaced Scott Boden, one of ICT’s quieter players on the night, up front, and as the game drew towards a close, Richie Foran gave the travelling support the opportunity to give Iain Vigurs a well-deserved ovation, withdrawing his match-winner to allow Ali Sutherland some game time. The last piece of icing on the cake, cancelling out the superior goal difference that Dundee Utd had accrued in their win over Cowdenbeath, came in the closing minutes, when Greg Tansey crashed a free-kick off the same post that he had struck previously, and Carl TREMARCO nodded in the rebound. FULL TIME: DUNFERMLINE ATHLETIC 1 – 5 INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE A bigger win, then, than almost any ICT supporter might dared to have predict before the match, and while the final scoreline did not perhaps reflect the balance of play in the first hour of the game, the result must be seen as a tribute to the positive attacking way in which Richie Foran has opted to set up his team this year, to the work ethic he has instilled in his players, and to the way he has recruited over the summer, with King, McNaughton and especially Mulraney all excelling again. There will inevitably be some poor results and some disappointments over the course of the season, but with performances and results like this, Foran can only add to the already considerable goodwill he already enjoys among the majority of ICT supporters, and provided the team’s standards do not drop against Arbroath on Saturday, they must now be favourites to top this group. Date: 26/07/16 Venue: East End Park, Dunfermline Attendance: 2580 Referee: Crawford Allan Dunfermline: 1 Lineup: Hutton, Williamson, Ashcroft, Richards-Everton, Talbot, McCabe, Spence, Geggan, Cardle (Thomas 89), Moffat (Smith 77), Higginbotham (McMullan 73) Subs (not used): Gill, Martin, Paton Scorers: Geggan (28) Booked: Geggan (24), Cardle (60) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 5 Lineup: Mackay, Raven, McNaughton, Warren, Tremarco, Tansey, Polworth, Mulraney (Draper 58), Vigurs (Sutherland 84), King, Boden (Fisher 80) Subs (not used): Fon Williams, Horner, Brown Scorers: Vigurs (16, 42, 66), King (54), Tremarco (89) Booked: none Sent Off: none abcabcabc
  4. Danube to Dunfermline Inverness face Dunfermline on Tuesday night in the League Cup stages where it's getting to the point where only a win will be sufficient to keep us in the competition. Alternative Maryhill looks ahead to this clash, a far cry from one year ago in the scorching heat on the banks of the Danube. For the second year in a row, Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s players find themselves facing a hazardous trip to a post-Communist wasteland needing an away win to avoid elimination from a major trophy before the league season has even begun. Last July it was Giurgiu, Romania; this July, it is West Fife. Despite an opening win against Cowdenbeath and a draw on Saturday against Dundee Utd, ICT already find themselves trailing the Dundee club by three points and Dunfermline by two in the Scottish League Cup Group C league table, having played the same number of games as Dunfermline and one fewer than Utd. Thanks to Utd’s comprehensive win over Cowdenbeath, however, they also boast a goal difference that is four superior to Caley Thistle’s. With only the group winners and four best runners-up progressing to the knock-out stages of the tournament, then realistically, Richie Foran’s men must assume they will have to win both remaining fixtures in order to progress, beginning on Tuesday at East End Park. While the two fixtures ICT have already played may not have yielded as many goals or points as hoped for, they have provided reasons for optimism. The more direct attacking style promised by Foran is already in evidence, with loan signing Billy King proving a handful for the Dundee Utd defence in Saturday’s game, and Jake Mulraney having looked quick, tricky and eager to take on opponents in each of his second-half substitute appearances. Kevin McNaughton, covering for the injured Josh Meekings, offers great game-awareness and composure and looks as comfortable in the middle of the defence as he does in his preferred full back position. Foran must also be grateful to have retained the core of Tansey, Draper and Warren, players who have long since proven themselves to be among the best in Scotland in their positions, and who were typically committed and industrious in the two games to date. If there is an area in the team that still seems to be lacking, it is up front: Scott Boden did well to set up Ross Draper for his goal against Cowdenbeath and to head the opener in the Dundee Utd game, but ideally, if the chances that the likes of King, Mulraney and Polworth are capable of creating are to be converted, then Foran will hope to bring in a slightly more mobile option up front, either to partner or alternate with Boden. Dunfermline’s supporters and management are also justified in feeling optimistic about the season ahead, however. Promoted as champions from League One to the Championship, they have got off to a flyer in the League Cup with three-goal victories against Arbroath and Cowdenbeath, and although they will feel the loss of their talented forward Faisal El Bakhtaoui, they still have a proven goalscorer up front in Michael Moffat as well as Andy Geggan providing goals from midfield – three in the two League Cup games so far. Over the summer, the Pars have added ex-Kilmarnock and Partick forward Kallum Higginbotham, a rumoured ICT signing target, ex-Kilmarnock defender Lee Ashcroft, also a scorer against Cowdenbeath on Saturday, young Celtic striker Paul McMullan on loan, and of course, our own man-mountainous, if somewhat ponderous, Nat Wedderburn, who should help to shore up the midfield. With the addition of so many players with Premiership experience, it is clear that Dunfermline are looking to mount a serious challenge in what should be a highly competitive Championship this season. Being of a more cautious and perhaps pessimistic cast of mind than our previous previewer, I'm not going to offer a result or scoreline prediction; I will predict, however, that this will be a tough game, and another close one. Richie Foran's ICT side and philosophy may still be taking shape, but already we look like a hard-working and well-organised side that will not lie down to anybody, but also, for the moment, a side that struggles somewhat to convert chances. Hopefully Tuesday will be the day when that starts to change.
  5. tm4tj

    Pars Preview & Report

    This ones for Gordyfromsneck, who always read the articles and often passed comment on them. http://caleythistleo...ct-preview-r918 Lets hope we can get the points. Nearly forgot............Capital Caley is yer man for this Preview fae Fife, and he will provide the report in the aftermath of his day out. Enjoy the steak bridies yum yummity yum yum.