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  1. Moving on up Inverness jumped back into the top four momentarily after second half goals from Aaron Doran and Tom Walsh plunged Partick further into the relegation battle. Stuart Bannigan had levelled for Partick before substitute Walsh leathered home a superb volley with ten minutes to go. Only Dundee United v Alloa on this weekend and we play the Wasps on Tuesday night to see if we can take further advantage of the situation. Should Alloa take full points from their two games in hand over Partick, then they will jump to seventh and the Harry Wraggs will slump to the bottom. It's that tight! Inverness had Tom Walsh and Kevin McHattie on the bench after injury alongside Nathan Austin with young prospect Matheus Machado joining the squad after recent impressive performances in training. Partick Thistle had Gary Harkins and Scott McDonald starting with Blair Spittal warming the bench along with Miles Storey, the former Inverness enigma. Keeper Conor Hazard was on international duty with Northern Ireland and Jamie Sneddon replaced him. A wet and miserable night met the players as they came out in front of a sparse crowd and Scott McDonald started the ball rolling in this televised game. It was ten minutes before Carl Tremarco had the first attempt, but his sneaky curler lacked power with better options available. It was a midfield battle at this point with neither side able to get to grips with the conditions. Partick forced a couple of corners and the second one produced a moment of uncertainty in the visitors defence but the ball was hacked to safety eventually from almost on the goal line. Similar followed at the other end after Charlie Trafford won a free kick, but defences prevailed. Another free kick saw the ball fired over the bar by Sean Welsh after Joe Chalmers had been fouled. Aaron Doran drew a booking from Steven Anderson as the Caley Jags player broke over the halfway line. Doran did slide the ball into the net shortly after but was offside. Most of the possession was coming from the visitors midway through the half, but chances were at a premium. Anderson headed over Mark Ridgers' bar after a corner but it was an untidy game so far and Lewis Mansell was booked for fouling Jamie McCart. The first positive action of the half saw Inverness break at speed and Chalmers brought out a good save from Jamie Sneddon at the expense of a corner. Moments later, Doran slid a teasing ball across goal but it was neither a shot or a cross and the chance went abegging. Five minutes before the break another opportunity arose in the Partick box but it was tidied up and chested back to the keeper on the goal line. Inverness almost broke the deadlock but for a superb save by Sneddon from a Brad Mckay header, the rebound being hustled out of play by a sliding Tremarco. Close, but no cigar. Sneddon was the only man keeping the eager Inverness players out and he had already produced two or three excellent stops It had been a brutal first 45 with Inverness looking the most likely to score, but Partick's robust tactics saw them go in level at the break but leading 4-0 in bookings as John Beaton pointed to the dressing rooms. The brutal fare continued at the start of the second half with Partick not shy to stop the game at the expense of free kicks, carefully taking it in turn to foul the visiting players to avoid an inevitable red card. Suddenly, they realised they could play football and it was game on as the play opened out, the tempo of the game increased dramatically and the first half was soon forgotten. Saunders did find the net but it was ruled out for offsides after a Slater volley had been deflected for a corner. Ridgers scooped up a low strike from Slater that went straight at him as Partick decided to have a go and at the other end Doran created a bit of space to fire at goal but Sneddon was untroubled as he gathered. Liam Polworth seriously needs some shooting practice as he fired his nth effort well wide of the target. McDonald must have been studying Liam and he shot twenty yards wide at the other end. Substitute Miles Storey's power and pace was causing some problems and from one burst forward he slid a dangerous ball into the box but thankfully it went behind all the forwards and was cleared. Partick were beginning to look more dangerous since the substitutions but it was Inverness that made the breakthrough. Aaron Doran raced onto a tremendous ball through the middle from Joe Chalmers and a wee dummy from big Jordan White created the space for Doran to fire behind Sneddon. Well worked and well deserved. However, it didn't take long for Partick to level as Stuart Bannigan curled a low effort behind Ridgers from the edge of the box three minutes later. Tom Walsh replaced Charlie Trafford and Coll Donaldson had to look sharp to thwart Storey as he broke forward. Substitute Blair Spittal looked as though he rattled the back edge of the post as Partick broke forward although Ridgers looked to have it covered. Inverness went back in front when Polworth chipped a ball into the box and a cheeky flick from Doran saw substitute Tom Walsh lash a left foot volley home from fifteen yards with ten minutes left. Tremendous goal by Walsh who had scored the winner last time Inverness were here with an equally stunning strike. It could have been three soon after but Sneddon did well to smother an effort from Doran as he closed in on goal. Inverness began to look more composed after getting their noses in front again and took the ball for a walk to the corners to see out the game. Coll Donaldson picked up a booking late on as Partick tried to surge forward but Inverness held firm for all three points in a deserved win at Firhill. Aaron Doran was deserving of his Man of the Match award and he was ably backed up by the fleet footed Jordan White (not a phrase I use often so enjoy it), a wonderful assist for the opening goal by the big striker. Coll Donaldson held the defence together and Tom Walsh's goal was simply stunning. This is not a win to be scoffed at with Partick battling for points to avoid the drop. Our own Stirling Observer saw it like this.......... Was a very intriguing game, conditions were difficult in the first half but we seemed to deal with it much better and were more confident on the ball. Whilst we were the better team we were too slow moving the ball. We made two decent chances in the last 5 mins of the half. Second half the conditions calmed and McDonald starting dropping deep more and more, when they brought on storey his running caused us a bit of danger and opened the game up. All three goals were excellent. The final goal killed Partick and they visibly gave up after it. Think we deserved to win but it was a hard fought one. Thought everyone played their part. Playing Chalmers wide means his natural instinct in the check back or run into the middle and not go beyond the opposition defence like Doran does. Whilst Chalmers did well it harms out forward opportunities. It's harsh to drop Chalmers or Trafford but think it's for the greater good to get Walsh back into the starting 11. Special mentions to Doran, Welsh and White. More reaction and footage to follow........... Inverness boss John Robertson said on BBC SPORT: "It was a great first goal; great ball through by Joe Chalmers and a beautiful step-over from Jordan White, and the finish by Aaron Doran. "But then we fell asleep, Thistle upped the tempo and got their equaliser. We weathered the storm and got another brilliant finish. It was a deserved three points. "The next few weeks are a big ask but we showed tonight we have the players to handle it." If you can access BBC SPORT, here's the winner from Walsh............. If not, try this............. Aye Tom, she's a belter Robbo was pleased.............. And here is the man of the moment, Walsh the Walloper............. Date: 22/03/2019 Venue: Firhill, Glasgow. Attendance: 2149 Referee: John Beaton Partick Thistle: 1 Lineup: Sneddon, Elliott (Cardle 72), Penrice, Anderson, Bannigan, McDonald, Harkins (Spittal 61), Slater, Mansell (Storey 55), McMillian, Saunders. Subs (not used): Lennox, McGinty, Doolan, Fitzpatrick.. Scorers: Bannigan (68) Booked: Anderson (23), Mansell (33), Saunders (43), McMillan (45) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers, B Mckay, Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco, Chalmers, Polworth, Trafford (Walsh 69), Welsh, Doran (Rooney 86), White. Subs (not used): C Mackay, McCauley, Austin, McHattie, Machado. Scorers: Doran (65), Walsh (81) Booked: Trafford (62), Donaldson (90+2) Sent Off: none a
  2. Firhill for Thrills Final trip to Firhill for the season coming up on Friday night in the Championship, and if you can't get along to the game, fear not for BBC Scotland will be covering the game live with the action kicking off at 19:05. It won't be our last run to Glasgow though as we have a Scottish Cup semi-final to play at Hampden on April13th with a 12:15 kick-off. Who knew! Anyway, this is League business, a totally different beast. ICT Supporters Travel Club The ICT Supporters Travel Club are running a bus to this match and the leaving times are as follows: Leaving the Caley Club: 1.45PM Leaving the Caledonian Stadium: 2PM Book on through their Facebook page or call/text 07462 218717 Unfortunately, our off-field antics are fast becoming known as the 'banter years'. The AGM has just occurred and judging by the sound of silence coming from the board, it's more Disturbed than Simon & Garfunkel. In fact it could even be a Bridge over troubled waters. Chief executive officer Yvonne Crook gone. Academy director Danny MacDonald gone. Youth coach and head of recruitment Ronnie Duncan gone. Club Secretary Jim Falconer going................ With rumours that we are heading towards a one million pound debt, what is going on inside the Boardroom and what is going to be done about it? It's at this stage of the season that there are no such things as an easy game with teams either looking for promotion or trying to avoid relegation. This is when teams in the lower half tighten their defences and battle for everything. A drop into league two would be a disaster for most clubs. At the top end, it seems to be all over bar the shouting, but United made it more interesting with a win over County in midweek. As it stands at the moment, we are just outside the play-off's albeit with a home game in hand over the Pars, (Alloa). In our absence last weekend, Dunfermline were supposed to take on Dundee United at East End Park but the weather decimated the Championship fixtures. Our realistic goal is to make the top four although it's well within the grasp of Dunfermline and ourselves to topple Ayr should they continue to falter. Incidentally, out of our grasp but, Dundee United closed the gap at the top to eight points after beating Ross County at Tannadice thanks to an early headed goal from Calum Butcher. With County playing in the fizzy pop final this weekend, there is the potential for that gap to be further reduced. Getting interesting up there. Partick's last game saw them in a relegation threatened tussle with Falkirk, the only game to beat the weather and it ended in stalemate at 1-1. Scott McDonald put Partick ahead but Ian McShane squared it for the Bairns. Partick have also bowed out of the Scottish Cup, narrowly losing 2-1 in the replay against our next opponents, Hearts. The previous games this season will show that we hold the upper hand, just. A 3-2 home win back in September was followed by a barely deserved 1-0 win at Firhill in November, Tom Walsh nicking the winner in the 71st minute and Mark Ridgers making a penalty save. Partick came North at the beginning of February and first half goals from loan signing Steven Anderson and Aiden Fitzpatrick was just enough for them to edge the game 2-1 despite a late Darren McCauley goal. Here's the Walsh goal last time at Firhill The only good to come out of last weekends downtime is that our injured players had more recovery time. So Tom Walsh, Anthony McDonald, Kevin McHattie and Daniel Mckay let's be havin you, we have a Scottish Cup Semi coming up! Young Brazilian wing back Matheus Machado has shown up well in the Turkish training camp and will be included in the squad. Also returning after injury are Tom Walsh and Kevin McHattie. Partick's recent get out of jail signing 35 year old Scott McDonald has been doing his best to help Partick beat the drop and scored his third goal in six appearances. His experience will present a danger to our stuttering promotion aspirations. Gary Harkins is another experienced player drafted in to take the strain and he has skill in abundance. In our favour, they still have the misfiring Miles Storey. Here's what Partick Manager Gary Caldwell had to say to BBC Sport after the Falkirk game............. "That was frustrating because we played better than Falkirk and should have been more than one goal in front before losing a sloppy goal. "We were the only team trying to win the game in the second half, but we created our own problems. There was a lack of cutting edge from us and a lack of killing a team off when were were on top." Ooft, sounds familiar Gary........... If you like a wee flutter, our partnership with FansBet can offer you something. Just click on FansBet to get started. "Remember to select CaleyThistleOnline when you register and you’ll be helping us support ICT fan causes." FansBet are partners with Supporters Direct Scotland and already have many impressive stories of giving back to and empowering fans, ranging from funding away travel, share purchases, backing safe standing projects and many more. You can read some of FansBet’s Giving Back stories on their blog at https://blog.fansbet.com/fansbet-giving-back/partners/fan/ Draw with goals 3/1.............. fair bet! Always remember to adopt safe gambling and responsible policies.
  3. Walsh stunner stuns Jags Tom Walsh scored the only goal of the game with a brilliant solo goal to earn the Caley Jags all three points. Inverness had Mark Ridgers to thank for keeping another clean sheet as he superbly saved a Blair Spittal penalty with 15 minutes to go. Lest we forget................... John Robertson made a couple of enforced changes from the side that started the Highland derby against Ross County. Out went the disgraced Riccardo Calder who has had his contract terminated and Shaun Rooney has ligament damage and will be out for some time. Carl Tremarco is still out injured. That meant a revamp at the back with Brad Mckay moving to right back, Joe Chalmers to left back and Jamie McCart teaming up with Coll Donaldson at the heart of the defence. Charlie Trafford was drafted into midfield. Gary Caldwell had former Inverness striker Miles Storey on from the start with Jai Quitongo and Kris Doolan backing him up. The impressive Cammy Bell was the man hoping to keep Inverness out, with midfield powerhouse Blair Spittal a key player for the Harry Wraggs. A crowd of around two and a half thousand observed an impeccable silence to remember the fallen before Partick got the match underway, Inverness defending the Glasgow end of Firhill Stadium. Immortal Howden Ender was our man at the match and here is his report.............. Didn’t we have a lovely day the day went to Partick. Well I just about got there and no thanks to yet another Rail strike. But it was well worth it to watch a sublime Tom Walsh curler hit the back of a rain soaked net in the 71st minute of what I can only describe as a turgid affair. Pre match we went “Into the Deep” and I enjoyed a scuba dive with Red Card, RIG, the Moffat Bros and a certain Mr. Oliver. Nice to actually listen to plaudits for the backroom staff and confirmation that a lot is actually been done behind the scenes. Never saw or heard a vulture all day. Anyway to the game and probably a reason to make a more extensive introduction. In a way we were lucky to get away with three points. Partick had the more clear cut chances BUT they looked poor and never really looked like scoring, even from the penalty spot. It isn’t hard to cheer on Caley when you are bombarded with “Come on Thistle / Jags” shouts and chants !! And a paltry crowd of just over 2500 at the ”Energy Check Stadium” just summed up the fall of the Magyars of Firhill. A closed main stand and the barren hill at one end was a rather pitiful sight – especially when the heavens opened. It was another disciplined and well organized defensive display that brought home the points. To be honest we never really tested Cammy Bell until the goal and although it was a sweet strike Bell did appear to flounder – and perhaps we should have had more than four strikes on target from 15 attempts. The first half was rather tedious. It was an open affair but neither side showed that killer touch. It looks like neither outfit have that goal scoring forward. Nice but ineffective tippy-tappy stuff but always either a poor last touch or a failed through ball. Plastic Whistle probably had the best opportunities when Ridgers saved from Quitongo and Doolan fluffed a half chance. We appeared to move up a gear at the start of the second half and Oakley squandered a couple of chances from corner kick ploys. And then Thistle IMHO made a major error in hooking Miles Storey who had evidently been buoyed by facing his old team but his magic hat vanished and Gary Calwell displayed some of his tactical magic once again. And then on 71 minutes TOM WALSH successfully pulled a rabbit out of the hat. Picking up the ball on the left, neatly cut inside and curled a beauty via a sweeter right foot. But it was only three minutes later when we could have fecked it up. IMHO it was never a penalty but officials have a tendency to make such rewards when the ball accidentally is fired at a defenders flailing arm. But Ridgers stood tall and showered himself with a Calderesque (Jim by the way) slap off the crossbar, through himself to his left and tapped the ball round the post. He is definitely “One of our own”. And the Plastic boys then went all out to save the game but Ridgers, Coll and McCart stood firm and were abetted by the substitute Fitzpatrick of Partick who missed a 1-1 chance and never even tested Ridgers. So our unbeaten run continued and Thistle slumped to their seventh consecutive defeat. And the relief from our players was clearly displayed as to a man plus Robbo they hailed the travelling support. SMILEYMOMETER RIDGERS 😀 😀 😀😀 😀– I suspect that many will award him MotM. Well to me he was a very close second. But he has come on leaps and bounds and must be as good a custodian as anyone else in Scotland. Perhaps Tin-Tin Mcleish should have a wee gander. McKAY 😀 😀 😀– Well he basically did his job defensively but rarely went forward apart from dead ball situations. DONALDSON 😀 😀 😀😀 😀– MotM with a superb display. Made one bad error but more than made up for it. His calmness and distribution was a joy to behold. McCART 😀 😀 😀😀 - Now that was a very solid looking central defence pairing. McCart was more of a get rid / hoof type performance but almost as effective as Coll. CHALMERS 😀 😀 😀– Has not played at full back for some time but did a good job. Evidently was thinking defence and like Brad rarely foraged forward. POLWORTH 😀 😀 😀 - Well he ran and ran and ran. Clearly designated as the play maker but his good touches and good deliveries were almost the same ratio as the flawed ones. But he really did not have many moving targets. Perhaps Doran should be taking more of the dead ball ploys. TRAFFORD 😀 😀 😀– Stood his ground, didn’t make any mistakes but had a quiet 90 minutes. WELSH – 😀 😀 😀Did a good job as the defending midfielder. Clearly thinks a good game and was leading others around him. DORAN – 😀 😀 😀 not sure exactly where he was playing. Perhaps it was supposed to have been as a Number 10 but it looked more like an extra midfielder to me. I far prefer him playing out wider. WALSH – 😀 😀 😀😀Apart from the goal he looked the man most likely to produce chances. The only flaw was his reluctance to take on defenders and play the through ball 20-30 yards out instead of hitting the bye line. OAKLEY – 😀 😀 Basically up front on his Jack Jones and really should have scored from the one heading chance that came his way. WHITE – Never really got a chance to show anything as he came on when we were under the cosh. But perhaps he should have started as his height may well have been more effective. And we only had four outfield players on the bench including McGregor and Harper. So three points was more deserving for a depleted squad. So lets roll on to Dumbfries and plunder another three points from the Doon Hammers. Here's a wee summary from Caley Stan.. Typical performance from us. Solid, organised, lacking creativity, but full of spirit. A real moment of magic from Tom Walsh and an excellent penalty save from Ridgers won us the game. McCart and Donaldson played very well but it looked like Coll was carrying an injury for much of the second half. Polworth also had a good game - great to see him finding pockets of space in wide and deep areas and using his ability to keep the ball - he's growing as a player. And Ridgers was excellent throughout, giving it big licks at the end too. What a season he's having. Walsh's superb goal and Mark's brilliant penalty save............. Robbo aftermatch at Partick. Here's Tom Walsh talking post match............. Date: 10/11/2018 Venue: Firhill, Partick Attendance: 2509 Referee: Steven Kirkland Partick Thistle: 0 Lineup: Bell; Elliott, Penrice, Keown, McGinty, Spittal, Bannigan, Doolan, Slater, Storey (Fitzpatrick 66), Quitongo Subs (not used): Storer, McCarthy, Wilson, Sneddon, Scobbie, Ntambwe Scorers: none Booked: Slater (69), Quitongo (78) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; Mckay, McCart, Donaldson, Chalmers, Doran, Polworth, Trafford, Welsh, Walsh, Oakley (White 68) Subs (not used): Hoban; Harper, McGregor, Austin Scorers: Walsh (71) Booked: Trafford (39), Chalmers (90+2) Sent Off: none a
  4. Thistle be the day Draw specialists Inverness head to Firhill on Saturday to take on Partick Thistle in the Championship. Last weeks draw against Ross County was the seventh in a row and that extended the unbeaten run to a record twenty-three games. It wasn't for the want of trying in the derby but few watching could be disappointed in the manner with which we applied ourselves and we were unfortunate not to take all three points. Caley Stan has checked out the opposition and he has this informative preview for us........... On my way home from Waitrose the other day, I stopped for a coffee in Artisan Roast Stockbridge and quietly pondered some way to construct an opening to this preview that included a disparaging reference to Partick Thistle fans’ middle-class, hipster, bohemian, pseudo-intellectual pretensions, when who should appear out of the Mellis Cheesemonger sporting the famous red and yellow hoops, but The Hoff himself. Beyond parody. Hassellhoff has previously sought to justify his support for Thistle on the grounds that they represent something beyond geographical or tribal identity, and they must have picked up a few fans over the years by simple virtue of not being Rangers or Celtic. But with attendances at Firhill starting to sink below the 3,000 mark, I suspect we won’t see many of those folk tomorrow. I might be wrong, but I assume most Partick Thistle fans, like the rest of us, identify with the club because they grew up near the ground, or their dad came from round there. One thing’s for sure, they’re not glory hunters. With just two major honours to show in a 142-year history (the 1921 Scottish Cup, and the 1971 League Cup), they haven’t been in a major final for sixty years. This is particularly surprising when you consider that they played in the top league for most of the 20th Century, never experiencing a sustained period in the second tier until the late 1980’s. History of the Fixture Won 11 Drawn 10 Lost 13 The teams first met in the opening game of the 1998/99 Second Division season. The Maryhill club were playing in the third tier for the first time in their history, and we came into it off the back of a mid-table debut season at that level. It was a tense affair with one moment of true quality on the hour mark when a delightful through ball from Charlie Christie was buried from an acute angle by Barry Wilson. We rode our luck for the reminder of the game, Jim Calder making a number of decent saves, and departed to a stream of Highlandphobic abuse from a home support whose club had just reached a new low. Their true nadir was to come later in that season when they avoided another relegation by a single point. Meanwhile, we were promoted comfortably, winning 3 of the 4 games against them in the process. It was another 2 years before we saw Partick again, and by the end of that 2001/02 season we were glad to see the back of them as they ruthlessly re-established themselves as Scotland’s premier Thistle, winning 3 out of the 4 league games with our solitary victory coming after they had already won the First Division. We also played them in both cups, coming out on top in the League Cup 2nd Round in Inverness on penalties after a 3-3 draw – Barry Robson notching a double and scoring the winning penalty. But it was the was Scottish Cup Quarter-Final of that season that will be remembered most of all. These were the biggest games the fixture has seen, with a crowd of 8,700 taking in the 2-2 draw at Firhill and over 5,000 attending the replay despite the SFA’s controversial decision to stage the game underwater. Maryhill Mod Scott Paterson scored the only goal, a decent free-kick in fairness, though I’d like to see Nicky Walker’s starting position. After a brief skirmish in the Court of Session in the summer of 2004, the clubs reconvened on the pitch for the 4th Round of the 2005/06 Scottish Cup. The tables had turned once again, we were enjoying a second season in the SPL while they were back in the third tier after successive relegations. They came up to Inverness and kicked us off the park before Mark Roberts scored an underserved equaliser with a 93rd minute penalty that he had dived to win. The replay was turgid, on TV, and we went out on penalties. The next meeting, another 4th Round Scottish Cup tie in 2009, saw a very different Caley team run out 3-0 home winners – Felipe Morais scoring a double. That stands out as a very strange result in retrospect – Partick were having a decent season in the First Division, and we were coming into it off the back of six straight league defeats – it was the week before ‘shoes off’, a seventh defeat at Hamilton, and the final departure of Craig Brewster. The following season we shared a league for the first time in eight years, losing the first two and winning the second two in line with our form that year, and Partick joined us in the top flight for four years in 2013. Over that spell we won just two of the thirteen league ties between the sides, despite finishing above them in three of the four seasons, and, of course, knocking them out in the 5th Round of the 2014/15 Scottish Cup……. Teams and Tactics Partick Thistle fans seem to have given up trying to analyse performances recently and spend their time online howling for players to be removed/imprisoned/murdered etc. so it’s been tricky to work out how they line up. From what I can gather, Caldwell’s been playing some kind of 4-5-1. The persistence with a misfiring Miles Storey has been a particular source of frustration, while a recent injury to Kris Doolan has given opportunities to Jai Quitongo and our old friend Andrea Mutumbo, with neither making much of an impact. Robbo has persisted with the 4-2-3-1, although he’s always keen to bring on a second striker and go more direct when we’re not creating. With Oakley and Austin now fit, he may find it increasingly tempting to return to the shape that he started the season with. The termination of Riccardo Calder’s contract and the ongoing absence of Carl Tremarco with a thigh injury leaves us without an experienced left back for tomorrow’s game. Joe Chalmers has played there before, but it wasn’t pretty, and Cameron Harper’s first team experience is limited to a farcical four-minute appearance at East End Park following a team-sheet error. Robbo has stated in the past that he feels Harper is ready to step in if needed, but in the aftermath of Calder’s dismissal this week, he suggested that the club may look to recruit a free agent to cover the position. Shaun Rooney has not recovered from the knock that forced him off in the derby. The Riccardo Calder situation has been dealt with by the club and they released This Statement. In effect Riccardo has left the building. The Official Site has a Preview with more detail and Robbo chat..... League Form Thistle: LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL Thistle: DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD Prediction: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  5. Gary has the final say. Inverness snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat at Firhill thanks to a last second Gary Warren header. It could prove to be a crucial point for Foran's men as late goals in other games around the country kept us in touch at the foot of the table. Kris Doolan looked to have given a dominant Partick all three points but Warren answered his critics in the best possible fashion. Immortal Howden Ender ventured North to the bistro's and wine bars of Maryhill and has this report for us. Read on. Gary Warren's last-minute, last touch, injury time (offside ) header saved our bacon in Maryhill. Great sliding celebration and 194 Invernessians went ballistic once again. We don't usually have any luck at Firhill but we got dollops of it yesterday. We didn't deserve a point but WTF Kris Doolan's 10th goal of the season looked to have earned Plastic Whistle their fourth straight Premiership win. They actually looked like a good footballing team but more like a Spanish outfit than from the hipster West End of Glesga. But good old Gary Warren nodded home at the far post for the Highlanders, who had a first-half strike from Henri Anier disallowed with Billy Mckay standing offside. We had the first effort of the match when Greg Tansey fired a 25-yard shot wide and he followed that up with 3 or 4 others which all went off target, other than a tame back-pass free kick. But at least he had a go !!. But that was their our only real threat as the Maryhill Magyars totally dominated possession and we either hoofed or gave them the ball back. "Musthavea Walrus look-alike, sound alike" was proving to be a handful and got the home fans MOM. Warren was the man to mark him but he was played wide right of a three man defence !! Early injuries to Abdul Osman and Lawless should have helped us to but feckin didn't. Lawless hadn't even be replaced and they were down to 10 men when Anier produced his only "effort" of the day and we thought that we had stolen an equaliser. But the flag went up for offside against wee Billy. Need to see the highlights BUT if he didn't touch it that would have been mightily harsh. It would have been great to have gone in 1-0 up but 0-0 was undeserved but happy to take it. But in the 56th minute the DOOLAN inevitably put the Whistle ahead and many of us braced ourselves fer a Hamilton away repeat. Thankfully our shaky defence all of a sudden began to look resolute or did the Whistle sit back on their Laurel or Hardy's. And even the shaky Fon Williams looked safer and produced what I can only describe as a "World Cup save" and it probably also saved our season. AND THEN two minutes into the two minute allotted stoppage time Gary Warren rose at the back post (looking suspiciously offside ) to head in the equaliser from Billy King's cross. 194 Invernessians applauded the sliding celebration an "oh, oh Gary Warren filled the Maryhill air and many Plastic Whistle supporters were either on their way oot or had feckin left already. FON WILLIAMS Still looked shaky and I shudder when anything goes at him but his second half performance literally saved our bacon. WARREN Played on the right of a three man defence for ALL of the game. Give me a break but our saviour once again. LAING Did OK in the central position. He, like many others, didn't seem to understand our system but he stood his ground and can only get better. McCART Bet he never witnessed anything like this at Parkdread !! But as with Laing he stood his ground. BRAD MACKAY Played in yet another position - like a right sided wing back. And he got plenty of space and plenty of the ball. He did OK but he simply didn't know how to play in that position. RAVEN Played in the left sided wing back position but he popped up all over the place. What a gut-busting performance. Eat, Sleep, Raven, Repeat - MOM by a feckin country mile. TANSEY Now that was more like the Tansey of old. Like Raven he was clearly motoring at 100%. Only player who looked comfortable on the ball, passed successfully, looked to shoot and very close to MOM. POLWORTH I thought that he put in a lot of effort and was clearly the runner fer Tansey and Vigurs. He did not deserve to be substituted and appears to have become the whipping boy. VIGURS Best footballer in the team - Most skillful player in the squad - One of my faves - BUT if I could have got on to the pitch and past the stewards I would have slapped him. He feckin gave up. DISGRACEFUL and should have been hooked instead of Polworth. But he still managed to get another yellow card !! ANIER Sorry but why did he even start ? He looks like the mercenary that he is. Except he is sticking his head in the feckin sand rather than fighting. BILLY Mckay If there ever was a player to feel sorry for - enuff said !! Took King on in the 62nd minute and played him where ? Answers on a postcard please. Took Cole and Boden on in the 81st minute for the ineffectual Vigurs and Anier. Probably saved us the point and we pressed Whistle. But Cole in central midfield !! Richie Foran said : "It's a huge point today. (No **** Sherlock). I thought it was a very close game (what !!), but we've played against, for me, a top-four side today (what!!) . They are an excellent team, strong aggressive, can pass the ball and have goal scorers (what!!), so it's a big point. I always believed we'd score (what!!) and we've scored a lot of late goals this season. If you put balls in the box you've got a chance (what!! - when!!). It was a great leap [by Gary Warren] and a great finish. It was a good ball hung up by Billy King. "I'm delighted for the players and we're going in now to two home games. Results have gone our way, so it sets it up for a cracking game of football next week against Ross County." OK lets sum up in a nice, positive manner. We got out of the Jail End yesterday. Any of us would have taken a point. Can see the reason for playing 3-5-2 but why not with King and Cole wide ? Or why didn't we change it earlier ? We were terrible for most of the 92 minutes and 33 seconds. With Draper and Tremarco back and getting back to a well worked system then we can get 6 out of 6 points at the Dump. But I don't feel comfortable singing "WE ARE STAYING UP " YET Match footage from SPFL website. will be available soon. Date: 11/03/17 Venue: Firhill Stadium, Glasgow Attendance: 3082 Referee: Willie Collum Partick Th: 1 Lineup: Cerny, Dumbuya, Booth, Lindsay, Osman (Amoo 33), Doolan, Erskine (Elliott 89), Lawless (Azeez 43), Barton, Keown, Edwards Subs (not used): Ridgers, Nisbet, McCarthy, Lamont Scorers: Doolan (56) Booked: Amoo (83) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon-Williams, Raven, Warren, Polworth (King 62), Vigurs (Cole 81), McCart, W.McKay, Tansey, Laing, B.McKay, Anier (Boden 81) Subs (not used): Hoban, McNaughton, Ebbe, Fisher Scorers: Warren (92) Booked: Vigurs (21), McCart (45) Sent Off: none a
  6. Six-Pointers from here on in! It's all six pointers from here on in as we travel to Firhill to take on Partick Thistle in the Premiership looking for more points to add to the rather unexpected but nonetheless welcome four we gleaned from Hearts and the Rangers recently. Despite those fantastic results, other clubs have not been so keen to help us out and we still find ourselves at the foot of the table, two points behind Hamilton. We suffered a setback in our last outing even before we kicked off against Celtic. Hamilton never read the script properly and defeated Aberdeen on the Friday night to leapfrog us in the table. With County getting a bonus win at Tynecastle on the Saturday and Killie losing to Motherwell on Sunday, Inverness were the big losers going down 0-4 to a rampant Celtic. After a battling first 45, we were the architects of our own downfall, gifting goals like they were going out of fashion. But enough of the doom and gloom. The good news is that we don't have to play Celtic again and our fate is in our own hands over the next eleven games, the most important in our history. There were plenty of positives against Celtic despite the crushing scoreline although they were undone by some calamitous errors that verged on comedy. We were never going to win this game, but after gifting a second and third goal our task was well beyond us and we had to take our punishment as a result. Partick have been one of the success stories of this season and we go down to Firhill with a less than impressive record there in recent years. Only four wins in our seventeen visits, one of which was a Scottish Cup game in 2015, that was a good year if I recall correctly. Others were a First Division game in 2010, our first visit in 1998 and one at the tail end of last season when the campaign was done and dusted (1-4). That was our best ever result against the Harry Wragg's Partick have been a bit of a bogey team for us although overall the stats will show that victories are fairly even. Historically, home advantage seems to prevail and at Firhill we have six defeats, four wins and seven draws. Our last encounter was at Inverness where the sides played out an unspectacular 0-0 draw. The first game at Partick ended in defeat for Inverness by 2-0, Foran's first game in charge. Goals by Chris Erskine and David Amoo gave Partick an untroubled victory. We all knew this early in the season that scoring goals would not be our strong point as we struggled to create anything. What we did not foresee was that our normally reliable defence would be even worse; and here we are today, bottom of the league on merit. Partick's last game saw them limp out of the Scottish Cup in a rather tame affair at the hands of Aberdeen, but in the League they have made their way under the radar into the top-six, ten points above Inverness. Goals for are similar, but once again it's our defensive record that is the main issue. Richie Foran spoke to the BBC after his first game in charge at Firhill back in August. I wonder what he thinks of his comments now? And who is Scott Boden? "It's only early. You don't become a bad team overnight. We're going to stay positive. "I thought we had poor imagination in the final third. With the quality that we have up there I expect a little bit more but we didn't get enough help around Scott Boden. "(It's a) disappointing result but I can't be too hard on the lads. They've been magnificent since I've come in. "I think we're in for a good season. We've got the quality. We just need to work on a few bits and pieces." Alan Archibald has doubts over Danny Devine and Christie Elliott after the pair sustained knocks during last weekend's defeat by Aberdeen. On-loan Crawley winger Jason Banton (groin) could be involved but long-term absentees Sean Welsh (foot), Ryan Scully (shoulder), Stuart Bannigan and Gary Fraser (both knee) remain out. Richie Foran hopes to have Jake Mulraney back after he missed the Celtic game. He will be needed as Aaron Doran is reported to be out for the season after undergoing surgery on his knee. The operation was not on the same knee that has been a problem over the last two seasons. Carl Tremarco will be out, either through injury or suspension and Ross Draper is suspended for one match, he will be a big miss. Josh Meekings and Lewis Horner are long term casualties but Kev McNaughton is making good progress and was on the bench for the Celtic game. Ryan Esson has returned to training and Horner is ready to begin legwork. Other crucial fixtures over this coming weekend that will have a bearing on our destiny. Hearts v Hamilton, Aberdeen v Motherwell and County v Killie tm4tj prediction:- Eleven games left to save our season. Celtic apart, we have shown some willingness to try and stay in this League with credible draws against Dundee and Hearts and an excellent win over Rangers. Unfortunately other results have meant that we are back on the bottom and we will remain there unless we show a real desire to fight for everything. In Billy Mckay we have one man who can almost work miracles, but he needs help and Jake Mulraney if fit could be his provider, with King on the opposite flank. Our creaking back four have been shuffled more than a deck of cards at a Las Vegas casino, through injury, suspension and parent club ruling. We need our best players on the park and they need to be performing at the top level. Owain Fon Williams has been sloppy lately, but he can perform much better as he has done on occasion, let's hope his confidence is not shattered after that Celtic debacle as we have no suitable cover for him with Esson not fully fit. Partick hold the Indian Sign over us, but I'm hopeful of at least a draw if not a rare win at Firhill. Beware the scalded cat!
  7. What is it with Partick Thistle? Richie Foran's side lost their first big test going down 2-0 at Partick in the seasons opener after a rather insipid display which disappointed the away support given the promise offered in the League Cup showing, where goals were in abundance. Goals in either half from Chris Erskine and David Amoo were enough to give Partick the points as Inverness rarely threatened and they can have no complaints about the three points staying in Glasgow. Alternative Maryhill was on hand to witness Foran's first Firhill visit as manager. New season, new manager, new signings, same old story for Inverness Caley Thistle at Firhill. This was a disappointing season-opener that showed, once again, that there are few managers better than Alan Archibald at setting up his teams to contain and nullify the ICT threat, and provided a useful reminder to those of us buoyed with enthusiasm after the last two Betfred Cup Games that there is a significant difference between lower-league and Premiership sides, that even the most promising new signings will need time to adjust to their new surroundings and new opponents, and that we should probably temper our more extravagant predictions about top-three or top-two finishes. Richie Foran opted to continue with the starting line-up that had beaten Dunfermline and Arbroath so convincingly, which meant a back five of Fon Williams, Raven, McNaughton, Warren and Tremarco, Polworth and Tansey in the centre of midfield with Mulraney and King on the wings, and Vigurs playing an advanced midfield role behind the lone striker Boden. The decision to continue with a winning side was understandable, but the consequent omission of Ross Draper, a player proven to be highly comfortable and effective at this level, probably contributed to Caley Thistle’s inability to seize control of this match at any point. Draper took a place on the bench, alongside Aaron Doran. The opening ten minutes set the tone for much of what was to follow: rather than taking the game to the ICT players, Partick seemed content to allow them possession, but closed down and marshalled attackers very effectively whenever they got into the final third, doubling up on Mulraney to make it difficult for him to exert any influence, and maintaining a solid back line that restricted Caley Thistle, in the main, to shots from distance. An early example of this was when King cut in from the left and fired a shot a couple of feet over from about twenty yards out; later in the half Mulraney gained a rare bit of space and made a similar attempt coming in from the opposite wing, but his shot ballooned high over. It also became clear in the opening exchanges that this was going to be a stop-start game characterised by niggly fouls, not all of which would have been given by a less whistle-happy referee than Nick Walsh. On twenty-four minutes, ICT were given one of their best opportunities of the half when Billy King was brought down on the edge of the box after a tricky run at the Partick defence. In attempting to place the ball to the left of the keeper, however, Greg Tansey succeeded only in sending it off the wall for a corner, which was dealt with well by the Glasgow side. Partick then had their own chance when Liam Lindsay got on the end of a David Amoo free kick into the Caley Thistle penalty area, but his downward header went wide of Owain Fon Williams’ right hand post. The opening goal came during a period where ICT had enjoyed one of their best spells of possession without being able to do much with it, and while the goal was an excellent example of fluid counter-attacking football, it also raised questions about the Inverness players’ willingness or ability to get close to and close down their opponents as effectively as the Partick players were able to do. During the slick passing move that culminated in Chris Erskine receiving Steven Lawless’ pass on the right-hand corner of the ICT penalty area and bending a fine left-foot shot past Fon Williams, Vigurs, Raven, Polworth and McNaughton all failed to challenge effectively, either diving in too late or not committing at all. Obviously this will happen at times throughout the season, but it was a little worrying to see the team cut open quite so easily by a side that hadn’t looked particularly threatening going forward, and is something that the manager must hope can be tightened up before his players come up against faster and trickier teams. As half time approached, Caley Thistle had a couple of half-chances to even up the scoreline. A diagonal ball from Liam Polworth found Boden approaching the right-hand corner of the penalty area, but the ICT striker sent a weak shot across the goal and well wide. A few moments later, Iain Vigurs worked space on the left hand edge of the area, but instead of shooting elected to play in Tremarco, who seemed to stumble and failed to make meaningful contact with the ball. Half time: Partick Thistle 1, Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0 The second half started similarly to the first, with Caley Thistle allowed plenty of the ball but unable to make their possession count, despite winning six free kicks in the opening ten minutes of the half. The best effort for ICT during this period was a shot from twenty yards by Greg Tansey, after being played in by Liam Polworth, which flew wide of the Partick keeper’s right hand post. Caley Thistle’s frustration began to show, with Polworth getting agitated over the referee’s failure to book one of the Partick players after yet another foul, and it was perhaps this frustration, coupled with having been robbed of possession far too easily, which led to Iain Vigurs’ unnecessarily clumsy challenge on Sean Welsh, and thus to the goal which finished the match as a contest. Welsh took the free kick himself, floating it over the ICT defence towards the head of Abdul Osman. His header back into the Caley Thistle penalty area was helped on by Liam Lindsay, and David Amoo forced the ball over the line from a yard out, with the Inverness defenders outmuscled and floundering. Foran gave his chosen starting eleven five more minutes to try to play themselves back into the match before making his first change. Perhaps a little surprisingly, although he had had a largely ineffective afternoon, it was Jake Mulraney who made way for Ross Draper, with Polworth taking up Mulraney’s berth on the right wing. Draper’s commitment to the cause was exemplified by a thunderous fifty-fifty challenge with Liam Lindsay which led to the Partick player having to be substituted, but this change, and the subsequent appearance of Fisher for Vigurs, did little to improve the Caley Thistle performance and nothing to influence the eventual result. If anything, the final half hour was ICT’s least effective or urgent passage of play, despite being in a position where they should have been chasing the game, with a weak Vigurs shot and a Fisher header that was easily saved being the only chances of note. In the end, Partick Thistle comfortably deserved the victory for their superior defensive organisation and their more clinical play going forward. Full time: Partick Thistle 2, Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0 The post-match comments from Richie Foran struck the right note, acknowledging the disappointingly flat nature of the team’s attacking play while vowing to remain patient and praising the players for their commitment so far. However, with two important games to come this week, against in-form Alloa in the Betfred Cup, and then against local rivals Ross County, who had a similarly disappointing league curtain-raiser yesterday, it will be interesting to see what sort of response Foran gets from his players and whether he will make immediate changes to his starting line-up. One thing is clear: it is far, far too early to make any meaningful predictions, whether they are of glorious success or impending doom. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Venue: Firhill, kick off 15:00, Saturday 6th August 2016 Partick Thistle - 2 (Erskine 36) (Amoo 60) X1: Cerny, Booth, Welsh, Lindsay (Azeez 78), Osman, Amoo, Doolan, Erskine (Edwards 72), Lawless, Devine, Gordon. Subs: Scully, Azeez, Wilson, Edwards, McDaid, Syme, Pogba Inverness CT - 0 X1: Fon Williams, Raven, Tremarco, McNaughton, Warren, Polworth, Vigurs (Fisher 76), Mulraney (Draper 66), Tansey, Boden, King. Subs: Mackay, Draper, Doran, Brown, Horner, Fisher, Sutherland Referee: Nick Walsh Crowd: 2943
  8. Matchday One at Firhill Saturday afternoon in Maryhill, under the twisted leer of Kingsley and assorted Buckied freeloaders on the canal towpath, sees the first match of Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s 2016-17 Scottish Premiership campaign, and another new chapter in the club’s already rich history well and truly underway. From the opening paragraph, you might have detected that Altenative Maryhill is the author of this Preview. Opinion among the Inverness support was divided, sometimes fiercely, over John Hughes’ recruitment, tactics and management style last season, but while his eventual departure was mourned by some and celebrated by others, the majority of ICT supporters seemed to welcome the announcement of club captain Richie Foran as his successor. Naturally, however, questions were raised: would Foran still be too close to the players to command the respect of his squad in his new role? Would he have the profile, contacts and scouting network to attract a decent quality of player to the club? Would he be able to develop a playing style that was more attractive and effective than the latterly much-criticised, but overall largely successful, approach adopted by Hughes? Would his lack of experience tell in periods of adversity and increased pressure? Was the board’s awarding of a four-year management contract to an existing employee simply the cheap option? Obviously, these are very early days, and it will be some time before we can say confidently that all these questions have been answered, but the signs so far are very promising indeed. Foran in his early interviews, while acknowledging the benefits Hughes’ playing philosophy had brought the players, promised a return to a more direct, attacking style of football which would yield more chances and goals, and this commitment was reflected in the signings of striker Scott Boden from Newport and winger Jake Mulraney from Queen’s Park Rangers on three- and two-year deals respectively, and the recruitment of Billy King, a winger with significant Scottish top-flight experience, on loan from Hearts. Meanwhile, the signing of Kevin McNaughton, a Scottish international with 201 appearances for Aberdeen and almost 300 for Cardiff City, seemed to suggest that Foran could indeed attract players of quality to the club. The real hope, however, has come from the team’s performances on the field, in the Betfred Cup group stages. In the first two games, against Cowdenbeath and Dundee Utd, the team’s play sometimes lacked fluency, and there was a failure to capitalise on final balls, but Foran’s avowed attacking intent was evident in King’s frequent threatening runs and particularly in the pace and trickery exhibited by Mulraney in his two second half substitute appearances, while Kevin McNaughton, deputising at centre half for the injured Josh Meekings, strolled through the games, showing his class and experience. With the promotion of Mulraney to the starting line-up against Dunfermline, Foran’s team clicked as an attacking force. While a positive and combative Pars side caused Caley Thistle problems in the first half, defensively they simply could not cope with Jake Mulraney, and where chances had been squandered in the previous two games, here the Inverness attackers were clinical, with Iain Vigurs claiming the perfect hat-trick from an advanced midfield role, King being rewarded for his willingness to run at players and shoot on spec with a deflection that brought another goal, and even left-back Carl Tremarco getting in on the act after being first to the rebound from a Greg Tansey free kick. The pattern continued in last Saturday’s 7-0 trouncing of Arbroath: Vigurs, King and Tremarco, with an unlikely brace, all found the net again; Scott Boden provided even more cause for optimism, with a well-taken hat-trick; and despite not being on the scoresheet, the man of the match, by common acclaim, was Mulraney, who already looks to be a gem of a signing. In terms of style and recruitment Foran is already beginning to answer the questions posed when he took over, and those who doubt whether he may be able to command and motivate players, and make difficult and unpopular choices, may be encouraged by the apparent increase in the fitness and work rate of Iain Vigurs, and the surprising decision to leave Ross Draper, a mainstay during the club’s most successful period, on the bench for the games against Dunfermline and Arbroath. Foran has stated that the club is still keen to bring in one or two more players, and most supporters would agree that another, more mobile attacker is needed to either complement or provide an alternative to Boden and Alex Fisher, but with any new deals looking increasingly unlikely before Saturday’s game, Foran’s main area of focus, and the supporters’ main source of intrigue and debate, will be deciding who gets the nod to start against Partick. Will Draper be restored to the team against a side that has frequently overpowered and over-run the ICT midfield in recent seasons, and if so, will it be Polworth, or Mulraney, the man for whom Draper made way, who drops to the bench? Will there be any room for Aaron Doran, finally restored to the squad again against Arbroath, after a year out through injury? How close to fitness is Josh Meekings, and when he is ready to return, will it be in central defence? And if so, does the impressive McNaughton drop out, or does he take one of the full-back roles in place of either fans’ favourite David Raven or the vastly-improved Carl Tremarco? These are, to employ a football cliché, pleasant problems for a manager to have, and the result of the club managing to put and keep together what looks, on paper, like one the strongest first-team squads the club has yet had. Of course, the optimism could yet prove premature; some of the new players, notably Mulraney and Boden, are as-yet untested against Premiership opposition, Partick Thistle are a team that has a strong record against ICT, notwithstanding a 4-0 home defeat to John Hughes’ team in the final weeks of last season, and they too are entitled to feel positive about their prospects this season after a 100% record in the Bedfred Cup group stages, and a summer recruitment programme that looks to have strengthened the first team squad. Chris Erskine, a folk-hero at the club, has returned in midfield after a spell at Dundee Utd where his talents seemed to be squandered by poor management, and has already impressed in with two goals in the Betfred Cup games; Ziggy Gordon, one of Hamilton Accies’ standout players over recent seasons, will be the new first choice at right back, while attacker Ade Azeez apparently rejected a new contract offer at Wimbledon to join the Maryhill club. A Partick recruit more familiar to ICT supporters is Danny Devine, signed to replace highly-rated central defender Danny Seaborne, who rejected a new contract. While Devine was a very useful deputy to Josh Meekings and Gary Warren in his first two seasons in Inverness, his period last season as a first choice centre half, during Meekings’ injury lay-off and then mystifying deployment at right back, revealed some shortcomings in positional sense and decision-making, and while he was perhaps scapegoated by supporters to some extent for defensive frailties that stemmed from the team set-up as a whole, Foran may see him as a potential weak link to be exploited in the Partick defence. Predictably, a recent press interview with Devine, in which he claims to have made a step up in his club career on the grounds that Glasgow is, shock, horror, a bigger city than Inverness, has been used to ramp up the non-existent tension ahead of this interview. Expect blood to flow in the streets of Maryhill. An intriguing and potentially very enjoyable game lies ahead then, and hopefully the interest and positivity around the Foran revolution will see a large and noisy travelling support there to back Inverness. [A quick note to travelling supporters; the underground is off, and the best options for getting to Firhill from the city centre are either to share a taxi, which shouldn’t cost much more than a fiver, or to get a number 60 or 61 bus from the corner of Hope St and Sauchiehall St, to around Queens Cross church on Maryhill Road. Don’t try to go to Maryhill train station – it’s almost as far from the ground in the opposite direction as Queen St is.] It’s hard game to call, and one that I suspect will feature more goals than we’re used to seeing between these sides, but in the spirit of optimism, I’m going to predict a final scoreline of Partick Thistle 2, Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3.
  9. Caley Jags rout sad Partick Inverness jumped into seventh place with a 1-4 rout of Partick Thistle to end our Firhill hoodoo and give Partick a taste of their own medicine for some of the beatings they have given us in recent years. Partick were quickest out of the blocks but it was Inverness that opened the scoring after 14 minutes through Carl Tremarco when Mutombo and Roberts sent him through on goal. Miles Storey added a second just after the break from another Mutombo assist. Josh Meekings knocked in number three with quarter of an hour left. Kris Doolan got a consolation for Partick and that seemed to annoy the Caley Jags as they went up the park and scored a belter from Jordan Roberts to round off the scoring. Yogi produced a surprise change to the starting line-up with Jordan Roberts getting a start ahead of Danny Williams. An enforced change also saw Andrea Mutombo in the starting X1 with Iain Vigurs suspended. Partick had Ryan Scully in goal for the injured Tomas Cerny and Inverness targets Abdul Osman and Steven Lawless started. Mathias Pogba was on the bench. Old Caley Girl has this report for us................ The Caleyaway faithful rolled up to Firhill in smallish numbers for the last Saturday awayday of the season. There was an air of optimism in the stadium bar, probably due to the sunshine, as this was Partick away after all which is never a happy hunting ground for us. Or so we thought…. Your first choice match reporter IHE failed in his endeavours to attend due to the inability of public transport in the UK to actually work. Sorry Johndo you missed a cracking display and a day out! Pre-match the news greeted us that Jordan Roberts had returned to the first eleven. He certainly didn’t disappoint! The first half started in an uneventful fashion with both sides having a few chances in what was a good open game. It was clear that ICT were playing a more pressing game than of late and in 14 minutes fans favourite Mutombo split the Partick defence open allowing Carl Tremarco to race from the halfway and slot home. Carl has been threatening to score for weeks but it was worth waiting on. The game changed following the goal and it was all ICT but despite several chances the score remained with us only one ahead. Half time: Partick 0 – ICT 1 Caleyaway had barely got back to their seats with their steak and ale pies when we went further ahead. Miles Storey nicked the ball past the keeper and slotted home into the right hand corner. From then on the chances kept coming. This was ICT at their best. Pressing forward at pace and first to every ball. The ball hit the post several times and it was if it just wouldn’t go in again when in 76 minutes an assist by Greg Tansey found Josh Meekings who slotted ball into the right hand corner from the centre of the box. At this point the boos from the home support would have been heard in Inverness and the stand to our left emptied. A lot of abuse was shouted by the home crowd at their keeper Scully but if it hadn’t been for several fine saves the score would have been 8 or 9 for us at this point. In 83 minutes Richie Foran replaced Storey who left the field to loud cheers. A few seconds later Partick ruined our clean sheet plans with Doolan scoring a consolation goal. Owain Fon Williams protesting loudly he had been fouled but the ref wasn’t listening. If Partick had any hopes of turning this around they were dashed a minute later. A pass from Foran found Jordan Roberts in the centre of the box who unmarked thumped the ball home making it 1-4. At that the score remained. What a second half display, possibly the best of the season. Full time: Partick 1 – ICT 4 Didn’t really see this one coming tbh and begs the question why haven’t we seen this enough this season? Hard to pick a man of the match as everyone played their part well. If had to pick it would be between Tremarco, Mutombo and Draper with my final vote to Mutumbo. Roberts and Storey were both shown yellow cards during the match for not very much. Funny moments worth a mention go to the young lad who decided to do a one man pitch invasion in the second half. Ran on hugged Draper (a selfie wouldn’t have been out of order at this point ha ha) and then hobbled off having probably injured himself jumping over the stand wall. Chant of the day goes to “You’re just a s**t Paul Pogba” to his hapless brother Mathais who had slammed the ball into the stand in frustration. I’m sure the noisy support and drumming is much appreciated by our players tho. All in all a good day out for Caleyaway. If you can’t make Hamilton see you all next season. Cheers Video from SPFL website here https://www.youtube.com/user/splofficial Date: 30/04/16 Venue: Firhill Stadium, Glasgow Attendance: 2609 Referee: Euan Anderson Partick Th: 1 Lineup: Scully, Dumbuya, Seaborne, Lindsay, Booth (Elliott 63), Welsh, Osman, Edwards (Pogba 52), Amoo (Wilson 68), Lawless, Doolan Subs (not used): Gallacher, Miller, Frans, Nesbitt Scorers: Doolan (83) Booked: Edwards (32), Pogba (75) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 4 Lineup: Fon Williams, Tremarco, Warren, Meekings, Draper, Devine, Tansey, Roberts (Hughes 90), Polworth, Mbuyi-Mutombo (D.Williams 84), Storey (Foran 82) Subs (not used): Esson, Wedderburn, Horner, Raven Scorers: Tremarco (14), Storey (46), Meekings (76), Roberts (85) Booked: Roberts (22), Storey (31) Sent Off: none
  10. Cards on the table ahead of Partick game   We are off to a ground where we have historically struggled to get the better of the home side. It's Firhill for thrills as we visit Partick Thistle in the battle to finish the best of the rest. Inverness have laid there cards on the table in terms of a bit of transparency regarding how we have been and will conduct our business over the coming months. They have issued a long statement giving reasons for the way the club used the monies during the season to reinforce the squad with injuries being a major factor in our larger than normal budget. There's little point in me telling you what was in the Board update for the fans, so here it is in it's entirety if you have not already read it. http://ictfc.com/news/team-news/1745-board-update-for-fans Published: Thursday, 28 April 2016 17:55 Caley Thistle are to finalise pre-contract agreements with at least two incoming players in the next couple of weeks. In addition, new contract offers were extended to goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams, Danny Devine and Liam Polworth. We know that Danny’s decision is imminent and, following positive discussions with Liam and his agent today, we can confirm that we have agreed terms with Liam regarding a 3 year deal meaning he will be at the club until the summer of 2019. Seven other players are already contracted for the new season. The management team has identified the players within the existing squad they want to retain next season and approaches will be made in the coming week, after which contract offers will be agreed. Other members of the squad will be playing in our remaining games for the opportunity to stay at Inverness, so it is important they do all they can to catch the eye. Squad stability has played a massive part in our recent success and we need to build on that and retain existing key players wherever possible. In saying that…the forthcoming departure to Dundee of Danny Williams and James Vincent is freeing up squad spots for new recruits. At the instigation of the management team Danny was offered a new deal in mid December, but this was not taken up. We wish them both well, they have made a big contribution since joining the club in the summer of 2013 and we have great respect for both. Steps have been taken to improve club recruitment after the unavoidable loss of Graeme Shinnie, Marley Watkins and Edward Ofere. Success puts our players on the radar of others and we must replace them within the budgetary constraints of the club. This happens in football and we are no different to many other clubs in that respect. We know the next diamonds are out there - we just need to seek them out, take them in and polish them up as we have done in the past. After winning the Scottish Cup and qualifying for Europe, this season has seen the club’s largest-ever playing budget. The cost of a 25 strong first team pool was far in excess of anything we have experienced at the club, but it was deemed necessary under the circumstances. Eleven of the first team squad were out injured simultaneously earlier in the season and key players Gary Warren, Josh Meekings, Richie Foran and Dave Raven have only recently returned to full fitness. Dean Brill is back training and getting valuable game time with the under 20’s and Aaron Doran is making excellent progress having been unavailable since our European games. Alex Fisher has returned to the club after spending some rehab time at St Georges, down south, and is also progressing well and we are entertaining high hopes that he may return before the end of the season. Consistency of player availability has long been a feature of our success in recent years, but unluckily we were blighted by numerous injuries to key players this time round. Unfortunately, as we all know and appreciate, players will sustain injuries and there’s little point in feeling sorry for ourselves over this. It is the responsibility of the management team to replace them and the Board have provided the finances required this season to enable this. Miles Storey has proved to be a good loan signing. We paid a healthy fee to Swindon Town in January to extend his loan to the end of the season, which was a further financial investment. We would like to keep Miles, and we know he is keen to stay. However, given his age his parent club will have first call on him so this is out of our hands at the moment. The management team were provided with their initial budget for next season some time ago and following last weekend’s excellent result against Kilmarnock we can now be fully focused on our plans for the next campaign and ensure that the signings of both current and new players are made as soon as possible. It was a disappointment to us all to miss out on the Premiership’s Top Six. This provides attendant challenges but on a more positive note, next seasons budget will remain similar to this seasons initial outlay. We will, as ever, be pushing hard to finish as high as possible and endeavour to bring some cheer to our fans. We thank you for your continued support which we value greatly and look forward to next season. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ So, there is some great news in there with contract negotiations and Liam Polworth is onboard until 2019 and Owain Fon Williams signed up and Danny Devine about to put pen to paper. I presume we will just have to wait and see if David Raven will be retained. Anyway on to todays match and the usual daunting task of trying to take something from Firhill. It's season 2009/2010 since we last won a league game at Firhill, although we did knock them out of the Scottish Cup on our way to lifting the trophy last May. That's zero wins in our last four League visits. Incidentally, that win in 2010 was a Championship game where we could call on quality players like Adam Rooney and Jonny Hayes. I wonder what happened to them. It was Adam Rooney that scored the only goal of the game back then. Nostalgia beckons:- Esson, Tokely, Munro, Proctor, Golabek, Hayes, Cox, Duncan, Foran, Odhiambo, Rooney and on the bench, Allison, Sanchez, Ross, Eagle and Nauris Bulvitis. Aye, those were the days. This season we have had two no scoring draws at Inverness and a 2-1 defeat at Firhill. We managed to throw away an early lead when Miles Storey scored in six minutes. Kris Doolan levelled before the break and we lost a familiar late goal when a Ryan Stevenson free kick found it's way into the net in the 90th minute. Meh! We hold a two point advantage over Partick with Dundee one point ahead of us, so it's possible to reach seventh spot today with a win at Partick as it's the Dundee derby tomorrow where United could find themselves officially relegated. Partick keeper Tomas Cerny is still out and Ryan Scully will continue in goal. Callum Booth and Dan Seaborne are back after suspension, but Gary Fraser and Stuart Bannigan are injured and will not feature. Inverness will be along similar lines to last week although Andrea Mutombo could get a start with Iain Vigurs suspended. Dean Brill has had some game time with the development squad and Alex Fisher might play some part before the season ends. If not, he should take up golf. Check him out here, his rehab looking good. https://twitter.com/AlexFisher37?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw tm4tj prediction:- With relegation all but erased for both sides, this could be a more open game and that might free up space for the pacey Miles Storey to capitalise on. Jordan Roberts has been a notable absentee lately along with David Raven and it would be pleasing to see either of these players feature. We have found Partick a particularly tough nut to crack in recent years but with the threat of relegation disappearing, I'm taking Inverness to come home with something. It might just be one point though, but all three are up for grabs and it would be nice to break our Firhill hoodoo. It will be interesting to see how Abdul Osman and Steven Lawless compete as they were alleged targets for Yogi next season along with Stuart Bannigan. I don't think we are losing this one, point at worst, all three on a good day.
  11. Bogey Time Inverness once more struggled against our bogey side Partick Thistle and went down 2-1 thanks to a last gasp sucker punch. Miles Storey had opened the scoring after only six minutes but Partick's Kris Doolan restored parity just before the break. Ryan Stevenson's cross/shot eluded everyone and ended up in the net in the 90th minute to snatch all three points. Gary Warren, Ross Draper, Andrea Mutombo, Nat Wedderburn, Tobi Sho-Silva and David Raven all started on the bench as Yogi went with the guys who did so well at Motherwell. To be honest, our bench looked stronger than our starting X1. 2864 hardy souls braved the cold to witness yet another Inverness side struggle at Firhill. They seem to hold the Indian sign over us and that was evident as the game unfolded. Today's report comes from two of our regular supporters at the away venues and first up with his views is alternative Maryhill. We did close down well early on and moved the ball about well, but over the piece, there were a few players who simply didn't contribute enough. Vincent again looked a bit lightweight and didn't seem to know where he should be playing. Vigurs showed flashes of his ability with a couple of backheels and incisive passes, but for the most part he strolled about the place, as if he wasn't particularly interested in looking for the ball or getting forward. This was in contrast to Polworth, who worked his socks off looking for the ball in the way that Christie has found himself having to do this season, or Horner, who looked direct and confident going forward. As a relatively senior player with obvious ability and a lot of experience at this level, Vigurs surely has to take more responsibility and look to dictate play more. The substitutions were a bit odd too. Williams for Mutombo was an absolute head-scratcher: Williams was one of our harer working and more direct players; Mutombo, on the other hand, again looked like a poor signing. He looks utterly unwilling to mix it - despite his height, he was outjumped for every ball he 'contested', and, as I've noticed before, when an opposing player in his proximity has the ball, he has a tendency to skip on the spot before beginning his run to challenge, as if buying the opponent time to get away from him. Maybe this is simply his running style, but it is highly inefficient and someone should be working on it with him. He did make one good run into the box late on, but didn't seem aware of the opportunity for a cut-back, and again, I just don't think his awareness of team mates is good enough to make him an effective player for us. This is maybe the fifth time I've seen him play, and the same concerns are apparent every time. Storey for Sho-Silva was also a strange one, giving how little Vincent was contributing - surely Sho-Silva could have played as a link-man in behind Storey? - but he did look a more promising prospect when he came on, although he had precious few opportunities. He made one excellent challenge for a high ball, and looked quick and direct when trying to break forward; unfortunately, we didn't seem able to find him with anything. Draper for Polworth was more understandable, give how hard Polworth had worked. When Draper is fully fit, though. I'd like to see if both could be accommodated within the team - Polworth deserves to keep his place. Finally, the concession of yet another late goal surely points to the fact that at the moment, something about the tactics and system isn't working. It seems clear that too often, we cede control of the game as soon as we go ahead, rather than trying to increase our advantage. Opposing managers are probably quite relaxed about going behind to us, because they know they'll have the opportunity to start dominating the midfield and pushing us back and forcing us into mistakes. The fact that Fon Williams was one of our best players (despite possibly misjudging the flight of the winner - I'd need to see it again) says a great deal. I think everyone in the away section would have taken a draw - this was ICT at Firhill, after all - but there was a depressing familiarity, almost a feeling of inevitability, to that late goal. Our inability to compete over 90 mins in many games bodes ill for Celtic next week. RIG thought much the same as above, and here are his thoughts. We can have no complaints with that result. The only surprise was that Partick didn't take advantage of their numerous chances and win by more. They could easily have won that 4 or 5 - 1 were it not for a string of excellent saves from Fon Williams. The save in the first half from a header from Doolan I think was the pick of the bunch for me. Good start for ICT as alternative maryhill mentions. Some nice intricate passing led to the first goal well finished by Storey (seriously get this kid signed up now) and he had another smashing chance to make two but he seemed to just miss a ball that was crossed in from the right. For the rest of game all the chances fell to Partick and whilst we enjoyed a comparable share of possession we created so little with it we never deserved to add to our lead. The best chance in the second half for ICT came when Mutumbo broke into the box but shot at a tight angle instead of cutting back to Vincent who would have been well placed to score. Poor defending from us for the Partick equaliser. We seemed to think the initial danger was over but the ball was quickly worked back into the box and it seemed we were caught out somewhat and Doolan finished well into the corner of the net. Second half was more of the same i.e. Partick creating the best chances and Fon Williams largely equal to them. Muirhead and one other Partick player both had efforts saved before the fluke winner from Stevenson. I think that Fon Williams should have done better with the cross but despite it not being meant the three points were no more than Partick deserved. Peculiar that, after largely dominating the opening period, we yet again seemed to sit back and never again regained that same level of dominance in the game. We saw a fair chunk of the ball but we lacked any real creative spark to generate anything of note especially in the second half. The odd nice flick from Vigurs and Mutumbo can't compensate for a complete dearth of attacking chances to get us back into the game and that is very concerning. Contemplating the rest of the season without the flair and creative spark of Christie is troubling. Good away crowd from us however and the steak pie was decent (firm crust, generous filling and no soggy bottom) so there were some positives. Cheers lads, better luck next time. Date: 21/11/15 Venue: Firhill Stadium, Glasgow Attendance: 2864Referee: Don Robertson Partick Thistle: 2 Lineup: Scully, Seaborne, Welsh, Booth, Osman, Amoo (Muirhead 59), Doolan (Pogba 75), Lawless, Dumbuya, Lindsay, Fraser (Stevenson 81) Subs (not used): Gallacher, Miller, Frans, Edwards Scorers: Doolan (42), Stevenson (90) Booked: Lindsay (79) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams, Tremarco, Vincent, Meekings, Devine, Tansey, Horner, Williams (Mbuyi-Mutombo 65), Polworth (Draper 75), Vigurs, Storey (Sho Silva 69) Subs (not used): Esson, Warren, Raven, Wedderburn Scorers: Storey (6) Booked: Vigurs (88) Sent Off: none
  12. Partick Test Inverness resume their challenge for points in the Premiership after the break with an away game against Partick Thistle, a ground where we never seem to get the better of the home side often enough, and this will be a stern test for Yogi's walking wounded. The gap week has been beneficial for us this time as it has allowed another two or three players to get back on the park and test their fitness, notably Ross Draper, Andrea Mutombo and Tobi Sho-Silva, so that's a bonus. However, there is always a sting in the tail at Inverness and Dani Lopez will not be available after the club suspended him following an alleged gobbing incident in the development league match against St Johnstone when he earned himself a red card during the spat, no pun intended, but it fits the crime; (allegedly). Our last venture to the central belt stronghold produced a welcome return to winning ways with a 3-1 win at Motherwell. Iain Vigurs scoring a peach of a volley the pick of the goals. A retaken Greg Tansey penalty and a Miles Storey deflection were the other scorers and the home sides consolation was also a bit scrappy as a Moult knockdown deflected in off Horner on the goal line. Partick also got a welcome point after being pegged back by a late Kane Hemming goal at Dens Park; sounds familiar. Defender Liam Lindsay had opened the scoring earlier for second bottom Thistle who are being kept off the basement by much troubled Dundee United. The sick list at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium is shortening slightly after the last break. Gary Warren, Ross Draper and Andrea Mutombo all featured in the development game in midweek and Tobi Sho-Silva and Richie Foran have returned to training. David Raven is available after suspension but the aforementioned Dani Lopez has been suspended by the club pending an investigation into what went on. A huge miss will be Ryan Christie who might have played his last game for Inverness and is now longer term injured, along with Aaron Doran, Jordan Roberts and Dean Brill. Partick are in better shape with Robbie Muirhead and Gary Miller back from injury and keeper Ryan Scully returning after suspension. Stuart Brannigan is suspended and Christie Elliot and Tomas Cerny are out injured. tm4tj Prediction:- I predicted a hammering for us last time out at Motherwell and that went badly wrong..............or right. A tremendous away win against the odds brought us out of our mini slump. Partick have been a thorn in our side in recent years and we will do well to take points back up the A9 without the precocious talents of Ryan Christie. We will have to get used to life without him sooner or later and with players returning that eases the burden on others, but the headache is all Yogi's as he decides who to keep in and who needs a rest. I will settle for a point.