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  1. Cup of Cheer In a pulsating Cup derby Aaron Doran put the visitors ahead with a fantastic goal after thirteen minutes, firing home from range. It remained that way at the interval but substitute Ross Stewart pulled the tie level soon after coming on. Brad McKay lashed Inverness ahead but Josh Mullin squared it in time added on to send this tie to a replay on Tuesday 19th February. The draw took place after this game and here are the fixtures. Aberdeen v Rangers/Kilmarnock Dundee United v Inverness /Ross County Partick Thistle v Hearts Hibs v Celtic ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness boss John Robertson sprang a handful of surprises by giving starts to recent injury victims Mark Ridgers, Tom Walsh, Coll Donaldson, Carl Tremarco and Aaron Doran. Jordan White would spearhead the attack. Shaun Rooney made the bench along with Nathan Austin, and Darren McCauley. County's former Inverness players Billy Mckay and Ross Draper started for County along with Kenny Van Der Weg. The effervescent Michael Gardyne would be the provider with Brian Graham the target man. Josh Mullin and Declan McManus were on the bench. A cagey opening few minutes as both sides jockeyed for position was ended when Billy Mckay dipped an angled volley over the bar after five minutes. Inverness responded by winning a corner but the ball to the back post produced nothing and Michael Gardyne looked to be the danger man for the hosts as he forced a corner at the other end after a good run forward. Jamie Lindsay drilled a deep cross wide of the target from the corner. A bit of a midfield battle ensued as the sides struggled to get to grips with the game and Liam Polworth won a free kick as Van Der Weg handled on the edge of the box. Joe Chalmers forced Fox into an excellent save as he curled low to the near post, however the visitors kept the ball around the County box, and when Aaron Doran latched onto a headed pass forward from Tremarco some 25 yards out. He turned and whipped a vicious half volley low behind the outstretched Fox for a superb opening goal. Gardyne broke into the box after 25 minutes but his shot was blocked at the expense of a corner. Gardyne took it himself but Mark Ridgers came out to gather the cross confidently. Gardyne was at it again and his floated cross caused problems but was turned behind for a corner which Ridgers gathered again. It was Gardyne against Ridgers now and Mark turned a stabbed effort behind for a corner, diving low to his right. Inverness broke forward and Tom Walsh almost emulated Doran's strike but Fox made a brilliant diving save to deny Walsh a second Inverness goal. County were racking up the corners after a Brian Graham shot was deflected wide but again it came to nothing better than a free kick for the visitors. A ball forward saw Fox have to block from Tom Walsh as the Inverness wide player sped into the box and flicked the ball goalwards. A few moments later Walsh saw an effort deflected for a corner as the Caley Jags pressed for a second goal before the break. Yet another great break forward by Doran who fed Brad McKay but the wing back saw his cross cut out for a corner. As Inverness gathered momentum once more, the first half drew to a close with the visitors on top. Half Time 0-1 There were no changes at the interval and County would be playing towards the Jailend after the break, and that usually inspires them to greater things. Scott Fox had to make an unorthodox stop to deny a piledriver from Carl Tremarco, the keeper eventually keeping the ball out with his knees as the ball fizzed goalwards. Great effort from Tommy. Ross Stewart replaced the ineffective Brian Graham and within a couple of minutes he drew County level after some untidy midfield play saw Gardyne drive the ball into the box where Stewart volleyed home. Doran spurned a glorious chance to put Inverness back in front but he mistimed his header and sent it wide when he should have hit the target. It was end to end stuff now in typical derby cup-tie fashion. Liam Polworth flashed a powerful shot towards the County goal that was head deflected for a corner. From the resultant corner Brad McKay found the ball at his feet a few yards out and he smashed it high into the net. Walsh broke down the left but his shot was a bit ambitious and it went well wide. County won a free kick just outside the box after Chalmers upended the dangerous Gardyne, but after the shot was blocked County were penalised and the danger was over. Carl Tremarco was having a magnificent game at the back and was putting his body on the line time and time again as County threw balls into the box, but the wee man stood firm. Substitution for Inverness as Doran was replaced by former Coleraine player Darren McCauley as Ridgers mopped up another ball into the box. Almost a chance to get a third as a ball is flicked into the six yard box but it runs through to Fox. And as the rain started to fall a mistake at the back by County let Walsh speed forward. He lashed a shot to the top corner but Fox pulled off another great save to deny the Inverness man. Shaun Rooney had replaced the injured Coll Donaldson by now and we re-jigged at the back with Brad moving inside. A loose ball some 30 yards out found Chalmers but it was wasted and McManus wasted an effort at the other end. They would not be denied though as our defence parted and Substitute Josh Mullin squeezed the ball through the exposed Ridgers in time added on. A dangerous free kick by County was wasted as they looked to get ahead in added time with Inverness now hanging on a tad, but the late comeback by County was just enough to earn the Dingwall side a replay as time ran out. Inverness were best served by Aaron Doran, Tom Walsh, Coll Donaldson and Jamie McCart, but none better than Carl Tremarco. The biased Bill Dodds gave the TV MotM to Michael Gardyne who was undoubtedly County's most influential player. Another frustrating night for Inverness who have held the upper hand in all four derby's this season with little to show for it. On BBC Sport:- Inverness CT manager John Robertson: "It's just about being street-smart. They stopped. "You just keep defending but they've let Josh Mullin through and he's scored. That sums up our season. We've been in the lead and given away a goal at the end. We now have a replay to play so we'll just get on with it. "We felt we were getting close to that third goal which would have finished the game off. We didn't see where their goal was going to come from. That's the difference. That's why we're fourth in the league and County are top." Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson: "We always felt there would be one more chance in the game. Josh is well onside and does great to finish it. "The players never know when they're beaten. Sometimes it's not pretty and you have to put your shoulder to the wheel and the players deserve all the credit for that. "I don't think either us would have wanted a replay. We're delighted we're still in the hat." Robbo after the event.............. Date: 11/02/2019 Venue: Global Energy Stadium, Dingwall Attendance: 2800 Referee: John Beaton Ross County: 2 Lineup: Fox; Fraser, Boyle, Watson, Draper, Lindsay (McManus 86), Van Der Weg, Gardyne, Spence (Mullin 67), Graham (Stewart 55), Mckay. Subs (not used): Munro; Grivosti, Murray, Wallace, Scorers: Stewart (55), Mullin (90+1) Booked: Watson (68) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay, Donaldson (Rooney 80), McCart, Tremarco, Chalmers, Walsh (Trafford 85), Polworth, Welsh, Doran (McCauley 77), White Subs (not used): C Mackay; McHattie, Austin, MacGregor, . Scorers: Doran (13), B Mckay (65) Booked: Welsh (25), Chalmers (77) Sent Off: none a
  2. CUP DERBY AGAIN How about that, another chance to relive the 2012 Highland derby cup game at Dingwall where many a pundit had the game all over after 93 minutes when Richard Brittain put the Staggies ahead. Butcher's boys had other ideas and Richie Foran had the last laugh when he knocked in the equaliser two minutes later. Inverness would go on to win the replay at the Caledonian Stadium. That game saw Billy Mckay score a superb volley to open the scoring for Inverness. Rocco Quinn levelled with a dipping 20 yard strike. Inverness went back in front when Mckay's shot deflected off Foran's bottom. He made an arse of a few things did Richie, but he had the cheek to get that one right. Bad boy Iain Vigurs restored parity when his effort took a massive deflection to go up and over the keeper and into the net. Foran's equaliser did not best please Derek Adams, the Inverness support were delighted though. Of course it's just past the 19th anniversary of the Parkhead SuperCaleywentballistic evening when we put Celtic out of the Scottish Cup on their own patch. We would go on to put them out of the cup twice more since then and go on to win the trophy, something County have yet to achieve. County are looking like title favourites in the Championship and have taken five points out of nine in the derby's this season with Inverness managing only two despite dominating for large parts in all three games. Inverness look like they might hang on to the final play-off position in fourth place. That seems to be our best option given our smaller squad. However, this is cup football and anything can happen as Ellie Goulding would say. Home advantage won't count for much as the Inverness travelling support at Dingwall is always very vocal and committed to the cause. Injuries have disrupted our climb up the league of late and our display against Partick Thistle last weekend was nothing short of criminal. An error strewn first half gifted Partick a two goal cushion that we never quite managed to overhaul. Other results below us meant we remained in fourth place. County sit top of the table by three points after a 2-1 win at East End Park, goals by Billy Mckay and Michael Gardyne overcoming a half-time deficit. John Robertson will be hoping that his injury list is shrinking. Mark Ridgers could return to action and Coll Donaldson will be looking to start this week after playing 45 minutes against Partick. Tom Walsh could be a surprise inclusion to the squad. Darren McCauley got off the mark against Partick but is maybe not up to full speed yet. Aaron Doran missed out last week as did Daniel Mackay. I suspect Iain Vigurs won't feature after his misdemeanour at an Inverness nightclub, allegedly. One of his bosses will be joining him in the stands as Stuart Kettlewell has a six game ban for his disgraceful behaviour at Greenock. What on earth are they teaching them in Dingwall? County have a riches of depth to their squad and any missing players will be easily replaced. Here's Mark the goalie talking ahead of the cup clash...... We are ahead already. Crossbar Challenge, we'll take it. Robbo's no speaking to the fans, so here's Scott Kellacher.........
  3. Domination continues The Caley Jags' domination in this seasons Highland Derby continues, but it's Ross County that take all three points in a game that had everything except the right result. County snatched all the bragging rights with six minutes to go through a Ross Stewart header. Former Inverness striker Billy Mckay was on hand to open the scoring after twenty minutes to tap in after a Ross Draper shot was palmed away by Mark Ridgers but Jordan White levelled from a corner as he smashed in from close range just on the half hour. Inverness were more creative than County but their MotM Scott Fox was in fine form to deny the over eager visitors. Brian Graham and Shaun Rooney were sent packing at the end after an altercation leaving Dallas no option but to send them off as tempers flared around the park John Robertson also found himself sent to the stand in the second half as the tension mounted. Best quote on CTO Forums came from jed5697 "They had a Fox in their box and we didn't have a fox in their box." Inverness were without George Oakley who had picked up a foot injury but Carl Tremarco and Daniel Mackay made the bench. That meant that Jordan White led the line looking for his 100th competitive goal with Jamie McCart still deputising at left back. County were without the injured Iain Vigurs but Michael Gardyne made the starting XI. Callum Morris also returned to the line-up. An excellent crowd of over six thousand were on hand to witness another pulsating derby where no prisoners would be taken, but they all saw the robbery at the end. Full Report to follow......... Judge for yourself.......... On BBC Sport:- Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson: "There was a bit of everything in that. Again, we didn't feel we played well and sometimes you have to credit the opposition for that. "You have to credit our team and their togetherness. We scored a lot of goals late on in games and that's credit to the players' attitude." John Robertson: "I'm still numb. That's one of the most one-sided derbies I've ever been involved in. From the moment they got their goal we dominated the game. "We destroyed them in terms of passing the ball and moving the ball. I would be gutted to come away with a point but to come away with nothing is just incredible. It's a big lesson learned." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Date: 29/12/2018 Venue: Global Energy Stadium Attendance: 6313 Referee: Andrew Dallas Ross County: 2 Lineup: Fox; Fraser, Morris, Watson, Demetriou (Grivosti 20), Gardyne (McManus 68), Draper, Lindsay, Cowie (Graham 78), Stewart, Mckay Subs (not used): Munro; Keillor-Dunn, Wallace, Kelly. Scorers: Mckay (16), Stewart (84) Booked: Lindsay (21) Morris (25), Mckay (61), Draper (90+2) Sent Off: Graham (90) Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, B Mckay, Donaldson, McCart, Walsh, Polworth, Chalmers, Welsh (Austin 87), Doran (D Mackay 88), White Subs (not used): Hoban; Tremarco, Trafford, MacGregor, Nicolson. Scorers: White (31) Booked: Donaldson (21), McCart (81), B Mckay (83) Sent Off: Rooney (90+1) a
  4. Derby Day No3 It's the Highland Derby up next where Inverness take on table topping Ross County at Dingwall on Saturday. Ross County climbed to the top of the table last week after beating PartickThistle 2-0 at the Global Energy Stadium. A penalty from Billy Mckay and a late Ross Stewart strike were enough to see off the struggling Glasgow side. Inverness went back into the top four after a narrow 1-2 win at Cappielow, only our fifth League win of the season. An early Tom Walsh goal and a second from Aaron Doran with a header should have opened the floodgates against ten man Morton. However, in typical Caley Jags style we were left hanging on a bit towards the end in a game we dominated earlier and had missed a penalty when Sean Welsh beat the keeper but smacked the post in the first half. So, all to play for in the Highland Derby. There has been two already this season and despite Inverness dominating most of the 180 minutes, both games ended in draws. The first one at Dingwall saw Inverness hold the upper hand for seventy minutes but County finished the game stronger although it ended goalless. The return at the Caledonian Stadium was a pulsating game where a rifled Jamie Lindsay shot opened the scoring. George Oakley drew Inverness level a couple of minutes later with a spectacular volley and Shaun Rooney stroked the Caley Jags back in front. However, fortune favours the brave and Billy Mckay chased a ball down the left before cutting across the bye-line. Unfortunately Brad Mckay thought he could clear it but only succeeded in knocking it behind Mark Ridgers. That all happened in the first half and there was no further scoring after the interval, although Liam Polworth should have done better than hit the post after being teed up by Aaron Doran. The game ended 2-2 and it was a great advert for football in the North. Inverness will be pretty much as they have been for the last few weeks with Jamie McCart successfully covering for the absent Carl Tremarco, although Carl will be included in the squad but is not match fit yet. It's a toss up between George Oakley and Jordan White as to who will lead the line, form seems to be favouring Oakley at the moment Liam Polworth has blossomed in these derby's and was instrumental in the win at Greenock last week. Mark Ridgers has been in tremendous form as well and could be a busy man on Saturday. County have Billy Mckay scoring again, even from the penalty spot, and he is always a handful around the box. Should he be fit, the enigma that is Iain Vigurs could hold the key to which side dominates the midfield. It all depends which one turns up, the silky skillful footballer, or the cynical hatchet man with the petulant attitude. We saw both sides of Vigurs when he played for Inverness. He has a foot injury and may not be available. The other one to cause concern is Michael Gardyne who is also recovering from injury and can cause havoc when running at a defence. Like Tremarco, he might not be fully fit either. It would be a brave man to call this one. County would have to be seen as favourites given the home ground and the wealth of talent at their disposal. Inverness by comparison are being run on a shoe string with barely enough players to fill the bench. However, a draw might be the most likely outcome after witnessing the first two games where Inverness held their own and more. Ross County v ICTFC Saturday 29th December 3PM Kick-off Adults- £20, Concession £10 and Under 18s £5 Our initial allocation for Saturday's Highland Derby against Ross County has now SOLD OUT. Away Tickets will be available on Saturday from 9am at The Global Energy Stadium on a first come first serve basis. If you like a wee flutter, our new partnership with FansBet can offer you something. Just click on FansBet to get started. "Remember to select CaleyThistleOnline when you register and you’ll be helping us support ICT fan causes." FansBet are partners with Supporters Direct Scotland and already have many impressive stories of giving back to and empowering fans, ranging from funding away travel, share purchases, backing safe standing projects and many more. You can read some of FansBet’s Giving Back stories on their blog at https://blog.fansbet.com/fansbet-giving-back/partners/fan/  Always remember to adopt safe gambling and responsible policies.
  5. County hold rampant Caley Jags Ross County held Inverness to a scoreless draw at the Global Energy Stadium in front of a bumper crowd of nearly six and a half thousand. Inverness almost blew County away in a totally dominant first half. As the game wore on, County came back into the picture and Mark Ridgers kept the score sheet blank with a superb double save to deny McManus and Billy Mckay. Shaun Rooney and Liam Polworth were fit enough to start but George Oakley missed out through injury. No sign of Nathan Austin anywhere, apparently suffering from slight concussion picked up in training. Iain Vigurs was on the bench for County and would be introduced later in the game to try and disable Polworth with a series of cynical tackles on the controlling Inverness midfielder. Billy Mckay, Ross Draper and Don Cowie all started. Ginger Jaggy has penned this report for us.................. The game may have ended in a draw but there is only one team that will go away satisfied by the first Highland Derby of the Championship Season. Before the game the talk of some fans was about going to Dingwall to make a statement on enemy turf. Although the result didn’t reflect it, there definitely was a statement made. There was only one team playing football and it wasn’t the team in Dark Blue as Caley Thistle from kick off dominated the ball and played some excellent easy on the eye football. Liam Polworth was the standout player pulling all the strings and it was he who had the first chance early on but dragged his shot wide when in a good position. For all County’s money that has allowed them to build the strongest squad on paper, they lacked any cohesion as a team with the CaleyJags looking more fluent and fluid in possession. Goes to show you that football is not all about what’s on paper! Mark Ridgers was unemployed in the first half but his counterpart at the other end was pulling off numerous saves to keep his side in it. Scott Fox won man of the match and it was little wonder with some outstanding saves as he became last man standing in the way of the Caley Thistle juggernaut. He first kept out Aaron Doran with a fantastic one-handed tip over before pulling off another brilliant block from the same player and recovering as fast as lightening to block Jordan White’s rebound – to the astonishment of White who thought he had an easy tap in. White had a couple more half chances, but the score remained goalless at half time with only a harmless Michael Gardyne curler wide of goal the only chance of note for the home side. Half Time 0-0 The second half continued in the same fashion as Polworth went close with a dipping overhit cross that had Fox scrambling but landing just on the roof of the net. For the first hour it had all been the Caley Jags with County looking edgy and uncoordinated at the back as a long-range Chalmers shot had all the sting taken out of it and was rolling harmlessly to Fox before a panicked County defender booted it out for a throw in. Sean Welsh should have done better in the closing stages when a deflected Polworth shot landed perfectly into his path but instead of showing composure he lent back and hammered it high into the travelling supporters. County had made all their subs early in the half, while Inverness had failed to make one as the lack of fresh legs started to take their toll in the final 10 minutes. Gardyne was their main man with the late chances as he continued to shoot with most going miles too high that disappeared over the jail end although one did only just skim over the bar – a warning shot. Their best chance fell late on when Declan McManus got the break of the ball on the edge of the box and fired powerfully at goal, which Ridgers did well to stop before recovering to smother the resultant rebound and collect under pressure from Mckay. Full Time 0-0 County’s late rally only really happened as Inverness tired but a point apiece was just about right with chances for both teams but for an hour at least Caley Thistle were on top and playing some lovely stuff. The unbeaten run continues for another week and although it wasn’t a win, a statement has been well and truly made that Inverness will compete and are likely to be right up there come the business end of the season. That result saw Inverness toppled from the head of the table, Ayr United are the new leaders. Here's something you don't often see in the same sentence. Willie Collum and the word praise, but Old Caley Girl managed it. Congratulations! "Word of praise for Willie Collum who let the game flow and was restrained with the cards Different class to Aitken last week." And Polly was also singled out by OCG and he was our MotM. "How good was Polly running things in the middle. His best position and yesterday proved it. Happy with a point and we remain unbeaten." Here's the footage from Caley Jags TV with the Robbo interview following........ Official Report can be found here Date: 22/09/2018 Venue: Global Energy Stadium, Dingwall. Attendance: 6402 Referee: Willie Collum Ross County: 0 Lineup: Fox; Watson, Morris, Fontaine, Kelly, Cowie (Mullin 65), Lindsay, Draper (Vigurs 65), Gardyne, Mckay, Graham (McManus 81) Subs (not used): Munro; Demetriou, Stewart, Keillor-Dunn Scorers: none Booked: Kelly (72) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, B Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Chalmers, Polworth, Welsh, White, Doran, Walsh (Mackay 88) Subs (not used): Hoban; McCart, Calder, Trafford, McGregor, Brown. Scorers: none Booked: Donaldson (89) Sent Off: none a
  6. Derby Day is here! The first Derby of the season kicks off at 3:00pm in Dingwall on Saturday. Tickets for Inverness fans can be bought on the day from the matchday ticket offices at the ground. Ginger Jaggy has written this weeks preview ahead of the derby and here is what he has to say.... It is always a fixture that fans look too on fixture release day with the first of four instalments taking place in Dingwall on Saturday. And if a derby is not enough spice then throw into the equation it being a top of the table clash against a County side boasting several ex-Caleyjag players to get the juices flowing. For myself the excitement can’t get any greater having not attended a game since the ill-fated final season in the top flight and I have not been back to Dingwall since the old away terracing was done away with. County started the season as favourites, who would bet against a side that still boasts Premiership quality and one of the biggest budgets. But they haven’t set the league alight and currently sit behind us by a point as we look to make a statement of intent on enemy territory. If John Robertson can get the Caley Jags promoted it will go down as probably the biggest achievement in his managerial career. He has had an ever-shrinking budget and is almost rebuilding the club on his own by creating a new squad good enough to get back into the top flight. And so far, the omens look good. Since it eventually clicked last season the Caley Jags have now gone an impressive 17 league games unbeaten including the first five of this term. Although home draws against Alloa and Ayr were poor results considering both played at least a full half with 10 men, Inverness have continued to be hard to beat and carry on picking up points. But either side of the international break we have scored three times against Dunfermline and Partick - two expected rivals for promotion - setting us up nicely for the trip to Dingwall. Ross County have reported strong sales for the match so far and with a large away following expected it should be a cracking atmosphere. Here's hoping that the points get brought back across the Kessock Bridge that will give us the early bragging rights but more importantly puts us further clear at the summit. Team News John Robertson will be without George Oakley who was injured late in the game against Partick Thistle. It is understood he will be out for a few weeks. Shaun Rooney is a major concern although he has allegedly been training all week since coming off before half-time in the same fixture. Jamie McCart will be an option should Rooney fail to make the squad with Brad Mckay moving to right back. Young Daniel Mackay will move up the pecking order with Oakley sidelined. Liam Polworth is another who carried a knock forward after the Partick game but he is likely to be fit. Stuart Kettlewell & Steve Ferguson were given a boost with the news that Marcus Fraser and Keith Watson should be available. County could possibly have four former Caley Jags players in their line-up. Don Cowie, Ross Draper, Iain Vigurs and Billy Mckay. Brian Graham has been in goal scoring form recently and the big striker will present a tough test for Coll Donaldson and his cohorts. Other new names to the County squad are forwards Declan McManus (Dunfermline) and Ross Stewart (St Mirren), midfielders Josh Mullin (Livingston), Harry Paton (Hearts) and defenders Keith Watson (St Johnstone), Stelios Demetriou (St Mirren) and Callum Morris, (Dunfermline). Out went some crowd favourites like captain Andrew Davies, Alex Schalke, Christoper Routis, Jaison Naismith, Thomas Mikkelsen, Craig Curran, Reghan Tumilty, and Tim Chow. Just to whet the appetite............. More detail can be found on the Official Website Preview Who put the O and Y in County! Who put the O and Y in County! Who put the O and Y in County! Dirty ...................
  7. Not a Happy New Year Just when you think things can't get much worse, we fail to win at Dingwall for the first time in six games and extend our winless run to ten games, the worst in our history. It's not looking good for Richie Foran as another defeat anchors us at the bottom of the pile and makes us favourites for the drop at this stage of the season. Liam Boyce scored a double and Martin Woods added a third with Carl Tremarco and sub Alex Fisher scoring for Inverness in an all too familiar tale of too little too late. Inverness benched Liam Polworth and started with Aaron Doran, the only change from the defeats against Motherwell and Rangers. County, as expected had Kenny van der Weg back after suspension and gave Ryan Dow a start ahead of Paul Quinn and Craig Curran. A healthy away support gave Inverness all the backing they needed from the start, but it's a pity the team failed to return the favour. It took County only two minutes to breech the suspect visitors fragile defence. Liam Boyce, who scored a hat-trick in the first meeting knocked home from close range, the ball adjudged to have crossed the line by Bobby Madden. Not the start the away fans were hoping for and we were left chasing the game inside 120 seconds. County were buoyed by this explosive start and Alex Schalk hit the side netting soon after. Inverness could only muster a shot from Larnell Cole that cleared the Jail End on it's way out of the stadium. To their credit, Inverness gradually worked their way into the game and began to control most of the play without any real cutting edge, the final ball eluding them as has been the case all season. Schalk went close with a header as County broke the monopoly, but it was Inverness that deservedly pulled themselves level when Carl Tremarco headed home his sixth goal of the season after Warren had made a nuisance of himself in the County box just before the half hour. No more than we deserved at this stage of the game but County re-asserted themselves soon after, Fon Williams being equal to a Martin Woods effort. They took the lead again on thirty-five minutes and it was that man Boyce once more. Fon Williams did well to turn away another strike from Woods, but as Inverness could not clear the ball, Boyce struck the ball well enough and it ended up in the back of the net, Fon Williams looking sheepish again as the ball missed his hands on the way into the net. Boyce was once more a handful for the visiting defence and could have had another hat-trick inside the first half but he missed the target this time and at the other end Cole went closer than his previous attempt but Fox was alert enough to deny him. Half Time 2-1 Iain Vigurs was spotted on the park early in the second half when a minor dust-up was intervened by the ref who lectured the players for offending. King and Fisher were introduced to try and lift Inverness but it was County that stretched their lead when Woods added a third after Schalk fed him through. Billy King was lurking with intent though and it was from one of his shots that Alex Fisher benefited from to score our second goal. A slick forward move saw King turn and strike from twenty yards, Fox blocked but Fisher reacted first to dink the ball behind the keeper. With ten minutes remaining, Inverness piled forward but an equaliser eluded them, Aaron Doran coming closest with a low drive that Fox pushed away. Full Time 3-2 I'm sure the County fans would have enjoyed their Hogmanay celebrations better than the Inverness contingent. Never would they have been expecting to be gifted goals so easily. Owain Fon Williams was suspect again, deceived once more. The annoying thing was that the second goal came after two superb saves, then the innocuous shot/cross from Boyce went straight through him. Shocker from the artist. I doubt he will be painting that scene any time soon. Once again ( how often have we said that), we were cut open too easy, offered too little in attack, squandered what little opportunities came our way, gifted needless goals, were error strewn across the back and lacked the ability and tactical nous to alter the outcome. There's no doubt that County overall deserved to win this encounter, with a little help from ourselves.We did have better spells, but these were unsustainable due to our own frailties. A lot of tough talking to be done during the winter break. I'm sure we won't all like the result, but if it changes our fortunes, so be it. If not then it's Championship for us and a bleak future, that's the reality of the situation we find ourselves in. Ten games without a win does not make for good reading, it's not all down to misfortune. tm4tj MotM:- Tommy Tremarco continues to give. Another goal, his sixth of the season and willingness to get forward when required makes him my MotM. To be honest it was not a difficult choice as others around him disappointed. Owain Fon Williams may still be struggling with spasms, something must be affecting the way he has performed recently is beyond sloppy. Iain Vigurs was again poor, but he was not alone. Billy King showed signs of improvement when he came on, as did Alex Fisher. Other than that, the rest need to take a long hard look at themselves. The young team tried their best to lift spirits on the field but were let down badly. Some investment is needed if we are to get out of this, but the stats tell us otherwise. Anyway, Happy New Year. Enjoy the break. Highlights from SPFL Website Date: 31/12/16 Venue: Global Energy Stadium, Dingwall Attendance: 5111 Referee: Bobby Madden Ross County: 3 Lineup: Fox, Fraser, Davies, McEveley, van der Weg, Woods (Franks 71), Chow, Routis, Dow (Dingwall 91), Boyce, Schalk (Curran 62) Subs (not used): McCarey, Quinn, McLaughlin, Tumilty Scorers: Boyce (2, 28), Woods (61) Booked: McEveley (76) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Fon Williams, McKay, Warren, Meekings, Tremarco, Draper, Tansey, Cole (King 56), Vigurs (Boden 73), Doran, Doumbouya (Fisher 56) Subs (not used): Esson, Polworth, Mulraney, Sutherland Scorers: Tremarco (28), Fisher (81) Booked: Warren (46), McKay (92) Sent Off: none a
  8. Derby Day to end the Year If ever Inverness needed an away derby win it's tomorrow. Sitting bottom of the pile as we approach 2017, you could say it's not been the best season so far for the Caley Jags, or Richie Foran the rookie manager given the job of keeping this club in the position it has earned over the years. The Highland derby takes on a rather sinister desperation tag with neither club able to establish a clear gap to safety, although defeat in Dingwall will be more damaging for Inverness than it would be for County at this stage of the campaign. County have been flirting with the top-six for a few weeks now, but only one win in their last six and defeats in their last two have seen them move down a couple of notches to eighth, albeit only four points above bottom placed Inverness who are without a win in nine games now. We are in a poor run of results recently, three points from a possible twenty-seven is relegation form and the bookies are starting to lean towards us as Championship contenders. In saying that, some of our performances have merited more. We played Rangers off the park at Ibrox a couple of weeks ago and lost 1-0, mainly due to our inability to capitalise on the opportunities created. We were a touch unfortunate to lose at home against Motherwell. Dominating for long spells, we hit the woodwork twice and had a decent penalty claim turned down whilst Motherwell scored a freak wind assisted goal and a breakaway to steal the points. Unfortunately that has been a consistent theme throughout our season so far which has gained us only three wins from twenty league games. County are in no position to scoff, they have only four wins, but that's enough to keep them above us at the moment. County's last two games ended in defeat at the hands of Hamilton and Celtic. Those defeats came off the back of an excellent 2-1 win over Aberdeen. Our stats are worse, six defeats in eight games and only two draws. However, despite all that, we have scored more goals than County but we have also conceded more, and that makes County's goal difference one worse than our at minus fourteen. County did win the first fixture this season by the odd goal in five at the Caledonain Stadium. Nine yellow cards and five goals, ye cannae whack a local derby. A Liam Boyce hat-trick did the damage with Inverness doing the usual too little too late routine replying through Scott Boden (who???) and Ross Draper. With the bulk of last season's squad still playing for Inverness, the focus is turning to Richie Foran as the fans begin to question his suitability for the job. It was an appointment met with enthusiasm by most, and trepidation by a few. Brian Rice was kept on as his number two and we all hoped that would help to keep a bit of continuity. However, the stats don't lie and we find ourselves in the midst of our longest winless run for ten years. One clean sheet is not ideal either, and a stat that is doing the rounds is that this is the lowest points total that we have accrued after twenty games in any season in our entire history. These observations and statistics tell me something is wrong and not a lot has been done about it so far, either before, during or after games. The last time we were in this predicament we left it too late to avoid the drop, don't let it happen again, for it won't be so easy to bounce back again. We started against Motherwell with the same narrow selection we used successfully at Ibrox. We normally apply a bit of width at home but kept Doran, Mulraney and King on the bench whilst deploying Polworth in a wider role than he is best suited to, with Vigurs similarly on the left of midfield. I'm no Alex Ferguson, but surely we need to employ wide players if we are using a target man as our main striker. Here's hoping we get our tactics better at Dingwall and get the result we need. Richie Foran is still waiting to hear back from Fulham regarding an extension to Larnell Cole's contract. It would appear that the young loan player would like to remain here for now, but Fulham have not replied yet, so clarification required there. Foran also wants to hear no more talk of luck: "There's no more mention of luck from me. You make your own luck. We're bottom because we deserve to be. You need to be ruthless and clinical, which we haven't been." Ross County look set to be without Chris Burke (virus) and Michael Gardyne, both struggling for fitness and Ian McShane is still out. Kenny van der Weg will be back in contention for a start after suspension. Young midfielder Reghan Tumilty got an airing at Parkhead and did very well using his pace to good effect. Inverness CT have no fresh worries, but long term outs are Kev McNaughton, David Raven and Lewis Horner. Goalkeeping issues are still prevalent but Owain Fon Williams will play through the pain with Esson still struggling with his groin. Alex Fisher came on as a sub against Motherwell and is maybe due a start alongside Lonsana Doumbouya who is finding the lone striker role difficult with nobody around to help him. Greg Tansey has openly stated his desire to leave at the end of the season, but he has also stated that will not affect how he handles himself while playing for ICT. tm4tj prediction:- It does all sound pretty drastic at the moment, but it only takes two or three good results and then we will be able to see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. The downside of that is another couple of defeats will point us in the wrong direction. However, the winter break is looming, as is the transfer window so it could all change quickly. On top of that we have an excellent record at Dingwall in recent years. We have won the last five fixtures at the Global Energy Stadium and I'm backing us to do it again, maybe without a clean sheet, but it's points that matter just now. Happy New Year to you all.
  9. Derby Day   It's over the bridge on Saturday as dethroned Inverness take on League Cup winners Ross County at the Global Energy Stadium. It's a big day for County as they have a parade immediately after the game to show off their recently acquired silverware. Would it be rude of us to actually turn up and have the temerity to win. That would be highly unlikely given our recent demise, but it is a derby and points are now at a premium. We slumped out of the Scottish Cup on Wednesday night against Hibernian, a result as much to do with team selection as the performance on the park. Yogi mysteriously kept his fire power on the bench when we needed to score goals to progress. Baffling decision and that needs to change if we want to harbour any thought about taking points from Dingwall. County of course beat Hibernian to lift the League Cup and followed that up by drawing at St Johnstone in midweek, coming from a goal down to get a point. They achieved that by virtue of a spot kick converted by Brian Graham. Current form will show that Inverness are on the slide with only one point from our last five League games, that being the 1-1 draw at Dens Park. That goal is the only one scored during this slump and we have conceded eight. County are on a high just now, two wins and a draw in their last five and the added boost of winning the Cup last Sunday. County are in fourth place with 40 points while we languish in ninth with 33 points. How times have changed. Inverness still have half a dozen casualties but it was good to see Josh Meekings and Richie Foran do ninety minutes in midweek. Let's hope they show no reaction to that. I also hope that Jordan Roberts, Miles Storey and Danny Williams will be on the park sooner than they were against Hibs. Greg Tansey returns after missing the Cup debacle through suspension. Ross County rested a few in midweek, namely Alex Schalk, Liam Boyce and Ricky Foster and they will be contenders for a start on Saturday. Scott Fox and Craig Curran are still out. We have already beaten County twice this season although they won at Inverness en-route to their League Cup triumph, but confidence is low at the Inverness side of the Kessock Bridge and with John Hughes tinkering with team selection then it's anyone's guess what Caley Jags team will turn up on Saturday. tm4tj Prediction:- Oh my, I fear for us if we allow County to settle on their own turf. I see no reason to believe that we can change our recent pattern of creating nothing over ninety minutes and with County in party mood then we will do well to hang on in there. Heart says a point, head says we will get thumped. Meh.