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The long wait is over Having lain idle since the 5th of May Championship flop against Ayr United, the long wait for the Scottish Cup Final is over for the Caley Jags. The Semi-Final was played out on the 29th of April, a 3-0 win over Falkirk guaranteeing our place in the final where we will face the daunting task of stopping forty time Cup winners Celtic from winning the treble. Not an easy task I hear you say. However, you've got to be in it to win it, and we find ourselves in our second Scottish Cup Final in eight years. We have a long way to go to catch up with Celtic though as this will be their sixtieth appearance in the final. I imagine the stattos amongst us will be searching their Guinness Book of Records to find out the biggest winning margin in the Scottish Cup Final. I'll save you the bother. Renton 6-1 v Cambuslang on 4th February 1888. Or, ominously, Celtic 6-1 Hibernian on 6th May 1972. Are we about to re-write the record books? Check all the records at Scottish Cup Records. Win or lose, I hope you all enjoy the occasion. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The route to the final Inverness struggled to overcome a stubborn Stirling Albion side at our entry level in the Scottish Cup 3rd round. Dale Carrick had opened the scoring in the 27th minute but Wallace Duffy levelled five minutes later. Max Ram then put us ahead five minutes before the break and we all breathed a sigh of relief. However, the Binos were not finished and Carrick scored a second in stoppage time before the interval. With twenty minutes left Aaron Doran scored what proved to be the winner, but credit to the visitors for making us work extra hard to get through to the fourth round. The 4th round tie with Queens Park turned from gloom to joy. After beating Inverness 2-0 on the pitch, Queens Park were dumped out of the Cup for fielding an illegible player in the shape of Euan Henderson. How fortuitous. Has anyone ever won the Cup after being knocked out? The 5th round saw Inverness face Premiership opposition away from home at Livingston. Fear not as Billy Mckay scored a brilliant brace to add to a Sean Welsh header to put us into the quarter final. 6th round was another Premiership scalp with Kilmarnock visiting the Caledonian Stadium on a snowy March evening. Despite suffering an early setback when Vassell scored in the third minute, the Caley Jags dug deep and overcame Killie with a Billy Mckay penalty and a superb Sean Welsh strike in the middle of a snow storm. Semi-Final: It was a re-run of the 2015 final with Inverness taking on Falkirk for for a place in the final. Inverness proved to be too clinical for the Bairns with another brace from Billy Mckay and a superb header from Dan Mackay. Always a step ahead of the Bairns, it was a relatively comfortable passage into the final, where one would imagine Celtic will provide a much sterner test. Hampden Calling....Again Celtic's route to the final: 4th Round: Celtic 5-0 Morton - Mooy x2, Furuhashi x2, Turnbull. 5th Round: Celtic 5-1 St Mirren - Maeda, Hatate x2, Hyeo-gyu, O'Riley. 6th Round: Hearts 0-3 Celtic - Mooy, Furuhashi, Vickers. Semi-Final: Rangers 0-1 Celtic - Jota. Celtic seemed to scrape through their ties scoring fourteen goals for the loss of only two. Surprisingly the bookies see Celtic as favourites to lift the Cup. Meh, what do they know! Inverness warmed up for the final with a hastily arranged kick-about against Dungannon Swifts in County Tyrone on 20th May. It ended 3-1 for Inverness and the whole squad managed to get a kick of the ball at some stage of the game. There was also an alleged closed doors practice against Nairn County. Incidentally, Swifts secured their top league status with a play off aggregate win 3-2 over Annagh United, having come from 2-1 down after the first leg. Congratulations to them. Celtic's month was somewhat fuller. After defeating Rangers in the semi-final on 30th April, they beat Hearts 2-0 at Tynecastle. They followed that by losing 3-0 at Ibrox in the final old firm derby of the season then drew 2-2 with St Mirren. A midweek game at Easter Road on the 24th May resulted in a 4-2 defeat for ten man Celtic. Looks like they're knackered now and we will be full of beans after a month off However, a week before the final, they played their last Premiership game of the season against Aberdeen at Parkhead. That's Aberdeen, the third best placed team in the Scottish Premiership. Looks like they were out in full force this week having rested half their team over the last couple of games and they trounced Aberdeen 5-0. Just let these stats sink in against Scotland's third best football club this season. Celtic--------VVVVVVVV--------Aberdeen Celtic 76% - Possession - 24% Aberdeen Celtic 20 ------- Shots ------- 0 Aberdeen Celtic 8 -- Shots on Target -- 0 Aberdeen Celtic 10 ------ Corners ------ 2 Aberdeen On the plus side, we have knocked Celtic out of the Scottish Cup on three occasions. Contrary to popular belief we did not get to keep them for that. There was the SuperCaleyGoBallistic in 2000, followed by the week after beating Liverpool in the UEFA Cup in 2003 (Henrik Larrson and all), and who can forget the Hand of Josh thriller in the 2015 semi-final before we went on to lift the Cup against Falkirk. Overall, we have beaten Celtic seven times in competitive games and drawn seven times. Stats will show that Celtic have won thirty-four times. Fortunately, stats don't win games. Latest Team News Inverness CT have a full squad to pick from after a month off apart from Sutherland and Walsh. In saying that, the likes of Roddy MacGregor has had little game time in his recovery from injury, so some may not be 100% fit. ***Look back in later in the week to hear from Billy Dodds ahead of the final*** Celtic have a squad full of Eastern promise and full international players. Let's not dwell too much on that. Furuhashi took a knock against Aberdeen but it's not a major concern? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Player of the Season Awards In some sort of clandestine ceremony on Monday night, the seasonal awards were handed over, cloak and dagger style at the Caledonian Stadium. Unsurprisingly Billy Mckay was the big winner. Is it written in the stars for Billy to move level with the legendary Dennis Wyness in this Scottish Cup Final. Now that would be some story! Congratulations to all the winners. Well deserved Player of the Year Awards 2022/23 Tonight the winners of our Player of the Year awards were presented with their awards. Players’ Player of the Year 2022-23 was Billy Mckay, as presented by Head Coach Billy Dodds! Players’ Young Player of the Year 2022-23 was Cameron Harper, also presented by Head Coach Billy Dodds. Fans Player of the Year 2022-23 was Billy Mckay, as presented by Laura Grant from the Supporters Trust! Fans Young Player of the Year 2022-23 was Nathan Shaw, as presented by Lady Kath Fraser from the Supporters Trust! Goal of the Season 2022-23 was Billy Mckay’s second goal v Livingston, as presented by Barry Wilson. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ On yer bike Steve Message from Joonya Many of you may remember The Highland March - a walking event between the final two league matches of ICT's season, of which took place every year from 2003 to 2015. Well, two of us former marchers have come together to do something different in the build up to the Scottish Cup Final. Steve 'Yompa' Taylor (formerly known as 'InterTheNet') will be donning the lycra to cycle from Caledonian Stadium to Hampden Park IN A DAY. Steve sets off at 3am on Tuesday 30th May, and I will be joining him as the support driver. We'll be doing this for charity, with all monies being split equally between MikeysLine and the Celtic Foundation. Both of these charities provide mental health support to people of all backgrounds, in and around Glasgow and the Highlands. We invite you to follow us on Twitter (@Road2Hampden) where you will find the Just Giving page. Please donate what you can, if you can. Thank you ICT have supported MikeysLine since their inception in 2015, and John Robertson is an ambassador for the charity. They provide Mental Health support to people across Inverness and the Highlands. But why Celtic Foundation too? Over recent years, supporters of the foundation have helped Yompa raise money and awareness for the Solving Kids Cancer charity. It's his way of giving something back, at a time when two teams with history in this competition come head to head in the final. Mon everybody, empty yer pockets to help Steve's designated charities after this superb effort. Just Giving Link Every donation helps, and we'd like to thank everyone for their support ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ FANZONE Here's Scooty & the Skyhooks plus good luck messages The Wyness Shufflers have been busy and here's your Cup Final podcast 'Back to the Future' from the guys RIGHT HERE What's in it for you: Two and a half hours of all things Caley Thistle. The pre-match venue, memorable games with Celtic, ICT Legends with Stuart Golabeck, Ross Tokely, James Vincent, Dennis Wyness and current captain Sean Welsh and don't miss Sandy's Scottish Cup Final tune. Well done guys, a great effort. Your pre-Cup Final entertainment for Caley Jags fans. Provided by the fans for the fans: Get yourself along to The Ferry before the game for some pre-match Shenanigans & Schiehallions. Three bars available Food available Families Welcome Face painting Doors Open: 11:00am Entertainment from 12:00 > 4:00 Bus to game (maybe) BUY TICKETS £4 Where? The Ferry 25 Anderston Quay Glasgow G3 8BX Alternatively, here's SirSandman92
Tears of Pride Celtic were big favourites to lift the Cup and with it complete the Treble. Inverness have been here before and have put Celtic out of the Cup on three previous occasions. However, it's a big ask and the bookies agree with Celtic's favourites tag. Scotland's number one side against this seasons eighteenth best side. It was pretty much a clean bill of health for Billy Dodds after a month of relative inactivity for his squad with just long term casualties Shane Sutherland and Tom Walsh missing. Celtic were without Aaron Mooy and Cameron Carter-Vickers but such is their wealth of talent it would matter not a jot. At the end of the day Celtic would win the treble and lift the Scottish Cup. Inverness stuck to their game plan and battled hard, but it was one scalp too many. However there was only tears of pride at the end. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ After the pre-match entertainment enjoyed by the fans the game kicked off in bright sunshine. Celtic got the game underway in 21° Celsius. Could anyone outdo Man City who had earlier scored in 12 seconds in the FA Cup Final. The answer was an emphatic NO. A tentative opening from both sides as Inverness tried to play their way into the game with Celtic trying to force the pace. Fifteen minutes gone and the pattern remains the same with Celtic forcing the pace but over eager with their final ball. O'Riley bounced a volley wide in the first half chance of the game with almost nineteen minutes gone. A defensive misplaced pass offered Celtic an opportunity but Jota ran out of space as the defence recovered to shut him down. Ten minutes before the break Ridgers made his first save as he dropped on a low strike from 15 yards. A minute later Celtic went in front when Kyogo smashed in from eight yards. He almost added a second five minutes before the break but he chipped wide of Ridgers right hand post as Celtic turned the screw. Half Time: 1-0 Inverness were looking to get forward more at the start of the second half but Celtic were still dominating possession although Nathan Shaw was a half yard away from getting on the end of a low ball into the Celtic box. However Celtic were starting to flow better and the danger signs were there for Inverness. In the 65th minute Celtic doubled their advantage. They rode a couple of rash challenges before Abada stroked the ball into the net. VAR took a look and after some deliberation the goal was given, by mm looking at VAR. It was tight, but 2-0 it was. Ridgers made amends for a botched clearance when he clutched a shot out of the top corner from O'Riley. Cue plenty of substitutions with the game seemingly safe. Inverness got a lifeline with five minutes to go and it was a replica goal from Dan Mackay from a Wallace Duffy cross (think semi-final v Falkirk). Absolutely tremendous bulleted header again from Dan. Ridgers saved with his legs as Celtic looked to finish the tie off through Haksabanovic. They did moments later when Jota scored from close range after good work by Abada. Game over, maybe Ange's last one in charge but Celtic march on and we head back to the Championship with our heads held high. Full Time: 3-1 Best for Inverness on a difficult day was Wallace Duffy. What an invitingly sumptuous cross for Dan Mackay to power in a diving header. Cammy Harper on the other flank was equally impressive against Celtic's wide players and in midfield David Carson and Sean Welsh battled hard to stem the possession that Celtic were always going to dominate. We struggled up front working off scraps but substitute Dan Mackay scored that brilliant late power header to give us hope, albeit only fleeting. In general our defence stood firm for large parts of the game, seemingly working to a plan. Much better than many Premiership teams fared this season. Nobody hid in this game but we were restricted to what we could do by a quality treble winning side. Blood, sweat and tears of pride. As the season draws to a close we will not see so many of these guys here next season, but it has been an abstract pleasure reporting on our once again rollercoaster of a season. See you all back refreshed for 23/24. Duplication Dan, what a cross, what a goal! Stunning! Here's Dodds What they said on BBC Sport Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou: "I'm very proud. It's been an extraordinary season by the boys. We caught people by surprise last year. It's always hard defending things. The challenge was, 'can we be better this year and we push on?' "We've won the trophy that eluded us last year, so it feels great, it's the last day of the season. It's an occasion and it was nice to finish it off that way." Inverness Caley Thistle manager Billy Dodds: "I was always going to have a go but we lost goals at bad times. I'm so proud of the boys. They gave me everything. "Talks are ongoing (on a new contract) and we hope to get things tied up, so we'll see what happens over the next few days. I love working with these players and you can see the team spirit we have." Date: 03/06/2023 Venue: Hampden Park Attendance: 47247 Referee: John Beaton Celtic: 3 Manager: Ange Postecoglou Lineup: Hart; Johnston, Iwata, Starfelt, Taylor, McGregor, Hatate (Haksabanovic 76), O'Riley (Turnbull 76), Jota (Forrest 90+2), Maeda (Abada 45), Kyoga (Oh 59) Subs (not used): Siegrist, Bernabei, Ralston, Welsh Scorers: Furuhashi (38), Abada (65), Jota (90+1) Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Duffy, Devine (Delaney 75), Deas, Harper, Henderson (D Mackay 68), Carson, Welsh, Allardice (MacGregor 81), Shaw (Doran 81), B Mckay (Samuels 75) Subs (not used): C Mackay; Hyde, Woods, Boyd Scorers: D Mackay (84) Booked: Carson (43), Duffy (70) Sent Off: none a