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Found 2 results

  1. Rendall's Rambles #5 If you have been following James on his ICT journey, here's the next three seasons. He's a well travelled football connoisseur who has been following the Caley Jags from the start. He has put together a fascinating nostalgic recap of Inverness Caledonian Thistle's first 25 years as witnessed through his own eyes. Thanks James, a remarkable commitment to the beautiful game. Inverness Caledonian Thistle Years No.13 #ICT25 Season 2006/07 (Games 512 to 578) A very European feel season. Football in eight countries!! The third season of Caley Thistle at the top table. While the essence of each campaign was survival, the general feeling amongst the fans seemed to be more insistent that cheap Pomagne was traded in for a drop of the proper stuff. Reaching for the fabled top six was the want, but the reality for a brilliantly run club on a shoestring, they can't just switch up and splash the cash. Our 13th season wasn't unlucky but it wasn't one that lives long in the memory. That said, I was here, there and everywhere so I may have missed a classic memorable game or four! Before the season started Neil Warlock brought Sheffield United to Inverness for Ross Tokely's Testimonial. It was a good crowd, a worthy attendance for a wonderful servant of the club, who many years later was poorly dealt with by Terry Butcher. In this game, the Blades were flashing past us, and ran out 3-0 winners. The league didn't start brilliantly, it rarely does, and losing at home to St Mirren was a poor opening gambit. A brave point at Aberdeen, as well as home points versus the green duo steadied the ship somewhat, but it was the 29th September before I saw us win a game, a narrow 1-0 at home to the Pars. Falkirk were then beaten at home 3-2, a rare moment of joy versus the Bairns in the Highland Capital. A bag of struggles ensued, but Christmas came with a morsel of festive cheer, a 2-1 versus Rangers. This remains to this day, the only time I have ever seen Rangers lose!! Darren Dods and a John Rankin screamer won the day. The biggest win of the season that I saw was a 3-0 thumping of Hibs, who rarely enjoyed their trip up the A9. Ultimately it was the bottom six again, but with limited chance of going down, and perhaps with a relaxed, let's enjoy life attitude, we beat Motherwell, Dunfermline and St Mirren before the curtain came down. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Inverness Caledonian Thistle Years #ICT25 No. 14 2007/2008 (Games 579 to 631) Fourth top table safety secured: August is still a month I dread when it comes to ICT even if we have marginally improved in learning to hit the ground running! In this particular season we absolutely hit rock bottom with four straight defeats, two home 0-3 biffings by Rangers and Arabia, with narrower 2-1 losses on the road at Well and Les Buddoise sandwiched in between. I was so hacked off I scampered off to Italy and Doncaster before casting eyes on a win finally, 2-1 on the 22 September at home to Hearts. A bit like buses another win came the following weekend with a 4-2 with over the Bairns also at the Caledonian Stadium. A rare moment of home joy against a team that had previously inflected such painful home losses, but the monkey was far from gone as next season will tell 😥. In truth this season quickly panned out as a walk in the park, even for the less ambitious teams. Gretna had overstretched in too quick a time, and having to play 'home' games at Fir Park for a small village team, it was the financial straw that broke the camels back, and indeed, maybe it exacerbated Miles Brookson's illness. His investments in the USA were collapsing, his health was deteriorating and his family were trying to hold onto what family legacy hadn't been pumped into Gretna, and to a lesser extent Workington. Miles was a good egg, his heart was in the right place, Gretna was the mouse that briefly roared, but despite completing the season, they would fold by the summer. The new Gretna doesn't ever wish to be associated with the old one which I find sad. As mentioned previously seeing Miramar Misiones beat Central Español in Montevideo the previous season, one of the stars of that win would end up at Gretna, Fabian Yantorno. ICT had already thumped them 4-0 away, but when they came to Inverness on the 5th January, my programme article on the Uruguayan game would start a beautiful friendship, and I hope I will get to see him play one last time before he hangs up his boots when I head across to South America in late Feb next year! We won that encounter 3-0 but prior to that from late November, we won four games on the trot making up for August loses to St Mirren and Dundee United before back to back home wins versus the green duo, 2-0 v Hibs and more memorably 3-2 versus the hoops, John Rankin, David Proctor and Don Cowie with the goals. The day before that I had watched third tier Moss County struggle to beat Berwick Rangers 2-1. Ironic that next weekend the Dingwall mob will be promoted to the top table again, and Berwick could well be sent to walk the plank versus East Kilbride or Cove! Scotland could lose it's English club 😉. It kind of dribbled away after that home win v Gretna, I scampered off to South America and Donny again but did catch a close run 3-4 home loss to Aberdeen, but following a 6-1 clubbing of poor Gretna again, the 0-0 last day draw at home to St Mirren kind of summed it all up. There would be no Gretna the following season, were we ready for the fight? Find out in next week's gripping instalment!! My neutral games in Scotland hit an all time low in this season! I never saw any European games, save a Murrayfield friendly between Hearts and Barcelona. I will let you work out who won 😂. I finally got a league game at Borough Briggs Elgin, a 2-1 home win versus Dumbarton. What I didn't know then was that this Sons goal would be the only one I had seen to this day since they pulped Hearts 5-2 at Tynecastle!! There was a fire drill that day 😂. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Inverness Caledonian Thistle Years #ICT25 No.15 - 2008/09 (Games 632 to 696) That sinking feeling! August, usually that perennial bad month for ICT started so well, a 2-0 win at Pittodrie, but a week later, the new boys Hamilton Kaccies, beat us 1-0. However this was to be a different first month of the season, but before any more league hostilities, Liverpool duped 7,000+ at the Caley Stadium for Barry Wilson's Testimonial into thinking an 'XI' might include a star or two, but they were in my opinion disrespectful in sending a bunch of kids, and they got what they deserved in a 5-0 home win! Things settled down nicely, a 1-1 versus Hibs was followed by a rare August win versus Falkirk, albeit away, and it merely acted as a poking of a well oiled bear that would haunt the rest of this season. Sandwiched in between these league games was an uninspiring 2-2 (4-2 pens) win at Arbroath, although Gayfield is always one of the great wee stadium of this land! We were still picking up points here and there, beating Killie 3-1 at home days after getting the better of Morton in the League Cup. Narrow losses at Arabia and at home to Well, who had a cracking record versus us in Inverness in those days, sadly, before we were back at the Bairnabeu for the League Cup Quarter-final, going down 1-0. Somewhere soon after that game Craig Brewster departed, and Terence Butcher arrived! We bounced back in the league with a 2-1 over Hibs at Fester Road. We had a habit of winning there at this juncture, but what is more remarkable is that my mate Fabian played his only full game for Hibs that day! Sorry hombre ☺. The tale end of the year was fairly torrid, Les Jambons, the Darling Buds of Chic, Dons, Arabia and the Castle Greyskull tenants all stuffed us without us even as much as tickling their under carriage so to speak! The new year started in better fettle with a fine 3-0 dismantling of the Maryhill Magyar, before I scampered off to South America a few weeks earlier than normal. Upon my return, a draw at Tannadice and another win against the Cabbage saw us nearing a top six place, but we would fall short, as well as exit the Scottish Cup in a bad tempered home fixture to Falkirk. Two weeks later they murdered us 4-0 down at their place, but we ended the regular campaign comfortably clear of the bottom. Alas, Butcher would experience this post split demise not only with us, but Hibs a few years later. We just couldn't get the win that would keep us safe, and other results conspired to drag us further and further into the muck. Two points from twelve meant we were 11th just above Falkirk going into the last game. They had already thrashed us 4-0 and knocked us out of both cups, the sense of foreboding was prevalent before we kicked a ball. Hughes had moulded a street fighting unit, marshalled by one Steven Pressley, who would fall down holding his head so often after a corner it was embarrassing. When he did it in the cup match and winked at the crowd, the normally passive home crowd were positively foaming. Bad blood was overflowing on the last day, six games in a season playing each other was taking it's toll. Tokely's red card was central belt decision making and the game was up. Hughes ran on the field at the end like a demented flea and we were down. His antics that day never left me, and while he might have overseen ICT highs in latter years, he was never fully embraced by a good number of Caley Thistle fans. The one crumb of comfort from a real fall from grace might have been we were, and still are, the team relegated with the highest ever points total, only ran close by our second relegation! But hey, what fun we had the next season, and it would be years before we ever had to play the Bairns again, and despite having ten men that day too, oh what joy 😂. European games in Scotland numbered two viewings, Hibs were eased aside by Swedish team Elfsborg 2-0 in the Intertoto to kick off the season on the 6th July, but Queen of the South put in a braver effort against Nordsjaelland, going down 0-1 to the Danish outfit on one soggy Airdrie night! South America called me and the curtain came down on futbol Sud America across in Greater Bueños Aires, with Lanus playing out a 1-1 draw with the Goats (Chivas) of Guadalajara in the Libertadores! All done before heading home for the hangman's noose and our first demotion in the fifteen year history of ICT. 'Fifteen points and you f***ed up' next time out 😎 Thanks James, some great memories in there once again. Not all of them enjoyable, but thems the breaks More to come from James, the next three seasons coming along next week. You can read all about James' worldwide footballing travels in his own excellent blog FOOTBALL ADVENTURES WITH JAMES RENDALL
  2. Rendall's Rambles #4 If you have been following James on his ICT journey, here's the next three seasons. He's a well travelled football connoisseur who has been following the Caley Jags from the start. He has put together a fascinating nostalgic recap of Inverness Caledonian Thistle's first 25 years as witnessed through his own eyes. Thanks James, a remarkable commitment to the beautiful game. Inverness Caledonian Thistle Years No.10 #ICT25 2003/04 (Games 344 to 396) First floor perfumery, stationery and leather goods, going up 😎: And so it came to pass, that upon the last kick of the 10th year of the empire, Mother Inverness were going to the top table! It started in exquisite fashion back in early August with a 5-0 win over Gretna in the Challenge Cup, our only ever visit to Raydale well ahead of the Border team making its brief mark on the world of Scottish football. Did we lose to Falkirk in August? What do you think?!! 2-1 for the Bairns, and even in the closing games of the season they held us 0-0 in the third last game of the season, a result that kept us off the top of the league, but only for one more week! Aside from the Bairns bogey, other teams were put to the swords with 4-0 away wins over Raith, St Mirren, and Queen of the South beaten 4-1 at home. We had never hit the top of the league until the penultimate day when we went to Cumbernauld to play long time leaders Clyde! That was the closest the Bully Wee came to the top flight in the modern three or four tier era. It didn't start well, as Clyde took the lead, but their was a momentum to us, and the equaliser when it came from the most unlikely scorer in Liam Keogh saw a celebration akin to Marco Tardelli scoring versus West Germany in a World Cup Final! The winner came from our at times frustrating but equally reliable Steve Hislop, and we didn't just win the game, we went top! They had a "helicopter" Saturday the following week, but in truth the Championship was never in doubt, David Bingham settled the nerves, Paul Ritchie got the second, and Barry Wilson blasted a late penalty to see off St Johnstone 3-1 with a pitch invasion of riotous joy ahead of the trophy arriving. I am sure Partick Thistle thought our Championship would see us denied promotion, but assurances were made, and while we played a lot of the next season in Aberdeen, when we came home the stadium met all the necessary requirements. The cups were joyful too this term, with the club winning it's first Scottish knock out trophy with a 2-0 win over Airdrie United in the Challenge Cup Final in Perth. We reached a second consecutive Scottish Cup Semi Final, with Dunfermline our opponents at Hampden. A 1-1 draw saw maybe the last ever semi final replay, which took place at Pittodrie. We lost a cracking match 3-2 but I am still haunted by a near miss by Paul Ritchie that might have made all the difference. We would get used to Pittodrie the following year, and we would take our revenge on the Pars, but that's next week's tale! The Inverness Caledonian Thistle Years #ICT25 No 11 2004/05 (Games 397 to 453) Nibbling at the top table: Life in the Premier, the top league in Scotland, they say it doesn't get any better than that! In our eleventh year, we had scaled the whole way up the leagues, and while I am sure many were relishing the challenge, I was both shocked and terrified! Yes in 1973 when I first went to a game with my dad it was a top flight game, but Hearts v Arbroath in a league on 18. We only ever went against the lesser lights, and with fan violence on the increase, by 1978 I had rebelled and I had gone off to find my own adventures, far from any such goings on. In the fifteen years I was a Meadowbank fan, only once did we even get vaguely close to the Premier League, finishing second behind Hamilton. Only once before I walked out in 1993, sickened by the hijacking of the club and the protests, did we play in Glasgow against either of the Old Firm, a League Cup semi final first leg at Ibrox. We lost 4-0 but stuff was being hurled at us, and it was a very uncomfortable night. For ICT playing in the Premier League, I needed my own ground rules, and that was banning myself from going to Ibrox or Celtic Park for any league game! Having made that decision, I relaxed and I have stuck to it to this day, and even though we played The Rangers in a League Cup tie at Ibrox and won, I didn't. I have never seen us play at Ibrox, but I have been at Celtic Park for Cup ties just twice, once rather memorably! The start of the campaign didn't have a very top table feel too it, Livi away, and Dunfermline 'home' at Aberdeen, much to Partick Thistle's disgruntlement!! We were absolutely horrible on debut, going down meekly 3-0, just as we had been a few years earlier in our first game in the Championship, a 4-0 loss at the Pars. Oddly the last time we played Dunfermline had also been at Aberdeen, the cup semi replay loss, but this time we got things right, and game two of the season brought us a 2-0 win, with the honour of our first ever Premier League goal going to an unlikely scorer, Stuart Golabek! It was never going to be an easy season, doubly so playing so many games away from Inverness, but this early win was vital. Our next Pittodrie home match was versus Celtic and we were competing terrifically well and then came a sickening moment that I will never forget, and while many seem to dislike Neil Lennon for a variety of idiotic reasons, the utter shameful gamesmanship of going down holding his face when Juanjo nudged his chest was one of the worst moments of cheating I have ever witnessed. Juanjo was sent off, Lennon never received any retrospective punishment (it probably didn't exist then) and the dynamic of the game changed, from 1-1 we lost 3-1. Hosting Aberdeen at Pittodrie was always going to be a unique and funny thing. We got the home stand and doubtlessly the home dressing room. It was a terrific atmosphere, and while hardly a derby, we are two northern teams. We did get the chance to keep the wee team firmly in its place too, winning 1-0 in Dingwall in the League Cup. We ended up playing home games in three stadiums that season, with our Scottish Cup win over St Johnstone coming shortly after the last game at Aberdeen, with this one being played in Dingwall with a 1-0 ICT win. On the 29th January we were home finally and we did the home double over the Pars with another 2-0 win, Barry Wilson scoring our first proper home top flight goal! A March into April series of wins were enough to see us clear of trouble at the bottom, starting with a fine 2-0 win at Tynecastle, then a rare win at Kilmarnock and a stirring 3-2 win over Dundee. The Dees neighbours came to Inverness on the last day of the season in their thousands, where a dubious penalty saw mayhem erupt at the away end, scored by Barry Robson. The Arabs had saved themselves but it was a portent of things to come! It was never going to be anything other than a hard season, but we made it!! We'd even get a wee trip abroad before we knuckled down to life at the top table again the following season, stay tuned for the next instalment next week! I was doubtlessly missing trips to Inverness as I found myself at Clachnacuddin versus Brora in November, on a day when ICT were making a league debut at Celtic Park. It ended in a 3-0 home win for the Lilywhites, a result that wouldn't happen now! Oddly, I was to see two more Highland teams the very next week! I was just entering Aberdeen for our match with Dundee United when the radio informed me that the game was off. No one had cleared the snow off the pitch! As luck would have it, Inverurie were playing Keith in the Scottish Cup, so I headed there. The referee was none other than my old work mate and Pomona player Crawford Allan. It was an odd appointment for an Edinburgh ref, and in chatting to him, the last thing he wanted was a replay. Well nothing like a dubious last minute penalty to save the journey north again, with Keith the happy recipients winning 2-1 courtesy of the spot kick! The Inverness Caledonian Thistle Years #ICT25 No12 2005/06 (Games 455 to 511 Five dots to Farum ..... 🚂The second campaign in the top flight was always going to have an anti-climax feel to it for me after the season started with Inverness in action abroad! The train down to South Denmark from Copenhagen to Nykobing wasn't exactly with the same anticipation as the trek to Giurgiu, but in 2005 who could have envisaged that ICT would ever play competitive International football! Walking around the quaint Danish town I was beginning to fear I might be the only visiting fan! The small posse never bumped into each other ahead of the game, but we were ultimately a collected gathering of five at the first ever ICT game abroad with Don Taylor, his wife and son as well as another lass lending our support. Nykobing Falsters Alliancen was the rather cumbersome name of an allegedly new Danish super club, but as far as I am aware they have never troubled the top tier. They were to beat ICT on our European bow 2-1 with Liam Fox claiming our first overseas goal. We all spent some quality time in Copenhagen, which really is a fabulous city, joined as we were by one more fan, Alex ahead of the local metro train out to Farum. It was a well heeled sleepy hedgerow suburban town at the end of the metro line. It took an age, but we eventually got down to five dots on the train map in the carriage, a phrase that stuck in the legend of the trip! Nordsjaelland's stadium had a hotel, where the team were staying, complete with a bar/restaurant. The pre and post match tipples were scooped here, latterly with the team chomping a meal ahead of having a night on the town in the city. This was a well earned night out as we had just beaten an up and coming top flight Danish team 1-0 on a very warm afternoon. David Proctor gave us the win, as we all enjoyed cinema-esque padded seats, albeit they were getting rather hot! Nordsjaelland would crop up in competitive European football versus Queen of the South a few years later, and only one fan travelled to Scotland, so respect to the six of us who went to Denmark for friendlies! Back to the bread and butter Premier League football we started with a moment of reverse history defeating Falkirk in their back yard in August as a welcome to the top flight! We didn't suffer too badly from second season syndrome and picked up points regularly to keep the bottom well below, but never enough to make the top six. A 2-1 win at Easter Road was a notable early result, which eventually became a treble over the Leith side winning 2-0 in Inverness, and 2-0 on our second visit to Easter Road. We nibbled a home point off Celtic in a 1-1 draw as well as thrashing the Bairns 4-1 at home too. Ridiculously we played at Livingston four times away including a League Cup Quarter Final loss, finally winning one of these jousts to keep us safe in the top flight in late April. This was the season where George Burley's Hearts won the first ten games of the season including a 1-0 success at Caledonian Stadium, but then he was sacked, and where did he disappear to after that? Hearts did have something to celebrate at the end of the season, just, when third tier village sensations Gretna nearly won it, and maybe only a perfectly timed Robbie Neilson tackle saved them from losing ahead of winning the penalty shoot out! Hibs had a horrible season when I was in the stadium, murdered 4-0 at Tynecastle and in the only game I saw that they didn't lose was a feeble 0-0 with Dnipropetrovsk from Ukraine. I was at three English games in three days at Preston, Doncaster (the first of three in the season), then Chesterfield, a chance to see Saltergate before it disappeared with the bees of Brentford winning 1-3. Scotland very nearly beat Italy but a controversial late free kick for Italy brought their goal in a 1-1 draw, but we then lost to Belarus at home 0-1. Typical modern day Scotland! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Thanks James, some great memories in there. Five dots to Farum? When asked how far to go, I looked at the electronic display in the carriage and that's where the five dots to Farum came from, each dot representing a station. Mee was the other fan, all the way from Foyers. Farum was home to FC Nordsjælland, managed at the time by former Celtic player Morten Wieghorst, really nice guy. The floodlights were not visible as we strolled to the ground en mass, all six of us, and the reason became clear when we got there. The ground was close to a flight path and the floodlights were on hydraulics enabling them to be retracted when not in use. The Stadium was 10,000 all seated with leather seats and beer cup holders on each one. Wonderful! More to come from James, the next three seasons coming along next week. You can read all about James' worldwide footballing travels in his own excellent blog FOOTBALL ADVENTURES WITH JAMES RENDALL