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Found 19 results

  1. Welsh Likes a Belter Inverness had their strongest squad of the season for tonight's quarter final against Kilmarnock. Samuels, MacGregor, Woods and Dan Mackay were all on the bench as Dodds went with an unchanged starting XI. Killie had a strong XI with Liam Polworth starting with Armstrong, Donnelly, McKenzie, Vassell and Doidge as attacking threats. As it happened, it was Inverness that eventually dominated proceedings and are in the Semi-Final after goals from Billy Mckay and Sean Welsh ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness got the game underway but two minutes in and from an Armstrong corner the ball ended up in the net behind Ridgers, Vassell credited with the goal after a near post flick on. Disastrous start for the hosts. Billy Mckay forced Walker into a great save from a close range header as Inverness responded in the tenth minute. Sean Welsh skimmed the top of the bar with a header from a superb ball into the box from Jay Henderson. Inverness got the break they deserved though when a Wallace Duffy cross from the right was handled by Joe Wright as he attempted to intercept the ball. Billy Mckay hit the spot kick down the middle as Walker dived to his left, the ball going in off his feet and it was game on. Henderson was played through on goal but his shot was blocked by the now overworked Sam Walker. Carson was harshly booked for bringing Armstrong down as Killie sprung out of defence. Doidge made a hash of a half chance when he found the ball at his feet in the six yard box, but he ran it out of play. Robbie Deas headed over from a corner as Inverness continued to press. Liam Polworth came off second best in a challenge from Deas just before the interval and his day was over. HALF TIME 1-1 Three minutes into the second half Henderson did well to control the ball and get his shot away but it cannoned back off the post. Moments later, with heavy snow falling; he did it again. Sean Welsh picked the ball up thirty yards from goal. He stepped forward and rifled a low shot into the bottom corner from over twenty-five yards. What a strike. We could have gone further ahead, twice. Once when Shaw made space for himself to get a great delivery in but Welsh was just short of connecting with it in the six yard box. Secondly, Mckay did well to wriggle his way into the box but he was halted a couple of times before the defence cleared. Ridgers then flapped at a ball into the box and had to snatch at he ball as it bounced towards the line. A timely snatch if ever I saw one. Austin Samuels almost grabbed a third with two minutes left when running through on goal but his low shot was saved by Walker. Aaron Doran came on as four minutes of added time was shown by the officials. Inverness saw out the game on top and a thoroughly deserved trip to Hampden is now a reality. FULL TIME 2-1 What a performance from the Caley Jags. Heroes to a man and well deserving of their trip to Hampden again. For me, Scott Allardice was tremendous with Jay Henderson having a field day in the first half and unlucky not to score at the start of the second. Sean Welsh does likes a strike against Killie from around twenty-seven yards. On another day we might have scored four or five, but for now, two will do. Big shout out for the young team, great noise all night. Come again please. More match reaction to follow... Inverness CT manager Billy Dodds on BBC Scotland: "I was quite calm. I trusted my players. I thought we were the better team. Kilmarnock put us under pressure with long balls in the second half. "But I just stood back and enjoyed watching my players tonight. I would like a shot in the Premiership. "A lot of my players could do it. I think that's the case. If you do it [beat a top-flight side] once, people say it's a one off. But if you do it two or three times, it's self explanatory. "I want them to enjoy it and realise what they've done. But we still have an opportunity in the league as well. We want to have a wee go of getting to the play-offs, it'll be difficult but we're capable." After full time Derek McInnes was still in his dressing room and BBC gave up on his interview He eventually said: "I'm really disappointed. I expected more from the team. We got off to a good start. "I thought from there on in, we stopped playing. We got too complacent and made too many errors." Highlights from The Scottish Cup Date: 10/03/2023 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2902 Referee: David Dickinson Inverness CT: 2 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Carson, Duffy, Devine, Deas, Henderson (MacGregor 85), Welsh, Allardice, Harper, Shaw (Doran 90), B Mckay (Samuels 82) Subs (not used): C Mackay; Delaney, Hyde, Woods, Boyd, D Mackay Scorers: Mckay (24, pen), Welsh (50) Booked: Carson (33), Duffy (69) Sent Off: none Kilmarnock: 1 Manager: Derek McInnes Lineup: Walker; Mayo, Taylor, Wright (Dorsett 76), Chambers (Robinson 77), Armstrong, Donnelly, Polworth (Power 45+2), McKenzie (Murray 76), Vassell, Doidge (Jones 45) Subs (not used): Hemming; Alebiosu, McInroy, Alston. Scorers: Vassell (3) Booked: Vassell (36), Donnelly (75) Sent Off: none a
  2. Table Toppers League leaders Kilmarnock looked determined to spoil the game as a spectacle and it was a first half of few chances. Mckay having a shot blocked for a corner by Hemming and Ridgers denying McKenzie. However, chances were at a premium and the half ended goalless. The goal that settled the game was a stunning strike from captain Sean Welsh and no more than Inverness deserved with Killie void of attacking intent. This result put Inverness back on top of the table for now. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Neither club are on the best run of form at the moment but nonetheless they are still in the congested top five in the Championship, with Killie just one point ahead of the Caley Jags at the head of the table. Could Inverness hit the top tonight or will Killie stamp their authority on the race for promotion. All to play for at the Caledonian Stadium in a Friday night TV spectacular. Inverness would wear black armbands as a tribute to assistant coach Barry Wilson's mum, Jessie, who sadly passed away this week. Oh how she would have loved to have seen how this match would play out and a goal fit to grace a tribute to a wonderful lady. RIP Jessie and heartfelt condolences to Bobby, Barry and family from the Caley Jags Family Both sides were at or very near to full strength with Billy Mckay and Shane Sutherland up top for Inverness and Kilmarnock had Liam Polworth in midfield for them with Chris Burke and Ollie Shaw in attack. A cagey opening quarter saw Inverness take the game to the visitors without being able to create anything of note, that was until the 14th minute when Roddy MacGregor fed Billy Mckay through on the inside left position, but his shot was blocked by the legs of Zach Hemming at the expense of a corner, which came to nothing. McKenzie brought out a good save from Mark Ridgers as his low curling shot was heading to the bottom corner as it skidded off the wet surface, the ball going behind for a corner. Inverness almost took the lead just before the half hour after Sean Welsh was blocked and the ball fell nicely for Sutherland. Unfortunately he placed his curled effort just off target and it hit the stanchion of the netting. Ten minutes before the break Aaron Doran found himself in space after cutting in from the left but he fired high and wide. Five minutes before the break and Doran never learned from his previous abysmal effort and he fired another effort well over the bar from thirty yards. Right on the break, Burke fired across the goal from the edge of the box and just wide to bring a dour first half to a close. That would have been an injustice on Inverness who had dominated the first forty-five. Half Time: 0-0 A livelier start to the second half saw Hemming tip away a deep cross and when Killie broke forward Ridgers had to gather a low shot from Lyons. A mix up in the Inverness box allowed Ollie Shaw a free hit but he sliced it wide from ten yards. Not quite the melee from the Morton game, but still something we need to cut out. Almost out of nothing, Inverness took the lead with a stunning strike into the top corner. Allardice did well to keep the ball and when Welsh got it outside the box he sidestepped a challenge before rifling the ball into the roof of the net from twenty-five yards. What a strike, and on the telly too! Almost a second minutes later but Tom Walsh scuffed his shot from twelve yards and Hemming made the save at full stretch, and with ten minutes left Robbie Deas fired a powerful shot just over from twenty-five yards. Full Time: 1-0 Inverness saw out the game with little fuss and kept Killie penned in their own half at the final whistle. This result puts Inverness back on the top of the table, maybe just for one day, but it was a thoroughly deserved win and the second win over Killie this season. There's him... Sean Welsh. Centre Back on Tuesday night against Raith Rovers in the Challenge Cup, Striker on Friday night in the top of the table clash with Kilmarnock and scoring a stunning winner from twenty-five yards into the top corner. That was his 13th goal for the Caley Jags. No doubt he will be back to being just another midfielder when we travel to Cappielow in midweek for a Scottish Cup replay against Morton, but what a guy. Here's our Bio for Sean: Sean started his career at Hibs and excelled in the U19 team, captaining them to a league and cup double in 2008/09 and being awarded the League Player of the Season that year but a series of injuries including a double leg-break limited his first team chances. He went on loan to Stenhousemuir and then Stirling Albion in the 2010/11 season but agreed a one year deal extension with Hibs in the interim. In July 2011 he was injured in a training session after being punched by a team-mate and required surgery to repair a broken cheekbone He made a further 8 appearances on the subs bench but did not feature on the park. A loan spell at Partick followed in early 2012 and when he was released from his contract at the end of the season he signed a two year deal with Partick. Welsh was an integral part of the 2012/13 First division championship winning side and was handed the Partick captaincy for their return to the Premiership ahead of the 2013/14 season. Once again injury hampered his season (knee) and he was limited to only 3 appearances. In 2015/16 and 2016/17 he had a total of 64 appearances scoring 6 goals. He left Partick when his contract expired. Sean was out of the game for almost 8 months before signing on a short-term deal with Falkirk during the 2017/18 season. At the end of the season he left Falkirk and signed for Caley Thistle. He scored his first goal for the club, a 48th minute penalty against Alloa in a League match at the Caledonian Stadium on August 25th 2018. Rrripper.......Booooom! Doddsy Delight Date: 03/12/2021 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2296 Referee: Nick Walsh Inverness CT: 1 Manager: Billy Dodds Lineup: Ridgers; Carson, Broadfoot, Devine, Deas, Doran (Harper 75), Welsh, Allardice, MacGregor (Walsh 62), Sutherland, B Mckay (McAlear 85) Subs (not used): C Mackay; McDonald, Jamieson Scorers: Welsh (69) Booked: Welsh (87) Sent Off: none Kilmarnock: 0 Manager: Tommy Wright Lineup: Hemming; Hodson, McGowan, E Murray, Waters, Lyons, Polworth (Alston 71), McKenzie (F Murray 71), Burke, Shaw, Robinson (Burrell 79) Subs (not used): Walker; Sanders, Stokes, Armstrong Scorers: none Booked: McKenzie (42) Sent Off: none a
  3. End of season fare A frustrating afternoon all round and some strange decisions. The game was dominated by a soft penalty award for each side. With the rest of the SPL battling for top spot, UEFA places or against relegation there was little to play for here - the only issue was to see who would finish seventh. Killie captain Gary Locke chipped over the bar in eight minutes then a low off-target Stuart Golabek shot was deflected for a corner at the other end. Alan Combe pushed away a Craig Brewster volley in 14 minutes then a 19th minute header from Bryan Prunty hit the net but he was offside. A minute later the visitors took an unexpected lead when Gary Wales sent James Fowler away down the right and his cross was knocked in at the back post by Gary McDonald. In 27 minutes a Barry Wilson corner from the left curled into the area and a penalty was awarded - apparently Darren Dods's shirt was being pulled. Ross Tokely hit the spot kick low past Combe for 1-1. With five minutes of the first half left Brewster drew two defenders and left space for a Golabek shot from 20 yards but it sailed over. Half Time: 1-1 Mark Brown's first real save of the match came in 63 minutes when he held an angled shot from Wales. Seconds later Colin Nish closed in on a through ball and Brown raced to clear. Brown's busy spell continued as he caught a 20 yard Peter Leven shot through a ruck of players. The second bizarre penalty award of the day came in 72 minutes following a free kick from Wales. Another crowded goalmouth, the usual chaos and a penalty awarded for an apparent push by a Caley Thistle player. Leven made no mistake and it was 2-1 to Kilmarnock. Brown prevented what seemed a certain Killie goal in 74 minutes when Wales put Fowler through but the keeper blocked his shot. In 79 minutes Brewster turned neatly in the box and shot from an angle. It looked as if it would creep in but the post came to Combe's rescue. In the ensuing confusion Graham Bayne and Bryan Prunty both hit the bar and a relieved Killie defence cleared. Teenager Rory McAllister came on for the last five minutes in his first appearance after good performances with the reserve side. The youngster was quickly into the thick of the action but nothing quite came off. With a minute left McAllister just managed to keep his feet and pass to Wilson who set up Black but the Man of the Match only managed to hit it well over from long range. Freddy Dindeleux then failed to clear a Dods lob into the box from long range but McAllister could not reach the loose ball. Full Time: 1-2 The three added minutes produced nothing of note and Killie took the points. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness CT: 1 (Tokely 28 pen) Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Hastings, Golabek, Proctor (Bayne 62), Black, McBain, Wilson, Brewster, Prunty (McAllister 85). Subs Not Used: Fraser; Duncan, Fox, Fetai - Booked: Tokely (60), McBain (70). Kilmarnock: 2 (McDonald 21, Leven 72 pen) Team: Combe; Fowler, Lilley, Dindeleux, Hay, Invincibile (Greer 60), Locke, McDonald, Leven (Johnston 86), Dargo (Nish 54), Wales. Subs Not Used: Smith; Murray, Dodds, Naismith - Booked: Locke, Hay. Attendance: 3,108 - Referee: Eddie Smith
  4. Rugby Park firsts This first-ever win against Kilmarnock pushed ICT up to a new high of seventh in the SPL. After the disappointment of last week against Aberdeen this was a victory to relish. With Juanjo out injured for the rest of the season some reorganisation was required. Ian Black replaced Russell Duncan in midfield and Graham Bayne partnered Craig Brewster in the striking role. Ross Tokely overtook Charlie Christie's record with his 315th appearance. In the end just one goal separated the sides but chances were missed at both ends. Alan Combe tipped over a Brewster shot in only two minutes and seven minutes later Mark Brown pushed a Peter Leven curling free kick onto the bar. In 13 minutes Combe stopped a Stuart Golabek shot and watched as Graham Bayne's follow-up hit the post. Just after the half-hour mark ICT scored what proved to be the only goal of the match. Freddy Dindeleux hesitated, Brewster stepped in and found Barry Wilson in the clear. He rounded Combe and slotted home his tenth goal of the season from an acute angle. Kilmarnock fought back immediately but Brown saved from Gary Wales and Steven Naismith's angled drive from long range went just wide. Killie pushed hard through to the break but could not find a way through the ICT defence. Half Time: 0-1 The pattern continued into the second half and Brown did well to block a Gary McDonald effort in 50 minutes. Wales should have done better in 57 minutes when he failed to connect properly with a Naismith cross despite being well placed close to goal. Bayne had a chance to double the lead in 78 minutes after being sent through by Brewster but his shot had no power and Combe collected easily. Despite a late surge from Kilmarnock the ICT defence held firm and it ended 1-0. Full Time: 0-1 Caley Thistle continue to look upwards in the league with seven games left as the spectre of relegation continues to recede. There is now a 14 point gap over basement club Dundee United and an outside chance of a top six finish. Motherwell are six points ahead with two games left before the split and have a six-goal advantage. All this adds some spice to Tuesday's visit of the Steelmen to Inverness. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Kilmarnock: 0 Team: Combe; Fowler, Hay, Lilley, Dindeleux, McDonald, Murray, Leven, Naismith (Johnston 65), Boyd, Wales (Nish 62) Subs not used: Smith, Dodds, Greer, Johnstone McGregor - Booked: Lilley Inverness CT: 1 (Wilson 32) Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Wilson (Duncan 79), Hart (Fetai 75), Black (Proctor), McBain, Bayne, Brewster Subs not used: Fraser; McCaffrey, Hastings, Prunty - Booked: Brewster (60), Black (70) Attendance: 4862 - Referee: Ian Fyfe
  5. Despite Kilmarnock coming out of the blocks the quickest to test ICT Goalkeeper Michael Fraser they did little else to threaten the Caley Jags for the remainder of the game. A fine free-kick from Dougie Imrie saw him score his first goal for the club. The second goal was awarded as an o.g. to Lilley and we'll have to wait for the television replay, but there's every chance that McBain had a foot on it. Marius Niculae scored the third with a World Class finish on 79 minutes, and got booked for jumping the hoardings to celebrate in front of a Romanian flag. All in all it was a successful day at the office. 19/04/08 Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, Inverness INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE 3 Imrie (10) Lilley OG (71) Niculae (79) Team: Fraser, Tokely, Proctor, Munro (Paatelainen 86), Hastings, Wilson (Hart 72), McBain, Cowie, Imrie, Niculae (McAllister 86), Wyness SUBS: Vigurs, Black, Kerr, Malkowski KILMARNOCK 0 Team: Combe, Fowler, Lilley, Hay, O'Leary, Clancy, Invincible, Flannigan, Locke (Hammil 63), Wales (Dalglish 60), Fernandaz (Di Giacomo 68) SUBS: Rascle, Murray, Ford, McInnes Referee A Muir Attendance 3420 This was the first of our post-split fixtures and as has been the case since the introduction of the split setup the run in to the end of the season becomes an almost meaningless affair, even more so this season as events at Gretna have already confirmed them as taking the drop. Things haven’t been too great at ICT since the start of the year with only 2 wins, both against Gretna, to be shown for “efforts” on the park, so I went in to this game with very little expectation and simply wanting to see some entertaining football and a bit of team cohesiveness and fight. Some indication that we were making the turn and starting to get things back on track seemed to be the common wish for those who ha met up before the match for a swift pint (or four) before heading to the Stadium. The meeting in the Innes turned up a surprise visitor for many as Scotty (site owner) had arrived from Canada earlier in the week, and the moment got a little more surreal when it transpired that Canuck, also from Toronto, was to be in attendance. Despite only living a (relatively) short distance from each other in Canada, the Innes Bar was, yet again, to prove to be the International meeting point for ICT fans. With vocal cords suitably lubricated it was off to the game. The sun was shining, spirits were high and with any luck the result wouldn’t spoil the day. The game got off to a relatively slow start, but Kilmarnock were creating the early chances with Michael Fraser called in to action to tip one over the bar and then see another safely round the post. In fact, things were so slow in the first 10 minutes that we found the idiotic antics of a Steward far more entertaining as he childishly tried to “stare down” the fans in Section G….although it later transpired he might have actually been in a Coma as he had to be woken from his slumber twice by his supervisor….lol. A huge Cheer then erupted from the Caley Jags faithful…oh damn, we’d missed our opening goal…apparently it was a well taken free-kick where Imrie managed to dupe the defensive wall and stick it straight in the back of the net for his first ever ICT goal. Eyes back on the game now, we weren’t going to miss anything else. Their wasn’t much to split the teams during the first 45 minutes of the match other than Caley Thistle creating more chances at the front. Barry Wilson and Dougie Imrie were delivering some great balls into the box, and they were coming with pace which was catching out the Kilmarnock defence...and unfortunately our own players too who have been more used to long balls or floated balls into the area in recent weeks (and months). We were getting contact on the ball, but were a little slow to get the feet off the ground to get above them and send them downwards instead of over the bar. Wyness, Niculae and Cowie all recorded half decent efforts before the half and our back four looked comfortable as they kept Kilmarnock at bay and made it a quiet half for Michael Fraser. HALF TIME: Inverness CT 1 v 0 Kilmarnock For the first time in long enough I can’t imagine Brewster would have had too much to shout about during the break. The first half had been slow, but it was controlled and the team were playing as a unit. If anything Brewster would be asking them to just pick up the pace a little. Both teams came on for the second half looking as if they were going to lift the tempo, but still Kilmarnock had little to offer in the final third of the pitch, and had it not been for their defensive it could have easily turned into a more comprehensive battering. Tokely was first to get a shot away within a minute of the re-start when he found himself with the ball on the right and he stuck his head down and made for goal. His shot from just inside the 18 yard box going narrowly wide on the left. The longer the game went on, the more comfortable ICT looked on the ball and the more Kilmarnock fell out of it. We were getting the ball down and passing it well in all areas of the park. Wilson and Imrie were commanding the wide areas, Cowie was sitting comfortable in the centre and McBain was covering ground like a man possessed…not in a long time have I seen one player appear in so many places on the park, and he was doing it with real purpose creating chances like they were going out of fashion. His rewards were to come in the 71st minute when his perseverance saw him chasing down a ball and pressuring Kilmarnock’s Lilley. Hard to tell who got the final touch on the ball, but no doubt at all that it beat a scrambling Combe to go in at the bottom corner to make it 2-0 to Caley Thistle. So far we’d seen Tokely miss narrowly wide and head one over, a Wilson shot saved, a Wyness lob tipped over the bar and Cowie shot also go over…so we were creating plenty of chances and getting our rewards. Wilson had taken a knock around about the hour mark so it wasn’t surprising to see him substituted in the 72nd minute. With Hart having already signed a pre-contract with Ross County for next season it was a little surprising to see him come on to the field and being 2 goals up it would have been nice to see one of the younger lads getting a chance, but que sera…Hart came on and slotted in well without upsetting the controlled and effective formation we’d been displaying all afternoon. Wyness hadn’t having his typical type game and looked a bit rusty when it came to the twists and turns we expect, but he had been doing a great job of holding up the ball and allowing us to get forward in numbers to support. This had been showing for almost the entire game when we seemed to have 5 or 6 guys in or around the goal for every cross ball and attacking play. A double corner was to lead to our next goal. Kilmarnock cleared the first but it came straight back at them and they were forced to play it out for a second corner. This too was cleared but not far enough and the ball came back to Niculae who was sitting on the right hand edge of the 18 yard box with only the on rushing keeper between him and the goal. He showed his class by staying composed and lifting the ball over and round Combe to find the back of the net and make it 3-0 for the Highlanders on 79 mins. If anyone ever doubted Niculae's passion for the game or the team then that was firmly put to bed as he showed his appreciation to the fans by jumping the wall to go and meet them in celebration. It might have resulted in the only card of the game, but you can be sure the fans aren’t complaining and chants of “Marius Niculae” were belted forth from the stands…his contract might have been the cause of some tension behind the scenes, but there’s no doubting that he is a firm favourite among the Caley Thistle followers. A double substitution on 86 minutes for ICT saw Niculae and Munro being replaced by McAllister and Paatelainen. Not sure if it was some streetwise antics by Niculae or not, but he made a bit of a meal in leaving the field to run down a little more of the clock, and ensured he shook the referees hand on the way. Both he and Munro were applauded from the park and deservedly so as both had had a great game. The final shot of the game came from Hart from 20 yards out after McAllister looked to pass up the opportunity for himself and send the ball into the middle. Once again Combe denied us a goal, but when your 3-0 up, nobody really cares. FULL TIME: Inverness CT 3 v 0 Kilmarnock Overall the game was pretty much what I had been hoping for. It wasn’t the worlds best ever display, but we were solid, we were passing well and creating chances. Our defence was solid at the back for the whole 90 minutes and we were once again playing as a complete unit. One Swallow does not make a summer…but our performance in the last 3 games has been much improved and the signs are there that we are starting to turn the corner. It’s off to Tynecasle next week to play Hearts and I’m sure todays results will go along way to adding a few to the crowd for that one….long may it continue.
  6. A humiliating 4-1 defeat today against Kilmarnock makes it 6 defeats in a row and 10 games without a win. The solitary win in 2008 came against freefalling Gretna in early January. Its time for changes at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium but will anyone have the balls to step up and make them...... 22/03/08 Rugby Park, Kilmarnock KILMARNOCK 4 Wright (38), Bryson (50, 56), Flannigan (64) Team: Combe, Lilley, Hay, Wright, Clancy, Fowler, Bryson, Flannigan, Taouil, Invincible, Fernandez SUBS: Di Giacamo, Wales, Hamill, Morgan, Johnston, O'Leary, Harpur INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE 1 Black (14pen) Team: Fraser, Tokely, McGuire, Munro, Proctor, Vigurs (Hart 62), Black, Duncan, McBain (Imrie 73), Bayne, Niculae (McAllister 77) SUBS: Cowie, Kerr, Hastings, Malkowski Referee Stephen Finnie Attendance 5100 tm4tj said: I did some hoovering, washed some dishes, picked the wife up from the shops, sat down and we had gone from 0-1 to 4-1. I almost left early, then I realised I was already at home.... From CTO: That long trip up the M77/A9 in the snow seems an awful lot harder when your team has just had a 4-1 pasting! I can't fault the team for effort. They tried but there was a big hole in front of the defenders which allowed Killie to run riot in the second half. Also, there seems to be an understandable lack of confidence with all the recent defeats and this was obvious in the last third of the field. Bursting forward from the halfway line didn't seem a problem but as soon as there was any pressure from the Killie defence, ideas would run out and the ball would be given away cheaply - again and again. My usual moan is that they are afraid to have a shot from distance but I couldn't fault them for that on this occasion (not that it happened often). There was a clear lack of cohesion today, set-pieces were wasted, second-half passing was atrocious and our team look like a mid-table First Division outfit struggling against better quality players in a genuine SPL team. As someone said above, we have made a habit of signing lower league players who will never be SPL standard. Can't fault the effort - just the quality is not there with a number of them. Our first half performance was reasonable though and I thought David Proctor had a very good first 45 minutes. We were doing fine before Christmas but I genuinely think all this contract signing hoo-haa has seriously affected team spirit and individual performances and has allowed certain players to think they are an awful lot better than they actually are. When these players have 26 caps for their country then I will understand why they should be holding out for a similar deal to the one Marius Niculae has. On the positive side - I was really impressed with the Rugby Park stadium (my first visit there). I thought the Killie folk (including the stewards) were really friendly. And the Killie pies ARE indeed as good as they are hyped up to be. I also had a chat with Jim Jeffries when he stopped to give my wee fella an autograph. He most definitely rates as one of the nicest and most pleasant guys I have ever met in football - a real gentleman!! Resident analyst Alternative Maryhill said: Amazed A96 managed to draw any positives out of that at all. It was deeply humiliating. We were just about passable in the first half, but having said that, we looked like we were playing a team even lower in confidence than us. Killie looked tentative whenever they had the ball. There was a bit of luck about their equaliser, but the moment their second went in it just felt like that they, their fans and our fans knew we were there for the taking. After 4 it looked like it was going to be 6 or 7. I have to disagree with the comment about not being able to fault the players for effort too - I didn't see too many throwing themselves into tackles, chasing every 50-50 and looking determined to rescue the game. McBain seemed to be hiding and I don't recall Bayne, surprisingly, doing much chasing back. Duncan set himself new standards for the ineptitude of his passing. Niculae and Black, as usual, started brightly and looked inventive but by half time had been dragged into the mediocrity of it all. Still wouldn't have subbed Niculae, but as the whole occasion was characterised by tactical idiocy from Mr Brewster, at least he was being consistent when he hooked Marius. Just three examples of Brewster's cretinous tactics: 1. If anyone can explain to me the wisdom of dropping Cowie and forcing Tokely, in effect, to have to run the entire length of the touchline for the whole game, I'd be happy to listen. Tokely did fight for the shirt yesterday, but he's too one-dimensional going forward to bring any real invention, and we did look exposed at the back. This 3-5-2 thing stops working when you're behind and both having to defend and trying to get goals back - all you end up with is knackered wide players who are neither fish nor fowl. 2. Why put Vigurs into a team which is already so low on confidence? There's no way he was going to make a significant difference. At times yesterday he looked quite classy on the ball and certainly looked like he was trying to make passes, but there didn't seem to be anyone really looking for it. Hiding, as I said earlier. If we had to change things, and we did, yesterday was surely a day for players with some experience but something to prove - Hart (who at least showed the right attitude when he did get on), Markus, Dennis. 3. Can anyone point to an occasion when the Bayne - Niculae partnership has been an unqualified success? I've not been to any home games this season so I may have missed occasions when they looked good together, but I've never seen it and it certainly isn't working now. The best performances I've seen this season have all, to my recollecton, had Marius partnering Wyness up front and Rankin wide left. So why not go back to tha... oh, I forgot. We can't. Because you sold Rankin and you've effectively pushed Wyness out of the club. Nice one. The second half was, I think, in 12 or 13 years of attending games, the most spineless and depressing performance I've witnessed from a Caley side, and that includes the Morton and Airdrie circuses mentioned by Arbroath Awayday. That bad. Don't know if there's any point in getting shot of CB now, purely because I don't see a replacement and it would be folly to panic and stick any old applicant in, but the thought of him still being here next season makes me shudder and relegation, on yesterday's evidence and given the recent travesties in man-management, would be highly likely.
  7. There's usually goals when ICT and Killie meet and today was no exception. After an insipid performance a few days ago at the Falkirk Stadium, the Caley Jags were a lot more classy today. A Marius Niculae double and a Don Cowie goal earned Caley Thistle a deserved victory in the final fixture of 2007. Kilmarnock got a late consolation with a soft penalty award that Colin Nish put beyond Michael Fraser. 29/12/07 Tulloch Caledonian Stadium INVERNESS CT 3 Niculae (42,76), Cowie (52) Team: Fraser, Tokely, McGuire (Proctor 88), Munro, Hastings, Cowie, Black, Duncan, Rankin, Bayne (Wyness 83), Niculae Subs: McAllister, Vigurs, Wilson, Duff, Malkowski KILMARNOCK 1 Nish (86pen) Team: Combe, Hamill, Ford, O'Leary, Hay, Fernandez (Johnston 79), Fowler, Bryson (Koudou 72), Taouil, Nish, Wales Subs: Flannigan, Locke, Noble, Clancy, Harpur Referee Craig MacKay Attendance 4169 The Caley Thistle lads bounced back from a lack-lustre performance and narrow 1-0 against Falkirk on Boxing day to put together a convincing performance against Kilmarnock at home and secure all 3 points. The opening goal nearly fell to on loan defender Phil McGuire when the ball came to him inside the area. The fact that he found himself with his back to the goal didn’t seem to deter him and had it not been for the sharp reflexes of Alan Combe in the visitor’s goal then we would have been looking at one of the most impressive goals ever scored at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. Inverness CT were on the ascendancy and Kilmarnock were doing little to threaten Mike Fraser and the Inverness goal. Bayne was next to have a go for ICT, but his header went narrowly wide. Kilmarnock never really came in to the game until the 25th minute when Fraser found himself well positioned to stick a boot on an effort from Fernandez who managed to penetrate the ICT defence for the first time in the match. Nish, who has a habit of scoring against us, was next to be denied when Michael Fraser had to dive full stretch to prevent a low ball from finding the back of the net. Marius Niculae has been starting to find his range in recent games and on 38 minutes he tested Alan Combe’s resolve when he hit a solid 25 yard volley towards the bottom right corner, which the keeper did well to push wide. Had it not been for Combe then ICT could easily have found themselves a couple of goals up at this stage, but we were keeping the pressure on and the effort was rewarded just before half-time when John Rankin placed a powerful shot at Combe who could only block it and watch as it fell to Niculae who slotted it away with relative ease. Half Time – Inverness CT 1 – 0 Kilmarnock It wouldn’t be your typical Caley Jags v Killie match if it finished with just one goal, and true to form another one was soon on its way after the break. Richard Hastings had been pushing forward and he played the ball into the path of Cowie who pulled off a sublime piece of finishing making it 2-0 to the home team on 52 minutes. Hastings was next to find himself in position and should have done more to reward himself for his efforts after his initial shot was blocked by Combe but fell to him again only a few yards out….thrashing at the ball he could only mange (somehow) to send it over the bar when it would have been easier to score. Kilmarnock were doing nothing which even looked like coming close to threatening Michael Fraser in the second half with the ball rarely finding it’s way into the Caley Thistle third of the park. With all the excitement being at the other end it was only going to be a matter of time before Inverness added another with Niculae feeling confident and taking every opportunity to pressure the on-form Alan Combe. He had another 25 yard effort go narrowly wide and somehow managed to fight his way through a crowded Kilmarnock defence before seeing another shot blocked, but he wasn’t to wait to much longer before he found himself on the scorecard for the second time. Combe had done well to block a shot from Graeme Bayne only to see the ball land at the feet of Don Cowie. As we all know Cowie is more than capable of finding the net, but Niculae obviously thought he was better placed as he cheekily pinched the ball from his under his nose and blasted it towards goal. Combe, again, managed to get a hand to it, but the pace this time was too much for him to have any real chance of keeping it from bursting the net in 76 minutes. It was pretty much the same story for the next 10 minutes with Caley Thistle being the ones applying all the pressure, but 4 minutes from time a moments slackness on the part of Phil McGuire gifted Kilmarnock a penalty kick after he handled it in the box. Colin Nish, desperate to keep up his scoring record against us no doubt, stepped up and slotted the ball home to finish off the scoring for the day. Full Time: 3 – 1
  8. Its always worrying when you hear your opponents are struggling to field a full strength side, that the bookies have made you favourites and that a lot of money has been placed on your team to win. These things are often a recipe for disaster as the understrength side go on to play well and defy the bookies odds, and the so-called favourites seem blasé that they just have to turn up to win. With the benefit of hindsight, the statisticians or the more cautious amongst us would perhaps have looked to previous results and know that 5 of the previous 10 SPL fixtures between the sides had ended in score draws. 05/10/07 Rugby Park, Kilmarnock KILMARNOCK 2 Koudou (1), Nish (56) Team: Combe, Fowler, Wright, Lilley, Ford, Flannigan (Locke 87), Gibson, Bryson, Hammill, Koudou (Jarvis 70), Nish Subs: Noble, Murray, Rascle INVERNESS CT 2 Ford (22 og), Cowie (61) Team: Fraser, Tokely, McGuire, Munro, McBain, Wilson (Hastings 80), Black, Duncan, Cowie, Niculae (Bayne 63), Wyness (D McDonald 86) Subs: Proctor, Vigurs, Kerr, Malkowski Referee Iain Brines Attendance 4456 Its always worrying when you hear your opponents are struggling to field a full strength side, that the bookies have made you favourites and that a lot of money has been placed on your team to win. These things are often a recipe for disaster as the understrength side go on to play well and defy the bookies odds, and the so-called favourites seem blasé that they just have to turn up to win. With the benefit of hindsight, the statisticians or the more cautious amongst us would perhaps have looked to previous results and know that 5 of the previous 10 SPL fixtures between the sides had ended in score draws. And so it was on Saturday …. Kilmarnock fielded a side that was certainly not ‘first choice’, naming only 5 substitutes, and conceding that only one of those could last more than 10-15 minutes if called upon. Caley Thistle on the other hand, with an unchanged starting 11 from the one that beat Falkirk 4-2 the previous week, underperformed and the end result was a 2-2 draw. Within a minute of the kick-off, Mike Fraser had conceded a horrendous goal. Craig Bryson hit an effort from 20 yards and Fraser judged it to be going out. Unfortunately his judgement was wrong and he could only push it onto the post where it bounced out into the path of Aime Koudou who had the easiest of tap-ins to make it 1-0. Barry Wilson shot wide in 10 minutes and then in 18 minutes a neat one-two between Wyness and Niculae ended with a fierce shot from Wyness that was well saved by Combe. The 21st minute equaliser was equally strange. Fraser Wright sliced a clearance on the edge of the box under no real pressure from Wyness and there seemed to be a mix-up between Simon Ford and Alan Combe. Combe was coming for the ball, but Ford tried to head it back to where he had been seconds earlier and despite Combe scrambling back he couldn’t stop it as it rolled into the net to make it 1-1. Further chances fell to both sides in the first half with both Lilley and Bryson coming close for the home side and Don Cowie coming close for ICT but it ended all square. Half Time: 1-1 If the first half goals were weird, the second half goals seemed a little more orthodox in nature ! Marius Niculae had the first real chance of the second half and forced a good save out of Combe in 48 minutes but it was Colin Nish who would put Killie in front again after 55 minutes with a route one goal. A long kickout from Combe bounced deep inside the ICT half and Fraser opted to come out for it. Unfortunately for Ike, it was met by the head of Nish at the edge of the box and he headed it over him to make it 2-1. Five minutes later, Caley Thistle got back on level terms through Don Cowie. The close season signing from Ross County who has been in sensational form since his move to ICT blasted a 25-yard free kick round the wall and into the top right corner past the helpless Combe. A goal of real quality that later had manager Brewster proclaiming it as “top drawer”. As the game drew to a close both sides had chances to win it with Ryan Jarvis having a good chance for Killie and Graham Bayne coming the closest for ICT. Full Time: 2-2
  9. Bayne and Dargo score as Caley Thistle draw 2-2 with Kilmarnock. This game also saw Juanjo make his first appearance of the season as a late second half substitute. Saturday 19th November 2005 Rugby Park, Kilmarnock KILMARNOCK FC 2 (Boyd 54, Naismith 56) Team: Combe, Fowler, Wright, Greer, Ford, Hay, Invincibile (Murray 81), Johnston, Dodds (Nish 46), Naismith (Wales 80), Boyd Subs: McDonald, Campbell, Pronevych, Smith INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE FC 2 (Bayne 30, Dargo 77) Team: Brown, Tokely, Dods, Munro, Hastings, Proctor, Black (Fox 77), Duncan, Wilson, Bayne (Brewster 80), Dargo (83 Juanjo) Subs: Hart, Wyness, Morgan, Fraser Referee A Freeland Attendance 4708 Man of the Match Info Not Provided A good away point from a game that started well but nearly slipped away from Caley Thistle. The Graham Bayne/Craig Dargo strike partnership came up trumps with a goal each – Dargo came back to haunt his former club with a 77th minute equaliser after Caley Thistle had taken a first half lead then surrendered it to two goals early in the second half. Craig Brewster stayed with the starting line-up from the disappointing Livingston cup tie but gave himself a place on the bench. Kilmarnock created very little in the first half but Mark Brown did have to look lively in ten minutes to clear ahead of Kris Boyd. Two minutes later ex-Killie striker Dargo came close when he forced an excellent one-handed save from Alan Combe. Caley Thistle deservedly took a 1-0 lead through Bayne on the half hour mark. Ian Black’s pass reached Dargo but he chose to set up his strike partner – Bayne slid the ball home from 15 yards. Richard Hastings and Russell Duncan both had chances in a two minute spell before the break with Hastings putting a shot wide from 20 yards and Duncan putting a 25 yarder over the bar while Steven Naismith and Gordon Greer also had chances in first half injury time with Naismith’s being the better after being setup by Allan Johnston but marshalled well by Mark Brown. Half Time: 0-1 A half-time substitution by Jim Jefferies signalled the Kilmarnock intention to attack this game when he replaced defender Rhian Dodds with forward Colin Nish and although Barry Wilson did have a shot at goal in 48 minutes, it was Kilmarnock who now started to look likely to score. Allan Johnston seemed to have a free role and he was instrumental in setting up a quickfire double for the Rugby Park men. In 54 minutes, he fired over a cross from the left wing which found Kris Boyd 6 yards out and he hit it into the net for the equaliser. The dust had not settled when Killie made it 2-1 through either Colin Nish or Steven Naismith depending on who is telling the story. Naismith latched onto a clever chip from Alan Johnston with the visitors awaiting an offside decision that never came. Naismith curled the ball past Brown from a tight angle with Nish claiming a final touch. Naismith was given the credit but for Caley Thistle it did not really matter whose name went into the record books. Caley Thistle had to pick themselves up from these two shocks and slowly they did just that. Barry Wilson had an effort go wide in the 76th minute before setting up Craig Dargo for the equaliser a minute later. Barry crossed from the right and Craig Dargo bent low to head it home. Caley Thistle made three substitutions over the next few minutes with Fox replacing Black when he seemed to pick up a knock, Brewster replacing Bayne, and in 83 minutes, the player all fans wanted to see return to the fray made his season debut – albeit only for 7 minutes – when Juanjo came on to the cheers of the away support to replace Craig Dargo. The Spanish wizard didn’t have time to make much of an impact, but it was good to see him back on the park after a frustrating 7 month layoff. Killie too had made their other two substitutions in this frantic 5 minute substituting spell with Wales replacing Steven Naismith and Stephen Murray replacing Danny Invincible. With seven minutes left Killie did come close to a winner when Gary Wales drove from 20 yards and Brown dived to save well. As time ran out Brown tipped over a Johnston shot and Wilson shot over the bar at the other end. The Killie fans shouted for a penalty when Nish clashed with Darren Dods but Alan Freeland ignored the pleas. Full Time: 2-2 It ended 2-2 and the point pushed ICT up to seventh for a short time until Aberdeen took a point from Hearts 24 hours later.
  10. Snow good enough Inverness lost 2-1 at a snowy Kilmarnock as we slid to defeat. This result leaves us looking down the table with trepidation instead of setting our sights on challenging for a European slot behind Celtic, Aberdeen and Hearts. Ross Draper scored a landmark 1500th goal for Inverness Caledonian Thistle, but it was not enough to save us from losing this game as Greg Kiltie and Craig Slater scored the goals to move Killie to within four points of Inverness. Slater's goal was an absolute belter, volleying home from the edge of the box via the underside of the bar, a goal fit to win any game. The snow did it's best to help Inverness out but despite a late flurry from the visitors, it was Killie that took all three points. Date: 16/01/16 Venue: Rugby Park, Kilmarnock Attendance: 2937 Referee: Don Robertson Kilmarnock: 2 Lineup: MacDonald, Findlay, Higginbotham (Robinson 87), Ashcroft, Slater, Kiltie, Syme, Balatoni, Carrick, Hamill, Frizzell (Obadeyi 77) Subs (not used): Brennan, Boyd, Barbour, Hawkshaw, Splaine Scorers: Kiltie (9), Slater (51) Booked: Slater (52) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon-Williams, Raven (Sutherland 81), Tremarco, Warren, Draper, Wedderburn (Fisher 62), Tansey, Williams, Polworth (Mbuyi-Mutombo 61), Vigurs, Storey Subs (not used): Esson, Foran, Roberts, Brown Scorers: Draper (41) Booked: Tansey (28), Mbuyi-Mutombo (80), Tremarco (92) Sent Off: none
  11. Almost there. Inverness took a massive step towards the Championship with another defeat. This time it was Kilmarnock who inflicted the pain as we struggled to get back on level terms having gone two goals down through Longstaff and Jones. Alex Fisher grabbed a goal but despite a frantic finish to the game we failed to get a point and relegation looks to be imminent. Immortal Howden Ender witnessed this one and his report is here.............. Well I travelled with forlorn hope and a fair degree of trepidation. But that still did not stop me and my 146 compatriots from sitting in the away stand, cheer on the boys and hope for some salvation. My only negative thought at the start was the inclusion of Anier but otherwise I was quite happy with the first team choice. Fisher has deserved his chance and may have been a more polished player if he had been given a run early. He had a clear cut chance in the 2nd minute, through on goal, 1-1 with McDonald and he totally fecked it up. If he had kept his composure, as he did 69 minutes later then it may have been a different story. So we have a plastic pitch. We are playing in to the wind and the driving rain. Killie know the surface and they play tippy tappy at the back, use the width, take people on and are patient. Us we hoof at every opportunity. Billy Mckay must wonder what the feck is going on. Anier offers sod all and Mulraney has an off-day but rarely gets a ball at his feet or a pass to run on to. The clear tactic was to feckin hoof it. And for the second time away from home Esson makes the second big error (OK there were 2 errors) of his belated season and gifts the first goal to Longstaff. Just what we did not need. You could see some heads go down at that time. Have to say that I was really impressed by Frizell, Jones and Wilson. If we had that three playing for us we would have hammered them. But we have Foran and the hoof. So half time comes along and you think lets have a go. But God lets us down again. The wind dies down, the rain stops and some feckin sunshine comes out. And as if that wasn’t bad enuff we hook Mulraney for Vigurs. We put Draper up front and we switch Fisher to wide right midfield. Yes wide right midfield !! Foran complained about our defending for the second but I thought it was tidy lead up play and a very tidy finish by Jones who had tormented Brad all day long. And guess who had the two long range shots on target – of course – David Raven !! Anier goes off, 58 minutes too late, and gets replaced by Polworth who never got into the game. Not sure exactly where he was playing though. And then we hook Draper and take on Cole. BUT we put Cole on the left BUT keep Fisher on the wide right and put Mckay up front on his own. We pack feckin midfield with the lackadaisical Vigurs and Tansey with Polworth running around like a headless chicken. But as the chants against Foran begin to grow we put ourselves back in the game. Great pass from Vigurs and Fisher tucks it away very neatly, 69 minutes too late. Lee McCulloch summed it up nicely – “The last 10 minutes were a bit nervy but we got there in the end.” We began to show the desire and fight that we should have been showing for weeks, nay months. No player can be faulted for endeavour in the last 15 minutes. Killie looked shell shocked and took their feet off the pedal. And wee Billy could have got us that desperately needed point with a glorious lob which would have been a goal of the season contender if it went in. We actually started playing football as well. Alas too late. And Foran summed up the day – “I'm delighted with the players' performance, believe it or not. I told them they should be proud of themselves, how they handled the occasion.” Well he must have just been watching the last fifteen minutes and had forgotten the deplorable first 45. And then "Individual mistakes have cost us again. The only disappointing part is the second goal. Jones has so much space to run at us. It's a set-piece for us, they break and score - that's schoolboy defending but overall we were the far better team and had far better chances.” – DOH – wrong goal – and we deserved a point and that would have been a bit of a robbery. “We didn't get what we deserved and that was the three points, in my mind. We need to cut out the individual mistakes, it's been the story of the season.” – Yes agree about the individual mistakes and add it has been the story of MY season. Some players do NOT play for you. And then he concludes as a modern day Lazarus – “We need help from other clubs now, simple as that. We need to do our business on Wednesday and Saturday. There is still a chance. It is probably a small chance, but there is a chance." – WTF !! No Smileymometer but here are my conclusions. Esson did OK but that one mistake early doors killed us. Brad was taken apart by Jones, Raven was solid and full of endeavour. Warren was my MOM for clearly giving his all. Laing was quietly effective. Mulraney never got going and Anier never has got going. Draper looked OK in midfield but was lost up front against a very tall Killie central defence. Tansey looks pretty but he is keeping himself for Aberdire. Fisher gave his all but was a fish out of water wide right. Wee Billy never got used and was a waste in the hole role. He is best on the toes of the last defender. Vigurs actually started trying to play football but he is such a lazy *******. Polworth and Cole made no impact. Ah Well it looks like Dumfries will be my ”home” game next season. Killie v ICT Date: 13/05/17 Venue: Rugby Park, Kilmarnock Attendance: 3137 Referee: John Beaton Kilmarnock: 2 Lineup: MacDonald; Hendrie, Dicker, Ajer, Taylor, Smith, Jones, Longstaff, Frizzell, Kiltie (McKenzie, 77), Sammon Subs (not used): Lyle, Osborne, Roberts, Hawkshaw, Graham, Cameron Scorers: Longstaff (17), Jones (57) Booked: Wilson (15), Smith (16) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Esson; Brad Mckay, Laing, Warren, Raven, Draper (Cole, 70), Tansey, Anier (Polworth, 58), Billy Mckay, Mulraney (Vigurs, 46), Fisher Subs (not used): Hoban, McNaughton, Ebbe, McCart Scorers: Fisher (71) Booked: Brad Mckay (15) Sent Off: none a
  12. Three games to save our season. Running out of games now and a tough task this weekend as we visit Ayrshire to take on Kilmarnock in the third last game of the season, unless we make the play-off place where we have to go head to head with a Championship contender. It's been a long hard season for Inverness as the wheels came off and a disastrous run of one win in twenty-three has taken us to the brink of relegation. There's only one way out of this and that is to win back to back games and look for favourable results from others around us. It's a long shot, but it is possible. We threw ourselves a lifeline last weekend with a narrow 2-1 win over Accies in Inverness. We should have won at a canter as we dominated the first half but had only two goals to show for our attacking intent. We nearly paid the price for not putting the game to bed as Accies made a fist of it in the second half but their late goal was the final kick of the game and the points stuck with Inverness. Killie lost out last week to Dundee and both clubs appear to be safe from relegation although not completely out of the running yet. I'm sure Killie would be happy enough to terminate us this weekend to save them the long hike up North. Results have been shared this term, all three previous games ending in 1-1 draws. However, Killie sit 10 points above Inverness in 8th place as we speak and can not get relegated automatically. On the plus side for us, we have scored more goals than Killie (38-32), but it's our defence that has let us down this season and Killie are superior in that department (50-67). It's a daunting task, but one that is not insurmountable, although our seasons stats say otherwise. Killie have been dealt a blow with news that in form keeper Freddie Woodman will not play for them again this season. He has been called up to the England u20 squad for their u20 world cup campaign which begins in South Korea on 20th May. It's recognition for some excellent performances at Rugby Park for the young keeper who has kept five clean sheets since January 21st. Had we played a keeper of the same quality, I doubt we would be in such a mess right now. With Woodman away, Killie have a decent replacement in Jamie MacDonald. Former County defender Scott Boyd is out for the rest of the season having injured his foot. Greg Kiltie played a part last week and could start. Interim gaffer Lee McCulloch added this on BBC Sport:- "Its going to be a tough match. Inverness are punching well below their weight with where they are in the league table, with the players they've got. So it's just up to us to go out and put on a positive performance in front of the crowd." Richie Foran has long term absentees in Josh Meekings, Aaron Doran and Carl Tremarco. Owain Fon Williams is still out and Ryan Esson will once again be between the sticks. Liam Polworth will return after suspension and Iain Vigurs has recovered from illness. Billy King will be departing for Tannadice next season, I wonder if he is up to the task. Scott Boden showed up well as a sub last week and could be worth a try along with Billy Mckay. Jake Mulraney was impressive in the first half against Accies but faded in the second as the visitors pushed further forward and Jake's supply was limited. It's Foran's shout, maybe Polworth will be added to midfield or Richie's favoured midfielder Iain Vigurs will return. Only one man knows, let's hope he makes the right call. I doubt you would get decent odds on Lewis Horner getting a game. Although the former Hibernian player has been out injured for most of the season, it seems that there is an underlying problem as he has been taken to task by the SFA for match betting. He's obviously not up to scratch on this as he is alleged to have bet on Caley Thistle, surely not for a win! tm4tj prediction:- It's a must not lose game, in fact it's more or less a must win game. We have not been very good at these crunch games this season apart from last weeks win against Accies. It seems that one win and some reckon we are going to escape relegation no problem. I have news for you. We struggled to beat Hamilton but thanks to a dubious 'no penalty' for Hamilton, we took the points and gave ourselves this last chance saloon opportunity. We certainly have the players to do it, but do the players have the leadership, belief and the heart to do it. It's the second of four cup finals for Inverness and defeat is unthinkable. I believe we can do it, but given this seasons heartless performances, then maybe another score draw is on the cards. Motherwell and Hamilton go head to head tomorrow and maybe a draw is the best result for our own slim chances of avoiding the drop. New strips were unveiled this week. Let's hope we get to use them in the Premiership.
  13. Another missed opportunity. Inverness passed up another opportunity to steer away from the foot of the table as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Kilmarnock in the Highlands. It was an entertaining enough game and nobody can have any complaints about the scoreline. Brad Mckay gave away a penalty with a rash challenge inside the box to give Bobby Madden no option but to point to the spot. Kris Boyd converted to open the scoring, but six minutes later Billy Mckay swivelled in the box to hit a low shot in off the post the square matters. With no further scoring thanks to both keepers in excellent form, the game ended level, a better point for Killie than it was for the home side. With Iain Vigurs and Carl Tremarco missing, Richie Foran had to re-jig his outfit and went with five defenders and King & Cole as the playmakers. Aberdeen bound Greg Tansey was given a key role to provide the ammunition for the strikers. Killie had Kris Boyd on from the off with the tricky Jordan Jones the wide provider. It was a fairly cagey opening to the game with neither side settling early. Larnell Cole was prominent early on and he drew a good save from Freddie Woodman as he shot from the edge of the box. One contest that was as one sided as David Haye's last bout was Jordan Jones v Brad Mckay. It was a contest that would see the bedraggled Brad kept in the dressing room after the break. Jones enjoyed the freedom of the wing as he tore Brad Mckay a new one time after time. It was his pace and trickery that led to a clumsy lunge by the bold Brad that Mr Madden had the simple task of awarding a penalty. A stonewaller and Kris Boyd fired the penalty low to the keepers right which makes you wonder why Owain dived low to his left. It may have been Mckay that was the baddie, but the real villain of the piece was Billy King who lost the ball just outside our box. Jones forced Fon Williams into action a couple of minutes later as he waltzed across our defence and shot goalwards. We took that one on the chin and pushed for an equaliser and that came six minutes later. The busy Cole fed David Raven on the left and his cross into the box was partly cleared. Billy pounced on the loose ball, brought it under control swiftly, swivelled and rifled his shot across the keeper and in off the post. Ten minutes later and Gerg Tansey hit a long range effort to the keepers left, but it was at a comfortable height and he pushed the ball away from danger at the expense of a corner. Boyd might have done better as he volleyed a cross from the right, but he miscued and the chance went harmlessly wide. Conor Sammon fared slightly better with a header but Fon Williams saved minutes before the break. Half Time 1-1 With Brad Mckay staying in after the break Kevin McNaughton replaced him to good effect, his first real test since his season long injury problem. He certainly steadied the ship and also found time to overlap on the left. Tansey and Billy Mckay both shot wide as we looked to get ahead and Cole made Woodman earn his crust as the keeper dived low to his left to push away his netbound shot. Gary Warren did well as he out sprinted the bulky Boyd and terminated his run on the edge of the box with a well timed tackle, the ageing Killie striker looking like he might benefit from a long ball over the top. Jake Mulraney came on after the hour and spent the rest of the afternoon being fouled. His wing wizardry seeing him beat players with consumate ease but still the final ball eluded him and his strike partners. Some nifty neat footwork by Tansey saw him feed McNaughton who crossed low into the heart of the box. Billy Mckay hit it first time with his left foot from twelve yards but Woodman produced a remarkable reflex save to deny Billy who must have thought he was about to score. Jones and Sean Longstaff brought out the best of Fon Williams, but he pulled of an equally good save as he dived low to his right and got a solid hand on a flashing shot from Callum Roberts as Killie finished the game strongly. Woodman was in the right place to gather a stabbed effort in a six yard box melee and that was our lot. Full Time 1-1 So, a draw it was and no surprise it was a scoring one at that. Plenty of effort from Inverness today but the story of the season was evident again. Not making the most of the chances that came our way and when we ran out of ideas the visitors ended stronger and we were left clinging on somewhat without looking like getting our noses in front. Richie Foran is not the fans favourite just now as we went with five defenders and an isolated Billy Mckay. Brad Mckay was rightly hooked at half time as he was a liability every time Jones confronted him. Kev McNaughton was excellent when he came on though and oozed class, his reading of the game reminiscent of a young Bobby Mann. Mulraney did one piece of magic to earn a corner when he was hemmed in but was the victim of some rough treatment from the Killie defence. Great goal from Billy Mckay to get us the point and a superb display from Fon Williams. I'm giving my vote to Larnell Cole, but there were great contribuions from a handful of players, namely Fon Williams, Raven, Tansey and Billy Mckay. A couple of names not on that list are the pair responsible for the Killie penalty, Brad Mckay and the anonymous Billy King who must have been wearing Vigurs' boots. These draws are hurting us now as we run out of games and many fans are now fearing the worst with Foran looking like he might be incapable of turning this around. Difficult times ahead as Hamilton sent us to the bottom of the league once more with a very late win against St Johnstone. One win in our last eighteen games does not fill me with confidence going into the vital bottom six games. Difficult game coming up at Pittodrie on Tuesday night and the sheep are on fire after burning Dundee on Friday night. That's the most difficult fixture we have left, let's get it out of the way with as little damage as possible then look for some positives in our remaining fixtures. Footage from SPFL website Date: 01/04/17 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2780 Referee: Bobby Madden Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams; B.Mckay (McNaughton, 46), Warren, McCart, Raven, Laing, Draper, Tansey, Cole (Polworth 86), King (Mulraney 61), W.Mckay Subs (not used): Esson, Ebbe, Boden, Anier Scorers: W.Mckay (25) Booked: B.Mckay (34) Sent Off: none Kilmarnock: 1 Lineup: Woodman; Wilson, S Boyd, Ayer, Taylor, Dicker, McKenzie (Kiltie 51), Longstaff, Jones (Roberts 78), K Boyd, Sammon Subs (not used): MacDonald, Osborne, Frizzell, Hawkshaw, Innes Scorers: K.Boyd (pen.19) Booked: Dicker (76) Sent Off: none a
  14. Return of the six-pointer It's another crucial match as we begin to run out of games to save our season. Kilmarnock are the visitors on Saturday after the inconvenience of International weekend. In actual fact, they are all crucial now, and after the last outings turnaround in results with County and Killie salvaging draws, then we need to start making the most of home advantage. That means having a go Richie rather than waiting for something to happen. It did last time out, unfortunately at the wrong end. How steep is this learning curve, it's almost vertical now. We lost a vital two points against County that would have dragged them right down into the thick of the relegation tussle. Greg Tansey had given us the lead just after the break but a late goal from Alex Schalk evened up matters. When the dust had settled after another frenetic derby it was a point apiece and no one could grumble if I'm being honest. In saying that, both sides had chances to win the game, but as has been the case for most of the season, we failed to take advantage when on top and our defensive record speaks for itself, abysmal. This result keeps us in the relegation turmoil whilst County still harbour hopes of a top-six slot. (Who are they kidding) Killie salvaged a point thanks to an incredible blunder by Partick's keeper when he failed to stop a trundling effort. The ball seemed to slap off him and squirm it's way into the net. Unbelievable Geoff! Chris Erskine looked to have given Partick all three points but Conor Sammon squeezed the ball home from distance thanks to an horrific cock-up by Tomas Cerny, straight out of the Fon Williams book of blunderful saves. Killie have been a bit Jekyll and Hyde this season, but have surprised many by their league position, sitting eight points above Inverness and only two behind Partick in sixth place. Look away now Tomas................. You have to go back eleven games since Killie last beat Inverness in the Highlands. It was seven years ago in December 2010 when they won 1-3. Craig Bryson, Liam Kelly and Jamie Hamill did the damage Hamill scoring from a rebound after his penalty had been saved by Ryan Esson. A certain Mr Richie Foran scored the Inverness goal that day. Since then, it has been five home wins and five draws. That statistic would appear to make Inverness the favourites on paper, but in reality, Killie have been better equipped this season and their league position is healthier than ours at the moment. They are however the second lowest scoring side in the division with only twenty-eight goals, five fewer than us. Their defence is eight better off than ours. That all adds up to a goal difference of minus seventeen compared to minus twenty for Inverness, which means every goal scored will count double in the goal difference stakes. Iain Vigurs crocked himself in the Highland derby and will possibly miss the rest of the season with ankle ligament damage. Carl Tremarco also took a knock in the derby and will miss another couple of weeks. Ryan Esson, Josh Meekings, Aaron Doran and Lewis Horner are out long term. Jake Mulraney missed the last game but hopes to have recovered sufficiently to be included in the squad for this one. Jamie McCart played for Scotland u21 in midweek and along with Louis Laing could keep his place in defence, although Gary Warren's experience could be vital. David Raven could be used at left back again and Kevin McNaughton is fit enough to be included after his lengthy time out. Brad Mckay will also be pushing for a start and Liam Polworth needs to stand up and be counted now that Vigurs is missing. Killie's interim manager Lee McCulloch will be without the suspended Luke Hendrie. Steven Smith is struggling for fitness although could be available, but Greg Kiltie is not ready for action yet. And finally, the worlds worst kept secret has become public knowledge. It has been announced that Greg Tansey will be leaving in the summer to join the rest of his former colleagues at Pittodrie. Well blow me down. It's a bit untimely given our predicament, but I'm sure Greg will not want a relegation on his CV and will be trying his utmost to get us away from the bottom. tm4tj prediction:- As I said above, Killies season should be seen as a success thus far. They have some flair players capable of hurting the opposition. Greg Kiltie and Rory McKenzie to name a couple and Conor Sammon is always a danger with his pace and eye for goal. He has scored three goals since his return to Killie in seven appearances. We need to be more aggressive at home, but not to the detriment of our fragile defence. We have a scorer in Billy Mckay, but he needs some service. If we can get bodies forward to help him out then I see no reason that we can't take all three points, but given that we don't do nil-nil in this fixture then it could be a scoring draw which will not do us any favours. Killie still have hopes of top-six, we hope to be playing in the top league next season. With Killie playing Rangers, Celtic and Hearts after they come North, they might feel that this is the one they should be winning and will go for the jugular. It could get messy, but let's get behind the guys and give them every encouragement we can. Other games around us that we will be keeping an eye on. Dundee 0 - 7 Aberdeen (Friday) Oooooft, that's a hammering. Looking forward to Tuesday night now! Hamilton v St Johnstone Partick v Ross County Rangers v Motherwell
  15. Injuries ruin our chances. Inverness came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock in a game marred by more injuries to our already creaking squad. Souleymane Coulibaly scored a superb individual goal, his eleventh of the season, but captain Gary Warren cancelled that out as he headed home with six minutes remaining. That result keeps us second bottom with Ross County the only bottom team to pick up three points, and that was enough for them to replace Killie in the top six. Gary Warren returned to the starting XI with injury ravaged Owain Fon Williams and Lewis Horner taking their places in defence. In an attempt to bolster the midfield, Brad Mckay played in front of the back four, and Foran started with Lonsana Doumbouya the lone target man. Larnell Cole kept his place after his fine performance last week. Wide players Jake Mulraney, Aaron Doran and Billy King all started on the bench alongside Liam Polworth who has returned sooner than anticipated from injury. Killie had injury worries of their own and youngster Ian Wilson was given a start at the back with Scott Boyd missing out. It was a pretty dour first half with the home side occasionally threatening. In one such attack Josh Meekings made a tremendous clearance off the line after Nathan Tyson had clipped the ball over Owain Fon Williams. He did enough to hook the ball away from the goal line and Brad Mckay completed the clearance to avert a certain goal. Nick Walsh was called into question when the ball came off an Inverness arm in a goalmouth scramble but that would have been harsh had he penalised it. He was asked again and this time it could easily have been given as a cross was blocked by an elbow on the edge of the box. We struggled to make much headway in the first half, not helped by injuries to Doumbouya, Horner and Mckay. Fisher replacing the big striker after twenty-one minutes. Polworth replaced the nose bloodied Brad Mckay at the break. Lewis Horner struggled on until the hour before leaving the field, replaced by Billy King. Gary Warren had our only effort of note in the first forty-five but his header went wide. He would do better late in the game. Half Time 0-0 Billy King entered the fray and flashed a shot wide soon after and it looked as though the pace of the game had changed as we ventured forward. However, clean sheets are difficult to come by and Kilmarnock took the lead through a piece of individual magic. Coulibaly scored his wonder goal in the second half, although there was an element of good fortune about it. When he gathered a long ball on the corner of our eighteen yard box, their seemed little danger. The ball bounced up and he controlled it with his arm. Undaunted and unpunished, he twisted and turned substitute Liam Polworth onto the ground before firing a high shot into the keepers near post as defenders closed on him. Chances were at a premium, but Inverness found a way back into the game through captain Gary Warren. Greg Tansey fired a free kick into the box and the Killie rearguard parted to allow Warren every opportunity to head the ball down into the corner past a diving Jamie MacDonald. Just what we needed to get us off the foot of the table again and the game ended with no further scoring. Full Time 1-1 A draw was just about deserved as both sides had their moments on the ascendancy, but Killie will feel they might have nicked it with the one cleared off the line and a couple of penalty claims that were turned down. We came out stronger in the second half and did well to get back on level terms, so we won't complain about a share of the points. Rig saw it like this Really poor game overall. We lacked any attacking intent in the first half and seemed to have no plan for most of the game other than lump balls towards Doumbouya and Fisher. It was desperate stuff. Second half was a bit better but still we lacked an real incisive play in the final third. We seem to absolutely refuse to try and use our wingers and try and cross the ball into the box for the striker to attack. Looked like there was a hint of a handball when Coulibaly took the ball down when he scored the opener. Still, poor defending from Polworth to let him cut back inside and Fon Williams beaten again at his near post. Atrocious marking for our equaliser. Warren seemed to get in between two Kille players and still had a free header to plant the ball past MacDonald. Injuries really disrupted us today. Doumbouya, Horner and Mckay all taken off. Our reorganisation was a bit odd. Polworth at right back was strange. Far rather have Meekings there, drop Draper into defence and stick Polworth into midfield. He (Polworth) seemed to be one of the very few ICT players willing to carry the ball forward instead of battering it towards Fisher. Massively underwhelming first half performance, slightly improved second half but there's a lot of work to be done specifically in terms of our attacking play. We remain one dimensional, predictable and largely toothless. Think we deserved a draw but there's a lot of concerns there for me from an ICT point of view Immortal Howden Ender picked out different highlights in his summary. That was the best away day in years. The game was frenetic. It was highly entertaining and surprisingly competitive. I witnessed levels of skill and endeavour that I had never seen in certain individuals before. But then, unfortunately, the Hang The Man competition ended and we had to go to the game. How the feck did Mary Hill get Bahram Fetai !! The game itself was wholly forgettable. Up until the Coulibally goal BOTH teams served up dire stuff. The game only really heated up after they scored. We did show a lot of guts to recover but they went defensive and paid the price. Speaking to Killie fans afterwards they said that they had been doing the same all season. The goal was terrific and I had to celebrate with a piked, double somersault over the seats in front of me - ably abetted (feckin pushed) by King Beastie. And RedCard organised and won the goalscorer award and Warren could have had time to do a turn in the Hang the Man competition whilst he strolled in for the equaliser. The "spirit" certainly was there. Agree with what SuperFan posted earlier. Strange substitution but injuries are taking their toll. Strange to see the Walrus parading around with a huge ice pack on feckin freezing day and blood oozing from the two others. Tremarco was my clear MOM although Meekings was close. And we have no "teeth" up front. Date: 17/12/16 Venue: Rugby Park, Kilmarnock Attendance: 3294 Referee: Nick Walsh Kilmarnock: 1 Lineup: MacDonald, Hendrie, Boyle, Wilson, Taylor, McKenzie, Smith, Dicker, Jones, Tyson, Coulibaly Subs (not used): Mackay, Bojaj, Frizzell, Smith, Hawkshaw, Cameron, Adams Scorers: Coulibaly (73) Booked: Taylor (63), Smith (90) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams, Tremarco, Warren, Meekings, Draper, Vigurs, Tansey, Horner (King 52), Mckay (Polworth 46), Doumbouya (Fisher 20), Cole Subs (not used): Esson, Doran, Mulraney, Boden Scorers: Warren (84) Booked: Draper (16), Polworth (90) Sent Off: none a
  16. Killie Challenge for Caley Jags It's the long haul this Saturday as we head for Rugby Park to take on sixth place Kilmarnock, a mere three points ahead of us in eleventh spot. With seven teams vying for the last top-six space and relegation at the same time, it's anyone's guess as to who is the favourites for these positions. Often a fruitful day out in previous years, but we have faltered in the last two fixtures at Rugby Park going down on both occasions. The first encounter of this season was in the Highlands and it ended with the points shared, but it took a very late goal from Lonsana Doumbouya to cancel out an early Coulibaly penalty. We had won the previous one at Inverness at the end of last season quite comfortably and many expected an easier ride than we got from a revamped Kilmarnock side, but they are proving to be a match for all in the top-six relegation battle. I know it's a bit early in the season to be calling it a relegation battle, but that's the nature of the beast. If you are not going for Europe, then it's a downhill struggle below that. Killie have clambered to sixth slot but like the rest are showing signs of fluctuating fortunes. A 2-0 win over Dundee was followed by a 5-1 thrashing at Pittodrie before steadying the ship last week with a goalless draw at Motherwell. We ended a run of four straight defeats by drawing at home to Hamilton in what turned out to be a surprisingly entertaining game. Still hit by injury and suspension, we managed to get a team on the park and despite going behind, we came back strongly to get a deserved draw. Either side will feel they could have nicked this one but a draw keeps the status quo. Larnell Cole was our star performer against the Accies and topped it off with a fine goal, his first for the club. Clean sheets are a problem for us this season with only one so far. A changing defence through injury and suspension is not helping and the midfield need to work harder to help out the defence when needed. Inverness will be able to call on the services of Gary Warren, back after his one match ban for his unnecessary sending off against St Johnstone. David Raven, will be offered a six month contract extension, but he is out injured for another couple of months. Liam Polworth has made great progress and has resumed full training, however this might be a game too early for the young midfielder, but a late fitness test will let us know if he is ready. Our keeper crisis is still ongoing although it looks as though Fon Williams will play through his back injury whilst Ryan Esson is still suffering with a groin injury. Better news up front is that Scott Boden looks to have shaken off his ankle knock and will be included in the squad. Other strike option Alex Fisher could also be included. Killie have two central defenders missing for this clash. Miles Addison is out for a couple of months after having foot surgery. Jonathan Burn is also out and that means that Scott Boyd and Will Boyle are Lee Clark's only recognised centre backs available. Others missing are Kris Boyd, Greg Kiltie and full back Dapo Kayode. tm4tj prediction:- Given that we were rubbish on the road at Dundee and Perth, I'm not filled with confidence going in to this one. On the other hand, Warren should take his place at the heart of the defence and Brad Mckay can revert to right back. Hopefully Owain Fon Williams will have less back spasms to deal with and a clean sheet will do his confidence no harm. Midfield is an area we are struggling. Ross Draper has been a constant, but Iain Vigurs leaves a lot to be desired, mainly due to his work rate although he was noticeably more active against Accies last week. Larnell Cole deserves another chance after his last performance which might mean attacking wide players Mulraney, King or Doran will be vying for the right to supply Lonsana Doumbouya with the ammunition he needs. Killie will rightly feel they have enough to be able to take all three points and we have to be wary of that. Coulibaly has proven to be a handful having scored ten times this campaign.They showed fleet of foot on the break when they came North and we will do well to match their pace going forward. Any team going on a two or three game winning streak will pull away from the rest. It's hard to see if that will be us, but a point would be a decent result. Richie looks ahead to the plastic pitch encounter and talks about our keeper crisis. and Dave the Rave has his say on where he is at just now................
  17. Killie Pay The Penalty. Inverness eased any lingering doubts about their Premiership status for next season with a resounding 3-1 win over troubled Kilmarnock who are now looking like favourites for the play-offs. This game hinged on a penalty for Inverness and a red card for Kilmarnock keeper Jamie MacDonald less than ten minutes into the second half. Kallum Higginbotham had given the visitors the lead at the end of the first half and Greg Tansey put away the penalty after the break. Further goals followed from Ross Draper and the outgoing Danny Williams to put Killie in the mire and push us up to eighth in the league. A bright but brisk Sunday morning saw the teams warm up prior to kick off and with the game being televised live there was always going to be a low crowd in attendance. David Raven was a notable addition to the home bench and he was joined there by Andrea Mutombo who gave way to Danny Williams. Other than that, Hughes fielded the same side that drew with Hearts in their last outing. Killie were without Josh Magennis and had prolific scorer Kris Boyd up top as they looked to get themselves out of bother. For what was at stake, it was a rather grim first half with Kilmarnock looking livelier and Inverness content to keep them at bay. The first effort of note came from the visitors when Greg Kiltie smashed a powerful shot a couple of yards wide after ten minutes. Inverness responded on the half hour, and after Miles Storey raced across the front of the box, Danny Williams took over and curled a shot goalwards but Jamie MacDonald pulled off a TV save to deny the Inverness player, parrying the ball to his right. Ross Draper might have done better after a Danny Devine knock down found the big man at the back post, but the ball seemed to bounce high and Draper awkwardly turned the ball onto the outside of the base of the post and past for a goal kick. Five minutes before the break and Meekings fired a shot just over but just when it looked like Inverness were getting on top, Killie scored an excellent goal through Higginbotham. He started the move in midfield and fed Kiltie. He returned the ball to the overlapping Higginbotham who cut inside and placed a low shot from seventeen yards behind Fon Williams to silence the already silent home crowd. In fairness, they did break into a boo for the ear cupped Higginbotham as he celebrated his goal right on half time. Half Time 0-1 It had been a poor first period but that would change after the break as an unlikely hero would emerge from the gloom. Take a bow Conrad Balatoni. The Killie defender would take centre stage when he cocked up a pass back to his keeper. Ross Draper showed a tidy fleet of foot as he reacted to the pass and nipped in to round MacDonald. The keeper brought him down and was subsequently red carded. Greg Tansey was cool though and he smacked the penalty to sub keeper Conor Brennan's right to level things. A disappointed Higginbotham being subbed as a result showed his anger as he left the field. Here's a pic of Greg about to put the ball low down to Brennan's right, the keeper guessing correct but Tansey had enough direction and power to put the ball into the net. That was a game changer if ever I saw one and Inverness looked to take the game by the scruff of the neck against ten man Killie. After some Killie pressure, Inverness got another break when a low curling free kick from Kris Boyd struck the base of the post with Fon Williams at full stretch, the ball rebounding to safety. Meekings missed a sitter from a Storey cross as play opened out, the defender really should have done better as he met the ball at the back post and bulleted his header wide. Maybe he was too close to the post and took his eye off the ball, but it should have been the second. Draper stabbed in number two from a knock down following a corner, the Killie defence failing to clear the ball as the big number eight turned it home. Breathing space followed soon after when Williams ended a thirty nine pass move when he slickly cut the ball home from fifteen yards to spectacularly complete the scoring and take the wind out of the visiting sails, sending them into the doldrums. There was still time for the obligatory scares and heart in mouth moments. Killie were not completely out of it though and they hit the woodwork again when a cross from Faubert wide left bounced off the top of the bar. Not convinced it was a shot, but it almost sneaked in, a throwback to the Motherwell game, fortunately, this time the ball stayed out. But the damage had been done and Killie were by now stretched and bedraggled as the game wore on and we looked to capitalise on numerous surges forward. However, the score stayed at that as we saw out the remainder of the game, and the home fans were pretty pleased. Full Time 3-1. The best and worst on display here. A first half littered with inactivity and a sucker punch goal and a second half full of attacking options and a tremendous team goal to round off the scoring when Williams finished a 39 man move, where ball retention was lasting for ever. Ross Draper was my MotM. Scoring one, setting up another at the penalty and generally driving Inverness forward at every opportunity, especially in the second half. Carl Tremarco was at his best as well and Danny Williams showed what we will miss next season. Good three points ultimately deserved but it took the penalty and sending off to ignite our fires. After that there was only going to be one winner, although Killie, to their credit, almost got a second through Boyd, but I always felt we could get another if required; It wasn't and we didn't so 3-1 it was and a welcome three points. Big cheer for David Raven when he trotted out to warm up. Take note Yogi, the fans are on his side. video from SPFL website https://www.youtube.com/user/splofficial Date: 23/04/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2228 Referee: John Beaton Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Fon Williams; Meekings, Warren, Devine, Tremarco, Draper, Tansey, Polworth, Vigurs (Mbuyi-Mutombo, 74), D. Williams, Storey Subs (not used): Esson, Raven, R. Williams, Foran, Horner, Hughes Scorers: Tansey (pen.55), Draper (73), D.Williams (76) Booked: Tansey (23) Sent Off: none Kilmarnock: 1 Lineup: MacDonald; Faubert, Addison, Balatoni (Ashcroft, 77), Hodson, Higginbotham (Brennan, 53), Dicker, O'Hara, McKenzie, Kiltie (Obadeyi, 77), Boyd Subs (not used): Findlay, Henshall, Taylor, Frizzell Scorers: Higginbotham (44) Booked: none Sent Off: MacDonald (53)
  18. Save Dave campaign gathers pace as Killie look to get out of trouble. It's the beginning of the end for two of the bottom six clubs this weekend as Kilmarnock visit Inverness on Sunday in the early kick off at 12:30. Dundee United are almost certainly confirmed as one of the clubs destined for the drop. The best they can do is escape automatic relegation and a play off place would be their only hope of avoiding the drop, but it's a tall order. At the moment all of the bottom six are still mathematically in bother, but the focus is on the bottom three of United, Killie and Accies with Inverness hovering on the fringes. A win today would make it highly unlikely that we would face the play-offs. Defeat would bring Killie to within five points of us with the possibility of Hamilton joining us on the same points total but with a vastly inferior goal difference. Aye it's getting a tad fraught at the bottom as the clubs fight it out to be the best of the rest. In a week where the Queen has been upstaged on her 90th birthday by a Prince, it's time for Inverness to produce their own purple patch and steer clear of the drop. Let's go crazy, we don't want to be playing at a Paisley park next season. Despite all that's going on, the big talking point at the Caledonian Stadium is surrounding a Raven lunatic as the story has been made public that David Raven may not be offered a new contract by John Hughes. His preferred option of spending the cash will be to try and bring in strikers to add some fire power to our punchless squad. The fans are no happy about this situation and feel that Raven is being pushed out while he still has plenty to offer this club and would appear to be content to stay with us. It's a tricky one but this just fuels speculation of a rift within as Raven, although injured of late, looks to be frozen out. On the other hand, at 31 and a season littered with injuries, should Inverness be content to offer Dave a new contract? Either way, lot's of feathers have been ruffled over a Raven and a fans protest could well be surfacing. Back to the game and the clubs have played three times this season with the home sides winning each game. Back in October, Kiltie and Magennis put us to the sword with a 2-0 win at Rugby Park. That was Killie's first clean sheet of the season. We're too kind sometimes. In mid December we returned the favour in the Highlands with a 2-1 win. A Vigurs double put us in the driving seat despite a late consolation by Mark Connolly. Back to Rugby Park in January and Killie triumphed 2-1 when Kiltie opened the scoring only for Draper to level it before the break. However, Craig Slater scored a stunning volley early in the second half to secure the points. At that stage of the season Inverness had opened up a four point gap over Killie, it's now stretched to eight. Killie are not to be underestimated here and we just need to look back to their last game where they trounced St Johnstone 3-0. Worryingly for us, Kris Boyd scored twice and he is a player that knows the route to goal pretty well. Kallum Higginbotham scored the other in a tremendous victory over the side that thrashed Aberdeen on Friday night. Our last outing showed up the very worst of Scottish football as we dug out a 0-0 draw at home to Hearts. A dreadful game where chances were at a premium. Story of our season to be honest. The previous game we eased our relegation fears with a good away win at Tannadice, a result that all but scuppers United but kept us just above the waterline. Yogi has dented his relationship with the fans over the Raven affair and despite Dave being declared fit now, allegedly, he did not appear on the bench against Hearts when he is our recognised right back. Our injury list has all but disappeared, just Aaron Doran and Alex Fisher officially out. Dean Brill has played four or five games with the development squad and it's no coincidence that the young side has been performing better of late. Jordan Roberts has also featured but no sign of Raven anywhere. Kilmarnock should be unchanged although the scorer of said stunning volley Craig Slater could be recalled after illness. However, Steven Smith, David Syme and Mark Connolly are out for the remainder of the season and Chris Johnston is nearing full fitness. tm4tj prediction:- It's getting close to squeaky bum time as points are getting harder to come by. This will be no walk in the park with Kilmarnock's need greater than ours and that will be enough to drive them forward. With Kris Boyd back amongst the goals we need to be at our best defensively whilst also looking to create something at the other end. That's been a season long issue with injuries etc etc etc being cited as the reasons for our demise. It's time to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and get out on the park and put on a display. Yogi needs to put on an impressive performance here and forget about any locker room differences and put our best possible team on the park. Can someone tell him we are not clear of trouble yet and show some desire to get forward. His feathers may have been ruffled by the Raven, but it's not about one player, it's about the team. I'm going for a score draw, with Killie scoring an injury time equaliser, probably emanating from our right back position. Meh! The touchy subject is raised in this interview. Carl Tremarco talks about the visit of Kilmarnock, listen here.
  19. Early Xmas Present Inverness managed to get three points in a 2-1 victory, but not before losing another late goal to keep the fans on edge. An Iain Vigurs double saw us cruise in at the break two up but we conceded a late goal to give Killie a sight of the points. Mark Connolly scored with three minutes left but we managed to see out the game and get a much needed three points. This was a must not lose game and we achieved that. However, we made hard work of it in a poor second half showing when we let a sloppy Kilmarnock off the ropes and gave them every encouragement that they could possibly take something from a game that should have been well beyond them. John Hughes had a stronger squad available for this one as players returned from injury. Oddly, he still persists with Raven and Horner on the bench and Josh Meekings at right back with Danny Devine partnering Gary Warren at the heart of the back four. Carl Tremarco, Tobi Sho-Silva and Andrea Mutombo all started on the bench but all three of them would feature later in the game. Nat Wedderburn started this one with Ross Draper nowhere to be seen. Killie were much as expected with Kris Boyd and Josh Magennis the target men and a small band of hardy supporters had made the long trek to back the Ayrshire club. The opening exchanges were fairly even with Inverness doing their usual crisp passing without any penetration. We needed a little help and Kilmarnock duly obliged in the fourteenth minute. Comedy defending by two Killie players near the corner flag allowed Polworth to smuggle the ball from them. He ran along the line before teeing up Iain Vigurs who had the simplest of tasks to tap the ball home. An early Xmas present for Inverness, gift wrapped by the Kilmarnock defence. For all our dominance and good possession, we were still creating very little in the final third and more often than not seemed reluctant to build on our fortuitous start to the game. Kris Boyd gave the home fans cause for concern when he fired a powerful free kick a couple of feet over the corner of Fon Williams bar as Kilmarnock tried to get back on level terms, however it was Inverness who were busier around the penalty box, but without making keeper Jamie MacDonald work. That changed just after half an hour into the game and there was nothing fortunate about this one. We tore into the Kilmarnock defence down our right flank. Miles Storey got the better of the defenders this time and he rifled a ball into the box. James Vincent stepped over the ball and Iain Vigurs was left with time to pick his spot. Conrad Balatoni eventually got the booking he so richly deserved. The guy is a clown, getting his card not long after handbags when he tried to steal the ball when we were looking to take a throw in. Could easily have been an early bath for the hot-head. The half ended without much further ado and a comfortable position for Inverness to build on, surely. Half Time 2-0 Gary Locke decided enough was enough and he rang the changes at the break bringing on Carrick and Kiltie to replace Slater and Obadeyi. This appeared to inject a bit more urgency to the visitors, but Owain Fon Williams was still pretty much a spectator in the Inverness goal. We helped the Kilmarnock cause by being content to pass the ball sideways for long spells without looking to kill the game off and that would cause some unease in the stands. Storey limped out of the game on the hour being replaced by Andrea Mutombo, who's fleet of foot would entertain us for a bit although we were looking to kill the game off. We were content to hit on the break and at least half a dozen good bursts forward went without troubling the keeper as our efforts fizzled out before working the Killie defence. Liam Polworth missed the best chance of the half as he burst into the box after some intricate play just outside of it. Unfortunately he could not wrap his foot round the ball properly and he slid his shot just the wrong side of the post from close range. The game was slipping away from a lifeless Kilmarnock but we offered them a little help after failing to mop up from a corner. Mark Connolly scored from close range to unsettle the home support and set up a fraught last few minutes of play. Still time for substitute big Tobi to ruffle the side netting from a tight angle as we went seeking a third and Tansey brought out a save from MacDonald. We weathered the final moments fairly comfortably despite Killie winning a corner to keep their hopes alive. Full Time 2-1 Hard earned three points beginning with a gift from Kilmarnock. Cracking second goal and relatively comfortable passage despite Killie scoring late. Liam Polworth was a standout with his driving runs and incisive passing and is my MotM. Well backed up by Nat Wedderburn, especially in the first half and two goal hero Iain Vigurs. We tried to let Kilmarnock back into the game but they were unable to accept our generosity and were really there for the taking, but likewise, we were unable to give them the doing they should have had. However, a welcome three points which moves us in the right direction, up to seventh, but little in it between seventh and eleventh where Kilmarnock now find themselves. Next up is Dundee United, another must not lose game. Keep the faith as we look to enter the top-six. Date: 12/12/15 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2775 Referee: Barry Cook Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Fon Williams, Meekings, Warren, Devine, Williams, Wedderburn (Tremarco 77), Tansey, Polworth, Vincent, Vigurs (Sho-Silva 82), Storey (Mbuyi-Mutombo 60) Subs (not used): Esson, Raven, Lopez, Horner Scorers: Vigurs (14, 32) Booked: Vigurs (21) Sent Off: none Kilmarnock: 1 Lineup: MacDonald, O'Hara, Connolly, Balatoni, McHattie, Smith, Hamill (Robinson 82), Magennis, Slater (Carrick 46), Obadeyi (Kiltie 46), Boyd. Subs (not used): Ridgers, Barbour, Westlake, Ashcroft Scorers: Connolly (87) Booked: Balatoni (22), McHattie (38), Connolly (45), Boyd (90) Sent Off: none
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