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  1. Replay Required. Inverness survived to fight another day after a 1-1 draw at Easter Road. James Keatings opened the scoring as the Hibees looked to be on the ascendency. Yogi had seen enough as the game passed the seventy minute mark and hooked Liam Polworth and Iain Vigurs. That altered our dynamic and it was all smiles when substitutes Lewis Horner and Andrea Mutombo combined for the latter to slam the ball home to send the tie towards a replay on 16th March. The winner of this tie now also know who they will face as the draw has paired them with Dundee United, the other semi-final will be interesting as Celtic will play the Rangers. Immortal Howden Ender has this report for us.............................. Well we are still in the cup and IF we beat Hibs - at home - we have avoided the Old Filth and the Arabs were clearly the best option, as they are probably saying about us or Hibs. Prior to the game I was really positive and optimistic. I had been talking to some Hibees on the train and they were staying that a lot of their mates were staying away. They were of the opinion that they would be getting thrashed. They also clearly dislike Mr Stokes as well. Pre-game in the Iona the spirits were flowing and “highs” all abounding. And for fifteen minutes that appeared to be the case but then it dawned that we had eight Ray Wilkins crabs in action. I am all for experimenting with systems but not away from home in a Scottish Cup Quarter Final. Personally I felt that was a sign of disrespect to Hibs. I feel that we totally underestimated them, we were cocky and we got what we deserved. Well in fact we didn’t – we didn’t get beat – but God knows how not. Perhaps I should also have read the stats for the cups this season as Hibs have knocked out Aberdire, St Jones Town, the Arabs and the Jam Tarts. We were the better side early doors but it was the side to side, tippy tappy style that I detest. Pretty patterns but NO penetration whatsoever. 3-5-2 simply did not work. I wonder whether it was to accommodate Tansey, Vigurs and Draper in midfield. Tansey played too deep, Vigurs did not get the time and Draper was wasted. To me they are three players of similar ilk who all want the ball. Polworth never really went wide and spent a lot of time covering for the back four and our intrepid central midfield. How many times did Danny Williams get the ball but instead of going at defenders stopped and played a ball in to our midfield trio. And how may times was Storey caught offside – guilty mostly of not watching the line. Two shots on target in a Cup Quarter Final is absolutely ridiculous. Hibs had 5 on target and despite our sideways passing Hibs had the bulk of the possession. And even when we were in the ascendancy, Hibs could have scored in the 9th minute when Gray and Fontaine produced great stops from Fon Williams and what looked like a third save of a goalbound effort in the melee that followed. And then four minutes later Keatings had the ball in the net but he did look offside. Following this we appeared to play a bit of side to side and either hoof or deliver a dreadful last ball. Polworth was the first to go in to the book and again our disciplinary problem of needless cautions may end up with us having half a team for the remaining games IF we progress. I had hoped that the second half would produce an immediate change in tactics but it all stayed the same. Keatings had another shot on target, the eejits shouted fer a penalty against Devine and, of all people Stokes started the move for their goal. Keatings finished things off for his first goal in sixteen games. I thought that Tansey, Warren and Storey were beginning to lose the plot and we were lucky that one of them did not get a red card. And then a miracle happened. A fan from the away support made a Van Gaal like message on his notepad, did a bit of origami and fired it into the Leith sky. It landed next to Yogi who handed it to Polworth. He read it and it started “get Polworth off” so he handed it to Warren. And that was the turnaround. We ended the game better although it was still end to end. And then fortunately we came up with a divine move. Lets give credit to the two substitutes who did both look lively. Horner produces the first overlap of the day, Roberts gets his first decent pass of the day, lays it off to MBUYI-MUTOMBO and goal and GOLD erupted on the terraces. In the dugout, Yogi gave Polworth an ear bashing, literally. His delight at Mutombo's goal warmed the lugs of the substituted midfielder who was left nursing his head after Yogi's robust celebration. So we live to fight another day and we have Hibs away to Spain and hopefully going to penalties in the League Cup Final. They will have their missing stars back but I am not sure if that is an advantage or not. And the 800+ away support heaved a massive sigh of relief. 9800 altogether was a very disappointing turn out and I bet there were quite a few Hibees who wished that they had turned up, even if it was to boo Anthony Stokes. And as for Crawford Allan? Well at least he managed to maintain the performance status of Scottish refereeing and the main stand official must have been sponsored by Specsavers. It was all Hibs bias to begin with but at least he managed to even things up later. Lets hope for a better performance and a better result on March 16th and back to our second home on Sunday 17th April. Better to end on a Yogi quote - "I felt we were lacking a little bit up top but we have great team spirit and effort and I can't ask for anymore." No shit Sherlock. SMILEYMOMETER: Out of 10 Fon Williams (7) – My MOM as he basically kept us in the Cup. Polworth (5) – Completely played out of position and his safety zone. Almost swapped with Warren in the second half which was not tactical. Warren (6) – Some may say Captain Fantastic and that is true to a degree but his “gung-ho” attitude in the second half left the defence stranded – and Polworth filling in – and could have easily got a red. He may well miss another trip to Hampden Devine (6) – Thought he had a good game and at least he stuck to his task – but again he probably had no choice. Tremarco (6) – I actually thought that he did OK. He was stranded as well at times but did not let us down. Roberts (6) – Really felt sorry for him as his movement was good and he must have been screaming about the number of times that he made space and the ball went sideways. Tansey (4) – Sorry but he was played too deep but he made no impact on the game whatsoever. Draper (4) – Well probably played too far forward and bypassed. Vigurs (5) – Probably the best of the central midfield three but that is nothing to be proud of. Danny Williams (5) – As soon as he remembers what driving forward and taking defenders on is about the better Storey (3) – Sorry but I thought that he was terrible. He looked as if he couldn’t run after 75 minutes and I was amazed that he wasn’t hooked. His vitality appears to have been sapped as has his confidence which may be linked to the goal drought. Or is he carrying an injury. For obvious reasons I will give Mutombo and Horner 7 each. Date: 06/03/16 Venue: Easter Road Stadium, Edinburgh Attendance: 9884 Referee: Crawford Allan Hibernian: 1 Lineup: Oxley, Gray, Henderson, Fontaine, McGeouch (Gunnarsson 26), Stevenson, McGinn, Keatings (Dagnall 86), McGregor, Stokes, Thomson Subs (not used): Virtanen, El Alagui, Boyle, Shaw, Donaldson Scorers: Keatings (54) Booked: Keatings (70) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Fon Williams, Tremarco, Warren, Draper, Roberts, Devine, Tansey, Williams, Polworth (Horner 71), Vigurs (Mbuyi-Mutombo 72), Storey. Subs (not used): Esson, Williams, Foran, Wedderburn, Hughes Scorers: Mbuyi-Mutombo (77) Booked: Polworth (29), Warren (63), Tansey (64) Sent Off: none
  2. Mutombo stunner settles ICT Inverness eased into the 5th round with a 2-0 win over Stirling Albion, but it took two superb strikes from Andrea Mutombo and Iain Vigurs to settle the tie against the League Two side. Danny Devine was returned to the heart of the defence after suspension at the weekend and Andrea Mutombo was given a start. Danny Williams was at left back with Carl Tremarco out. A brisk night met the players as they emerged from the tunnel and the crowd was kept to a minimum with Sky Sports covering the game. The first dangerous action of the tie was when Danny Williams brought down Steven Doris on the edge of the box. Doris took the free kick himself and curled his effort over the bar. Encouraging start for the Binos and they foraged forward again only to be blocked on the edge of the box at the expense of a corner which came to nothing as Ross Smith shot just wide. It's the League Two side that were making all the early running against a struggling Inverness, but Gary Warren almost scored with a header after a corner, however the ball got smuggled away from the six yard box and away from danger. Andrea Mutombo is able to showcase his twinkle toed skills and he curled a shot just over after fifteen minutes as Inverness begin to get to grips with the game. Five minutes later and Liam Polworth shoots over as the early Stirling threat seems to have evaporated, but the home side will need to up their accuracy if they want to progress. Back come the Binos though and Ross Smith heads wide to make sure Inverness are kept on their toes. Mutombo has had enough though and goes on another dazzling dribble. This time he cuts in from the left and ends it by exploding the ball behind Chris Smith from 25 yards into the keepers top right hand corner. Extreme goal from the one man showing the ability to get behind the Binos defence. It's all Inverness now and constant pressure brings about a couple of half chances but the final shots get snuffed out, Vigurs and Draper looking to add the second. Despite dominating, we are still finding it difficult to create any premium opportunities to get the second goal and too many crosses and passes are going astray allowing Albion time to regroup and remain in contention. Goal apart, that's another uninspiring 45 minutes from Inverness against a resolute Stirling Albion as the half fades out. Half Time 1-0 The poor touches and poor lay offs continue at the start of the second half, but as Inverness break forward, Ross Smith earns a booking for stopping Danny Williams dead in his tracks. Mutombo is still the one stretching the back line of the visitors defence and he pings a ball across goal, but the defenders hook it clear. Flattering to deceive springs to mind as Inverness play the ball back and fore across the Binos defensive line before once more overrunning the ball. Ten minutes into the half and a free kick causes a bit of urgency in the Inverness box before Mark Lamont fires over from outside the box. Better spell for the visitors as they force a corner and another scrambulation in the home box. Mutombo is still the main threat and he earns a free kick 25 yards out. Iain Vigurs wastes the chance as he hits the defensive wall. He would atone for that a few minutes later. Inverness broke from the back at pace. Raven fed Storey who held the ball until Draper found space. He raced forward before cutting back to the incoming Vigurs who guided the ball into the top corner from 18 yards for another stunning goal. Pick that one out. Inverness once more on the ascendency but more overplay results in Williams crossing behind after some tidy midfield passing. Draper got booked for upending Lamont, a bit soft looking, but it is Ross Draper, and Storey forged his way down the left after riding two challenges. Vigurs goes down in the box and all he got for his troubles was a booking. Oh dear. Two nil up, but we have been here before, Albion not blown out yet with 20 minutes to endure as Storey has an effort saved. Craig Beattie enters the tie as Stirling look to get back into the game, Ross Smith leaving the field and Alex Fisher replaces Liam Polworth with fifteen left. Tremendous work by Williams down the left allows Storey to thrash a ball goalwards, but Smith is equal to it and palms the shot away for a fruitless corner. Richie Foran and Jordan Roberts get some game time as Draper and MotM Mutombo leave the pitch. That sparked the visitors into life again as they forced a couple of corners, but it was Danny Devine that almost curled in a third goal, the ball almost shaving the outside of the post as it went just wide. Jordan Roberts' impact was almost instant. He was booked minutes after coming on. Oh well, we have waited long enough to see him on the park, I suppose any publicity is good publicity. Oh ffs, Alex Fisher is helped off the park with what looks like an ankle injury, that's all we need, and Stirling Albion end the game as they started, on the front foot. A free kick from Doris, a corner and a lob from Darren Smith going narrowly over the bar with Fon Williams stranded. Full Time 2-0 This game was won by the home side with the aid of two tremendous goals, both contenders for goal of the round. Stirling battled hard but it was Inverness who controlled the game and created the chances to get themselves into the next round where Motherwell await. Tonight's MotM goes to Andrea Mutombo. He did a power of work tonight dragging defenders all over the place and his trickery saw him ghost past a few in tight situations. His goal was a tremendous individual effort after drifting in from the left wing then unleashing a stunning strike from 25 yards. Miles Storey did nothing right in the first half but did plenty of unselfish sprinting after the break, unlucky not to score on a couple of occasions. From a selfish point of view, it would have been nice to score a barrowload of goals, but it's credit to Stirling Albion that we never as they stuck to the task and finished the game at our end of the park. Good luck to them for the rest of the season, the banana skin put away for another year. It's Fir Park for us on the weekend of 6th February in the 5th round Date: 19/01/16 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1231 Referee: Mat Northcroft Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Fon-Williams, Raven, Warren, Draper (Foran 82), Devine, Tansey, Williams, Polworth (Fisher 76), Vigurs, Mbuyi-Mutombo (Roberts 82), Storey Subs (not used): Esson, Wedderburn, Brown, Sutherland Scorers: Mbuyi-Mutombo (28), Vigurs (61) Booked: Williams (3) Sent Off: none Stirling Albion: 0 Lineup: W.Smith, Mazel, Forsyth, McGeachie, R.Smith (Beattie 75), Robertson, Johnston (Cunningham 69), Comrie (Lamont 50), Doris, D.Smith, Dickson Subs (not used): Binnie, Hamilton, Verlaque, Kouider-Aissa, Scorers: none Booked: R.Smith (50) Sent Off: none 0 Quote Edit
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