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Found 129 results

  1. gingerjaggy

    Inverness CT v Ross County Preview

    Derby Day is here! The first Derby of the season kicks off at 3:00pm in Dingwall on Saturday. Tickets for Inverness fans can be bought on the day from the matchday ticket offices at the ground. Ginger Jaggy has written this weeks preview ahead of the derby and here is what he has to say.... It is always a fixture that fans look too on fixture release day with the first of four instalments taking place in Dingwall on Saturday. And if a derby is not enough spice then throw into the equation it being a top of the table clash against a County side boasting several ex-Caleyjag players to get the juices flowing. For myself the excitement can’t get any greater having not attended a game since the ill-fated final season in the top flight and I have not been back to Dingwall since the old away terracing was done away with. County started the season as favourites, who would bet against a side that still boasts Premiership quality and one of the biggest budgets. But they haven’t set the league alight and currently sit behind us by a point as we look to make a statement of intent on enemy territory. If John Robertson can get the Caley Jags promoted it will go down as probably the biggest achievement in his managerial career. He has had an ever-shrinking budget and is almost rebuilding the club on his own by creating a new squad good enough to get back into the top flight. And so far, the omens look good. Since it eventually clicked last season the Caley Jags have now gone an impressive 17 league games unbeaten including the first five of this term. Although home draws against Alloa and Ayr were poor results considering both played at least a full half with 10 men, Inverness have continued to be hard to beat and carry on picking up points. But ever side of the international break we have scored three times against Dunfermline and Partick - two expected rivals for promotion - setting us up nicely for the trip to Dingwall. Ross County have reported strong sales for the match so far and with a large away following expected it should be a cracking atmosphere. Here is hoping that the points get brought back across the Kessock Bridge that will give us the early bragging rights but more importantly puts us further clear at the summit. Team News John Robertson will be without George Oakley who was injured late in the game against Partick Thistle. It is understood he will be out for a few weeks. Shaun Rooney is a major concern although he has allegedly been training all week since coming off before half-time in the same fixture. Jamie McCart will be an option should Rooney fail to make the squad with Brad Mckay moving to right back. Young Daniel Mackay will move up the pecking order with Oakley sidelined. Liam Polworth is another who carried a knock forward after the Partick game but he is likely to be fit. Stuart Kettlewell was given a boost with the news that Marcus Fraser and Keith Watson should be available. County could possibly have four former Caley Jags players in their line-up. Don Cowie, Ross Draper, Iain Vigurs and Billy Mckay. Brian Graham has been in goal scoring form recently and the big striker will present a tough test for Coll Donaldson and his cohorts. Just to whet the appetite............. More detail can be found on the Official Website Preview Who put the O and Y in County! Who put the O and Y in County! Who put the O and Y in County! Dirty ...................
  2. Striking Changes Required Inverness travel to East End Park, home of the delicious steak bridie to take on Dunfermline Athletic on Saturday, the match kicking off at 3:00pm. After the steak bridie, you can wash it down with blood red wine, just ask Sir Patrick Spens The king sits in Dunfermline toune drinking the blude reid wine, "O whar can I get skeely skipper, To sail this ship o' mine?" We have already suffered this season at the hands of the Pars, well their young team anyway after they ditched us from the Challenge Cup, their youth squad being good enough to beat our fringe squad with plenty of experience 2-1. The least said about that the better, although Robbo was less than enthusiastic about the display of the fringe players in that one. Many Caley Jags fans are hesitant about the new season after just a handful of games as we see a regular theme occurring. The lack of a clinical finisher is once more undermining some of our outfield play as we squander chance after chance. An observation that has not gone unnoticed by the manager. We have tried Nathan Austin, George Oakley, Jordan White and Daniel Mackay up front in various combinations with support coming from Tom Walsh, Aaron Doran and Liam Polworth. Walsh looks to be the most promising provider but Riccardo Calder is a surprise packet showing some great ability to beat his man wide on the left and his crosses are begging for a finisher on the end of them. Liam Polworth looked jaded last time out and a rest would do him no harm. However, Robbo usually sees it differently to us and he has stuck by Polworth and Joe Chalmers religiously over the last season whilst others come and go in the starting IX. It's maybe time for a subtle change, but it's no use providing the ammunition if your strikers are firing blanks. Dunfermline have had a surprisingly low key start to the season after showing up well against Hearts in the League Cup going down by just the solitary strike from Jambos midfielder Olly Lee. Unlike us, they were creative in this tie and offered a real threat to Hearts.They began their League campaign with an excellent away win over Dundee United by 3-2. Thomson and Longridges Jackson and Louis both scored in that one. However they were cuffed 1-3 by Ross County, Louis Longridge on target again and the surprise result so far was a 4-1 reverse against Ayr United with Longridge on the scoresheet once more, this time brother Jackson keeping it in the family. Makes our draw against Ayr look like a good result! After those games, the Pars have three points and sit in the bottom quarter of the table, but it's early days yet. Despite our inauspicious start to the Championship, we sit mid-table on five points from three games. That could so easily have been nine points especially as the two draws were played out against ten men from the two recently promoted sides. No disrespect to them, but we really need to win games like that, however, we struggled, especially against Ayr United. In both games chances were aplenty but wayward finishing and good goalkeeping kept us to a minimum and that's what needs to change. The Pars have seen a few changes since the summer. A pair of Longridges. Louis and his brother Jackson have teamed up at East End Park. Former Caley Jag Danny Devine comes in from Partick and forward Miles Hippolyte from St Mirren. Defender Mark Durnan comes in from the Arabs with Tom Beadling making a permanent switch from Sunderland after his loan expired. Aidan Connolly showed up well against us in that Challenge cup game and he joins from York City. Loan deals have been agreed with Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Dundee) and our own cup final hero James Vincent, also from Dundee. Bit of a clear out at East End Park after the end of the season. The bigger names released were Willo Flood who came and went before getting started. Dean Shiels, Nicky Clark, Fraser Aird, Calum Morris, Declan McManus, Joe Cardle, Nat Wedderburn, Michael Paton were all let go. Therein lies the reason the Pars have not got off to the best of starts. You can't replace that quality and expect to be off and running right away as we know all too well. Team news ahead of the game:- Dunfermline still have long time adversary Kallum Higginbotham playing for them and that's never a good thing for us. He loves to tease us a little. The Longridges are scoring freely and El Bakhtaoui can be dangerous. The Pars did some late business in the transfer window signing former Kilmarnock, Dundee United, Partick Thistle, Hearts and MK Dons player Robbie Muirhead . They have also secured the services of Hearts pair Malaury Martin and Aidan Keena on loan. Inverness have no major worries as matchday four approaches apart from who will be sticking the ball in the back of the net. Late news is that Zak Elbouzedi has left the club by mutual consent. tm4tj prediction:- I don't expect an easy game at East End Park and like us, Dunfermline created plenty against Ayr United but failed to capitalise. We were generally neat and tidy against Alloa but were a bit wasteful in front of goal. Penalty taking has been a big problem although Sean Welsh took his opportunity neatly against the Wasps. Unfortunately he was subbed before the second penalty and big Coll cracked the crossbar with his attempt. With both teams failing to put their chances away, I will predict a 0-0 draw. Anything will be better than the 5-1 drubbing we got last season. Here's the Official Site preview with more detail. Enjoy.
  3. Wasps sting lavish Jags Inverness were held to a 2-2 draw by ten man Alloa after Karadachki was sent packing just after the break. Brad Mckay had headed the opener in the first half but Alloa levelled through possibly the back of Oakley's head, Graham credited at the moment with the goal. We went ahead when Walsh scored a penalty at the Karadachki incident but the visitors got an unlikely equaliser late in the game with a penalty of their own, Flannigan scoring from the spot. Old Caley Girl has this report for us ............. Let me start by saying that this should have been a totally different match report. In fact, one in which we were joint top of the league with 3 points in the bag! I digress though as a totally different scenario played out. A reasonable crowd (these days) of over 2000 sat down on a sunny afternoon at the TCS looking for an entertaining and profitable afternoon. We started off brightly with several goal opportunities early on including a blocked shot by Tom Walsh in 7 minutes. This led onto the opening goal in 10 minutes. A Polworth corner found Brad McKay in the centre of the box, and he headed powerfully into the net. There then followed chance after chance to go further ahead without reward. At this point it looked like we would go on to score at will and felt comfortable. There were several scrappy fouls committed by both sides and in 25 mins Zanatta engineered a foul by getting squashed between Polworth and another ICT player gaining a free kick just outside the box. This led to the equaliser with it looking like a deflection off Oakley to me from behind the goal. However, the news outlets awarded the goal to Andy Graham from a header? From then till half time nothing much of note happened except a succession of fouls again from both sides. It felt like the wind was taken out of our sales after the equaliser. HALF TIME 1-1 The second half was a tale of 3 penalties! Just after half time Karadachki was booked for a foul on Oakley. This led to further madness on his part at the ensuing free kick as he wrestled with Donaldson which led to Donaldson being dragged to the ground. Second yellow meant red and a penalty. I’m sure I was not alone in watching through my hands as Welsh stepped up. There was nothing to worry about here, though, as Welsh coolly stuck the ball into the bottom right hand corner. Smiles all round as word came through that County losing at Morton and the top of the table beckoning for us. It didn’t go like that though despite opportunity after opportunity and good saves from Parry in the Alloa goal. In 56 minutes White replaced Austin and Calder replaced Welsh. In 71 minutes, Calder was clipped in our box and a 2nd penalty was awarded. From my seat there was contact, but it appeared a tad soft. However, penalty it was and what a disaster that turned out to be! Welsh had gone off and no-one seemed to want this task so up stepped a very nervous looking Coll Donaldson to smash it off the bar instead of into the net. Is it just me that thinks it shameful our strikers hid at this particular moment? Shortly afterwards Doran replaced Oakley and did look livelier than of late but to no avail. It looked like we would carry on over the finishing line at this point but then up stepped Shaun Rooney into the spotlight. He tried to foul the Alloa player several times until finally deciding to bundle him over in the box whilst heading towards the by-line. One of the most clueless decisions ever. Up stepped Flannigan to literally steal a point with a thank you very much! FULL TIME 2-2 We are still unbeaten in the league, but this certainly was 2 points dropped not a point gained. The failure to finish off 10 man teams twice this early in the season is worrying and we should be 4 points better off than we really are. We are making chances but being punished for not taking them and it is clear we do not know what our best striking partnership is. Yet again we persist with a narrow formation for a good part of the game and surely everyone, including management, can see Polworth is not and never will be a winger! Calder coming on did create width and as I stated earlier there was glimpses of the old Doran on show during his short appearance yesterday. All 3 substitutions seemed wrong. Is tightening up and seeing a game out not possible for us these days. Robbo was quick to blame the players post-match and yes, we were not clinical enough, but I do feel he has to step up and admit his share of blame as they play to his instructions. There appears a real lack of leadership on the park as well. Tremarco seems very flat and out of sorts to me. I know some wont like me saying this, but we are missing Iain Vigurs terribly. Some players seem totally bombproof as well such as Chalmers whilst others like Trafford and Calder are given little opportunity to shine. Final word of the day is disappointing. Dunfermline away next. They will be smarting from a heavy defeat against Ayr yesterday and 3 points for us is a must. Do I feel confident this team can do that? I’m not so sure sadly. OCG MOTM – A hard one really. Going with Coll Donaldson despite his awful penalty blunder. He showed leadership when there wasn’t much on show by stepping forward and had a steady game overall. RIG summed up his thoughts along similar lines................... All too familiar a tale for ICT fans. Dominate the game in terms of possession but tend not to create much and when we do we are wasteful in taking those chances. Very little width for most of the game until Calder came on and gave Tremarco someone to link with ahead of him instead of having to turn back inside all the time. Welsh had a decent game and we definitely lost a bit of composure in midfield when he went off (presumably due to fitness issues). Donaldson, penalty miss aside, was good at the back but the rest of the squad is quite poor. Austin, Oakley and White all continue to work hard up front but none of them look like they will be particularly prolific for us this season. Rooney was really poor. Defensively naive and poor bringing the ball out from the back. Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Robertson speaking to BBC Sport: "It's inexcusable. You cannot create 15, 16, 17 clear-cut chances and miss them. "We should be sitting comfortably on nine points with a good goal difference but we are now stuck in the middle of the table because we simply haven't been clinical enough at either end. "We've got very good youngsters who may well start to come into plans. We've been loyal to the team that started the vast majority of last season and players who have done well for the club but now maybe we need to start looking to shake it up a bit." Here's the highlights from the game............... Date: 25/08.2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2269 Referee: Barry Cook Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, B Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Polworth, Welsh (Calder 64), Chalmers, Walsh, Austin (White 55), Oakley (Doran 72) Subs (not used): Hoban; McCart, D Mackay, Trafford Scorers: Mckay (10), Welsh (pen 48) Booked: Oakley (24), Walsh (32) Sent Off: none Alloa Athletic: 2 Lineup: Parry; Taggart, Graham, Karadachki, Dick, Hastie, Heatherington (Burt 78), Flannigan, Cawley (Brown 65), Zanatta, Spence (Peggie 49) Subs (not used): Henry, Trouten, Goodwin Scorers: Graham (35), Flannigan (87) Booked: Karadachki (46) Sent Off: Karadachki (48)
  4. The wasps are coming Player manager Jim Goodwin will take his Alloa Athletic side North on Saturday to face Inverness at the Caledonian Stadium in the Championship. It's a 3:00pm kick off with Inverness looking to remain unbeaten and keep the Wasps winless. I notice that Alloa have the most appropriately named keeper in the league. You've guessed it, his name is Parry, but let's not dwell on that. Keeper Neil Parry was voted onto the League one team having completed 13 clean sheets last season. That aside, what an appropriate name for a keeper........ just saying. Caley Stan has been doing his homework and the result is this informative Preview for us all to read.................... Alloa, known globally not just for its brewing but as the unlikely setting for a popular sitcom set during the French Resistance, lies on the north bank of the Forth where some say it ceases to be the River Forth and becomes the Firth of Forth. Fittingly, the town’s football club continually refuses to accept the place in the Seaside League that usually serves as the pinnacle for a club of its size. Under the chairmanship of local tycoon Mike Mulraney, The Wasps have enjoyed a period of unprecedented success, beginning with the appointment of Paul Hartley as manager in the summer of 2011. Hartley oversaw successive promotions and Alloa went on to spend 3 consecutive seasons in the second tier. Now Player-Manger-Master of the Dark Arts, Jim Goodwin, has led them back up at the second attempt with victories over Raith Rovers and Dumbarton in the play-offs. History of the Fixture Won 14 Drawn 10 Lost 6 We played Alloa 28 times in the first 9 seasons of our history and have faced them just twice since. Our first victory came at the fifth attempt – a 5-0 win at Recreation Park in which a Charlie Christie hat-trick and an Ian Stewart brace provided the first sign of the free-scoring fun that was to follow over the next 7 and a half years. By the end of that glorious period, Alloa had been the recipients of a series of unremitting pumpings, and Pele’s last visit to ‘The Recs’ fittingly saw us run out 6-0 winners, with hat-tricks from both Dennis Wyness and Paul Ritchie. I’ve always wondered who got to keep the ball. For all that, it’s a defeat that lingers most vividly in the memory. The 1999 Challenge Cup Final in Airdrie was an epic 4-4 draw that saw The Wasps victorious after a penalty shoot-out. Paul Sheerin, whose hat-trick in the game had included 2 from the spot, missed our opening penalty in the shoot-out and the loss was complete when Mike Teasdale had his saved. To add insult to injury, Alloa keeper Mark Cairns who saved Teasdale's penalty, scored the one before it. It may be difficult to imagine now, but it was a gut-wrenching defeat at the time – just 5 years into our history and in our debut season in the First Division, we were competing in our first final, bringing around 3000 fans down to a less than neutral venue. But in retrospect, with everything we’ve gone on to achieve, it’s difficult to begrudge Alloa a success that takes pride of place in their 140 year-old honours list. And lest we forget, it was not just a victory for Alloa Athletic Football Club, but a significant milestone in the integration of duffel coat wearing headmasters into mainstream society. The teams last met in the Second Round of the League Cup 2 years ago, with Alloa running out 1-0 winners. The defeat turned out to be a harbinger of things to come under the stewardship of Richie Foran and our descent since then has been steep. A maiden victory for Alloa at the Caledonian Stadium would represent a new low. Form Alloa Last 7: WDWLLLW ICT Last 7: WWWLWDL Form is in the eye of the beholder here, as it can be argued that the all competitions figures above don’t tell us much about confidence in the respective squads. Although Alloa have lost their opening two league fixtures, those games have been tight and they have performed well in the cups. There’s little to suggest that they will suffer as Brechin did. From our end, we remain unbeaten in the league since the 13th March, a run of 13 games, but the manner of our departures from the cups, combined with the failure to score against an Ayr side that played over an hour with 10 men, leave the impression that all may not be well. Teams & Tactics Like Dumbarton before them, Alloa’s chances of staying in this division are largely dependent on their ability to supplement a part-time squad with full-time loan signings. That makes August a tricky month, with clubs reluctant to loan players out before the transfer window closes. However, that process has stepped up this week with the loan additions of midfielder Liam Burt from Rangers and forward Dario Zanatta from Hearts. All accounts suggest that Alloa are playing a stuffy, narrow 4-4-1-1, with experienced lower league journeyman Alan Trouten in support of Greig Spence up top. At the back, captain Andy Graham has decent experience at this level and his partnership with Bulgarian Zdravko Karadachki has impressed so far this season. We also seem to be playing a narrow 4-4-2, with a settled back 4 that sees Shaun Rooney pushing up high on the right when we’re in possession. Tom Walsh has made a bright start to the season on the left of midfield, while Liam Polworth and Joe Chalmers are fixtures in Robbo’s starting line-ups. That leaves 3 places up for grabs with Charlie Trafford and Sean Welsh competing for the remaining berth in the centre of midfield, and Nathan Austin, George Oakley and Jordan White all in contention to play up front. It’s difficult to see where Aaron Doran fits into this system and Robbo has made it clear that he sees Daniel MacKay as an impact sub at this time. Angus Beith remains injured and Zak Elbouzedi was absent from the bench for our last match.
  5. No Sweetener for IrnBru Champs It's a tough opening tie for Challenge Cup holders Inverness as we start the defence of our trophy on Tuesday night. However, there's no easy first round tie for the holders with the Pars visiting. Adults: £15 Concessions: £10 Under 16s: £5. Tickets available here Tickets Information for season ticket holders adding the game to their account can be found here How to add to your season ticket Our last involvement in this competition saw us defeat Dumbarton in the final at Perth, a last minute Carl Tremarco goal enough to lift the trophy. It was Championship duty last weekend and we passed up a great opportunity to win all three points against 10 man Ayr United. A penalty amongst other great opportunities went astray and we had to settle for a share of the points with the Honest Men. Inverness looked a bit one paced against Ayr and struggled to make the most of the numerical advantage. At times it was difficult to tell that the visitors were down a man. Nobody took the game by the scruff of the neck and we ultimately paid for our lethargy. Plenty of effort, but not enough guile. The last time the Pars came North they ruined our chances of a play-off slot last season by scoring with seconds left to earn a 2-2 draw in a pulsating game. I fully expect this to be another tough game. Robbo may make some changes for this cup game having gone with the tried and tested over the last few games. We do look as though a bit of pace in the wide areas would be an asset and maybe Elbouzedi or Calder could be more use on the park than on the bench. Daniel Mackay looks certain to make a start in this one. Been a tough week for Liam Polworth with the penalty miss and a minority section of fans getting on his case. Fair play to Liam if he plays through this, but I wouldn't blame him if he were to sit this one out and take stock of everything. Local artist and Caley Jags fan Sophie Robb has sketched this brilliant image of Liam. Let's hope he can put all this behind him and move on with the Caley Jags. Sophie's work can be seen at the stadium, a massive mural on display taken from the IrnBru final against Dumbarton. There's only one Liam Polworth................ The Pars fared worse than us on Saturday as they were unexpectedly beaten 1-3 at East End Park by relegated Ross County. Louis Longridge scored the Pars goal, but County were well worth the three points. Dunfermline might be more interested in the League Cup next weekend and that could lead to both sides fielding one or two fringe players. This was the side that Dunfermline put out at the weekend Robinson; Williamson, Durnan, Ashcroft, Longridge, Craigen, Thomson, Vincent, Longridge, El Bakhtaoui, Hippolyte Subs: Higginbotham, Ryan, Connolly, Gill, Smith, Todd, McCann An excellent digital Preview from the official site can be seen Here
  6. Championship begins with visit to Bairns Here we go, matchday one in the Championship and we are off to Falkirk to kick off the new campaign on Saturday. The ball starts rolling at 3:00pm at the Falkirk Stadium. Falkirk have signed a barrowload of players over the summer break. The enigmatic Greek born midfielder Dimitris Froxylias is one to watch out for. The former Dumbarton player was capped by Cyprus towards the end of last season and is a big danger at set pieces. Striker Dylan Mackin comes in after being on loan at Brechin City last season. Deimantas Petravicius a striker from Motherwell has signed on. Experienced Paul Paton has joined up. The one time Dundee United midfielder comes in from Plymouth. Keeper Leo Fasan moves to the Bairns having played for Udinese and Port Vale amongst other clubs. A late signing has been that of Marcus Haber. The Canadian striker joins the Bairns on a season long loan from Dundee. In their last couple of League Cup games, Falkirk narrowly lost out to St Johnstone (1-0) before ending their group games with a 2-1 defeat of East Fife. They came from behind in this one with two second half goals from Dylan Mackin seeing them prevail. However, like us, it was not enough to sustain their interest in the competition. Inverness were dumped out of the Betfred League Cup last weekend and suffered a humiliating 5-0 reverse. Anything more than a three goal defeat and we were out and I'm afraid we were outplayed after losing three goals in as many minutes in the first half. A further two goals sealed our fate and our demise saw Partick Thistle take our place in the draw. A bit of retribution for the Harry Wraggs I suppose. Pastures new for some stalwarts of recent seasons. Most notably, club captain Gary Warren who has returned South and signed for Yeovil Town. Gary has been a great servant and fans favourite in his six years and 218 appearances. He missed out on two cup final appearances through injury and suspension, but he finally got his hands on a trophy last season as we picked up the IrnBru Challenge Cup. Iain Vigurs is another club captain who has left to re-join Ross County. A very talented player but occasionally let down by his temperament, however his midfield qualities will be missed this season. Jake Mulraney has gone to Tynecastle and the popular Connor Bell is now at Cappielow. We have some new faces at the Caledonian Stadium though with defender Jamie McCart coming back to Inverness having previously been here on loan. Shaun Rooney arrives as a marauding right back from Queen of the South. Striker Jordan White comes in from Barrow to compliment our other strikers and Sean Welsh is a midfielder from Falkirk, not to be confused with Tom Walsh a wide player who was at Dumbarton. Angus Beith is here somewhere after joining from Hearts but he is injured at present. Paul Hartley has brought in around fifteen players since the end of last season, the more prominent ones already mentioned above. To accommodate them, Falkirk released thousands of players too. In the departure lounge were Craig Sibbald, Tom Taiwo, Paul Watson, Louis Longridge, Robbie Thomson, and Rory Loy with five loanees returning to their parent clubs. The Bairns last starting XI against East Fife: Fasan, Kidd, Muirhead, Dallison, McGhee, Petravicius, Sammut, Brough, Mackin, Lewis,Turner. John Robertson was disappointed with the performance of his defence at Tynecastle as we conceded four goals from crosses into the box and one from a superb free kick although the play leading up to the free kick left a lot to be desired. Carl Tremarco took a knock at Tynecastle. Sean Welsh could come off the naughty step having served his suspension. Plenty of options for Inverness this early in the season with Robbo still trying to get the most out of the players at his disposal. More detail on the Official Site with their Preview.
  7. Group C decider against Jambos Inverness and Hearts play at Tynecastle to decide who tops group C in the Betfred League Cup group stages. A draw will do Inverness whilst a win for Hearts will see the Edinburgh side through to the next round. Kick off is 3:00pm on Sunday 29th July. Inverness top the group at the moment, but Hearts could secure the qualification spot by beating the Caley Jags despite being deducted two points and fined £10,000 after fielding in ineligible player against Cove Rangers. Did the punishment fit the crime? I'm not so sure, a little bizaarre if you ask me. Anyway, we are here now and a visit to Tynecastle it is. Hearts kick re-ignited their season in fine style with a 5-0 hammering of ten-man Cowdenbeath in midweek as we laboured over a 2-1 win against Raith Rovers. The Jambos were kept out until the second half when the floodgates opened, and coupled with the sending off of Cowdenbeath's Martin Scott after half an hour it was all too much for the Blue Brazil. Goals from Steven Maclean, Uche Ikpeazu, Peter Haring, Steven Naismith and Michael Smith boosted Hearts goal tally and they are now level on goal difference with Inverness at plus six. Inverness were a little over elaborate against Raith on Tuesday night and it took a late goal from substitute Daniel Mackay to see us take maximum points. Nathan Austin had opened the scoring but Grant Gillespie bludgeoned the ball into the roof of the net to level before Daniel's late intervention. John Robertson scotched nonsensical talk about his old club as he focuses solely on getting Inverness into the next round. So, all to play for at Tynecastle in a game being shown live on BT Sport if you can't make it to the stadium. Hearts are still searching for their best eleven at the moment as they gear up for the Premiership. Not sure what to expect from them this early in their preparation, but they still have some experienced quality players on their books like Naismith, Lafferty and Berra. They also have none other than Jake Mulraney who departed for the bright lights. I wonder if Brad might like a tangle with Jake. Arnaud Djoum, Don Cowie and Harry Cochrane are out but making good progress on their injury comebacks. Rangers target Lafferty will face a late fitness test to assess his readiness for action. I expect Inverness to be along similar lines to the team that started against Raith although Mackay and Calder did well when they were introduced. Angus Beith has not featured since signing from Hearts and is set to miss this one, but Mark Ridgers and Brad Mckay will re-visit their old haunt. A leap into the unknown for the Caley Jags and difficult to guess the outcome with both sides stepping up a gear with each game played. Suffice to say that we will more than likely qualify for the next stages even if we lose, but a point would confirm our place in the draw. We might have to settle for second best as Hearts begin to peak for the Premiership, a draw would be a great result, a win would be a bonus.
  8. After the biggest home game comes Raith. League Cup action continues on Tuesday night with a group stage game against Raith Rovers in the Betfred sponsored competition. The game kicks off at 19:45 at the Caledonian Stadium. Admission Information: Adult – £10 Concessions – £5 Under 12 – Free Our first two games have brought us six points after victories over Cove Rangers (2-0) and Cowdenbeath (2-5). There was mixed reaction to the Cowdenbeath result with some fans not overly impressed with the performance whilst welcoming the overall result. Tom Walsh scored an excellent brace and Aaron Doran scrambled a couple as well with substitute George Oakley lashing in the other one. Raith began their League Cup fixtures with a disappointing defeat at Bayview by Cowdenbeath. The tie was played there because Raiths new artificial surface was not ready in time. They followed this up by playing Hearts on Saturday at the same venue and fared much better holding the Premiership side to a 1-1 draw. Hearts went on to win the penalty shoot out to earn the bonus point. Kevin Nisbet had put the Kirkaldy side ahead but Michael Smith levelled the match with twelve minutes remaining. Group C favourites Hearts are in trouble with the beaks after fielding an ineligible player in the 2-1 win over Cove Rangers. The club will face a hearing on Monday after Andrew Irving, 18, came on in the 65th minute. Chief executive Anne Budge spoke of Hearts' "embarrassment" after admitting they failed to register the player's new deal, which he signed in January. According to Anne, new internal processes will be put in place to prevent this from happening again. Oh dear, and Jake thought he was joining a more professional outfit. Meh! The result of that meeting was a rather odd decision by the SPFL to deduct two points from Hearts with a £10,000 fine. Robbo has decisions to make ahead of this game with Tom Walsh looking the part and Jordan White showing up well with a couple of assists. A good dilemma to have I suppose with goals coming from new sources providing competition for places across the park. Daniel Mackay missed out again at Cowdenbeath with a niggle. New signing Sean Welsh is in the bad book though and might have to sit on the naughty step after an eventful debut at Brora in a pre-season friendly. After scoring two goals he was red carded for an alleged head butt/face off. Rovers manager Barry Smith has new recruits Robbie Thomson (GK), Grant Gillespie, Nathan Flannagan, Kevin Nisbet and Chris Duggan available to him. Former Inverness player Nat Wedderburn missed the opener and did not feature against Hearts either. Raith have not beaten Inverness in their last seventeen attempts, but they can be cheered by the fact that Inverness faced their toughest home game of the season at the weekend and only managed to scramble a draw against 100 kids despite having the opposition watched numerous times. Here's the video highlights of the 25 all draw ............
  9. Blue Brazil for Inverness. Second game of the new season takes Inverness back to an olde haunt, Central Park, Cowdenbeath, in the second game of the Betfred League Cup where we will take on the Blue Brazil, fresh from their world cup exploits. The first games at the weekend saw Cowdenbeath get a fantastic result with a 2-0 win over Raith Rovers. The game was played at Bayview and thanks to a second half brace from striker Jordyn Sheerin they ran out well deserved winners over the League 1 side. Inverness matched their score to record a workmanlike 2-0 win over Highland League side Cove Rangers and Nathan Austin scored twice in that one with a couple of tap-ins. Interestingly, both Jordyn Sheerin and Aaron Doran made the SPFL team of the week for their performances at the weekend. Cowdenbeath were the side that kept Cove Rangers out of the SPFL Leagues after an ill tempered affair in the play-offs. Their League Cup meeting could be an interesting one Our fixture list for the group stages show that we have progressively tougher opposition and with Cowdenbeath rattling Raith's cage then this could prove to be a tough night for our side. Shaun Rooney was the only new starter for Inverness against Cove and we could be along the same lines tonight. Jordan White, Tom Walsh and Zak Elbouzedi all started on the bench last time out and will be pushing for a slot. Daniel Mackay missed that one through injury. New signing, midfielder Sean Welsh the former Partick Thistle player could be included in the squad. ADMISSION: ADULTS - £10, CONCESSIONS -£5. Looky Looky, watch Nathan Austin's tap-in to end all tap-ins.
  10. Who Knew? Who knew back in August that we would still be in with a chance to make the play-offs? We had lost our opening fixture to DundeeUnited and were hammered 5-1 by Dunfermline. Despite drawing with Morton, we were bottom of the League with just one point. In September, it would get worse before it would get better. Heavy defeats by St Mirren and Livingston and even Dumbarton got in on the act before another draw against Queen of the South. We really were struggling with only Brechin keeping us off the bottom of the table. Look at us now. An IrnBru Cup win and ten Championship games unbeaten will ensure that we make Dunfermline play out their final game with something to achieve whilst we try to get three points at Greenock. Who Knew? A battling midweek win at Livingston has set up matchday 36 as judgement day. A thumping Liam Polworth strike just after half time was the difference between the sides at the Tony Macaroni Arena which takes us to the final games before the play-offs. We are now assured of at least fifth place in the Championship but to get one place higher is out of our own hands after that cruel draw with Dunfermline. The manager and team should be congratulated on getting oh so close to the top four after our disastrous start to the campaign. Everyone took a while to gel, but the likes of Mark Ridgers who found it difficult at first was maybe trying to hard to impress coming back to his home town team. He is now having a great season and the confidence gained is running through the team. Coll Donaldson is another who has had a tremendous season. We went on a record breaking run of clean sheets once Coll broke into the side and it's no surprise that he won the Young Player of the Year award at Inverness. What a success he has been. Jake Mulraney will be departing for Tynecastle after the end of the season and we wish him well. Jake has so much more to give and may flourish in a team like Hearts. We have already recruited two players. Shaun Rooney, a right back from Queen of the South and Angus Beith, a young midfielder from Hearts. I'm sure there will be many more coming and going over the next couple of months as budgets are set and reset. Some will please the fans, others will take a while to get over. Iain Vigurs will come back into contention after serving a two match ban. Gary Warren was injured a couple of games ago and misses out. Nathan Austin was rested after he took a knock against the Pars but should be fit. The prolific John Baird will miss out for Morton due to parent club ruling. tm4tj prediction:- I'm taking us to keep our great end of season run going, but unfortunately I can't see anything other than a big win for Dunfermline over Dumbarton to keep us out of the play-off slot. More details on the OFFICIAL SITE ps: Mon Dumbarton
  11. You can't beat a bit of Bully With the dream all but over for another season, Inverness travel to second place Livingston on Tuesday night. It's a bit like Bullseye now. Let's see what you could have won - promotion to the Premiership, super smashing great, as Jim Bowen would say. After the dramatic injury time goal for Dunfermline, it's all academic now. We need Dumbarton to beat Dunfermline at East End Park, or a draw at East End Park while we score a minimum of eight goals in two games without reply. Fat chance to be honest. First things first, we have to beat Championship runners up Livingston on Tuesday night. The big game against Dunfermline was going to plan right up until the 95th minute. A soft free kick awarded to the Pars and the rest is history as Nicky Clark stooped to head home a Jo Cardle free kick. Cruel stuff after we had come from behind to get our noses in front and at one point looked like running up a cricket score. Andy Ryan put Dunfermline ahead but Joe Chalmers levelled from a free kick. Nathan Austin scored a tremendous second for Inverness and we roasted the Pars for the next half hour. They weathered the storm and struck the fatal blow deep into time added on. A sickener for Inverness, jubilation for the Pars. Meh! Livingston had a much less frenetic time of it as three second half goals saw them beat hopeless, hapless and winless Brechin City. Goals from Pittman, Longridge and Hardie were enough to take the points and ensure they enter the play-offs at the semi-final stage. Brechin are doomed and will be going down after a poor season where they were simply out of their depth. Despite the gloom, we are on a fantastic run just now. Unbeaten in out last ten games which has taken us to the brink of the play-offs. Unfortunately that is now out of our own hands. We have two draws and a defeat against Livi this season. The Lions are second top scorers in the league with 56 goals and are three better off than us in goals against. Iain Vigurs captured the players player of the year and the supporters player of the year awards, although nobody can quite work out who voted and where they voted. Whatever, he is suspended for this game. Gary Warren missed out against the Pars and he will miss this one as well. Nathan Austin came off as well and could be a doubt. Livingston have nothing to prove after a great season and could save some players with a view to the play-off games coming up. tm4tj prediction:- The Dunfermline game was the proverbial must win game and we almost did it. I hope the heads have not gone down as it has been a wonderful late push for promotion which looks like just falling short. Whichever way this one swings, it's been a hectic last few weeks which gave the fans something to cling on to. That has all but gone, but these guys are still playing with belief and confidence. It would not surprise me if we turned over Livingston. Now that would be interesting.
  12. Must Win Game Five down, three to go. We have had the must not lose games, well, we are at the stage where it's now a must win game. We have come a long way since Dunfermline hammered us 5-1 back in August. Smith, Ashcroft, Hopkirk and Cardle twice putting us to the sword in a Welcome to the Championship game. Iain Vigurs got a consolation goal for us that day but he will sit this one out after yellow cards caught up with him. These are the two form teams in the Championship just now. Inverness are on a winning run of five in a row, the best by any team this season in the league. The Pars are not far behind with four on the trot and they are the target for Inverness to aim for in the race for a place. Other than the 5-1 thrashing, both sides have enjoyed 1-0 wins. In fact neither side has lost since they last played each other on 13th March when the Pars won 1-0 at East End Park. Something is going to give! Ask the players and they will all tell you the same thing. They are taking it one game at a time over the last month with the games coming thick and fast after a winter of discontent disrupting the fixture list. Every win has taken us closer to the possibility of snatching a play-off place and the one game that keeps the dream in our own hands is here. Robbo will be without the suspended Iain Vigurs for the next two crucial games. His midfield partner Liam Polworth will have to take up the slack and he has been is fine form lately, pointing the way to go. Gary Warren came off after less than half an hour in midweek and is out. I would expect Collin Seedorf to return at right back with Brad Mckay teaming up with Coll Donaldson in central defence. Charlie Trafford will surely come back into midfield with Vigurs suspended. Jake Mulraney is another option and may be used later in the game. Allan Johnston has a settled side at the moment and that has shown in their recent run of results. Fraser Aird is a man on form just now scoring twice against Brechin at the weekend. tm4tj prediction:- This is a tough one. We are not talking about brushing aside part time Brechin or Dumbarton, but full time Dunfermline Athletic, a well established unit who are gearing up for a promotion push. Neither side will be wanting to give anything away and it could be a bit cagey. The Pars have only won twice in Inverness, the last time was in 2007. We did win the last time Dunfermline came North but they defeated Inverness at East End Park. Dunfermline's defensive record is similar to ours but they have scored seven more goals than us. In Jo Cardle they have a pacey wide player who can cause problems. Both sides are on tremendous runs and it's about who has the belief and will go the extra mile to complete the job. We might just edge this one, but part of me believes a draw will be the end product and that will end the dream. I hope I am wrong.
  13. Nothing has changed (apart from date) Despite a crushing win at the weekend, nothing has changed in our quest for a play-off place. Win our remaining games and it's achievable. One slip up and it's then out of our own hands. Game now goes ahead on Wednesday evening due to pitch having surface water. Forking Pitch was wet apparently. We went nap at the weekend over Tuesday's Wednesday's opponents with Nathan Austin notching a hat-trick into the bargain. Aaron Doran had scored a thumping equaliser after Grant Gallagher had scored a tremendous opener for the Sons. Iain Vigurs added the other goal to round off the scoring on a day when Liam Polworth, George Oakley and Vigurs would have claimed MotM but for Austin's timely treble. That was the first by an Inverness player since trebles for Iain Vigurs and Scott Boden a year ago in the League Cup group stages. Billy Mckay scored our last League one in a 4-3 win over Motherwell in 2013, his second of that season as he also did the treble in a 4-4 draw at Tannadice. We were without Coll Donaldson, Carl Tremarco and Charlie Trafford for the last game due to suspension but they are all available for this one. No doubt Robbo will continue to rotate the players anyway with bigger games coming up in the final three although they are all important if we want to get into the play-off slot. Dumbarton will freshen up as they look to stay competitive with the relegation play-off looming. The Sons have now confirmed their relegation play-off place after results went against them last night whilst they were forking their pitch. They had Froxylias on the bench at the weekend and he could be a threat should he get a start. David Smith, Sam Wardrop and Liam Dick will all miss-out tonight, as will Stuart Carswell. Tom Walsh is set to serve a suspension this Saturday against Falkirk but is added to tonight's squad. tm4tj prediction:- Assuming we have the same urge to have a go then I see no reason we can't take all three points to keep the pressure on Dunfermline and Dundee United above us. Dumbarton will have done their homework and we will find it tougher down there, but we should have enough ammunition to see them off. If not, then we don't deserve our late flirt with the play-off places. Supporters Notes: Gates open tonight at 6.30pm. DFC season tickets are valid and gate prices are £20 for adults, £12 concessions. Parent and Child - £28. Here's a wee reminder of how it went on Saturday............... Here's something I spotted on the Dumbarton page. Whodunnit? Nathan Austin, in the Stadium with a Hat-Trick
  14. Dumbarton Double Header It's part one of the Dumbarton Double Header as we take on the Sons with a place in the top play-off hanging by a thread, and a very thin one at that. After a late win over Falkirk we can still make the top-end promotion push, but as it was prior to the Bairns game, it's a tall order. It sounds simple enough. Win all your games and a play-off place is guaranteed. Try putting that into practice and it becomes a lot more difficult. The best we can do as fans is take it one game at a time and see where that takes us. The team are going the right way about it at the moment, seven games unbeaten including a Challenge Cup Final win over Saturday's opponents, Dumbarton. That's five wins and two draws (St Mirren & Dundee United). We are on our best run of the season with three wins on the bounce (Brechin, QotS, Falkirk). A Jake Mulraney goal was enough to give us a hard earned victory over Falkirk in midweek. Mark Ridgers was called into serious action as the seconds ticked away making a tremendous save to ensure we kept ahead. Dumbarton suffered on Tuesday night when Morton scored a very very late winner to edge the game 3-2. One of Morton's scorers was none other that John Baird. Who would have thought that. Danny Handling had scored the opener for the Sons before Morton went ahead. An og with three minutes to go looked to have given Dumbarton a point until Jack Iredale slotted home in the 94th minute. That leaves Dumbarton fighting to escape the relegation play-off. The second part of the double-header will be played out at Dumbarton on Tuesday 17th April with a 7:45pm kick off. John Robertson has been rotating the squad recently with our hectic schedule and that has worked ok so far. Charlie Trafford is suspended for this weekend which is a pity as the big midfielder has been on a good run of form since getting his chance recently and adds a bit of steel to the midfield. Carl Tremarco and Coll Donaldson have also fallen foul of the beaks and are also set to miss this one. We should have plenty of cover though with a full squad otherwise. Defender Brad Mckay and young keeper Cammy Mackay have both accepted extended contracts to remain at Inverness until 2020. Stevie Aitken has worked wonders to get Dumbarton to where they are just now and took them to the IrnBru Cup final a couple of weeks ago. Not bad for a part time club. Last time out against Morton, this was the Sons line-up: Gallacher; Dick, Barr, Dowie, McLaughlin, Hutton, Wilson, Stirling, Handling, Walsh, Gallagher. On the bench were: Ewings, Gallagher, Stewart, Hill, Froxylias, Nisbeat, Burt. tm4tj prediction:- If we have any aspirations about going up then these are the games we need to be winning, and winning well at that. Dumbarton showed in the Cup Final that they are a difficult team to break down and we have shown over the season that we are not always best at breaking down teams that are well disciplined and organised. Could be a testing afternoon. The introduction of Mulraney against Falkirk proved to be the difference between the sides with his pace a huge asset. Maybe he will be due a start as the player rotation goes round again. Home win, but a tight affair methinks.
  15. I don't like Tuesday's It's just a typical Tuesday, another game, another must win scenario and another six-pointer as Paul Hartley brings his Grangemouth revival squad North on the back of seven games unbeaten in the Championship since Livingston won 3-1 at the Bairnabéu Stadium. That was until Dunfermline pipped them at the weekend. Inverness were at Palmerston on Saturday trying to keep our slim chances of a play-off place alive and we came away with an excellent 2-0 win after Nathan Austin opened his account at Inverness. George Oakley added a second and that was George's 10th of the season. Whilst we were playing Queens, the Bairns were hosting Dunfermline but left it too late in their comeback. Kallum Higginbotham and Fraser Aird had the Fifers two up but Aaron Muirhead reduced the deficit with a penalty ten minutes before the end. However the Pars held on for an important win that keeps them in a play off position. These sides have met five times already this season. We started by losing 2-0 in the League Cup group game and followed that with a no scoring draw away from home before winning the IrnBru cup game 1-0. The next Championship game saw us rout Falkirk at home 4-1, but when we went South in the next one we lost 3-1 after Jake saw red. Both sides are capable of winning this one but we are coming together at the right time and it would be a brave man to put their money on a Falkirk win. There's little between the sides in goals for, Inverness just edging it by three (40) but we are ten better off in defence (34). That shows us just three points above Falkirk with one game in hand. John Robertson should have a full squad to choose from and Coll Donaldson came through the game at Palmerston without any further niggles. Good to see Nathan Austin get off the mark with the opener against Queens and fellow striker George Oakley beginning to show his worth with ten goals to his name. Paul Hartley has been building well recently, seven unbeaten until the loss to Dunfermline at the weekend. Here's the starting XI from that defeat to Dunfermline: Hazard, Muirhead, Grant, Watson, McGhee, Sibbald, Robson, Nelson, Welsh, Jakubiak, Longridge. tm4tj prediction:- We are building a bit of momentum at the right time and the win at Palmerston was a massive boost Falkirk had been on a run until the Pars pipped them at the weekend. Usually tight games to call but with Coll Donaldson showing his class at the back, Mark Ridgers high on confidence and George Oakley into double figures then I'm looking for a home win to continue our good run. Good cameraderie amongst the squad at the moment, here's hoping that continues tonight.
  16. Time to reel them in It's the long trek to Palmerston on Saturday as we take on Queen of the South in Dumfries. Our last venture down there turned into a nightmare journey, let's hope it all goes a bit smoother this time. We still have an outside chance to get into the play-off position albeit a slim one, but we have to make our move now as we are running out of games and will need an incredible selection of results to help get us there. However, it's in our own hands at the moment and it's time to get back into contention. There is no margin for error anymore, defeat will all but end our hopes. In midweek, we had an easy night as we put four past relegated Brechin City. Two from Joe Chalmers and one each from Coll Donaldson and George Oakley. In fairness, the team went about their business in a professional manner and deserved the win, our third 4-0 win over Brechin this season. It was a tighter affair as queens entertained Falkirk who pegged back their hosts with a late Louis Longridge goal. Queens had gone behind when Andrew Nelson opened the scoring, but they looked like taking all three points after strikes from Joe Thomson and Darren Brownlee put them ahead until Falkirk leveled in the 87th minute. Gary Naysmith speaking after the midweek game said "Tuesday's game against Falkirk epitomised our season really. In almost every game we have played this season, we have done really well in certain stages of each match but not for the complete 90 minutes and Tuesday's match was very similar. I thought we were off the pace for the first 30 minutes or so and then we finished the first half well". We have played each other three times this season and Queens have yet to win. Two no scoring draws and a 3-1 win in the Highlands so far. Iain Vigurs, Joe Chalmers and Aaron Doran scored for Inverness with a late Owen Bell counter for Queens. The Doonhamers are one of the highest scoring sides in the league with 50 goals. They have balanced that by conceding 50 goals. Despite the doom and gloom coming from the Queen of the South fans, they still sit above us in the league although they would be the first club we can climb above should results go our way in the next few weeks. Prolific striker Stephen Dobbie looks like he won't feature for Queens although a recent scan on his knee showed no worse than bruising. Other possible absentees are Ross Fergusson, Owen Bell and keeper Alan Martin. Lyndon Dykes will return after suspension. Coll Donaldson came off against Brechin and could be set to miss out. For those attending the game:- Visiting supporters should note that they will be located in section six of the Rosefield Salvage Stand and that they should enter via turnstile three. Entry is by ticket only. The home ticket office will be open for use of both home and away supporters and is situated adjacent to Rosefield Stand turnstile numbers one and two. In addition, supporters who choose to park in the Arena car park have access to a ticket office within the Arena. Ticket prices are: Adult £16, OAP's £9, U-16's £5, Adult accessible £8, Concession accessible £5, U16 accessible £3.
  17. Thick and Fast We are playing catch up now in the Championship and the games keep coming after the winter disruption with relegated Brechin coming North on Tuesday night, kick off at 7:45pm. Been a good week for Inverness, four points in the Championship from two tough games and an IrnBru Cup in the trophy cabinet from the victory over Dumbarton at McDiarmid Park. Who knew? Our last outing saw us rally after going two down to St Mirren but Gary Warren and Liam Polworth restored parity. An excellent point given the gravity of the situation when Lewis Morgan scored a second for St Mirren. However Mark Ridgers was in inspired form with a string of superb saves including a hook off the line with his foot penalty save as he dived the wrong way. Wonderful stuff from the big stopper who has turned his season round after a sticky start. Brechin are already mathematically relegated and they come North after losing 3-0 at Falkirk, the Hedge boys coming apart with two players sent off just before half-time. Not surprising really as they are without a win in thirty Championship games having amassed only four points all season. A word of caution however as we only just beat them in our last meeting in a see saw game. We went from 1-0 up to 2-1 down before George Oakley spared our blushes with a late goal despite ending the game with 10 men. Warning heeded I hope. All the stats are in our favour for this one. We are 34 for & 34 against, Brechin are 19 for & 42 against. In league games this season we have three wins with an 11-2 advantage. So, this is an opportunity to get into positive goal difference territory and maybe jump back above Falkirk. Injury lists have shortened as the season has worn on and Robbo should have a reasonable squad to choose from. Darren Dods will be without his suspended duo of Sean Crighton and Paul McLean as his season fades away. No disrespect to Brechin, but we should be winning games like this comfortably. Alas, games are not played on paper and given our struggle at Glebe Park, Brechin will be determined to finish the season with a mini flourish. Isaac Layne was one who caused a bit of discomfort with his burly robust style, but Coll Donaldson eventually got to grips with him and the threat was nullified. I'm looking for a goal scoring home win to set us up for a wee run in the home straight. The play-offs at the top end of the league are a long shot to be honest, but that could be achieved with an unbeaten run to the wire. We'll see how that goes. Defeat here is unthinkable, but as I said a wee bit of caution will not go amiss.
  18. Champions elect coming North. St Mirren are the visitors on Saturday as we complete a hectic week with the Championship leaders looking to edge closer to promotion whilst we search for a way into the play-off zone. A large away support is expected for this one and the home fans might well be outnumbered given their reluctance to get down to the stadium. It has been a memorable week for Inverness as we won the IrnBru Cup after defeating Dumbarton last weekend courtesy of a Carl Tremarco stoppage time goal. We followed that up by beating pre-season title favourites Dundee United on Tuesday night, thanks to Aaron Doran's strike just on half time. It was a narrow win but well deserved and a decent performance to boot. That was in contrast to the rather dull Cup Final. However the result was the important thing and finals are often like that as nobody wants to be the one that makes the error. St Mirren are closing in on the title. Their charge began last season after being somewhat detached at the foot of the table, but Jack Ross has transformed the Buddies into a formidable side and one that thoroughly deserve to be promoted as Champions. St Mirren have almost double the points that Inverness have accumulated so far and sit top of the league by 14 points from Livingston. They are the highest scorers with 57 goals compared to our 32. Defensively we are much closer with the Buddies conceding three less than us. St Mirren have won the previous encounters this season although the games were closer than the scorelines suggest. St Mirren romped past Dumbarton in midweek banging in five goals without reply. Lewis Morgan bagging a hat-trick in that one. Four wins on the trot for the Paisley side. John Robertson has a doubt in Jake Mulraney but should have an otherwise injury free squad to choose from. Not often we can say that. tm4tj prediction:- Our season seems to have finally begun. We're a bit late to the party, but confidence can be a game changer and we need that from now to the end of the season. It would be a brave man to bet against St Mirren winning this one, but maybe we can take something from the game. Celtic bound Lewis Morgan is a big danger with 22 goal Gavin Reilly and Daniel Mullen on the goal trail as well. Formidable opposition it has to be said but it's not beyond the realms of possibility that we could take all three points, but that's optimism at it's best. A draw might be our best bet. Detailed Preview on Official ICTFC website
  19. IrnBru Cup Final It's the IrnBru Cup Final this weekend as both Inverness and Dumbarton travel to the Fair City of Perth, to McDiarmid Park to be precise, to contest the 2018 Challenge Cup final. The game kicks off at 16:15 with TV coverage on BBC Alba, so get your Gaelic phrase book out if you can't get to the game and settle down with a glass of the rusty nectar, maybe fortified with your favourite tipple. We have won this competition before at the very same venue in 2003/2004 season when we overcame Airdrie United 2-0 to lift the then Bells Cup thanks to late strikes from David Bingham and Steve Hislop. We have also lost the final twice. Alloa winning a high scoring game on penalties (5-4) after a 4-4 draw at the Excelsior Stadium. In 2010 we surrendered a two goal lead at McDiarmid Park when Dundee came back to win 3-2 in the Alba Challenge Cup. We got to the final this season after wins over Aberdeen u20 (2-4), Peterhead (3-0), Falkirk (1-0) and Crusaders (3-2) after the proverbial game of two halves. Dumbarton have had equally tough games and have reached their first major final in 121 years. They have beaten Rangers u20 (2-1), Connah's Quay (2-1), Stranraer (2-1), Raith Rovers (2-0) and Welsh side The New Saints (2-1). Previous encounters this season in the Championship are one win apiece. Dumbarton won the fixture at The Rock, coming from behind to win 2-1. Connor Bell had given us an early lead but Dimitris Froxylias levelled just after the break. Sam Wardrop scored the winner around the hour mark and we failed to find an equaliser with Gary Warren being red carded with twenty minutes left. Inverness gained revenge with a narrow win in the Highlands in mid December by 1-0, Carl Tremarco the scorer. Neither club has performed consistently in the Championship and their respective league positions reflect that. Inverness are currently eighth and Dumbarton ninth and either club could be drawn into the play-off at the bottom. However, we will put league form aside and concentrate on the IrnBru Cup final this weekend. Team News Inverness will be without Brad Mckay (suspended) and Nathan Austin (cup-tied) Good news is that Coll Donaldson should be fit enough to start after sitting on the bench last week. Dumbarton boss Stevie Aitken has reservations over Dimitri Froxylias who has been called up to play for Cyprus the day before the Cup Final. He will be flying back to Glasgow after the game and Aitken will be hoping his Cyprus call up will not affect his performance. The Sons also have four players cup-tied. Liam Dick, Andy Stirling, Kevin Nisbet and Aidan Wilson are all out. No prediction from me for this one. Suffice to say it won't be easy and let's hope both sets of fans enjoy their day out. More detail can be found on the Official Preview and you can keep up to date with all the latest news from the Official Twitter Account for ICTFC If you can't make the game, TV coverage is exclusively live on BBC ALBA. Coverage begins at 4.00pm. If you can make the game, tickets will be onsale from 2.30pm at the McDiarmid Park ticket office: £15 for adults £10 for over 65s & students £5 for juveniles aged 13-16 Free for U12s
  20. Play-Off Possibility Inverness face Dundee United on Saturday with the season hanging in the balance after another defeat in midweek at East End Park. We are now closer to the relegation play-offs at the bottom end of the table than we are to the promotion play-offs. Our schoolboy errors on and off the park leave us with little hope of progressing this term and the outlook is bleak. All we have left to look forward to is the IrnBru cup final at McDiarmid Park Perth against Dumbarton. That is assuming we can stave off the relegation play-off position. After a lifeless performance against Dunfermline, we went down 1-0, but by all accounts we got off lightly with Mark Ridgers making a couple of wonderful saves to keep the score down. Our attempts to score were negligible and our antics off the park were laughable. I'm talking about the farce that ended with Brad Mckay not being named at all until Riccardo Calder pulled up, then only being named as a substitute but Cameron Harper who made his debut was suddenly injured after five minutes therefore Brad got on the park after all. What the hell was that all about? Our opponents, Dundee United managed to get back on track after a poor run of results. They came from behind to defeat Queen of the South with Mathew Smith bagging a brace, the first a thumping long range effort. Thomas Mikkelsen had scored the equaliser to get United back into the game. It was their first Championship win since they beat Brechin on the 2nd of January. During that poor run they had been thrashed 6-1 by Falkirk and 3-0 by Morton. Coll Donaldson and Nathan Austin are still sidelined so that leaves our back line a bit fragile. Who knows what's going on behind the scenes, but the Brad Mckay farce was odd to say the least. Let's hope this is sorted before it's too late. The Arabs have made an emergency loan signing in Anthony Ralston. I'm buggered if I know what the emergency is, but the young Celtic defender is at Tannadice for the rest of the season. He has made six starts for Celtic including a Champions League game against PSG. United went with this line-up against QotS:- Lewis, Durnan, Quinn, Scobbie, Murdoch, Flood (Slater 88), King (McMullan 84), Stanton, Robson, Smith, Mikkelsen (McDonald 73). tm4tj prediction:- Given our lame effort at East End Park, and without Coll Donaldson, I see no reason that we should expect anything from this game. Thumping win for United which coupled with a win for Dumbarton over Brechin City will leave us perilously close to the relegation play-off slot. Further news on the Official Site
  21. Heading towards last chance saloon After what seems like an entire season of games put on hold in the Winter of our discontent, we should take on fellow promotion hopefuls Dunfermline Athletic on Tuesday night. It's getting to the stage for both clubs where only a win will suffice. This game has been knocked back already due to inclement weather and frozen pipes but it looks like it could go ahead this time. Our last competitive game was on 24th February when we went down 0-2 against Morton in the Highlands. We only managed two games throughout February. The other one was the IrnBru Cup game against Irish side Crusaders which saw us get into the final after a pulsating 3-2 win. We will play Dumbarton at McDiarmid Park, Perth, in a couple of weeks. The fixtures are now stacking up for Inverness and we will be playing twice a week for the foreseeable future. Dunfermline are without a win in their last seven games since they defeated Dumbarton 0-1 on 6th January. Their last game was a 2-0 defeat to leaders St Mirren at the weekend. They still lead Inverness by five points and sit just outside the play-off zone in sixth place, but we do have two games in hand. We were dropped down into eighth position at the weekend when Falkirk beat Morton 3-1, and only Dumbarton and Brechin are below us. Our season now hinges on us making a grandstand finish to the season, but with our player of the year so far Coll Donaldson injured, it looks like the IrnBru Cup might be our only crumb of comfort after the massive rejig following relegation. Dunfermline warned us how tough this league was going to be by trouncing us 5-1 in the second league game of the season. We did gain a modicum of revenge with a 1-0 win at the Caledonian Stadium at the end of October, but only six wins from thirteen Championship fixtures since then has seen us struggle to climb the league. It's like one step forward and two back at the minute. Coll Donaldson and Nathan Austin are both out with hamstring injuries but Robbo should have a full squad otherwise. Here's the Pars line up in their last outing at St Mirren. Dunfermline: Robinson, Williamson, Talbot, M'Voto, Ashcroft, Craigen, Beadling, Vincent, Armstrong, McManus, Clark. SUBS: Gill, Morris, Martin, Cardle, Wedderburn, Higginbotham, Ryan tm4tj prediction:- With our lack of action recently it's difficult to guess how we will react to our inactivity. Coll Donaldson missing out is a big blow and our cover up front is thin with John Baird off to Morton and Nathan Austin injured. Dunfermline fans don't seem too bothered if we were to help remove Magic Johnston from the managers seat, so let's see if we can help them out here and record an away win. It looks like a tall order though, so I'm going with a no score draw.
  22. Let the six-pointers begin. Inverness host Morton in the Championship as the battle for play-off places hots up. With only ten games left for Inverness to save their season, many of these encounters will be seen as six-pointers, and this one is certainly a must not lose game. It's game on after the pitch inspection. It had been arranged for 08:30 on Saturday morning as a precaution with the surface struggling to recover recently. It's back to league business for Inverness after the enthralling IrnBru Cup win over Irish side Crusaders last Sunday. It looked all over bar the shouting at the interval as Inverness raced into a three goal lead with goals from George Oakley, Joe Chalmers and Jake Mulraney. However, Inverness were once more reduced to ten men and Crusaders had a real go, Heatley grabbing a brace to make the last few minutes a touch tense. But we held on and even had the luxury of spurning a scoring opportunity when Iain Vigurs made a hash of a penalty kick after CTO Man of the Match Liam Polworth was sent tumbling to the sodden turf. That victory will see us play Dumbarton in the final on Saturday 24th March at 16:15 with the game being played at McDiarmid Park, Perth. Morton moved eight points above Inverness in midweek with a hard earned win over Dumbarton. Thomas O'Ware was the man that consolidated their position in the top four in a game that they always looked like coming out on top. The Greenock side have won three of their last four games, drawing the other one. They have the best defensive record in the league conceding only 23 goals whilst scoring 34, giving them a +11 goal difference, to Inverness' +2gd. We drew 1-1 in the first meeting this season with Gary Warren scoring in the first half. Morton eventually got to grips with the pace of the game and were well worth their point after Robert Thomson levelled just after the break. Collin Seedorf was red carded at the end of this game. In the second game, Morton held the upper hand after David Raven was sent off as he conceded the penalty after twenty-two minutes from which Gary Harkins scored the only goal of the game. Discipline has been a big part of our downfall this season and can probably be attributed to the loss of around ten points, enough to see us comfortably in the play-off zone. After the IrnBru game, we have now had nine players sent off. Whether the referee's decisions have been correct or not, we are putting ourselves in the position of ending the game with less players than we started with, mostly through petty trips, clips, minor indiscretion and often sheer stupidity. What it boils down to is those left on the pitch are suffering because we can't keep our composure when the going gets tough resulting in the ruination of the fans weekend plus our struggle to climb the table is like running in treacle. This really needs addressed Robbo, time to take drastic action against those seeing red where indiscipline is an issue. Inverness were without Carl Tremarco, Aaron Doran, Nathan Austin and Charlie Trafford against Crusaders. Tremarco is almost ready and could feature in the squad. Austin was cup-tied and will return. Doran was not risked on a really heavy pitch and he and Trafford are available. Brad Mckay will be eligible for this game as his red card will only make him miss the final against Dumbarton. John Baird has been loaned to Morton for the remainder of the season therefore I doubt we will see him in the squad tomorrow. No big loss really as although he worked hard, his return of only four goals in thirty-one games was hardly game changing stuff. Talking of red cards; Jake Mulraney will sit this one out after his madness at the end ofJanuary in Falkirk. It was that long ago that even the SFA forgot to put his name on the current list of outstanding suspensions. SFA not as observant as Caley Stan who pointed that one out. Morton were without Australian centre half Jack Iredale against Dumbarton and Robert Thomson has not played in over a month now. Jai Quitongo, Ross Forbes and Keeper Jamie McGowan are all out long term. tm4tj prediction. Well, if they can't be motivated for these final ten games then there's no hope. I expect us to be fired up for this one as we push for the top zone. It's taken a long time for Robbo to suss out his best options and he's nearly there. George Oakley has made the front man job his own. It's possible Austin could compliment him with Calder and Doran the providers. Liam Polworth had his best game for ages last week and his confidence is growing as is Mark Ridgers in goal. So, coming good at the right time we hope, but Morton have got where they are by hard graft and will be difficult to break down as their defensive record suggests. Gary Harkins will always be a threat with his quality. Tight game but we should edge it. 2-1 for Inverness, mon the Caley Jags. Official Preview Here's Morton keeper Derek Gaston pulling of this acrobatic save against QotS recently. Incredible stuff....
  23. IrnBru Cup Semi-Final Inverness welcome Irish Premiership side Crusaders to the Scottish Highlands for the IrnBru cup semi-final. Just when you forgot all about this competition, someone somewhere comes up with a date and time to suit everybody. Well, the date is Sunday 18th February, the time is 17:15. I kid you not. The weather has relented in the last couple of days which is just as well as the pitch looked somewhat tired and heavy after weeks of dismal winter weather took it's toll. I would still expect a less than velvet surface with the going soft. Logistics aside, the competition has reached the last four with Inverness v Crusaders (Northern Ireland), and New Saints (Wales) v Dumbarton. To give New Saints their Sunday name, it's The New Saints of Oswestry Town & Llansantffraid Football Club. They play in Oswestry, Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain. That'll be why TNS is the preferred title. Thankfully, it's Crusaders that we play and they are known as the Crues. ***Latest News*** We now know one of the finalists and it's congratulations to Dumbarton who have reached their first Cup final in over 100 years. They came from behind to beat TNS 1-2 with late goals from Danny Handling and Dimitris Froxylias. Former Caley Jags player Dean Ebbe had given TNS the lead early in the second half. So what do we know about them? They hail from Belfast where they have a 3383 capacity all seated stadium, Seaview. Manager Stephen Baxter is a former player and has been in the job since 2005. They play in red and black, so they have something in common with half of Caley Thistle. In season 2016/2017 they relinquished their title and finished second in the NIFL Premiership behind one of their Belfast rivals, Linfield. It was a last day victory for Linfield that decided the title. However, this season appears to be back on track with Crusaders 5 points clear with 10 games remaining. Some impressive stats so far, Played 28:- Won 22 - Lost 2 - Goals For 82 - Goals Against 28. Crusaders last game was a 4-2 victory over Glentoran although they were knocked out of the Irish Cup a couple of weeks ago 4-1 by Cliftonville after being reduced to ten men. Jordan Owens, Billy Joe Burns, Colin Coates and Gavin Whyte were the scorers in the win over Glentoran. Gavin Whyte is the top scorer in the division with 18 goals, and fellow Crusader Paul Heatley is third with 13 goals. Whyte was the man that scored a last minute goal to knock out Dundee United in the last round. The 22 year old is regarded as a flying winger and one of the hot prospects in the Irish Leagues. He was also a signing target for Dundee United at one point but he is content to remain at Seaview for now where he is scoring goals almost every week. Recent signing Darren Murray is also amongst the goals and scored a brace on his debut in the 3-0 win over Carrick Rangers. The former Warrenpoint Town striker feels he will benefit from playing at Crusaders as he will get more scoring opportunities. He has already notched 12 for the season. Check out this BBC Sport footage of their win over Glentoran. Crusaders v Glentoran From the Belfast Telegraph, defender Sean Ward said the players are relishing the chance to progress to another major final. "It's been a good competition for us and like every one we enter we want to go as far as we possibly can," said Ward. "We are confident we can beat Inverness, there is no doubt about that, but we will need to perform well. "We will give it our best. To reach the final will be special. Players want to play in finals, it's why we play the game and it's another massive opportunity to reach a big final. "After the disappointment of the League Cup semi-final and Irish Cup it's a welcome distraction for us. We will face a full-time Inverness outfit who will be good but we will give it our best and see if it's good enough." And manager Stephen Baxter added:- "This Inverness game is a break away from the relentless pressure and tension of the league games. It's a big game of football but it will be a nice break for us. "We will give a good account of ourselves. We won the Setanta Cup which was a huge lift to everyone and reaching an IRN BRU semi-final is a big feather in our cap as these are the best teams in our islands." Inverness have stuttered somewhat in recent weeks and have also dropped out of the Scottish Cup with a 1-0 defeat to Premiership side Dundee after a replay. That was our last game (30th Jan) as the weather saw the Dundee United game postponed. We were idle last weekend as we were not involved in the Cup and had no game arranged. Before the Dundee game we lost 3-1 at Falkirk in the Mulraneygate encounter. We were comfortable until Jake saw red and once we were reduced to ten men we lost the plot like Jake. We are lingering in no-mans land at the moment in seventh place in our own Championship. Team News It's been a slow news fortnight in the Highlands football wise, but here are the last known team line-ups for both squads. Carl Tremarco is still injured and Nathan Austin is cup-tied, otherwise Robbo should have a full squad to choose from. Inverness (v Dundee) : Ridgers, Mckay, Warren, Donaldson, Calder (Mackay 83), Chalmers, Vigurs, Polworth, Bell (Mulraney 67), Doran (Baird 67), Oakley Crusaders (v Glentoran) : Jensen, Ward, Burns, Coates, McChrystal (Beverland 46), Lowry, Forsythe, Heatley, Owens, Murray (Caddell 78), Whyte (Cushley 88) More detail and Robbo chat can be found on the Official Preview. From the Crusaders website:- Any Crusaders supporters going to the Irn Bru Cup Semi Final on Sunday against Inverness Caledonian Thistle are asked to gather at the ICT Social Club at 28 Grieg Street where a bus will transport you to the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium for the game. If you are there for 3.45pm Norman Coleman will have a "gift" for you as a thank you for travelling to the game so please do not miss out. It will be worth it and it is a gesture for your making it to the game to get behind the lads on the pitch. I'll make no prediction on this game as I have never seen Crusaders play before. However, given their win over Dundee United and their current form in the Irish Premiership then I would expect them to be an accomplished side well capable of troubling an Inverness side in indifferent form and during our rebuilding process. It will be a first for Inverness to be playing an Irish side and a welcome break from the somewhat turgid games we have witnessed in the Championship. Crusaders come over with an exciting free scoring side and we should be in for an entertaining match. Anyway, welcome to the Highlands of Scotland and I hope you enjoy our national drink, it's made from girders you know, although made with less sugar now. Sláinte............ It's not great quality, but here's how Dumbarton got into the final. Two cracking strikes to win it.
  24. Opportunity to bounce back. Game On! We head for Glebe Park Brechin on Saturday, our last game of 2017 to play The City at their quaint venue, where a hedge forms one side of the stadium. I suppose it's more picturesque than our own, where a defunct singing section, tea shop and toilets mark the touchline on the Bridge side of the stadium. It's an opportunity to bounce back after the disappointment at Morton where we went down to a Gary Harkins spot kick, and ended the game with ten men after David Raven was red carded at the penalty incident. There was some consternation surrounding the playability of the ground despite the City grounstaff and volunteers covering the surface. Heavy frost had penetrated a couple of area's and that was giving some concern. Brechin City have issued the following statement. "PITCH UPDATE In the main the pitch covers have done their job despite overnight frost with the vast majority of the pitch soft and playable. Unfortunately despite a double layer of covers the frost has got into an area of about 3 metres square in the bottom goalmouth. However, taking the current forecast into account and depending on overnight conditions, our ground staff feel this area can be worked on to make it playable for the game. In any case an early decision will be made tomorrow morning with regard to a pitch inspection." It matters not now as no inspection needed, Game On! So far this season, Brechin have been our whipping boys despite their results against other more illustrious opponents being very close affairs. We have played them three times already this season. A 3-0 league cup victory was followed by our first league win of the season, 0-4 at Glebe Park back in August. We repeated that scoreline at the end of November with a 4-0 win at the Caledonian Stadium and that brings us to the final game of 2017 matchday 18 for both sides. Brechin are without a win this season and that is shown in their league position, only three points from 17 games. With that in mind, their goals against tally is the worst in the league. They have conceded twice as many as Inverness with 38 against. If you thought that goal scoring is a problem for Inverness (18), then spare a thought for Brechin fans who have witnessed only 12 league goals. They are not the worst though. That accolade goes to Falkirk who have only scored 9 times. Our optimism is justified given our dominance over City in previous fixtures this season, but we are not exactly setting the heather on fire ourselves and this could be a tough game. Last time against City we won 4-0 with goals coming from Brad Mckay, John Baird, Connor Bell and George Oakley. We were always in command, but the game was somewhat flat at times and four nil possibly flattered us, a late dinked goal from George Oakley putting some shine on the dull proceedings. For the visitors that day, Isaac Layne ploughed a lone furrow, but he is a robust fellow and was a handful for our defenders who ultimately coped well with his powerful bursts forward. He is a bit like marmite, you either love him or hate him. On that day he looked decent, alas many Brechin fans think otherwise. Inverness will be without David Raven who may well have played his last game for Robbo's side. The stalwart right back was reinstated after the John Hughes era and has been a fans favourite, especially after his stunning goal that helped knocked Celtic out of Scottish cup. However, a red card at Cappielow means he will miss this one although he could possibly feature against Livingston on 2nd January before he leaves after turning down a new deal. That has been on the cards for some time and the end is nigh, but best wishes to David in his future career. Collin Seedorf will probably take Raven's place. Some fuel to the rumour that Nathan Austin will be joining us from Falkirk to add some competition to the main strikers berth. Much needed if you ask me. Darren Dods last squad for the 2-1 defeat to Dunfermline:- Smith, McLean (Dale 46), Crighton, Fusco, Spark, Watt, Smith, Lynas, Sinclair (Graham 77), Orsi (McLennan 55), Layne. Further detail can be found on Official Site Here's Robbo's reaction to the defeat at Cappielow
  25. Dundee Replay. After their winter break Dundee come North looking to put Championship side Inverness Caledonian Thistle out of the Scottish Cup. The first tie ended in stalemate and the prize up for grabs is a home tie against Premiership side Motherwell. A precautionary pitch inspection is planned for Tuesday lunchtime to see if the pitch is holding up after recent drookit weather of biblical proportions. Inverness went to Dens park and justified Robbo's faith in his own side when he said it would not be a shock to him should Inverness progress into the next round. Well, it never quite went to script but we earned a replay with a deserved 2-2 draw. Neil McCann was blaming rustiness for his sides failure to get through at the first time of asking. Aaron Doran started the scoring and Dundee replied through Sofien Moussa and Mark O'Hara before George Oakley knocked in the late equaliser to send the tie to a replay. Since then, we have been to Falkirk in the Championship, and with a depleted squad through injury and suspension, we lost 3-1. We had fared pretty well until Jake Mulraney went berserk. A booking just before half time, another dubious tackle seconds later then yet another crude challenge gave the referee no other option but to send the nutter packing. We often complain about poor refereeing, but I'm afraid this was all Jake's doing. He let the team, manager and support down, but more importantly he let himself down. Robbo will be introducing stricter discipline rules within the club and that is no surprise as that was our eighth red card this season. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. He's not the first this season that has let the side down, let's hope he's the last though. On the bright side, youngsters Daniel Mackay and Jack Brown came on against Falkirk and combined to score a brilliant goal, Mackay superbly finishing off a brilliant assist from Jack Brown. Dundee have played twice since the cup draw. A home game against Hibs in the Premiership on Tuesday night and an away game at Hamilton on Saturday. They went down 1-0 to Hibs and McCann was left furious by refereeing decisions going against his side. Aye, tell us about it Neil. They fared better at Hamilton after a very late goal in time added on to the time added on gave them all three points. It was hyphen man AJ LS that got the winner with Mathew Henvey getting Dee's opener after Hamilton had benefited from an og from Mark O'Hara who sliced the ball into his own net. Pity he could'nt do that against us in the first game instead of running half the pitch and smashing the ball into the net, meh! Hamilton were undone by a sending off as well, David Templeton trying to outdo Mulraney for the fastest two yellow cards of the season. John Hendry has been attracting the attention of other clubs and Dundee are reported to have turned down a bid from Celtic for the talented young defender. Another one about to be paid a lot to sit on a bench probably. James Vincent, he of Caley Thistle Scottish Cup fame has left Dundee and gone to Dunfermline on loan. This is what the draw looks like at present. You would imagine Hearts, Falkirk and Fraserburgh will join Brora for the fifth round games. Would be a shame not to get that opportunity to join them, so it's all to play for on Tuesday night....... Inverness should have Iain Vigurs and Liam Polworth back after suspension. Jake Mulraney's suspension will be for the next Championship game, although Robbo was raging after the Falkirk game and he might be punished by the club and miss out. Tremarco is a long term absentee. Nathan Austin was missing, presumed injured still, against Falkirk. We need someone with a bit of flair to create the opportunities for Oakley and Bell, let's hope he has recovered for this game, but it's doubtful. Dundee are beginning to find their feet again as Neil McCann steadies the ship. He is looking to bring Toni Martinez in from West Ham. The Spaniard has scored 12 goals for the Hammers under-23's this season, although McCann reckons he might be out of their league. Hendry may be included after missing the first game through manflu. This lad has plenty quality and was missed in the first encounter. tm4tj prediction:- With our midfield taking on a more familiar look with Vigurs and Polworth returning that will give us a better balance in the engine room. Aaron Doran will feature in this one after not being risked at Falkirk on the artificial surface. Strong shouts for youth to get their chance after Daniel Mackay scored his second for the Caley Jags. Maybe not in this one with Dundee up for it, but surely in coming games he will be slowly introduced. AJ -LS is getting amongst the goals and will be a test for our defence once more but with Coll Donaldson playing well for us we might be able to keep him and Sofien Moussa quiet. Another tough game to call and it might take extra time and penalties to separate the sides. If we can keep eleven men on the park, we should be a match for the bottom six clubs in the Premiership. When we plumb the depths, we are barely a match for the Highland League clubs. I'll go for us to oust the Dark Blues, but given our recent shady performances, it's anyone's game. ICT after extra time, Motherwell (at home) here we come.