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  1. Something in the Ayr tonight GAME OFF due to high wind. Anyone got a kite............. It's our third game within a week as we head to Ayrshire to take on the table topping Honest Men in a Friday night game under the floodlights of Somerset Park, or as Thunderclap Newman used to say, there's something in the Ayr......... Because the revolution's here, and you know it's right. The last few days have seen contrasting fortunes for Inverness. A first defeat of the season to bottom club Falkirk on Saturday was followed up by a crushing Scottish Cup win over Edinburgh City. The Falkirk game was hard to take and it ended our long unbeaten Championship run, an injury time goal sealing the points for the Bairns. The cup replay saw Jordan White claim a hat-trick and Tom Walsh a brace. It was a dour first half, but much better application after the break saw Inverness run out comfortable winners over League Two leaders Edinburgh City. Ayr have been without a game since last Friday when they juiced the Tangerines 5-0 at Tannadice. Lawrence Shankland was the man making the difference with a four goal salvo to keep Ayr at the top of the league ahead of Ross County. In fact it's all going on in Ayrshire with Kilmarnock heading the Premership after the midweek games. In fact there's definitely something in the Ayr. Hotbed of Scottish football just now! The first meeting of the season saw Inverness fail to get the better of ten man Ayr, Liam Polworth missing the target from the spot. We did keep Shankland fairly quiet in that game, but even with ten men Ayr were still a threat on the break, the game ended 0-0. Talking of Shankland, Swansea City are reported to be about to offer £400k for his services in the English Championship. The 26 goal striker is reputed to have around twenty clubs looking for his signature, unfortunately Inverness are not one of them. Ian McCall has nipped all rumours in the bud but accepts that there will be massive interest in his star striker come the January window. Ayr have won ten of their fifteen league games with only two defeats, Ross County (2-1) and Queen of the South (surprisingly 5-0). They have 33 points (to our 22) and are the top scorers in the division with 30 goals ( ICT 21) having conceded only 12 (ICT 16). Despite the doom and gloom of our extended unbeaten run, it's almost a relief to lose that tag as we embark on the next part of the journey. Turning draws into wins was proving to be a stumbling block, but Falkirk have hopefully given us the wake up call to get us back on track. Good to see Roddy MacGregor getting more game time as he looks to have a bright future with his energy and quick feet giving him the ability to drive at defences. Nice wee cameo against Edinburgh City where he set up Aaron Doran for our sixth goal. Sixth goal: Not often we can say that. The Ayr team that faced Dundee United last week can be seen in the image to the right, Striker Craig Moore returns to the Ayr squad after a two game ban. Ian MacCall has fitness doubts over defender Jamie Adams and midfielders Alan Forrest and Mark Kerr. Rumour has it that they will all miss this one. For Inverness, Carl Tremarco is back training but not fit for action yet. Jamie McCart will continue to deputise at left back, he's doing reasonably well there. Sean Welsh missed the midweek cup game, presumably rested. Jordan White will surely be given the nod up front after his striking performance against Edinburgh City. Daniel Mackay has been missing recently for the u18's and first team squad. Ayr Utd v ICTFC Somerset Park, Ayr Friday 19:45pm kick-off. Live on BT Sport Tickets: Adults £17, Concessions £11, Child £6. The ICT Supporters Travel Club is running a bus to the match, book on their Facebook page HERE or on 07462218717 The Car Park closes at 2.50pm, we have allocated spaces for Blue Badge holders, staff and officials only. Public parking is available at Craigie Park. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Young Caley Jags take on @CelticFC tomorrow in their SFA Youth Cup match. Entry is FREE for all Supporters at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. 2pm kick-off. There will be donation buckets outside the ground with all proceeds going towards the Youth Development Department. The club shop will be open tomorrow from 10am-2pm for a chance to get your gifts in time for Christmas! The u18 game has also fallen foul of the weather, anyone got a boat???
  2. Scottish Cup Replay Hard on the heels of our first defeat since the battle of Hastings, (well it felt like it), we face Edinburgh City in a Scottish Cup replay having drawn 1-1 with the capital club at Ainslie Park last week. This could be a make or break week for the club. Losing to bottom club Falkirk was grave, losing to Edinburgh City could be the straw that breaks the donkeys back. We follow that with a game at Ayr on Friday night and that fills me with fear after their 5-0 pumping of Dundee United at Tannadice last Friday. We were pedantic, profligate and sloppy against Falkirk in equal measures resulting in a brutal 3-2 defeat three minutes into time added on. Tom Walsh gave us hope early on but Zac Rudden benefited from casual defending to score twice before the interval. George Oakley pulled us level on the hour but more schoolboy defending gifted all three points to the Bairns. Meh! City remain top of League Two after a home win over Queens Park, goals from Blair Henderson and Scott Shepherd keeps them two points above Peterhead. Their starting XI for the Spiders game was:- Antell, Thomson, McIntyre, Black, Balatoni, Laird, Smith, B. Henderson, Taylor, Shepherd, L. Henderson. SUBS: Morton, Rodger, Hall, Kennedy, Watson, Lumsden. Here's an excellent Vlog of their win over Queens Park, well done Aaron, great stuff. Our squad is down to the bare bones at the moment and it could be the time has now come to give the youngsters a chance. Roddy MacGregor came on for the last few minutes against Falkirk and his energy was obvious from the moment he came on. Our experienced strikers are lacking in confidence just now and little is going right for them. Oakley did score on Saturday, but a genuine striker might have had a hat-trick. Jordan White came on and did what Jordan White does, he gets under the ball and heads over from close range all too often, his lack of anticipation is criminal. However, it's not all doom and gloom as we were unfortunate at times and a rub of the green might have seen us win comfortably, but Falkirk were up for a battle and I'm sure the Citizens will be fired up for the Cup tie as well. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain and nothing but a convincing win will convince the Inverness fans that their team are heading in the right direction. At the risk of sounding blasé, I expect Inverness to get through this tie. Let's hope we get a performance to go along with a win or the fans will begin to doubt their allegiance, and to be honest, the side are not making it easy to be enthusiastic about going to the games at the moment. I fully expect Edinburgh to prove to be difficult opponents, but come on, they are in League Two, part-time, playing away from home in a midweek Scottish Cup tie against a team that has only lost once since 1066. That's got to be sufficient grounds for the old banana skin cliché to be rolled out. Anyway Citizens, enjoy your day in the Highlands whatever the outcome. Put the fun back into football. Here's how City fan Gordon Sheach managed it.............. Gordon Sheach‏ @GSheach Dec 1 More Today one of my greatest football dreams came true. At the @EdinburghCityFC game the ball bounced into the crowd and despite juggling a 6 year old on my lap I rose and HEADERED IT BACK!!! Football? Completed it mate ICTFC v Edinburgh City Tulloch Caledonian Stadium Tuesday 4th December KO 7.45pm Adults: £12 Concessions (Senior and 16-25): £6 Juniors (under 16s): FREE Season ticket holders will, for the first time, be able to use their season card by adding the cup game onto it. Season ticket holders can activate the cup ticket online (up to kick off), or by phoning the ticket office on 01463 222880 or in person up to an hour before kick-off. Please note that even free under 12 seats need to be added to the season card. Get your tickets HERE
  3. Bairns Challenge Bottom club Falkirk head to Inverness on Saturday with their latest manager Ray McKinnon so far unable to motivate the club sufficiently to direct them away from the foot of the table. If we thought our performance in the Scottish Cup was abysmal, and it was, spare a thought for the Bairns suffering fans as they were dumped out of the Scottish Cup by four goals to two. That's bad enough, but it was their lesser fancied League One neighbours Stenhousemuir who inflicted the damage leading to some unsavoury scenes from the stands as angry fans berated their own players. How the mighty have fallen. It's barely three and a half years since these two clubs contested the 2015 Scottish Cup final in front of 37,149 fans with Inverness just coming out on top. Falkirk losing to the Warriors was a poor result for them, but was it any worse than our tepid performance at Ainslie Park in front of 867 hardy souls where we drew with Edinburgh City? I'm not sure there's much between the results. Lack lustre, embarrassing, devoid of creativity, sluggish, lack of penetration were all used on this forum to describe our performance. One sentence really summed it up, "we are the most boring outfit in Scottish Football right now." What's gone wrong? We are finding it increasingly difficult to turn draws into wins. Yes we are unbeaten for half a million games, but the support have seen it all before and long before the draws become reality, the sense of a draw running through the stands is overbearing. Lack of ambition coupled with no budget is restricting what we can do, but it's becoming more obvious that we won't get out of this division with the squad we have just now, they are simply not good enough to sustain a challenge. Our defence is solid enough, but there is little creativity from midfield and our front men are challenging. Challenging the fans enthusiasm to return and watch more of the same. Still, we are unbeaten some say. Oh my, remaining unbeaten has become an obsession and is detrimental to our progress. Last Saturday in the cup was a prime example, an opportunity for the front men to make a few headlines. I know, I know, cup shocks are what makes the competition, we should know we have been involved in some memorable ones over the years. However, those days are long gone and those that witnessed our sorry attempt at Ainslie Park will testify to that. Can you be more upbeat I hear you say. Well, we won't get a better chance to make amends than the visit of a struggling club that has only scored 8 goals in the Championship and conceded 21, not the worst, but 8 more than we have conceded. The Bairns have only two wins this season in the Championship, recently against Dunfermline Athletic and away to Alloa at the end of September. That sees them at the bottom of the table with just 8 points whilst we have 22 in fourth place. We did win the opening game of the season 1-0 at Falkirk thanks to a George Oakley strike, however that was a long time ago now. Ayr United staked their claim to be taken seriously last night with a 5-0 demolition of Dundee United at Tannadice, Lawrence Shankland the main demolition man with four of the five goals. Stunning performance from the Honest men that puts them 5 points clear at the top with today's games to come. Ray McKinnon talking to the Official Falkirk FC website said:- “There’s nothing we can do about last week now other than to learn from it. It’s all about Inverness from as soon as last Saturday’s match was finished and ensuring we prepare properly for the match. “We know where we are, I know where we are. We are going to get inconsistencies, every team has them, we just had a really poor day on Saturday and got punished for it. “I would rather that it didn’t happen, but we now have an opportunity to get back to the form we have shown in the last four games in the league. It’s our bread and butter this season.” Zak Rudden will return and he could have Scott Harrison back for this one, and Mustapha Dumbuya could get on the park. Prince Bauben is also just about ready for action so it could be a very different Bairns from the one that were dumped out of the cup. John Robertson will just have to go with the tried and tested for this one as our wafer thin and fragile squad struggle for fitness. Defensively we can cope, with Jamie McCart doing well since his insertion to the starting XI. Scoring goals is the big issue with lightweight Nathan Austin possibly out. Big opportunity for youth to get a fling, and we might see Daniel Mackay or Roddy MacGregor get some game time. tm4tj prediction:- Draw anyone! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ICTFC v Edinburgh City Tulloch Caledonian Stadium Tuesday 4th December KO 7.45pm Adults: £12 Concessions (Senior and 16-25): £6 Juniors (under 16s): FREE Season ticket holders will, for the first time, be able to use their season card by adding the cup game onto it. Season ticket holders can activate the cup ticket online (up to kick off), or by phoning the ticket office on 01463 222880 or in person up to an hour before kick-off. Please note that even free under 12 seats need to be added to the season card. Get your tickets HERE
  4. Scottish Cup time Inverness add a new name and venue to their list of opponents as they take on Edinburgh City in the third round of the Scottish Cup at Ainslie Park, Edinburgh, the game kicking off at 3:00pm on Sunday 25th November. A heads up from Graeme the City man who mentioned he was looking forward to welcoming us all to Ainslie Park on Sunday. "I'd suggest getting there early, there's not many (4) turnstyles, so a fair old queue tends to form for larger crowds". Cheers, However, it's just us that's coming so maybe we don't qualify as a big crowd.............. Ainslie Park is actually the home of Spartans FC, but with Meadowbank undergoing some major refurbishment, City will be ground sharing until Meadowbank has been modified. Incidentally, Hibernian Ladies also play out of Ainslie Park. "The nearest place to the ground to get a pint, (exluding a carry out from Morrisons) is Here " Other than that there's not a lot about, a couple in the other direction towards Granton. Although the grounds not far from Leith/Stockbridge/west end- all probably about 10 minutes in a taxi. Graeme concluded, "Going to enjoy the day whatever happens, splashed out on hospitality. it's a pity the games been moved to the Sunday. Have the utmost respect for fans travelling out with the central belt".... Thanks Graeme, have a great day whatever. Caley Stan is yer man for the millennium man Preview, (yuppies for you Scarlet) and he has not disappointed with this one................... Who the feck are Edinburgh City? It’s a legitimate question without a straightforward answer. An amateur team called Edinburgh City existed between 1928 and 1955, including a period in the Scottish League and a 3-2 victory away to Hibs in the 1937/38 Scottish Cup First Round. The Edinburgh City Social Club continued to trade thereafter, and in 1986 gave permission for Postal United (an East of Scotland League side formed in 1966) to revive the name. The new club hopped around various Edinburgh locations before settling at Meadowbank Stadium in 1996 following the demise of Meadowbank Thistle (formerly Ferranti Thistle, without whom Inverness Caledonian Thistle would not exist!). Postal United/Edinburgh City had an undistinguished existence in the EOL, winning it only once, in 2006, but the team kicked into gear at the perfect moment with the formation of the Lowland League and its accompanying pyramid play-off in 2014. City had harboured a longing for Scottish League membership since the turn of the century, failing with bids for vacant spots in 2002 and 2008, and seized upon the opportunity to win that place on the park. They won the title in its second season by a 19-point margin but lost the pyramid semi on penalties to Brora Rangers, a certain Stuart Kettlewell with the decisive strike. The following season they horsed the league again - a 15-point margin this time and followed it up by defeating Cove Rangers and East Stirlingshire to claim a place in the SPFL. They finished 7th and 9th in their first two seasons in League Two, largely retaining the squad that had taken them up. They sound like a bunch of non-league haddies, we’ll pump them stupid, right? A year ago, maybe. But something has happened since then. Edinburgh City are on an outrageous run of form, winning 10 out of their 12 league games this season (with no draws!) and sitting top of League Two. Last week, they progressed to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup with a penalties win over Alloa. What changed? They brought in a fair few players with full-time experience. At the back, Craig Thomson has played over 100 games at that level between Hearts and exile in Lithuania, and Conrad Balatoni played around 200 before joining City in the summer - both are just 27. Midfielders Marc Laird and Josh Walker have spent most of their careers in the English League Two, while up front, Danny Handling and Scott Shephard have significant top-level experience with Hibs and Falkirk respectively. But its Blair Henderson who’s been the star of the show this season - the 24 year-old striker was scoring a goal in every other game for Annan and Berwick but has upped that this season scoring 18 goals in 21 appearances in all competitions. Manager James McDonaugh has not been shy about taking credit for Henderson’s run, and indeed, the progress that City have made since he took over a year ago – see this interview at about 41mins on the Totally Scottish Football Show. McDonaugh, without any playing career of note, came through the ranks of the Hibs youth coaching system which means he must be a protégé of our own Donald Park. Jim Jeffries is also working for City as Technical Director. There must be money involved here but I haven’t found it. OK, but we have a glorious history in this competition, we pretty much are this competition, why the hell are we playing these no-marks in November? I thought the Scottish Cup started in January anyway. Our star has fallen, my friend. And they keep messing about with the early rounds of the Cup. This game, falling on November the 25th, will be the earliest we have ever started a Scottish Cup season and it’s the first time we’ve entered before the rest of the elite since 1999. The bookie that sponsors the competition was tweeting earlier in the week that we haven’t lost a 3rd round tie since 1999, and while that is technically true, we have fallen at the first hurdle on two occasions since then, albeit in what is now called the 4th Round (Hibs in 06/07 and Dundee last season). Someone will write a book about our exploits in the Scottish Cup someday (hopefully not that guy who wrote ‘Against All Odds’, that was pish), but the message here is clear: We don’t lose these games. Don’t say that, I’m getting worried now. What will Robbo do? Every time I write a preview I drop a heavy hint that I think Robbo will start with a 4-4-2 and he never does but this time I’m happy to predict that Robbo WILL start with a 4-4-2. It’s how he chose to start the season, all our strikers are fit now, and it’s how we mounted our wonderful comeback last week. I’ll be genuinely shocked if two out of Oakley/White/Austin don’t start. He’s stated that we will play our strongest available team, and with Shaun Rooney back in the squad, there will be decisions to make at the back. I’m going to need a drink before this, good thing Meadowbank has loads of good pubs nearby. Hard lines. Meadowbank is closed for refurbishment and City are groundsharing with Spartans at Ainslie Park for the next three seasons. This is fitting in a way given that City/Postal, Ferranti and the old Edinburgh City spent much of their time at the nearby but now defunct ‘City Ground’, often sharing with Spartans. Ainslie Park is a bit weird for lower league travellers - it’s a thoroughly modern facility with two 3G pitches and a five-a-side cage. With no pubs within staggering distance, and a limited number of turnstiles, some of the more boisterous elements among our away support may struggle to make the first half. Edinburgh City are stressing the importance of arriving early, the game is well-priced at £12/6 with under 12’s Free, and I hear the macaroni pies are delicious. As Noddy Holder used to say, My friend Stan got a funny old man............... 😂
  5. Palmerston pilgrimage It's the long trek to Palmerston this week, all 234 miles of it, to take on hot-shot Stephen Dobbie and his Queen of the South team mates, where our mission will be to return with our unbeaten run intact. That's no easy task at the moment with Queens sitting mid-table, four points behind Inverness, having taken a point of table topping Ayr United last weekend in the battle of the strikers. Tickets must be purchased from the away ticket office at Palmerston, not at the gate. The ICT Supporters Travel Club are running a bus to this game, book through their Facebook page HERE or by texting your name to 07462218717. The Bus leaves from the Caley Social Club at 8:30am and from the Caledonian Stadium at 8:45am. We broke our sequence of draws last time out, thankfully, with a win over Partick at Firhill. Two main contributors in that result were Tom Walsh who scored a spectacular goal after cutting in from the left to curl a beauty across the keeper into the top corner, a goal fit to win any game. That feat was matched by a superb double penalty save by Mark Ridgers minutes later to ensure he kept a clean sheet and importantly take all three points back up the A9. Fantastic ability from Mark, carrying on from the brilliant 'viral' save against County in the Highland derby. Queens came from behind in the strikers dual to grab a point at Ayr. But neither Shankland or Dobbie were on target in this one, Dobbie going closest with a strike off the post. It was Michael Rose who headed Ayr in front but Connor Murray scored with his first touch ten minutes from the end to ensure Queens were the first side to deny Ayr all three points at home this season. We showed how thin our squad is last week after removing Riccardo Calder from the payroll. With Shaun Rooney and Carl Tremarco injured we were down to five on the bench with three of them being youths, none of which was Daniel Mackay who was missing presumed injured as he never featured in the u18's 9-2 routing of East Fife either. However, it's encouraging to note that the youngsters are having a tremendous season and goals are being scored freely, Roddy Kennedy bagging four and Roddy MacGregor a brace in that u18's game. Whilst Stephen Dobbie is the man that get's all the headlines for Queens, there are other players who can perform well, but their secret ingredient is they all work hard for each other and in Alan Martin they have an experienced keeper. Only Ayr and Ross County have scored more goals than the Doonhamers. Dobbie has scored an amazing 25 goals in 21 appearances with 13 of those coming in the Championship including two hat-tricks and a quadruple against Ayr United. Touch wood, but he has only scored once in his last six games since he hit a treble against Alloa at the beginning of October. The first meeting between the clubs this season ended in stalemate with Dobbie failing to score but he did batter one off the crossbar. It was his veteran team mate Gary Harkins who was the star of the show that day though. Harkins strolled through the game and showed our fragile midfield how to control the pace of a game and stamp your authority all over the match. Tremendous display from Harkins and he was my Man of the Match back at the end of September. Hopefully we have learned from that. Here's a great quote from Robbo off the official preview that puts everything into perspective:- “The unbeaten run is very special, you look at the previous managers here, Terry Butcher achieved 21 matches in this league, Steve Paterson achieved 22 in the third Division, and to break that is very special. The players deserve enormous credit, it’s been tremendous and they’ve all played their part." Maybe it's time to give the wee man the credit he is due. Queens fans will be disappointed to note that Shaun Rooney will not be playing after being injured against Ross County a couple of weeks ago. Carl Tremarco also missed out last week and we deployed a makeshift back line with Riccardo Calder having been given his marching orders. That meant moving Brad Mckay to right back, drafting Jamie McCart in beside Coll Donaldson and pulling back Joe Chalmers to the left wing back role. It worked well enough at Partick, and I would imagine it will be along similar lines should Tremarco fail to be fit enough to start. Queens last line up can be seen on the Official Preview
  6. Thistle be the day Draw specialists Inverness head to Firhill on Saturday to take on Partick Thistle in the Championship. Last weeks draw against Ross County was the seventh in a row and that extended the unbeaten run to a record twenty-three games. It wasn't for the want of trying in the derby but few watching could be disappointed in the manner with which we applied ourselves and we were unfortunate not to take all three points. Caley Stan has checked out the opposition and he has this informative preview for us........... On my way home from Waitrose the other day, I stopped for a coffee in Artisan Roast Stockbridge and quietly pondered some way to construct an opening to this preview that included a disparaging reference to Partick Thistle fans’ middle-class, hipster, bohemian, pseudo-intellectual pretensions, when who should appear out of the Mellis Cheesemonger sporting the famous red and yellow hoops, but The Hoff himself. Beyond parody. Hassellhoff has previously sought to justify his support for Thistle on the grounds that they represent something beyond geographical or tribal identity, and they must have picked up a few fans over the years by simple virtue of not being Rangers or Celtic. But with attendances at Firhill starting to sink below the 3,000 mark, I suspect we won’t see many of those folk tomorrow. I might be wrong, but I assume most Partick Thistle fans, like the rest of us, identify with the club because they grew up near the ground, or their dad came from round there. One thing’s for sure, they’re not glory hunters. With just two major honours to show in a 142-year history (the 1921 Scottish Cup, and the 1971 League Cup), they haven’t been in a major final for sixty years. This is particularly surprising when you consider that they played in the top league for most of the 20th Century, never experiencing a sustained period in the second tier until the late 1980’s. History of the Fixture Won 11 Drawn 10 Lost 13 The teams first met in the opening game of the 1998/99 Second Division season. The Maryhill club were playing in the third tier for the first time in their history, and we came into it off the back of a mid-table debut season at that level. It was a tense affair with one moment of true quality on the hour mark when a delightful through ball from Charlie Christie was buried from an acute angle by Barry Wilson. We rode our luck for the reminder of the game, Jim Calder making a number of decent saves, and departed to a stream of Highlandphobic abuse from a home support whose club had just reached a new low. Their true nadir was to come later in that season when they avoided another relegation by a single point. Meanwhile, we were promoted comfortably, winning 3 of the 4 games against them in the process. It was another 2 years before we saw Partick again, and by the end of that 2001/02 season we were glad to see the back of them as they ruthlessly re-established themselves as Scotland’s premier Thistle, winning 3 out of the 4 league games with our solitary victory coming after they had already won the First Division. We also played them in both cups, coming out on top in the League Cup 2nd Round in Inverness on penalties after a 3-3 draw – Barry Robson notching a double and scoring the winning penalty. But it was the was Scottish Cup Quarter-Final of that season that will be remembered most of all. These were the biggest games the fixture has seen, with a crowd of 8,700 taking in the 2-2 draw at Firhill and over 5,000 attending the replay despite the SFA’s controversial decision to stage the game underwater. Maryhill Mod Scott Paterson scored the only goal, a decent free-kick in fairness, though I’d like to see Nicky Walker’s starting position. After a brief skirmish in the Court of Session in the summer of 2004, the clubs reconvened on the pitch for the 4th Round of the 2005/06 Scottish Cup. The tables had turned once again, we were enjoying a second season in the SPL while they were back in the third tier after successive relegations. They came up to Inverness and kicked us off the park before Mark Roberts scored an underserved equaliser with a 93rd minute penalty that he had dived to win. The replay was turgid, on TV, and we went out on penalties. The next meeting, another 4th Round Scottish Cup tie in 2009, saw a very different Caley team run out 3-0 home winners – Felipe Morais scoring a double. That stands out as a very strange result in retrospect – Partick were having a decent season in the First Division, and we were coming into it off the back of six straight league defeats – it was the week before ‘shoes off’, a seventh defeat at Hamilton, and the final departure of Craig Brewster. The following season we shared a league for the first time in eight years, losing the first two and winning the second two in line with our form that year, and Partick joined us in the top flight for four years in 2013. Over that spell we won just two of the thirteen league ties between the sides, despite finishing above them in three of the four seasons, and, of course, knocking them out in the 5th Round of the 2014/15 Scottish Cup……. Teams and Tactics Partick Thistle fans seem to have given up trying to analyse performances recently and spend their time online howling for players to be removed/imprisoned/murdered etc. so it’s been tricky to work out how they line up. From what I can gather, Caldwell’s been playing some kind of 4-5-1. The persistence with a misfiring Miles Storey has been a particular source of frustration, while a recent injury to Kris Doolan has given opportunities to Jai Quitongo and our old friend Andrea Mutumbo, with neither making much of an impact. Robbo has persisted with the 4-2-3-1, although he’s always keen to bring on a second striker and go more direct when we’re not creating. With Oakley and Austin now fit, he may find it increasingly tempting to return to the shape that he started the season with. The termination of Riccardo Calder’s contract and the ongoing absence of Carl Tremarco with a thigh injury leaves us without an experienced left back for tomorrow’s game. Joe Chalmers has played there before, but it wasn’t pretty, and Cameron Harper’s first team experience is limited to a farcical four-minute appearance at East End Park following a team-sheet error. Robbo has stated in the past that he feels Harper is ready to step in if needed, but in the aftermath of Calder’s dismissal this week, he suggested that the club may look to recruit a free agent to cover the position. Shaun Rooney has not recovered from the knock that forced him off in the derby. The Riccardo Calder situation has been dealt with by the club and they released This Statement. In effect Riccardo has left the building. The Official Site has a Preview with more detail and Robbo chat..... League Form Thistle: LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL Thistle: DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD Prediction: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  7. The Highland Derby It's the second meeting of the clubs this season as Ross County come over the bridge from Over the Bridge to face Inverness Caledonian Thistle at the Caledonian Stadium, the game kicking off at 3:00pm. The first encounter ended in stalemate at the Global Energy Stadium back on the 22nd of September. We had the better of the game for over an hour but failed to score, a now familiar theme, before County staged a late rally to end the game on the ascendancy, but defences came out on top. After that game, Inverness sat second in the league with 12 points, County one point behind in fourth. Since then, County have flexed their money and their muscles and moved to second on 24 points with Inverness in fourth on 17 points. Both sides failed to win last time out. We drew our sixth game on the trot against Dunfermline Athletic, coming from behind twice to draw 2-2 thanks to strikes from Riccardo Calder and the much maligned Jordan White, the target for much advice from the North Stand. County drew with bottom club Falkirk, an Iain Vigurs peach earning them a Point at the Bairnabeau. Jordan White has come in for plenty of criticism recently, yet the big man is still managing to get some goals. I reckon it's about time the angry souls take stock of where we are and what they can expect to see on the park. Granted he's not the most mobile, has limited skill and lacks the searing pace of Allan Wells, but the he's an honest professional plying his trade as a footballer for our club and it's time to cut the him and the others a bit of slack. It's not the players fault he is not Ronaldo or Messi or even Lawrence Shankland, but with the club unable to buy these type of players given our restricted budget then we will have to accept that this is what we will see on the park. You can't blame the players for that, so let's get behind them as we try to battle our way into contention for a play off slot. Carl Tremarco missed out last week and Riccardo Calder deputised well, scoring a goal into the bargain. Daniel Mackay was handed a start but that's a tough gig for the young lad who might be a better impact player off the bench in the last fifteen or so minutes. George Oakley was on the bench against the Pars but was not risked after coming back from injury. Charlie Trafford could be involved, especially if there's a physical midfield battle to be had. Sean Welsh is not shy either. I expect we will see a familiar starting XI with White leading the line. Let's get behind the guys and give them something to feed off. Billy Mckay has been on fine form recently, bagging a hat-trick against Morton. He scores when he wants you know. Liam Fontaine could return and with County's lavish squad they are not short of quality players. Other former Caley Jags players likely to feature will be Ross Draper, Iain Vigurs, and Don Cowie. I can see our run of consecutive draws coming to an end, however, with County on form just now and us more content to preserve our inadequacies, then we could be in for a difficult day. In saying that, we have Coll Donaldson and Mark Ridgers. Draw it is then! To whet your appetite, here's the first ever Highland derby in the big boys leagues from 1994 at Victoria Park Dingwall. For more detail, The Official Match Programme can be found here Match Programme Mon the Caley Jags
  8. Trick or Treat Dunfermline Athletic are the visitors on Tuesday night for a Championship game that kicks-off at 7:45pm, the day before Halloween. Halloween attire is the order of the day to add some much needed levity to our predicament, but many fans are seeing it more like a trick than a treat. However, if you are in fancy dress, send the pics to the club and tickets for the derby could be yours. Send us your photos in fancy dress tomorrow from your seat as we face @officialdafc The winner will get a Family ticket for Saturday's Highland Derby against @RossCounty! There is also a prize for the best costume in the away end! Last time we played the Pars all was rosy. Well maybe not quite, but at least we won the game and scored three second half goals into the bargain. Shaun Rooney, Liam Polworth and George Oakley scored back on the 1st of September and we were all rubbing our hands in anticipation. Since then we have beaten Partick Thistle 3-2 (just), and then drawn the last five games, scoring only twice. This slump has not gone unnoticed by the fans who are beginning to vent their frustration at the lack of ambition shown on the park, and with some justification I have to add. It could be worse I suppose, we could be Dunfermline. They have had two wins, two draws and two defeats and have been dumped out of the Challenge Cup by Alloa. However, it still equates to the same number of points picked up since the last meeting but the Pars poor start to the season has them five points worse off than Inverness. We have slumped to fifth in the League after our failure to turn draws into wins with Dunfermline struggling in seventh. Our season certainly looked brighter after beating Dunfermline and Partick to sit top of the table. It's gone stale now and an injection of new blood and or tactics is becoming apparent. Dunfermline's demise was the massive clearance at the end of last season and that is still hurting them now. Jordan White is coming in for plenty of stick and the return of George Oakley is seen as a must, sooner rather than later. In White's defence, he has not been getting the best of service and that is down to a pedantic midfield who are less creative than we need. We also need a fair injection of pace, but with money tight I don't see where the improvement is going to come from. Coll Donaldson will return to the heart of the defence after serving his suspension. Carl Tremarco is a doubt and I wonder if Robbo will leave Jamie McCart in central defence and move Brad Mckay to left back. Just a thought, if not then look for Riccardo Calder getting more game time at wing back. George Oakley has been training but my guess is he is nowhere near being ready for a full blown match. I suppose it will be White up top with nobody able to give him any support. Dunfermline will be without Mark Durnan who has just had a hernia operation. This was their starting XI against Dundee United:- Lee Robinson; Ryan Williamson, Lee Ashcroft (c), Danny Devine, Jackson Longridge, James Craigen, Tom Beadling, James Vincent, Louis Longridge, Myles Hippolyte, Faissal El Bakhtaoui Alan Johnston is starting to be a target for the boo boys at East End Park and his counterpart John Robertson is attracting some flak in the Highlands after a series of mind numbing results. Both managers will be desperate for a win but the smart money will be on a no scoring draw with 1-1 being the next best option. Mr Pumkinhead has made his choice and is looking for a home win as another draw will give him a splitting headache..... Happy Halloween everyone.
  9. Draws R us Inverness Caley Thistle remained unbeaten after a 0-0 draw with the Wasps who will feel aggrieved that they never took all three points after a backs to the wall performance from the draw specialists. Only Sophie has drawn more times than the Caley Jags Little to report from an Inverness point of view, but we will try and come up with some positives when the report is ready. Jamie McCart replaced the suspended Coll Donaldson and Aaron Doran started ahead of Riccardo Calder while the Wasps unsurprisingly went unchanged from the side that beat Partick Thistle. Grim stuff from Inverness as Alloa took the game to us from the start. Dario Zanatta and Kevin Cawley were prominent early on for the Wasps as they buzzed around the visitors box, both bringing saves out of Mark Ridgers. Alloa were well on top in the first half and it was half an hour before Tom Walsh made Neil Parry work. Shortly after this Carl Tremarco went off with a thigh injury to be replaced by Riccardo Calder. There followed a succession of Alloa attacks that we were able to thwart, but the one way traffic continued until half time when Brad Mckay narrowly missed the target right on the interval. Words must have been exchanged at the oranges and we came out a bit more positive on the resumption although the hosts looked the more likely to break the deadlock. Zanatta almost did with fifteen minutes to go when he hit the crossbar with an effort from inside the box but that was the closest anyone would get to scoring. The introduction of Nathan Austin brought about a few attempts from Inverness and as we pressed for a goal in the final few minutes Alloa seemed content to settle for the point after giving us a hard time for eighty minutes. The final few minutes of time added on saw a flurry of cards as Alloa blocked everything and deservedly kept out our weak attacking intent. I'll let the fans that were there have the final words. Prepare yourself for some direct talking from the disgruntled Caley Jags support. Mantis has turned into the Grim Reaper for Halloween and paints a gloomy future for us................. A truly arctic experience at the Indesit, sorry Indodrill gazebo this afternoon. Apart from a couple of years in the noughties, the Recs has never been an easy place to visit and so it proved. Alloa have been stuffy and hard to break down this season but they have what we lack (sorry, ONE of the things we lack) - a bit of pace on the break. They actually got down both flanks and got crosses in. They were the better team by a distance in the first half. Second half we dominated the possession as Alloa appeared to just want to hold what they had, but it was the usual overplaying, square balls from big Joe, and a lacklustre Polly trying to make a telling pass. Welsh was almost decent, but Doran was invisible again and Walsh just appears too lightweight most of the time. Calder slotted in reasonably well when Tremarco went off, but Brad continues to be a bit of a bombscare. We could have lost it late on when the Jambo rattled the bar with Ridgers a spectator. Apart from one season with Livi, Jordan White has never scored goals. The white Doumbaya. I’ve never felt that Daniel Mackay was quite ready for this level any time I’ve seen him, and I can understand Robbo giving him some game time, but what about winning the match? With Coll our talisman back, I think we’ll do a bit better next week than some are predicting, but scoring goals looks beyond us at the moment. Even if big George makes an appearance he’s never going to be match fit. Truly dire, dire times for us. Ymip was not impressed either ............... Utterly dire again this week. All well and good keeping clean sheets but we are absolutely woeful in the final third and Robbo's substitutions are frankly mystifying in the face of irrefutable evidence that his first choice striker is not up to scratch. A carbon copy of last season when he stuck with Baird for way too long when it was patently obvious that he wasn't the answer. Praying that Oakley is fit soon and back amongst the goals. RIG was a bit more protective, but also struggling for positives........... Not much point having a goal scorer on the pitch if we, erm, don't create goal scoring chances. That was dire today. Narrow pitch or not players like Doran and Walsh failed to provide any meaningful chances for White who is unfairly getting pelters on here. He really doesn't have much to work with most of the time. He's the kind of striker that plays with his back to goal so coming up against a team like Alloa that sits very deep he isn't going to get a lot of opportunities to score. We never stretched the play, we never managed to attack with any kind of pace or incision that allowed us to get in behind the home defence. We were just meh all over the park. MacKay probably had the best chance for us when, in the second half, he gambled on a ball being played in and Parry rushed out smartly to smother the shot. Aside from that we were desperately poor. Sadly, John Robertson appears to agree with the fans as he spoke to BBC Sport "Today was a great point because we didn't deserve to take anything from the match. Alloa were bright and bubbly. "Stout defending kept us in the game. The sharpness in our forward play is gone at the moment. We might need to change formation or look at different personnel to get a spark." Here's Robbo talking frankly and apologising to the fans for that performance on the facebook page..... And here is the footage of the game, courtesy of Alloa FC on YouTube Date: 27/10/2018 Venue: Recreation Park, Alloa Attendance: 644 Referee: Mike Roncone Alloa Athletic:0 Lineup: Parry, Taggart, Dick, Roscoe, Graham, Cawley (Hastie 64), Robertson, Trouten (Hetherington 78), Flannigan, Zanatta, Shields (Brown 78). Subs (not used): Burt, Peggie, Spence, Henry. Scorers: none Booked: Taggart (68), Roscoe (82), Robertson (90+2), Hastie (90+3) Sent Off: none Inverness CT:0 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, B Mckay, McCart, Tremarco (Calder 32), Walsh (Austin 79), Polworth, Chalmers, Welsh, Doran (D Mackay 63), White Subs (not used): Hoban; Trafford, Harper, Fyffe. Scorers: none Booked: D Mackay (90+4) Sent Off: none a
  10. Recreation time Or to put it more accurately, we are off to Alloa on Saturday for matchday ten against the Wasps followed closely by matchday eleven against Dunfermline Athletic on Tuesday night. But firstly, we have to concentrate on getting the better of Alloa, something we failed to do earlier in the season when they came North and went away with a credible draw even though they finished the game with ten men. Brad Mckay opened the scoring early on but Alloa were gifted an own goal off the back of the unfortunate George Oakley's head. We went ahead just after the break when Welsh slotted a penalty after Zdravko Karadachki was penalised and dismissed. Despite playing almost the entire second half with ten men, Alloa still managed to snatch a point when Ian Flannigan scored a late penalty. Day to forget for Inverness was summed up when Coll Donaldson passed up a great opportunity to score before the equaliser when he smashed a spot-kick off the bar. Our last visit to Alloa ended in a dismal 1-0 defeat in the league cup during the Richie Foran era. Some described it as an all time low at the time with Jason Marr scoring the winner in the first half. Last time out Alloa got their first League win of the season as they dumped Partick Thistle thanks to a goal from Dario Zanatta. Inverness remain unbeaten, but that statistic is turning into a bit of a millstone around our necks as we appear determined not to lose rather than to go on and try to win games. That's now six draws and three wins this season which gives us fifteen points, eight better off than Alloa. We sit third in the table with Alloa in second bottom. Team News Robbo will be without superhero Coll Donaldson for this one. Big Coll was sent off at last week for a second yellow offence and Jamie McCart who replaced him at Tannadice will fill the gap. George Oakley is back training but it's too early for him to get on the park. Jordan White bagged the goal last week and will be most likely to continue up front with Nathan Austin and Daniel Mackay on the bench. Wasps manager Jim Goodwin sent this XI out against Partick Thistle:- Parry, Taggart, Roscoe, Graham, Dick, Robertson, Flanniagan, Cawley, Trouten , Zanatta, Shields. Info for away fans:- Turnstiles are located in Hilton Road, behind KFC. The ICT Supporters Travel Club are running a bus to this game, book through their Facebook page or by texting your name to 07462218717.The Buses leaves from the Caley Social Club at 9:45am and from the Caledonian Stadium at 10:00am Prices for the Bus: Adults £20, Concession £15 and Under 16s £10
  11. Tannadice test Inverness head to Tannadice this weekend and Caley Stan is yer man with a Preview to set up this clash for you. Dundee United are now spending a third consecutive season in the second tier of Scottish football. It feels weird to write that. Even though I don’t remember much about the eighties (youth not drugs), their incredible achievements throughout that decade (League Champions, UEFA Cup finalists, European Cup semi-finalists, perennial conquerors of FC Barcelona) formed a veneer of great stature around the club that barely seemed to diminish through the many years of mediocrity that followed. But relegation, boardroom wrangling, falling crowds and home defeats to the likes of Dumbarton and Ross County have taken their toll. Csaba Laszlo was sacked with the club on its knees, staring down the barrel of a fourth year out of the top flight, their grand history looking more and more like a curiosity, the answer to an obscure quiz question. Dundee were once European Cup semi-finalists too, you know. Isn’t that funny. History of the Fixture Won 16 Drawn 17 Lost 18 We first played Dundee United in the Scottish Cup Fourth Round of 1998 when a Paul Sheerin goal saw us lead at for the best part of an hour at Tannadice before a late Kjell Oloffson strike forced a replay. The replay was unforgettable – Gary McSwegan appeared to have finished the tie when he put United 2-0 up in the 85th minute. Then, in a turn of events that was typical of the Pele era, a quickfire Brian Thomson goal was followed, in the dying seconds, by the best goal of all time from Mark McCulloch. Lars Zetterlund won it for United in extra time, but the crowd of almost 6000 (yes, 6000 for a midweek replay) left elated – we had just gone toe-to-toe with an established top tier side for the first time in our history. The two sides didn’t meet again until 2004, and we failed to get the better of them in our first six attempts following promotion, though goals from Liam Fox and Barry Wilson saw us come out on top in a 2005 League Cup tie in Inverness. Our maiden league victory over United took place at Tannadice in February of the following year, and in some style. Craig Brewster had left Caley to take over there just a month before, threatening to take some of our best players (and David Proctor) with him. But Charlie Christie had us purring at the time, and while United led twice through two stunning free-kicks from Charlie Mulgrew, Darren Dodds headed home in between to keep us in the game before Wyness and Dargo ran riot - each getting on the scoresheet before Alan Morgan sealed the 4-2 victory. There have been some cracking encounters since, like this 4-0 stroll in the Caley Park, the time we went 3-0 down after 8 minutes but still felt gutted to leave with a point, and another time we did them 4-0 at Tannadice that I can’t find on youtube. League Form Dundee United Last 6: DDWLLW ICT Last 6: DWWDDD The two sides are tied on 14 points, though we have a game in hand and a superior goal difference. Our 19-game unbeaten run started 7 months ago with a 1-1 draw at Tannadice, but it’s starting to look tired. United won at Firhill last week in Robbie Nielson’s first game in charge after consecutive defeats put Laszlo out of his misery. With over a thousand Arabs making the trip to Maryhill, and a big crowd expected to welcome the new manager, it feels like circumstances might matter more than form on this occasion. Basically, it’s a crap time for us to be going there. Teams and Tactics Robbos’s faith in the White-headed 4-2-3-1 that was so effective at Dunfermline seemed to finally waver in the second half last week, with the half-time introduction of Daniel MacKay and subsequent sightings of Calder and Austin. However, I still fully expect to see the same starting eleven and shape – it’s at its best away from home against proactive opponents and is therefore ideal for this game. George Oakley is back in training but won’t feature tomorrow, while the existence of Angus Beith remains unconfirmed . Neilson played a 4-4-1-1 last week with Fraser Aird and Billy King in the wide positions and Paul McMullan playing off Slovakian internationalist, Pavlov Safranko. On paper, they look a cut above the rest of the league, with Fraser Fyvie anchoring the midfield and an enormous centre-half pairing of francophones Rachid Bouhenna and Frederic Frans, combined height – 12 feet and 7 inches. The Shed We’ll be back in ‘The Shed’ tomorrow, a wonderful throwback to a different era of stadia, with a sixty year-old corrugated iron roof that acts as effective amplifier and visible reminders of the terracing that once stood beneath it. Prediction Ach, it’s only a game. Win, lose or draw you’ll get home to your bed just the same.
  12. Morton test for unbeaten Jags Morton are the visitors this Saturday on matchday eight with Inverness hoping to stretch their unbeaten run to nineteen League games and looking to add a bit of sparkle to the performance. Despite our relatively solid start to the campaign, there's only four points between the sides after seven games. Morton are not to be taken lightly as we found out last season when they came North and won 2-0 in February having drawn the other game at the Caledonian Stadium back in August. After an encouraging draw and performance in the derby, it was back to square one for the Caley Jags with an inept home display against Queen of the South at the Caledonian Stadium. We never managed to make Martin in the Queens goal work too hard to earn his crust and that was the most disappointing factor of an insipid performance in a 0-0 draw. On the plus side, Coll Donaldson was immense and we kept Stephen Dobbie relatively quiet. Morton suffered a late blow against Dundee United a couple of weekends ago when Fraser Fyvie scored deep into time added on. Michael Tidser had scored from the spot early in the first half to give the visitors the lead at Tannadice. They got lucky against Dunfermline when keeper Lee Robinson blundered to allow a Scott Tiffoney shot to slip through his grasp with ten minutes to go to earn a point. However they got telt by Ayr United last Saturday when they were cuffed 1-5. Swings and roundabouts I suppose. Morton had a bit of a clear out after last season, including managers Jim Duffy and Ray Mackinnon. Prominent players like Gary Harkins, Jai Quitongo, Ricky Lamie and Thomas O'Ware all departed. Morton picked up Reghan Tumilty from County and Connor Bell from the Caley Jags. Keeper Ryan Scully comes in from Partick Thistle with defenders Gregor Buchanan and Rory McKeown. Forward Denny Johnstone arrives from Colchester. Jonatan Johansson is the man in charge of the Greenock men after Ray Mackinnon went to Falkirk. Ayr United lead the pack on sixteen points after that thrashing of Morton and a Billy Mckay hat-trick saw Ross County thump Dundee United by the same score. That was the last action for Csaba Laszlo as he was then sacked by Dundee United after a string of mediocre results considering the money they have wasted. Inverness are third, three points behind the leaders with Dundee United a further two points behind in fourth. Ayr take on United on Saturday whilst County are away to Partick. Team News Striker George Oakley is out for a couple of months with a hamstring injury. Nathan Austin made a start last week after missing the derby. It could be time for a change up front with Jordan White failing to inspire the fans after two blank games for Inverness. Morton will be without Connor Bell and Robert Thomson while Michael Tidser, Chris Millar and Denny Johnstone are all doubts. Here's Tidser talking to Morton TV and sounding hopeful of making the game............ There's another game on Sunday at Grant Street Park, the home of Inverness Clachnacuddin. Grant Street hosts the North of Scotland Cup Final which will be contested between Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County. The final should feature many of the young stars from both sides with a smattering of fringe players involved as well. Tickets can be bought at the ground on the day. Inverness CT v Ross County Sunday October 7th 2018 Grant Street, Inverness. ICTFC take on Ross County in the North of Scotland Cup semi-final on Sunday October 7th, with the game kicking off at 3pm and taking place at Grant Street. Caley Thistle advanced to the final after beating Forres Mechanics 4-0 in the semi-final, thanks to a brace from Daniel Mackay and goals from Roddy MacGregor and Jack Brown. Ticket Prices for this game: Adults: £10 Concession: £5 Also, on Sunday, there's a programme & memorabilia fair at the Caledonian Stadium. This Sunday we are excited to host the first annual Inverness Programme and Memorabilia Fair, organised by, local man, Easton Thain. The event will run between 10.30AM and 1.30PM, head down before our North of Scotland Cup Final against Ross County!
  13. Dire Inverness and Queen of the South played out a boring 0-0 draw at a blustery Caledonian Stadium where the sides cancelled each other out with some mind numbingly boring football with neither keeper being over exerted. A Stephen Dobbie shot hit the bar after a free kick but that was about it. Sean Welsh went close with a shot from distance but the least said about this game the better. Inverness and Queens were unchanged from the previous week. The Doonhamers were in a sort of claret and amber strip with top striker Stephen Dobbie spearheading their attack. We were going with Jordan White as our target man but that approach is wearing thin. Carl Tremarco made his 150th appearance for the Caley Jags today and was given a wee presentation prior to kick-off. Unfortunately that would be the highlight of an uncomfortable first half for the hosts as the visitors took the game to them. Blustery conditions around the park but Queen of the South coped better than us in the early exchanges, the game kicking off with just over 2000 in the stadium. Lyndon Dykes tested Mark Ridgers after five minutes and Coll Donaldson had to look sharp to deny goal machine Stephen Dobbie an early opportunity to strike for goal. It was ten minutes in before Inverness ventured forward but like most, Rooney's cross was well off target. Aaron Doran beavered away and fired one shot from distance which forced Martin to beat it away, but not enough was direct enough as the visiting defence ushered him across the park and most attacks simply petered out. The wind was causing much grief but Queens effort to work hard and play the ball on the deck was giving them much more success and possession than our wayward tactics and loose play. In truth, there was little to enthuse over in a drab first 45, Polworth coming closest with a long range effort, but even that was a couple of yards high and wide. Half-Time 0-0 The second period was only a couple of minutes old when Queens should have done better than to head over from a corner. Semple was left alone in the box and his header was just over the bar when he really should have hit the target. Dobbie was being marshalled well for the most part, but his shoulder drops and turns were always giving him a yard of space to get a shot away and he drilled one well wide from the angle of the box. Best attempt for Inverness came on the hour when Sean Welsh latched onto the ball around thirty yards out but his dipping shot whistled just outside the junction of bar and post. Close call but no cigar this time. Gary Harkins was the man responsible for orchestrating the visitors attacks and he simply strolled through the game completely bossing our whole midfield and nullifying Liam Polworth who looked intimidated by Harkins' presence. It looked like a combination of Mark Ridgers and his crossbar kept out a fierce 35 yard strike from Dobbie after a free kick, the ball crashing back off the crossbar, the rebound being gathered by Ridgers after the ball was knocked towards him by Lyndon Dykes in the six yard box. The game changed slightly after a couple of managerial decisions. Riccardo Calder came on for the disappearing Doran and soon after Man of the Match Gary Harkins was subbed. Calder immediately gave us another option wide left and he was able to get some joy down the flank. However the final ball was still not good enough to create anything of note. We had a whisky moment late on. A short White & Mackay moment. Young Daniel replaced the totally inept Jordan White with ten minutes remaining. However, as we increased our intensity in a final flurry, Queens resorted to breaking up play with some cynical fouling that Iain Vigurs would have been proud of. Alas we were still unable to make Martin in the Queens goal work for his crust and the game ended in a dismal stalemate. Full-Time 0-0 Oh dear. Much was expected after a good performance last week in the Dinwall derby but I'm afraid this was simply rubbish of the highest order. It's as plain as the nose on your face that White is not the striker we are looking for. Tom Walsh flattered to deceive, Shaun Rooney passed to more of his ex-team mates than he did to his new ones. Liam Polworth was completely overshadowed by Gary Harkins. There were one or two exceptions. Coll Donaldson was outstanding for us, shored up the defence and still found time to maraud forward on occasion. Sean Welsh was the pick of our midfield, battled hard but took a nasty knock in his googles late on. Our defence was the brightest aspect of our day but going forward we were too slow and ponderous. Anyway, our best was Donaldson, but the real MotM was Gary Harkins who was a class above everyone else on display. His skill and vision was impeccable and able to get down and dirty when required. Footage now online........... Dougie Anderson of Queen of the South was encouraged by his teams performance. Date: 29/09/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2029 Referee: Alan Muir Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, B Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Chalmers, Polworth, Welsh, White (Mackay 81), Doran (Calder 76), Walsh (Austin 63) Subs (not used): Hoban; McCart, Trafford, Brown Scorers: none Booked: B Mckay (66), Doran (74) Sent Off: none Queen of the South: 0 Lineup: Martin; Mercer, Doyle, Semple, Marshall, Stirling (Frizzell 77), Jacobs, Todd, Harkins (Norman 83), Dobbie, Dykes. Subs (not used): Murray, Bell, Leighfield, Harvey. Scorers: none Booked: Dykes (52), Jacobs (90+4), Semple (90 +1) Sent Off: none a
  14. Queen Dobbie is the Goal King The Stephen Dobbie goal show comes to town on Saturday as Inverness take on high scoring Queen of the South. Who is going to stop him? Coll Donaldson and Mark Ridgers of course as Inverness face Queens at the Caledonian Stadium, the game kicking off at 15:00. Our last outing was the derby draw at Dingwall. Despite our superiority in the first half we failed to get past Scott Fox and County finished the game strongly. A point apiece was a fair enough score but Robbo would be the better pleased manager after witnessing our domination for over an hour. Liam Polworth was the victim of some cynical fouls by former team mate Iain Vigurs, ending the game holding his shoulder. We slipped off the top of the League after that game, but we are still unbeaten after 17 games in the Championship. Ayr United find themselves at the top with Lawrence Shankland hitting the two goals that put them there after they beat Alloa Athletic 2-0. Despite being the top scorers in the League (13 goals), Queens sit seventh after six games with two wins, two draws and two defeats. Their last outing saw Partick Thistle come from behind twice to win 3-2. Stephen Dobbie and Josh Todd had Queens ahead twice in the first half but Kris Doolan and a brace from Blair Spittal before the interval won the game for the Jags. Queens have beaten Ayr United and Falkirk, drawn with Ross County and Morton and lost to Dundee United and Partick. So, what is this Dobbie phenomenon? He scores one goal for every hour he plays. He has nine League goals so far including a hat-trick against Falkirk and four against Ayr United. He also scored a couple in the Challenge cup game against Crusaders in the first half. This guy knows how to score and needs watching. He's in the twilight of his career at 35 years old and is a man of many clubs. His most prolific periods have come in two spells at Palmerston. He scored 47 times between 2007-2009 in 84 appearances and this time around has 46 goals since 2016 from 76 games. He also scored 13 goals in four separate loan spells at Blackpool and 9 whilst at Swansea. That's a terrific return by any standards. Who are his new team mates entrusted with supplying him with the scoring opportunities? Well, they managed to acquire arguably the most gifted midfielder in the division, Glorious Gary Harkins from Morton. Another quality capture is Adam Frizzell, a midfielder from Kilmarnock who has arrived on loan. Michael Doyle, defender (Morton); Josh Todd, midfielder (St Mirren, loan to permanent). David Norman Junior, midfielder (Vancouver Whitecaps); Callum Semple, defender (Sheffield United) are their other new recruits. The Doonhamers made room for these new guys by shipping amongst others, Shaun Rooney to Inverness. Captain John Rankin went to Clyde, experienced striker Derek Lyle (Peterhead). Loans ended for Myles Beerman, defender (Rangers); Nikolay Todorov, forward (Heart of Midlothian); Kyle Cameron, defender (Newcastle United); Joe Thomson, midfielder (Celtic); Curtis Lyle, goalkeeper (Kilmarnock). Team News John Robertson will be without George Oakley who is ruled out for two months with a hamstring injury. Liam Polworth took a few knocks courtesy of Iain Vigurs and could be a doubt. Nathan Austin missed the derby with mild concussion but should be ready for action. Gary Naysmith said:- "we will have the same squad as last weekend as Darren Brownlie is still in rehab and although Callum Fordyce is back training, it is still touch and go if he will be ready for this weekend". He went with this starting XI last time out with Adam Frizzell on the bench:- Martin; Mercer, Doyle, Semple, Marshall, Stirling, Jacobs, Todd, Harkins, Dobbie, Dykes. Here's Robbo talking to the press ahead of this encounter with the Queens. In last night Championship game at East End Park, Dunfermline beat Partick Thistle 1-0 thanks to a goal from Aidan Connolly.
  15. 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 either 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's 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 & Steve Ferguson were 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. Other new names to the County squad are forwards Declan McManus (Dunfermline) and Ross Stewart (St Mirren), midfielders Josh Mullin (Livingston), Harry Paton (Hearts) and defenders Keith Watson (St Johnstone), Stelios Demetriou (St Mirren) and Callum Morris, (Dunfermline). Out went some crowd favourites like captain Andrew Davies, Alex Schalke, Christoper Routis, Jaison Naismith, Thomas Mikkelsen, Craig Curran, Reghan Tumilty, and Tim Chow. 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 ...................
  16. 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.
  17. 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)
  18. 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.
  19. 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
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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 ............
  23. 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.
  24. 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
  25. 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.