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  1. We're off to Hampden~den~en~n It's a trip to a less than full Hampden Park for us in the next stage of the relegation battle after we dodged a bullet last week against Arbroath. Goal difference wise we are the best placed of the bottom four clubs. Our defence is also better than the other bottom four, in fact we are second equal defensively in the Championship, however what has let us down is scoring goals and in that department we are second worst in the league, only two goals better off than relegation certainties Arbroath. We did put four goals past Queens Park last time we were there. Unfortunately that was followed by three defeats and two draws in our next five games and we lost at Inverness when the Queens visited back at the beginning of February. The only certainty here is that the Hampden Park crowd record of 149,415 from 1937 won't be broken. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Match/Ticket/Travel Info ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Venue H2H v QP Pld Won Drn Lst For Agst + / - Home 14 4 5 5 16 17 -1 Away 9 6 0 3 19 13 +6 Neutral 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Total 23 10 5 8 35 30 +5 Only the last eight games since Queens Park came up into the Championship and QP are streets ahead of us since then. The 3 - 0 win was a League Cup encounter 14 years ago courtesy of these guys with goals from Lee Cox (20), Eric Odhiambo (55), Ross Tokely (58) Ryan Esson; Ross Tokely, Grant Munro, Stuart Golabek, Kevin McCann, Russell Duncan, Lee Cox, Nick Ross, Gil Blumenshtein, Adam Rooney, Dani Sanchez. Subs: Jonny Tuffey; Chris Innes, Roy McBain, Eric Odhiambo, Shane Sutherland Full report on that one came from hislopsoffsideagain (click on the 3-0 scoreline above) Last 8 Competitive Meetings since QP came up. 0 - 1 (H) 4 - 1 (A) 1 - 2 (H) 1 - 2 (A) 0 - 2 (H) 0 - 0 (H) 1 - 2 (A) 1 - 1 (H) 3 - 0 (H) 1 - 2 (H) Hampden Success: 4 - 1 Danny Devine had recovered from the knock that saw him limp off against Raith Rovers on the hour last week. Sean Welsh and Luis Longstaff were on the bench. Grant Savoury, Charlie Fox and Craig Napier missed out for the Spiders. Jack Turner put Queens Park ahead early in the first half before Max Anderson levelled the match ten minutes later. Jack Thomson hit the bar, Mckay deemed offside when putting a loose ball into the net after Wotherspoon's header was saved and that prompted some words of comfort for the referee for which Big Dunc eventually ended up in the stands at the break. After the interval Inverness eased themselves up into sixth place in the league with goals from Nikola Ujdur, his first for the club, David Wotherspoon and a Billy Mckay penalty. (For Full report click on 4-1 scoreline above) Last Time Out Inverness made hard work of taking the points from all but relegated Arbroath. We dominated the first half and but for some brilliant saves from Max Boruc we could have gone in three or four goals to the good at the break. As it was Wallace Duffy scored on half time and that should have given us something to build on against a poor Arbroath who were simply going through the motions. As per usual, we failed to take full advantage of the numerous opportunities and paid the price when Leighton McIntosh hammered home a wind assisted shot from the edge of the box. We huffed and puffed somewhat thereafter before the energetic MotM Alex Samuel turned and thrashed in the winner from fifteen yards for a belter of a goal. It was a crucial strike that has all but relegated Arbroath and it keeps our hopes alive of avoiding the play-offs. Last Five: D L D L W Queens Park had a day to forget last weekend at Hampden as Champions in waiting Dundee United put five past them. It didn't look likely after the first half when they trailed by a single goal from Fotheringham on the stroke of half-time. However four goals in a fifteen minute spell from Moult, Graham, Fotheringham again, and Sibbald put Queen's back in trouble and United on track for the Premiership. Last Five: D D W L L Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts Table ahead of Morton v Dundee United on Friday night. 1. Dundee Utd 32 19 8 5 64 21 65 2. Raith Rovers 32 18 7 7 52 42 61 3. Partick Thistle 32 13 11 8 58 50 50 4. Airdrieonians 32 14 6 12 42 37 48 5. Dunfermline 32 11 9 12 38 42 42 6. Morton 32 11 8 13 39 38 41 7. Ayr United 32 11 6 15 45 57 39 8. Queens Park 32 9 9 14 43 55 36 9. Inverness CT 32 8 11 13 36 37 35 10. Arbroath 32 6 5 21 34 72 23 FRIDAY 12TH APRIL Morton v Dundee Utd SATURDAY 13TH APRIL Airdrieonians v Dunfermline Ayr Utd v Arbroath Queens Park v Inverness CT Raith Rovers v Partick Thistle Latest Team News Duncan Ferguson has much the same squad to select from as last week. Luis Longstaff came off the bench on Saturday after being out for a couple of months with a knee injury and will be back in the squad again for Saturday. Carragher, although he did play, and Ujdur had a bit of a bug last weekend. However Carragher is now a doubt after feeling his hamstring. Other than that not much has changed apart from Remi Savage, who has not recovered after he got a boot in the face from Cammy Kerr. Apparently Kerr's boot is OK but Savage is suffering from minor concussion and will miss the next couple of games. Maybe that was Kerr ensuring he gets a game this weekend. Here's our underfire Gaffer looking like Sherlock Holmes with his pipe>>> Callum Davidson will be smarting after the drubbing they took last week. That's seven goals in their last two games with none scored. Word of warning though, they still have Ruari Paton who has sixteen goals this season. They also have our often broken ex-captain Sean Welsh and Cillian Sheridan who surprisingly has bagged a couple of goals since leaving us. He looked like an unfit Sunday League pub player when at the Caledonian Stadium. Dom Thomas, who scored the winner last time Queens came North, has scored eight, but he was missing last week. He does enjoy a goal against us. Could Davidson be keeping him under wraps for the six-pointer against us this weekend? Last weeks QP flops: Ferrie Thomson Wilson Bannon Longridge Turner (Sheridan 53) Welsh (Tizzard 85) McKinstry (Carse 53) Scott (Bruce 52) Paton McLeish (Mauchin 62) Subs Not Used: Wills: Fox, Robson, Williamson Latest from Queens Park: Ben McPherson, Patrick Jarrett and Grant Savoury continue to be injury absentees with Dom Thomas’ fitness being monitored closely in training this week after missing the last two games.
  2. Smokies Kippered On a blustery day more akin to AA Milne and Winnie the Pooh, Arbroath and Inverness battled it out to see who would get the final nails hammered into their coffins. Arbroath were in the last chance snug in the last chance saloon, whilst Inverness have one foot in the grave. I don't believe it! Arbroath tried everything, they even took their own wind with them. However, they had Murray, Bird and Slater on from the start but O'Brien missed out. Zak Delaney also started for the Red Lichties. A bright opening spell saw Alex Samuel denied twice inside five minutes. Once by a combination of Max Boruc and his crossbar, the second by Boruc on his own as Samuel got his shot away from inside the box. Wallace Duffy got the goal we deserved on the interval as he drove across the keeper from the right side of the box to put us in ahead at the break. Leighton McIntosh restored parity on the hour as he drilled home from eighteen yards, but Alex Samuel won the points with a late strike to all but relegate ten man Arbroath who had Ricky Little sent off. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Arbroath were on the back foot from the off as Inverness had the wind at their backs and Austin Samuel was unlucky not to open the scoring in the fourth minute as he turned and shot from the edge of the box. However Max Boruc brilliantly tipped his shot onto the bar. A minute later he got on the end of a ball in the box and forced another save from Boruc as we looked like turning the Smokies over. Max Anderson was also thwarted by Boruc when through on goal when Anderson should have been bulging the net. Despite our superiority, we struggled thereafter to create that premium opening until the stroke of half time when Wallace Duffy drilled in from the right side of the box. Unfortunately we lost Remi Savage to injury just before the goal and he was replaced by Danny Devine after an accidental kick in the face from Kerr. Half Time: 1-0 Just after the break Billy Mckay saw an effort saved from fifteen yards. However, we made heavy weather of a Smokies foray forward and Leighton McIntosh levelled the game fifteen minutes into the second half with a great strike from the edge of the box. Devine headed badly wide when his threepenny bit head nodded astray as we looked to get our noses back in front and Samuel was denied by Boruc as he ran through on goal, the keeper doing well to deny the striker for the third time. Boruc punced away a Cammy Harper free kick Arbroath were reduced to ten men when persistent fouler Ricky Little was dismissed. Alex Samuel got the goal his tenacious display deserved as he won a ball into the box he had no right to win. He then turned and lashed it home from fifteen yards on the left side of the box, I think he enjoyed that one. Great finish from the wee battler. FULL TIME: 2-1 Alex Samuel scored his fifth goal for the Caley Jags and his first since his hat-trick against Raith Rovers at the end of January. He was the difference between the sides today as Arbroath struggled to cope with his aggressive style which eventually led to his winning goal. Good to see the much maligned Wallace Duffy scoring as well, his second in a couple of weeks having also netted at Tannadice. Sadly for Arbroath they will now be relegated at the end of the season unless they perform a miracle. More match reaction to follow>>> Date: 06/04/2024 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2223 Referee: Colin Steven Inverness CT: 2 Manager: Duncan Ferguson Lineup: Ridgers; Carragher, Boyes, Savage (Savage 44), Duffy, Kerr, Anderson, Lawal (Longstaff 73), Harper, Samuel, B Mckay (Doran 88) Subs (not used): C Mackay; Ujdur, MacGregor, Brooks, Pepple Scorers: Duffy (45+1), Samuel (80) Booked: none Sent Off: none Arbroath: 1 Manager: Jim McIntyre Lineup: Boruc; Walker (Lyon 64), Slater, Little, Murray (Dow 73), Gold (McKenna 34), Mackinnon, Delaney, Bird (Stowe 73), Stewart, McIntosh Subs (not used): Gaston; Steele, Teale, Jacobs, Robinson Scorers: McIntosh (61) Booked: Little (31), Little (76) Stowe (85) Sent Off: Little (76) a
  3. Relegation battle begins in earnest. St Johnstone bring their own Marquess of Queensberry brand of football to the Highlands when they visit the Caledonian Stadium on Saturday afternoon as the games start to run out for the Caley Jags in our quest to avoid relegation. Here's a wee tune to welcome the Boxers We were at Pittodrie in midweek and came away empty handed after a Garry Warren own goal gave Aberdeen all three points. The Dons had previously hammered Dundee but found Inverness a tougher nut to crack. We had our own moments during the game but the Dons looked menacing when they broke forward at pace. Despite our massive effort, we fell short of scoring a vital goal and that result ensures we remain bottom of the League for now. St Johnstone were at home to Hearts on Wednesday night and won 1-0 courtesy of a Joe Shaughnessy header. That keeps them firmly in 4th place. However, it was their previous game against Hamilton that ended in farce after a boxing bout broke out between two of their own players, Danny Swanson and Richard Foster. The joke was on us though as Hamilton Accies took advantage of nine man Perth and took all three points. Not much going our way just now, what with late goals, own goals, penalties and expected wins for other teams failing to materialise. Sometimes it's just not your season. This appears to be sometimes. One win in twenty League games is relegation form I'm afraid, and with only seven games remaining, it's difficult to see how and when we can rectify that. The odds are stacking against us. We have had too many draws of late that were not converted into wins and that is killing us. Other teams have lost more games than us over the last ten, Motherwell have conceded the most goals and have the worst goal difference, yet it's Inverness that are in danger of being cut adrift. Meh! One of our four wins this season was the first fixture between the clubs in August, 2-1 in the Highlands. Ross Draper opened the scoring but Richard Foster leveled the game. It took a very late Josh Meekings prod to win the game at the death. The return encounter at Perth saw St Johnstone cruise home untroubled, winning 3-0. Liam Craig, Murray Davidson and Danny Swanson scored for Saints and Garry Warren got himself red carded after an hour. Richie Foran will not have Josh Meekings, Aaron Doran or Iain Vigurs available. Carl Tremarco came through his comeback at Pittodrie unscathed, as did Kevin McNaughton. Jake Mulraney missed out at Pittodrie and his pace on the wing was missed, and he might be missing this one as well. David Raven is rumoured to be struggling to make this one with a groin injury. Tommy Wright will have to do without his cage fighters Danny Swanson and Richard Foster. I don't believe they will be exchanging Xmas cards this year. Keith Watson, Ally Gilchrist and Chris Kane will also sit this one out. However, Steven Anderson and Murray Davidson could be fit enough to be included in the Perth squad. tm4tj prediction:- Well, judging purely on statistics we will have little chance of getting something from this. However, with the two scrappers out suspended then that throws us a lifeline as well. Swanson has been a success this season with a dozen goals and they will miss his contribution. We need to turn defeats into draws and draws into wins. Our commitment has been good recently but we lack the quality and direction needed to see us through the final phase of the campaign. We can do this, it won't be pretty, but pretty never won anything, so let's get the job done, starting at home this weekend. Narrow and ugly home win. With Motherwell and Accies drawing and County beating Dundee in midweek with a last minute penalty, that keeps four other teams within six points of Inverness. So, it's up to us now. A win this weekend would be massive and set us up for a six-pointer showdown with Motherwell the week after, the last game before the League split. Remember 15 points up for grabs in the bottom-six games, still a chance to squirm out if the shit yet. Other games concerning teams at the wrong end of the table:- Celtic v Kilmarnock Hamilton v Ross County Hearts v Dundee Partick v Motherwell
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