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  1. County hold rampant Caley Jags Ross County held Inverness to a scoreless draw at the Global Energy Stadium in front of a bumper crowd of nearly six and a half thousand. Inverness almost blew County away in a totally dominant first half. As the game wore on, County came back into the picture and Mark Ridgers kept the score sheet blank with a superb double save to deny McManus and Billy Mckay. Shaun Rooney and Liam Polworth were fit enough to start but George Oakley missed out through injury. No sign of Nathan Austin anywhere, apparently suffering from slight concussion picked up in training. Iain Vigurs was on the bench for County and would be introduced later in the game to try and disable Polworth with a series of cynical tackles on the controlling Inverness midfielder. Billy Mckay, Ross Draper and Don Cowie all started. Ginger Jaggy has penned this report for us.................. The game may have ended in a draw but there is only one team that will go away satisfied by the first Highland Derby of the Championship Season. Before the game the talk of some fans was about going to Dingwall to make a statement on enemy turf. Although the result didn’t reflect it, there definitely was a statement made. There was only one team playing football and it wasn’t the team in Dark Blue as Caley Thistle from kick off dominated the ball and played some excellent easy on the eye football. Liam Polworth was the standout player pulling all the strings and it was he who had the first chance early on but dragged his shot wide when in a good position. For all County’s money that has allowed them to build the strongest squad on paper, they lacked any cohesion as a team with the CaleyJags looking more fluent and fluid in possession. Goes to show you that football is not all about what’s on paper! Mark Ridgers was unemployed in the first half but his counterpart at the other end was pulling off numerous saves to keep his side in it. Scott Fox won man of the match and it was little wonder with some outstanding saves as he became last man standing in the way of the Caley Thistle juggernaut. He first kept out Aaron Doran with a fantastic one-handed tip over before pulling off another brilliant block from the same player and recovering as fast as lightening to block Jordan White’s rebound – to the astonishment of White who thought he had an easy tap in. White had a couple more half chances, but the score remained goalless at half time with only a harmless Michael Gardyne curler wide of goal the only chance of note for the home side. Half Time 0-0 The second half continued in the same fashion as Polworth went close with a dipping overhit cross that had Fox scrambling but landing just on the roof of the net. For the first hour it had all been the Caley Jags with County looking edgy and uncoordinated at the back as a long-range Chalmers shot had all the sting taken out of it and was rolling harmlessly to Fox before a panicked County defender booted it out for a throw in. Sean Welsh should have done better in the closing stages when a deflected Polworth shot landed perfectly into his path but instead of showing composure he lent back and hammered it high into the travelling supporters. County had made all their subs early in the half, while Inverness had failed to make one as the lack of fresh legs started to take their toll in the final 10 minutes. Gardyne was their main man with the late chances as he continued to shoot with most going miles too high that disappeared over the jail end although one did only just skim over the bar – a warning shot. Their best chance fell late on when Declan McManus got the break of the ball on the edge of the box and fired powerfully at goal, which Ridgers did well to stop before recovering to smother the resultant rebound and collect under pressure from Mckay. Full Time 0-0 County’s late rally only really happened as Inverness tired but a point apiece was just about right with chances for both teams but for an hour at least Caley Thistle were on top and playing some lovely stuff. The unbeaten run continues for another week and although it wasn’t a win, a statement has been well and truly made that Inverness will compete and are likely to be right up there come the business end of the season. That result saw Inverness toppled from the head of the table, Ayr United are the new leaders. Here's something you don't often see in the same sentence. Willie Collum and the word praise, but Old Caley Girl managed it. Congratulations! "Word of praise for Willie Collum who let the game flow and was restrained with the cards Different class to Aitken last week." And Polly was also singled out by OCG and he was our MotM. "How good was Polly running things in the middle. His best position and yesterday proved it. Happy with a point and we remain unbeaten." Here's the footage from Caley Jags TV with the Robbo interview following........ Official Report can be found here Date: 22/09/2018 Venue: Global Energy Stadium, Dingwall. Attendance: 6402 Referee: Willie Collum Ross County: 0 Lineup: Fox; Watson, Morris, Fontaine, Kelly, Cowie (Mullin 65), Lindsay, Draper (Vigurs 65), Gardyne, Mckay, Graham (McManus 81) Subs (not used): Munro; Demetriou, Stewart, Keillor-Dunn Scorers: none Booked: Kelly (72) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, B Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Chalmers, Polworth, Welsh, White, Doran, Walsh (Mackay 88) Subs (not used): Hoban; McCart, Calder, Trafford, McGregor, Brown. Scorers: none Booked: Donaldson (89) Sent Off: none a
  2. Game of two halves It was the proverbial game of two halves. Inverness winning the first half 3-0 and Partick the second 2-0. When the dust settled it ended 3-2 for Inverness which was sufficient to move the Caley Jags to the top of the Championship. Three first half goals from Jordan White, Shaun Rooney and a penalty from Sean Welsh had the home side cruising at the break. However, we sat too deep in the second half and it was no surprise when Partick scored through Blair Spittal. They fell just short with a last gasp counter from Kris Doolan but the Caley Jags held on to take all three points and sit top of the division with Ross County drawing with Queen of the South. At the end of the action, the Caley Jags can be thankful for a penalty save by Mark Ridgers at the end of the first half. That became more important as the second half unfolded. No surprises in the Inverness starting XI, Jordan White chosen as target man with George Oakley and Nathan Austin on the bench. Partick had former Inverness players Miles Storey and Andrea Mutombo on from the start with Kris Doolan and Jai Quitongo making the bench. Old Caley Girl has this report for us, see what she had to say about the game. We’re top of the league and you’re no! Only 5 games in granted but certainly feels good and it’s been a long time coming. We got there in a very odd way to be honest. Summed up by a quote on twitter by our own Renegade “The first half was probably the best Caley Thistle have played all season. The second half was easily the worst”. Partick appeared to start brightly but as the first half went on it was clear this is a team that, like us last season, are a bit shell-shocked after relegation and have yet to gel. With ex-Caley jags men Miles Storey and Mutumbo in the Partick line up there was a bit of extra interest from the home fans with Storey especially getting attention from the boo boys in the north stand. Blair Spittal had a good chance 4 minutes in which was ably saved by Ridgers. However, it was the home fans who were cheering in 11 minutes with Jordan White opening our account. The ball found its way to Polworth who put in a great run and launched a thundering shot from about 20yds out. This hit the post and fell to White who made no mistake in popping it in the net. This was the start of a great spell for the home side with some tidy football on display and in 23 minutes we were 2 up. A Polworth corner was headed down to Sean Rooney who made no mistake with a right footed volley into the net. We were cruising, and the home fans were lapping it up. Walsh and Polworth had further chances to extend our lead and Slater came close at the other end. Just over half an hour in and Polworth broke free on goal to be hauled down in the box by Ntambwe and a penalty was awarded. Madness on the Partick players part and he was extremely lucky to be awarded a yellow and not a red. His manager clearly agrees with me as minutes later he was substituted. Anyway, back to the penalty. Up stepped Sean Walsh and he netted with a calmly despatched shot right down the centre of the goal past Bell. At last we appear to have found the competent penalty taker we have craved since Tansey left. In 41 minutes, referee Greg Aitken enraged the home support with what looked like a very dubious penalty award to Partick. Sean Welsh was judged to have fouled Miles Storey right on the edge of the penalty area. It didn’t even look like a foul to most of us and was arguably not even in the box. As usual the protesting players were not listened to and up stepped Storey only for Mark Ridgers to save in his bottom right corner with the hapless Storey even managing to miss a header from the rebound. Just on half time Rooney was replaced by McCart with the former going off injured. Half Time 3-0 The second half was a total contrast from our point of view. The referee decided to take a starring role and infuriate the home support. There were several bookings for both sides for not very much. The Partick defenders always seeming to get the benefit of the doubt in 50/50 tussles and the game frustratingly very stop start. Oakley replaced White and Calder replaced Doran. We staggered on with too much sitting back for my liking until 82 minutes when Blair Spittal managed to get one back for the visitors. It still felt frustrating but comfortable to be honest. A few players appear to be carrying slight knocks with Polworth limping his way through last 10 minutes or so as we had no subs left. More worryingly Oakley had to leave the park (88mins), in agony, after going down whilst chasing on the main stand side towards goal. As all subs were used we were down to 10 men and in reality, 9 as Polworth was struggling badly and managed to pick up a yellow in 90 mins. In the dying seconds Doolan managed to get Partick a second. That was that though and the players went off to big cheers and the morale boosting news of being top of the league. Full Time 3-2 So, a tale of two halves but a win is a win and we are now 18 league games unbeaten. Off to Dingwall we go next week and that is looking like a tasty fixture now with our neighbours snapping at our heels one point behind. Our second half performance was worrying, and we cannot allow, ourselves to sit back next week or disaster will surely ensue. The Mallard and haggis pies await and hopefully another 3 points. We will have to play at our absolute best and I hope the experienced players such as Tremarco are drumming into the newbies how important this fixture is. More worryingly are injuries to Rooney going off in first half and Polworth struggling. Oakley however appears to be the most serious and I doubt we will see him for a while sadly. OCG MOTM – Id say everyone yesterday got pass marks so a hard choice. Ridgers a contender for that great penalty save and its fab to see Welsh despatch another penalty. However, for me it must be Polworth for his first half performance alone. Was involved in everything and we would be a much poorer team without him. I hope this performance gave the boo boys in our support something to ponder over. Special mention to the match officials. Very inconsistent and pernickety. Partick penalty award looked outside box to me. Standside assistant appeared to stand and watch Doolan elbow Donaldson in the face and do nothing and fans on twitter reporting one of the assistants had to answer his phone mid game to switch it off!!! Doesn’t do much to enhance the reputation Scottish officials are gaining this season. Robbo in this post-match interview was disappointed we only went in 3 up at half time and also felt the 2nd Partick goal took a bit of shine off the day. Sentiments I agree with. Archibald felt his side were hard done by and always a threat? Hmmmm not so sure what he was watching. Always felt comfortable even in the dying minutes for me. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ After the dust settled, here's what we thought of it all on CTO. Despite a grim second half, there were some heartening moments after the break. Inverwegian picked out this one:- "Why has no one mentioned the best thing about the second half?? The Partick keeper falling over the advertising boards! Really, you’ve got to take what you can from that second half and that was mine." Caman was straight to the point:- "2nd half kinda sucked, but three points, still unbeaten and top of the league. Could be worse I suppose!!! " And The Long Man summed it up nicely while looking ahead to next weekend:- "Good Stuff. Remember the doom and gloom after Hearts - now look where both clubs are. Sets up next week beautifully." Rig was feeling sentimental towards the 'Magic Hat' man:- "Great to see them capturing Mckay dishing out some telt to Storey after his penalty miss though I did feel for him a wee bit with the abuse he was getting." You can feel the love😍 See you all in Dingwall next week! Here's the action from Caley Jags TV Date: 15/09/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2424 Referee: Greg Aitken Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney (McCart 43), Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Doran (Calder 76), Polworth, Welsh, Chalmers, White (Oakley 69), Walsh Subs (not used): Hoban, Trafford, Austin, Mackay Scorers: White (11), Rooney (23), Welsh (pen 32) Booked: Chalmers (48), Polworth (90+2) Sent Off: none Partick Thistle: 2 Lineup: Bell; Elliot, Keown, McGinty, Penrice, Mutombo ( Doolan 56), Ntambwe (Bannigan 37), Slater, Spittal, Storey (Quitongo 71) Subs (not used): Sneddon, Melbourne, Fitzpatrick, Jefferies Scorers: Spittal (82), Doolan (90+3) Booked: Ntambwe (32), Bannigan (72) Sent Off: none a
  3. Can Cans Can't Stop Mackay A damp and blustery night greeted the semi-final of the North of Scotland Cup on a sad day for North football and journalism as it was announced that former Caley manager Alex Main, who amassed 14 trophies including 4 Highland League titles at Telford Street, had passed away at the age of 86. A tribute to Alex can be found on the Official Site. RIP Alex. John Robertson had indicated he would give a handful of squad players a game and Charlie Trafford, Riccardo Calder, Daniel Mackay and Jamie McCart were joined by striker George Oakley in the starting XI. George Oakley got the game underway and it only took five minutes for Inverness to get themselves in front. Daniel Mackay made his way down the right and crossed into the six yard box where Roddy MacGregor headed home. Forres steadied the ship and Milne headed a Duncanson cross wide after 18 minutes, at the other end Daniel Mackay shot over from distance. Halfway through the first half and Knight had to look sharp to come off his line and block George Oakley as he raced through on goal. Former Inverness player Stuart Soane went close with a header from a corner as we neared the interval. Half Time 1-0 The second half brought no changes, but three minutes in and Mackay volleyed home from ten yards after a Gabriel Hastings cross was part cleared by the visiting defence. Charlie Trafford was booked for a late challenge and moments later Daniel Hoban was called into action to deny Soane who had headed goalwards. Inverness stepping up a gear now and Jack Brown wins a corner that is cleared, but it's that boy again as Daniel Mackay scored his second and Caley Jags third after Oakley sent him through on the keeper. Mackay rounded Knight to score. Mackay tried to return the favour to Oakley but he could not take full advantage of the opening. Jack Brown got in on the act as he rounded Knight to score the Caley Jags fourth of the night and put the result beyond doubt. Right at the death, Riccardo Calder went close with a tremendous effort, but there was no more scoring as the ref brought the game to a halt. Full Time 4-0 Inverness progress to the final and await the winner of the Ross County v Brora Rangers tie which will be played tomorrow night. Date: 11/09/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: ???? Referee: Billy Baxter Inverness CT: 4 Lineup: Hoban, Hastings, Harper, Trafford (Gunn 64), Fyffe, McCart, Mackay, Brown (Hyde 85) Oakley (Kennedy 74), MacGregor, Calder. Subs (not used): Mackinnon, Nicolson, Harkness Scorers: MacGregor (6), Mackay (48, 62), Brown (70) Booked: Trafford (53) Sent Off: none Forres Mechanics: 0 Lineup: Knight, MacPherson, Fraser, Groat (Allan 65), Moore, Milne, Pollock (MacPhee 65) , MacRae, Duncanson (Taylor 70), Howarth, Soane Subs (not used): Brown, MacGillivray, Paterson, Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  4. Long time since Rooney scored for Inverness But today it was Shaun Rooney who opened his account for the Caley Jags and paved the way for a tremendous away win at East End Park. Liam Polworth and George Oakley completed the scoring, all goals coming in the second half. Our first visit to East End Park last season saw us whipped 5-1 by a rampant Dunfermline. The 1-0 defeat against Dunfermline on March 13 was the last time ICTFC had lost in the Championship. Something was going to give. The hosts had two former Caley Jags players starting in Danny Devine and James Vincent. Late signing Robbie Muirhead was on the bench alongside Kallum Higginbotham and Aidan Connolly. Inverness made a couple of changes from the Alloa game with big striker Jordan White spearheading the attack and Aaron Doran starting. That put George Oakley on the bench with Nathan Austin nowhere to be seen. Dunfermline got the game underway in front of a crowd of 5138 shooting towards the visiting fans. The Caley Jags were playing towards the Norrie McCathie stand, and it was the Pars that made the early running forcing Inverness onto the back foot and winning an early corner which came to nothing. Inverness had a goal chalked off after quarter of an hour and Mark Ridgers did well to tip a fierce shot from Myles Hippolyte onto the bar with Danny Devine lashing the loose ball just wide. Just before the half hour Joe Chalmers headed just over from a Tom Walsh cross. Soon after a defensive error by Ashcroft allowed Aaron Doran to play in Walsh, unfortunately Keeper Robinson made a good save to deny the Caley Jags forward. Just before the break Carl Tremarco and Myles Hippolite were booked after a bit of a set-to. There was still time for efforts at both ends, Brad Mckay went close with a shot from distance and Louis Longridge brought out another great save from Ridgers to keep out his eighteen yard volley. Plenty action at both ends but at the break there was no scoring Half Time 0-0 Polworth almost got a shot away early in the half but Inverness didn't have long to wait to open the scoring. Ashcroft was booked for bringing down Doran, and from the resultant free kick and clearance Walsh crossed for Shaun Rooney to get his first goal for the club. Polly stepping up now and he forced Robinson into a fine save moments after the opening goal. Inverness turning the screw now and Jordan White headed over from a Tremarco cross. El Bakhtaoui woke up and caused some problems around the visitors box but we were able to block and clear. Dunfermline were starting to press and forced a couple of corners but it was Inverness that hit on the break to double their advantage. Doran put in a lovely ball to the back post where Polly met it first time to volley home, 2-0 to the visitors. The Pars went close with a shot from Thomson that went just wide, and with ten minutes left Ridgers blocked an effort from Bakhtaoui with his legs. All action now and Oakley and Polworth bring out saves from Robinson in the Pars goal. However, Oakley would not be denied and he put the game to bed after Ridgers 'kick' out was flicked forward by Doran, Oakley running through to score. Full Time 0-3 Never saw that one coming, great result and the fans chanting for Polworth in a positive mood this time is a bonus all round. A plus for Rooney as well and the third bonus is we scored three goals. All good. Rig was chuffed with what he witnessed and here's how he describes the goals and summarises thus:- A simply stunning ICT performance of yesteryear. A return to the reliable 4-2-3-1 setup and philosophy of sitting in, absorbing pressure and hitting Dunfermline hard on the break. Going into the game and seeing the line up I wasn't expecting much at all but needless to say by full time I was eating humble pie and it tasted great. The second half saw ICT tear Dunfermline apart by allowing them to come on to them before clinically hitting them on the counter. The opener however came after a free kick found its way to Walsh on the Pars left flank and he stood up a cross to the back post where Rooney ghosted in to steer a header into the net. 1-0 We extended our lead with a quite brilliant counter attack. Dunfermline failed to make one of their many crosses go anywhere useful and Donaldson cleared the ball to Oakley who brought the ball down and quickly fed Doran who galloped down the right wing and picked out Polworth darting into the box with a quite delicious cross which was sidefooted in to make it two. 2-0 The game was killed off when Ridgers partially sclaffed a clearance up the pitch in the general direction of Doran. As the ball sat up nicely for him Doran cheekily backheel flicked it over his head and into the path of Oakley who bench pressed the Pars defender and raced towards goal and coolly slide the ball past Robinson. 3-0 As has been mentioned on here before it may be that this season we are a more successful team away from home than in Inverness where we might be expected to dominate the opposition. Based on today it seems very much like this is a team that would excel sitting in and hitting on the break and we're unlikely to do that much at TCS. Hopefully Robbo keeps the 4-2-3-1 going forward. A 3 - 0 win away from home against a fellow promotion challenger is not to be sniffed at. Caley Stan still showed some trepidation in his summary:- That was fun! As RiG says, it was an excellent counter-attacking display after a tetchy first half. Doran's second half performance was particularly pleasing - I've doubted his ability to come back and he's clearly had to change his game but his work-rate was superb today and his class eventually shone through with two wonderful assists. Great to see Polly back in his proper position and the fans did a good job of undoing some of that damage. We also saw decent games from Donaldson, Tremarco, Walsh and Welsh, and Ridgers made a couple of blinding saves. Our weaknesses, though, remain glaring. Rooney is a huge concern, and while Welsh is an improvement on Trafford, we still aren't strong enough in defensive midfield where Dunfermline found a lot if room to get shots in from the edge of the box in the first half. And we're no closer to finding out who our striker will be - White worked hard and used his body well but Oakley looked far sharper when he came on and took his goal well. Here's the action from Caley Jags TV..................... Date: 01/09/2018 Venue: East End Park, Dunfermline Attendance: 5138 Referee: Don Robertson Dunfermline: 0 Lineup: Robinson: Ashcroft, Durnan, Devine, Williamson (Higginbotham 67), Vincent (Connolly 79), J Longridge,Thomson, L Longridge, Bakhtaoui, Hippolyte (Muirhead 59) Subs (not used): Gill: Ryan, Connolly, Martin, Craigen, Higginbotham Scorers: none Booked: Hippolyte (40), Ashcroft (50) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Ridgers: Rooney, B Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Walsh, Polworth (Trafford 86), Welsh, Chalmers, White (Oakley 67), Doran (Calder 84) Subs (not used): Hoban: McCart, D Mackay, Brown Scorers: Rooney (51), Polworth (72), Oakley (83) Booked: Tremarco (39), Walsh (54), Welsh (90+2) Sent Off: none a
  5. No fizzy pop joy this season. The holders wimped out of the IrnBru cup at the first hurdle in what can best be described as a reserve team game. Both sides made massive changes to their starting line-ups and it was the visitors that went through to the next round after surviving a plethora of Inverness attacks, but holding on to score a break away goal at the end. Both sides fielded fringe players with youth players making up the squads for this IrnBru cup game. John Robertson said the players had been knocking on his door looking for some game time. That wish was granted for some, but Robertson was less than impressed after the game with what he saw on the park. Daniel Hoban was in goal and Jamie McCart and Riccardo Calder came into the back line. Aaron Doran started as did Sean Welsh, Daniel Mackay and Jordan White, all getting the opportunity to stake a claim for a regular game. The Pars fielded a whole new starting line-up with seven debutantes since their defeat to County, giving youth a chance to show their worth, and they certainly responded positively, although much of that was due to the inability of the Inverness players to impress their manager. Similar to the first team squad, chances were created and squandered before Dunfermline opened the scoring in controversial fashion. The Pars broke forward after a poor choice of ball by McCart played Trafford into trouble. He failed to deal with the ball and Andy Ryan broke forward to the edge of the box before being fouled by Brad Mckay. It looked to happen just outside the box given the position of the large divot left on the park. However, penalty was offered and Kallum Higginbotham promptly dispatched the ball low and hard to the keepers right hand side. We struggled to make any impact in a first half dominated by a stiff breeze and the Pars went in at the break one goal ahead as the early threat offered by Daniel Mackay eroded. Half Time 0-1 Robbo saw enough ten minutes into the second half and made changes as we continued to disappoint. Mackay and Trafford made way for Tom Walsh and George Oakley, and that coincided with our best spell of the game as Riccardo Calder began to threaten down the left and get some dangerous crosses in with Walsh doing likewise on the right. After three or four false alarms, Jordan White eventually met an inviting cross from the left, meeting Calder's ball ten yard out to drive it into the net for the equaliser. White was now beginning to get plenty joy in and around the box but unfortunately for him he was unable to direct any headers on target or with sufficient force to seriously trouble the keeper. Similar to Saturday, White landed another looping header on top of the net as our frustration grew. We were undone in the final few minutes when Polworth lost possession around the halfway line. Andy Ryan once more benefiting from our slackness and racing forward before rolling a ball into the box from the left side. Callum Smith was first to it and he knocked it high behind an exposed Hoban. We still managed to miss another couple of attempts, White knocking one over the bar from one yard and another header going over. Full Time 1-2 The experimental squad backfired for us but gave Dunfermline a safe passage into the next round. Was it deserved? Maybe not, but you make your own luck or get help from your opponents, and both of these happened on the night. Robbo has taken his squad to task over the display. I'm in agreement with him, it's time to take the cotton wool wrapping of the players and get them to perform to a higher level. So no fizzy pop joy for us this season, but good luck to Dunfermline in the next round. Wee midfielder Aidan Connolly (8) was a handful for our middlemen. Good control, able to beat a man and pick a pass, something we could have done with. He is the son of former Dundee United player Paddy Connolly and he is my MotM. Date: 14/08/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1046 Referee: Alan Muir Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Hoban; Rooney, B Mckay, McCart, Calder, Polworth, Welsh, Trafford (Walsh 55), Doran, D Mackay (Oakley 55), White Subs (not used): C Mackay; Brown, Harper, Fyffe, Kennedy Scorers: White (60) Booked: B Mckay (23), Rooney (34), Welsh (38) Sent Off: none Dunfermline: 2 Lineup: Gill; Allan, Morrison, Beadling (Jordan 63), Luke, Higginbotham, Todd, Connolly, Smith (Robertson 90), Ryan, McCann Subs (not used): Burt; Swanson, Crosbie, Brown, Sawers Scorers: Higginbotham (Pen 24), Smith (87) Booked: McCann (64) Sent Off: none a
  6. Inverness pay the penalty Inverness were held to a 0-0 draw by newly promoted Ayr United who had been reduced to ten men after half an hour. Despite the numerical superiority we were unable to capitalise and wasted a few good opportunities to take all three points, including a missed penalty. Prior to kick-off, a minutes silence was impeccably held in memory of Alan Hercher who died at the tender age of 52. Alan was our first club captain and scored our first, second and third goals with a hat-trick against Arbroath in 1994. How we could have done with Herchies drive in this game. RIP Alan Hercher 1965 - 2018. The visitors took along a healthy support amongst the 2376 crowd and were looking for wanted man Lawrence Shankland to see them through the game. Inverness were pretty much as expected with Nathan Austin and George Oakley up front and Jordan White, Aaron Doran and Daniel Mackay starting on the bench. The hosts started brightly and buzzed around the visitors box without actually creating too much for keeper Ross Doohan to deal with, Tom Walsh going close but missing the target in the third minute. Unfortunately that would be a recurring theme for the afternoon. Ayr's Daniel Harvie received a yellow card in the 13th minute that would come back to haunt him after half an hour. Robbie Crawford called Mark Ridgers into action as the keeper saved his effort in the 17th minute as Ayr began to get to grips with the pace of the game with their hosts not able to penetrate their defence. Harvie looked to push George Oakley over as he went for a high ball into the box and promptly got his marching orders from Andrew Dallas. Unfortunately Liam Polworth could not take advantage and directed his spot kick well wide of the post with the keeper going the wrong way. Five minutes before the break Nathan Austin should have scored when put through one-on-one with the keeper. He also picked his spot with his shot, but unfortunately that spot was two yards wide of the post. Great opportunity that went abegging. He also managed to hit the keeper right on the break for a frustrating end to the half for the home fans. We should have been at least two up at the break but through our own inability to hit the target Ayr went in at the interval on level terms. Half Time 0-0 Ayr came out of the blocks flying at the start of the second half and dangerman Lawrence Shankland used his strength and speed to good effect, but his angled shot went across the face of the goal with Ridgers scrambling across to cover it. Michael Moffat could also have opened the scoring but like everyone else he shot narrowly wide six minutes into the half. Robbie Crawford followed suit as Ayr looked for the opening goal. Inverness gradually came back into the game and Joe Chalmers stung the palms of Doohan. His shot had plenty of power but was too direct at the keeper. Robbie Crawford tried his luck again as the game opened out and Coll Donaldson took matters into his own hands and surged forward a couple of times. Plenty of effort from the hosts in the last half hour but we were unable to fashion any really clear opportunities. Donaldson fired a shot just over in one of his runs forward and substitute Jordan White could not quite direct a header on target, the ball landing on the roof of the net. A flurry of corners came and went and Ayr managed to hold on for an excellent point for them. Full Time 0-0 A frustrating afternoon all round and to be honest this felt like a defeat, but credit to Ayr for having a go especially once they went down to ten men. Difficult to select a MotM from an Inverness perspective with nobody catching the eye. Shankland gave our defenders a hard time with his powerful play and quick feet as did Moffat and Crawford. Donaldson might just be our best player on the day after making a couple of early mistakes which he recovered to deal with himself. He was one of the few players to drive forward with any menace and gets my vote. Miserable day for Liam Polworth not helped by some of our own fans venting their displeasure towards him with some unsavoury chants. Clean it up please. Dunfermline visit on Tuesday night in the Challenge Cup. They surprisingly went down 3-1 at home to Ross County on Saturday. Expect a difficult game in midweek. Here's the action from the game............. Date: 11/08/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2376 Referee: Andrew Dallas Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, B Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Walsh (Doran 70), Trafford (D Mackay 68), Polworth, Chalmers, Oakley, Austin (White 59) Subs (not used): Hoban; McCart, Welsh, Calder. Scorers: none Booked: Tremarco (19), Rooney (49) Sent Off: none Ayr United: 0 Lineup: Doohan; Geggan, Adams, Rose, Harvie, Forrest (Ferguson 31), Crawford, Kerr (Docherty 83), Murdoch, Shankland, Moffat (Bell 74) Subs (not used): Hare-Reid, Moore, McDaid, McGuffie. Scorers: none Booked: Harvie (13), Crawford (70) Sent Off: Harvie (30) a
  7. Bairns Beaten The opening game of the new Championship season saw Inverness travel to Falkirk and recorded their first points of the season when a George Oakley strike after 10 minutes was enough to settle the affair. John Robertson opted for a front pairing of Nathan Austin and George Oakley with Aaron Doran and Jordan White on the bench. Captain Carl Tremarco got over his knock from Tynecastle and took his place at left back. Paul Hartley had former Livingston striker Dylan Mackin on the bench with on loan Dundee forward Marcus Haber starting. Leo Fasan was between the sticks. Falkirk got the season underway in front of an excellent support of over four and a half thousand. Rig & Immortal Howden Ender will take it from here with this dual report ................ "As IHE says it was a 442 / 4411 for most of the game. Polworth spent most of the game tucking inside which brutally exposed Rooney on a number of occasions and led to Mckay getting dragged out of the middle to cover when he (Rooney) was taken apart. Left side was more impressive with Tremarco and Walsh getting a lot more joy especially in the first half with the latter sending over a number of good crosses and setting up the goal. When Walsh went off for Welsh Chalmers was moved to left midfield and Welsh slotted into the centre with Trafford. Austin and Oakley played as a two up front with Oakley often dropping slightly deeper to challenge for high balls. We got very lucky today. Despite a good start we regressed more and more as the game wore on. Falkirk really came to dominate things as the match wore on but more often than not they ran out of ideas as they got closer to our goal. Walsh, as mentioned above, started well down the left and he set up the opener with a ball across the box sent in from the left and Oakley found a bit of space to divert the ball back across goal and into the net. We should have killed the game off when Austin found himself with a free run on goal after a defensive mix up but he never looked like he would score and he was smothered by the onrushing Falkirk keeper. Falkirk thought they pulled level when a high free kick was headed beyond Ridgers but after a loooong delay, and with the players about to take the kick off, it was suddenly pulled back. I've no idea why the Falkirk goal was chopped off but I'm guessing it was a foul on one of Rooney, Donaldson or Mckay as they all ended up in a heap when the ball was floated in. The referee hadn't given anything but it seemed the linesman was the one who saw something wrong. Following on from that we resorted to brutal route one football with aimless hoofs up the park for Oakley and later White to try and chase. Bizarrely we even seemed to be targeting Mckay with these long balls rather than White and these high balls were easily mopped up by the defenders. The one occasion we did get the ball down and pass it around we looked good. Chalmers, Welsh and Trafford quickly played the ball around 3 or 4 home players who were left chasing shadows so it was disappointing that we seemed to lack the composure to do this more often though perhaps that was more to Falkirk closing us down a lot better in the second half than the first. Falkirk look exactly what we were like this time last season, a team clearly lacking cohesion due to so many new faces so we definitely got them at a good time. Whilst it's a very encouraging result I think we need to be cautious given how poor we were in the second half. Donaldson, Tremarco, Walsh and Oakley were probably my picks from today. Donaldson was excellent at the back although there were a couple of lapses on occasions. Tremarco and Walsh linked well down the left and the latter offered good defensive cover as well. Oakley was a handful up front but faded as the game went on. " RIDGERS Never actually looked troubled, went for most crosses and evidently promotes confidence in front of him. ROONEY 🤣 Wow does this lad have potential but he is a Jekyll and feckin Hyde. 80% positive but he has the same reaction at times as my grandson has to a feckin Slush Puppie. McKAY 🙄 Protected more by Donaldson. Did nothing wrong but still worries me. DONALDSON 🥃 MOM TREMARCO "You will never get past Tremarco" - enuff said. POLWORTH 😪 Totally wasted IMHO playing wide. Lets give him the playmaker role. CHALMERS 🙄 Welsh is the better option but he always competes. TRAFFORD 🙄 Works hard but suspect that he may make way for Welsh and Doran. WALSH Looks class. Hope that he shows that more at home games. AUSTIN 🤣 Should have finished it at 2-0. Not at his best but has potential. OAKLEY 😎 Worked and worked and played for the shirt - RESPECT Here's the action from Falkirk Date: 04/08/2018 Venue: Falkirk Stadium Attendance: 4538 Referee: Steven McLean Falkirk: 0 Lineup: Fasan, McGhee, Muirhead, Dallison, Paton, Petravicius (Greenwood 74), Lewis, Evans (Mackin 71), Harrison, Haber, Irving Subs (not used): Mutch, Kidd, Sammut, Robson, Turner, Greenwood Scorers: none Booked: Paton (82) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers, Rooney, B Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Walsh (Welsh 75), Polworth, Trafford, Chalmers, Austin (D Mackay 71), Oakley (White 82) Subs (not used): Hoban, McCart, Doran, Calder. Scorers: Oakley (10) Booked: Rooney (40), B Mckay (65), Chalmers (84) Sent Off: none a
  8. Hearts Trump Caley Jags Aces Inverness had few tricks up their sleeves as they were brushed aside and out of the Betfred League Cup after losing 5-0 to Hearts at Tynecastle. A display of clinical finishing saw Hearts into the draw as goals from Ikpeazu (2), Garuccio and Naismith (2) settled the tie. Uche Ikpeazu was the man who taunted Inverness all afternoon with a powerful display and capped it with two great goals. Hearts made three changes from the midweek thrashing of Cowdenbeath. Uche Ikpeazu's man of the match performance gained him a start. Aaron Hughes got his first start with Michael Smith injured and Olly Lee returned in place of Andrew Irving. Kyle Lafferty made the bench after struggling with a back injury. Jake Mulraney joined him on the wood. For Inverness, Robbo made a couple of changes, George Oakley and Nathan Austin dropped to the bench with Jordan White and tough midfielder Charlie Trafford starting, no doubt looking to stifle the midfield and hold the ball well up front. Immortal Howden Ender watched through clasped hands as we were tortured....................... Well I probably can proffer thanks that this game was changed to a Sunday and prevented me from doing a British Rail Away day from Englandshire. It was difficult to take on BT Sport so I can really feel fer the 317 faithful who managed to get there. Can understand - to a degree - why Robbo started off as he did do. I expect that he was hoping to go in 0-0 at half time or even in the hope of a breakaway goal. For the first half hour there was little in it. Ikpeazu was the difference. As the BT punters kept on pointing out our central defenders were far too tight on him and he outmuscled them regularly. We could have gone in front on the 13th minute when the sweet left foot of Chalmers malfunctioned. My gripe about the first Ikpeazu goal was that White was given the role of shadowing him. It still was a fine finish. The free kick was unstoppable. Take a bow Garuccio. The third by Ikpeazu was a fine powerful header but we should have learned the earlier lesson. And the Zlamal makes two good stops to thwart Doran and Trafford. You began to start thinking that it was not our day. We could have been 4-0 as Hearts also hit the post but by then were fully in control, full of confidence and had the crowd behind them. In the second half we gain started well enuff but we NEVER looked like scoring. Naismith has always had a reputation of being good in the air for his size but he was left totally unmarked for his brace. Unfortunately it always looked as if Hearts would add to their tally rather than us pulling one back although Austin could have done that with a couple of minutes left. I will detract from an individual Smiley allocation BUT - Ridgers had little chance with all five goals. Rooney blew hot and cold. Donaldson and Brad McKay did not appear to be an understanding partnership. McKay looked the poorer. Tremarco did well enuff until limping off. Our tactics (by Robbo) proved to be wrong. We bypassed midfield and therefore we "lost" the influences of Polworth and Doran. They were played wide whilst the centrally operating pairing of Trafford and Chalmers were overrun - but Hearts went wide most of the time with Lee, McLean and Morrison bossing throughout. I would give Walsh MOM and cant understand why he was hooked. White was evidently chosen for his height but he lost most balls in the air and was not exactly adept at holding things up. I am sure that in retrospect Robbo wishes that he had gone for Austin from the off and played Doran in the number 10 role. I would also have consider taking on wee Danny for either Chalmers or Trafford at half time. Video footage to be added when available Date: 29/07/2018 Venue: Tynecastle, Edinburgh Attendance: 10,030 Referee: Willie Collum Hearts: 5 Lineup: Zlamal, Souttar, Hughes, Berra, Haring, Morrison, Lee, Garuccio, Naismith, MacLean, Ikpeazu Subs (not used): Doyle, L Smith, Burns McDonald, Mulraney, Lafferty, Bozanic Scorers: Ikpeazu (28, 33), Garuccio (33), Naismith (64, 81) Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers, Rooney, B Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Walsh, Polworth, Trafford, Chalmers, Doran, White Subs (not used): Hoban, McCart, Austin, Calder, Elbouzedi, Oakley, D Mackay Scorers: Walsh Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  9. Late Mackay goal sinks Raith Substitute Daniel Mackay scored the winner with three minutes remaining after Grant Gillespie had scored a screamer to draw Raith level. Nathan Austin had opened the scoring after a goalless first half which Inverness had dominated without over exerting the keeper. Tom Walsh kept his starting place after his two goals at Cowdenbeath with Shaun Rooney at full back. Daniel Mackay was on the bench with Riccardo Calder and Jordan White. Raith had former Inverness giant Nat Wedderburn on the bench with ex-Dundee player Kyle Benedictus on from the start. The hosts started briskly and forced a corner within a minute and continued on the front foot for most of the half. Thompson saved an effort from Walsh but Austin couldn't dig the ball out and get a shot away from the rebound. Oakley turned on a through ball but Thompson saved smartly to deny the striker. Lot's of neat interplay from Inverness but little end product as the half wore on with Raith offering nothing up front. Not surprisingly it ended all square at the break. Half Time 0-0 Second half was only five minutes old when Oakley held up a ball from Polworth to lay it onto Austin who steered a low shot to the keepers right hand side into the net. Smart opening goal and no more than we deserved. Could we kick on from here? Well, the answer was no and out of nowhere Raith scored a scorcher of a goal when Grant Gillespie latched onto a loose ball from a corner some 12 yards out and lashed his shot like a missile into the top corner at junction of post and bar. We struggled to make much headway thereafter until substitute Danny Mackay benefited from a blocked shot from Riccardo Calder on the break to send the fans home happy. Full Time 2-1 Hard work but an overall deserved win over a defensive Raith Rovers. More updates to follow........ ICT: Ridgers, Rooney (), Tremarco, B Mckay, Chalmers, Donaldson, Polworth (), Austin (Calder 81), Doran (White 76), Walsh, Oakley (Mackay 68) Subs not used: Hoban, McCart, Elbouzedi, Trafford Raith: Thompson, Watson, Valentine, Davidson (Wedderburn 45), Murray, Benedictus, Gillespie, Milne (Stevenson 81), Matthews, Nisbet, Mackay. Subs not used: McGuff, Barry. Referee: Colin Steven Attendance: 1295
  10. Blue Brazil no match for the Black & Golds. Inverness played a midweek Betfred League Cup tie at Central Park and after falling behind to a superb strike from Jordyn Sheerin they went in at the break 3-1 ahead. Tom Walsh scored a brilliant double and Aaron Doran stabbed home a third right on half time. After the break it was goals galore with George Oakley, Aaron Doran and Jordyn Sheerin rounding off the scoring. John Robertson shuffled the pack a little with George Oakley and Charlie Trafford dropping to the bench. In came Tom Walsh who was scoring for fun in pre-season and Jordan White with new signing Sean Welsh on the bench alongside Zak Elbouzedi, Riccardo Calder and Jamie McCart. Cowdenbeath were relishing this challenge just three days after beating Raith Rovers with striker Jordyn Sheerin the dangerman leading the line and former County midfielder Martin Scott in the ranks. Inverness kicked off in their snazzy new away strip and Nathan Austin was first to threaten in the third minute from a Brad McKay pass but David McGurn in the Cowdenbeath goal blocked his effort. First stab for the hosts saw David Cox snatch at a long range shot but it went well over and soon after Jordan White saw a header tipped over by McGurn. Captain Carl made a hash of a pass in defence and the hosts should have taken the lead but Cox thumped the ball over the bar from almost underneath it after Sheerin teed him up. What a let off. Inverness never heeded that warning and a few minutes later Sheerin blasted a ball into the top corner from around 20 yards to open the scoring in the 24th minute. Welcome to Central Park! Inverness looked for an early reply but Liam Polworth's shot was straight at the keeper and after half an hour the visitors were making heavy weather of it until Tom Walsh latched onto a White knock down on the edge of the box and smashed the ball home. Great goal in his first start for the club after 34 minutes. Tom Walsh turned this game on it's head with a second goal in the 41st minute after he dribbled his way into the box to slot home a superb solo effort off the post. Just on the break Aaron Doran stole in to meet a header from White and scored a third Inverness goal with the defenders claiming for hand ball. What an incredible end to a half that looked flat for the visitors for half an hour. Half Time 1-3 Cowdenbeath tried to get back into the game and Robbie Buchanan had a shot deflected over before Tremarco stopped Sheerin from racing through on goal, but at the other end a big shout for a penalty as Doran is brought down by Mullen. Just before the hour Doran went through on goal but his shot was half stopped by McGurn before being hooked off the line by Miller and moments later Doran put Austin through but he fluffed his lines and that was enough for Robbo as Austin was replaced by George Oakley with about 25 minutes left. Walsh came close to his third goal but his shot went just wide of the mark. Moments later Oakley scored the fourth after he lashed home a loose ball from keeper McGurn who had stopped a White effort. The Caley Jags went nap when Doran scored his second goal of the night as he diverted a Charlie Trafford shot into the net four minutes after the Canadian came on as a sub. Raining goals now and Sheerin grabbed his second in the 81st minute after being sent clear. It could have been more but Tremarco made a frantic headed clearance on the line to deny Buchanan. Full Time 2-5 After a shaky start Inverness came good and Tom Walsh scored a couple of crackers to get us on our way. He seems to be a baller with an eye for goal. Bit of a goalfest in the end but after going ahead Inverness were always on top. Good entertainment for the 373 fans and Mantis. Rig was a touch subdued but nonetheless overall happy enough to witness the win after a sluggish start. 'A strangely unconvincing 5 - 2 win. We were slow out the blocks and took a long time to settle. The surface was poor which could be an excuse for some of the misplaced passes but some of the players still look like they need to blow the cobwebs away as there was some sloppy passages of play and a few defensive errors that fortunately weren't punished. 'The scoreline looks good but it wasn't a great performance by any means. That said, Walsh looked impressive particularly when he appeared through the middle but too often he was stuck wide right. Austin had a very quiet game, very little came off for him so it wasn't much of a shock when he was subbed. Donaldson and Tremarco looked solid enough at the back but Mckay struggled under pressure and Rooney regressed as the game went on. See all seven goals here............... If you are wondering what Tom Walsh looks like, here he is talking at a pre-season interview, right in front of the talented Sophie Robb's massive artwork......... More Updates to follow Date: 17/07/2018 Venue: Central Park, Cowdenbeath Attendance: 374 Referee: John McKendrick Cowdenbeath: 2 Lineup: McGurn, Mullen, Talbot, Pyper, Marsh, Malcolm (Scullion 86), Cox, Buchanan, Sheerin, Scott (Miller 56), Smith (Muirhead 74). Subs (not used): Goodfellow, Fotheringham, Swann. Scorers: Sheerin (24, 81) Booked: Marsh (85) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 5 Lineup: Ridgers, Rooney, Tremarco, Chalmers, Donaldson, Polworth, Austin (Oakley 67), Doran, Walsh, White (Trafford 74), McKay. Subs (not used): Hoban, McCart, Welsh, Calder, Elbouzedi. Scorers: Walsh (34, 41) Doran (45, 80) Oakley (73) Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  11. Pipped at the Post Inverness just failed to get into the play-offs despite beating Morton 3-0 at Cappielow. A brace by top scorer George Oakley and another by Nathan Austin won the points but as expected, Dunfermline thumped Dumbarton to take the final spot. Prior to kick-off we needed a massive helping hand from Dumbarton who we required to beat Dunfermline. That seemed unlikely, but we had to go about our business in the hope that miracles do happen. For Morton, Darren Hynes won his first start with midfielder Ben Eardley getting a place on the bench. John Baird was unavailable due to parent club ruling. Gary Harkins captained the side today with Thomas O'Ware out. Scott Tiffoney and Jack Iredale also miss out. Inverness were without the injured Gary Warren with Iain Vigurs taking the captains armband. Aaron Doran missed out altogether and Nathan Austin started. Before kick off, the news that Dumbarton were fielding a less than first XI meant that our task was doomed before we started. The game kicked off at Cappielow and more ominous news coming from East End Park via twitter: 11sec Pars have kicked off towards the away stand and Clark has the first shot of the match but it's wide left of goal........... It got worse when the Sons were reduced to ten men and Dunfermline opened the scoring. However, undaunted we went about our business and Oakley scored twice in the first half................. Just over 1500 were at Cappielow to enjoy the game. The away fans would enjoy it better. No doubt the home fans were a bit subdued with news that Chairman of 17 years, Douglas Rae OBE will be standing down after this game. His son Crawford will take over. Inverness were first up to try their hand with a Joe Chalmers free kick quickly followed by a Liam Polworth shot from distance, both attempts missing the target. The visitors were enjoying the lions share of play and after eighteen minutes Iain Vigurs hit the bar from close range. Nathan Austin and Carl Tremarco were next to have a go without scoring but in the twentieth minute George Oakley did just that. He opened the scoring after a Polworth corner found him unmarked and George knocked in his eleventh goal of the season. Five minutes later and he could have added a second when he met a Chalmers cross but he headed over. A warning from Morton a couple of minutes later as Gary Fraser is set up on the edge of the box by Oliver but his shot goes just wide. However, Inverness' overall dominance would pay off and Oakley bagged another eight minutes before the break after being played in on the right and he squeezed his shot behind Brennan in goal from a tight angle. Inverness cruising, but unfortunately so were Dunfermline. A couple of minutes before the break and Vigurs hit the bar a second time direct from a free kick. There was still time for Mark Ridgers to get some action, saving a Fraser shot and at the other end Oakley shot over looking for his hat-trick. Half Time 0-2.............. At East End Park it was 3-0 for Dunfermline Ridgers kept his goal intact with a stunning save to deny Gary Harkins from a free kick, managing to get the ball onto the woodwork. The game had opened out now as Morton looked to salvage some pride but it was Inverness that stretched their lead when Nathan Austin scored after gathering his own attempt and knocked home the rebound. Polworth had done the spadework with a lovely chip over the defence to allow Austin the opportunity. Oakley fired over just after the hour as the visitors went looking for more and Tremarco went close with a header that went just wide. Young Player of the Year Coll Donaldson went off injured with fifteen to go with Riccardo Calder replacing him. A late flurry of activity as Morton looked for a consolation but it was at the other end that a goal almost materialised when Polworth shot across the keeper was saved with five minutes left. Substitute Zak Elbouzedi should have added a fourth in the final minutes but he shot wide after being set through by Bell. Full Time 0-3..........Dream Over............Dunfermline win 4-0. So that was it. A tremendous 12 game unbeaten run to end the season which just fails to gain us a play-off place with Dunfermline pipping us. How important was that 95th minute goal by Nicky Clark last week. Absolute sickener if you ask me. We were men on a mission and almost pulled off the impossible. Well done to the squad and management for keeping the season going to the final game (for us). Player of the Year Iain Vigurs was a standout George Oakley said it all in this tweet: Great result today winning 3-0 and happy to score 2, so unlucky not to make the play offs! But the lads have been excellent 12 games unbeaten and the fans have been superb all year stuck behind us till the end. Happy to be top goal scorer this year! Next years the one! Caley Stan summed up the feelings of the fans: Robbo and the players deserved a show of appreciation for the effort and that's what we gave them. No celebrations, just a big loud display of support. I know Morton weren't really playing, but we were just brimming with confidence throughout the team, pounding them for the first half hour and playing some great football at times. Seedorf, Chalmers, Oakley, Trafford and McKay are all players i've had my doubts about at times this season, but they all had excellent games which tells us how well the team is working as a unit. This run might not have seen us into the play-offs, but it allows us to go into next season with a positive feeling, something that seemed unimaginable just 5 weeks ago. Video footage will be added if/when it becomes available. As they say on Looney Tunes, that's all folks! Date: 28/04/2018 Venue: Cappielow, Greenock Attendance: 1539 Referee: John Beaton Morton: 0 Lineup: Brennan; Doyle, Hynes, Lamie, Russell, Fraser (Ross 69), Murdoch (Langan 69), Harkins, Thomson, McHugh (Eardley 81), Oliver. Subs (not used): Purdue, Gaston Scorers: none Booked: Harkins (7), Murdoch (29) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Ridgers; Seedorf, Mckay, Donaldson (Calder 74), Tremarco, Polworth, Trafford (Elbouzedi 83), Vigurs, Chalmers, Austin (Bell 62), Oakley Subs (not used): Esson; Mackay, Brown, Mulraney. Scorers: Oakley (20, 37) Austin (55) Booked: Trafford Sent Off: none a
  12. All down to the final game Despite beating Livingston 0-1, Inverness have left themselves too much to do on the final day of the season and will be in the Championship for another year........ unless miracles do happen and Dumbarton beat Dunfermline. Robbo made one change from the side that agonisingly drew with Dunfermline at the weekend. Nathan Austin made his way to the bench with Connor Bell starting. Iain Vigurs sat out the second of his two game suspension, no doubt pleased that he has scooped the CTO Player of the year award as well as Players Player and Fans Player award. Having secured second place in the Championship, David Hopkin rested one or two players with play-off games getting close. Neil Alexander, Craig Halkett, Nicky Cadden and Scott Pittman were all on the bench. Plenty of posturing in the opening few minutes and a couple of free kicks for the visitors but nothing doing. Early opportunity for the Caley Jags but Maley parried Polworth's free kick and grabbed the loose ball from Tremarco. Frizzell forced Ridgers to save with his feet as Livi ventured forth and Robinson went close shortly after. From a corner, Tremarco cleared a goalbound effort and at the other end a Polworth effort was deflected just over. Livi were racking up the corner count and Buchanan went close with a powerful header just over as the hosts set the pace. Near the interval Mullin picked up the ball in the box and snapped a volley just wide, however we made it to the oranges without conceding, but playing second fiddle for most of the half. As it stands at the break, the play-offs are beyond Inverness. It looks as though Robbo will need to introduce a bit of width for the second half as the narrow approach was just not working. Half Time 0-0 There must have been something good in the oranges. Less than one minute after the break a Tremarco cross came loose off Oakley and Polly drilled the ball low and hard into the net to open the scoring from twenty five yards. Superb strike from Polly. His next effort a couple of minutes later was less flattering. New balls please. Jordan Thompson tried to replicate Liam Polworth's strike but missed the target. McMillan did likewise soon after. Livi made their first change with Cadden replacing Mullin. Inverness reacted by bringing on Hearts target Jake Mulraney with Aaron Doran going off on the hour mark. Polworth broke forward and his cut back found Chalmers but his low shot was gathered by Maley in the Livi goal. Polly becoming more prominent and he combined with Bell but his close range effort went over. Livi made a double change with McMillan and Frizzell being replaced by Halkett and Miller as they tried to get back on level terms, but it was Oakley that went close for the visitors, his shot deflected behind for a corner with around twenty minutes left. Ridgers did well to deny Ryan Hardie and from the corner, Declan Gallagher almost netted an equaliser. Polworth blazed a thirty yard free kick wide and at the opposite end Craig Halkett fluffed his lines and shot wide. Livi were cranking up the pressure in the final ten minutes looking to preserve their eight game unbeaten home run, De Vita looking the likeliest to make the breakthrough. A Cadden corner was headed wide by Halkett as the clock ticked slowly towards the end, and we all know what happened at the weekend. Oakley broke the home possession but his powerful shot was palmed away by Maley, and with five minutes left Zak Elbouzedi came on for Connor Bell. Coll Donaldson took a knock in the last couple of minutes but Inverness held on to take the points and extend the season to the final game against Morton. Full Time 0-1 So, it all boils down to the last scheduled day of the season after we beat Livingston to set up the play off qualifier against Morton. Unfortunately, after their late equaliser against us last weekend, Dunfermline can get the job done by taking a point from the visit of Dumbarton as we would need to score something like eight or nine goals to replace them in the play-offs. Great result for Inverness who have given everything over the last hectic month and what a strike from Polworth to win the points. Catch the action here.................... Date: 24/04/2018 Venue: Tony Macaroni Arena, Livingston Attendance: 740 Referee: Colin Steven Livingston: 0 Lineup: Maley; Longridge, Buchanan, Gallagher, McMillan (Miller 71), Frizzell (Halkett 71), Mullin (Cadden 58), De-Vita, Thompson, Robinson, Hardie Subs (not used): Alexander; Jacobs, Pittman, Byrne. Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; Seedorf, Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Polworth, Trafford, Chalmers, Doran (Mulraney 60), Bell (Elbouzedi 86), Oakley Subs (not used): Esson; Calder, Austin, Mackay, Brown Scorers: Polworth (46) Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  13. Last Gasp Agony Inverness now require a miracle of biblical proportions to make the play-off after a 95th minute goal snatched our destiny from our own hands in a pulsating match against the Pars. It was always going to be a big ask to win our remaining eight games, but we looked to be getting down to the last two until the stoppage time equaliser ruined the day. Nicky Clark did the dastardly deed with almost the last touch of the ball heading home a set piece to spoil our weekend. The Pars had gone ahead after some slack play at the back, Andy Ryan scoring. However, Joe Chalmers found the bottom corner of the goal with a super free kick and when Nathan Austin surged forward to thunder the ball into the net it was looking good until the last few seconds when a draw was snatched from the jaws of victory. Influential playmaker and the voters & players player of the year Iain Vigurs was suspended and in came Charlie Trafford to the midfield. Gary Warren missed out through injury and Collin Seedorf slotted in at right back with Brad Mckay moving alongside Coll Donaldson at the heart of the defence. Carl Tremarco replaces Riccardo Calder in a straight swap at left back. Dunfermline had on form Fraser Aird keeping Jo Cardle on the bench and former Inverness Cup hero James Vincent starting. Nat Wedderburn was also on the bench. A big travelling support boosted the crowd to near three and a half thousand on a bright Saturday afternoon, no chance of this game being called off. The Pars showed they were going to be difficult to beat in the early exchanges as they moved the ball around swiftly but it was Aaron Doran that got the first shot away, saved comfortably by Lee Robinson in the Pars goal. George Oakley tried his luck with a header that missed the target. Dunfermline made the breakthrough after some slack defending on the right side of our defence. Andy Ryan benefitting and beating Ridgers to open the scoring. Kallum Hegginbotham felt the need to hammer the ball into the North Stand in a peculiar sort of celebration and was promptly booked. Brad Mckay had a shot saved by Robinson as we looked to get back on level terms and we did just that a couple of minutes later when Joe Chalmers curled a free kick round the bottom of the wall into the vacant space beside the near post. Great strike and another that was in as soon as it left his laces. Dunfermline are a class act though and continued to play football as did Inverness and the game was moving swiftly from end to end in a great advert for the Championship. Fraser Aird brought out a fine save from Mark Ridgers with both sides probing for an opening and near the interval Nathan Austin broke down the left, cutting into the box but shot from a tight angle when a ball across the box might have been more beneficial. Half Time 1-1 The hosts exploded out of the blocks at the start of the second half and Liam Polworth and George Oakley both went close. We would do even better a minute later. Nathan Austin tussled for a ball around the half way line. He held the troublesome defender at bay for thirty yards and as he entered the box he landed a thumper of a shot which blurred behind the keeper for an absolutely superb goal. Inverness were in total control at this point and looked most likely to extend their lead with Seedorf and Donaldson going close to doing just that. A bit of a delay as a clash of heads saw Oakley being bandaged like Butcher and a Pars player also receiving attention. That would prove costly later. Substitute Jo Cardle went close for the visitors around twenty minutes from the end as Dunfermline got their second wind. Another substitute, Daniel Mackay could have sealed it for Inverness after great work by Aaron Doran down the left. He cut into the box and rolled the ball across to the other side where young Dan had made great strides to get into the box. Unfortunately his first time strike whistled just past the outside of the post. We would pay for that miss deep into injury time when Dunfermline won a simple free kick some forty yards from goal. Cardle swung a dangerous ball into the box and Nicky Clark silenced the home fans and sent the away fans delirious with a header that found it's way into the net for that all important leveller. Full Time 2-2 There was barely time to kick off and that was that. The dream almost done and dusted unless Dumbarton could do us a massive favour by beating the Pars next Saturday. It could all be irrelevant should we fail to win our last two games anyway, starting with Livingston on Tuesday night and ending at Greenock on Saturday. It had been a pulsating game with plenty of slick football from both sides. Inverness probably should have seen this one out having got their noses in front, but credit to the Pars for hanging in there. I suppose nobody could really complain about the final result but it was a hard one to take. Difficult to pick a clear MotM, but Nathan Austin got my vote for that goal alone. What a strike, showing pace, power, skill and determination. He was ably assisted by Liam Polworth, the tireless George Oakley and Aaron Doran who had the beating of the defence and was a threat whenever he went forward. Young Player of the Year Coll Donaldson put in another good shift at the heart of the defence and he would have been my pick for Player of the Year. It's not over until the fat lady sings, but she's on the final verse now. All we can do is beat Livingston and see what happens next Saturday. Unfortunately I fear the worst, but it has been a great comeback to the season after a horrendous start. Brad Mckay agrees with that, and here is his tweet: Agony that, boys have been unbelievable in the last 2 months. Unbeaten in 10 games, bad start to the season cost us dearly in the end. We keep going last two games and see what’s what. Coll Donaldson was just as gutted............ Such a disappointing end to a fantastic run! Means a lot for the team mates to vote me in as this though. Small consolation on a day like today but already looking forward to what we can achieve next year. Match highlights from Caley Jags TV Here's the goal that ruined our weekend................................ Alan Johnston talks after the game Cup Final hero from 2015 James Vincent has his say................ Date: 21/04/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3316 Referee: Stephen Finnie Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; Seedorf, B Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Doran (Calder 90), Polworth, Trafford, Chalmers, Austin (D Mackay 60), Oakley Subs (not used): Esson; Mulraney, Bell, Elbouzedi Brown. Scorers: Chalmers (16), Austin (48) Booked: B Mckay (32), Trafford (90), Polworth (90+2) Sent Off: none Dunfermline: 2 Lineup: Robinson; Williamson, Martin, M'Voto, Ashcroft, Higginbotham (McManus 66), Clark, Ryan, Aird (Cardle 60), Vincent, Craigan (Morris 90). Subs (not used): Gill; Wedderburn, Armstrong, Talbot, Scorers: Ryan (13), Clark (90+5) Booked: Higginbotham (13), Williamson (45) Sent Off: none a
  14. Mission Accomplished A tremendous effort from Inverness as they won their fifth game in a row to put pressure on Dunfermline ahead of the game on Saturday, where a bumper crowd will be expected to see if Inverness can keep the dream alive. Iain Vigurs scored the only goal of the game to take all three points North. He will be a big miss over the next couple of games as bookings catch up with him Dumbarton forked off the water and it was game on at the Your Radio 103FM Stadium, or to put it another way, The Rock. Tuesday nights game was put on hold for another day as surface water led to the game being postponed for 24 hours. Coll Donaldson returned to the starting XI after suspension with Collin Seedorf dropping to the bench alongside Carl Tremarco, Charlie Trafford and Jake Mulraney. Stevie Aitken reinstated Dimitris Froxylias from the bench............... Riccardo Calder had to make a timely tackle to thwart Mark Stewart as he raced through on goal in the early exchanges and at the other end Iain Vigurs played in hat-trick hero Nathan Austin who saw his effort saved by Gallacher. Minutes later Calder found Vigurs in the box but he shot over. Tom Walsh blew a good chance for the Sons with a header but he put it just wide. Bright start by both sides and Dumbarton looked more intent than they were at the weekend taking the game to the visitors at every opportunity in the first quarter. Gary Warren had to be replaced midway through the first half after going down off the ball and Collin Seedorf entered the fray. Just after the half hour Vigurs went close after being set up in the box by George Oakley but the score remained blank. Polworth took out Dougie Hill as he blocked a shot from the Inverness man. Ouch! Seedorf did likewise at the other end as Stewart threatened to offload. Despite Inverness ramping up the pressure on the home goal, few clear chances were created and it's all square at the break. As expected, this was a much tougher experience than the rout at Inverness. Half Time 0-0 Aaron Doran had the first chance of the second half after Polworth fed him but he shot over the bar. Iain Vigurs broke the deadlock after Gallacher failed to deal effectively with a Calder cross and the midfielder slashed the ball low into the net from the edge of the box ten minutes after the break. Calder fired over soon after and Doran saw the keeper gather his attempt as the visitors looked to get some breathing space. Dumbarton had to exchange keeper Gallacher after he appeared to go over his ankle and he was replaced by Jamie Ewings with sixty-seven minutes gone. Inverness took the opportunity to swap Doran for Carl Tremarco at the same time. Inverness won a spate of corners to no avail. Connor Bell replaced Nathan Austin and Ewings saved a twenty yard effort from Polworth as the game entered time added on. Donaldson saw an effort blocked out for a corner but at the other end Brad Mckay had to look lively to stop Dumbarton bursting through. Inverness got what they wanted though and the game ended with the visitors taking all three points North. Full Time 0-1 It might have been more comfortable for the guys on the park, but it was certainly much tighter than the game in the Highlands. A single goal lead is never easy to manage and the balance between looking for a cushion or shutting up shop is a fine one. We did just that and could easily have extended our lead but it was imperative that we kept Dumbarton out at the other end. Mission accomplished and the game on Saturday is now a massive one. Three wins to get into the play-offs, who would have thought. Comedy genius was provided by the stewards who felt the need to make Gary Warren drink out of a cup instead of a bottle. Gary had come to sit in the stand to watch the second half after going off injured. However, he got a telling off from the steward for having a bottle of water and has been required to put it in a plastic cup. Tut tut Gary, you really should have known better. Always a bother with water at Dumbarton. Robbo talks after the narrow win at Dumbarton Date: 18/04/2018 Venue: Your Radio 103FM Dumbarton Attendance: 0392 Referee: Don Robertson Dumbarton: 0 Lineup: Gallacher; (Ewings 67), McLaughlin (Hutton 74), Dowie, G Gallagher, Carswell, Stewart, (Gallagher 62), Walsh, Hill, Froxylias, Burt, Barr. Subs (not used): D Wilson, Handling, Nisbet, Stirling. Scorers: none Booked: Hill (47), Hutton (76) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; Mckay, Warren (Seedorf 25), Donaldson, Calder, Chalmers, Vigurs, Polworth, Doran (Tremarco 67), Austin (Bell 88), Oakley. Subs (not used): Esson, Mulraney, Elbouzedi, Trafford. Scorers: Vigurs (56) Booked: Mckay (57), Donaldson (87) Sent Off: none a
  15. Austin Hat-Trick Inverness went goal crazy against a Dumbarton side they failed to trouble for ninety three minutes in the IrnBru Cup Final a couple of weeks ago. This time we showed no mercy and but for some wayward finishing could have scored more, but we can't be vexed at five surely. Dumbarton, to their credit came to play, unlike the final where they did their best to stop us playing. However, after opening the scoring through Grant Gallagher in the 13th minute, Inverness stepped up the pace and blew the Sons away scoring five going on eight. Aaron Doran replied four minutes later with a superb long range effort flying high into the unguarded area of the net. Four minutes before the break Nathan Austin scored his first of three. Five minutes after the break he added his second and Dumbarton heads went down. The influential Iain Vigurs added a fourth before Austin grabbed the match ball finishing off after a Liam Polworth burst into the box. Look what Fash took home with him after the game. John Robertson was forced into making three changes from the last game with Charlie Trafford, Coll Donaldson and Carl IrnBru Tremarco all suspended. In came Riccardo Calder, Collin Seedorf and Aaron Doran with Brad Mckay and Gary Warren taking up the slack in central defence. Dumbarton did their best to field a team of Gallagher's, three of them starting with the talismanic Froxylias on the bench. We fell behind when Calder dived into a tackle wide right but Andrew Stirling was always first to the ball and he skipped round the mis-timed tackle to cut a dangerous ball into the box where Grant Gallagher smashed it high behind a helpless Mark Ridgers. Excellent goal for the Sons, but all it did was wake up Inverness. Four minutes later and Doran crashed a swerving shot from all of thirty yards high into the net. What a strike from the wee man, goal as soon as it left his boot. Polworth almost matched it soon after as the ball sat up but his volley just dipped wide of the mark. His next contribution proved more fruitful as he lifted a ball wide to Doran who saw the run of Austin to the near post. He picked him out effortlessly and Nathan stepped round the keeper to tap in for an excellent finish to a tidy move. Half Time 2-1 Polly's next moment was less productive. After he broke down a clearance from defence, Polworth danced across the box delaying the finish a couple of times before cutting the ball cutely back across the keeper. Unfortunately he cut it back wide of the post as well when it looked easier to score. Gives the boo boys something to moan about I suppose. Great effort from Liam though. His assist rate is second to none though and after bursting into the box he chipped the ball goalwards where Austin was on hand to finish the task. Iain Vigurs showed his midfield companion how to cut the ball behind the keeper in a tight spot from close range as he did just that, Polworth again involved in the goal Austin grabbed his hat-trick after some neat play down the left, the striker guiding a low cross into the net after Calder drove forward, another good team goal finished by a player on song. Connor Bell had a couple of efforts late in the game which could have produced more after the tireless George Oakley did the spade work, but his wee leggies would not get him to the ball soon enough and when Mulraney met the loose ball Gallagher parried away his shot. Full Time 5-1 Biggest win for some time in a league game, probably since scoring six at Kilmarnock in 2011 (double hat-tricks that day from A Shinnie and Tade). First league hat-trick for a long time too, Billy Mckay bagging one against Motherwell in 2013. The statisticians will no doubt have more but it's good to get a couple of monkeys of the back on the same day. Great performance from Nathan Austin who is my MotM, but some unselfish work by others allowing him to flourish in front of goal. Notable grafters were Liam Polworth, Iain Vigurs, George Oakley and Aaron Doran who scored a beaut. All to do again on Tuesday night at Dumbarton where I doubt the home defence will be so generous. Ooooops, nearly forgot, congratulations to St Mirren who are on their way into the Premiership after clinching the title with a draw against Livingston who have secured their play-off place as well. Congrats all round and we hope to join you there. Here's the action from the game............ Johndo made the game and here are the marks from our Chorley scribe with his infamous Smileymometer..... Ridgers 😀😀😀 Must have appreciated the rest. No chance with the goal which was a screamer Seedorf 😀😀😀 some nice touches, especially one showboat that Clarence would have been proud of. But a right back or wing back he is not. And I suspect that his attacking capability is stifled. Warren 😀😀😀Solid but he is no playmaker McKay 😀😀😀 Again solid but again not a playmaker and clear why we missed Donaldson. Fortunately Gary and Brad usually had Polly or Vigurs in space. Calder 😀😀😀 Not a defender either and dived in completely in the run up to the Sons opener. Unlike Seedorf he has attacking flair and was always ready to take on the defender and hit the line in an old winger style that I still appreciated Polworth 😀😀😀 Gawd does that poor lad get some stick or what ? He ran and ran and ran, some of his touches were sublime. He has got bad press for two second half errors. From my perspective if he had completed the final touch on both occasions it would have been a goal of the season contender and he would have walked off with the MOM. Chalmers 😀😀😀 The man with the sweet left foot also appears to be the boo boys target. He basically sat and covered for Vigurs and Polly.I would have said that he was quietly effective. Vigurs 😀😀😀😀 Provided a master class for an hour, pinging balls accurately all over the pitch. I thought he could have been carded for one horrendous follow through tackle in the first half and he clearly tired at the end Doran 😀😀😀 Has lost a bit of pace but he is another with a high skill ability. Cracker of a goal. Oakley 😀😀😀 I thought he had a lazy, lacklustre first half but a real old centre forward second half display. Appears to Be the boo boys favourite as he made more errors than Polly. But he would have been in my top three Austin 😀😀😀😀 Well we have been asking for a goal scorer and he certainly fitted the role. Good turn of pace of the mark and good finisher to boot. I was surprised the he was hooked but I was told that it was a mistake and it was supposed to be Seedorf. Amateurish if correct. As DD alluded to Elbouzedhi looked sharp and I would like to see more. Disappointed that Robbo sent on Bell and not young McKay. Some of the refereeing decisions were bizarre. Good crowd and the Young Team were a credit. My first home game of the season and I can't understand what everybody has been complaining about 😛 Date: 14/04/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2355 Referee: Gavin duncan Inverness CT: 5 Lineup: Ridgers; Seedorf, B Mckay, Warren, Calder, Doran (Elbouzedi 64), Polworth, Vigurs (Mulraney 71), Chalmers, Oakley, Austin (Bell 69). Subs (not used): Esson, D Mackay, Brown, Harper Scorers: Doran (17), Austin (41, 50, 66), Vigurs (63) Booked: B Mckay (22) Sent Off: none Dumbarton: 1 Lineup: Gallagher; Gallagher (Hill 75), Barr, Dowie, McGlaughlin, Nisbet, Wilson (Burt 58) , Hutton, Stirling, Handling, Gallagher (Stewart 67) Subs (not used): Walsh, Ewings, Froxylias. Scorers: G Gallagher (13) Booked: Barr (62), Stewart (76), Hutton (90) Sent Off: none a
  16. Jake makes amends. Inverness kept their faint play-off hopes alive with a late winner from substitute Jake Mulraney. Sweet moment for Jake who had been red-carded in the away fixture at Falkirk earlier in the season which led to Inverness being turned over by the Bairns. This was another must win game for Inverness and after a dour first half they battled hard to get the points in a tough contest with Falkirk. John Robertson went pretty much with the same starting XI that did so well at Palmerston at the weekend. That meant another start for Nathan Austin who would feature against former club Falkirk. The Bairns were without Andrew Nelson and Peter Grant and that saw Tom Taiwo and Paul Watson start with Grant on the bench along with Alex Harris. It had been a pretty miserable day in the Highlands and the evening was no different as the sides took to the park with just over 2000 in attendance. Inverness were on a healthy run and looking to keep the pressure on the teams above them in the race for a play-off place. Falkirk had been seven Championship games unbeaten but lost at the weekend to big rivals Dunfermline. The game kicked off in damp conditions with Inverness playing in the unaccustomed direction of the North Stand for the first forty-five and Iain Vigurs tested his rangefinder with a shot that went wide. Some adjustment needed by the looks of it. Charlie Trafford gave away a free kick in a dangerous position but Mark Ridgers was equal to the shot by Sean Welsh and as the game opened up, Liam Polworth fed Nathan Austin but he volleyed wide. With Inverness keeping the pressure on the Falkirk defence, there were no takers for an excellent Brad Mckay cross to the far post but the defenders got it clear. Polworth fired over a corner and Gary Warren saw his header deflected for another. Mckay's header came back off the bar and Austin saw his effort cleared off the line as the hosts looked for the opener. The game became a bit towsy and bogged down in midfield with a number of petty fouls, neither side able to create the clear opening they were hoping for, but, if anything, the visitors were beginning to get to grips with the pace of the game and Welsh headed wide just after the half hour. Just on the break Polworth was denied by a great block by Watson but in all honesty it was a fairly innocuous opening half with defences rarely tested. Half Time 0-0 The first dangerous moment of the second period saw a Paul Watson header cleared off the line and at the other end just when it looked as though it was opening up for Polworth, he saw his effort blocked en-route to goal. Another Falkirk header from Watson cleared away from goal, this time it's Tremarco doing the mopping up. Ridgers holds an effort from Longridge as Falkirk up the pace. As in the first half, a bit of stalemate and a spate of substitutions by both sides as they tried to break the defensive shackles. Hazard managed to thwart Mulraney and his clearance fell to Mckay, but his effort was cleared by Muirhead. Oakley thought he had opened the scoring but he was ruled offside, however moments later substitute Jake Mulraney scored from inside the box after cutting in and firing low behind Hazard with ten minutes remaining. Sweet revenge for Jake who red misted in the away game. In the final minute, Mark Ridgers made a vital one handed save to deny Jordan McGhee with Peter Grant firing over. Inverness held on to take all three points in a really close encounter, but the all important three points stay in Inverness and the run continues. Full Time 1-0 Another vital win for Inverness which keeps us on track, just, for a shot at the play-offs. With Dumbarton losing a late goal to Morton, we now only need to concentrate on the top end of the Championship. Tonight's win was vital as both Morton and Dundee United picked up full points. We now have a double header coming up against Dumbarton and the possibility of six points that would bring us right back into the mix is making for in interesting finale to the season. All the action.............. Robbo delighted to take all three points Hartley miffed........... Date: 10/04/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2053 Referee: Nick Walsh Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; B Mckay, Warren Donaldson, Tremarco, Polworth, Trafford (Mulraney 69), Vigurs, Chalmers, Oakley, Austin (Doran 69). Subs (not used): Esson; Seedorf, Calder, Bell, D Mackay. Scorers: Mulraney (81) Booked: Oakley (50) Sent Off: none Falkirk: 0 Lineup: Hazard; McGhee, Muirhead, Tumilty (O'Hara 89), Watson, Sibbald, Robson (Grant 73), Taiwo (Kidd 74), Welsh, Jakubiak, Longridge Subs (not used): Thomson; McKee, Harris, Blair. Scorers: none Booked: Longridge (60) Sent Off: none a
  17. Coll Donaldson, ♬♫𝄞♬♫𝄞 With a hectic schedule for the Caley Jags, John Robertson made three changes from the side that dumped Brechin City 4-0 on Tuesday night. Riccardo Calder, Collin Seedorf and Connor Bell all dropped to the bench to make way for the relatively fresh legs of Gary Warren, Carl Tremarco and Nathan Austin. Gary Warren fresh legs, who knew? With the games coming one on top of the other, Robbo has little option other than to try and keep energy levels high by rotating his weary players. Coll Donaldson had been a doubt but he was deemed fit enough to start the game. Gary Naysmith was fooling nobody with his smokescreen about Stephen Dobbie missing out and the prolific striker started ahead of Derek Lyle. Dan Carmichael replaced Dom Thomas. A crowd of 1140 saw a great start for the visitors when Coll Donaldson crossed into the box where Nathan Austin chested down, turned his marker and drilled home in the ninth minute, his first goal for Inverness. Just the start we were looking for and a superb goal for Fash to open his account with. Carl Tremarco came to the rescue just after the goal when he headed a Darren Brownlie effort away from goal and as Queens pressed for an equaliser Mark Ridgers saved a Thomson shot from distance. He saved again as a Stephen Dobbie close range header was netbound. Just when you thought a Queens goal was coming, George Oakley doubled the visitors advantage when he glanced home a Liam Polworth cross on the half hour for his tenth goal of the season and he almost got his eleventh five minutes later but his effort was saved. Gary Naysmith took some action at the break and replaced former Inverness man John Rankin with Lyndon Dykes. Five minutes into the second half and Austin had a close range effort saved, and at the other end Brownlie shot wide and Ridgers saved from Dobbie. Inverness were containing the home side well in this half and with twenty minutes to go young Daniel Mackay replaced the tiring Nathan Austin as Dobbie brought Ridgers into action once more with another long range shot, the keeper equal to it though. With 75 minutes gone, Iain Vigurs won a free kick as Aaron Doran replaced midweek scorer Joe Chalmers for the final fifteen minutes and we get an immediate lift as the wee man fires a long range shot just over with news reaching the stands that Dumbarton are doing their best to help out by leading United 3-2. Aww bless. No hard feelings then. Dykes brings Ridgers back into action as he shoots from the angle but the in form keeper deals well with it. Caley Away fans chanted solid for Coll Donaldson, the big stopper has had an immense season since joining from Tannadice, no doubt a reference to his old side stumbling once more as his new found confidence oozed from him. In a relatively quiet second period, Liam Polworth ventured forth and his effort was close but just missed the top corner, Donaldson's name still ringing out and Daniel Mackay went even closer in the final minute. Great result for Inverness which pulls them ever closer to the promised land, but still plenty of work to do. Dumbarton did pull off a result over United and Livi beat Morton, Dunfermline spoiling the day by beating Falkirk though. Still, we did what we had to do and we did it with something to spare. Date: 07/04/2018 Venue: Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance: 1140 Referee: Euan Anderson Queen of the South: 0 Lineup: Marshall; Fordyce, Brownlie, Cameron, Rankin (Dykes 45), Dobbie, Thomson, Jacobs (Lyle 73), Todd, Leighfield, Carmichael (Thomas 63) Subs (not used): Todorov, Murray, Mercer, Gourlay Scorers: none Booked: Brownlie (14), Carmichael (29) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; McKay, Donaldson, Warren, Tremarco, Chalmers (Doran 75), Polworth, Vigurs, Trafford, Austin (Mackay 69), Oakley. Subs (not used): Esson, Mulraney, Seedorf, Bell. Scorers: Austin (9), Oakley (30) Booked: Vigurs (34) Sent Off: none a
  18. Stroll for Inverness League whipping boys Brechin City were comfortably beaten by an Inverness side who went about their business and left Brechin winless after 31 league games, a statistic that will see them ply their trade in the next division down next season. Two goals in each half were sufficient to end the contest with Joe Chalmers bagging a brace and Coll Donaldson and George Oakley completing the scoring. A miserable night saw Inverness dominate proceedings and made all the early running. It took until the twelfth minute for Joe Chalmers to benefit from a Liam Polworth ball into the box to tap in the opener. Ten minutes later and Chalmers set up Coll Donaldson to knock in number two. Isaac Layne broke the monopoly and fired a warning shot just wide as Brechin tried to hit back immediately. Liam Polworth had a couple of attempts near the break but no further scoring despite our dominance. Half Time 2-0 Donaldson had a header blocked just after the interval as the game continued in our favour and George Oakley went close with a header of his own. The third goal arrived just before the hour and it was Chalmers who notched his second of the night with a driven left footed shot into the bottom right and that was game over. Eight minutes later the scoring ended when Oakley finished a good move by stroking in Connor Bell's pass. One downside was an injury sustained by Donaldson on the heavy pitch and he was replaced by Gary Warren with twenty-two minutes to go. Fair play to City who had a mini revival and Layne made Ridgers work before half-time substitute Euan Spark fired one just wide. Nathan Austin and Connor Bell both had a couple of close calls and Layne brought out another save from Ridgers, but the result was never in doubt. A comfortable nights work for the home side who possibly could have scored more given our superiority, but credit to Brechin for having a go right to the end. I hope Coll Donaldson was a precautionary substitution as he will be an important player in the final seven games. Good win for Inverness who were best served by two goal Joe Chalmers with Riccardo Calder not far behind. Liam Polworth put in a good shift as well. Date: 03/04/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1963 Referee: Colin Steven Inverness CT: 4 Lineup: Ridgers; Seedorf, B Mckay, Donaldson (Warren 68), Calder, Polworth, Trafford (Austin 67), Vigurs (Doran), Chalmers, Oakley, Bell Subs (not used): Esson, Tremarco, Mulraney, D Mackay. Scorers: Chalmers (12, 58), Donaldson (22), Oakley (66) Booked: none Sent Off: none Brechin City: 0 Lineup: Smith; Smith, McLean, Fusco, Dyer, Tapping (Sinclair 80), Graham, Dale (Lynas 63), Watt (Spark 45), Orsi, Layne. Subs (not used): Morrison, Costello. Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  19. Cold Comfort at Tannadice A perishing cold and breezy March afternoon brought Inverness down to Tannadice to face Dundee United as our season hangs by a solitary thread, the IrnBru Cup thread. Defeat today coupled with an expected Dumbarton win over Brechin will plunge us into dangerous territory with a top four finish highly unlikely. It was pleasing to see that Coll Donaldson and Nathan Austin were deemed fit enough to make the bench along with Jake Mulraney, Riccardo Calder Aaron Doran and Daniel Mackay. Charlie Trafford comes in to midfield with Connor Bell reinstated up front. Brad Mckay partnered Gary Warren at the heart of the defence. United had Paul McMullen, Scott McDonald and William Edjenguele on the bench with midweek goal scorer Matty Smith keeping his place in the starting XI. A crowd of 4772 put their winter woolies on to brave the elements. Connor Bell got the ball rolling and Inverness were first to get into gear in a bright opening spell but it was United that threatened first, Tremarco blocking Mikkelsen. Vigurs put Oakley through on goal at the other end but Harry Lewis denied him. Gary Warren had a header cleared off the line after Lewis misjudged a cross and Oakley had the loose ball blocked behind for a corner which United managed to clear. Good spell for the visitors. Polworth found Oakley inside the box and he had another effort blocked as we kept the pressure on the home defence. Just past the half hour and Inverness got the lift they needed when our talented midfielder Iain Vigurs headed home a Liam Polworth corner and United can have no complaints as Inverness have taken the game to them at every opportunity, a complete reverse of our midweek fail. Vigurs was leading by example and he fired a long effort that keeper Lewis managed to hold. Five minutes before the break and Mark Durnan prevented Connor Bell from knocking in Oakley's cross. Would have been a tap-in for Bell had Durnan not intervened. It had been a good first half for Inverness who were able to exploit space behind the United defence with Iain Vigurs outstanding. Seedorf and Trafford both took heavy knocks in the first half and we will need to see if they will be back out for the second forty-five. Oakley had been wasteful so far, would that come back to haunt us. With the half time challenge going to team ICT by 6-4, the teams were back out for the second half with United replacing Quinn with Macdonald. Lewis saved from Vigurs and Chalmers as the second half got underway, and it was following the same pattern as the first half. Vigurs collected a booking as he halted a United burst forward. How often have we seen this turn into a red card this season. On the hour, United got an equaliser when Mikkelsen on the stretch knocked a ball to the back post back across goal and in from a Jamie Robson cross. Jake Mulraney replaced Charlie Trafford with twenty minutes left and United took Matty Smith off with Paul McMullen coming on as they looked to find a winner. Doran replaced Bell with ten minutes left as Vigurs fired a shot over the bar as we tried to get our noses in front once more. He almost made an immediate impact, bit his goalbound effort was blocked and United forced a corner at the other end as they broke up the park. Mark Ridgers had to look lively to tip shots from McMullan and Flood over and Inverness made their final change with Nathan Austin replacing George Oakley. Austin offered Mulraney a chance but he shot over and that was about it as the game ended a point apiece. RIG thought "we were best serve throughout by Warren, Bell and Tremarco as our standouts. Bell brings a real energy to our attack buzzing all over the place to try and support Oakley whilst Tremarco is much more solid at LB than Calder. If we want to win the Challenge Cup next weekend we will need to up our performance again but I'm not too sure if some of these players have much more to give". Iain Vigurs was prominent in the first half especially and Mark Ridgers continues to impress with a couple of crucial saves near the end. This was a vast improvement from the midweek game at Dunfermline and the stats will show that Inverness had the better of the game without being able to create a two goal cushion that would have gained us all three points. This draw means that Dumbarton have closed the gap at the bottom to just four points behind Inverness, albeit we have a game in hand which is another tough encounter with the Arabs, scheduled for Tuesday 27th of March. Next week is the IrnBru Cup Final at Perth against Dumbarton and the winners of this will gain more than just a cup, it will breed confidence for the battle at the bottom. Date: 17/03/2017 Venue: Tannadice Park, Dundee Attendance: 4772 Referee: Steven Kirkland Dundee United : 1 Lineup: Lewis: Murdoch, Durnan, Scobbie, Robson, Quinn (McDonald 45), Flood, Smith (McMullen 74), Stanton, King, Mikkelsen (Fraser 85) Subs (not used): Mehmet: Edjenguele, Slater, Ralston Scorers: Mikkelsen (64) Booked: Smith (70) Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers: Seedorf, B Mckay, Warren, Tremarco, Polworth, Trafford (Mulraney 71), Vigurs, Chalmers, Bell (Doran 78), Oakley (Austin 87) Subs (not used): Esson, Calder, Donaldson, Mackay Scorers: Vigurs (30) Booked: Vigurs (57), Oakley (67) Sent Off: none a Full Time.jpg_large
  20. Defeat leaves Inverness looking over their shoulder. At least we managed to get a kick about after the frustrating list of postponements recently. Unfortunately it ended in another defeat that effectively ends our season with James Craigen scoring an early goal. Midweek at East End Park was not the preferred choice of many, but we went down looking to get our slim play-off hopes back on track. Dunfermline were in the same boat as their season has gone pear shaped as well. They were without a win in their last seven games, since they beat Dumbarton 1-0 on the 6th of January. Nevertheless, 2249 folk turned up to watch this one. Inverness were without influential central defender Coll Donaldson and fragile front man Nathan Austin, both out with hamstring injuries. Brad Mckay was also out..........until Riccardo Calder pulled up. That gave 16 year old Cameron Harper his first start and put Brad onto the bench. Collin Seedorf started at right back and Carl Tremarco partnered Gary Warren in central defence. George Oakley was the front runner with Connor Bell on the bench. The Pars were without top player Jo Cardle but Kallum Higginbotham started. Former Caley Jags man and cup final hero James Vincent was on from the start, but Nat Wedderburn found himself on the bench. Vincent has been on loan from Dundee since the end of January. The game kicked off in total confusion over the Inverness team lines with Cameron Harper starting. Harper's only involvement prior to this game was as an unused sub in the 3-1 defeat at Falkirk in January. Alas, his debut lasted only five minutes as he was substituted with Brad Mckay coming on, but the farce was just beginning as James Craigen fired home a free kick one minute later to open the scoring. Inverness were on the back foot as Dunfermline surged forward and Declan McManus was blocked as the Pars looked to increase their advantage. However Inverness started to creep back into the game and Lee Ashcroft had to look lively on a couple of occasions to repel the visitors. Half an hour gone and the contest had become untidy with petty fouls interrupting the flow of the game and that was the process right up until the interval with nothing of note to report. This game has an end of season feel about it. If it continues like this our season will be over. Half Time 1-0 Polworth started the ball rolling for the second forty-five, and the fans were be looking for a bit more life on the park. After a chanceless first half Doran brought Pars keeper Robinson into action as he gathered the Caley Jags' players shot in the 47th minute. Mark Ridgers denied James Craigen his second goal with an excellent save down low as the game livened up, the keeper pushing the ball out for a corner. Meanwhile, the visiting fans were amusing themselves by cheering for Ryan Esson as he warmed up behind the goal. Jake Mulraney had been woken by something and he ventured deep into the home area but the ball eventually going out. However, there has been more activity in the first ten minutes of the second half than there was in the whole of the first. Robbo had seen enough of Mulraney and Doran and they were replaced by Connor Bell and Zak Elbouzedi with twenty minutes left but it was Nicky Clark that almost scored for the hosts with his cross which was missed by Ridgers but hooked clear by Tremarco. A couple of minutes later Clark fed McManus and he hit the post. Polworth had a shot blocked as Inverness looked to get an unlikely equaliser and Zak Elbouzedi had no takers for his cross into the box as Robbo raged while Clancy ticked him off. Iain Vigurs headed straight at Robinson as we tried to make amends for a dismal first half. Inverness had Ridgers to thank for a couple of tremendous saves from Martin and Higginbotham and Brian Rice had his chips as he was sent to the stand by Clancy. Full Time 1-0 Looks like our season has ended in tatters with defeat at East End Park. We petered out and Dunfermline were well worth the three points and should have won by a greater margin. Our lack of funds is showing in the lack of quality and threadbare squad and it's the IrnBru cup or bust. Dumbarton are now only six points behind Inverness and we should now concentrate on avoiding relegation instead of looking for promotion which was always beyond us after last seasons disaster. RIG had this to say after another disappointing display. A truly shambolic performance from ICT that should really be leaving fans very worried at the prospect of a second successive relegation. With Dumbarton playing Brechin again on Saturday there's a real chance they will be just 3 points behind us. Forget about possible Highland Derbies next season and focus on staying in this league. Even though the score line makes it look like a close game I'd say we were as bad as when we were thumped 5-1 there earlier in the season. At the back we floated between competent and clueless. Most of the time we coped easily with the Pars attacks. Other times we flapped at crosses and passed the ball out of defence straight to the home side. Polworth and Vigurs certainly tried but mainly succeeded in giving the ball away. Chalmers was anonymous, Mulraney kept running the ball out of play instead of crossing it and Oakley spent most of the game falling over after wrestling with his opponent. We were an utter shambles. Aimless punts up the park and truly woeful attacking play in the final third. There were very few plus points. Ridgers made some good saves and it was great to see Tremarco and Bell back in the side. But apart from that it was a night to forget for ICT. Here's Allan Johnston talking after his sides first win in eight games. Date: 13/03/2018 Venue: East End Park, Dunfermline Attendance: 2249 Referee: Kevin Clancy Dunfermline: 1 Lineup: Robinson; Williamson, Martin, Morris (C), Ashcroft, Craigen, Beadling, Vincent, Higginbotham, McManus, Clark. Subs (not used): Gill; Aird, Shiels, Armstrong, Wedderburn, Lochhead, Ryan. Scorers: Craigen (6) Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers; Seedorf, Warren, Tremarco, Harper (B Mckay 5), Chalmers, Vigurs, Polworth, Doran (Bell 71), Mulraney (Elbouzedi 71), Oakley. Subs (not used): Esson; Brown, Trafford, Mackay Scorers: none Booked: Tremarco (89) B Mckay (90+2) Sent Off: none a
  21. Ton too heavy for lightweights. Morton all but ended any faint hope Inverness had of making the play-offs with a clinical two goal victory in the Highlands, their first ever at Inverness. A sorry Caley Jags look destined for another season in the doldrums after failing to win this six-pointer and Morton took full advantage to move above Dundee United into third place in the Championship with their fourth win in the last five games. A first half goal from Scott Tiffoney was added to after the break when MotM Gary Harkins slotted home a penalty. It could have been so different had we hit the net instead of the woodwork, twice, and not had two goals chalked off. However, we were the architects of our own downfall, Brad Mckay having a first half to forget as he allowed the ball to bounce over him which led to the opener, and Collin Seedorf giving away a penalty in the second period. We did try, but Morton seemed to have all the answers and looked a yard sharper than us all over the park, the pace and movement of their front runners causing our Donaldsonless defence problems. Liam Polworth missed what can only be described as a sitter near the break and that summed up our day really. Inverness were dealt a blow before taking to the pitch with news that Coll Donaldson was injured. Carl Tremarco made the bench as did Nathan Austin, and Aaron Doran started with Jake Mulraney suspended after his red card madness at Falkirk. No surprises in the Morton side with Jack Purdue making his debut today coming off the bench and the evergreen Gary Harkins was the orchestrater in chief. Inverness went straight into the visitors box after some neat interplay in the opening seconds, but Trafford shot down the keepers throat. However, it was Morton who looked liveliest thereafter with their front players causing concern with their movement and pace. Inverness appeared second to every ball and anything loose was snapped up by the eager Morton players. The opening goal was a schoolboy error by Brad Mckay who allowed a long punt from Gaston to bounce over his head. Wee Tiffoney new exactly what was happening and turned Mckay to spin in behind him as Brad mistimed his interception. He almost made amends by blocking the first attempt, but Tiffoney mopped up by driving the ball towards the net as Gary Warren tried to recover the situation. The ball eventually going into the net off Warren's outstretched boot. We worked hard enough, but looked to have little up front to trouble Gaston in the visiting goal. However, we should have been level before the break when Liam Polworth tried to turn a Doran cross from the right into the net. He only succeeded in sclaffing it across the face of the goal when it looked easier to score. Great opportunity to get back on level terms before the interval. Half Time 0-1 Nathan Austin was given a part to play as Robbo hooked Trafford at the break. We looked to take the game to Morton but made heavy work of trying to create openings. Austin's day was short lived as he pulled up after only twenty minutes. It appears that he is made of porcelain. Apparently he has done his other hamstring this time. We were unfortunate on a couple of occasions when Joe Chalmers guided a shot onto the post with the keeper stranded and later on when Iain Vigurs rattled the crossbar with the keeper beaten again. From the rebound, Aaron Doran caught a sweet volley but Gaston got down to block at his near post. The keeper just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Right after that double miss, Morton went up the park and ended the contest. It had looked like it was not going to be our day and that was confirmed when Seedorf gave away a penalty with twenty minutes left bringing down Tiffoney as he jinked past him. Gary Harkins was calmness personified as he stroked the ball off the inside of the post and into the net to double their advantage and Inverness knew their fate. Full Time 0-2 We did have the ball in the net twice, but were penalised on both occasions, but in truth, we played second fiddle to a better organised side and Morton thoroughly deserved the win, their first at the Caledonian Stadium. MotM for me was Morton's Gary Harkins who has skill to burn. After Iain Vigurs wilted in the second half, Harkins took control of the nidfield and he was the main reason Morton pulled off this deserved win. Frustrating day for the Caley Jags who could have taken something from the game but in the end, when the going got tough, the heads went down and the all too familiar stench of defeat was there for all to smell. Here's the goals if you can suffer it................ Date: 24/02/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2359 Referee: Steven Kirkland Inverness CT: 0 Lineup: Ridgers, Seedorf, Warren, B Mckay, Calder, Polworth, Trafford (Austin 47, D Mackay 65), Vigurs, Chalmers, Doran, Oakley Subs (not used): Esson, Tremarco, Bell, Elbouzedi, Harper. Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none Morton: 2 Lineup: Gaston, Doyle, Lamie, O'Ware, Russell, Ross (McHugh 72), Murdoch, Harkins, Tidser, Tiffoney (Purdue 83), Oliver. Subs (not used): Strapp, Brennan, Langan. Scorers: Tiffoney (28), Harkins (70 pen ) Booked: Purdew (90+1) Sent Off: none a
  22. Irish Crusade ends in Inverness Crusaders arrived in Inverness off the 12:30 flight from Belfast City some ten minutes ahead of schedule, and less than four hours before kick off. They were greeted at Dalcross by a fine winter's afternoon after the recent rain, sleet, snow and frost that has left the pitch less than pristine. There had been much speculation surrounding the rights and wrongs of this tie given the Sunday evening slot, but it's now time for the talking to stop and the action to take centre stage. John Robertson was without the injured Carl Tremarco and cup-tied Nathan Austin for this one while his Irish counterpart Stephen Baxter had a full squad to pick from. This is a squad that leads the Irish Premiership and have scored 82 goals in the 28 league games played so far. The free scoring Belfast club will probably be favourites for this one given our inactivity since the 30th of January. Aaron Doran was missing from the squad with George Oakley, Connor Bell and Jake Mulraney tasked with getting the goals. John Baird and Zak Elbouzedi and young Daniel Mackay were on the bench. Crusaders started with top scorer Gavin Whyte on the bench but still had plenty of fire power in the starting XI with Darren Murray and Paul Heatley having notched 25 between them. The teams came out with the pitch looking heavy, rain having replaced the early sunshine. Loads of sand had been used to get the surface playable in front of a sparse 1044 crowd, the BBC Alba live broadcast keeping many fans away. Crusaders kicked off towards the North Stand and Darren Murray was marginally offside in the first minute as he cracked the bar with a shot. Inverness strode forward from the free kick with Liam Polworth making a long run forward and he played in George Oakley who side footed home the opening goal in the second minute. Crusaders were unfazed though and took the game to Inverness playing the game in the Inverness half as they probed for an opening. Mark Ridgers did well to flop on the ball after a long throw in bounced across the box and seconds later Crusaders shot well over as they looked to level the tie. Great start for Inverness, but Crusaders look like they have goals in them as we struggle to make much headway, misplaced passes being the order of the day so far after that stunning opening couple of minutes. Thirteen minutes gone and Connor Bell did well to hold off the defender before feeding Oakley wide on the right, and his perfect cross found Joe Chalmers at the back post and he headed strongly behind the keeper for number two. Oakley headed wide at the front post soon after from another Mckay delivery as Crusaders heads went down since the second goal. Polworth almost threading another into the box as the hosts began to dominate. Donaldson had to time a tackle to perfection to stop a Crusaders break forward and from that, Polworth drove forward again before feeding Chalmers on the left, but his shot went just a tad too high. The next burst forward showed the best of Jake Mulraney as he skinned his marker before crossing for Bell, but his wee legs could not quite get on the end of the cross for what would have been a simple tap in. Mark Ridgers reacted well to stop Murray bursting into the box and from the clearance Polworth blasted a long range effort high and wide. Crusaders were creeping back into contention though and Ridgers guarded his near post well from Heatley at the expense of a corner which he clutched confidently. Riccardo Calder was booked on the halfway line as he clumsily brought down Heatley. Took one for the team methinks. Mulraney found acres of space down the right and he picked out Oakley who picked his spot in the net, but keeper Brian Jensen reacted brilliantly to tip his ten yard effort over. Polworth picked his spot as well, unfortunately his spot was just the wrong side of the post. Glackin was booked for pulling back Calder, the wide player enjoying his forays forward down the left wing. Iain Vigurs was pulling the strings in midfield and his promptings were causing plenty of problems for Crusaders. Mulraney should probably have added a third five minutes before the break after he danced into the box, but one step too many allowed Jensen to block his shot. Crusaders were not out of it yet and Ridgers pulled off a wonderful save to deny Heatley as he turned and shot inside the box. Lightning does strike twice and Mulraney passed a curled shot into the net from twelve yards after Polworth set him clear. Similar to a previous goal he scored in the championship. That ended an excellent first forty-five from the hosts with Crusaders having it all to do. Maybe top scorer and flying winger Gavin Whyte will be introduced after the break as Stephen Baxter looks to get back into the tie. Half Time 3-0 He did in fact make two changes with Whyte and Jordan Owens replacing Glackin and Forsythe. Ridgers had to make an early save as Crusaders came out in the second half intent on pushing forward but normal service was resumed soon after as we forced a corner from a dangerous looking cross. Heatley should have done better when offered an excellent shooting chance when Calder erred, but he hit it straight at Ridgers who saved comfortably near his post having got his angles right. The visitors were making inroads though and Inverness will need to be wary of the injection of pace from the Crues. Burns burst into the box and from a tight angle shot over as Inverness played a dangerous game and the keeper came to the rescue once more, blocking a certain goal, the ball skewing away for a corner. You could tell a goal was coming and in the next attack after the Inverness defence failed to clear the ball effectively, a driven shot from substitute Whyte deflected off Donaldson to throw the Crues a lifeline, and one which they look well capable of taking at this point in the game. Apparently the goal has been credited to Heatley who challenged Donaldson for the ball as it deflected into the net. Whyte was booked for hauling down Mulraney in midfield, but the big talking point was to follow seconds later as Brad Mckay was yellow carded and red carded. Here we go again, reduced to ten men, what a surprise. That prompted the removal of Bell who was replaced by Collin Seedorf as Robertson looked to tighten the midfield. Mulraney then waltzed into the box on the left side but his cross was marginally too high for Oakley to connect properly with and Jensen gratefully gathered. Steady rain was continuing to fall and the heavy pitch may play a part later in the game. As it was, tackles were becoming more reckless as conditions deteriorated. Twenty minutes to go and Ridgers watched a Burns shot drift wide as Crusaders pushed for another goal. The comfort of the first forty-five seems a long time ago now. Crusaders had the ball in the net after a swift break but the linesman had flagged for offside. With fifteen left, Crues brought on Paul Lowry and soon after Mulraney was replaced by Zak Elbouzedi, but it was Crusaders that opened the game right up when Heatley sped into the left side of the box and prodded tidily behind Ridgers. The game is right in the balance now with Crusaders looking likely to level the tie. We passed up on an excellent opportunity to restore our two goal lead, but Vigurs shot tamely wide from fifteen yards. Ridgers saved with his feet as a driven cross came into the box and when we broke forward Oakley forced Jensen into a low save to deny the striker. Fast and furious now and Crues missed a great chance to level the game but the ball fell the wrong side of the post as Ridgers and Seedorf combined to keep the ball out. Oakley again almost scored when his deflected shot squirmed behind Jensen but spun away off the post. Nail biting stuff now as every ball into the box looks likely to cause problems. Another scary moment when Gary Warren looked skinned, but Owens had tugged him back and Inverness were awarded a free kick instead of conceding a goal. Three minutes of time were added on with Crusaders still probing for the breakthrough and Inverness defending somewhat nervously. Coates headed into the side netting as we held on by our finger tips with thirty seconds to go. Suddenly, Liam Polworth made a tremendous run in the last seconds which ended with him being brought down unceremoniously for a penalty. Iain Vigurs should have ended the scoring from the spot, but not before Declan Caddell talked himself into a red card. Vigurs then completely scuffed his shot, dragging it wide of the post in possibly the worst penalty in the history of soccer. After that embarrassing scuff, the ref ended the contest and it's Caley Thistle that will contest the final against Dumbarton the weekend of 24/25 March. Full Time 3-2 Well, we got there in the end but all credit to Crusaders who put up a tremendous battle in the second half which almost went bottoms up after Brad Mckay was sent off. BBC Alba gave Jake Mulraney the MotM but for me it was a toss up between Liam Polworth and Iain Vigurs. Polworth gets my nod after that penalty miss. Crusaders can be happy with their display after taking a battering in the first half. But the introduction of Whyte and Owens caused our ten men problems and Heatley was a handful all game. Stephen Baxter was indignant though. He reckoned Crusaders should have won 6-4. I'm not as convinced as he was, but they certainly made a game of it after the break in what turned out to be a highly entertaining game. See you all at the final. Here's the goals from Caley Jags TV Date: 18/02/18 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1044 Referee: Bryn Markham-Jones Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Ridgers, Mckay, Warren, Donaldson, Calder, Mulraney (Elbouzedi 79), Polworth, Vigurs, Chalmers, Bell (Seedorf 65), Oakley. Subs (not used): Esson, Baird, Mackay, Brown, Harper. Scorers: Oakley (1), Chalmers (13), Mulraney (44) Booked: Mckay, Calder, Polworth Sent Off: Mckay (63) Crusaders: 2 Lineup: Jensen, Burns, Beverland, Coates, McClean, Forsythe (Owens 45), Caddell, Glackin (Whyte 45), Snoddy (Lowry), Heatley, Murray Subs (not used): O'Neill, Carvill, Cushley, Suarez. Scorers: Heatley (57, 79) Booked: Murray, Glackin, Whyte, Owens, Caddell Sent Off: Caddell (90+6) a
  23. Revenge for the Bairns as Jake sees Red. It was a much changed Caley Jags squad that went to Falkirk with our midfield decimated by suspension and injury. Iain Vigurs and Liam Polworth were suspended, Carl Tremarco is still out injured and Aaron Doran would not be risked on the artificial surface given his long term injury problems. Charlie Trafford was touch and go given his head knock and illness since last weekend. In Came Collin Seedorf with Trafford making the starting XI. Jake Mulraney returned to action, for a while anyway, more about him later. John Baird was on the bench along with a couple of youngsters in Daniel MacKay and Jack Brown. Falkirk had Andy Nelson starting and Tom Taiwo had recovered sufficiently to begin the game. Robbie Thomson continued in goals despite the signing of Celtic youngster Conor Hazard Falkirk kicked off in front of 4251 fans, a decent crowd for a miserable afternoon. Inverness were first to threaten in the second minute as Connor Bell put a dangerous ball to the back post, but it was cleared by the defence and a few minutes later Robbie Thomson was forced to make an excellent save to deny Joe Chalmers. With Inverness forcing the pace of the game George Oakley shot just wide after outmuscling the defender and Charlie Trafford headed one into the hands of Thomson. A great start by Inverness who are taking the game to their hosts and creating the openings. Jake Mulraney caused havoc and won a corner from which Oakley flicked the ball goalward but the danger was cleared by Thomson who gathered. It was almost half an hour before Mark Ridgers had to earn his money and he produced a superb save to deny Sibbald after he was played in by Louis Longridge. A looping shot from Mulraney went close ten minutes before the break as Inverness dominance resumed but there is no breakthrough yet for the makeshift midfield who are squaring up well so far. Coll Donaldson made amends after failing to control a ball but he got back to make a solid challenge on Andrew Nelson to deny the striker, the home fans looking for a penalty (be patient..... soon). Brad Mckay had to make a clearance when Nelson tried to backheel his way to goal as Falkirk came back strongly at the end of the first half. Out of the blue came a red! Mulraney saw red mist after a couple of rash challenges and a shove and kick and then had a go at the water bottle on his way to an early bath via the dressing room doors (allegedly). Looks like the FOR SALE sign hanging round his neck is taking it's toll. What a clown . We needed this like we need a hole in the head. Some harsh words needed from Robbo after that aberration. He let himself and his team mates down with that indiscretion. Inverness' 8th red card of the season. Disgraceful. Half Time 0-0 Cheers Jake . Two minutes into the second half and Falkirk take the lead as Aaron Muirhead converts from the spot after Chalmers fouled Longridge in the box. The Bairns smell blood and Nelson forced a corner after a neat turn and shot. It looks a long way back for ten man Inverness, and we pay no attention to our horrendous disciplinary record as Trafford enters the book. It goes from bad to worse and Seedorf gave away another needless penalty and Muirhead smashed his second of the game. Falkirk don't have to do anything, we are doing it for them. It's open day now and Longridge dragged a shot wide as we appear to have imploded. But, our saviour is on when Connor Bell is replaced by John Baird as Gary Warren enters the refs book with twenty minutes left. Please referee, just end the game now! It's virtually been one way traffic since the sending off and the end can not come quick enough for Inverness................. but wait a minute. Young substitute Daniel MacKay linked brilliantly with fellow sub Jack Brown and finishes with aplomb with some five minutes remaining. Great goal and the youngsters showing their seniors how it should be done. However normal service was resumed as Nelson grabs a third for Falkirk before being subbed. RIG summed up the highs and lows in his review of the match. "With the game over we saw a couple of young lads come on for some first team action and they provided probably the only spark of the second half for ICT supporters when Brown burst from midfield and played a ball forward to Mackay who turned his man and curled a shot into the bottom corner of the net. A glimmer of hope that was quickly put out at Warren was burned for pace down the right side of our defence and the ball crossed for Nelson to seal the win from close range." Full Time 3-1 Revenge was sweet for the Bairns after Mulraney saw red. Up until that point it was an even game. Some of these guys need a talking to as this is not acceptable. An eighth red card of the season for Inverness and two more bookings is crippling the clubs bid to get back into contention for a play-off spot. At the moment, it's three steps forward and two steps back. ICT Chris was more pragmatic: "Overall, deserved win for Falkirk and one we need to write off as a bad afternoon and get back to our prior form." On the first forty-five he was optimistic up to a point: "That was a pretty odd game. We started Trafford and played him with Seedorf and Chalmers in midfield and started really well, we made all the running and, as I see a Falkirk fan noted, Oakley dominating the home centre halves. We didn’t create that much though and slowly Falkirk came back into the game, forcing Ridgers into a good save before Mulraney had his meltdown. It was utterly bizarre, he conceded a foul and got booked then immediately went through Longridge before kicking out at someone a few seconds later. He literally got booked twice in two minutes and walked off, it was like he wanted to get sent off. Really odd." Caley100 was more scathing, only Ridgers escaped his wrath: "We started quite well without causing any damage, Lost the plot after the wee man had a fecking brainstorm, but too many players were awful.. really awful. Trafford was terrible, Mackay just cannot pass a ball, Chalmers gave away the first pen, has the pace of a tortoise and is about as dangerous to the opposition as a plastic bath duck, Seedorf also gave away a pen which was on the cards as he spent the day diving into tackles. I' m not going to mention Baird. ( haha, you just did) Warren lost a high ball (again) letting it bounce 3 times before letting the forward Nick the ball to set up their third. Ridgers was pretty safe and had no chance with goals. ***** day weather wise too, good few beers in Edinburgh later helped." OK, so maybe we can put it all down to a bad day at the office, but if we are serious about getting in to the play-off places, then the attitude needs to change. It's almost as if the management don't want the club to go up. Anyway, well done to the young guns for coming on and playing football, take a bow Daniel and Jack. If you just want to forget the rest of the game, here's Jack Daniel's superb set up and finish, I'll have a large one! Robbo was understandably not impressed.......... Falkirk have been busy getting their videos online..... Date: 27/01/18 Venue: The Falkirk Stadium, Falkirk Attendance: 4251 Referee: Euan Anderson Falkirk: 3 Lineup: Thomson, Kidd, McGhee, Muirhead, Grant, Taiwo (Jakubiak 66), Sibbald, Longridge, Tumilty, Robson, Nelson (O’ Hara 89). Subs (not used): Hazard, McKee, Blair, Loy, Watson Scorers: Muirhead (48 pen, 65 pen) Nelson (87) Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers, Chalmers, Warren, Oakley (Mackay 78). Mulraney, Calder, Seedorf, Bell (Baird 69) McKay, Donaldson, Trafford (Brown 82) Subs (not used): Esson, Doran, Harper Scorers: Mackay (84) Booked: Mulraney (43), Trafford (64), Warren (70) Sent Off: Mulraney (45) a
  24. All to do again. Inverness went to Dundee in search of a minor shock in this fourth round Scottish Cup tie almost three years on from lifting the trophy. However, it's a much changed side from back then. It looked bleak until three minutes from the end when George Oakley stabbed in the equaliser from close range. Aaron Doran had scored the opener with a deflected shot to give the visitors the lead before the break. Sofien Moussa deflected a shot in to level before Mark O'Hara looked to have put Dundee through. John Robertson has been the architect of a few Cup surprises over the years. During his previous tenure at Inverness, he knocked out Celtic en route to the 2003 semi-finals where today's opponents Dundee ended our run by virtue of a 1-0 win. Robbo benched attacking midfielder Liam Polworth who had been struggling with a virus, and to add more steel to the engine room he slotted Canadian Charlie Trafford in alongside creative playmaker Iain Vigurs. Jake Mulraney took a knock a couple of weeks ago and he made the bench along with John Baird and Nathan Austin who has also been receiving treatment. McCann managed to get a few contracts extended during the winter break and he started with Josh Meekings, Darren O'Dea and talented striker Sofien Moussa on the park. Sitting on the bench were Kerr Waddell and Marcus Haber and Jack Hendry missed out through illness. Paul McGowan was first to have a go in front of 3507 fans but his shot from distance was well wide of the target and at the other end Iain Vigurs shot straight at Elliott Parish. Great start to the game by the visitors who were playing in their Premier League opponents faces, causing Dundee to be error strewn. Joe Chalmers almost got on the end of a Brad Mckay cross as we took the game to Dundee. Fifteen minutes in and Inverness opened the scoring when a long throw-in from Mckay bounced through Josh Meekings and found Aaron Doran in the box and he volleyed in the first goal of the game. Almost another after a mix up in the home box, George Oakley playing Connor Bell in but Parish collected just in time. That warning seemed to perk Dundee up and they managed to fashion a couple of corners which the visiting defence were able to clear. Scott Allan hit one from 25 yards but Mark Ridgers dealt with it as Dee came more into the game and Mckay blocked Moussa as he let fly, Ridgers able to save the rebound from A-Jay Leitch-Smith. Surprise surprise, Iain Vigurs received a yellow card midway through the half and Ridgers saved a Scott Allan free kick. Ten minutes before the break and a let off for Inverness as Moussa headed onto the underside of the bar from an Allan corner. Dundee had certainly been stung during that brisk opening quarter by Inverness but the game was more evenly balanced now. Mark Ridgers pulled off a tremendous save to deny Leitch-Smith as he bore in on goal and preserved the narrow advantage. Just before the interval, some great play by Doran forced a corner with Bell waiting for a tap-in, Vigurs heading the resultant corner over. Moments later Parish stopped Oakley from notching number two with his feet as the striker broke free. Half Time 0-1 Dundee got the second half underway with Glen Kamara kicking off towards the Bobby Cox stand, no doubt looking to get back on level term quickly. And hey presto, just two minutes in and a second deflected goal of the afternoon draws Dundee level. Leitch-Smith shooting but Moussa credited with the goal this time as the ball deflects off him and goes out of Ridgers' reach. Bell was denied by a reaction save from Parish as the visitors almost went back in front just after being pulled level, and it was Parish again to deny Bell as the game swung back towards Inverness. Charlie Trafford got the worse of a clash with Darren O'Dea and had to leave the field. O'Dea continued after treatment but Trafford is off down the tunnel. Liam Polworth replaced the Canadian. The lively Scott Allan went off to be replaced by El Bakhtaoui, not a popular choice with the home support given Allan was possibly the most effective Dundee player. Dundee edged ahead through Mark O'Hara as he burst forward when Vigurs gave the ball away in the halfway area and O'Hara went on to fire low past Ridgers from the edge of the box. El Bakhtaoui fired over for the Dee and Vigurs tried to make amends for Inverness but his effort was woeful. Substitute Liam Polworth tried from distance but it was another straight down the keepers throat. Entering the final ten minutes and Inverness won a free kick in a promising position, but Doran's cross was cleared. Robbo freshened up his strikers and threw John Baird on and withdrew Connor Bell as Polworth entered the ref's jotter for catching McGowan with an arm. The Dundee midfielder missed a good opportunity to end the contest but he headed a Kerr cross over after a good break forward. John Baird passed on a couple of decent chances for Inverness as we pressed for a leveller. However, it was strike partner George Oakley that got on the scoresheet when he got on the end of a Riccardo Calder cross to level the tie. The ball was poorly defended and when the half cleared it was headed back into the six yard box by Joe Chalmers where Oakley pounced to send the tie to a replay. Calder joined Vigurs, Donaldson and Polworth in the refs book as he brought down Moussa in time added on and right at the death a last ditch tackle thwarted Aaron Doran from getting clean through. Full Time 2-2 All in, a great day out for the 357 Caley Jags away fans and the team thoroughly deserved another crack at getting into the fifth round, something our near neighbours will not manage this season. Good to get the draw without a couple of influential players on the park. Nathan Austin and Jake Mulraney will benefit from the time off, although Charlie Trafford might now be struggling to make the replay. Speaking on BBC Radio, Robbo said : "There was little between the teams. We started well, got the goal, looked dangerous, then Dundee come into it. They turned the screw, created opportunities, and it was a terrific second goal. "We had to change it. Liam Polworth was in his sick bed all week, but travelled because he knew we were short, came on and started to cause problems. Then big George managed to get a goal and we deserved it for our bravery, because we kept going forward and throwing men into the box. A replay was about right. "It's taken us a while to get going, but we've got a shape that suits us now. The players have confidence and to come here to Dens Park and put on that kind of performance shows our improvement. We'll go at them in the replay with the same vigour and resilience, and we'll have a chance." Replay has been scheduled for Tuesday 30th January 19:45 kick off at the Caledonian Stadium. The prize for the winner is a home tie against Motherwell. Video Highlights from Caley Jags TV Robbo spoke after the game..... George to the rescue..... Highlights can be seen on BBC TV for those that can access the channel. Date: 20/01/2018 Venue: Dens Park, Dundee Attendance: 3507 Referee: Stephen Finnie Dundee: 2 Lineup: Parish; Kerr, Meekings, O'Dea, Aurtenetxe, McGowan (Wolters 85), Kamara, O'Hara, Leitch-Smith, Allan (El Bakhtaoui 61), Moussa Subs (not used): Malherbe; Holt, Curran, Waddell, Henvey. Scorers: Moussa (47), O'Hara (64) Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; Mckay, Donaldson, Warren, Calder, Trafford (Polworth 58), Vigurs, Chalmers, Doran, Oakley, Bell (Baird 81) Subs (not used): Esson; Austin, Mulraney, Seedorf, Brown. Scorers: Doran (16), Oakley (87) Booked: Vigurs (27), Donaldson (66), Polworth (82), Calder (90+4) Sent Off: none a
  25. Closing in on a play-off position Inverness recorded their first win over Queen of the South this season with a comfortable 3-1 scoreline. First half goals from Iain Vigurs and Joe Chalmers gave us a deserved lead and Aaron Doran added a third after the break. As we eased off, Queens came more into it and got their consolation when Owen Bell headed a fine goal with five minutes left. This win pulls Inverness level on points with the Doonhamers and within striking distance of the two teams above us although we have played more games than most. Still, it's a healthier position than we were in a few months ago. Carl Tremarco missed out through injury as did Nathan Austin. Riccardo Calder slotted in at left back with Brad Mckay on the opposite side. Collin Seedorf and Jake Mulraney were fit enough to make the bench. The Doonhamers had the firepower of 35 year old Stephen Dobbie up front and youngster Owen Bell starting on the bench. On loan Rangers defender Myles Beerman was on the bench along with him. Striker Chris Kane was making his final appearance for Queen of the South before returning to St Johnstone. The 23 year old has now made 24 appearances for the Doonhamers scoring five goals and has benefitted greatly playing alongside the vastly experienced Stephen Dobbie. The frost of the previous days had relented and it was a brisk day, a tad chilly but nonetheless a decent day for a game of footy. Just over two thousand two hundred fans made the effort to get to this game and they were treated to an excellent start by the hosts who came out of the blocks with all guns blazing. The two previous meetings this season produced no goals but Inverness were looking to carry their excellent form from the Falkirk game into this one. Queens were confident their excellent away form would continue. The opening moments were a taste of things to come and captain Gary Warren had a header saved in the second minute as Inverness pressed from the off. The keeper did well to tip his powered header onto and over the bar. Moments later from the resultant corner Iain Vigurs placed a header into the keepers top right corner as he kept a cool head when a loose ball presented itself to him. Great goal and what a start to this game. Dobbie and Polworth exchanged efforts at either end as the game opened out but it was Inverness that were in control and it was no surprise when a second goal came along, although it was all done in slow motion. Joe Chalmers gathered a ball on the edge of the box and his scuffed effort deceived everyone, including the fans in the North Stand. It wrong footed half a dozen players and an unsighted keeper to roll gently into the bottom corner with Leighfield scrambling frantically across his line to no avail. Take that and a first for Joe Chalmers. We saw out the half comfortably and our attacking endeavour should maybe have reaped more, but Queens got away lightly. Half Time 2-0 Gary Naysmith no doubt got them to up their energy levels after the break and with Inverness content to hold what they had Queens came more into it, Stephen Dobbie coming close. However, when we broke forward we always looked dangerous and Aaron Doran knocked home a third after Polworth crossed into the box from the right. Dobbie tried his luck again but his curling effort was mopped up easily by Mark Ridgers as Queens began to believe in themselves and we gave up ownership of the midfield. Beerman and Kerr went close as well but most of the work Queens were doing ended in hopeful efforts rather than guilt edged chances. Iain Vigurs was yellow carded in bizarre fashion. Shaun Rooney went down when tackled and the ref blew for a foul, albeit a soft one. After the players exchanged pleasantries Rooney shoved Vigurs over. As is the norm these days, the ref calls them both over and booked Rooney then Vigurs. Seems to me that getting pushed over is a bookable offence. How odd. Mark Ridgers saved a rasping effort as Queens went looking for a goal and we began to look a little edgy at the back but we weathered the storm and it probably was more comfortable on the park than it was watching from the stand. John Baird had an effort saved but Queens got their reward for not giving up when a superb Beerman cross was briskly headed high into the net by Owen Bell. Inverness responded and Oakley almost restored the three goal cushion but he shot across goal and wide of the mark. Full Time 3-1 Fantastic first half again for Inverness. Some really tidy play and a thoroughly deserved win. Coll Donaldson was once again immense, he is some player for a big lad, but for me, he was outshone by Riccardo Calder who doubled as a full back and left winger. Great shift again from Calder who is my MotM. There was some wonderful play all over the park and George Oakley is turning out to be a useful front man using his upper body strength to good effect. Unsung hero Joe Chalmers has come onto a game over the last couple of months playing on the left midfield side. Without the shackles and constraints of defending, the big loon has come into his own and scored a goal into the bargain. Iain Vigurs, despite his booking tally reaching it's limits, was a class apart in the first half and himself and Polly are beginning to create plenty for the strikers. No failures yesterday and competition for starting berths is hotting up. So, we are starting to pick up pace and are now pushing for a play-off position, well deserved given our recent form. Scottish Cup game at Dundee next week followed by an away trip to Falkirk. Goals highlights from Caley Jags TV Robbo delighted. Gary Naysmith was honest as usual accepting his team were second best. Here's what he had to say. Date: 13/01/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 2209 Referee: Alan Muir Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Ridgers; Mckay, Warren, Donaldson, Calder, Polworth, Vigurs (Trafford 78), Chalmers, Doran, Bell (Baird 72), Oakley Subs (not used): Esson; Seedorf, Mulraney, Mackay, Brown Scorers: Vigurs (3), Chalmers (29), Doran (58) Booked: Mckay (21), Vigurs (74), Donaldson (76), Sent Off: none Queen of the South: 1 Lineup: Leighfield; Rooney, Kerr, Brownlie, Mercer, Murray (Fergusson 63), Thomson, Rankin, Dykes (Beerman), Dobbie, Kane (Bell 71) Subs (not used): Martin; Akubuine, Gourlay Scorers: Bell (85) Booked: Dykes (41), Rooney (74) Sent Off: none