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  1. Charlie is me darling....... Inverness go into the hat for the fifth round draw tomorrow night, and that's not something that Coll Donaldson can say. Aaron Doran fired in a tremendous early opening goal but Kevin O'Hara levelled before the break. Jordan White headed a second on the hour but again the Wasps struck back again through Kevin O'Hara before a late Charlie Trafford header saw Inverness through this difficult tie without the need for a replay. Happy days for Inverness and even happier for Jordan White who scored a goal and announced a baby boy incoming with his wife Alana. Congratulations from all at CTOxxx. With Coll Donaldson preferring to play his football over the bridge, and Jamie McCart tellingly on the bench, we drafted fit again Brad Mckay and Kevin McHattie into central defence with Jordan White leading the attack. The good news was that Tom Walsh and Sean Welsh were both on the bench with Tom making an appearance after the interval. Alloa were without veteran and top scorer Alan Trouten, the onus falling to Liam Buchanan to get the goals. Top Championship shot stopper Jamie MacDonald was in goals for the Wasps with top shut-out keeper Mark Ridgers at the opposite end. Something was going to give. Thankfully the rain had relented and it was game on, and it only took eight minutes for Aaron Doran to bulge the net after a defensive slip gave him room to score after Shaun Rooney crossed in from the right. Ten minutes later Alloa were level when Kevin Cawley met a near post corner from Flannigan to squeeze the ball into the net. Jamie MacDonald had to save from Jordan White as the visitors tried to regain the upper hand but it was the hosts that began to take control of proceedings as Alloa's Jon Robertson shot wide. Adam Brown had two efforts saved by Mark Ridgers in the space of three minutes as the pace of the game increased, Ridgers making a third save from Brown just before the break. Half time 1-1 No changes at the interval and Inverness made a strong start to the second half with White hooking a ball over the bar and Ridgers making an excellent save to deny Liam Buchanan. Tom Walsh made his comeback with Storey leaving the field and after Inverness won a couple of corners, the third one proved fruitful when White headed Doran's ball behind MacDonald to put the visitors back in front. The lead lasted fourteen minutes this time before Kevin O'Hara volleyed a second equaliser for Alloa from a deflected cross. Game on once more! Carl Tremarco had a header deflected wide as we looked to get our noses back in front in this see-saw tussle and substitute Tom Walsh was just too high with a shot over the bar as the game entered the final ten minutes. An unlikely hero would emerge from the pack in the shape of Charlie Trafford when he nodded in from close range in the 86th minute after a Doran corner had been headed back into the box by Shaun Rooney. Scenes! Goal hero Trafford left the field shortly after scoring with a possible head knock to be replaced by David Carson to see out the final few minutes. Caught on camera.................. That's a good win for Inverness after a difficult week with tranfers and speculation. By the way, how did your weekend go Coll? Robbo happy enough after a tough tie....... Here's the scores on the doors from the Scottish Cup weekend. Dundee United v Hibs on Sunday afternoon. Only one replay so far and congratulations to BSC Glasgow who go into the fifth round. Aberdeen scrape through against the Sons, Hissy unlucky against Clyde and Ayr United dump some team out of the event. You've got to love a bit of Scottish Cup action. The highlights from Alloa TV Date: 18/01/2020 Venue: Recreation Park, Alloa Attendance: 590 Referee: Willie Collum Alloa Athletic : 2 Lineup: MacDonald; Robertson, Taggart, Deas, Dick, Cawley, Hetherington, Brown (Thomson 65), Flannigan, Buchanan (Connelly), O'Hara Subs (not used): Henry, Gilhooley, Malcolm, O'Donnell. Scorers: O'Hara (18) O'Hara(75) Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 3 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, B Mckay, McHattie, Tremarco, Doran, Trafford (Carson 90), Vincent, Storey (Walsh 57), Keatings (MacGregor 83), White Subs (not used): C Mackay, McCart, Wesh, Todorov. Scorers: Doran (8), White (61), Trafford (86) Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  2. Scottish Cup 4th round Since winning the Scottish Cup in May 2015, it has been all downhill for Inverness. Relegation from the Premiership followed in season 2016/2017 and we find ourselves now in our third season in the Championship watching Dundee United disappear into the distance with a play-off place our only hope of getting back into the promised land. However, it's time for a break as it's Scottish Cup weekend. Who is going to take the trophy away from Parkhead? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Match info and Travel Club details can be found on ICTFC ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ For The Caley Jags it's a tricky trip to Clackmannanshire to face Alloa Athletic on the synthetic surface, a surface that fell foul of the weather last weekend as rain lashed the whole of Scotland with postponements curtailing the fixture lists. The cup game kicks off at 3:00pm at Recreation Park, or if the sponsors want to be heard, then it's the Indodrill Stadium. Robbo will have his work cut out to motivate the squad with all the transfer talk and that could have an effect on his squad for this game. Coll Donaldson has left the building already, others will follow as money talks. Look for Lewis Toshney coming in to the squad for the Championship games. Brad Mckay and Kevin McHattie already having some game time in central defence will surely replace Coll Donaldson this weekend with Toshney cuptied, having played for Falkirk already in the competition. At least we still have the top shut-out keeper in the Championship in Mark Ridgers. He likes to keep his sheets clean and has racked up 11 so far this season. That's better than Siegrist (Dundee United), MacGregor (Rangers) and Forster (Celtic). Mark has made 60 saves from 20 appearances. Incidentally, our opposition keeper this week, Jamie MacDonald has made the most saves so far with 78 from 16 games. Busy man, let's hope we keep him busy this weekend. Robbo has confirmed that Tom Walsh is available for selection after a prolonged hamstring injury and Sean Welsh is close to making a comeback after his second broken foot. Gringo's Gripe: Super Caley have a great cup pedigree but, as you point out, the squad could be side tracked by on going transfer talk and unsettled players. Dreams of a higher wage and a 'well-I'm-leaving-soon-anyway' attitude may take it's toll if we concede the first goal. On paper we should win this tie but if the paper is soggy we could slip up on the banana skins on the plastic pitch. Tommy Tremarco said pick that one out Jamie..... Scottish Cup 4th round Should be some entertaining ties coming up and at least one non league side will be in the draw with East Kilbride playing BSC Glasgow. BSC put East Fife out of the cup in the previous round with an excellent 3-4 win. Brora Rangers were the last Highland league side to go out of the competition this year after a 3-1 defeat to Morton in a replay at Dudgeon Park. The action kicks off on Friday night when Rangers entertain Stranraer and ends on Sunday evening when runaway Championship side Dundee United host Hibernian. Holders Celtic begin their defence of the trophy with an all Glasgow tie against championship strugglers Partick Thistle on Saturday evening. Alloa have only made the fifth round once in the last 13 seasons. Inverness have made it that far in nine of the last ten seasons. Here's the best goals from the previous round..... The January Sales. The sales are in full swing and the rumour mill is working overtime. Mitch Curry has already returned to Middlesbrough and Cameron Harper has gone to Elgin City. Coming back to Inverness on a pre-contract is striker Shane Sutherland unless we feel the need to get him in sooner. Shane left Inverness in 2013 to play at Borough Briggs having previously been on loan there. As it looks like we will need to re-assemble almost our entire defence, Robbo has made a shrewd signing in 27 year old defender Lewis Toshney who last played for Falkirk. Money does talk, and rumours of major departures from the Caley Jags seem to be surrounding our defence with Coll Donaldson already heading over the bridge with immediate effect. He has gone to Roy for an undisclosed fee, maybe he will show some interest now that his wages have increased, something we were unable to offer due to our financial plight. Maybe our paths will cross in the promotion play-offs, now that would be fun. Shaun Rooney and Jamie McCart are also attracting a lot of attention with St Johnstone, Dundee and Partick Thistle allegedly courting these players. The departures will open the door for Lewis Toshney, Brad Mckay and Kevin McHattie to stake their claim for a regular start. Well, there's nobody else in the way now.
  3. 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
  4. Video clip from semi-final 2003 in preview.
  5. It's Scottish Cup time. A break from the rigours of the Championship this weekend as we travel to the City of Discovery to discover if Dundee are any better than they were when we left them in the Premiership, or are we any worse. It's the Fourth Round of the competition and that opens it up for the big boys. It also creates the opportunity for some banana skin ties. We have been an integral part of the major shocks section over the years, none greater than knocking Celtic out of the competition on three occasions. However, John Robertson won't consider this a shock should we advance to the next round. Speaking to the press ahead of the game Robbo said: “It’s a free one for us as no one expects us to go to Dundee and win but I do as that’s the way I am. I expect us to win every game, that’s the attitude I want from my players. We have been preparing for Dundee this week, while they have watched us three times and I’m sure they will give us a massive amount of respect. Neil McCann is a very clever manager and they’ve got good players. If we play the way we’ve been playing, and pass the ball the way we have been, we’ve got an opportunity to go there and cause an upset in other people’s minds but not in mine.” The last time we played each other in the Scottish Cup was at Hampden in 2003 and John Robertson was in charge then as well. We had a tremendous side back then with great strikers like Dennis Wyness and Paul Ritchie with Barry Robson out wide. What we would give for that quality right now. Back then Dundee boasted an array of foreign stars. We had Ross Tokely, Roy Macbain Stuart Golabek, Russel Duncan and of course the great Bobby Mann amongst others. Great occasion for Inverness at the time, something we would go on to better in 2015. We started the game the better side and Dennis Wyness smacked the top of the post via the keepers fingertips with a ferocious right foot shot from 35 yards. "Here we go" we all thought but it was not to be as Georgi Nemsadze scored the only goal. Dundee had eased into the game and their undoubted talent shone through in the end. That was the semi-final and we went down to that scuffed Georgi Nemsadze strike late in the game (think Joe Chalmers) and bowed out of the competition having eliminated Raith Rovers, Hamilton Accies and Celtic. However, Dundee went on to lose the final 1-0 thanks to a Lorenzo Amoruso goal giving Rangers the trophy. Fifteen years on from then and we have been drawn away at Dens Park for this fourth round tie, as both clubs enter the 2018 competition. It's coming up for three years since we lifted this trophy. Ahhh, those were the days! Our last visit to Dens Park offered us a glimmer of hope in the battle to avoid relegation. It was Richie Forans final fling and we beat Dundee 2-0 thanks to early goals from Billy Mckay and Alex Fisher. We did beat Motherwell 3-2 in the last game of the season, alas it was too little too late for Inverness and Foran as we were relegated thanks to Hamilton stuffing Dundee 4-0 and Richie got his P45. Thanks, we owe you one for that. Our season took a while to get off and running, but a seven game run of clean sheets has seen us steady the ship and we are now building nicely towards a promotion play-off slot. Our last two outings have seen us pick up maximum points and scoring seven goals against Falkirk and Queen of the South. Dundee are sitting third bottom of the Premiership, only Partick Thistle and Ross County are below them. They too had an inauspicious start to their campaign. They qualified from their group in the League Cup, drawing 1-1 with Dundee United in the final group game (United won 4-3 on penalties). They gained revenge in the next round beating the Arabs 2-0, but their League form was poor. Only one point from their first five games before beating St Johnstone and then crashing out of the League Cup 4-0 at the hands of Celtic. They picked up zero points in October before they beat Rangers 2-1 at the end of September. Three wins in December saw them get off the foot of the table before the winter break and that takes them to this encounter with Inverness. Robbo will be without Carl Tremarco for a couple of months with a hamstring injury. Riccardo Calder deputised last week and should continue. Nathan Austin missed out similarly against Queen of the South and that opened the door for a Bell-Oakley strike pairing. Neil McCann has been busy getting some players tied up on longer deals during the winter break. They have extended the deal for young defender Kerr Waddell, and Spanish defender Jon Aurtenetxe has signed on for the rest of the season. A-Jay Leitch-Smith, the man with more hyphens than a hyphen shop has also extended his loan deal. tm4tj prediction:- Given our recent impressive form and this chance to let our hair down, I'm looking for a minimum of a replay here, although with cup ties, you never know. With Coll Donaldson knitting the defence together at the back, Iain Vigurs, orchestrating the engine room (should he remain on the park), and our strikers having the audacity to score goals, things are looking a lot healthier than they were three months go. This will be a step up in overall quality for our new look side, but we are showing more resilience and if we can keep the Dark Blues at bay, then let's hope we can continue our recent scoring spree and get something from this game. A couple of guys to look out for - Loan signing and former Shrewsbury player A-Jay Leitch-Smith who is their top League scorer this season with five. Tunisian Sofien Moussa from Lokomotiv Gorna seems like a tricky customer with an eye for goal as well, so great test for our re-born defence. One player who will be familiar is of course Josh Meekings, fondly remembered for his unorthodox style in keeping the ball out of the net against Celtic. Here is a link to The Dark Blues website where I answered a few questions put to me by Daniel Smith from the Dark Blues.