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  1. Arabs avoid relegation The south stand at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium was a sea of orange as 2400 Dundee United fans tried to sing and shout their team to SPL survival. Livingston, Dundee and Dundee United were all in the relegation frame and the permutations were discussed at length around the country. Hold-ups on the A9 delayed the Inverness kick-off by ten minutes. For Caley Thistle it was a strange afternoon. Seventh place was looking unlikely but it was still possible if Dunfermline beat Kilmarnock. In the end Killie won 4-0. This was never going to be a football classic but there was plenty of effort. United's Grant Brebner headed over in two minutes and in nine minutes former Caley Thistle favourite Barry Robson ran down the left and set up Mark Kerr but his low shot was pushed away by Mark Brown. At the United end last weeks goal hero Liam Fox took a Bryan Prunty pass and tried a 20 yard volley in the 18th minute, it dipped goalwards but went just over. A Robson free kick in 24 minutes seemed to go over for a goal kick but Alan Archibald headed it back across goal and Brown was forced to tip it over for a corner and the corner stood despite protests. Just before the break a Mark Wilson ball from the right crossed the ICT area and reached Robson - his first time goal-bound shot was held by Brown. Half Time: 0-0 Richie Hart low shot was blocked in 49 minutes then a Hart 30 yard free kick went straight through to Tony Bullock. A good move in 53 minutes ended when a Brewster chip across goal was headed clear by Garry Kenneth. Brewster came close in 65 minutes when Bullock missed an Ian Black corner from the right but the player/managers header crept past the empty goal. A goal-less draw looked on the cards until the 82nd minute when Robson went down in the box after a brush with Ross Tokely. There seemed nothing in it but Alan Freeland gave a penalty. Robson scored and the stewards were helpless to prevent an orange pitch invasion. When order was restored United fans started a celebratory conga in the stand as their side held on to win. In added time Robson went down alongside Darren Dods but it was clearly a dive. Robson had been booked for dissent in the first half so a second yellow led inevitably to the long walk. The whistle went, United were safe and a second pitch invasion began. Full Time: 0-1 The Caley Thistle fans were disappointed to take so little from the five matches since the split but the job had been completed. SPL football would be back in Inverness next season and the players could head off for a well deserved holiday in Magaluf. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness CT: 0 Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Hastings, Hart (McAllister 73), Black, Fox, Golabek, Prunty (Wilson 60), Bayne (Brewster 33). Subs Not Used: Fraser; McBain, Duncan, Proctor - Booked: Black (90) Dundee Utd: 1 (Robson 82 pen) Team: Bullock; Kenneth, McCracken, Archibald, Wilson, McInnes, Kerr, Brebner (Duff 63), Robson, McIntyre (Grady 86), Crawford (Scotland 57). Subs Not Used: Colgan; Samuel, Dodds, Cameron. Booked: Brebner (30), Robson (37) - Sent off: Robson 90 Attendance: 5,479 - Referee: Alan Freeland
  2. Fox in the box earns Dens draw For the third time in his short Caley Thistle career Liam Fox came off the bench and snatched an equalising goal. The Dundee fans were stunned as they thought that three precious points were in the bag. Dundee certainly had the chances and were twice denied by the woodwork. ICT played excellent flowing football but lacked the killer touch. The atmosphere was very tense as the Dundee fans faced relegation. Derek Soutar held a Stuart Golabek effort in the opening seconds but the best early chance fell to Dundee in the eighth minute. A Tam McManus corner landed in a crowded box and, after penalty claims, Mark Brown dived to save a close-range shot from Callum MacDonald. Two minutes later Graham Bayne latched onto a Richie Hart corner but his clever near-post header crept over. Brown blocked a McManus angled shot in 16 minutes then the keeper watched helplessly as a McManus free kick from the left raced low across goal and came off the far post. An Iain Anderson low free kick in 35 minutes headed goalwards but Brown turned it for a corner. Half Time: 0-0 Fabian Caballero came on at half-time for Dundee and within a minute he headed wide. Dundee finally made a breakthrough in 49 minutes when Sancho headed in a McManus corner. The home fans saw light at the end of the SPL tunnel but Caley Thistle began to dominate the match. Dundee defended in depth but did come very close on the break in 64 minutes. Steve Lovell ran onto a through ball but his shot came off the bar. ICT substitute Rory McAllister tested Soutar in 73 minutes with a header to the top corner. Lovell tried again in 77 minutes when he chased a pass down the right. Brown came out to narrow the angle and slipped. Lovell failed to take advantage as his lob crossed the face of the goal and was cleared. With two minutes left Grant Munro sent a trademark long throw from the left and it fell for Golabek. His shot was blocked by Sancho but Fox was well positioned to collect the rebound and hit home the equaliser. As the clock ticked into overtime Dundee were awarded a free kick 25 yards out. Mann stepped up to take it; reminiscent of his Inverness days, but his high shot was held by Brown. Russell Duncan quickly led a breakaway and set up Craig Brewster on the left. The player/manager bore down on Soutar but shot wide. Full Time: 1-1 The relegation battle now goes to the last day. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dundee: 1 (Sancho 49) Team: Soutar; Robertson (McNally 37), Mann, Sancho, Robb, McDonald, Brady (Caballero 45), Smith, Anderson, McManus, Lovell (Barrett 82). Subs Not Used: Dubourdeau; Larsen, Fotheringham, Sutton - Booked: Sancho (50). Inverness CT: 1 (Fox 88) Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Hastings, Duncan, Hart, McBain (Fox 71), Prunty (Brewster 63), Bayne (McAllister 71). Subs Not Used: Fraser; Proctor, Black - Booked: None Attendance: 6,691 - Referee: Craig Thomson
  3. Livi hanging on... Another frustrating afternoon for the home fans as Caley Thistle played well in spells but failed to convert their chances. Relegation-threatened Livingston fought hard and scored the one goal that took the points. ICT started brightly and Roy McBain shot over the bar in just 13 seconds. In the first four minutes Wilson took two free kicks from outside the box - the first was held high by Roddy McKenzie and the second went low and just wide. Stuart Golabek shot wide then a bouncing effort from Bryan Prunty was taken by McKenzie. Livi came close in 21 minutes when a Derek Lilley attempt was headed off the line by Ian Black. Five minutes later Prunty was through and one-on-one with McKenzie but, as the keeper came out, the striker chipped over the bar. Livingston's goal in 29 minutes was deceptively simple. A neat Hassan Kachloul flick over the defence reached the unmarked Jason Dair and he headed home from six yards. Two minutes later Prunty again hit over the bar. Livi captain Burton O'Brien sent a hard shot on target in 42 minutes but Mark Brown held it comfortably. On the whistle Hart found space wide left of the goal but his cross back into the box went over Graham Bayne as he fell to the ground. Half Time: 0-1 Two minutes into a wet and windy second half Livingston nearly doubled their lead when Lilley hit the bar after an O'Brien cross. Russell Duncan then let fly from 25 yards but the rising ball was beaten away by McKenzie. Ross Tokely connected with the resultant corner but it was cleared off the line. Livingston were fighting for their SPL lives and they held firm against all that Caley Thistle could throw at them. The chance of the half fell to Graham Bayne in 70 minutes. Tokely raced down the right and his cross found Bayne faced with an empty goal. Bayne's shot looked a certain goal but somehow McKenzie scrambled back and saved the day. Shots from Hart and Bayne in 78 minutes both seemed to hit Livi hands but the referee ignored protests. The closing stages were dominated by ICT but nothing came off. Substitute Rory McAllister chased a long ball from Stuart Golabek in added time but, despite appearing to be held back, nothing was given. It was the same story seconds later when McAllister headed on for Golabek and the Caley Thistle captain went down under pressure but to no avail. Full Time: 0-1 Livingston took the points and gained a vital step up the league. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness CT: 0 Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Wilson (Hart 37), Duncan, Black, McBain (Hastings 64), Bayne, Prunty (McAllister 64) Subs not used: Fraser; Proctor, Fox, Fetai - Booked: Wilson (30) Livingston: 1 (Jason Dair 29) Team: McKenzie; McNamee, Dorado, Deloumeaux, Dair (Easton 61), Bahoken, Vincze, O'Brien, McMenamin, Lilley, Kachloul (Strong 73) Subs not used: Meldrum; Horvath, Brittain, Snodgrass, Dorrans - Booked: Bahoken, Kachloul Attendance: 3021 Referee: Brian Winter
  4. End of season fare A frustrating afternoon all round and some strange decisions. The game was dominated by a soft penalty award for each side. With the rest of the SPL battling for top spot, UEFA places or against relegation there was little to play for here - the only issue was to see who would finish seventh. Killie captain Gary Locke chipped over the bar in eight minutes then a low off-target Stuart Golabek shot was deflected for a corner at the other end. Alan Combe pushed away a Craig Brewster volley in 14 minutes then a 19th minute header from Bryan Prunty hit the net but he was offside. A minute later the visitors took an unexpected lead when Gary Wales sent James Fowler away down the right and his cross was knocked in at the back post by Gary McDonald. In 27 minutes a Barry Wilson corner from the left curled into the area and a penalty was awarded - apparently Darren Dods's shirt was being pulled. Ross Tokely hit the spot kick low past Combe for 1-1. With five minutes of the first half left Brewster drew two defenders and left space for a Golabek shot from 20 yards but it sailed over. Half Time: 1-1 Mark Brown's first real save of the match came in 63 minutes when he held an angled shot from Wales. Seconds later Colin Nish closed in on a through ball and Brown raced to clear. Brown's busy spell continued as he caught a 20 yard Peter Leven shot through a ruck of players. The second bizarre penalty award of the day came in 72 minutes following a free kick from Wales. Another crowded goalmouth, the usual chaos and a penalty awarded for an apparent push by a Caley Thistle player. Leven made no mistake and it was 2-1 to Kilmarnock. Brown prevented what seemed a certain Killie goal in 74 minutes when Wales put Fowler through but the keeper blocked his shot. In 79 minutes Brewster turned neatly in the box and shot from an angle. It looked as if it would creep in but the post came to Combe's rescue. In the ensuing confusion Graham Bayne and Bryan Prunty both hit the bar and a relieved Killie defence cleared. Teenager Rory McAllister came on for the last five minutes in his first appearance after good performances with the reserve side. The youngster was quickly into the thick of the action but nothing quite came off. With a minute left McAllister just managed to keep his feet and pass to Wilson who set up Black but the Man of the Match only managed to hit it well over from long range. Freddy Dindeleux then failed to clear a Dods lob into the box from long range but McAllister could not reach the loose ball. Full Time: 1-2 The three added minutes produced nothing of note and Killie took the points. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness CT: 1 (Tokely 28 pen) Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Hastings, Golabek, Proctor (Bayne 62), Black, McBain, Wilson, Brewster, Prunty (McAllister 85). Subs Not Used: Fraser; Duncan, Fox, Fetai - Booked: Tokely (60), McBain (70). Kilmarnock: 2 (McDonald 21, Leven 72 pen) Team: Combe; Fowler, Lilley, Dindeleux, Hay, Invincibile (Greer 60), Locke, McDonald, Leven (Johnston 86), Dargo (Nish 54), Wales. Subs Not Used: Smith; Murray, Dodds, Naismith - Booked: Locke, Hay. Attendance: 3,108 - Referee: Eddie Smith
  5. Below Par Just under six months ago Caley Thistle came here with Donald Park in temporary charge and faced a Dunfermline side which featured Craig Brewster. The visitors had just climbed to ninth and would continue to climb to SPL safety with more than a little help from their player/manager who remains the Pars second top goalscorer despite having left for the north in late November. Brewster returned to East End Park for the first time to play against his old team with Dunfermline joint bottom of the league, on a downward spiral and fighting for their SPL lives. Caley Thistle made just one change from last week , Stuart Golabek came back from suspension and Richard Hastings reverted to the bench. The home side dominated the first half but failed to find a way past the strong Caley Thistle defence. Simon Donnelly was through in the seventh minute but shot straight at Mark Brown then the same player shot over in 15 minutes. Brown tipped over Noel Hunt's deflected cross three minutes later then Andrius Skerla headed wide from the resultant corner. Brown saved Campbell's curling free kick in 23 minutes then Darren Young hit wide. Hunt found the net in 27 minutes but he was offside. There was little action at the other end until close to half time when a strong Barry Wilson run ended with Derek Stillie tipping his shot over the bar. Half Time 0-0 Just after the break a Derek Young header was deflected past the post but nerves began to tell and Dunfermline faded. Caley Thistle came more into it and in 59 minutes Darren Dods latched onto Wilson's free kick but headed wide. Derek Young shot over in 64 minutes and Scott Wilson did the same in the 77th minute, but these were rare second half chances from the home side. ICT substitute Bajram Fetai tried to take advantage of Wilson's deep cross in 70 minutes but missed the ball at the back post. As time ran out Andy Tod shot over Brown's bar and Brewster did the same at the other end. Full Time: 0-0 Honours even but Dunfermline remain firmly in the relegation dog-fight. The head-to-head match next week against Livingston will go a long way to deciding who goes down. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dunfermline: 0 Team: Stillie; Skerla, Wilson, Thomson, Campbell, Donnelly (Tod 79), Dar Young, Mason, Der Young, Hunt (Mehmet 59), Hristov (Christiansen 59) Subs not used: Langfield; Makel, Labonte, Ross - Booked: Hristov (58) Inverness CT: 0 Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Wilson, Hart (Fetai 66), Black, McBain, Brewster, Prunty (Bayne 73) Subs not used: Fraser; Hastings, Proctor, Duncan, Fox - Booked: None Attendance: 4481 - Referee: Calum Murray
  6. Almost Mission Accomplished So near yet so far - so near to the top six yet it is hard to credit how far the team has come this season. Caley Thistle needed to win well and hope that Kilmarnock would beat Motherwell. A four-goal difference had to be overcome but in the event, Motherwell scraped a last minute equaliser against Killie and it was all academic. The three points gained here were however enough to mathematically secure SPL football for next season. Richard Hastings came in for the suspended Stuart Golabek, Darren Dods took over the captaincy, Craig Brewster came back into the starting eleven and teenager Rory McAllister was rewarded for excellent reserve performances by gaining a bench place. Caley Thistle started briskly but Dundee could have taken the lead in six minutes when a Callum McDonald stab came off the post and into the arms of a relieved Mark Brown. It was all one-way traffic in the other direction from then apart from a 10-minute spell near the end. After ten minutes a Brewster flick set up Barry Wilson but he shot over. The opening goal came in 17 minutes and it was a three-man effort. Brewster set Ross Tokely on a run down the right, he rounded a defender and found Roy McBain in the box and from 10 yards the midfielder lofted it into the net. A minute later a Brewster turn and shot came off the post. It continued in the same vein until the 37th minute when Neil Barrett brought Wilson down and a penalty was awarded. Wilson's spot-kick was pushed away by Derek Soutar then he parried Wilson's follow-up shot. Bryan Prunty saved Wilson's blushes when he headed home the loose ball for 2-0. Seconds before the break Richie Hart's 100th appearance ended prematurely when he suffered a dead-leg and was replaced by David Proctor. Half Time: 2-0 Another penalty was awarded early in the second half when Prunty was brought down but Soutar guessed correctly and pushed away Wilson's kick. A rare Dundee effort came in 53 minutes when Brown touched over an Iain Anderson shot from all of 35 yards. Brewster hit just wide in 61 minutes but he had more luck three minutes later when he headed in a Wilson free kick to make it 3-0. Then came a Dundee revival. Bobby Mann hit a 25 yard free kick just wide in 70 minutes, much to the relief of the home fans who had watched him score many goals for ICT from set pieces. In 74 minutes a free kick from Dundee's Anderson beat Brown but hit the post but Tam McManus was well-placed to touch it in for 3-1. It was 3-2 with 10 minutes left when a low cross from Anderson was neatly flicked in by John Sutton via the post. The attacks on Soutar's goal then resumed but nothing came off; McBain hit over, Russell Duncan did the same, Soutar held two shots from Graham Bayne and the whistle went for full time. Full Time: 3-2 The pressure is now off and the five remaining games will give the management team the chance to plan for next season. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness CT: 3 (McBain 17, Prunty 38, Brewster 65) Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Hastings, Black (Duncan 66), Wilson, Hart (Proctor 45),McBain, Prunty, Brewster (Bayne 73). Subs Not Used: Fraser; Fox, Fetai, McAllister - Booked: Munro (70), Dods (88), Duncan (89) Dundee: 2 (McManus 74, Sutton 80.) Team: Soutar; Kitamirike, Mann, Sancho, McDonald, Fotheringham (Robertson 63), Barrett (Sutton 76), Caballero, Robb, Lovell (Anderson 36), McManus. Subs Not Used: Dubourdeau; Larsen, Conway - Booked: Barrett. Attendance: 4,786 - Referee: Dougie McDonald
  7. 200 up for Roy This was billed as a top six showdown and it was Caley Thistle who took the points. The victory was a narrow one but the margin could easily have been greater. For Motherwell it was a disaster; defeat, a red card and two key players injured. Heavy rain left the pitch soggy but referee Brian Cassidy, on his first and last SPL appearance in the middle before retirement, deemed it playable. Craig Brewster rotated the squad and brought in Bryan Prunty instead of himself. Roy McBain made his 200th appearance. For Gordon Marshall it was a night to forget although it did start well when he turned a curling Barry Wilson shot for a corner in 13 minutes. Four minutes later he spilled a seemingly easy ball and it was booted clear by a defender. In 22 minutes Stuart Golabek slid a measured pass to Prunty down the left and Marshall came well out of his goal to block the strikers path. Prunty rolled the ball past the keeper to Graham Bayne six yards out and he touched it home for his seventh and easiest goal of the season. Two minutes later Prunty was through on Marshall and he chipped it past the keeper with the intention of racing on and netting. The goal was virtually certain but Marshall chose to take Prunty out of play just outside the box. The inevitable red card was brandished and Terry Butcher was forced to sacrifice Shaun Fagan for reserve keeper Barry-John Corr. Injuries to Scott McDonald and Kevin McBride meant that Butcher had used all three substitutes by the 37th minute. The ten men dug in and Caley Thistle failed to add to their tally. Half Time: 1-0 Just after the break a poor clearance fell to Wilson but his angled shot sailed wide. The pattern of ICT pressure continued for most of the match and Motherwell never threatened until the closing stages. In 71 minutes Bayne hit low and wide then six minutes later another chance fell to Wilson. He sent in a shot from just outside the area and the home crowd rose to salute goal number two; in the end it grazed the post and went harmlessly wide. In the last ten minutes Motherwell could easily have equalised. In 84 minutes Mark Brown had to be alert when an awkward ball came into his area bound for David Clarkson. Brown caught it well then, in the final minute, a free kick from Steve Hammell dipped wickedly and Brown tipped it over. The final action saw a Jim Paterson shot blocked by the home defence. Full Time: 1-0 The top six places will be decided on Saturday. ICT have to win against Dundee, Kilmarnock have to beat Motherwell and a four goal gap has to be bridged. A tall order but for the Inverness camp it is fantastic just to be in the race. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness CT: 1 (Bayne 20) Team: Brown, Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Hart, Black, McBain (Duncan 62), Wilson (Proctor 87), Bayne (Fatai 78), Prunty. Subs Not Used: Fraser, McCaffrey, Hastings, Fox - Booked: Black (86) Motherwell: 0 Team: Marshall, Paul Quinn, Craigan, Partridge, Hammell, McBride (Kerr 36), Leitch, Fagan (Corr 24), Paterson, Scott McDonald (Clarkson 16), Hamilton. Subs Not Used: Britton, Foran, Kinniburgh, Fitzpatrick Booked: Partridge (70), Hamilton (84), Craigan (86) - Sent Off: Marshall (23). Attendance: 3,746 - Referee: Brian Cassidy
  8. Rugby Park firsts This first-ever win against Kilmarnock pushed ICT up to a new high of seventh in the SPL. After the disappointment of last week against Aberdeen this was a victory to relish. With Juanjo out injured for the rest of the season some reorganisation was required. Ian Black replaced Russell Duncan in midfield and Graham Bayne partnered Craig Brewster in the striking role. Ross Tokely overtook Charlie Christie's record with his 315th appearance. In the end just one goal separated the sides but chances were missed at both ends. Alan Combe tipped over a Brewster shot in only two minutes and seven minutes later Mark Brown pushed a Peter Leven curling free kick onto the bar. In 13 minutes Combe stopped a Stuart Golabek shot and watched as Graham Bayne's follow-up hit the post. Just after the half-hour mark ICT scored what proved to be the only goal of the match. Freddy Dindeleux hesitated, Brewster stepped in and found Barry Wilson in the clear. He rounded Combe and slotted home his tenth goal of the season from an acute angle. Kilmarnock fought back immediately but Brown saved from Gary Wales and Steven Naismith's angled drive from long range went just wide. Killie pushed hard through to the break but could not find a way through the ICT defence. Half Time: 0-1 The pattern continued into the second half and Brown did well to block a Gary McDonald effort in 50 minutes. Wales should have done better in 57 minutes when he failed to connect properly with a Naismith cross despite being well placed close to goal. Bayne had a chance to double the lead in 78 minutes after being sent through by Brewster but his shot had no power and Combe collected easily. Despite a late surge from Kilmarnock the ICT defence held firm and it ended 1-0. Full Time: 0-1 Caley Thistle continue to look upwards in the league with seven games left as the spectre of relegation continues to recede. There is now a 14 point gap over basement club Dundee United and an outside chance of a top six finish. Motherwell are six points ahead with two games left before the split and have a six-goal advantage. All this adds some spice to Tuesday's visit of the Steelmen to Inverness. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Kilmarnock: 0 Team: Combe; Fowler, Hay, Lilley, Dindeleux, McDonald, Murray, Leven, Naismith (Johnston 65), Boyd, Wales (Nish 62) Subs not used: Smith, Dodds, Greer, Johnstone McGregor - Booked: Lilley Inverness CT: 1 (Wilson 32) Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Wilson (Duncan 79), Hart (Fetai 75), Black (Proctor), McBain, Bayne, Brewster Subs not used: Fraser; McCaffrey, Hastings, Prunty - Booked: Brewster (60), Black (70) Attendance: 4862 - Referee: Ian Fyfe
  9. Dons Defeat This was a hard defeat to take after having so much of the play. Stuart Golabek made his 200th appearance and Ross Tokely equalled Charlie Christie's club record when he played for the 314th time. A huge crowd packed the stadium in the Spring sunshine and they saw the home side dominate for most of the game but fail to make the important breakthrough. The pressure on Aberdeen started in the first minute when Ryan Esson smothered the ball at Juanjo's feet then a Craig Brewster effort was deflected over the bar. Russell Duncan shot wide in 16 minutes, Barry Wilson did the same in 21 minutes then just after the half-hour mark a Brewster acrobatic effort was tipped over by Esson. The resultant corner was delayed as Russell Anderson was treated for a facial injury then finally led from the field. The corner reached Roy McBain and his low shot rebounded to Juanjo whose strike from a few yards out was held by Esson. Aberdeen were conspicuous by their attacking absence for most of this period apart from Noel Whelan's header over the bar in 24 minutes and Markus Heikkinen's high shot from 25 yards shortly after. The only goal of the game came in 39 minutes when a ball deflected off Grant Munro to the feet of Whelan who scored from 12 yards. Half Time: 0-1 ICT were less impressive in the second half but they had chances as Aberdeen seemed content to sit on their lead. A long Munro throw on the hour mark was punched away by Esson and scrambled clear. A high cross from Tokely in 66 minutes was met by Brewster but his header went across goal and wide. The closest Aberdeen came was in 74 minutes when a long throw from Richard Foster landed on the top of the bar. Substitute Bajram Fetai latched onto a Brewster flick in 79 minutes but his overhead kick was just off-target. Fetai had two close-range shots blocked close to the end before sub Bryan Prunty nearly equalised. A long Munro throw was headed on by Darren Dods and Brewster before Prunty headed goalwards. It looked net-bound but Esson popped up to push it onto the top of the bar. The last chance was gone and the Dons amazingly took the points. Full Time: 0-1 With three games left before the split ICT remain eighth, 11 points clear of Dundee United in twelfth spot. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness CT: 0 Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Wilson, Hart (Fetai 57), Duncan, McBain (Bayne 83), Juanjo (Prunty 71), Brewster Subs not used: Fraser; McCaffrey, Proctor, Hastings - Booked: Golabek (42), Brewster (75) Aberdeen: 1 Team: Esson; Hart, Anderson (McGuire 35), Diamond, Byrne, Winter (Foster 46), Severin, Heikkinen, Clark, Mackie, Whelan (Blaha 73) Subs not used: Preece; Stewart, Morrison, Muirhead - Booked: Clark (47), Whelan (60) Attendance: 7026 - Referee: Alan Freeland
  10. Celtic too strong Caley Thistle's fine unbeaten run ended with defeat at the hands of Celtic. The match was played in front of a record attendance and, despite the result, the home side put up an excellent show. A niggling knee injury kept Craig Brewster out of the ICT side and Graham Bayne took his place. Unlike the famous cup match in Inverness two years ago Celtic were at full strength. Roy McBain shot low from long range in just 26 seconds but Douglas collected easily. A John Hartson 25 yard shot was deflected past in two minutes then Stilian Petrov headed over in nine minutes. Douglas took a Richie Hart cross high at the other end then he also caught a rising Barry Wilson free kick. Despite pressure Celtic could not find the target as first Craig Bellamy headed over in 19 minutes then Hartson headed wide. A neat ICT move in 34 minutes was engineered by Darren Dods. The big defender ventured upfield, played a one-two with Roy McBain then crossed from the right; it strayed towards the corner flag and Bayne's cross back into the box was cleared. Two minutes later Dods headed downwards but wide after a Hart corner. The home defence repelled all danger and there was no score at the interval. Half Time: 0-0 In 49 minutes Alan Thompson came very close with a 20 yard free kick but it was tipped onto the top of the bar by Mark Brown and cleared.. Bellamy raced past three defenders on the hour mark but his 20 yard low shot was smothered by Brown. Three minutes later the Bellamy/Aiden McGeady double act created a decisive goal but not before Wilson hit two 25 yard shots in succession at Douglas' goal, one high and one wide. Bellamy's goal started when he won possession in midfield, passed to McGeady then took the return wide of goal on the right. He sent an angled ball between Brown and the near post for 1-0. Bellamy then shot inches wide with the Celtic fans already on their feet celebrating. In the push for a second goal Bellamy shot over, a Bobo Balde header was cleared by Grant Munro, Dods took the ball off the feet of Hartson and a Petrov shot was held by Brown. There were glimmers of hope when Caley Thistle attacked but nothing came off. Douglas did have to be alert to take a Stuart Golabek high cross in 73 minutes then he smothered the ball at Bayne's feet. It was all over in 84 minutes when Tokely was adjudged to have fouled Bellamy in the box and Thompson made his usual fine job of the penalty. A Thompson free kick into the box a minute from time was headed clear then a Hart run was halted when he passed two men and used a hand to assist passing the third. Full Time: 0-2 The whistle went and the visitors were content with their well-deserved 2-0 victory. ICT heads were held high but it was a sign of the times that all felt bitterly disappointed. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness CT: 0 Team: Brown, Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Hart, Duncan (Black 89), McBain, Wilson, Bayne (Fatai 78), Juanjo (Prunty 72). Subs Not Used: Fraser, McCaffrey, Hastings, Proctor. Celtic: 2 (Bellamy 63, Thompson 84 pen) Team: Douglas, McNamara, Henchoz, Balde, Laursen, McGeady, Petrov, Lennon, Thompson, Hartson (Beattie 79), Bellamy. Subs Not Used: Marshall, Valgaeren, Pearson, Fernandez, Wallace, McManus. Attendance: 7,045 - Referee: H Dallas
  11. Joy at Jamboland: On Thursday Hearts sought a postponement of this fixture due to a flu epidemic sweeping Tynecastle. With two free Saturdays looming Caley Thistle wanted to avoid another rearranged match so were keen to play. The SPL refused the request and the match went ahead. Craig Brewster came back from injury for ICT with Graham Bayne reverting to the bench. John Robertson's weakened side played some neat passing football, and defended well for most of the game, but never troubled Mark Brown. A rare Hearts first half effort came in eight minutes when former Caley Thistle favourite Dennis Wyness shot high and wide from 22 yards. Juanjo tried an overhead kick at the other end but it went well wide. In 12 minutes Stuart Golabek sent a cross from the left towards the back post and Roy McBain headed powerfully goalwards. Craig Gordon was nowhere and Hearts were only saved by a fine Andy Webster goal-line clearance. Wyness set up Joe Hamill in 24 minutes but his early rising shot cleared the bar. Most of the first half was rather disjointed but things improved after the break. Half Time: 0-0 Wyness headed just over in 53 minutes with the home fans on their feet thinking it was in, but it was Caley Thistle who took the lead two minutes later. Not for the first time Juanjo was fouled on the right and Richie Hart took the free kick. Darren Dods rose high above a static defence to head home his first goal for the club. Hearts nearly equalised a minute later when Ross Tokely's attempted clearance skidded onto the top of the bar and over for a corner. Tokely redeemed himself seconds later with a fine block as Christophe Berra prepared to shoot. It was all over in 72 minutes when Barry Wilson chased a loose ball across the Hearts box and Gordon brought him down. Gordon saw yellow and Wilson hit the resultant penalty past the offending keeper to seal the points. The Hearts fans started to leave and their team spent the rest of the game on the back foot. Caley Thistle were content to play possession football over the final period. Wyness did have a sight of goal in 81 minutes but he hit it straight through to Brown. A Duncan lob into the Hearts box a minute later was taken by Gordon ahead of substitute Bryan Prunty. Full Time: 0-2 In added time Liam Fox made a good run through the middle but hit it too far and Gordon collected. A fine three points, eighth place maintained, seventh place in sight, undefeated in six SPL games, eleven points clear of bottom club Dundee United and all looking good. Celtic up next. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hearts: 0 Team: Gordon; Hamill, Berra, Webster, Wallace, Cesnauskis (Pereira 64), Thomson, Janczyk (Thorarinsson 69), Miller (Elliot 84), Wyness, Weir Subs not used: Lithgow, Pelosi, Tierney, Moilanen - Booked: Gordon (72) Inverness CT: 2 (Dods 55, Wilson 72 pen) Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Wilson (Fox 90), Hart, Duncan, McBain, Juanjo (Prunty 79), Brewster (Bayne 79) Subs not used: Fraser; McCaffrey, Hastings, Fetai - Booked: Golabek(90) Attendance: 9822 - Referee: Craig Thomson
  12. Prunty Shins Gers Another remarkable result in a memorable week. Everyone knew that the team was playing well but few thought Caley Thistle could take anything from the Ibrox cauldron. When Barry Ferguson broke the deadlock in 57 minutes it looked like going according to the script, but Rangers could not kill the visitors off, the home crowd grew restless and Caley Thistle were rewarded for their diligence with a last minute Bryan Prunty equaliser. Prunty's first goal for the club created a sensation nationally and was a severe blow to Rangers title hopes. Caley Thistle made one change from the team that beat Hibs in midweek with the injured Craig Brewster making way for Graham Bayne. Rangers dropped Michael Ball to the bench and brought in Swedish winger Bojan Djordjic. Steven Thompson replaced the suspended Dado Prso. It was Thompson who had the first effort on goal in 13 minutes but he headed wide. This was followed quickly by a Nacho Novo shot that flew wide. Juanjo chipped wide at the other end after turning Marvin Andrews in the box then a Novo drive was beaten away by Mark Brown. Novo hit over in 29 minutes, but little made it past either defence before the interval. With the whistle looming Grant Munro headed wide for ICT. Half Time: 0-0 Rangers pushed forward after the break but Mark Brown saved from Novo, Fernando Ricksen shot over and Novo hit wide before Ferguson gave Rangers the lead in 57 minutes. A pass from Ricksen cleared the Caley Thistle defence and Ferguson neatly sent an angled chip over Mark Brown, his first goal since rejoining Rangers from Blackburn. Richie Hart shot over in 70 minutes then Brown collected from Thomas Buffel. Hart hit wide in 78 minutes and a Novo effort cleared the bar. Waterreus blocked a shot from on loan Ranger Bajram Fetai then a Darren Dods shot was cleared. With four minutes left Novo should have secured a win for Rangers. He was one-on-one with Mark Brown but the former Ibrox keeper saved the day with his legs. Caley Thistle's strong finish earned an equaliser from substitute Bryan Prunty in the dying seconds. A long ball from Grant Munro came off the back of Gregory Vignal and Prunty bundled it home with what appeared to be his shins. Full Time: 1-1 Despite the welcome point, Livingston's win at Dundee reduced the gap between eighth and twelfth to eight points. Livingston share bottom place with Dundee United. On the other hand the optimists will point out that ICT are just two points off seventh spot. Now for Hearts! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Rangers: 1 (Ferguson 57) Team: Waterreus; Ross, Andrews, Kyrgiakos, Vignal, Buffel, Ricksen, Ferguson, Djordjic (Malcolm 53), Novo, Thompson. Subs Not Used: McGregor; Rae, Burke, Ball, Namouchi, McCormack. - Booked: Kyrgiakos (41). Inverness CT: 1 (Prunty 90) Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Wilson (Fatai 70), Hart, McBain, Duncan, Juanjo, Bayne (Prunty 74). Subs Not Used: Fraser; McCaffrey, Hastings, Proctor, Black. - Booked: McBain (60), Hart (60). Attendance: 49,345 - Referee: Mike Ritchie
  13. City slickers beaten A thoroughly well-deserved victory for Caley Thistle thanks to a cool finish by Juanjo and converted free kicks from Craig Brewster and Barry Wilson. For high-flying Hibs their first competitive visit to Inverness was a bitter one - bitterly cold and a bitterly disappointing result. In early exchanges Roy McBain shot low and wide in 14 minutes and Ross Tokely blocked an overhead attempt by Derek Riordan in 21 minutes. Just after the half-hour mark a measured pass from Russell Duncan set Stuart Golabek free in the box and one-on-one with Simon Brown. As the ICT captain shot low to the keepers left he made a superb full-length diving save to keep the scoreline blank. The opening goal came in 38 minutes when the Hibs defence failed to clear a Richie Hart corner from the right and Juanjo nipped in, rounded two defenders and hit high into the net from an acute angle. Half Time: 1-0 It stood 1-0 at the break but the visitors should have equalised six minutes into the second half. Riordan seized on a short back-pass and headed for goal. He was forced wide by the diving Mark Brown and his angled shot came off the post. Grant Munro shepherded it away and the danger was past. This proved to be a defining moment as Caley Thistle quickly went two ahead. McBain was brought down by Ian Murray 22 yards out and Brewster's low free kick found the corner of the net. Hibee Garry O'Connor came close in 62 minutes but his 25 yard shot came off the bar. This was a rare effort from the visitors who failed to find the form that had taken them to third in the league. They went three down in 77 minutes after Juanjo had been brought down 19 yards out, left of centre. Barry Wilson's free kick took a deflection of the wall and Simon Brown failed to clear despite the assistance of the post. The referee and his assistant decreed that the ball had crossed the line although many in the stadium were unsure. 3-0 it was and, with a minute left, substitute Graham Bayne nearly made it four. His drive from outside the box hit the post and Simon Brown made a superb save from the strikers follow-up. Full Time: 3-0 A vital and unexpected win in the battle for SPL survival. Livingston beat Kilmarnock so the gap between eighth and twelfth is still ten points. On the other hand ICT are now just three points behind seventh-placed Kilmarnock with two games in hand. Now for Ibrox! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness CT: 3 (Juanjo 38, Brewster 52, Wilson 77) Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Wilson, Hart (Proctor 83), Duncan, McBain, Juanjo (Fetai 78), Brewster (Bayne 78) Subs not used: Fraser; McCaffrey, Hastings, Prunty - Booked: None Hibernian: 0 Team: Simon Brown; Whittaker, Caldwell, Smith, I Murray (Shiels 65), Murphy, Orman (Sproule 65), A. Murray (McDonald 46), Scott Brown, O'Connor, Riordan Subs not used: Brown, McCluskey, Morrow, Konte - Booked: None Attendance: 4443 - Referee: John Underhill
  14. Arab draw There was great disappointment when the Celtic match was postponed last Sunday, but in the pursuit of points this was a far more important game. Roy McBain came into the team and Juanjo took a place on the bench. Mark Brown created his own piece of history as this marked his 120th appearance in a row, overtaking Dennis Wyness' record of 119. Former ICT favourite Barry Robson returned from suspension for United but had to be content with a seat on the bench. In the event he played for the whole of the second half. Graham Bayne had two early chances blocked then, in the seventh minute, Brown saved a header from Billy Dodds. Both defences held firm until the half-hour mark when United took the lead in unusual circumstances. Stuart Duff crossed from the left and an attempted headed clearance from Grant Munro ended up in his own net. There was a pregnant pause before the home fans realised a goal had been given, but the referee pointed to the centre spot and it was 1-0. Seven minutes later ICT equalised when a Darren Dods shot was handled by Billy Dodds. Accidental contact was claimed but the referee gave a penalty. Barry Wilson sent Tony Bullock the wrong way for his seventh goal of the season. As the first half neared its conclusion Mark Kerr shot wide for United, as did Roy McBain at the other end, then Brown held a James Grady header. Half Time: 1-1 Caley Thistle looked odds-on to take the lead in 59 minutes when Bayne headed goalwards, but Mark Wilson cleared off the line with Bullock beaten. Uniteds best second half chances came in 72 minutes when Brown made a fine save from a Lee Mair header and also blocked Jim McIntyre's follow-up. United played the last two regulation minutes, and the three added ones, with only ten men - Jim McIntyre was forced to limp off and all three substitutes had already been used. ICT's attempts to take advantage came to nothing and honours were even. Full Time: 1-1 The home fans unkindly booed their team off the park and Caley Thistle headed home with a valuable point. Back-markers Livingston now lie six points behind eleventh-placed Dundee United and ICT are a further four points ahead. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dundee Utd: 1 (Munro og) Team: Bullock, Duff, Mair, Ritchie, Archibald, Kerr (Brebner 68), Wilson, Dodds (Scotland 57), Grady (Robson 45), Crawford, McIntyre. Subs Not Used: Colgan, Samuel, Cameron, Kenneth. Booked: Archibald, Mair, Ritchie. Inverness CT: 1 (Wilson 37 pen) Team: Brown, Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Wilson, McBain, Duncan, Hart, Bayne, Brewster. Subs Not Used: Fraser, McCaffrey, Juanjo, Hastings, Proctor, Fox, Black - Booked: Munro (60). Attendance: 6,110 - Referee: Iain Brines
  15. SPL Football finally arrives in Inverness This was the day that SPL football came to Inverness. The seemingly impossible task of upgrading Caledonian Stadium to SPL requirements in just two months was achieved thanks to herculean efforts by Tulloch's army of workmen and their sub-contractors. Despite snow, frost and a hurricane the revamped stadium was officially handed back to the club on 27 January by Tulloch chairman David Sutherland. Two days later a packed house was treated to a fine Caley Thistle victory against Dunfermline at the renamed Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. Highland Council convener Alison Magee officially opened the 'new' stadium then it was on with the show. As Thin Lizzy would say: The boys are back in Town. The home side immediately took the game to Dunfermline. The first shot on goal came in the third minute when Graham Bayne headed on a Richie Hart free kick and Juanjo shot over. In five minutes Barry Wilson let fly from 40 yards but it sailed wide then a Lee Makel curling shot at the other end was held by Mark Brown. Not much was on target until 35 minutes when Barry Wilson scored a fantastic goal to give the home side a deserved lead. He headed down the left then cut inside past two defenders and with barely a glance at goal he sent a 25 yard angled shot into the top right corner of the net. Derek Stillie could do little as the ball took a hint of a curl and disappeared behind him. Dunfermline achieved little for the rest of the half apart from a Makel shot over the bar in 39 minutes. Half Time: 1-0 The visitors pushed upfield at the start of the second half and Mark Brown saved an angled shot from the lively Greg Ross. A long ball set Juanjo clear at the other end but he was forced wide and Stillie did well to block his shot. In 50 minutes a Juanjo back-heel set Hart off on a long run towards goal but it ran too far and Stillie came out to collect. Stillie caught a Craig Brewster header two minutes later then, at the other end, Darren Dods blocked a shot from Andy Todd in the box. Caley Thistle again began to dominate and in 71 minutes Barry Wilson tried to repeat his first half goal, but this time his low angled shot went just past. The pressure came off the home side when they went two ahead in 74 minutes. Russell Duncan passed from the left inside to Brewster and, with no break in his stride, the player/manager hit past Stillie from 12 yards. His second goal for the club assured the destination of the points. Brewster's former team did not give up and their best effort came in 78 minutes when a 20 yard shot from Makel bounced off the bar. Three minutes later Darren Young slid the ball just wide of the post. Hart and Prunty combined well at the other end in 83 minutes and set up Dods, but his goal-bound shot was blocked. The final chance came just into added time when Brewster sent the ball to Bajram Fetai beyond the back post and he slid to shoot but it had no power and was cleared. Full Time: 2-0 The historic match ended 2-0 and Caley Thistle maintained eighth place, and more importantly, now a vital nine points above bottom club Livingston. It was tremendous to be back home and a fitting goal from Millenium Man Barry Wilson to Christen the Stadium ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness CT: 2 (Wilson 35, Brewster 74) Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Wilson (McBain 88), Hart, Duncan, Juanjo (Fetai 76), Brewster, Bayne (Prunty 82) Subs not used: Fraser; McCaffrey, Hastings, Black - Booked: None Dunfermline: 0 Team: Stillie; Labonte (Ross 34), Skerla, Tod, Thomson, Nicholson, Makel, Mason, Dempsey, Christiansen (Darren Young), Hunt (Mehmet 55) Subs not used: Langfield; Campbell, Dunn, Wilson - Booked: Labonte, Todd Attendance: 5449 - Referee: Steve Conroy
  16. Caley Jags go Nuts at Almondvale A stirring performance and, unlike last week, the efforts were turned into goals. With Ross Tokely still suspended Stuart McCaffrey continued at right back and new loan signing Bajram Fetai took a place on the bench. Livi had the first shot on goal in the second minute but Jim Hamilton hit over. It only took eight minutes for Richie Hart to give ICT the lead. Stuart Lovell fouled Barry Wilson on the left, Hart sent the free kick to Juanjo and he passed to McCaffrey. When the defenders cross came into the box Hart was there to head home. Colin Meldrum saved Graham Bayne's header in 19 minutes then in 28 minutes the keeper saved from Wilson. In between Hamilton headed past at the other end and Attila Kriston shot high. ICT went two ahead in 38 minutes when Juanjo split the Livi defence to find Bayne, his shot was blocked by Meldrum but Russell Duncan ran in to score before the keeper could recover. The home side pulled one back just before the break when Ferenc Horvath latched onto Jamie Hand's deep cross and headed past Mark Brown. Half Time: 1-2 This failed to halt Caley Thistle's dominance and Bayne scored a third just into the second half. Horvath sliced a clearance across his own area and Bayne slid in to chip over Meldrum. Darren Dods headed wide in 53 minutes then Brown easily held a Kriston shot. Brewster shot over and Meldrum held two shots from Wilson before Juanjo capped a fine performance with the fourth goal in 73 minutes. He latched onto a through ball and hit it past the advancing Meldrum to put the result beyond doubt. On-loan Ranger Bajram Fetai came on in 76 minutes for Bayne. There were few chances after that but a touch from Brewster two minutes from time set up Fetai - Meldrum had it covered. Full Time: 4-1 A fine victory, three valuable points and a climb to eighth ahead of next weeks return to Inverness. With the completion of two new stands, and undersoil heating in place, all is set for the visit of Dunfermline. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Livingston: 1 (Horvath 43) Team: Meldrum, Hand, Dorado, Bahoken, Stanic (Snodgrass 45), Kriston, Vincze, Lovell, O'Brien, Hamilton (Lilley 69), Horvath. Subs Not Used: McKenzie, Brittain, Harding, Easton, Adam. - Booked: Bahoken, Vincze. Inverness CT: 4 (Hart 8, Duncan 38, Bayne 50, Juanjo 73) Team: Brown, Golabek, Dods, McCaffrey, Wilson, Bayne (Fatai 76), Hart, Juanjo (Prunty 85), Duncan, Munro, Brewster. Subs Not Used: Fraser, McBain, Hastings, Proctor, Fox - Booked: Dods (60). . Attendance: 4,106 - Referee: Eddie Smith
  17. Bitter disappointment Caley Thistle had 75% of the play but managed only 25% of the goals. Meh! With Ross Tokely suspended Stuart McCaffrey came in, and Craig Brewster started up front with Graham Bayne. Caley Thistle started with a flourish and pressed the Dundee goal for most of the game. From the kick-off Barry Wilson raced down the right and sent in a low dangerous ball which was cleared then McBain shot well over the bar from outside the box. Dundee's Tam McManus ran into the Caley Thistle box in the ninth minute and had space to turn, but Grant Munro stepped in with a timely tackle. Brewster turned and shot over the bar in 15 minutes then a Bayne touch was held by Soutar. ICT dominance continued until the 26th minute when a Neil Barrett snap shot went over the bar. A minute later Dundee took the lead after a solo effort from Steven Robb. He ran down the left, passed two defenders, cut inside and his angled shot beat Mark Brown at the near post. From the kick-off ICT retaliated and a Brewster 25 yard shot was deflected for a corner. From Wilson's flag kick Munro rose high to head over. On the half-hour mark Fabian Caballero made a confident run into the ICT box and it took three defenders to retrieve the situation. A lob goalwards by Barry Smith cleared the bar but much closer than anticipated. The best ICT chance of the half came a minute from the whistle when a 25 yard swerving Brewster shot was touched over by Soutar. Half Time: 1-0 Hopes of a revival faded two minutes into the second half when a Caballero 18 yard shot was pushed upwards by Brown and as the ball came down McManus was there to head in Dundee's second goal, and a debut goal for him. The day went from bad to worse in 55 minutes when McCaffrey handled in the box and the resultant penalty was netted by John Sutton. A Stuart Golabek shot was deflected for a corner in 71 minutes, Bayne headed the corner over, Wilson drove over the bar in 75 minutes and Brewster curled the ball wide three minutes later; all stirring stuff but nothing to show for it. Darren Dods had to race back to rob Steven Robb ten minutes from time, but the play was still mainly in the other direction. As the minutes ticked away it was all about restoring pride as a Dods glancing header went wide and a Juanjo shot was cleared. A much-deserved goal finally came a minute from time when a Richie Hart free kick from the left curled towards the back post and Brewster was there to head his first goal for the club. The goal was welcome but it came an hour too late. With three added minutes there was still time for Wilson to shoot wide and a very good Bayne effort to be held by Soutar. Full Time: 3-1 This game completed the set of home/away matches against all SPL clubs and ICT now lie ninth but only three points off the foot of the table. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dundee: 3 (Robb 28, McManus 48, Sutton 56 pen). Team: Soutar, McNally, Wilkie, McDonald, Robb, Fotheringham, Barrett (Mann 86), Smith, Sutton, McManus (Robertson 66), Caballero (Larsen 79). Subs Not Used: Jack, Cerdeira, Clark. - Booked: None Inverness CT: 1 (Brewster 90) Team: Brown, Munro, Dods, McCaffrey, Golabek, Wilson, Duncan, Keogh (Juanjo 69), McBain (Hart 58), Brewster, Bayne. Subs Not Used: Fraser, Hastings, Proctor, Prunty, Black. - Booked: Golabek (60), Duncan (60). Attendance: 5,567 - Referee: Alan Freeland
  18. Inverness is not Invincible The final 'home' game at Pittodrie ended in disappointment. Chances were missed at both ends and ICT had more of the play, but it was Killie who came out on top after Danny Invincible scored a second half double. Craig Brewster kept the same team that drew with Aberdeen as his SPL registration was delayed and he chose not to appear in a trialist role. Both defences mopped up early efforts then in 17 minutes Graeme Smith came out quickly to take the ball at the feet of Graham Bayne. Killie had a golden chance to take the lead a minute later when a cross from Danny Invincible reached the head of Colin Nish in the heart of the box but he headed over with the goal at his mercy. Liam Keogh sent in a 25 yard shot in 22 minutes but, despite a deflection, Smith held it. Keogh had a better sight of goal four minutes later but he shot low and past. A Juanjo run in 28 minutes ended with the close attentions of two defenders meriting a free kick although the referee allowed play to continue as the ball fell for Grant Munro, but he slid the ball past. A strong Juanjo effort was blocked just before the break. Half Time: 0-0 Kilmarnock created more in the second half and headers went over the bar from Simon Ford and Invincible. Mark Brown dived to hold a Kris Boyd shot in 61 minutes then Graham Bayne headed wide of the Killie goal. All this left the crowd with the feeling that it would end goal-less. This changed in 78 minutes when a neat Alan Johnston pass reached Invincible on the right of the box but his low shot seemed to take a slight deflection and it ended up in the corner of the net. A minute later Richard Hastings headed Roy McBain's corner goalwards and it was headed off the line. It was a close call but the referee was satisfied that the ball had not crossed the line. Killie grew in confidence and ICT did not look like coming back. The visitors made it 2-0 with the last kick of the game after the ball eluded Darren Dods and Mark Brown. It landed at the feet of Invincible and he volleyed into the empty goal. Full Time: 0-2 After the final whistle Ross Tokely queried the ICT 'goal' with the referee's assistant and received a red card for his trouble. A bad day all round. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness CT: 0 Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro Hastings (46), Golabek, Hart (Wilson 60), Duncan, Keogh, McBain(Prunty 86), Juanjo, Bayne. Subs Not Used: Fraser; Proctor, McCaffrey, Fox - Booked: None - Sent off: Tokely (91) Kilmarnock: 2 (Invincible 79, 90) Team: Smith; Locke, Ford, Greer, Hay, McDonald, Leven, Naismith (Wales 73), Invincibile, Nish, (Johnston 66), Boyd (Fowler 86) Subs Not Used: Combe; Murray, Dodds, Wolski - Booked: Hay, Locke. Attendance: 1346 - Referee: John Rowbotham
  19. Away Draw at Home Another first; an away league game at 'home'. Despite the lack of goals this was an exciting end-to-end match, played in a cold, swirling wind. In the early stages it was Aberdeen who looked like scoring but, as the game went on, ICT came very close on several occasions. In the second minute a corner from Aberdeen's Chris Clark was headed goalwards by Zander Diamond, but it came off the post amidst sharp intakes of breath from the large visiting support. Three minutes later, a good move at the other end led to a Roy McBain low ball across goal from the left, but nobody could take advantage. The pressure returned to the Inverness end, and a Scott Severin shot from outside the box was deflected for a corner. There was a major let-off in 16 minutes when Stuart Golabek cleared a shot from Markus Heikkinen off the line. A curling ball into the six-yard area from Grant Munro in 20 minutes was turned goalwards by Graham Bayne's overhead kick, but Esson took it late at the top corner. Esson had to be quick to collect a loose ball four minutes later with Bayne nearly on it - Bayne went down but nothing was given. Liam Keogh sent a curling shot past the post in 29 minutes then Mark Brown took the ball at the feet of John Stewart. The best ICT chance of the half came in 33 minutes when a curling Ross Tokely cross from the right was met by McBain, but his diving header went past. Juanjo was, as usual, a real threat and, as the first half came to an end, he lobbed over then was tackled by Russell Anderson as he closed in on goal. Half Time: 0-0 Straight from the restart there was controversy, as Tokely went down injured in his own box and the referee allowed play to continue around him. The game was only stopped when Richie Hart also took a knock. The pressure on the Aberdeen goal increased and Hart shot over before a glancing header from Tokely forced a fine save from Esson. A bad pass-back on the hour mark allowed Juanjo in, but Esson saved well. Esson was again the hero with 20 minutes left when he blocked shots from Bayne and Juanjo in quick succession and Russell Duncan's follow-up was eventually cleared. Esson held an on-target Bayne header in 76 minutes. In a final Dons flurry, Brown had problems with a Richard Foster corner in the wind, but Duncan cleared the danger. Substitute Scott Muirhead then sent in a low, dangerous ball from the left but it came to nothing. In the end a draw was about right, but both teams regretted their missed chances. Full Time: 0-0 Craig Brewster must clearly be in the frame for the December Manager of the Month award; unbeaten in four games, a win at Motherwell and points taken off Rangers, Hearts and Aberdeen. ICT now turn the year in eighth place, four points above bottom-placed Dundee United. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Aberdeen: 0 Team: Esson, Hart, Anderson, Diamond, McNaughton, Clark (Muirhead 72), Heikkinen, Severin, Foster, Mackie, Stewart (McGuire 79). Subs Not Used: Blanchard, Morrison, Considine, O'Leary - Booked: None Inverness CT: 0 Team: Brown, Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Hart, Duncan, Keogh, McBain, Juanjo (Prunty 90), Bayne. Subs Not Used: Fraser, McCaffrey, Wilson, Hastings, Proctor, Fox - Booked: Dods (60), Munro (60) Attendance: 18,250 Referee: J Underhill
  20. Tale of two Penalties A well-earned point but three would have been amply justified. Craig Brewster stayed with the same team that performed heroics against Rangers. It was a strange afternoon with John Robertson and Donald Park in the away dug-out so soon after leaving Inverness but their knowledge of the ICT players did not pay-off. The 'home' side were in the driving seat for most of the game but the strong Hearts defence yielded little. Craig Gordon held a Richie Hart looping header in the 11th minute then a 15 yard Juanjo shot on the turn was blocked. Play switched ends and there was a dangerous moment when a Robbie Neilson ball across goal was cleared by Ross Tokely with Marc De Vries stretching for it. The big striker was the main Hearts threat all afternoon but he was well contained. It should have been 1-0 in the 15th minute when a Tokely through ball sent Juanjo clean through on Gordon. He had too much time and too many options as he tried to round the keeper but slipped and Gordon grabbed the ball gratefully. Grant Munro then limped off to be replaced by Richard Hastings. Juanjo went down in the box in 20 minutes after a 1-2 with Graham Bayne but nothing was given. Juanjo was tormenting the Hearts defence and he was brought down by Jamie McAllister in 28 minutes. Stuart Golabek's 25 yard free kick was held by Gordon. Tokely headed away a Paul Hartley free kick then another by Richie Hart was taken well by Gordon. The match flared up in 33 minutes when an Andy Webster barge on Graham Bayne ended with the ICT player heading forcibly for the dug-out and chaos ensued. Players clashed and, after order was restored, Webster saw red. Patrick Kisnorbo and Liam Keogh were both booked for their parts in the aftermath. The Inverness side pushed to take advantage of the extra man but nothing came off. The closest was in 39 minutes when Hart sent a low ball in from the right and Juanjo touched it just wide. Just after the break a Tokely cross from the right was met well by Bayne but Gordon saved his header. Half Time: 0-0 Robbie Neilson had a sight of goal in 54 minutes but Hastings popped up at the right moment to block the shot. Five minutes later Graham Weir closed in on Mark Brown but the keeper narrowed the angle and the shot trickled wide. Weir was again through in 62 minutes and he went down after contact with Brown as he tried to find an angle to shoot. The referee hesitated but, on the advice of his assistant, a penalty was awarded. Paul Hartley netted and, against the run of play, Hearts were ahead. It seemed rather a soft penalty but honours were evened up six minutes later when Juanjo went down at the other end and once more it was a penalty. Juanjo took it himself and scored. ICT pushed for a winner and in 69 minutes they came close. A Bayne header was blocked and it fell for Juanjo but it came to him at a difficult height and his shot hit the bar. In 75 minutes the Inverness defence was under pressure from a McAllister free kick but it was eventually cleared. A Tokely low ball across the Hearts goal ten minutes from the end looked good but no one could take advantage. A Tokely header was cleared for a corner in 84 minutes then, at the other end, a Pressley header was cleared off the line. The last chance fell to substitute Barry Wilson but as he raced for the ball, Gordon came out to punch it for a corner. Full Time: 1-1 A good point and tenth place held. ICT now have 15 points, the same as Dundee United and Livingston, with Dundee two points adrift at the foot of the table. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness CT: 1 (Juanjo 68 pen) Team: Brown; Tokely (McCaffrey 89), Dods, Munro (Hastings 16), Golabek, Hart (Wilson 72), Duncan, Keogh, McBain, Juanjo, Bayne Subs not used: Fraser; Proctor, Fox, Prunty - Booked: Keogh (33), Golabek (60), Brown (62) Hearts: 1 (Hartley 62 pen) Team: Gordon; Neilson, Pressley, Webster, Hamill (Berra 84), Wyness (Stewart 46), Hartley, Kisnorbo, McAllister, De Vries, Pereira (Weir 46) Subs not used: Moilanen; McKenna, Janczyk, Sloan - Booked: Kisnorbo (33), Weir (68) - Sent Off: Webster (33) Attendance: 2011 - Referee: Calum Murray
  21. Brewster makes his point This match was live on Setanta TV with a 2 pm kick-off. An excellent performance by every ICT player enabled them to come away from the match with their heads held high as Caley Thistle ensured Craig Brewster's first point as manager of the club. Ross Tokely returned to the side after suspension and Roy McBain came back from injury. The game got off to a sensational start for the home side when they took the lead after three minutes. The Gers had been on the attack and had earned an early corner kick but the ball was cleared up to Juanjo on the right touchline. He quickly touched it back to Richie Hart and from his immaculate cross Graham Bayne touched the ball home from six yards after beating the offside trap. Rangers were stung into action and Dado Prso tested Mark Brown. ICT were playing well and controlling the midfield and midway through the half skipper Stuart Golabek forced a great save from Stefan Klos with a long-range strike. In the closing minutes of the first half the visitors were lucky to get away with a shout for a penalty when Bob Malcolm obstructed Juanjo but the referee said no. Half Time: 1-0 Rangers introduced Bob Davidson into the side at the break for Namouchi and they immediately attacked the ICT goal. The constant pressure was eventually rewarded with an equaliser with Alex Rae playing the ball through for Stephen Hughes and his run and final pass found Prso who slipped the ball into the corner of the net. Prso had another chance but he shot well over the bar after good work by Rae. Liam Keogh then played a one-two with Juanjo but Klos saved well. Rangers' fans were calling for a penalty when Prso went down in the box alongside Darren Dods but their protests came to nothing. Mark Brown was the ICT hero at the end of the match when Nacho Novo turned and shot inside the box but the ICT No1 was up to it and he saved it when the ball nestled between his legs. Full Time: 1-1 At the end of the match the ICT support gave their team a rousing reception for the tremendous performance. The players worked hard for each other and deservedly took a point from a game they were expected to take nothing from. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness CT: 1 (Bayne 3) Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Hart (Wilson 81), Keogh, Duncan, McBain (Hastings 64), Bayne, Juanjo (Prunty 90) Subs not used: Fraser, McCaffrey, Proctor, Fox - Booked: Bayne (75), Hart (81) Rangers FC: 1 (Prso 51) Team: Klos, Khizanishvili, Boumsong (Alex Rae 31), Andrews, Steven Smith, Hughes, Ricksen, Malcolm, Namouchi (Davidson 45), Novo, Prso. Subs not used: Graeme Smith, Mladenovic, Ball, Hutton, Fetai. Attendance: 6543 - Referee: Craig Thomson
  22. Brewster loss in first game New manager Craig Brewster took charge of the team for the first time and was immediately dealt a blow when Roy McBain had to be replaced at the warm-up due to a muscle spasm. Liam Keogh took his place. The other change saw Stuart McCaffrey coming into the side for the suspended Ross Tokely. Most of the play in the early stages of the match was in midfield with both sides creating few chances. On the half hour mark Hibs nearly scored when Sam Morrow's 12-yard volley was well blocked by Mark Brown and from the rebound Gary Caldwell blazed the ball high into the stand. Three minutes after that Caley Thistle took the lead with a superb goal from Juanjo. The Spaniard broke down the left and moved into the box before curling an exquisite right foot shoot round the keeper into the net at the far post. The lead, however, was short-lived as the home side equalised five minutes later when the ever dangerous Derek Riordan ran down the left to the line and then cut the ball back for Guillaume Beuzelin to hit the ball home from 12 yards. The Hibees nearly made it two but Riordan drove wide with only Brown to beat. Half Time:1-1 Hibs made a substitution at the start of the second half and two minutes later they took the lead. David Murphy disposed Juanjo and moved the ball quickly through to Samuel Morrow who sent the ball to the right for Alen Orman. Orman drove the ball across the face of the ICT area and Riordan was onto it like a flash to volley past Brown. Richie Hart replied with a terrific header which was tipped over the crossbar by Simon Brown. At the other end Mark Brown was called into action once again to deny McCluskey's snapshot in a packed penalty area and Riordan then had another effort saved by the ICT No1. ICT's best chance for an equaliser came in the dying minutes of the game when Hart's long ball found Fox and the ex-Hearts youngster headed it down for the incoming Graham Bayne but the striker just missed making contact with the ball as he slid in. With the seconds ticking away there was just time for Mark Brown to pull off another fantastic save when he denied Riordan once again after fine work by David Rocastle. Full Time: 2-1 Overall we might have taken a point from the game. Livingston beat Kilmarnock and it is very tight at the bottom once again. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hibernian: 2 (Beuzelin 39, Riordan 47) Team: Simon Brown; Whittaker, Caldwell, Murray, Murphy, Orman (Glass 83), Beuzelin, Morrow (O'Connor 61), Shiels (McCluskey 45), Rocastle, Riordan Subs not used: Smith; Brown, Dobbie, Fletcher - Booked: Murray (56) Inverness CT: 1 (Juanjo 34) Team: Mark Brown; McCaffrey, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Wilson (Fox 65), Hart, Duncan, Keogh, Juanjo (Prunty 78), Bayne Subs not used: Fraser; Proctor, Hastings, Thomson, Black - Booked: None Attendance: 9728 - Referee: Steve Conroy
  23. Early bath for Rossco... Ross Tokely's 300th game ended prematurely with a second yellow card in the 68th minute and an early shower. Caley Thistle were then forced onto the back foot but held out for a draw. They had earlier looked good value for their lead and victory was a distinct possibility. Stand-in management team John Docherty and Charlie Christie made no changes to that which lost to Celtic. The crowd of 1125 was the lowest for a league match at Pittodrie this season but what they lacked in numbers they certainly made up for in enthusiasm and noise. The burning issue was the vacant managers post but the players just got on with the job in a professional manner. ICT began the game well and Darren Dods had a chance in nine minutes but his effort from five yards went over the bar. At the other end the big defender then fouled Jason Scotland on the edge of the box but Mark Wilson's 20-yard drive sailed over the bar. Caley Thistle should have had a penalty when Mark Wilson handled the ball in the area but the referee waived away the claim. On the half hour Richie Hart had a terrific strike which Paul Jarvie in the United goal did well to parry and defender Alan Archibald was on hand to clear the danger. United's Derek McInnes then had an effort go wide of the mark before Jim McIntyre's left foot strike came back off the far post and fell to Barry Robson but he was well tackled by Stuart Golabek. Half Time: 0-0 Two minutes into the second half and another chance for ICT when Roy McBain's corner kick was swung over and Barry Wilson, at the far post, was unable to get a touch to the ball. It was not long before the opening goal when Russell Duncan played a superb ball through to Roy McBain on the left and the midfielder ran clean through on the United goal only to see Jarvie parry his shot across goal - there on hand to score his second goal of the season was Juanjo who rolled the ball into the net from all of three yards. Minutes later it could have been two when Barry Wilson's superb 25-yard free-kick came back off the woodwork. United were back in the game just after the hour mark when Jim McIntyre struck a tremendous shot which gave Mark Brown no chance. Juanjo's excellent 20-yard drive then struck the post and went for a goal kick. Worse was to follow for Caley Thistle as Ross Tokely, who was booked in the first half, brought down Derek McInnes and his second yellow card was followed by the red and ICT were left to play the final 20 minutes of the match with 10 men. Full Time: 1-1 In the end the team held out for a draw and moved four points clear of bottom-club Livingston. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inverness CT: 1 (Juanjo 50) Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, McBain, Duncan, Hart (McCaffrey 90), Wilson (Fox 76), Juanjo, Bayne Subs not used: Fraser; Thomson, Black, Keogh, Prunty Booked: Tokely (30), Duncan (60) - Sent Off: Tokely (75) Dundee United: 1 (McIntyre 63) Team: Jarvie; Ritchie, McCracken, Archibald, Wilson, Brebner, McInnes, Robson (Grady 80), McIntyre, Dodds (Kerkar 58), Scotland (Samuel 76) Subs not used: Hirschfield; Cameron, Gardiner, Innes - Booked: Robson (36) Attendance: 1125 - Referee: Stuart Dougal
  24. Rudderless Caley Jags sunk at Parkhead With a new manager still not in place, John Docherty and Charlie Christie took control of the side and they sent out the same team that took a point the previous Saturday at East End Park. Mark Brown was fit enough to play and Celtic welcomed back Chris Sutton into the side as they eased the pain of their midweek CIS Cup defeat to Rangers with a comfortable win over Inverness. ICT found themselves a goal down after three minutes when Aiden McGeady curled in a cross from the left and Chris Sutton rose high to head into the net. It was not looking good at that stage as the home side pressed to increase their lead but it was ICT who gradually clawed their way back into the game and had a good amount of possession, especially in the midfield area. Graham Bayne was once again a tireless worker and he neatly set up Barry Wilson but a good tackle by Neil Lennon thwarted the danger. The play swung to the other end and Mark Brown pulled off a tremendous save from Henri Camara before Juanjo was fouled and Roy McBain's kick went inches over the bar. Half Time: 1-0 The home side increased their lead in 52 minutes with the first of a double from John Hartson. Jackie McNamara swung over a low cross from the right and Hartson swept the ball into the net. ICT rallied well and Magnus Hedman produced an excellent save from a 30 yard effort by Barry Wilson. Hedman later denied ICT skipper Stuart Golabek by turning his fierce effort round the post. Liam Fox replaced Juanjo and he was immediately involved in some fine passing with Russell Duncan and Roy McBain. ICT were then given a great chance to get back into the game in 73 minutes when Stanislav Varga brought Richie Hart crashing to the ground. A stonewall penalty but Wilson's weak effort was easily saved by Hedman. To rub salt into the wound, Celtic increased their lead five minutes later with another effort from Hartson. McGeady passed to Jackie McNamara who moved in on goal. Mark Brown narrowed the angle but McNamara managed to squeeze the ball goalwards and it was eventually put into the net by Hartson. Full Time: 3-0 A double substitution by both teams was made but by that time the game was lost for Caley Thistle and Celtic ran out easy winners. The goals... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Celtic: 3 (Sutton 3, Hartson 53, 77) Team: Hedman; McNamara, Varga, Balde, Valgaeren, McGeady, Lennon, Sutton (Pearson 80), Thompson, Camara (Juninho 80), Hartson. Subs not used: Marshall, Sylla, Lawson, Quinn - Booked: McNamara (26), Varga (74). Inverness CT: 0 Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Golabek, Munro, McBain, Hart (Keogh 80), Duncan, Wilson (Prunty 80) Juanjo (Fox 67), Bayne. Subs not used: Fraser; McCaffrey, Thomson, Black. Referee:- Hugh Dallas. Attendance: 56594
  25. Life after Robbo With John Robertson already off to Tynecastle, Donald Park stayed behind to take charge for one game. It was a gutsy performance which saw Caley Thistle head home with a point. ICT started with the same team that beat Livingston. The main talking point of the day was the referee whose decisions led to much criticism and debate. The early exchanges saw the home side have good attempts from Craig Brewster and Billy Mehmet with Mark Brown having to be on top form to tip the latter's 30 yard shot over the bar. Caley Thistle were still finding their feet on the plastic but Juanjo was doing well running at The Pars defence and giving them a hard time of it. Graham Bayne was also working hard and Barry Wilson was making some fine runs down the right wing. But it was the home side who took the lead just before the half hour. Richie Byrne fed a through ball to Craig Brewster who in turn found Billy Mehmet and the midfielder passed the ball to Darren Young and his shot from 25 yards flew into the corner of the net. ICT should have been level moments later when Richie Hart was left in the clear with only the goalkeeper to beat but the midfielder shot high and wide. Minutes later the referee was embroiled in controversy when Scott Wilson brought down Juanjo it took several minutes to sort things out before the free-kick was taken. Half Time: 1-0 No more incidents or goals so the second half began and this time the controversy was in the Caley Thistle box when Barry Nicholson went down after Mark Brown had gone for the ball. The referee obviously thought that Nicholson had taken a dive so gave nothing - strangely there was no yellow card. ICT continued to look for an equaliser and Russell Duncan's fine run and shot and then Bayne's good effort saw Derek Stillie in the home goal having to look lively and make good saves from both efforts. An equaliser was on the cards and it came in the shape of substitute Liam Fox, a goalscoring hero in the recent Kilmarnock fixture. Roy McBain's corner fell to Fox and his fine shot from the edge of the box took a deflection off Ross Tokely and landed in the back of the net. The goal was no more than Caley Thistle deserved for an excellent second half performance on a pitch that was now really tricky due to the incessant rain. Full Time: 1-1 During the game we had a tale of two goalkeeping incidents. Firstly Mark Brown pulled off a tremendous save from a back header from Stuart Golabek which the ICT captain eventually managed to scramble back and clear before the ball finally went out for a corner kick and more bizarrely we had the sight of Pars keeper Derek Stillie doing a juggling act with the ball as he attempted to make sure that Barry Wilson did not find the back of the net. In the end a fine away point. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dunfermline: 1 (Darren Young 28) Team: Stillie; Wilson, Skerla (Byrne 19), Shields, Tod (Derek Young 60), Nicholson, Thomson, Darren Young, Mason, Mehmet (Donnelly 75), Brewster Subs Not Used: Langfield; Labonte, Bradley, Butler - Booked: Wilson (39), Young (51), Donnelly (84) Inverness CT: 1 (Fox 79) Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Wilson (Keogh 84), Hart (Fox 71), Duncan (Black 77), McBain, Juanjo, Bayne Subs Not Used: Fraser; McCaffrey, Thomson, Prunty - Booked: (Bayne 9) Attendance: 4921 Referee: Iain Brines
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