Change:  Go to:
27.10.2007 @ 15:00 Fir Park, Motherwell Attendance: 1096
Gretna 0 - 4 Inverness CT
Referee: Mike McCurry League-match

Goalscorers
None Dennis Wyness (pen) (2)
Don Cowie (31)
Barry Wilson (73)
Roy McBain (75)
Starting Lineup
Caig
Cowan
Horwood
Grainger
McGuffie
Jenkins
Murray
Hogg
Skelton
Yantorno
Buscher
Michael Fraser
Richard Hastings
Ross Tokely
Grant Munro
Phil McGuire
Roy McBain
Russell Duncan
Ian Black
Don Cowie
Dennis Wyness
Marius Niculae
Substitutes
McMenamin
Deverdics
Graham
McGill
Grady
Paarpalu
Fleming
Zbigniew Małkowski
David Proctor
Guy Kerr
Barry Wilson
Iain Vigurs
Graham Bayne
Dean McDonald
Substitutions
Graham -> Cowan (46)
Grady -> Hogg (66)
McMenamin -> Buscher (79)
Barry Wilson -> Ian Black (60)
Graham Bayne -> Marius Niculae (72)
David Proctor -> Phil McGuire (79)
Yellow cards
Murray (39) Phil McGuire (63)
Red cards
None None.
Other statistics
10 Shots 11
3 Shots on goal 6
6 Offsides 3
4 Corner kicks 9
9 Free kicks 14
0 Penalties 1
Match report
It was going to be a long day as it was, and it was one made even longer for me when I received a call during the early hours of the morning to let me know that I was to be an uncle again as my brother and his wife had been blessed with a son weighing in at 5lbs 5oz who was to be named Michael Rury. A toast to their good health would have to wait as I had to be up and about in a couple of hours to ferry the ICT faithful to Fir Park for the game.

Ironically, interest in attending the game was high as everyone wanted to be part of the crowd that was tipped to become the lowest ever in the SPL. Gretna had organised a Family Fun day for pre-match entertainment and that meant an early start to allow the youngsters (and the young at heart) to attend.

The decision had also been taken to brighten things up a bit by participating in the “Wear it Pink” campaign in support of the Breast Cancer Campaign. The ladies were dressed head to toe in pink, whilst the only pink from the lads was the colour of their cheeks resulting from a sherbet or two in the Social Club pre-match.

Those travelling on the CaleyThistleOnline minibus were split into two buses this week. Maimie was first with her bus with me following on after a couple of pick-ups. Male arrogance was in full flow and we were confident we’d catch them on the A9 despite the 10 minute lead. That wasn’t to be, although both buses pulled in to Ballinluig one after the other for the breakfast stop.

Maimie was first away again, and we were all ready to roll until it was discovered that we’d somehow managed to pay for breakfast twice…TM4TJ and Billy the fish weren’t having this and had to go back in to reclaim some funds for the beer when we got to Motherwell. Finally we were back on the road and despite short visit to the crematorium at the request of Caley100 we made it to Fir Park.

We were made very welcome at the Social Club and were mingling happily with the Gretna and Motherwell fans (they were waiting on their bus to take them to Parkhead). Spirits were high, the songs had already begun and a quick call back to the Innes Bar confirmed what we all suspected….Scooby wasn’t available to give us a lift the 50 yards from the Social Club to the Stadium!!!

Predictions for the crowd were coming in at around the 600 to 700 mark whilst predictions on the score were based around a 1-2 or 0-2 for ICT. My own prediction had been 1-3 as clean sheets haven’t been our speciality this season.

There had been much speculation about the team, would Brewster make himself available and would Zibi get another chance in goal….as it was, Craig Brewster went with only one change to the starting line up for this match against bottom of the league Gretna with Michael Fraser coming in to start against the on-loan Zibi Malkowski. Gretna had also gone with a change of goalkeeper by bringing in Caig and had made changes in most other areas of the field.

On entering the stadium the crowd looked more than the predicted 6 or 700 and the Caley Thistle faithful had turned out in good numbers and high spirits. The songs had started before the teams were even on the pitch and the majority of the travelling support was in good voice.

It wasn’t going to take much to have the Caley Jags fans singing today but rewards for the twelfth man came early. A long throw by Munro into the box led to a chance for Tokely to stick the ball in to the net at the left post, his chance was impeded by barge from Cowan, but the result was a deserved penalty. Wyness stepped up to do the honours and he sent Caig the wrong way as he placed the ball comfortably into the bottom-right of the net.

Caley Thistle looked to be in control of the game from early on with Gretna doing very little to threaten. We were defending from well up the park which seemed to be frustrating Gretna and it became obvious early on that they were relying heavily on Fabian Yantorno.

Marius Niculae was next to threaten the Gretna goal. He picked up the ball on the halfway line and made direct for the Gretna end. He was closed out with about 25 yards to go but managed to stop and control the ball for a shot which went low and narrowly wide of the post.

Gretna’s first shot on goal came shortly afterwards following a foul by Tokely on Yantorno 35 yards out. Yantorno decided to shoot direct but it offered no trouble to Fraser and dipped harmlessly on to the roof of the net.

The chants were coming thick and fast from the travelling Caley Jags fans….”Your just a Pub Team from England” and “Shall we sing a song for You” being directed at the very quiet Gretna Support.

Niculae then came close again. Caig had come off his line to chase a high ball to his left but missed it in dramatic fashion only for it to fall in front of the goal a few yards out. Niculae was at full stretch as he clipped the ball on the volley with his right foot. Had he got a little more on it then Grainger would have been unable to reach it and clear it from the line. Nobody seems more desperate to score for ICT just now than him, and you have to wonder what he has to do to get his name on an SPL goalsheet as he continues to be denied.

Dennis Wyness was fouled about 25 yards out on the left side of the pitch shortly afterwards and the balled was placed for Don Cowie to take the free-kick. His shot was well struck and it curled around the wall and inside the near post to make it 0-2 after 31 minutes.

Then came one of the most bizarre bookings I have ever seen. It could only have been given for dissent as not only was the ball nowhere near the booked Paul Murray, but he hadn’t been involved anywhere in the play. It didn’t take long for those around me to agree that given the poor effort by Gretna in the game so far, he’d been booked simply because he was…eh….”not very good”, and the rest of the Gretna team would be booked for the same thing if they didn’t get their act together.

Inverness CT weren’t playing at their best but Gretna had nothing to offer which was caused us any trouble. McBain did manage one other shot on goal before the half-time whistle and the Caley Jags were cheered off the park for a dominating first 45 minute performance.

HT – Gretna 0 v 2 Inverness CT

One half-time substitution for Gretna as David Graham was brought on to replace David Cowan and it looked like Gretna were going to go for broke and risk 3 at the back.

Caley Thistle looked sharp for the first 5 minutes of the second half getting off to a very positive start with Niculae heading narrowly over from the penalty box and Wyness also going over with an attempted lob from the left side of the area.

For the next 20 minutes or so it looked like we were going to be happy to defend our lead and we allowed Gretna to come at us a bit more by choosing to defend a bit deeper.

Yantorno was caught narrowly offside about 20 yards out and moments later he missed narrowly wide from 25 yards out. Ian Black was down injured on the far side of the field and it seemed to go unnoticed as play continued. Then McGuffie had a text book copy of Yantorno’s effort missing narrowly right. It looked like ICT had gone to sleep and if they weren’t careful Gretna were going to get themselves right back in to this game.

Black had to make his own way off the pitch to receive treatment and the decision was quickly made to send Barry Wilson on in his place. Philip McGuire received a soft yellow card for a mis-timed tackle on Yantorno. Although it didn’t appear that any contact was made, Yantorno had decided to go to ground. His recovery was miraculous though. The moment the card was shown he was up and ready to take the free-kick which sailed harmlessly over the bar.

Frasers goal kick was picked up well by Gretna and they came right back at us with Skelton opting to shoot from 30 yards out. The ball looked like it was going safely (if only narrowly) wide, but Fraser was taking no chances and a spectacular dive saw him getting a full hand behind the powerful shot and pushing it out along the line. Niculae made a desperate attempt to chase and keep the ball in to prevent the corner but a chasing Gretna player posed too much of a threat and he knocked it safely out.

The Caley Thistle fans had been giving James Grady a bit of a hard time when he was warming up in the first half (we seemed to have songs for everyone and everything today), and he had now been take on to replace Steven Hogg.

About 20 minutes in to the second half and we finally looked like we’d got ourselves together again and were back to defending from further forward and quickly breaking down the little threat Gretna had been showing. It was also time for our second sub with Bayne coming on to replace Niculae up front.

Wyness had a shot pushed out by Caig with about 20 minutes left on the clock. Cowie knocked the resultant penalty in to the box but the clearance didn’t go too far before being played back in. Some nice touches from ICT saw us carve their defence apart with Munro playing the killer ball to Wilson who wasn’t left with much to do but stick the ball in the net. 0-3

This was the catalyst for the first of the Gretna fans to start departing from the stadium to chants of “Cheerio” and “We Can See You Sneaking Out”….not to mention my favourite of the day “Relegation to You” (sung to the tune of Happy Birthday to You). I was getting hoarse and the Stewards seemed to have all but given up on telling us to sit down…

”What’s the point, we’ll be standing to celebrate the next goal soon” was one reply to them…made all the funnier by the fact that whoever had said it was spot on. No sooner had we stopped cheering the third goal when the 4th one came. And it was a goal from nothing. A run of the mill ball played in from the right to McBain about 30 yards out. He must have saw the gap and the chance because he simply let rip with a shot into top dead centre….his name on the score sheet and a Free M.O.T from Caley100 (that’ll teach him to keep his gob shut…lol)

Substitutions by both teams with 12 minutes on the clock did little to change the flow of the game. Proctor came on to replace the booked McGuire and Gretna swapped Buscher for McMennamin

The last 10 minutes saw ICT simply knocking the ball about and killing the clock. Yantoro did manage his party trick of knocking a ball over the bar one more time from a fair distance out, with our own Wilson and Tokely having half chances of their own.

Caley Thistle fans had taken pity on the Gretna support that had remained to the end and we even took to cheering on their players when they had the ball. Fortunately I managed to spell Gretna correctly when doing a round of “Gimme a G…Gimme an R…etc”

From here on in I don’t think we let Gretna within 30 yards of goal and McCurry should receive a humanity medal for putting them out of their misery on the stroke of 90 minutes with no time added.

I said after the Hibs game that we were going to give someone a hammering sooner rather than later due to the way we had been playing back then. The truth is, we weren’t at the top of our game today, but we didn’t have to be. We always looked ready to shift up a gear if it was needed whilst Gretna already looked like they had engaged everything at their disposal.

The journey home…..well that’s a story in itself and shall be left for discussion on the forums!!!