Inverness CT 0 - 1 Falkirk

League Match
Saturday, May 23rd, 2009, 12:30 PM at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium
Attendance: 6,489
Referee: Eddie Smith
Inverness CT  Falkirk

None. Michael Higdon (67)

Team Managers
Terry Butcher John Hughes

Starting Eleven
Michael Fraser
Ross Tokely
Grant Munro
Lionel Djebi-Zadi
Pavels Mihadjuks
Roy McBain
Ian Black
Filipe Morais
Brian Kerr
Dougie Imrie
Richie Foran
Castro Dani Mallo
Jackie McNamara
Darren Barr
Gerard Aafjes
Thomas Scobbie
Arnau Riera
Patrick Cregg
Burton OBrien
Scott Arfield
Steve Lovell
Carl Finnigan

Ryan Esson
Richie Byrne
Russell Duncan
Iain Vigurs
Andrew Barrowman
Adam Rooney
Eric Odhiambo
Robert Olejnik
Lee Bullen
Dean Holden
Neil McCann
Chris Mitchell
Michael Higdon
Mark Stewart

Russell Duncan for Roy McBain (42)
Eric Odhiambo for Filipe Morais (75)
Andrew Barrowman for Ian Black (84)
Mark Stewart -> Arnau Riera (53)
Michael Higdon -> Steve Lovell (65)

Ian Black (40)
Lionel Djebi-Zadi (68)
Patrick Cregg (44)

Red Cards
Ross Tokely (38)
Appearances & Goals To Date
Michael Fraser (GK) 78 apps -
Pavels Mihadjuks 15 apps2 goals
Grant Munro 283 apps8 goals
Ross Tokely 482 apps32 goals
Lionel Djebi-Zadi 20 apps -
Filipe Morais 14 apps5 goals
Ian Black 144 apps8 goals
Roy McBain 330 apps19 goals
Brian Kerr 12 apps1 goal
Richie Foran 17 apps3 goals
Dougie Imrie 58 apps7 goals
Russell Duncan (sub) 291 apps9 goals
Andrew Barrowman (sub) 33 apps2 goals
Eric Odhiambo (sub) 10 apps1 goal

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Dougie Imrie (25 years 300 days)
Oldest Player:Lionel Djebi-Zadi (2010 years 297 days)
Average Player Age:28 years 9 days
Domestic Players:11 (100.00 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Iain Vigurs (21 years 21 days)
Oldest Player:Andrew Barrowman (2010 years 297 days)
Average Player Age:26 years 211 days
Domestic Players:18 (100.00 % of matchday squad)

First Team Debuts


Relegation Day:

The maths were relatively simple... whoever took this game by the scruff of the neck would stay in the SPL, the other would go down. ICT even had the luxury of the draw too. However, it was not to be and for the first time in ICT history, the team have been relegated courtesy of a second half strike from Michael Higdon and a Red card for Ross Tokely

We are not going to play the blame game at the moment... post mortems and all that go with them can come later... for now, its quiet reflection and grief as we come to terms with our relegation.

Prior to this decisive game you could have cut the tension around the stadium with a knife. At the end the large Falkirk travelling support was delirious with joy and the home fans were silenced in disbelief at the turn of events that led to relegation on goal difference. Only a draw was needed and even with defeat there was an outside chance of survival if Hamilton could defeat St Mirren by two goals more than those lost by Caley Thistle. Hamilton did win but only by 1-0 so the First Division became a certainty for next season.

In the 15 years of the unified club’s existence this was the first time that relegation had loomed so large but with home advantage and just a point needed the odds were in favour of ICT. A wonder save from Dani Mallo in the 12th minute, a red card for Ross Tokely just before the interval and a goal from Falkirk’s Michael Higdon in the 68th minute changed all that.

Terry Butcher was forced into one change to his side as Pavels Mihadjuks came in for the injured David Proctor. Richie Byrne replaced Gavin Morrison on the bench. This was the last match for Hearts bound Ian Black and new Motherwell signing Mike Fraser.

The match started at a frantic pace with Falkirk forced back. In the third minute a Dougie Imrie shot was blocked as was Richie Foran’s follow-up then a minute later Falkirk ‘keeper Dani Mallo saved a low Foran shot after the Caley Thistle man had done well to create space to shoot. In 12 minutes Mallo produced a stop that probably saved Falkirk’s season.

Filipe Morais forced his way to the left bye line and his cut-back left Foran with a seemingly empty goal and he could pick his spot. From six yards out he side footed goalwards and as the home crowd rose to its feet Mallo appeared from nowhere to save. It was a major turning point but it did not stop the home pressure.

A Morais shot flew over the bar in 18 minutes and it was not until 28 minutes before Falkirk put serious pressure on the home goal. A Steve Lovell shot was blocked then from a corner a Thomas Scobbie header went for another corner via Lionel Djebi-Zadi.

The match turned in Falkirk’s favour in 39 minutes when Ross Tokely and Lovell chased a ball heading towards the home area – there appeared to be a minor tussle and Lovell went down 22 yards out. After checking with his assistant, referee Eddie Smith showed Tokely a straight red card. It seemed very harsh and the home crowd made their feelings known to the referee for a long time afterwards. Terry Butcher sacrificed Roy McBain and introduced Russell Duncan at right back with Pavels Mihadjuks moving into Tokely’s central defensive role.

The ten men continued to take the game to Falkirk after the interval and in 47 minutes an Ian Black free kick caused some stress in the Falkirk defence as Carl Finnigan headed just over his own bar. Towards the hour mark the visitors began to come into it and Grant Munro had to make a captain’s clearance close to the goal line as a Mark Stewart lob rose over Mike Fraser and headed for the net. Michael Higdon came on in 65 minutes and three minutes later he became a hero.

Veteran Jackie McNamara cut the ball back low from the right bye line and Higdon touched it in from close range.

This inspired Falkirk and they gained in confidence as they now saw SPL survival on the horizon. It should have all been wrapped up five minutes from time when Stewart set up Finnigan but from six yards he blasted over with the goal gaping.

Not surprisingly Falkirk took their time over everything as the final whistle approached but Caley Thistle pressed hard and with three minutes left Brian Kerr hit over from 16 yards after a strong run through the middle. The best home chance in the closing period came in 89 minutes when Eric Odhiambo hit a low ball across the Falkirk penalty box, Andy Barrowman dummied and Duncan saw his on-target shot well saved.

In the third of the four added minutes Djebi-Zadi set up Imrie who rode one tackle before hitting over the bar. The whistle went, the Falkirk camp went wild and the home support rued the missed chances over the last few games that would have meant SPL safety.

A sad end to what started as a promising season. The real undoing was the eight game losing spell from 29 November to 24 January. The revival under Terry Butcher and Maurice Malpas turned this around but in the end it was not enough.

Match report written by tm4tj


Pld W D L F A +/- Pts
1. Rangers 37 25 8 4 74 28 46 83
2. Celtic 37 24 9 4 80 33 47 81
3. Hearts 37 16 10 11 40 37 3 58
4. Dundee Utd 37 13 14 10 47 47 0 53
5. Aberdeen 37 13 11 13 39 39 0 50
6. Motherwell 38 13 9 16 46 51 -5 48
7. Hibernian 37 11 14 12 41 44 -3 47
8. Kilmarnock 38 12 8 18 37 48 -11 44
9. Hamilton Academical 38 12 5 21 30 52 -22 41
10. Falkirk 38 9 11 18 37 52 -15 38
11. St. Mirren 38 9 10 19 33 52 -19 37
12. Inverness CT 38 10 7 21 37 58 -21 37