Hibernian 1 - 1 Inverness CT

League Match
Wednesday, December 28th, 2011, 3:00 PM at Easter Road Stadium, Edinburgh
Attendance: 6,923
Referee: Steven McLean
Hibernian Inverness CT

Goalscorers
Garry O'Connor (8) Johnny Hayes (41)

Team Managers
Pat Fenlon Terry Butcher

Starting Eleven
Graham Stack
Sean O'Hanlon
David Stephens
Callum Booth
Richard Towell
Ivan Sproule
Lewis Stevenson
Danny Galbraith
David Wotherspoon
Garry O'Connor
Leigh Griffiths
Ryan Esson
Kenny Gillet
Thomas Piermayr
Roman Golobart
Lee Cox
Johnny Hayes
Graeme Shinnie
David Davis
Richie Foran
Gregory Tade
Billy Mckay

Bench
Mark Brown
Ian Murray
Martin Scott
Sean Welsh
Victor Palsson
Samuel Stanton
Akpo Sodje
Jonny Tuffey
Josh Meekings
Gavin Morrison
Nick Ross
Aaron Doran
Greg Tansey
Shane Sutherland

Substitutions
Martin Scott => Leigh Griffiths (63)
Victor Palsson => Richard Towell (75)
Ian Murray => Ivan Sproule (82)
Greg Tansey for Lee Cox (73)
Aaron Doran for Billy Mckay (75)

Bookings
David Stephens (25)
Garry O'Connor (44)
Sean O'Hanlon (87)
Roman Golobart (37)
David Davis (88)

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Ryan Esson (GK) 129 apps -
Roman Golobart 13 apps1 goal
Thomas Piermayr 15 apps -
Kenny Gillet 26 apps -
Lee Cox 82 apps4 goals
David Davis 14 apps1 goal
Graeme Shinnie 40 apps1 goal
Johnny Hayes 86 apps21 goals
Richie Foran 115 apps29 goals
Gregory Tade 22 apps7 goals
Billy Mckay 7 apps1 goal
Aaron Doran (sub) 23 apps3 goals
Greg Tansey (sub) 20 apps2 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Roman Golobart (19 years 286 days)
Oldest Player:Graeme Shinnie (2013 years 151 days)
Average Player Age:23 years 341 days
Domestic Players:10 (90.91 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Roman Golobart (19 years 286 days)
Oldest Player:Graeme Shinnie (2013 years 151 days)
Average Player Age:23 years 189 days
Domestic Players:16 (88.89 % of matchday squad)

First Team Debuts

Milestones

Easter Road for Xmas

Caley Thistle headed to Easter road for post-Christmas league duty hoping to heap more misery on Pat Fenlon who has yet to earn a point as Hibees manager. Perhaps the CaleyJags could also end the year with a cleansheet?

The cleansheet was gone early doors as Garry O'Connor opened the scoring with a great free-kick after 8 minutes, but not to be outdone, Jonny Hayes stepped up in the 41st minute, beat 3 or 4 men before unleashing a 22 yard drive into the net to equalise.

A classic game it was not, but either side could have grabbed all three points on numerous occasions but in the end the points were shared as it finished 1-1

Alternative Maryhill provides the match report ......

A trip to Easter Road is always one of the most enjoyable on the Caley Away itinerary, and with Terry Butcher’s team facing a struggling Hibs team on the back of two fine performances against Rangers and Aberdeen, and with peace, goodwill to all men and fair amount of Christmas and Boxing Day spirit probably still in the bloodstream, it was an unusually optimistic group of the usual away day suspects who turned up at Easter Road via the Brass Monkey and the Iona.

However, in truth this was a pretty patchy game briefly illuminated by two quite beautiful goals, and while a draw away from home is never a bad result, ultimately it was probably a frustrating night for Caley Thistle’s players, who dominated possession but never managed to kill off a Hibernian side clearly lacking in confidence and creativity.

Ross Tokely and Andrew Shinnie were again sidelined and despite having Josh Meekings available, Terry Butcher opted to go with the same line-up that defeated Aberdeen on Christmas Eve, with Kenny Gillet partnering Roman Golobart in central defence and Graeme Shinnie and Thomas Piermayr at left and right back respectively. Richie Foran was again deployed as a deeper-lying central midfielder alongside David Davis and Lee Cox, and Gregory Tade and Jonny Hayes performed the attacking wide roles, supporting lone striker Billy Mackay.

The early running in the game was made by Caley Thistle, in particular Gregory Tade, who was ruled offside in the first minute, then shortly afterwards created a threat when he ran onto a long diagonal ball from Thomas Piermayr and pressurised Hibs ‘keeper Graham Stack into fumbling as he tried to pick the ball out of the air. In the seventh minute, however, Hibs were presented with their first opportunity when Roman Golobart, who otherwise had an outstanding game, bundled Danny Galbraith over from behind twenty yards from goal. Garry O’Connor stepped up and swung a perfect free kick into the top left hand corner of Esson’s goal. Although in a pre-match interview one of the Hibs players had spoken of the team being ‘scared’ to take the lead, the Edinburgh side briefly seemed to take some heart from the early lead and were the better team for the subsequent ten minutes, forcing another couple of free kicks which, thankfully, did not trouble Esson.

As the game approached the twentieth minute, however, Caley Thistle began to take more control, with the midfield trio of Foran, Davis and Cox particularly influential in their willingness to outfight and outmuscle their Hibernian counterparts. A typical piece of determination from Foran almost brought the equaliser in the twenty-second minute, when he dispossessed Lewis Stevenson on the edge of the box and crashed a left-footed shot off the post. From the rebound, Cox, Davis and Hayes combined to keep the pressure up and Hibs were only granted a respite when Jonny Hayes curled a shot across the face of the goal and narrowly wide from the right hand edge of the penalty area. These two near misses signalled the start of a period of concerted ICT pressure: a Hayes free kick into the wall from just outside the area was deflected for a corner, with Hayes claiming that O’Connor had handled the ball; this corner was followed by two more in quick succession, as Hibs struggled to deal with Caley Thistle’s attackers.

Just after the half hour mark there was an incident that might, on a different night, have changed the game. Richie Foran won a header in the Hibernian half, and as he ran forward to try to bring the loose ball under control, Sean O’Hanlon brought his full weight down, studs first, on the ICT captain’s outstretched shin. Giving O’Hanlon the benefit of the doubt, he might simply have mistimed his challenge, but there is no disputing that it was a highly dangerous tackle that could have broken Foran’s leg and merited a red card. Somehow referee Steven Mclean missed it altogether and allowed play to continue, until it became clear that Foran was in real pain. From the restart, Billy Mackay gave possession back to Hibs; in hindsight, he would have been justified in taking a shot.

A few minutes later, Caley Thistle’s superiority was finally rewarded, in some style. Garry O’Connor, during a rare Hibernian attack, was dispossessed by Golobart, who passed to Piermayr, who in turn fed the ball to Hayes, midway inside his own half. The winger set off at pace down the right, evading a challenge from Danny Galbraith before cutting inside, weaving between Richie Towell and Lewis Stevenson and then, from twenty yards, steering a beautifully-controlled low shot beyond Stack’s outstretched left hand before the Hibernian central defenders could get out to close him down. Sublime.

Hibs did try to muster some sort response before half time, and made an appeal for a penalty when O’Connor went down in the area trying to control a high, dangerous long ball from David Stephens. The referee, however, thought otherwise and booked O’Connor for simulation, and the TV replays show that he probably got it right: while Gillet did have his leg across O’Connor’s body, O’Connor already seemed to be leaving his feet when the challenge came in.

The second half followed a pattern similar to much of the first, with Caley Thistle continuing to dominate the midfield and Hibs’ chances largely limited to a few long-range efforts, such as Danny Galbraith’s chip over the bar around the fiftieth minute, and an effort from Leith Griffiths that flew harmlessly over just a few minutes later. For all their superiority of possession, however, ICT’s players created very few clear-cut chances of their own: the team’s biggest shortcoming last night was its inability to bring the front men, and Billy Mackay in particular, into play more effectively. This was also true of the Aberdeen game, and it could be that the difficult weather conditions were partly to blame; certainly Tade, Mackay and Hayes showed they could link well as a front three against Rangers at Ibrox. Hopefully it is something that can be improved upon before we face St Johnstone at home on Monday, as it was this that probably made the difference between a draw and a win last night.

In the seventy-third minute Terry Butcher made his first change, with Greg Tansey replacing the impressive Lee Cox, and two minutes later Aaron Doran made his long-awaited return to first team action when he came on for Billy Mackay, with Tade moving into the central striker’s role for the final quarter of an hour. In contrast to some of his earlier games for the club where looked a little tentative, Doran immediately showed a willingness to get involved, but his first action almost cost the team, as he gave away possession in front of goal to set up a Hibs attack that the ICT defence managed to scramble clear. Normal time drew to a close with Jonny Hayes having a couple of long-range attempts that did not trouble Stack, then, as three minutes of stoppage time were announced, Hibs belatedly showed a real appetite to win the game, forcing three corners in quick succession and leaving the 250 ICT supporters chewing their fingernails. The second almost brought an undeserved winner as Sean O’Hanlon, who arguably should not have been on the field, directed a close-range header on goal, but Richie Foran, capping a fine performance, was there to block with his head.

Overall, then, it was a third consecutive Caley Thistle performance with much to admire, but one which still leaves a few questions unanswered about how the team will progress in 2012. After a stuttering first half-season, Terry Butcher seems to have found a system that suits the personnel he has at his disposal and has allowed the team to build more consistency in terms of performance if not necessarily results. However, two of the key players in this system, David Davis and Roman Golobart, see their loan deals expire in January, and it is still unclear how likely it is that either will be extended. If we lose both, will, say, Tansey and Tokely be able to slot into their roles without affecting the team’s performance, or will the manager be forced to do some rethinking? And although he has showed some neat touches in the box, is Billy Mackay really the right man to play as alone striker should Butcher stick with this system, or will the manager try to bring in a more physical striker? Finally, if a January bid comes in for Jonny Hayes, outstanding since his return from injury, will the ICT board be strong enough to resist it? I’m certainly a lot more optimistic about the team’s prospects than I was when I wrote my last match report just one month ago, but with January just a couple of days round the corner, it looks like interesting times lie ahead.

Match report written by Alternative Maryhill



Pld W D L F A +/- Pts
1. Celtic 21 16 2 3 41 17 24 50
2. Rangers 21 15 3 3 37 12 25 48
3. Motherwell 19 10 4 5 26 21 5 34
4. St. Johnstone 21 9 5 7 26 20 6 32
5. Hearts 21 8 5 8 22 14 8 29
6. Dundee Utd 21 6 8 7 30 33 -3 26
7. St. Mirren 21 6 8 7 22 27 -5 26
8. Kilmarnock 20 5 8 7 25 30 -5 23
9. Aberdeen 21 5 6 10 23 28 -5 21
10. Inverness CT 21 5 4 12 28 40 -12 19
11. Hibernian 20 3 6 11 18 33 -15 15
12. Dunfermline 19 3 5 11 20 43 -23 14