The broken record goes on:
It's like a broken record and as Led Zeppelin will tell you, the song remains the same. This nightmare season continues as Inverness stuttered to another home lapse by losing to probably the poorest Hibs side on record. Despite dominating the first half the homesters could not for the life of them penetrate the Capital clubs rearguard and despite going ahead on the hour mark through our first penalty of the season we managed to capitulate rather easily and eventually lost 2-3.
Greg Tansey converted the spot kick, but Paul Hanlon equalised soon after. Garry O'Connor put Hibs ahead in the 75th minute before a Jonny Hayes cross fizzed behind Stack in the Hibs goal. That should have seen Inverness close shop, but no, we managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of a draw when who else but bad boy Leigh Griffiths drove a ball across Tuffey to snatch the points with five minutes of the ninety left.
If the home fans were left numb after the midweek defeat to St Johnstone, then they were completely flabbergasted by this reverse as we passed up chance after chance to kill off a disjointed Hibs side and still ended up losing the game. Terry Butcher will no doubt trot out the well used "11 strangers" and "injury list" excuses that has been done to death this year, but it is wearing thin on even the most ardent of happy clappers. He might as well publicly blame individuals for everything that has gone wrong this year, but hold on, he is. Is he God? Who is Terry accountable to, because he is the man that picks the team, he is the man that decides the tactics, he is the man that got rid of half a team and he is the man that replaced them with what? There have been extenuating circumstances this season, but surely the buck has to stop somewhere. So come on Terry, hold your hands up and say sorry, I have got it wrong. That might be a start. It's maybe not the match report you were all wanting to hear, and it's definitely not the match report I would have liked to type, but let's stop pussy footing around and get down to business. Somethings wrong and it needs fixed!
I've said too much already, but ajsict92 might be more gentle when he completes the full report.
Reaching Breaking Point!
The sob story of the ICT's 2011-12 season carried on today as for the third time this season they surrendered a lead and wound up losing a game 3-2 courtesy of a late goal. Terry Butcher promised changes to the starting eleven and he saw it through as Jonny Hayes, Kenny Gillet and Josh Meekings were all recalled for ICT with Thomas Piermayr, Shane Sutherland and Owain Tudur-Jones being dropped to the bench. ICT were adopting a 4-4-2 formation with Graeme Shinnie pushing up to left wing and Gregory Tade partnering Billy McKay up front with Butcher looking for a positive reaction from his players following his sides dire performance against St Johnstone in mid-week.
Must admit it was a slight surprise to see both Hayes and Gillet return to the starting line up today after so many games out, though Hayes' performance was probably one of very few positives to take from this game. Unfortunately for Gillet he looked rather rusty and could be considered to be at fault for Garry O'Connors goal after faling to track the run of Doherty.
ICT started this game looking very hungry indeed, exchanging some lovely passing moves from midfield and constantly looking to get the ball onto Hayes, who looked like he had barely missed any time on the pitch at all and it was he that carved out ICT's first real opportunity of the game when his dinked cross drifted over everyone but saw Gregory Tade attempt an acrobatic, overhead kick. Unfortunately for him he couldn't quite connect with it, but he was not far away and had he done so it would have been something very special. Hayes was then the main provider of ICT's next major moment in the game. A low ball across goal which eluded everyone but fell for Graeme Shinnie who unfortunately couldn't get it out of his feet quickly enough and his shot in the end was rather tame and easy for Stack to deal with.
The few times Hibs were on the ball they always attempted to look for Griffiths and O'Connor but their efforts were foiled by what seemed to be a fairly solid Caley Jags defence. However Richie Foran had one serious lapse of concentration when playing a pass across his own penalty area as he left Jonny Tuffey facing an ambush of Hibs players to try and close him down but fortunately Tuffey was able to clear up quickly enough and spare his captain's blushes.
As the first half went on ICT continued to look a threat and yet again with Hayes on the ball found themselves passing up a golden opportunity to break the deadlock. Hayes played an inch perfect through ball to Billy McKay who found himself one on one with the goalkeeper but with defenders closing in and the angle tightening McKay saw his low shot rebound off the base of the post and cleared away. This did nothing to disrupt ICT's persistent search for the opening goal and not long before half time. Greg Tansey played a delightful cross field pass for Hayes who beat his man, cut inside and shot high and hard, forcing Stack to parry it over for a corner which came to nothing.
The referee sounded for half time with many ICT fans wondering how Graham Stack hadn't picked the ball out of his net yet.
Half time: ICT 0-0 Hibernian
The 2nd half picked up very much were it left off. Inverness pressing and Hibs having to cope with what was thrown at them. Gregory Tade managed to pass up another opportunity. A lovely passing move between Tansey and Foran finished with Foran teeing up Tade for another shot at goal, however his shot rebounded off Stack but Tade's embarrassment was spared by the linesman who flagged for offside. The passing up of opportunities continued when ICT won a corner. Hayes powered it into the box and via a slight ricochet Ross Tokely attempted a lovely volley but unfortunately he shot just over. A good attempt, but not necessarily an easy one.
It was from another corner that ICT managed to grab the lead and for any ICT fan in the world it was probably in the most unbelievable way possible. The ball was launched into the box, McKay attempted to control it only to be bundled over by McPake. Someone's prayers must have been answered because for the first time since November 2010, Caley Thistle were awarded a penalty, much to the delight of the home fans, which turned to ecstasy when Tansey dispatched it into the top corner of the net.
Almost immediately after ICT went in front they had a chance to double their goal tally. Billy McKay's deflected pass fell into the path of Tade who burst into the area and found himself with only Stack to beat but he held onto it for too long before striking it straight at the Hibs keeper who must have thought some greater power was watching over him today. He may have been right as within a matter of moments Hibs were level. A corner swung in from Griffiths saw Paul Hanlon lose his marker and catch a wonderful header that powered past Tuffey and gave the away support something to applaud.
Pat Fenlon introduced substitute Tom Soares into the game who brought about a more direct style to the away side. Hibs attempted to get him more involved in the game and it was his pass that found Doherty whose low ball across goal was curled in by an unmarked Garry O'Connor to leave Hibs fans joyous and many ICT fans wondering what they were watching.
ICT found themselves up against it as they went in drastic search of an equaliser and it eventually paid off. Jonny Hayes had been essential to ICT's game throughout the afternoon and with seven minutes remaining he managed to draw ICT back on level terms in a rather unorthodox fashion. Hibs were caught short on a quick free kick which saw Hayes show Soares a clean pair of heels before firing a deep cross into the box. So deep that it flew over Stack's head and into the top corner of the net to give the home support some much needed relief. May not have been intentional but was duly accepted none the less.
The relief only lasted for 2 minutes (yes that's right, 2 minutes) before Hibs regained the lead. The ball broke for Leigh Griffiths who beat Josh Meekings for pace and despite the angle being against him he managed to drive a low shot into Tuffey's bottom left hand corner. I'm sure Tuffey will be very disappointed to have been beaten like this.
It was all proving too much for many supporters who began to leave in their numbers as the boys went in desprate search of another equaliser with Owain-Tudur Jones and Shane Sutherland being brought on to support the attack but it was all too little, too late, and Hibs left TCS picking up a vital 3 points to aid their fight for survival.
Full time: ICT 2-3 Hibernian
To summarise.......well I really wish I could. I knew we could play better than what was seen against St Johnstone and at times today there was a great improvement to both the style and quality of play. As usual though we failed to take the chances that come our way as we could easily have been 3-0 up at half time before even getting a penalty. What was also clearly evident today was a lack of composure after conceding goals. Passes began to go astray and space began to open up for Hibs to exploit and while Griffiths and O'Connor may well have their badboy reputations, it cannot be denied that they are quality players and when given the chance could hurt us and this was a threat that was not suitably dealt with by the defence. This ICT side has lacked bottle this season, that has been clear as for the 3rd time at home we take a lead, lose it and then go on to lose 3-2 in a very cruel fashion. If I would give this young side any advice it would be to toughen up and start focusing on the nitty gritty side of the game. This is a point of the season were grinding out results is important. The last thing we need is to get dragged even closer into the relegation dogfight.
ajsict92's MotM - Jonny Hayes - Slotted straight back into the team after a month out and was the main driving force behind our play today, supplied chances, took on opponents, was one of the very few players that seemed to genuinely fight for the team. No doubt he will have a long list of suitors come the summer.
Match report written by tm4tj/AJS