Inverness CT 3 - 2 Celtic

(After extra time)
Scottish Cup - Semi-Final
Sunday, April 19th, 2015, 12:15 PM at Hampden Park, Glasgow
Attendance: 28,643
Referee: Steven McLean
Inverness CT  Celtic

Greg Tansey (pen.) (58)
Edward Ofere (96)
David Raven (117)
Virgil van Dijk (17)
John Guidetti (103)

Team Managers
John Hughes Ronnie Deila

Starting Eleven
Ryan Esson
Josh Meekings
Gary Warren
David Raven
Graeme Shinnie
Greg Tansey
Ross Draper
Ryan Christie
Danny Williams
Marley Watkins
Edward Ofere
Craig Gordon
Adam Matthews
Emilio Izaguirre
Virgil van Dijk
Jason Denayer
Nir Biton
Scott Brown
Kris Commons
Stefan Johansen
James Forrest
Leigh Griffiths

Cameron Mackay
Carl Tremarco
Nick Ross
Aaron Doran
Liam Polworth
James Vincent
Tarmo Kink
Lukasz Zaluska
Efe Ambrose
Kieran Tierney
Aleksandar Tonev
Callum McGregor
John Guidetti
Stefan Scepovic

Nick Ross for Danny Williams (73)
Lukasz Zaluska -> James Forrest (56)
Aleksandar Tonev -> Kris Commons (90)
John Guidetti -> Leigh Griffiths (98)

Gary Warren (17)
Danny Williams (66)
Nick Ross (102)
Marley Watkins (105)
Scott Brown (20)
Aleksandar Tonev (97)

Red Cards
None. Craig Gordon (55)
Appearances & Goals To Date
Ryan Esson (GK) 173 apps -
Josh Meekings 142 apps3 goals
David Raven 112 apps2 goals
Gary Warren 113 apps11 goals
Greg Tansey 96 apps16 goals
Danny Williams 59 apps3 goals
Marley Watkins 66 apps9 goals
Ross Draper 115 apps7 goals
Ryan Christie 53 apps7 goals
Graeme Shinnie 181 apps8 goals
Edward Ofere 7 apps3 goals
Nick Ross (sub) 171 apps13 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Ryan Christie (20 years 58 days)
Oldest Player:Danny Williams (2016 years 264 days)
Average Player Age:27 years 311 days
Domestic Players:8 (72.73 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Cameron Mackay (15 years 135 days)
Oldest Player:Graeme Shinnie (2016 years 264 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 354 days
Domestic Players:12 (66.67 % of matchday squad)

First Team Debuts


The Day Football Died:

It was third time lucky for Inverness as they reached their first Scottish Cup final after beating treble chasing Celtic in extra time at Hampden Park. Sadly other events since then have overtaken the wonderful achievements of Yogi and his men.

The game was not without controversy. Five goals, penalties, or not penalties, a crucial sending off and a tremendous display by the men from the North was just enough to tip the scales in favour of Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

At the end of the day, one song was lingering in the head: It's all about the Ness, no treble!

Great weather greeted the fans at Hampden and Inverness were as expected. Ryan Esson replaced the injured Dean Brill. Danny Williams was back in the starting X1 and big Edward Ofere would be the target man.

Celtic were without the suspended Anthony Stokes, and Gary Mackay-Stevens and Stuart Armstrong were cup-tied. They did though field a potent attacking threat with Leigh Griffiths and Kris Commons starting with John Guidetti on the bench.

From the kick off, Inverness got quickly into their stride and took the game to their more illustrious opponents, moving the ball around with precision and pace. Celtic found it difficult to get a hold of the ball in the first ten minutes as Inverness kept possession without any real threat.

That changed though just after ten minutes into the game when Celtic broke forward. Nir Bitton latched onto a loose ball 25 yards out and his sweetly timed tackle/shot smacked off the woodwork with Esson beaten. A bolt from the blue, and a lucky escape for Inverness who had dominated the proceeding thus far.

Celtic had woken up and Inverness were pushed onto the back foot as the Glasgow club surged forward. Ryan Esson saved well, diving full length to his left to push away a fierce Griffiths shot from thirty yards.

Gary Warren was booked for pulling back James Forrest as he cut across the face of the box, a card that will see him miss a major final once more. From the resultant free kick, Virgil van Dijk lashed an unstoppable shot high past Esson from 22 yards and in off the top of the post. A spectacular opening goal, but there would be better to come.

Ofere missed the best chance of the game after a Greg Tansey corner. Similar to his goal against Celtic in the league, the ball broke to him some eight yards out but he could not wrap his foot round it properly and this time his shot bounced down and then up over the bar. A warning to Celtic that we were still in the game.

Esson stood up well as Celtic countered through the middle and Johansen stung his palms with a fierce shot that was beaten away, another important save from the stand in keeper.

Greg Tansey was mugged on the halfway line as Celtic stormed forward again looking to add a second before the break. Forrest sprinted forward and fed Johansen on the left side of the box. His shot was deflected away from goal by Esson. The ball fell nicely for Griffiths who headed strongly goalwards, but the ball seemed to come of the hand of Josh Meekings who was no more than four feet from the head of Griffiths. Amazingly, the only people that never saw this were the officials who waved play on. I'm not as convinced as Celtic that this was intentional. I'm sure they will write a letter of complaint though.

That was about the last action of a frenetic first half and Inverness were still within one goal of the treble chasers.

Half Time 0-1

No changes at the break and Inverness started the second period with confidence once more, and Ofere was too high with a corner. At the other end Forrest went wide with a shot that Esson watched carefully.

Ten minutes after the break and Inverness drew level. No doubt about the penalty and sending off for Craig Gordon. Watkins raced through on goal outmuscling Welsh international Adam Mathews. As the ball got touched back towards Gordon, Watkins got there first but the big keeper went right through him and red card it was. Tansey remained the coolest man on the park as Lukasz Zaluska put on the gloves. He took his time and waited for the keeper to make his move before directing the ball in the opposite direction and into the vacant net. Game on!

James Forrest was the man sacrificed as Celtic made the change at the sending off, a blessing for Inverness and in particular David Raven who had been getting a tough time of it from the Celtic wide player. Could this mean that Raven might get further forward now? More on that later in the report.

The ninety minutes produced no more goals and the game moved into extra time. 1-1 after 90 mins

The game was now stretched and it ebbed and flowed, Inverness sharing the bulk of the possession. Johansen tried to catch Esson off his line, but he back pedalled and tipped the forty yard flighted shot over the bar. Inverness surged to the other end and Ryan Christie danced his way into the box and it took a fantastic save from the substitute keeper to deny Christie a goal after his thumping 16 yard shot was clawed away.

Inverness were now enjoying their best spell of the game and when they worked the ball down the left, the ever willing Graeme Shinnie curled a ball into the box. Watkins brought the ball down and it broke kindly for Ofere, who steadied himself before firing a low ball to the keepers left with sufficient power to find the back of the net.

Celtic were stung by this and when they got a free kick thirty yards out it didn't look like it would be a major problem. Guidetti struck it well and the ball whistled goalwards. It landed in front of Esson and he misjudged the bounce as it spun over his despairing arms and into the net. He won't want to see that one again, such a shame after a commanding performance up to that point.

The second period of extra time showed that the referee's were once again flawed. Zaluskas barged into the back of Ofere and completely flattened him. I hope the compliance officer was watching. The ball was cushioned down for Nick Ross, but he half volleyed over with the goal gaping.

With five minutes of extra time left, Inverness scored the decisive third goal to end Celtic's treble hopes. And what a goal it was too. Nick Ross battled to retrieve the ball outside the Celtic box. Aided by Marley Watkins, Ross got the ball back and threaded a great ball into the box where Shinnie left two defenders standing before rifling the ball across the goalmouth. David Raven made a great run to get on the end of it and still had plenty to do. He did it like a seasoned striker though, guiding the ball firmly into the net for what proved to be the winner before running round the back to celebrate with Shinnie who came round the other side.

We played out the remaining minutes fairly comfortably and deservedly won the game, but committed the cardinal sin of denying Celtic Football club the chance to win the treble.

AET 3-2

He might be going to Aberdeen, but Graeme Shinnie was captain marvel. He was everywhere and the driving force behind what was a fantastic team effort. He was my MotM and it is pretty unanimous on CTO that he gets the nod. There were no failures in this performance, everyone played their part. Watkins looked revitalised and Warren and Meekings ensured that we restricted Celtic to taking long pot shots. David Raven only scores important goals. His last one for us was in a derby win at Dingwall, this one surpassed that. Ryan Esson was outstanding, despite the blip for the second goal. Edward Ofere led the line well and his hold up play was excellent. Ryan Christie came into the game more after half time and was inspirational. This kid is going places. Can't fault anyone after that display to be honest.

Sorry for ruining your treble

Scenes of joy at full time would remain with those fans for a couple of days at least before Celtic would write their letter of complaint and the SFA would buckle at the knees by pandering to the needs of the majority. It's now official, the SFA are the laughing stock of football and should hang their heads in shame, brought about by the incompetence of their own officials.

Josh Meekings has incredibly been cited by the compliance officer who feels the need to punish him because Celtic can't take defeat without dragging everyone else through the mud. They have short memories and if this goes through, then football, as we know it has just ended. Instead of Inverness enjoying the greatest moment in their history, controversy has overtaken the scenes of joy and instead of celebrating a wonderful performance, it might be better known as the day football died. RIP football, 19/04/2015. :sad:

Match report written by tm4tj