Hibernian 2 - 0 Inverness CT

League Match
Saturday, February 26th, 2011, 3:00 PM at Easter Road Stadium, Edinburgh
Attendance: 13,841
Referee: Craig Thomson
Hibernian Inverness CT

Goalscorers
Callum Booth (58)
Lewis Stevenson (89)
None.

Team Managers
Colin Calderwood Terry Butcher

Starting Eleven
Graham Stack
Richie Towell
Francis Dickoh
Paul Hanlon
Callum Booth
David Wotherspoon
Victor Palsson
Liam Miller
Martin Scott
Derek Riordan
Akpo Sodje
Ryan Esson
Ross Tokely
Grant Munro
Chris Hogg
Russell Duncan
Lee Cox
Stuart Duff
Aaron Doran
Adam Rooney
Richie Foran
Eric Odhiambo

Bench
Graeme Smith
Colin Nish
David Stephens
John Rankin
Darryl Duffy
Lewis Stevenson
Matt Thornhill
Jonny Tuffey
Stuart Golabek
Chris Innes
Gavin Morrison
Nick Ross
Shane Sutherland
Alex MacDonald

Substitutions
Lewis Stevenson => David Wotherspoon (64)
Lewis Stevenson => Liam Miller (77)
Colin Nish => Derek Riordan (87)
Nick Ross for Eric Odhiambo (56)
Alex MacDonald for Russell Duncan (69)
Shane Sutherland for Adam Rooney (87)

Bookings
None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Ryan Esson (GK) 99 apps -
Ross Tokely 546 apps35 goals
Chris Hogg 4 apps1 goal
Grant Munro 357 apps16 goals
Russell Duncan 346 apps11 goals
Stuart Duff 29 apps1 goal
Lee Cox 64 apps4 goals
Aaron Doran 5 apps1 goal
Eric Odhiambo 65 apps11 goals
Richie Foran 83 apps24 goals
Adam Rooney 113 apps51 goals
Nick Ross (sub) 40 apps1 goal
Shane Sutherland (sub) 26 apps -
Alex MacDonald (sub) 3 apps -

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Aaron Doran (19 years 294 days)
Oldest Player:Adam Rooney (2012 years 211 days)
Average Player Age:26 years 187 days
Domestic Players:10 (90.91 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Aaron Doran (19 years 294 days)
Oldest Player:Alex MacDonald (2012 years 211 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 106 days
Domestic Players:17 (94.44 % of matchday squad)

First Team Debuts

Milestones

Capital Punishment it is for guilty suspects:

Hibs inflicted another away defeat for the Caley Jags as the men from the North lost out in a rather turgid encounter at Green Day Easter Road.

A strike out of the blue from Callum Booth looked to have the Hibees on easy street, and a deflected effort from Lewis Stevenson confirmed their superiority, as Inverness drew a worrying blank.

  Jonny Hayes was absent and former Hibs captain Chris Hogg returned to Easter Road hoping to show that his exclusion from the Hibernian eleven was an error of judgement by his former employers. 

However, there are more pressing (depressing) developments in the capital, like the Leith Biomass proposals, and Bilfinger Siemens pedantic attempts to create a transportation system second to none..............epic fail so far. The proposals by these heavily disguised developers are trying to create an atmosphere that nobody wants, so let's put this result into perspective, meh! 

A rather dejected Alternative Maryhill provides this report for us, whaurs the valium.

Some games are barely worth wasting words on. We arrived quietly optimistic; we left defeated, having witnessed a match that summed up much of what is bad about the Scottish game: rushed, unimaginative, error-strewn football, illuminated by a single moment of opportunist brilliance that was also, unfortunately, the first nail in Caley Thistle’s coffin.

Approaching the match, there were good reasons to be reasonably hopeful that we would see a good game. Both sides had begun to pick up form after serious slumps over the Christmas and January period; both squads had been bolstered by promising new signings in the January transfer window. It was a bright, dry day, and there was a big crowd and an unusually good atmosphere inside the ground, thanks to Hibs’ ‘green day’ promotion, which saw the club give away a free ticket to every season ticket holder. The East stand was packed, and on the occasions when the singing spread through the support from the hard core in the corner, it was quite an impressive noise. ICT had also taken a decent support to the game – maybe 400 or so – although, understandably given what was served up to us on the pitch, the atmosphere in the away end wasn’t as upbeat as it has been at many previous games this season. It was a pity there were no causes for Invernessian celebration, as the stewards were so relaxed and hands-off that we could have danced on the seats, climbed the floodlight stanchions (assuming there were any) and swung from the rafters without fear of eviction. Well done Hibernian FC; and St Mirren, take note: despite supporters being allowed to stand up throughout the match, the away end failed to descend into the anarchic Lord of the Flies-type scenes that the Paisley stewards were apparently so terrified of.

The two questions that intrigued most ICT supporters before the team lines were announced were, would Jonny Hayes, as rumoured, be fit to start, and would Grant Munro come back into a defence that had kept a clean sheet last week? It transpired that the Hayes news was a red herring: he didn’t even make the bench. Munro, meanwhile, did return, but in the unfamiliar position of left back, despite Stuart Duff having filled in well there last week and Ross Tokely being available to move from the centre into the right back role. Terry Butcher’s decision raises interesting questions: was he sending a message to Munro that he now considers Ross Tokely his first choice centre back? Did he feel that Chris Hogg and Munro might be too similar in style and build, and that Hogg would be better paired with a more imposing player like Tokely? Or was it simply that as a left-footer Munro was, in his opinion, best suited to filling the role in a team with no available left backs? Although the back four had changed for the fifth time in as many games, the team shape remained the 4-4-2 that has been employed since the Morton cup win, with Cox and Duncan in the centre, Doran and Odhiambo on either side of midfield, and Adam Rooney and Richie Foran up front. For Hibs, meanwhile, Colin Calderwood stuck with the side that defeated St Mirren last weekend, which meant a start for Ex-Ross county midfielder Martin Scott, to the ICT supporters’ obvious delight.

The first half in particular was so bereft of incident that it is easier just to give a few general impressions of the teams than to attempt to knit together a sense of a contest unfolding. I certainly don’t recall any passages of fluent football, or periods where either side truly dominated. There were a lot of long balls and when the ball was on the ground, passes most often seemed to be either misplaced or ill-chosen, going to players who were being too well marked to create anything. At the back for ICT, Tokely and Hogg generally looked solid together, and Grant Munro did well at left back despite one or two badly-chosen balls. On the other side, however, Stuart Duff’s performance was notable for some truly horrendous distribution: almost every ball he tried to play seemed to go out of play or go to an opponent. It is possible that Duff’s options were limited by the running of the players ahead of him, though: somehow, none of the four midfielders seemed capable of finding space that would allow them to use the ball with any creativity, and there was very little obvious understanding or effective linkage between them. Lee Cox is full of commitment, but yesterday he rarely seemed to look up before making passes and seemed far too eager to get rid of the ball; Russell Duncan was slightly more composed and imaginative, although there was one truly horrible over-hit ball to the left that brought to an end one of ICT’s few promising attacking moves; Aaron Doran and Eric Odhiambo looked up for the game but again rarely seemed capable of making runs that would open Hibs up, and struggled to beat their opponents on the few occasions that they did find themselves in threatening positions. Adam Rooney and Richie Foran were easily ICT’s most enterprising players throughout the game – I was surprised to read criticism of Rooney somewhere on the forum – but with little effective support from elsewhere on the pitch, their hold-up play and ability to lay the ball off into promising positions ultimately had no end product. Rooney had Caley Thistle’s best two opportunities of the first half: a weak shot into Stack’s arms after he had read and run onto a through ball very well, and a shot from a Foran cross that was blocked by Stack’s legs. There were few other moments to remember for ICT.

As for Hibs, their play was rarely more attractive than their opponents’, but they did look a little stronger in midfield and retained and used the ball slightly better. Liam Miller, having received criticism for recent performances from the Hibernian support and having been left on the bench for a while before returning to the starting line-up last week, worked hard and also looked the most creative midfielder on the pitch. Derek Riordan did not impose himself on the game at any point, but there were little flashes of his quality. At left back, youngster Callum Booth was, as we would find out, dangerous going forward, but also solid defensively, although in all honesty, he will face more testing opponents than an off-form Eric Odhiambo over the course of the season. The player who most caught the eye, however, was the Icelandic January signing Victor Palsson, who was full of running, always looking for the ball and had Hibs’ best opportunities of the half, one of which, a powerful header from a corner, would have opened the scoring but for Russell Duncan’s block on the goal-line. By contrast, the veteran striker Akpo Sodje looked surprisingly tentative despite his build and experience, and got nothing out of Ross Tokely all afternoon.

Half Time 0-0

The second half initially looked more promising for ICT. Aaron Doran seemed to be finding a little more space and linking better with the front two, and Rooney and Cox both had shots within five minutes of the restart, although neither seriously troubled Graham Stack. When Nick Ross made his comeback from injury, replacing Eric Odhiambo after fifty-five minutes, the Inverness supporters were entitled to feel optimistic that they would see a little more composure and creativity going forward. Within two minutes, however, any momentum that ICT had begun to build was destroyed by a moment of carelessness and a subsequent moment of inspiration. Chris Hogg, who otherwise had a solid game against his old team, passed the ball carelessly to his right and straight out of play. When the throw came in, there seemed to be no ICT player picking up Callum Booth, and he had time to take a few steps towards the penalty area from the left hand side before looping the ball over Ryan Esson from twenty yards.

Thereafter, ICT continued working, but the hasty and unwise passing that had characterised much of their play in the first half returned, while Hibs looked increasingly confident and in control. Terry Butcher attempted to pep up Caley Thistle’s attacking play by bringing on on-loan forward Alex McDonald, although the decision to take off Russell Duncan, clearly the more effective of ICT’s two central midfielders, seemed odd and again suggested that the veteran Caley Thistle midfielder is a player about whom his manager has reservations. McDonald took some time to get into the game – he initially seemed outmuscled and outpaced by the more powerful Hibs back line – but there was one promising move in the last ten minutes where he controlled and laid off the ball really sweetly which suggested that he may be capable of adding an extra dimension to the ICT attack, especially with the continued absence of Dani Sanchez. Apart from that, and one or two nice little exchanges of play between Foran and Rooney that ultimately failed to result in clear opportunities, Caley Thistle failed to threaten again, and when Adam Rooney, easily our most potent attacker, was brought off to be replaced by Shane Sutherland with five minutes to go, the writing seemed to be on the wall. Sure enough, two minutes later after a period of Hibs pressure, Lewis Stevenson got the ball on the left hand side, just outside the penalty area, and fired in a low shot that seemed to take a big deflection before ending up behind Ryan Esson. 2-0 Hibernian.

In the closing three or four minutes, there was a little flurry of ICT urgency as they went in search of a pride-restoring goal, and there was one decent shout for a penalty when a cross from the right seemed to be deflected out of play by a Hibs player’s hand, but the referee ignored the claims and awarded a corner. And, given the day our players had had, and with Rooney already off the pitch, what would the chances have been of the ball ending up in Row Z if the penalty had been given? In truth, although they did not look hugely impressive, Hibs just about got what they deserved; and with the optimism from last week’s result somewhat punctured by such a flat performance, Caley Thistle must go back to the training ground and try to rediscover some creativity and inspiration ahead of the visit of an unpredictable Dundee United side on Tuesday night.

Match report written by Alternative Maryhill



Pld W D L F A +/- Pts
1. Celtic 26 20 4 2 59 15 44 64
2. Rangers 24 18 2 4 53 23 30 56
3. Hearts 27 17 4 6 41 22 19 55
4. Kilmarnock 27 11 6 10 40 33 7 39
5. Motherwell 27 10 4 13 29 35 -6 34
6. Inverness CT 27 8 9 10 36 35 1 33
7. Dundee Utd 24 7 10 7 28 31 -3 31
8. St. Johnstone 25 8 6 11 17 29 -12 30
9. Aberdeen 27 9 3 15 30 44 -14 30
10. Hibernian 27 8 4 15 28 43 -15 28
11. St. Mirren 27 5 7 15 22 44 -22 22
12. Hamilton Academical 26 2 9 15 15 44 -29 15