Appearances & Goals To Date
|Youngest Player:||Aaron Doran (21 years 103 days)
|Oldest Player:||Andrew Shinnie (2014 years 20 days)|
|Average Player Age:||25 years 194 days|
|Domestic Players:||6 (54.55 % of starting eleven)|
|Youngest Player:||Liam Polworth (17 years 315 days)|
|Oldest Player:||Martin Laing (2014 years 20 days)|
|Average Player Age:||24 years 209 days|
|Domestic Players:||13 (72.22 % of matchday squad)|
First Team Debuts
Pepper spices up Tynecastle feast of football:
Inverness Caledonian Thistle staged a late comeback to snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat. We had no right to take a point with captain Richie Foran being red carded before the break and two goals down to a Novikovas strike and a baffling penalty decision that only referee Bobby Madden saw. Not even slow motion replays of the 'incident' showed what Mr Madden thought he saw. However another equally baffling penalty saw Andy Shinnie throw us a lifeline and the away fans jubilation was complete as substitute Conor Pepper was on hand to knock home the equaliser in stoppage time.
Butcher was certainly animated by this and he orchestrated the applause of the away support as he soaked up the scenes of joy from the away day fans, with the Hearts faithful leaving the stadium shaking their heads in disbelief.
Capital Caley was on hand to witness this fighting display and his report follows
Whilst most people in Edinburgh were tucking in to their famous salt ‘n sauce suppers on Saturday night, the Caley Thistle fans were having extra pepper on theirs. (Sorry, it had to be done!!!) This was an absolute roller coaster game that had it all, and Caley Thistle came away with a well deserved point. Conor Peppers goal in the 3rd and final minute of injury time capped off a great week for the 17 years old from Ireland. A great result in his exams, a first team debut and the equalising goal.
Members of Caley Jags Together took in the hospitality at the Gorgie Suite before the start of the game. After our complimentary drinks we headed round to the away end full of anticipation. The first half did not have much cheer for us though. A few minutes in and Andrew Shinnie had the first chance of the game, but his shot trickled wide. Graeme Shinnies shot shortly after also failed to hit the target. After this initial bright start by Caley Thistle, Hearts started to take a grip of the game. Andrew Drivers shot on 13 minutes produced a comfortable save from Ryan Esson. Two minutes later and Hearts went one nil up. The ball was crossed wide to Arvydas Novikovas and with Esson rushing out to meet him, the ball was curled round into the back of the net.
Hearts were having the better of the play in the first half and deserved to be leading. However, they went 2-0 up on the 40th minute amid controversy. The ball was crossed in from Mehdi Taouil and punched clear from Ryan Esson. There was a collision between Esson and Marious Zaliukas and we assumed we were getting the free kick. But then Madden ran over, pointed at Simon King, flashed a yellow card and pointed at the penalty spot! King was adjudged to have pushed a Hearts player (no idea which Hearts player though, could have been Jamie MacDonald for all we knew). John Sutton stepped up to send Esson the wrong way and unjustly put Hearts up 2-0. If this wasn’t bad enough, it got worse during first half stoppage time. Ross Draper was fouled by a Hearts player in the centre of the pitch but the referee waved play on and with Draper still lying on the deck, a wild lunge by Captain Richie Foran on Ryan McGowan earned him a straight red card and a free kick to Hearts. It was a bad challenge by Foran but debatable whether it was a red card.
Half Time 2-0
With the Caley Thistle support deflated at half time, manager Terry Butcher would not give up on the match. One minute into the second half Shane Sutherland had a pop at goal but it went well wide. Andrew Driver then tried to extend Hearts lead but was well off target. On the 52nd minute David Raven was replaced by Josh Meekings. Gary Warren was the next Caley Thistle player to try his luck at goal again shooting wide. Just before the hour mark Graeme Shinnies ran into the Hearts box and was tripped by Callum Paterson. Older brother Andrew Shinnie stepped up to reduce the deficit placing the ball high into the top corner. Aaron Doran was then replaced by Nick Ross.
Ryan McGowan should have sealed victory for Hearts but he missed the chance of the match, pulling a shot well wide from 12 yards with only Esson to beat.
After an even and entertaining end to end period, Andrew Shinnie was replaced by debutant Conor Pepper with 10 minutes left. With 5 minutes to go Shane Sutherland nearly equalised for Caley Thistle but blazed his shot over the bar. Grame Shinnie then had a chance but failed to hit the target. Ten man Caley Thistle were now pressing for the equaliser at full pelt. Conor Pepper was impressing with his runs down the right wing. With 3 minutes of stoppage time, it looked like the game was up as we entered into the 3rd minute. But it was perfect timing for Caley Thistle. Graeme Shinnies cross floated to Pepper who slotted the ball into the roof of the next with the last kick of the game.
As the referee blew for full time, the Caley Thistle support and players went ballistic. To be 2 goals down and a man down at half time and to clinch the draw in stoppage time felt like a victory. It was back to the chants of Caley Away with Terry and Mo! The players lapped up the applause and Terry Butcher was back to his entertaining conducting of the fans. As the supporters bus headed back to the Highlands and a few of us went back to the Gorgie Suite to discuss the match, we all seem to be in agreement. The entertainment factor is back. Butcher has assembled a squad that can entertain and if we play like we did in the second half every week we can have a fantastic season.
Full Time 2-2
Seven bookings and a red card, an injury time goal..................who said Scottish football was dull?
Match report written by tm4tj