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Inverness CT Preview | Tony Docherty
“We give the utmost respect to all our opponents but we’ve got real belief in our own players and we hope that the way the boys have been training this week and the motivation the players have to play – that can hopefully see us over the line and we can get our game plan across in Inverness.
“You know they are a good team- they play to a certain system, a 4, 1, 2, 3 and they know their jobs within it and they are a team we certainly won’t treat lightly.
“We need to be at our very best to beat them but we’ve got a game plan in mind and we’ll exercise that on the day.
“Over a period, Jayden has been training exceptionally well, there are good players at the club and Jayden has been kept out by good players ahead of him; Rooney, McGinn, Hayes, but the good thing from a management point of view is that there is real competition for places and that obviously motivates players, it allows standards to be high in training and Jayden has been training exceptionally well.
“We see it in training from Jayden. I think a lot of people were surprised by his goal, but we see him scoring all types of goals every day, so he is more than just the target man, he took his opportunity against Partick Thistle and yes like a lot of other players he staked his place to continue to play in the team and that’s the way things are at the moment and it’s a good position to be in. Players are training extremely well to try and get in the team and when they do get it’s up to them to try and stay in.
“Getting Ryan back is like a new signing and certainly this week when the players are training there has been a real competitive element about it, a real hunger, obviously, they are extremely motivated and yes, touchwood, there is a clean bill of health there so we’re picking from 18-21 players training every day and the standard has been fantastic so long may that continue, but that’s what competition for places brings.
“Peter, in training this morning was outstanding and he’s training to a really good level but as I said there’s real competition for places and that’s what you get when you’re in a good team. He has to stake his claim for a starting position.
“We’ve put all thoughts of the cup final aside, we won’t focus on that at all until the game on Saturday finishes, all
our focus and energy is on this game. We’ve not had a good record with them and we know going up to Inverness it’s a difficult venue, it’s a difficult team to play against, so if even 1% of our focus is on the final then we’ll be having a hard day.
“We’ve got good defenders at the club, we look at each game based on its merits and we’ll play the right defender in the right position and that was illustrated when we played at Partick Thistle. I thought it was a very impressive defensive and team performance. When you look at our goals against column and only one team in the league are better than us in that department.
“We train the players every day and we see the quality of players we’ve got and good players that are adaptable in systems and if you’re a good defender you can adapt to be a defensive structure, so yes we’ve got huge belief in our players and that’s built up through the amount of time that we work with them so we can be quite adaptable with some of our formations.
“Good footballers can adapt to certain situations and as I said we are very analytical in our approach so for different opponents we’ll use different systems to try and get one over on them.
“We need to make sure we pick the right team to play against Inverness and hopefully we can come away with three points and after that we will look towards next week.”
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McLean at the double in Highland victory
In the second minute an early free kick for ICT allowed Vigurs to put the ball into the area with his left foot but Considine made an easy clearance. A minute later McLean hit a decent shot after good quick passing and Fon Williams was relieved to grab the ball at the second attempt.
Two minutes later a mistake at the back after a really poor ball from Ross Draper gave the visitors a great chance. They had a two on two but James Maddison’s pass for Stockley was over hit and the ball went harmlessly out of play. James’ reaction told you how good an opportunity it was. A minute later his mood did not get any better when Carl Tremarco flattened the Englishman. The Inverness left back was lucky to escape a booking.
Aberdeen then worked a couple of good openings but the ball in from Hayes failed to beat the first man and then Shinnie’s cross from the left was too strong.
On nine minutes a Maddison free kick from a good thirty yards hit the wall. Then after good battling play by Jack, it allowed Maddison to get a shot away, Fon Williams just managed to push the ball clear and behind for the first corner. Maddison then set up Stockley after a neat run but the strikers shot was well blocked.
It was encouraging that Maddison was getting on the ball and finding space.
But then after fifteen minutes the home side scored with their first attack. A nice ball in from Ross Draper was headed home by Doumbouya. It was a well placed header but a poor goal from Aberdeen’s point of view after they had carelessly lost possession.
The visitors responded quickly and a Hayes cross in front of the defence found Stockley but his shot, which was on target, was well blocked. On 20 minutes three Aberdeen crosses, one from a Maddison free kick, were very well defended. After 24 minutes a Hayes cross at pace deserved better but it went beyond everyone and Logan at the back post could only put the ball out for a goal kick.
The home side had been lifted by the goal. They were closing down any black shirts very quickly.
On 26 minutes Maddison won a free kick twenty five yards out. James took the last one from this area but this time Kenny McLean curled the ball over the wall with his left foot and found the corner of the net after Fon Williams was slightly slow to react. A brilliant goal.
It was a really open game and on the break Maddison and Stockley very nearly created a chance.
On 31 minutes a great tackle by Considine set Hayes free. The winger got his head down and kept going all the way into the box. He invited a tackle from Gary Warren and it was a clear penalty when Hayes went to ground. Rooney took some verbal’s and had to wait for a minute whilst the home players protested but showed great composure to find the corner of the net. It had to be right in the corner as the keeper had gone the right way.
Back came the home side who then enjoyed a good little spell. Doumbouya laid the ball off for Tremarco and his shot with the outside of his foot just went past Lewis’ far post.
The game was now even more open and Aberdeen were looking very dangerous on the break. A great dummy from Maddison allowed Hayes space to run into. He played the ball to his left but Adam Rooney wasted a great chance when he went for goal instead of trying to Maddison who had taken up a great position.
In the 43rd minute a long shot from McLean almost crept into the corner but Fon Williams in the end made a fine save. A very entertaining and open first forty-five minutes.
Inverness put some pressure on at the start of the second half. The ball dropped for Billy King on the edge of the area but his shot was always off target. Then on the break a great chance for Aberdeen as Maddison set up Shinnie but the left back never got enough power into his shot.
On 52 minutes an Aberdeen corner produced a brilliant save from Fon Williams. Considine powered a header into the ground and the ball bounced up in front of the keeper. Despite seeing it late Williams managed to react and touch the ball over the bar.
The game was becoming more and more stretched and the next goal was going to be crucial.
King was booked for a foul on Hayes before Jonny made a great run that had defenders chasing shadows. His pace was too much but unfortunately so was his pass for Maddison. At times Aberdeen almost had too much time at the edge of the area and the players were overthinking their final pass.
After 65 minutes a real spell of pressure resulted in a superb first time effort from McLean which went inches over. Meekings before that had done very well to get in the way of a Maddison shot. A minute later Maddison was booked by Kevin Clancy when he was clipped on the edge of the area. His quick feet seemed to have drawn the foul but the referee saw it differently.
James almost had the last laugh on 70 minutes when a free kick shaved the outside of the post.
With thirteen minutes to go Stockley came off for McGinn and Taylor replaced Maddison. Brad McKay at the same time was stretchered off after a nasty collision with Shinnie. Thankfully the Inverness player was reported to be ok after the game. Whilst there was a delay Aberdeen changed their shape and Considine went to left back and Shinnie into midfield.
With just under ten minutes remaining Ross Draper made a great run into the area and in the end Logan just managed to deflect the ball behind for a corner.
Apart from that moment of concern Aberdeen managed the final stages very well and made the game safe with two minutes to go. On the break McLean played Hayes clear. Jonny did brilliantly to time the pass for Kenny who was coming up in support and he rolled the ball past Fon Williams.
The Dons could have added a forth after a great run from Hayes but they can be well pleased with their afternoon’s work. With two very good away wins they could not be going into the final in any better form. The perfect preparation.