Published: 02/12/2017 16:47 - Updated: 02/12/2017 16:52

Caley Thistle and Queen of the South play out goal-less draw in game overshadowed by postponement furore

Written byJamie Durent

John Robertson praised John Baird's work-rate. Picture: Ken Macpherson.
John Robertson directed his fury at SPFL secretary Iain Blair.. Picture: Ken Macpherson.

 

CALEY Thistle played out a 0-0 stalemate with Queen of the South in a game overshadowed by them having a request to have the game postponed.

Goal-scoring chances were few and far between in a game that will not live long in the memory but caused great consternation in the Inverness ranks.

The huge talking point pre-game was the fact that the game was going ahead whatsoever. Caley Thistle did not arrive until 3am having got caught up in the aftermath of an accident on the A9 between Blair Atholl and Pitlochry.

The team bus was stuck for more than six hours and John Robertson said players were visibly stressed at what was unfolding around them. He praised the work of the emergency services in keeping them informed but was highly critical of SPFL secretary Iain Blair, who he accused of brushing off their concerns and insisting the game went ahead.

Inverness were prepared to turn round and forfeit the points according to Robertson, had the bus not got moving before midnight. Queens manager Gary Naysmith and SPFL operations manager Anton Fagan were understanding of the situation, with Robertson directing his fury squarely at Blair.

"If he is ever sat on the A9 in a similar situation he might have some understanding. We were quite prepared that had the bus been in traffic at 12, we were going to turn back at Pitlochry and head back up the road,” said Robertson.

“If we don't play, we get fined £10-15 grand. That's the ludicrous part. This is the same man that allows Rangers and Celtic to cancel games to play glamour friendlies. Just because it's little old Inverness, it can't be allowed to happen.

"We were told by Iain Blair by text that he wanted the game to go ahead regardless of our situation. It's a very poor decision."

Any after-effects of their late-night drama would not likely be noticeable until later in the game and certainly coming out of the traps, Caley Thistle did not look too jaded.

Had Carl Tremarco controlled Liam Polworth's pass better, he could have tested Queens goalkeeper Alan Martin. As it was, he could not get the ball out of his feet and saw his cross-shot easily blocked.

Liam Polworth has been frustrated with Caley Thistle's start. Picture: Ken Macpherson.
Polworth was one of ICT's more lively attacking threats.. Picture: Ken Macpherson.

 

Queens were looking to seize on any slackness and did so on 10 minutes, with Lyndon Dykes picking off Iain Vigurs' stray pass. He fed Chris Kane outside him but the former St Johnstone man chose the wrong option, trying to beat Mark Ridgers at his near post and the Inverness stopper saved.

Joe Chalmers drew a smart stop out of ex-Hamilton goalkeeper Martin and the lively Polworth was striving to make something happen for his side, winning possession deep off Jordan Marshall and unfortunate not to pick out either Connor Bell or John Baird.

A quick break presented Dykes with the opportunity to open the scoring for the home side after Kane laid him in, however his firm strike flew wide of Ridgers' near post.

Both sides were guilty of cheap use of the ball, with Iain Vigurs giving away possession three times in the first half that could have presented Queens with a scoring chance.

Naysmith's side started the second half the better, with Kyle Jacobs and Darren Brownlie both firing efforts straight at Ridgers. A Vigurs free-kick, whistled wide of Martin's near post, was the closest Inverness came before the hour.

Charlie Trafford lost his place after breaking his thumb. Picture: Ken Macpherson.
Charlie Trafford had a late penalty call turned down. Picture: Ken Macpherson.

 

Both sides lacked inspiration going forward and for the last half-hour both goalkeepers were hugely underworked.

The final talking point was Charlie Trafford tangling with Marshall in the Queens box from a Vigurs free-kick, to which Inverness were convinced they were due a penalty but referee Barry Cook was unmoved, allowing the game to finish goal-less.

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH: Martin; Marshall, Brownlie, Kerr, Mercer, Dykes, Stirling (McFadden, 68), Rankin, Jacobs, Kane (Lyle, 75), Dobbie (Rooney, 88). Subs unused: Leighfield, Tapping, Bell, Akubuine. Booked: Brownlie.

CALEY THISTLE: Ridgers; Raven, Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Chalmers (Calder, 85), Vigurs, Polworth, Bell (Oakley, 60), Mulraney, Baird (Trafford, 60). Subs unused: Mackay, Warren, Seedorf, Cooper. Booked: Vigurs, Donaldson, Trafford, Mulraney.

Attendance: 1293.

Referee: B Cook.

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