Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club has the unique distinction of being the longest name in British football. Formed after a merger in 1994 they have stormed up the Scottish Leagues. Thankfully, our record against them is not too bad…
We first met this new side at Fir Park in the League Cup in the late 1990s. The generally accepted wisdom is that an early goal will settle the big side down and it will be a stroll from there. So when we went two up through Falconer and Coyle, the game should have been in the bag. They got one back in the second half but there was no reason for concern surely? Wrong. This is Motherwell remember. A late equaliser was scored and the Inverness fans went wild in the Main Stand. However, it was only in extra time that the match got really interesting. Billy Davies and Brian Martin were sent off and the Fir Park crowd finally woke up. We pressed forward with our nine men but by now penalties were inevitable. We held our nerve and progressed 4-2.
Hammell tries his luck
The next meeting was in the same competition but in Inverness. Conveniently it was during the school October holiday and this possibly helped a few extra fans travel. The match was a tight battle and Inverness would feel aggrieved to emerge on the losing side once again. This time the teams were separated by some skill rather than luck though. Pat Nevin was brought on as a half time subbie and within minutes he had scampered down the left touchline. He somehow got a cross in which was met by Lee McCulloch and his looping header found the net. That goal was good for us but it was probably most appreciated by the three brave souls who were going bare-chested until the deadlock was broken. Respect!
Inverness finally got revenge last season in what was the probably the biggest game between the sides. A cup semi final place was at stake and despite the visitors being on form, Motherwell had won six home games in a row and were firm favourites. But, for whatever reason, it just didn’t happen. We turned in a lethargic performance which barely called Mark Brown into action. Inverness were content to sit with at least ten men behind the ball and a great strike from Barry Wilson early on justified their tactics. They came closer to scoring on the break to kill the game than we did to leveling and there was a real feeling of ‘a chance missed’ at full time.
So, should we be feeling confident before the first ever league meeting between the sides in Lanarkshire? Yes. We should have taken all three points at Pittodrie when we played them earlier and we also achieved a reasonably comfortable 3-1 win their real home ground in the League Cup. We are playing well just now but so are they – a good game should be coming up!