Manager Jimmy Calderwood believes his team were lucky to escape The Tulloch Caledonian Stadium with a point tonight. He was disappointed after a great show against Hibs last week that the standard had fallen again and it took a last minute goal from sub Steve Lovell to salvage a point.
The Dons had been dominated for long periods against their Highland opponents and Jimmy Calderwood has already told his players that a performance like this one will surely end in defeat at home to Motherwell this coming Saturday.
For the second week in a row Aberdeen’s match had been broadcast by Setanta which resulted in a crowd of 5744 fans going to watch the game. Sadly they were not privy to a footballing feast, especially in a dull, goalless first half. Jimmy Calderwood was to state after the match that it took Graham Bayne`s goal, a diving header in the 78th minute from a Roy McBain cross, to wake his side up as they only then began putting some serious pressure on the Caley defence.
Calderwood had been considering giving Lovell a game from kick off but instead went for the partnership of Lee Miller and Darren Mackie in attack, the pair having done so well against Hibs the previous week. He made changes in defence however as he dropped Zander Diamond for Severin and gave a starting position on the right of midfield for the fit again Jamie Smith.
The winner of the match would have leapfrogged Rangers into joint second and put a bit of distance between themselves and the closely following pack just a point behind. Perhaps the pressure of escalating to these lofty heights told as both teams seamed a little cautious and Dempsey’s 20th minute, 29 yard drive was the first attempt by either team to threaten.
Aberdeen came out more lively in the second half and Chris Clark flashed a decent effort across the goalmouth. Michael Hart then burst into the box after some nice interplay with Lee Miller but his effort landed on top of ‘keeper Mark Brown`s net.
It was Caley who took the lead on 79 minutes though, forcing Calderwood to play his hand. He took off Dempsey and brought on Lovell and shortly after, hooked Mackie for young Chris Maguire and for the second week running, his changes paid off.
The Dons piled on the pressure seeking an equaliser but only just managed to stay in the game as Langfield almost spilled a corner into his own net.
It looked as though Inverness may record their first ever victory over Aberdeen but Lovell was to mark his first match in three months in sensational style. Firstly, in 89 minutes, he crashed an overhead kick off the bar, the resulting rebound Considine could only head over but Lovell was not to be denied in this match. With only seconds remaining, he was in the right place at the right time to force home Lee Miller`s headed knock on from Hart’s cross and clip in to repay his managers faith in him.
Calderwood rates his injury prone striker highly; after the match he said ‘It was good to have Stevie back. I was tempted to play him from the start but he hasn’t even had a reserve match. The lad is incredibly fit as the backroom boys have done a great job on him. It’s great that he only played 15 minutes and hit the bar and scored.’
Inverness CT Teamsheet:
Brown, Tokely, Dods, Munro, Hastings, Wilson, McBain, Duncan, Rankin, Bayne, Dargo.
Subs: Wyness for Dargo (82)
Langfield, Hart, Anderson, Severin, Foster, Nicholson, J. Smith, Dempsey, Mackie, Miller, Clark.
Subs: Aberdeen: Considine for Clark (67), Lovell for Dempsey (79), Maguire for Mackie (83)
Aberdeen: Considine (69), Lovell (84)
ICT : Duncan (50)
Referee: Douglas McDonald
Report by Cole Thomson