Welcome along to the seventh in our weekly series of Fitba Crazy, a celebration of good old fashioned terrace banter and a chance for fans north of the border to test their tartan trivia.
We’ll be taking you around the grounds, stopping off to chat with fans of all 42 SPFL clubs.
How much do supporters in Scotland really know about their clubs and the national team?
We’re going to find out as we get closer to the fans across all four divisions of the SPFL.
The man in demand this week is Paul Irving as he tells us about his beloved Inverness. He is a prolific football writer, as well as one of the main men over at the Caley Thistle Online fans’ forum.
He’s been sharing with us his passion for the Highlanders and testing his knowledge of all things ‘fitba’…
– Describe your club in three words? Cool, calm, collected (Yogi says it in every interview!)
– Any pre-match superstitions? Not particularly, but I’ve always aimed to get to the ground pretty early. I get a bit edgy if arriving late and missing something for some reason!
– What’s the most memorable game you’ve been to? Really, I should say the cup final and it was fantastic but in truth I’ll never forget the League Cup semi-final nine-man victory over Hearts in 2013-14. An incredible game. I think I celebrated Nick Ross’s equaliser more than the James Vincent winner in May!
– Best away day and why? Tynecastle. Great ground and a great trip. I do enjoy cup trips to smaller, more unusual places as well though. Stranraer and Stenhousemuir come to mind.
– Which player from your division would you like in your team? I’d love to have Graeme Shinnie back. A brilliant player with a superb engine. A travesty how he hasn’t been capped yet.
– Best and worst player you have witnessed in your club’s shirt? Barry Robson was a great player for us in the ‘early days’. Bobby Mann was also a fantastic centre-back and probably the best passer of the ball we’ve ever had.
In recent years, both Johnny Hayes and the Shinnie brothers spring to mind. All great exciting players. Special mention should also go to Ross Tokely as well. Written off every season, but always proved people wrong. He didn’t play for the club for 16 years by being rubbish!
In terms of the worst, we’ve had a few shockers over the years. Dean McDonald stands out for me. When he was signed he was reported to be about 5”7 but looked about 5 foot! It also didn’t help that he was both pretty unfit and as slow as a week in jail! Bizarrely, he later had trials at Celtic and Swansea after a scoring spree at Farnborough. He’s currently at Dulwich Hamlet in the Isthmian League. It’s his twelfth club since leaving us.
In recent seasons, Tarmo Kink could probably go down as one of the worst… or certainly the biggest flop given his pedigree. On the face of it he should’ve been a great signing. He’d played 86 times for Estonia as well as captaining them and had previously played for the likes of Middlesbrough and Spartak Moscow. In truth though he was rubbish. When he came on it was like going down to ten men. He simply didn’t do anything!
– What’s the single best thing about Scottish football? There’s a beauty in it’s imperfections. We know the standard isn’t world class (though I don’t believe it’s as bad as some south of the border would like to tell us) but that doesn’t mean it’s rubbish. There’s also the fact it’s completely unpredictable and not just on the pitch. Even five years ago, who’d have believed that we’d see a Premiership with two Highland clubs but without Hearts, Hibs and Rangers?
It’s not perfect, but it’s real and it’s ours.
– Why is your club better than every other club? We’ve never really been rubbish. We came up the leagues pretty quick really and have always competed well when we’ve gone to the next level. Even the one time we were relegated we came straight back up again and have now become a regular top six side with two cup finals in the last two seasons. It’s never been boring, that’s for sure.
– Best chant you have heard on the terraces? We used to have a certain controversial chant about Iain Vigurs, but I presume it’s been dropped since his return to the club (or doctored slightly!).
We also played Hamilton Accies away on the final day when they already knew they were going down in 2011. We replied to the Accies chant of ‘One Dougie Imrie’ with ‘One Dougie Imrie, DIVISION ONE Dougie Imrie!’.
I wasn’t at the game, but there’s a video on YouTube of our fans chanting ‘Jimmy says aye to a Killie Pie’ at Rugby Park when Jimmy Calderwood was manager there. It seemed to go on for about half an hour!
– Side you enjoy beating the most and why? Ross County of course. It’s not really just for local bragging rights, but some of their fans are literally obsessed with ICT! It seems to have gone into overdrive since the Scottish Cup win as well. Some of them seem to take more pride in ICT losing than their own side winning.
It’s also nice to get wins over Aberdeen and the Old Firm. The biggest, most famous, most glamourous, most successful clubs on Earth according to their fans!
– What is the funniest thing you have witnessed at a football match? There’s nothing overly hilarious, but I did see a dog which was more like the size of a small bear run onto the park in a reserve game against Hearts at Newtongrange Star’s ground a couple of seasons back.
Also, Jamie Hamill’s celebrating and laughing at the ICT fans in the League Semi-Final at Easter Road, before missing his penalty in the shootout after Nick Ross had equalised was brilliant. I’ve haven’t laughed harder since!
– Matchday pie of choice – Scotch, Mince or Steak? Like all sane people, steak!
And here’s the quiz…
1. Inverness sealed the First Division title, and a place in the Premier League for the first time, with a 3-1 win against which club in 2004?
Paul: St Johnstone CORRECT!
2. Name the two full Canadian internationalists to be capped while at Inverness?
Paul: Richard Hastings and Davide Xausa CORRECT!
3. With 81 goals to his name, who is Thistle’s record league scorer?
Paul: Dennis Wyness CORRECT!
4. Manager John Hughes had a spell at which English club before taking charge in the Highlands?
Paul: Hartlepool CORRECT!
5. Caley knocked Celtic out the Cup at Parkhead in 2000, to coin the famous headline ‘Super Caley go ballistic, Celtic are atrocious’. But what was the final score in the match and who scored for both sides?
Paul: 1-3 with Sheerin, an own goal by Moravcik and Wilson. Burchill got their goal CORRECT!
Scottish Football Section
6. Which player did Rangers sign from Spanish giants Barcelona in 2002 for £5.8 million?
Paul: Frank De Boer WRONG! It’s Mikel Arteta
7. Which Scottish manager is currently in charge at English League Two side Plymouth?
Paul: Derek Adams. Craig Brewster is his assistant CORRECT!
8. Scotland manager Gordon Strachan played for which three English clubs?
Paul: Man Utd, Nottingham Forest & Middlesbrough WRONG! It’s Man Utd, Leeds and Coventry
9. I won 61 caps for Scotland, despite being born in Sweden. I am most noted for playing for Rangers, but also starred for Dundee United, Tottenham and Everton….who am I?
Paul: Richard Gough CORRECT!
10. Which Scottish club play their home matches at Stair Park?
Paul: Forfar WRONG! It’s Stranraer
Paul: Gary Teale CORRECT!
Paul: Grant Hanley WRONG! It’s Gordon Greer
Paul: Chris Burke WRONG! It’s Gary Holt
Paul: Ross McCormack CORRECT!
Paul’s total score: 10.5/15
A very fine effort from Paul Irving there, as the incredibly high standard of scoring continues. He will be kicking himself with number 10, as from his interview answers he has been to Stair Park in Stranraer!
Next up we are heading to League 2, as it’s the turn of Stirling Albion fan James Stewart to be in the spotlight. Will James and his beloved Binos manage to upset the boys from the top leagues?!…
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