Game 3: Livingston 1-1 Inverness Caley Thistle

Saturday, July 9, 2011 @ Braidwood Motor Company Stadium, Livingston

Another friendly against so-called superior opposition and another good showing from our lads.

Inverness brought a full strength side to Livingston but going by their performance, Terry Butcher has quite a bit of business to do before the SPL campaign.

In fairness, Caley are halfway through a rebuilding job while our side is settled, and that undoubtedly contributed to the fact that we were the better side on the day.

The big talking point of the game surrounded their goal and the application of the offside law.

Richie Foran scored, but not until he had strayed into a position that was yards offside in the build-up to the goal.

The Irishman tried to run onto a long pass down the flank and was rightly flagged by the assistant ref, who along with the ref then decided to play on when Jonny Hayes ran onto the ball instead instead.

Hayes then proceeded to drive the ball into the box where Foran lay in wait to stick the ball past Darren Jamieson in our goal.

Going by the letter of the law it was probably a legitimate goal, given that the game had moved into a new phase between Foran being offside and him receiving the cross for the goal, but it was a clear example of the law itself being incompatible with the spirit of the game.

I’m obviously biased but for me Foran clearly gained an advantage by being in the original offside position. His run impacted on our defenders’ positioning and, in my view, generated space for Hayes to run through.

Then there’s the fact that he might not have got into the scoring position in the box had he not been as far up the field as he was when the move began in the first place.

The point was made afterwards that our players should have played the whistle rather than stop momentarily when the linesman raised his flag, which is fair comment, but the point remains that the offside rule as it is currently applied is unnecessarily complex and open to interpretation.

I’m all for the rules being geared towards encouraging attacking play but if there has to be an offside rule (maybe there doesn’t?) then it should give defenders a sporting chance.

I’m happy to note that Inverness didn’t worry us too much outwith that incident.

Paul Watson was missing from our defence but with Cammy MacDonald deputising alongside the outstanding Craig Barr in the centre, I thought we coped well with Caley’s long ball tactics.

Our equaliser was well executed by Kyle Jacobs, and on another day we’d have got a winner before the end.

We played good football, as we tend to do when given the opportunity, but it was also encouraging to see that our young side was capable of competing with a physical team that was packed full with taller, stronger and more experienced players.

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