Caley Thistle manager John Robertson has called for the sternest possible action to be taken against a group of supporters that subjected midfielder Liam Polworth and members of his family to abuse during Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Ayr United.
Polworth, who missed a penalty during the Championship encounter at Caledonian Stadium, took to social media following the match to highlight abuse directed towards his partner Katie and sister Ellie, which provoked an angry response in support of the Inverness-born player from team-mates and supporters.
Caley Jags have confirmed they are investigating the incident with a view to identifying the supporters responsible, with Robertson confirming names have already been brought to the club’s attention.
Robertson was angered by the abuse and has called for strong punishment to be applied by the club.
He said: “We’re not happy. Liam is a player I personally rate very highly. He’s played every game for us since I’ve been at the club, such is the esteem in which I hold him.
“Personal criticism of players for match performance is fine. For missing penalties, fine.
“Liam said the same thing – he accepts that. We all do.
“But a small minority of fans on Saturday crossed the line. For Liam’s partner Katie and his sister Ellie to be abused in song and in voice is wrong.
“It is something the club condemns strongly and we’ll be investigating it. Those found responsible will be brought to task.
“We want to find out the group responsible and we will – we’ve already got names.
“What happens to them if identified is above my pay grade, that will come from the board. We can all imagine and speculate what will happen.
“I would be looking for the sternest possible action. If they’ve done this, we don’t want them at the games.
“They can’t tarnish our true support. We have about 2,200 regular fans here and we’re talking about a group of 20 or 30.
“But we need to weed them out because I’m not going to let the rest of the fantastic Inverness support be tarred by these idiots.
“That’s what they are – idiots, morons. The sooner we get rid of them, the better. There’s no place at Inverness Caledonian Thistle for that kind of nonsense.”
Robertson confirmed Polworth will play in a much-changed side that faces Dunfermline in tonight’s IRN-BRU Cup first round tie, with Daniel MacKay, Jamie McCart and Sean Welsh among those who will be drafted in from the start.
The Caley Jags boss is confident the 23-year-old will show a strong response, adding: “It won’t affect Liam. He is a vital member of our team, and we want him to continue to be one of the focal points. What fans have to understand is, Liam’s in the last year of his contract. These kind of actions don’t help us when we’re trying to persuade him to stay.
“He knows it is a small minority, and the vast majority of fans are right behind him. It won’t stop him.”