Caley Thistle have claimed Dundee made a direct approach to manager John Robertson over the vacant Dens Park job before seeking the Highlanders’ permission.
Robertson has been targeted by the Dark Blues, who have been without a manager since opting to dismiss Jim McIntyre following their relegation from the Premiership.
Although Inverness confirmed they turned down Dundee’s move for Robertson, Caley Jags yesterday issued a statement claiming the formal approach only arrived nearly 24 hours after Robertson had informed chief executive Scot Gardiner of direct contact made to him by the Tayside club on Saturday evening.
Inverness insist Robertson, who is under contract at Caledonian Stadium until 2021, made clear he was not interested in holding discussions with Dundee, who will be among Caley Jags’ rivals in the Championship next season.
Caley Jags’ statement said: “The club can confirm that manager John Robertson was directly approached by Dundee FC on Saturday evening. Within minutes of this approach, John notified the club and confirmed to our CEO that he had no desire or intention to speak to Dundee FC about their vacant managerial position.
“He did not reply to, nor acknowledge this approach. To be 100% clear, this approach from Dundee FC was entirely unsolicited and given that it was less than 24 hours after a draining Premiership play-off semi-final defeat, entirely unwelcome.
“The club itself was not formally contacted by Dundee FC until late Sunday afternoon, when a senior member of our club staff was spoken to by the DFC club secretary. Following this phone call, he received an e-mail formally asking for permission to speak to John with regards the vacant managerial position at Dens Park.
“The member of staff contacted our CEO immediately, at which point and with knowledge of the previous day’s direct approach, he immediately contacted and denied DFC permission to have any further contact with our manager.”
Despite Caley Jags missing out on promotion to the Premiership in their play-off defeat to Dundee United last week, Caley Jags say Robertson, who returned to the club for a second spell in charge in 2017, is committed to returning the Highlanders to the top-flight.
The statement added: “It is testament to the great work John has done over the last two seasons that he has been targeted by a competitor. The board recognised this and indeed our confidence in his ability is why John had already been secured on a deal which will see him in charge until at least the end of season 20/21. This contract had been widely reported on last year and was common and public knowledge.
“John is here to build a promotion winning side. Our improvement on the field over the past two seasons is down to the diligence, integrity and football intelligence of John and his staff.”