Caley Thistle manager John Robertson feels the club’s 25-year legacy has left plenty for the Highlanders to build upon.
Inverness are celebrating a quarter century since the amalgamation of Caledonian and Thistle in 1994, in a move which proved divisive among supporters of both Highland League clubs.
Since entering the Third Division that year, Caley Jags have racked up an impressive list of achievements which was topped off by winning the Scottish Cup with a victory over Falkirk in 2015.
Although Inverness have since suffered relegation to the Championship, Robertson, who guided the club to their first promotion to the top-flight in his first spell in 2004, feels the brave move for two of the city’s teams to join forces has long since paid off.
Robertson said: “It’s a big milestone. Looking at what the club has done over the years, to come out and merge first was quite controversial, but they have shown it was the right decision.
“When you look at what the club has achieved 25 years down the line, they have won three titles in all – a Third Division and two Championships – they have won two Challenge Cups, a Scottish Cup and they have played in Europe.
“That in itself tells you it was the right decision, and all the pain and graft people had to do in the first place was worthwhile.
“We need to continue to build on that.”
In a fitting twist, Inverness take on Arbroath at Caledonian Stadium tomorrow – just three days short of the 25-year anniversary of the meeting between the two sides which marked Caley Jags’ first league encounter.
The club’s first skipper, Alan Hercher, who died a year ago tomorrow, netted a hat-trick in that match and will have an enclosure in the North Stand opened in his honour. There will also be a minute’s applause to remember Hercher and other club stalwarts prior to kick-off.
Caley Thistle’s current squad will wear the club’s special edition 25-year anniversary strip, with each player given a captain’s armband with Hercher’s number four on it.
A number of players involved in the club’s first league match will also be pitchside for the tribute, and Robertson hopes his class of 2019 can play their part with a performance to match a day of reflection.
He added: “Football throws up some strange coincidences at times. Who would have guessed that virtually 25 years to the day the opposition would be exactly the same?
“We look forward to entertaining Arbroath, but we also want to try to win the game and mark what is a very special milestone in the club’s history.
“I would be delighted if history repeated itself – to win 5-2 and for somebody to score a hat-trick.”