After getting a taste of the Premiership play-offs last season, John Robertson will hope his summer recruits can take Caley Thistle a step further this time around.
Inverness’ loss to Dundee United last year spelled the end of their top-flight dream for another season, however it was a strong showing during the campaign which continued the trend of steady progress since Robertson picked up the pieces following the club’s relegation in 2017.
An inability to convert more of their 14 draws into victories prevented Inverness from running Championship title winners Ross County closer, and bolstering Caley Jags’ attacking options has clearly been at the forefront of Robertson’s priority list this summer.
Inverness’ first move was to draft in Championship taskmaster James Keatings in following his departure from Premiership side Hamilton Accies. Attacker Keatings boasts an impressive track record of helping Accies, Hearts and Hibernian gain promotion from the second-tier, before an injury-ravaged spell with Dundee United disrupted his momentum. Keatings has arrived in the Highlands in pursuit of a fresh start and has most regularly occuped a position just off the main forward, returning three goals to this point.
More often than not that has been Jordan White, who capped an impressive debut season with Caley Jags by finishing as their leading scorer with 16 goals last term. White played every match in doing so however, and Inverness have attempted to lessen the burden on him by drafting in the equally imposing figure of Nikolay Todorov to provide competition up front. The Bulgarian has already picked up plenty experience of Scottish football, with the likes of Hearts, Livingston and Queen of the South, but has intermittently been used as a central defender throuhgout his career.
Robertson has made it clear Todorov’s focus will be on leading the line however, and although his impact has largely been from the bench, from which he has netted three goals so far, it is clear the Caley Jags boss has high hopes the former Bulgaria under-21 international.
Inverness also dipped into the loan market to sign wide player Mitch Curry from Middlesbrough on a deal until January, however an ankle injury has kept the Englishman sidelined since the Betfred Cup campaign came to an end in July. Having returned to the Riverside for treatment, Curry is soon expected to return to Caley Jags, who will hope he can make a strong contribution befitting of his high rating by the Teeside outfit.
Caley Jags’ final piece of summer business was a familiar face, in the form of Miles Storey. The Englishman has endured indifferent spells with Aberdeen and Partick Thistle since his loan stint with the Highlanders under John Hughes during the 2015-16 Premiership campaign, in which he finished Inverness’ leading scorer. The attacker’s pace can cause defences no end of problems, and Inverness will hope the return to a setting which has previously brought out Storey’s best can bring more success.
The attacking reinforcements have clearly left them with more strength in the forward areas, where they lost Nathan Austin to Lowland League side Kelty Hearts, while Darren McCauley returned to previous club Derry City after just six months at Caledonian Stadium.
Inverness’ only other two arrivals have come in the middle of the park, where they were forced to seek reinforcements following the departures of Liam Polworth and Joe Chalmers to Premiership clubs Motherwell and Ross County respectively. James Vincent is a man who needed no introduction to Caley Jags supporters, having struck the decisive goal in Inverness’ Scottish Cup final victory over Falkirk in 2015. Vincent is also looking to draw upon fond memories having most recently been with fellow Championship club Dunfermline, and he has occupied a holding role alongside fellow new recruit David Carson.
Arriving from English non-league outfit Morpeth Town, Carson was something of an unknown quantity, but arrived high in confidence after helping Morpeth claim promotion to the Northern Premier League last term.
Carson, who was previously with Blackburn Rovers as a youth player, has looked a tidy and reliable ball player, and has also shown versatility by slotting in as a makeshift right back.