Caley Thistle manager John Robertson has challenged his young prospects to prove they can be the club’s next Ryan Christie or Graeme Shinnie.
Inverness fielded teenagers Roddy MacGregor and Cameron Harper in last weekend’s Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup tie against Morton, with both impressing in Caley Jags’ 3-1 victory.
Robertson has high hopes for the pair, who are aiming to follow in the footsteps of Christie and Shinnie who both began their careers with Inverness before moving on after helping the club win the Scottish Cup in 2015.
Christie is now a mainstay in Celtic’s team, while Shinnie moved to English Championship club Derby County in the summer after four years with Aberdeen, with both players full Scottish internationals.
Robertson feels both players are a strong inspiration for his young hopefuls such as MacGregor and Harper, and he said: “It has to be encouraging for the youngsters that they know there’s a pathway there, with the likes of Roddy MacGregor, Cameron Harper and Matheus Machado getting their opportunity.
“It was wonderful to hear Roddy MacGregor last week talking about Ryan Christie being a role model for him.
“It’s great these lads have Ryan Christie and Graeme Shinnie there as lads that have come through, particularly Ryan being a local boy.
“Now they can be the same for the next lot. It shows what can be achieved if you work hard for your opportunity.
“You could end up doing what Ryan is doing and get a move to Celtic who are one of the biggest clubs, if not the biggest club in Scotland. He’s now also a real star on the international scene.
“It was good to see that from the youngsters’ perspective.”
Inverness defeated Morton comfortably in their league and cup double header, with Robertson’s coaching staff Scott Kellacher and Barry Wilson taking the opportunity to make eight changes from the side which won 5-0 on Championship duty when they took the team for last week’s cup tie.
Robertson says a number of players have put forward a strong claim for tomorrow’s Championship trip to Dunfermline, adding: “Apart from the two young lads starting, Roddy MacGregor and Cameron Harper, it’s a team we would be quite comfortable putting out in any game.
“We had the likes of Kevin McHattie, Sean Welsh, Charlie Trafford, Miles Storey and big Nikolay Todorov.
“What really pleased us was the standard of the performance. That should keep the guys who are starting on their toes. It has given us a nice little dilemma for Saturday, because not one player let himself down. They all played very well.”