John Robertson’s new two-year contract will guarantee Caley Thistle an even greater layer of stability on a day their fate for next season was finally settled.
The SPFL has confirmed it will not go ahead with a formal vote on league reconstruction, after a proposal for a 14-10-10-10 format failed to gather sufficient support from clubs across all four divisions.
Although they will remain in the Championship the fact Inverness were part of the conversation is testament to the work Robertson has done, with Caley Jags standing to be promoted as a result of finishing second should the proposal have passed.
Sunday marked three years to the day since Robertson was unveiled for a second stint in charge at Caledonian Stadium, inheriting a club fresh from being relegated in the previous campaign.
The end of Caley Jags’ seven-year top-flight stint, which subsequently led to the sacking of Richie Foran, gave Robertson a major task in reviving morale at the club.
Inverness were landing into a division which clubs such as Rangers, Hibernian and Dundee United had failed to get out of at the first attempt, which laid bare the scale of the challenge.
The post-relegation hangover was initially plain to see, with a much-changed team which had been quickly assembled by Robertson taking time to gel.
Once Inverness averted their poor early season form they did not look back, ending the league campaign with a ruthless streak of 11 matches undefeated, but just running out of time to creep into the play-off spots.
On top of that, Robertson led the Highlanders to IRN-BRU Cup success courtesy of a win over Dumbarton in March 2018, which was a sign the club was heading in the right direction once again.
The improvement continued into the following campaign, with a third-placed finish securing a play-off place, but Inverness ultimately fell to a semi-final defeat by Dundee United.
That gave the Highlanders fresh impetus ahead of last season, and although they were largely well adrift of runaway leaders United, they maintained a firm grip on second place from December onwards.
Although that is where they ended as a result of the points-per-game formula, following the ending of the season due to coronavirus, they will not have the opportunity to go one better than last year’s play-off bid in a year in which they would undoubtedly have fancied their chances.
That will be a frustration for Robertson but the commitment to an extra two years is a sure sign it has only made him more hungry to succeed in his goal of overseeing Caley Thistle’s return to Scottish football’s elite.
Robertson’s remit has not been made any easier by the loss of players each summer, with the likes of Iain Vigurs, Joe Chalmers and Liam Polworth leaving voids to be replaced on a limited budget.
His unquestionable success in doing so will give Caley Jags supporters confidence the recent loss of Coll Donaldson, Jamie McCart, Shaun Rooney, Jordan White and Tom Walsh – who were all Robertson’s own recruits – can be offset.
Among the biggest obstacles to Inverness’ path back into the top-flight will be the presence of Robertson’s former club Hearts, whose relegation was confirmed following the collapse of league reconstruction plans.
With question marks over Jambos boss Daniel Stendel’s future, Robertson’s new contract is likely to dampen the prospect of speculation linking him with a Tynecastle return from surfacing should the German depart.
There is a sense that Inverness are steadily getting closer to ending their top-flight absence, and Robertson’s commitment until 2023 will give the club added confidence they can get over the line.