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John Robertson: Caley Thistle boss to take as much time as he needs following family bereavement

Caley Thistle manager John Robertson and first-team coach Barry Wilson during a Scottish Championship match against Ayr United.
Caley Thistle manager John Robertson and first-team coach Barry Wilson during a Scottish Championship match against Ayr United.

Caley Thistle boss John Robertson will be afforded as much time off as he needs following a family bereavement.

Robertson has been given compassionate leave by the club following the devastating news last week, with chief executive Scot Gardiner saying he was hurt by his close friend going through “such dark times.”

The Inverness manager was in the dugout for the 2-0 win over Ayr United on Saturday and was tested, along with the rest of the squad, on Sunday. However, he has been given time off for the foreseeable future and the players were informed yesterday morning.

Gardiner will be seeking external help to lead the club for an indeterminate period of time. Assistant manager Scott Kellacher has also been off long-term due to a serious illness and has also contracted Covid-19, with Barry Wilson and Ryan Esson in temporary charge of the team until an appointment is made.

Scot Gardiner and Caley Thistle manager John Robertson (left).

The chief executive said: “John will get however long it takes – five days, five weeks, five months. We’re not expecting it to be long, long-term, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t stand by him.

“He lost a member of his family in pretty awful circumstances last week and it’s hit him pretty hard. John wasn’t at the memorial service – he was at our match and not there. It’s hit him very hard and it’s a culmination of a series of awful things.

“He’s not leaving the club, he’s just taking some compassionate leave. I’m sombre because I don’t like it when a friend and colleague has such dark things happen. That’s what’s happened here.

“Barry Wilson and Ryan Esson took training yesterday and I explained it to the players. What that means is it puts a colossal amount of pressure on this football club because we lost Scott Kellacher in January, to a very serious illness. He had that illness and then got Covid.

“Scott has been out since then and is going to be out for the foreseeable future. He is still our assistant manager and will come back strong at some stage, but not any time soon. We don’t have an assistant manager, we don’t have a manager.

Inverness chairman Ross Morrison (left) and chief executive Scot Gardiner

“In all my years in football I thought I’d dealt with everything. But I’ve never had a situation where the manager and assistant manager have been off for differing reasons at the same time. Both of the men will be back but at the moment we don’t have a manager or assistant manager.”

The Caley Jags have Alloa Athletic tonight at the Caledonian Stadium and face a run of pivotal fixtures, with eight games to fit in before the end of March.

Gardiner added: “The players did what players do, they quietly listened and nodded. A couple of them came and spoke to me, Sean Welsh as captain came and had a good chat with me when we got back to the ground.

“I’m sure the players will do their best for John and the club, and themselves. I said that to them, it’s a difficult time but we should all stand up for our colleagues and do the best we can for them.

“There are a lot of wins and points to be had, and they’re professional footballers. They’re a good bunch, they will be fine.”

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