Caley Thistle chief executive Scot Gardiner is hugely grateful to Neil McCann for stepping in at the club’s hour of need.
The former Dundee boss has taken interim charge of the Inverness club after manager John Robertson was given compassionate leave following a family bereavement.
With assistant manager Scott Kellacher also absent due to long-term illness, the Caley Jags acted quickly to appoint 46-year-old McCann.
The former Hearts and Rangers winger has been working as a pundit since leaving Dundee in October 2018.
Gardiner, speaking to the club’s website, said: “I said to the chairman on Saturday that Neil McCann would be fantastic.
“I had a list of four names, but Neil was number one for a number of reasons but it wasn’t straightforward.
“When a manager and assistant leave because they are headhunted by another club, you get your contact book out and you get applications as well.
“But Scott and John are 100 per cent not leaving us, so this was a difficult situation that I had not encountered before.
“We needed a good, experienced man who had a reason to take the job, such as the job is because it could be a few weeks or a few months – we don’t know.
“We needed someone who could drop everything in their life and move to Inverness for we don’t know how long.
“It also had to be someone John could trust and communicate with going forward.
“I didn’t want to add any additional angst to the situation by bringing in someone who John thought was trying to get his job or Kell thought that, because it’s not the case.
“That narrowed the window and even then you don’t know if someone will be able to do it.
“We had a board meeting on Sunday lunchtime and then I called Neil directly. He is someone I have known since 1999 back at another club and we’ve done various things across the years since then.
“I phoned him just before he was going on air to cover the Rangers v Dundee United game and his first thoughts were for John.
“We spoke again late on Sunday night and then again on Monday night to see how it could be done.
“He was adamant that he wouldn’t consider it unless he met or spoke to John, which was tremendously honourable and decent.
“John gave him his blessing and said he wanted him to do it and told him all about the players.”
Gardiner admits he is unsure how long McCann will be in caretaker charge, but believes he is the right man to hold the fort.
He added: “We are full of gratitude for Neil to be doing what he is doing.
“We are also grateful to the BBC, Sky and Rangers for allowing him to step away to help John, his friend and former teammate, and Caley Thistle.
“It is a huge favour for us, but Neil is a very serious man and a very serious football manager with a tremendous knowledge.
“He has been in since the crack of dawn giving everyone his thoughts, so I look forward to seeing how it works for him.”
The Inverness side sit sixth in the Scottish Championship ahead of the visit of leaders Hearts to Caledonian Stadium on Friday night.
Gardiner said Caley Thistle are set to call their AGM “in the next day or so” and added: “We are just waiting on the auditors with final numbers, but it is a huge improvement on our position from 12 months ago.
“We’ve got lots of work to do, but I’m relieved and gratified to get Neil in. I’m not pleased because we find ourselves in very difficult circumstances.
“He is stepping up for us and it allows us to go into Friday’s game with the support the players need and Barry Wilson and Ryan Esson need.
“He is a top man who has won everything in the game in Scotland and still has a fantastic hunger.
“The main reason is he wants to help his friend and ultimately Caley Thistle.”