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Jamie Durent: Appointing Neil McCann as temporary boss will have been a masterstroke if he leads Inverness to Premiership

Inverness interim manager Neil McCann.
Inverness interim manager Neil McCann.

It has been an emotional, eventful week for Caley Thistle.

First of all, I pass on my regards to John Robertson, who has taken a period of compassionate leave from the club.

A man who has become synonymous with the club deserves as much time as he needs away from the game.

In the midst of this week, they had a game against Alloa Athletic and then after a topsy-turvy 2-2 draw, they announced Neil McCann would take over as temporary manager while Robertson is away from the club.

McCann had been out of the game since leaving Dundee in 2018, with the Dark Blues troubled by relegation. Prior to that his only coaching experience came at Dunfermline under Jim Jefferies, when the club had to deal with administration.

It was hard to gauge the barometer of McCann’s appointment, particularly with the context of it being an interim one with the club stressing Robertson remains their manager.

John Robertson is taking compassionate leave.

A 1-1 draw with Championship leaders Heart of Midlothian on Friday night was an encouraging start.

Chief executive Scot Gardiner stated he wanted someone who knew Scottish football and had experience working at the highest level.

There were a few names which came to mind before McCann before there seemed to be a collective nodding-of-heads on social media from Caley Thistle supporters.

Robertson is held in such high regard by Inverness fans.

He delivered top-flight football to the club in his first spell in charge, winning the First Division title in 2004. While his move into the hot seat at boyhood club Hearts did not work out afterwards, his reputation in the Highlands never diminished.

Since he returned in 2017, he has had to oversee a drastic cost-cutting programme, as fallout from their relegation from the Premiership.

Robertson has regularly had the club challenging in the play-off places in the Championship with hopes of promotion, as well as numerous cup runs.

It was going to be awkward to find someone to step in to fill Robertson’s shoes, even on a temporary basis.

His absence is for an indeterminate period of time, so it could be a few weeks or a few months.

The Caley Jags do need to get promoted. They are four years outside the Premiership now and risk being cast aside as a regular Championship outfit.

That Robertson kept them in play-off contention while losing his best players and reducing his budget is testament to his work.

If McCann comes in and enjoys a successful stint, the decision will have worked.

If it does prove to be for the remainder of the season and McCann manages to deliver promotion, then it will be a masterstroke.

Caley Thistle need to get back to the top-flight.

Because ultimately, if that is how long he is going to be in charge for, that will have to be the aim.

If it is shorter than that, the goal must surely be to leave Caley Thistle in a better place in the league than he found it.

Intriguing times lie ahead at the Caledonian Stadium.

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