The appointment of a new head coach for Caley Thistle is seen as the biggest managerial move by the club for more than a decade.
That’s the view of Andrew Moffat of the popular ICT fans’ podcast, the Wyness Shuffle.
Looks like we are getting a new manager then!
— The Wyness Shuffle (@TheICTPodcast) May 13, 2021
He cast his eye over some of the runners and riders for the job vacated by John Robertson this week.
Robertson returns from a few months out from compassionate leave to take up a new sporting director role at Inverness.
The Championship side, which has not returned to the Premiership since dropping down in 2017, is advertising for a head coach rather than a manager.
Chief executive Scot Gardiner told the Press and Journal yesterday that 56-year-old Robertson will not have any influence on the new gaffer, with the two separate positions being overseen the CEO.
Interim manager Neil McCann, assisted by Billy Dodds, helped guide the team to fifth spot in the table within a matter of months, with the promotion play-offs missed out by a mere margin of three points.
When McCann came in, the club were flirting with the drop zone.
Dodds is the bookies’ favourite to become the club’s head coach, being assisted by Barry Wilson and Ryan Esson.
So, it promises to be another busy summer for Caley Jags and the closing date for the job is next Friday, meaning an appointment is looming large.
Moffat, whose popular pod is lapped up by ICT fans, said: “This could be the most important appointment the club has made since Terry Butcher (in 2009). He reinvigorated the club and, after relegation, brought us right back up.
Money talks in the Championship too
“At this level of football, money will get you to the top, probably. Regardless of that, you have eight or nine teams that are much of a muchness, apart from one or two part-timers.
“Strength of character really matters in management. You see the character Dick Campbell has at Arbroath, for example.
“I’m not saying I want Dick Campbell in, but there is a lot to be said for character as opposed to someone who has done a lot of coaching.
“This is one of our most important appointments. Hamilton are coming down and it will be one of Kilmarnock, Ross County or Dundee. I’d rather it was Kilmarnock.
“It’s the best opportunity for eight provincial teams to get out of the scrap that is the Championship, so it’s really important to get this right.”
Dodds is a top coach – but can he be a head coach?
Dodds leads the list and is thought to be the hottest tip for the job should he apply.
Moffat rates the former Scotland striker, but isn’t certain he’s cut out for the top role.
He explained: “Billy Dodds has only ever been an assistant, but would the head coach be in charge of the football operations or does that fall under John Robertson’s remit?
“Billy is clearly a very good coach and that was evidenced by what he’s done with the club this season alongside Neil McCann.
“You could see the difference in terms of set-pieces and the vibrancy in training and what he brought to it. I don’t see him as a manager.”
Switch from Aberdeen?
Two former ICT stars are tucked just behind Dodds in the betting list, but Moffat isn’t confident either will land the gig.
He said: “Paul Sheerin and Barry Robson are at Aberdeen, which is a huge project right now under Stephen Glass.
“Paul has managed at Arbroath, while Barry hasn’t been a manager, so maybe they wouldn’t go down that route.”
Hearts connections to continue?
Former Hearts coach Liam Fox and Peter Grant, who has just left Alloa Athletic, are also rated by Moffat, who added: “I’m not surprised that Darren Young and Stewart Petrie are on the bookies’ list.
“Gary Naysmith is another, with Hearts connections, that I thought might be worth a look, although he only took over Edinburgh City in March.”
One man who the podcast ace believes could be an ideal fit for Inverness is Northern Irishman Stephen Robinson, who packed a punch for Motherwell for three years since 2017.
He said: “Stephen Robinson has been at a provincial club, one we should be aspiring to in terms of its entire infrastructure.
“If we’re looking for a guy with football experience that can bring players through and can work within a forward-thinking structure and has a good eye for players then he’d work.
“He’s got a good eye for players with contacts in Ireland as well. With the head coach name for this job, if Robbo is not going to be involved so much then let’s have a manager such as Stephen Robinson. “
Kellacher for the job in future?
Moffat also pointed out that former ICT boss John Hughes has previously tipped Scott Kellacher as a future manager of the club.
Kellacher, who has been assistant to Robertson, is recovering from a serious illness, so it is not known when he will return to the Caledonian Stadium, but his job remains in place.