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Scot Gardiner says John Robertson will play key role in advancing Caley Thistle as sporting director

John Robertson.
John Robertson.

Caley Thistle chief executive Scot Gardiner is confident John Robertson can spearhead a change of direction at Caledonian Stadium in his new sporting director role.

Inverness last week confirmed Robertson would step down from his position as manager, from which he has been on compassionate leave since February, in order to move upstairs.

The 56-year-old previously worked in a business development role alongside Gardiner at Hearts, prior to rejoining Inverness for a second spell as manager in 2017.

Robertson’s move away from the dugout means Caley Jags are now searching for a new head coach, with a deadline for applications this Friday.

Gardiner is excited by the plans that are already afoot at the club, and he feels Robertson can play a major part in implementing them in the weeks ahead.

In an interview with Inverness’ club website, Gardiner said: “It was something we discussed with John over the last few weeks.

“There’s a huge amount going on at the club, not all of which we’re at liberty to reveal quite yet, some of it is at a delicate stage contract-wise.

“But there are a huge amount of things that we’ve been working on to improve all different facets of the club and business.

John Robertson previously worked in a business development role at Hearts.

“Having worked with John at Hearts in a similar role where he helped with business development he really worked tremendously hard to enhance different facets of Hearts as a business and as a football department.

“The plans we have here are to make the club the best it can possibly be, the most professional it can possibly be, the most elite it can possibly be within those terms that we have in Scotland.

“That goes from the academy right across in relation to the facilities, the area around us and what we can do to change the business model to make itself sustainable and more attractive to other footballers around the country and further afield who can come here with confidence and think ‘this is the place I want to go.’

“There’s multiple things that John can do and will do in that process.”

Robertson began his new role earlier this week, having become Caley Thistle’s first sporting director in their 27-year history.

John Robertson guided Caley Thistle to the First Division title in 2004 during his first stint at Caledonian Stadium.

With Robertson having been based in the Highlands since his first stint in charge in 2002, Gardiner feels his knowledge and experience of the club will carry him seamlessly into the new role.

Gardiner added: “He has started as sporting director. John and I will be working very closely together and he came in as full of enthusiasm as he ever has been.

“He’s in different departments and has started working on one of the very important projects we have immediately.

“I just think it will be for the best for all of us and we will not be running out of things that John will be making a very serious and professional contribution to.

“It’s perfect that he’s there to lend advice on different things relating to football and I just can’t see us losing out of the situation.

“Knowing him as I know him he will do the best he possibly can for the club – he loves the club, loves the city and loves being in and around the fans.”

“It just so happens that life has taken a little bit of a turn this way, but I think he would always have been destined to be a sporting director in any case, perhaps this little change of direction life has forced onto us just advances him into that position a little bit earlier.

“His knowledge of football and how to behave and operate with different clubs and different suppliers will be invaluable to us.

“Right across every department of the football club he’ll be a help to us.”

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