John Rankin reckons Caley Thistle’s new manager will have a great chance to take the Highlanders back to the Premiership next season.
The former ICT and Ross County midfielder, who is the reserve coach at Championship winners Hearts, is interested to find out who will replace John Robertson.
In the second tier, Hearts have gone up, while Morton have stayed down, with Partick Thistle gaining promotion as League One winners.
Kilmarnock will drop down to the Championship if they fail to overturn a 2-1 deficit in their play-off final against Dundee on Monday night.
Whoever the next manager is, Rankin thinks they, by gaining key words from Robertson, will be in a strong position with a club which missed out on the promotion play-offs by a whisker under interim manager Neil McCann.
New boss can tap into Robbo’s knowledge
The former Scotland PFA chairman explained: “I see Inverness as a club who can kick on.
“They only just missed out on the promotion play-offs, but, when you look at the teams in the league next season, there is no stand-out club in terms of budget or squad strength.
“I have been there and it’s a great club. You could go in with a blank canvas and work with a squad capable of winning the Championship.”
“There is a real opportunity for Inverness. Whoever the new manager is, there is no better person to tap into than Robbo.
“He knows the club really well, has got them promoted before and won two Challenge Cups.
“I am a young up-and-coming coach myself and being able to tap into someone’s knowledge like John has is invaluable.
“I’m sure Robbo is far from done in football. His career path, now he’s sporting director, will take him in a different direction.
“He’s had huge success as a manager and I am 100 per cent sure he’ll have a huge success as sporting director.
“When I first came into Hearts, Robbo was a coaching coordinator and I loved our conversations. He was always enthusiastic, no matter what he was doing.
“I don’t just see him being an advisor for the manager. He will look at the youth set-up and put a marker down.”
Ryan Christie sets the ideal example for Inverness youths
Rankin believes using home-grown Scotland international midfielder Ryan Christie as the ideal role model of someone who rose through the ranks at ICT will help progress that focus on developing their own players all the way through to the senior side.
He said: “Inverness have had the likes of Ryan Christie come through. That’s the benchmark they have as a club.
“They can always say they’ve created a player who has moved on to gain these international caps.
Throwback ThursdayOn this day in 2015, Ryan Christie scored this stunner, as we beat Aberdeen 2-1 🔴🔵
Posted by Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC on Wednesday, September 25, 2019
“I’d think promoting the academy is the route Inverness will want to go down, to develop their own talented kids.
“If Robbo can help achieve that, along with the new head coach, it looks like a good way forward for a club like Inverness.”
Forging a coaching path into management
Rankin is enjoying his role at Hearts, but sees management at senior level not too far in the distance.
He said: “I take care of the reserves, under-18s and watch the young players who we are developing who go out on loan.
“That means they have my support from the stand in their development, but also offer feedback in how to develop them. I then feed that back to the sporting director and the manager.
“I’ve just achieved my pro licence in January and, on my coaching path, I’m well on my way and loving every minute of it.
“I love being on the grass, coaching and developing kids. When you see kids that you have worked with grasp their chance and reach the first-team, it’s great.
“Yet, from my point of view, having just one game in the first-team is not enough. That’s not my job complete, or theirs.
“It’s about making sure they have the grounding and the right tools to have a successful career.”
He added: “I’ve been offered a couple of manager’s roles already. I didn’t feel those were right for me or my family, but, as time progresses, the right opportunity might present itself. If not, I will continue to do what I’m doing and I’m enjoying it.”