Michael Gardyne insists he has no point to prove with Caley Thistle following his release by Ross County.
Staggies stalwart Gardyne has signed a one-year deal at Caledonian Stadium, with the option to extend it further, after ending his 12-year association with their Highland rivals County last month.
Gardyne, who holds the Staggies’ club records for appearances and goals with 73 strikes in 444 outings, spoke of his surprise at being informed he would not be receiving a new contract via a Zoom call last month.
The 35-year-old says the manner of his exit from Dingwall has given him no additional drive on top of his own ambition to help Caley Jags challenge for promotion from the Championship.
✍️ Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC are delighted to announce the signing of winger Michael Gardyne on an 1 year deal with options thereafter.
— Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC (@ICTFC) June 17, 2021
Gardyne said: “It is all about the past and the future for me. To be here and get it sorted, the only way is forward now and I’m looking forward to meeting the lads and getting into training.
“It is the drive, fire and hunger inside me. There are disappointments in football, there are highs and lows and it was a low a month ago.
“That is in the past now, for me it is the future and the fire and drive in the belly comes from me – nothing else.
“I’ve not got anything to prove to anyone, even to myself. I have come here to do well for Inverness and that is the plan going forward.”
Gardyne becomes head coach Billy Dodds’ fifth summer signing, following the capture of Tom Walsh, Billy Mckay, Manny Duku and Reece McAlear.
The Dundee-born player previously worked with Dodds, who was County’s assistant manager when Jim McIntyre’s side won the League Cup in 2016.
Gardyne says the chance to work under Dodds again was a huge draw, adding: “The manager being here was a big pull.
“We had some great times, we won the Scottish League Cup, so it is exciting going forward. To be working with the manager will be great.
“The manager and me – it’s weird calling him manager – have been in almost a friendship since he left Ross County.
“He’s always been there for chats and, when I’m down, that kind of pick me up.
“When the chance came and he was getting the job here, we spoke.
“It was a big pull for me to come here and work with him.”
Gardyne, who has won the Championship title twice with the Staggies, hopes his experience can be a key asset as Inverness look to return to the top flight for the first time since 2017.
He added: “The club have brought in a few lads and they are building a squad to compete and challenge.
“It will be a tough league this season but there could be up to six teams thinking they can go and win it.
“It’s always nice to have that bit of experience and I’ve won the Championship twice, so that’s always good to have in your background.
“Hopefully I can bring a bit of experience into the group and we’ll take it from there into pre-season and the start of the league.”