He knows Caley Thistle fans have every right to be angry – but chief executive Scot Gardiner is urging everyone to get behind the team to help turn their ailing season around.
Inverness are on the search for a new manager after Billy Dodds was sacked on Sunday, along with assistant Barry Wilson.
A nine-match winless run, leaving them in bottom spot in the Championship, and early exits from the Viaplay Cup and the SPFL Trust Trophy, has led to plenty of frustration on and off the park at the club.
The search is well under way for a new management team, while former Caley Thistle bosses Charlie Christie and John Robertson will take interim charge of the squad in the meantime.
Ahead of Saturday’s home game with Dundee United, the ICT Supporters’ Trust have organised a meeting at the Innes Bar beer garden from noon.
Caley Thistle’s Scot Gardiner: ‘Everyone is entitled to be unhappy’
Though the meeting was set ahead of last weekend’s 1-0 loss at new leaders Raith Rovers, Gardiner will take on board the views from it – and says he wants as many supporters as possible to click through the turnstiles for the 3pm showdown with Jim Goodwin’s United as Caley Jags seek their first Championship victory.
Gardiner said: “Everyone is entitled to be unhappy, whether it’s six people, 60 or 600. If you support this team, your view is as valid as anyone else’s.
“When you’re on a run like this, you have to suck it up and accept any criticism. You would hope it would be civil, and some of it is, some of it isn’t, but that’s just the modern world.
“If you don’t want to deal with that, there are plenty of other things you can do.
“For me, fans are entitled to their opinion 100 per cent, and you hope that ultimately they just stick with you.
“Some fans are meeting in the Innes Bar, and hopefully everyone vents their spleen if they want to do that. Hopefully it’s constructive, and then I would hope they’re all coming to the game afterwards.
“That’s what we need, but we know that doesn’t happen when you’re losing. And that’s another reason managers lose their job – when people stop coming and stop buying things, that has an impact.
“Last weekend was probably the smallest crowd we’ve had at Raith Rovers for a long time, which means there are fans who would normally get in the car and come down to support the club who decided not to do that.
“Our job is to get them back and get a team that they believe in again and will come and support.”
‘Everyone is working towards the same goal – promotion’
Gardiner insists everyone at the club wants the same as fans do – a winning team challenging to get back to the top-flight for the first time since 2017.
He said: “Football is entertainment, football is leisure.
“We know because it’s the biggest game in the world, it’s the beautiful game and we all love it.
“We love the drama of it, and I have lots of moments of Schadenfreude where I’m happy that this team or that team isn’t doing well.
“As a fan, your passion is no different to the passion of a top four club in England, or Madrid, or Milan – and our fans are no different.
“There are good times and there are bad times – you hope for more good than bad – but you hope they realise that everyone is working towards the same goal.
“You’re trying to get promoted, and you can only hope they stick by you. I have found at Inverness that the silent majority are more representative than noisy people, and that’s the same in the world right now.
“The silent majority will still be deeply unhappy with our results and very disappointed with what’s going on, and it’s our job to fix that.”
No major changes behind the scenes despite exit of Dodds and Wilson
Gardiner confirmed coach Scott Kellacher, who had time away from the club with illness in 2021, remains firmly part of the future at Inverness.
Kellacher had previously been on the books as the club’s number two.
Under-18s coach Ryan Esson will also remain in place, with both having roles to play at senior and younger age-group levels.
He added: “Nobody else is affected – Ross Hughes as sports scientist, Ryan’s dual position remains the same, and Scott has not only been a coach, but he has taken on additional duties in regard to transitioning our young players into the first-team.
“We have nine players who are professional, but are trying to transition into senior football, and Scott is helping them because we need that to be a successful part of our club.”