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Duncan Shearer: Caley Thistle’s close season is descending into chaos

As chairman Ross Morrison resigns, what now for Caley Thistle?

Ross Morrison has stepped down as chairman at Caley Thistle. Image: SNS
Ross Morrison has stepped down as chairman at Caley Thistle. Image: SNS

It seems there really is no ceiling when it comes to chaos at Caley Thistle.

Ross Morrison’s shock decision to step down as chairman yesterday compounds an already chaotic couple of weeks for my old club.

Chaos. That’s the word which keeps coming to my mind. It’s complete and utter carnage for anyone with an association with the club.

I thought the farcical revelation the club has entered into an agreement with Kelty Hearts about training at their home ground without Kelty actually owning the pitch was bad enough but this takes the biscuit.

The supporters were already furious at the initial proposal to relocate to Fife  but incredibly, Morrison’s departure has done nothing to clear up the mess. .

In the space of a week we’ve gone from ‘we’re moving to Fife’ to ‘it’s not set in stone.’

Now we’ve reached a new level of ridiculousness by still not knowing what the plan is and there now being a need for an interim chairman to take charge.

Oh, and the annual accounts are nowhere to be seen either.

At the risk of stating the obvious here, the clock is ticking and somebody, somewhere, needs to get a grip of this sorry mess as a matter of urgency.

The only good news to come out of the club in the last seven days has been the contribution from former chairman Alan Savage to protect the youth setup.

The six-figure investment will protect a vital component of the club, and give head of youth Charlie Christie and the coaching staff some much-needed clarity during this hugely uncertain period.

But in terms of first team level and the board as a whole, it has been another week where everyone involved has taken a kicking and Morrison’s departure does not change that.

If anything, it only compounds the uncertainty.

We still don’t know who decided a move to Fife was a good idea in the first place, whether anyone from the football staff was consulted, or what they think about it all publicly.

And now, on top of that, there’s no chairman.

As I’ve said repeatedly, it’s utter chaos.

Squad rebuild should be the priority

Caley Thistle goalkeeper Cammy MacKay. Image: SNS.

The uncertainty caused by the now departed chairman’s comments will have ramifications.

I urged the board to reconsider their decision, which was clearly reached before relegation to League One had been confirmed, in this column a week ago.

But despite stressing it was not too late to change their mind if there is going to be a change of heart from those at board level, it needs to be done with a sense of urgency.

There are nine players in last season’s first-team squad under contract and the majority are Inverness-based.

Worryingly, there is not a goalkeeper to be found on the list either.

Cammy Mackay is following Mark Ridgers out the door at Caledonian Stadium, while youngster Corey Patterson’s contract will expire next week.

Add in more uncertainty about goalkeeper coach and under-18 coach Ryan Esson, who is also out of contract, and it makes for grim viewing – and that’s only one area of the team.

Players will be reluctant to play the waiting game

Duncan Ferguson. Image: SNS.

Five of the nine players under contract are defenders, so manager Duncan Ferguson has plenty of work ahead of him in bolstering his squad.

But signing new players is not quite as straightforward when the manager cannot say with 100% certainty where they will be training during the week all season.

I’d imagine Duncan has spoken to some potential targets about signing for the club.

But if you are a player and are having to wait by the phone for a manager to firm up an important detail like where you will be based, and another club comes calling in the meantime, it is going to be tempting to choose option B.

Caley Thistle have ruffled feathers among their fanbase in announcing plans to relocate their training base.

I’m of the belief if it was a successful model other clubs would be doing it.

If they truly believe it’s the way to go, then do it. But this “maybe aye, maybe no” approach is helping nobody.

Early noises from Jimmy Thelin are encouraging

Elfsborg manager Jimmy Thelin in his final home game in charge before joining Aberdeen. Image; Bildbyran
New Dons boss Jimmy Thelin. Image: Bildbyran

I visited Cormack Park for the first time on Sunday and I have to say I left feeling hugely impressed by Aberdeen’s training facility.

When I looked at the pitches, I thought new Dons boss Jimmy Thelin will be delighted to have a base of that quality to work at every day.

It’s certainly a far cry from my time at Pittodrie – the Barracks, Balgownie and the beach don’t quit compare to what the current squad will be using when they return for pre-season training.

I’ve been reading Thelin’s comments about Aberdeen in the last week and I have to say I’ve been quite impressed by what he has had to say.

He is only the second non-British man after Ebbe Skovdahl to manage the Dons and it is clear it will be a big challenge for him.

He seems to be well-versed in the club and the culture, though, and while no doubt he will have his own vision, it’s encouraging to hear him talking about his willingness to adapt.

The proof will be when the games start – but I like what I’m hearing so far.

Who should replace Lyndon Dykes?

Lyndon Dykes’ injury is a big blow for Scotland. Image: SNS.

Scotland boss Steve Clarke has a big decision on his hands after Lyndon Dykes was ruled out of the squad for the Euros due to injury.

Dykes is not an out-and-out goalscorer, but there is little doubt he is a real handful for defenders.

He is a big, imposing, physical target man and we don’t have an awful lot of those types queueing up to take his place in the squad.

It seems we are down to four candidates as potential replacements in Tommy Conway, Ryan Fraser, Ross Stewart and Kevin Nisbet.

I have my doubts about Stewart and Nisbet given their recent injury woes, while Fraser’s availability for previous squads leaves a question mark over his head.

Conway is the one I know least about and would certainly be the riskiest selection of the four players being mentioned.

But none of them do what Dykes did for the team.

I don’t envy the dilemma Steve faces with this one.