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Caley Thistle make Highland player pledge amid ‘hugely positive’ investment talks

Administration fears appear to have eased at Inverness, with fans urged to show support by snapping up newly-launched League One season tickets.

It has been a turbulent summer for Caley Thistle. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson
It has been a turbulent summer for Caley Thistle. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

Caley Thistle have confirmed the team will feature more local players, with the financially-embattled Highlanders revealing “hugely positive discussions” with potential investors.

In a statement released on Friday morning, relegated Inverness announced season tickets for next term’s League One campaign are on sale, pleading with fans to show their support by snapping them up.

Last Wednesday, Caley Thistle said they were set to approach an insolvency practitioner to advise on how to proceed – should they fail to secure lifeline investment to keep them afloat.

However, in Friday’s long-awaited new update from the Caledonian Stadium, there was no mention of administration, with ICT staff understood to have been told this week financial fears have eased.

ICT boss Duncan Ferguson. Image: SNS

Caley Thistle fans criticised the lack of north players getting their chance under manager Duncan Ferguson in an unsuccessful Championship term last season.

Friday’s club statement said a financial and football restructuring of the club means a greater emphasis will be put on Inverness and Highland players going forward into the new campaign.

The statement said: “Following the continued restructuring of the club, including a revised football model and budget to take us into and beyond season 2024/25, the club is pleased to announce the sale of season tickets for this coming season, our historic 30th anniversary year, with special thanks to Caley Jag Stewart Coghill for the brilliant 30th anniversary logo.

“While the last few weeks have been difficult for everyone connected to the club, as a board and as a club, we now respectfully ask the supporters to rally around the team and the management, and a squad which will feature more Inverness and Highland players than we have had for many a long year, and if ever we need the fans, it is now.

“The striking new commemorative 30th anniversary Puma ICT kits will also be revealed over the weekend and with hugely positive discussions currently ongoing with a number of potential new investors, we hope the Caley Jags fans can also rise to the occasion when we need you the most.”

Inverness chief executive Scot Gardiner (R) with chairman Ross Morrison. Image: SNS.
Ross Morrison, left, and Scot Gardiner. Image: SNS.

Morrison thanked for his effort and investment

Inverness also confirmed chairman Ross Morrison has stepped down from his role, with chief executive Scot Gardiner to follow after resigning.

The statement added: “We can confirm the resignation of our chairman and board member Ross Morrison.

“He leaves with our sincere thanks for the dedicated service he has given to the club and we are indebted to him for his passion, tireless effort and crucial investment in the club.

“We can also announce that our CEO Scot Gardiner has tendered his resignation, which has been accepted by the board.

“Scot is now serving his notice and will be continuing to help the club get through this difficult period.”

Player unrest kicked off this week

This much-anticipated update will offer fresh hope for supporters after a week where out-of-contract players have criticised the lack of communication from the club.

Winger Aaron Doran said he had been unable to have it confirmed whether ICT would pay for his knee operation next week after two call-offs by the club.

His former team-mate Shane Sutherland, who suffered a similar ruptured ACL (anterior crucial ligament) injury in 2022, subsequently launched a fundraising page to pay for Doran’s treatment.

He set the bar at £5,000 and it soared beyond £7,000 in just over a day and was close to £10,000 on Friday.

Doran has spent almost 14 years at ICT, having joined as an emerging talent from Blackburn Rovers.

New Central Park, the home of Kelty Hearts FC.
From June, Caley Thistle will train at Kelty Hearts’ New Central Park. Image: SNS.

Summer of changes at Caley Thistle

The club previously came under fire from fans after ICT revealed they planned to move their training base to Fife in a deal with Kelty Hearts – an idea binned last week.

It has been a concerning period for Caley Thistle, who will miss out on much-needed income from renewables company Statkraft after a major deal was scrapped.

Highland Council decision-makers have stopped the club from landing a £3.4m windfall from a controversial battery storage farm scheme, which was the first body-blow before relegation hit.

Ferguson has nine confirmed players signed up for next season, so a hectic period reshaping his squad lies ahead.

Inverness kick off their competitive campaign on July 13 away to Annan Athletic, also of League One, in the Premier Sports Cup group stage.