Inverness Caledonian Thistle F.C.

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Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Logo
Club Crest
Full name Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club
Nickname(s) Caley Thistle, Caley Jags, Inverness Caley Thistle, ICT, The Jags, Caley, Inverness Caley Jags, The Pride of the Highlands
Founded 1994 as Caledonian Thistle Football Club
Ground Caledonian Stadium, Inverness
Ground Capacity 7,800[1]
Chairman Kenny Cameron
Manager John Hughes
League Scottish Premiership
2013–14 Scottish Premiership, 5th
Website Club home page
Current season

Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club (also known as Caley Thistle, ICT, The Caley Jags or Inverness CT) are a Scottish football club from Inverness who compete in the Scottish Premiership. They are currently managed by John Hughes and his assistant, Russell Latapy.

Caledonian Thistle F.C. were formed in August 1994 following the merger of Caledonian and Inverness Thistle, both members of the Highland Football League. The new club was formed with their target being an application for one of the two vacancies in the Scottish Football League, created when the league restructured in 1994 to four divisions of ten teams each.

They were successful and were elected to the Scottish Third Division along with Highland derby rivals Ross County. The club's name was amended to Inverness Caledonian Thistle F.C. in 1996 at the request of Inverness District Council, who had contributed £900,000 towards the development of Caledonian Stadium.

Their home ground, Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, is situated beside the Moray Firth, in the shadow of the Kessock Bridge. Its construction was promised in their election to the Scottish Football League, with the former ground of Caledonian, Telford Street, being used until it was complete.

Having won the 2009–10 First Division title in their first year back in the division since 2003–04, Inverness have competed in the top tier of Scottish football. The 2012–13 season saw the club finish in their best ever placing of fourth, while 2013–14 saw the club reach their first major final – the Scottish League Cup.

History[edit]

Chart of table positions of ICT since joining the League.

The club first came to national prominence after their Scottish Cup victories over Celtic in 2000 and 2003: winning 3–1 at Celtic Park,[2] resulting in the headline "Super Caley Go Ballistic Celtic Are Atrocious" in The Sun which is now framed in the foyer of Caledonian Stadium,[3] and 1–0.[4] Inverness also knocked other SPL teams out of cup competitions, including Motherwell[5] and Hearts.[6] Over the first ten years of their existence the club had been responsible for a total of 12 'shocks' and as a result had gained themselves a reputation as being "giant killers". On 25 February 2007, Inverness's run of cup victories over Celtic came to an end following two goals in the last two minutes of their fifth round tie at Caledonian Stadium. Having led 1–0 for the majority of the game thanks to a Graham Bayne goal, Steven Pressley equalised before Kenny Miller netted the winner in stoppage time.[7] However, another victory against Celtic occurred on 16 December 2007, this time in the league, when the team came from being 2–0 down to win 3–2, with goals scored by John Rankin, David Proctor and Don Cowie.

A significant event in the club's history was the signing of Romanian international Marius Niculae.[8] Niculae was involved in the club's 2007–08 campaign and played at UEFA Euro 2008, before leaving for Dinamo Bucureşti. He later became involved in a dispute with the club over a share of the transfer fee that was not paid to him when he left. As a result, Inverness were ordered by FIFA to pay £133,000 to the player.[9] The club appealed against the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport,[10] and in November 2011, the club won their appeal.[11]

Having won the 2009–10 First Division title in their first year back in the division since 2003–04, Inverness have competed in the top tier of Scottish football. Season 2012–13 saw the club finish in their best ever placing of fourth.

Third Division[edit]

  • 1994 – 1997

After a promising start to their inaugural campaign in 1994–95, the club eventually finished sixth in the Third Division. The following season, Inverness CT showed improvement with a third place finish. In Season 1996–97, they won the Third Division Championship following a 4–1 home win over Albion Rovers in front of nearly 3,000 fans. This was just 5 months after moving into the Caledonian Stadium.

Second Division[edit]

  • 1997 – 1999

The club spent two seasons in the Second Division. After a closely fought campaign, they finished runners-up to Livingston in Season 1998–99, thereby securing promotion to the First Division.

First Division[edit]

  • 1999 – 2004

Season 2003–2004 could be regarded as the club's most successful up to that point. In November 2003, they defeated Airdrie United 2–0, with goals from Steve Hislop and David Bingham, to win the Scottish Challenge Cup, and also reached the Scottish Cup semi-final, losing a replay 3–2 to Dunfermline Athletic after a 1–1 draw at Hampden Park. However, the greatest achievement was on the final day of the season, when Inverness defeated St. Johnstone 3–1, with goals from Paul Ritchie, David Bingham and Barry Wilson and, as a result, pipped Clyde to the First Division title. This made the club eligible for promotion to the Scottish Premier League (SPL). However, SPL rules at that time stated that all member clubs must have a stadium with a minimum capacity of 10,000 seats. Caledonian Stadium did not meet this criterion, leaving the club's Board with a dilemma: either to remain in the First Division (like Falkirk the previous season) or to groundshare with Aberdeen, over 100 miles (160 km) away. After consulting with supporters, the Board decided the 'sacrifice' of one season in Aberdeen would be an acceptable compromise to ensure Premier League participation for the club.

Scottish Premier League[edit]

  • 2004 – 2009
Inverness playing St. Mirren in May 2008 at the Caledonian Stadium.

A change in SPL rules during the 2004–05 season reduced the stadium seating requirement to 6,000 seats for SPL membership. The Caledonian Stadium was rendered a valid SPL venue after a rapid ground expansion, with two new stands added. The stadium was renamed as the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium in honour of the local building firm that completed the work in only 47 working days. The chairman of Tulloch, David Sutherland, was also chairman of the club at the time and remains a major shareholder.[12] The club returned to playing in Inverness, defeating Dunfermline 2–0 in their first SPL game in their own ground on 29 January 2005, thanks to goals from Barry Wilson and then player-manager Craig Brewster.[13]

During season 2008–09 season, the team incurred a number of bad results and struggled near the bottom of the SPL. Eventually, manager Craig Brewster was sacked after a run of seven consecutive defeats, ending with a 1–0 loss to Hamilton Academical.[14] This was the first time the club had sacked a manager, and the fans had previously voiced concern about Brewster's ability.[15] Brewster was replaced by former England international Terry Butcher, who was unable to prevent the club's relegation, despite an initial improvement in results. Inverness Caledonian Thistle's tenure in the SPL eventually ended in May 2009 after suffering a 1–0 home defeat to Falkirk.[16] Their final total of 37 points remains the highest ever for a team finishing bottom of the SPL.

First Division[edit]

  • 2009 – 2010
The team celebrating winning the First Division title in May 2010 at the Caledonian Stadium.

After a slow start to their first season back in the First Division, which looked set to be won at a canter by runaway leaders Dundee who were 15 points ahead in January, Inverness put together an astonishing run of form which saw them go on a 21-match unbeaten run. On 21 April 2010, Inverness secured promotion back to the SPL with two games to spare after Dundee lost to Raith Rovers. Inverness became the first team in ten years to secure an immediate return to the SPL. The team went on to celebrate their promotion with a 7–0 win at Ayr United, their biggest ever away win. On the final day of the season, Inverness beat Dundee 1–0.

Return to the SPL / Premiership[edit]

  • 2010 – present

As part of the push for promotion in the 2009–10 season, Inverness went on an unbeaten away run in the league that continued through the entire 2010 calendar year, culminating in a 1–1 draw against Hearts at Tynecastle on 18 December.[17] This extraordinary sequence ended in defeat at St. Johnstone on 2 January 2011 when the Perth side won by a single goal. At the split, Inverness narrowly missed out on a top six spot, eventually finishing in a club record-equalling 7th place. However, two years later, they would finish even higher.

During the 2012–13 season, a 3–0 win over Hibernian on 8 December 2012 saw them rise to second place in the SPL (behind Celtic), their then, highest ever league position.

Continued good form over the course of the season consolidated the club's position in the top-half of the table. Victory over Highland derby rivals Ross County[18] on 16 March elevated Inverness CT onto an almost unassailable points-total in their quest for a maiden 'top-6' finish. This achievement was confirmed the following day as the club benefited from a favourable result in the Sunday SPL fixture.[19] This guarantee of a 'top-6' place ensured that the 2012–13 Scottish Premier League season would see Inverness CT record their highest ever finishing league position.

Ultimately, Inverness CT finished in 4th place, narrowly missing Europa League qualification on the final day of the season, succumbing to a 1–0 defeat from local rivals Ross County.[20]

Inverness CT began the inaugural season (2013–14 Scottish Premiership) of the revamped SPFL Scottish Premiership with a 3–0 win over St. Mirren. This result saw the club take pole-position in the league table. They remained top of the league until the 9th game of the season when they dropped to 2nd place following a loss at St. Johnstone.

On 11 November 2013, Hibernian reached a compensation deal with Inverness for Terry Butcher to move to the club, alongside assistant manager Maurice Malpas.[21]

After an extensive recruitment process, on 4 December 2013, John Hughes was unveiled as the new manager of the club.[22] In January 2014, Russell Latapy was appointed as Hughes' assistant manager.[23]

In February 2014, Inverness defeated Hearts in the Scottish League Cup semi-final. Inverness struck first with Greg Tansey firing the Highland side into the lead. Jamie Hamill then scored 2 goals in 2 minutes and gave Hearts hope of reaching their second League Cup Final in 2 years. Just when Inverness were on the brink of defeat, Nick Ross equalised in the 94th minute and sent the game to extra time. After no goals being scored in extra time, Inverness clinched the win on penalties.

On 25 February, Inverness beat Ross County in Dingwall in the Highland Derby. The 3-0 win was the first time they had won a Highland Derby in Dingwall in the League since March 2003. They also won the next derby 2-1 on the 4th of April. The game was also played in Dingwall.

On 16 March, Inverness and Aberdeen faced each other in the final of the 2014 Scottish League Cup Final at Celtic Park in Glasgow. After tense 120 minutes the two teams lined up for a penalty shoot-out. Inverness missed their first 2 penalties with Billy McKay's penalty saved and Greg Tansey firing over the bar. Despite Nick Ross and Aaron Doran scoring their penalties Aberdeen won 4-2.

Inverness finished the season with a 2-0 win over St. Johnstone thanks to second half goals from Ryan Christie and Greg Tansey.

In May 2014 Inverness announced the American fast food restaurant franchise Subway as their new main shirt sponsor.

Players[edit]

As of 3 July 2014[24]

Current squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Scotland GK Ryan Esson
2 England DF David Raven
3 Scotland DF Graeme Shinnie
4 England MF James Vincent
5 England DF Gary Warren
6 England DF Josh Meekings
7 Northern Ireland FW Billy McKay
8 England MF Ross Draper
9 Republic of Ireland MF Richie Foran (club captain)
10 Republic of Ireland MF Aaron Doran
No. Position Player
11 Scotland MF Nick Ross
12 England GK Dean Brill
14 Northern Ireland DF Daniel Devine
15 England MF Marley Watkins
16 England MF Greg Tansey
18 England DF Carl Tremarco
19 England MF Danny Williams
20 Scotland MF Liam Polworth
36 Scotland MF Ryan Christie

U20 players[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
33 Scotland DF Calum Howarth
34 Scotland MF Jason Brown
37 Scotland FW Alasdair Sutherland
39 Canada FW Calum Ferguson
42 Scotland GK Cameron Mackay
- Scotland MF Blair MacLennan
- Scotland GK Daniel Hoban
No. Position Player
- Scotland MF Chris Blackett
- Scotland FW Jaime Wilson
- Scotland MF Stephen Rennie
- Scotland DF Kane Hull
- Scotland MF Struan McArthur
- Scotland DF Chris Brown
- Scotland DF Ryan Baptie

For recent transfers, see: