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Inverness Caledonian Thistle search for experienced interim manager as John Robertson goes on compassionate leave

By Andrew Henderson

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Inverness Caledonian Thistle are looking for an experienced manager with knowledge of Scottish football to guide them through John Robertson’s leave of absence.

Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness.
Inverness CT(0) v Queen of the South(1). 17/02/21.
ICT manager John Robertson.
Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness. Inverness CT(0) v Queen of the South(1). 17/02/21. ICT manager John Robertson.

The Caley Thistle boss has been granted compassionate leave after a family bereavement, and with assistant manager Scott Kellacher out of commission with a serious illness, the club plans to appoint someone on an interim basis.

Coaches Barry Wilson and Ryan Esson took training yesterday morning, and will lead the squad until an appointment is made.

Chief executive Scot Gardiner, however, is looking for someone to take charge to allow those two to return to their official roles.

“They will come in and take the position of manager and assistant manager, so Barry and Ryan can focus on the stuff they do well and impart the knowledge they have about the team and opposition,” Gardiner explained.

“Initially, I’m looking for someone who is based in Scotland. I’m going to look to see who the best person is, but they might not be able to do it.

“Can they drop everything and come here? I’m looking for the best person who knows Scottish football.

“They all know John in some form, so they’re going to have to understand the situation we’re in. It’s not an audition for the job long-term – we need help.

“We haven’t spoken to people yet. I had to make sure we were all on the same page, so we’ve only started the process.

“Missing out on a day or two doesn’t make a massive difference – we’ve got some big games coming up, but they’re all big games to project us up the league.

“We will do our best as quickly and as practically and as efficiently as we can, but we want to get the right person.”

Gardiner was understandably unable to put a timeframe on when Robertson may return.

He was, though, clear that there was no limit to Robertson’s leave, and that his job would still be waiting for him whenever he felt he was at a stage to be able to return to management with the Caley Jags.

“John will get however long it takes – five days, five weeks, five months,” Gardiner insisted.

“We’re not expecting it to be long, long-term, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t stand by him.

“Life has thrown him some pretty tough stuff, which I won’t go into out of respect and privacy.

“In all my years in football, I thought I’d dealt with everything, but I’ve never had a situation where the manager and assistant manager have been off for differing reasons at the same time.

“Both of them will be back, but at the moment we don’t have a manager or assistant manager.

“Apart from the practical things in relation to training, it’s far too much to put on Barry and Ryan.

“It’s especially impossible at a critical point of the season where we have a good chance of doing well and getting promoted.”

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