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Summer of turnover will see Inverness Caley Thistle put faith in youth for 2024/25 Scottish Women’s Football Championship season


By Andrew Henderson

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A number of youth players will be given the chance to prove their worth in the Caley Thistle Women’s first team, according to manager Karen Mason.

The Caley Jags returned to pre-season training this week, and will play their first friendly match ahead of the 2024/25 campaign away at Dyce on Sunday.

However, it was a much-changed squad that Mason put through their paces. Forwards Lorna MacRae and Rhea Hossack, as well as Lois Stewart and Ellie Anderson, have all left the club.

Rhea Hossack is one of a number of players to have left Inverness Caley Thistle Women since the end of last season. Picture: James Mackenzie
Rhea Hossack is one of a number of players to have left Inverness Caley Thistle Women since the end of last season. Picture: James Mackenzie

Sophie Bell and Emily Murray will each also be leaving in the coming months for university and work, while Kayleigh Mackenzie will remain sidelined by injury for the long-term and defender Nicola Ross is on maternity leave.

In a squad that already looked thin at times last season, it has been a major hit for ICT Women to deal with, but in the face of potential adversity Mason will be putting her faith in youth.

“We’ve had to have a bit of a revamp because players have left, so we’ve pulled in a lot of the younger team to boost our numbers at the moment,” she said.

“From last season we have 15 players at the moment. We had the 18s coming in and training with us, and we’re hoping that some of them will make the grade and will get a few opportunities during pre-season.

“They showed up and did really well in the first training session, so we’re hoping that we’ll get a few of them in the first team next year.

The likes of Kyla McMurdo from the under-18s side were given a taste of senior football towards the end of last season. Picture: Donald Cameron/Sportpix
The likes of Kyla McMurdo from the under-18s side were given a taste of senior football towards the end of last season. Picture: Donald Cameron/Sportpix

“I think the best thing for them is to throw them in at the deep end. It’s obviously a massive step up from the standard that’s in the north under-18s league, but after training with us it shouldn’t be too big of a step up.

“They’ve just got to be ready and take on the challenge physically as well as tactically. I think they will do fine, and I have to be confident in using them because we are going to need them.”

Work has been done over a number of years to establish a pathway from youth football to the senior women’s game at Caley Thistle, and it has all been leading to a moment like this where the first team is almost forced to rely on their talented youth players.

“We’ve got to be thankful that the pathway is in place,” Mason added.

“They have put a minimum age of 15 on being in the Championship, so there are some really talented players even younger than that who would have been thrown in back in my day.

“It’s very good that we’ve got these squads in place, and I know there are a strong group of 16s coming through after these 18s as well, so long may they develop and continue to perform well.”


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