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Robertson has no intention of caving into unrealistic agents' demands as Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager looks to bolster squad

By Alasdair Fraser

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John Robertson is vowing to stand firm against the “totally unrealistic” demands of agents as tough economic times send hundreds of quality players onto the free transfer market.

The Caley Thistle manager has entertained an avalanche of approaches this summer, with clubs cutting squads and discarded players scrambling for new full-time contracts.

Having always jealously guarded the club’s financial model though, the former Hearts striker isn’t about to change tack in a pandemic.

After four senior signings so far – Robbie Deas, Danny Devine, Shane Sutherland and Scott Allardice – Robertson is likely to seek further additions.

Robertson has re-signed young Harry Nicolson but won’t squander cash on inflated agents' demands.
Robertson has re-signed young Harry Nicolson but won’t squander cash on inflated agents' demands.

But he insists he will refuse to buckle when players’ representatives ask for too much.

“Unlike most years, recruitment has been horrendous,” Robertson explained. “There have been thousands of players put forward. A lot of agents have been totally unrealistic as to what clubs can pay in this pandemic.

“We were quite straightforward. We asked every single agent to give us footage of the player, the wage expectations and the agency expectations.

“By having that simple algorithm in place, we could rule out 75 per cent of those players put forward. They simply weren’t anywhere near what we could afford.

“It was then a question of continually looking at every single player offered to us because you just don’t know who will be flagged up.

“We had players in mind who we thought we could have got, but ended up not getting and others we did get. We keep looking to improve the squad. That’s what is important.

“I feel for the money we have put out there, we have got in some good experienced players and some young talent that can continue to improve.”

Some of Caley Thistle’s Championship rivals have pushed the boat out already as battle lines are drawn for the promotion battle.

Hearts’ budget will eclipse Caley Thistle’s by as much as 10 times, with ex-Celtic and Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon among their captures. Other headline arrivals include Dundee landing ex-Liverpool and Stoke City midfielder Charlie Adam and Dunfermline securing former Scotland regular Steven Whittaker.

Caley Thistle’s activity may go under the radar, but Robertson added: “We are still looking at a couple of positions, but it has to suit club finances and the team dynamics.

“This year, more than any other, we are going to have to need a reasonable-sized squad as I suspect there’s going to be a lot of muscle injuries and fatigue, especially in the early months.

“It’s important we have a little bit of strength in depth.

“Right now our squad of 18 or 19 is pretty strong, but we might need to add a couple to be on the safe side.”

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