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199697This was the season that promotion to the Second Division was achieved. In the close season the club signed the Paul Cherry and Scott McLean - both from St Johnstone - as well as ex-Ross County and Raith Rovers winger Barry Wilson. They also fixed up Marco De-Barros from Huntly, amateur Ross Tokely and Burghead youngster Wayne Addicoat.

The season started with the Coca-Cola Cup and defeat in the first round away to Clyde - by one goal after extra time. This match was the first under the Club's new name. In the League Challenge Trophy 1st Round Caley Thistle beat Livingston 2-1 at Almondvale but lost 3-1 in the 2nd Round at Stirling. The league campaign started badly with 3-1 defeats by Cowdenbeath and Forfar. On 31 August an 87th minute Mike Teasdale header secured a 1-0 victory against Alloa at Telford Street - the start of a climb up the league. September was a good month - unbeaten and a 3-1 victory over Ross County at Dingwall. The last league match at Telford Street Park was on 5th October when Arbroath were defeated 2-0 but the last match there was against a Highland League Select on Sunday 20th October. The Select won 3-0 and Gary Clark's 90th minute penalty was the last goal. The last touch of the ball was a goal kick by the Select's Ivor Pirie. There were emotional scenes as the final whistle went and 24 hours later the bulldozers moved in. Caley Thistle then played four away league games to allow the new Stadium to be completed and on 6th November an Inverness Select were the first opponents. The match ended in a 6-2 victory for the home side with Scott Mclean scoring four goals. The first goal at Caledonian Stadium was scored by Inverness Select's Norman Kellas.

On Saturday 9th November came the first League game at the new stadium and a 1-1 draw with Albion Rovers. After all the problems getting to this stage it was an emotional moment when Inverness Lord Provost Allan Sellar officially kicked-off the match. The game did not quite live up to the occasion but the large crowd did see two goals and plenty of action. The first league goal at the new Stadium was scored by Albion's Dave McKenzie.

By 23rd November Inverness Caledonian Thistle sat at the top of the Division after victories against Ross County and Queen's Park. The victories continued in style and Caley Thistle did not drop a point until the 22nd February against Forfar. The Scottish Cup brought a January trip to Stranraer - in fact 2 journeys as the game was called off on the morning of the 11th January after the team had spent the night in Ayr. They had to head home and repeat the journey on the following Monday. The score was 1-1 and Stranraer had to make the same epic journey in reverse 2 days later. It was 0-0 after extra time but the home side won the penalty shoot out 4-3. In the next round they faced Hamilton at home but were soundly beaten 3-1. It was back to the league and a good run. Saturday 22nd March seemed to be the day destined for the promotion party and everybody headed for Arbroath. The result was a dour goalless draw when a victory was required. It happened 2 weeks later with a 3-2 home victory against Montrose including an Iain Stewart hat trick. It was not an easy victory. Stewart scored the first in 13 minutes but Montrose equalised 10 minutes later through a penalty then took the lead just before half-time. Stewart's second came in 67 minutes then he capped a fine performance with the winner 9 minutes from the end - a classic chip over the 'keeper. A week later, on the 12th April, the Championship was secured with a comprehensive 4-1 home win against Albion Rovers. The Third Division Championship Trophy was presented on the 3rd May but Forfar spoiled the day by winning 4-0. This result put paid to Ross County's hopes of gaining the second promotion spot so the lucrative local derbies were halted, at least for a season.

The Inverness side finished with 76 points, 4 short of Forfar's record 80. Iain Stewart was the Division's top goalscorer with 29 and the Third Division Player of the Year. Steve Paterson was Third Division Manager of the Year. The derby match with Ross County on the 15th March at Caledonian Stadium created a new crowd record for the Division of 5525. On the 11th March Mike Noble became the first player to reach 100 appearances followed closely by Charlie Christie.

Everybody now looked forward to the adventure of the Second Division.

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