Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC have placed their faith in the outstanding young talent on their books by signing no fewer than 10 of their youth squad on professional forms.
The teenage talents and their parents and guardians gathered at the stadium recently for a ceremonial signing of their Modern Apprenticeship contracts watched by Club Chairman Graham Rae, Team Manager John Robertson, Academy Director DannyMacDonald, and Head of Youth, Charlie Christie.
The oldest of the 10 new signings is midfielder Kieran Chalmers, a Scottish schoolboy internationalist from Dingwall Academy, who has been with the club since he was 14.
Kieran was born in 2000 – one year ahead of the other nine signings, who play in the high achieving Under 17 squad which is close to clinching the Scottish Under 17 Programme 2 League, with 20 wins from 22 games.
Leading the Under 17 signings is striker Daniel MacKay, of Millburn Academy, who has been starring for Scotland Schoolboys Under 18s and has broken into the first team squad. Daniel is the youngest player to play and score for the club.
The other signings are defenders Gabriel Hastings, Ryan Fyffe, Harry Nicolson, and Cameron Harper; midfielders Jack Brown, Ross Gunn, and Roddy MacGregor, and striker Roddy Kennedy.
Ross Gunn is the furthest travelled player in the squad, hailing from Wick.
Manager John Robertson is thrilled at having such a strong pool of young talent to call upon. They will play in the club’s Under 18 development squad next season but he is encouraging them to catch his eye to claim a place in the first team squad.
John said going on to win their national league title would be a magnificent achievement and provide the players with a winning mentality.
The manager added: “We have an outstanding group of young players, who all deserve the chance of making a career in football. The ball is at their feet. It is a tough business, which requires hard work and application to match their obvious ability. These young players are trailblazers – models for the younger players coming through the system. The club’s future is in good hands with this outstanding crop of players.”
Club Chairman Graham Rae said: “The signing of these 10 young starlets is a demonstration of our huge commitment to youth development. This is the future of this club. We have produced stars in Ryan Christie, Graeme Shinnie, and Liam Polworth and the Class of 2018 promises something very special. The Board offer their sincere thanks to our dedicated coaching team for bringing the best out of these talented youngsters and of course their parents and guardians for their support.”
Head of Youth Charlie Christie said: “The Under 17 squad is one of the best, if not the best, squad to play for the club and for 10 to sign professional contracts at the same time is truly remarkable. If they continue to show the commitment and dedication they have demonstrated so far, they all have a great chance of making the first team and beyond.”