Copyright Ian Broadfoot

TWO SEMI-FINALS    2018-19        

The club’s Silver Jubilee season culminated in a Scottish Cup semi-final and a third place finish in the Championship. The Scottish Cup was a great success. Edinburgh City, East Kilbride, Ross County and Dundee United were dispatched en route to a Hampden semi-final place against Hearts. It was a great day out for everybody but the dream died when Hearts won 3-0. The move up to third in the League came thanks to a strong finish after spending most of the season mid-table. A 14 match undefeated league run at the start of 2018-19, and a record run of seven draws from September to November, created headlines but the dropped points were frustrating in the quest for promotion. Finishing third earned a spot in the promotion play-offs, but that adventure ended at the semi-final stage with a 4-0 aggregate defeat to Dundee United. 

Shortly before the season started, Assistant Manager Brian Rice left to take up a similar post at St Mirren, before moving on to manage Hamilton. The coaching staff was revamped – Scott Kellacher moved up to assistant manager, Ryan Esson became a full-time coach, and Barry Wilson returned to the club in a coaching role. ICT legend Ross Tokely also joined the Youth Academy coaching staff.

As the dust settled on 2017/18, preparations for the new season began at a fast pace. Captain Gary Warren’s contract was ended early and he joined Yeovil Town – after six years at the club, he left with everyone’s best wishes. A number of players were released or not offered new contracts – Connor Bell, Collin Seedorf, Steven Foster, Liam MacDonald, Andrew MacRae, Alasdair Stark, Keir Smith and Mitch Foy. Iain Vigurs left for Dingwall and Jake Mulraney joined Hearts in a swap deal that brought Angus Beith in the other direction. In the event a season-long injury ended Angus’s career and he retired in March 2019. Queen of the South’s Shaun Rooney had already signed a pre-contract agreement and Dumbarton’s Tom Walsh also joined. The manager’s faith in youth was evident in early May when 10 Academy graduates signed professional contracts – Dan MacKay, Kieran Chalmers, Gabriel Hastings, Ryan Fyffe, Cameron Harper, Roddy Kennedy, Roddy MacGregor, Ross Gunn, Harry Nicolson and Jack Brown. Further additions to the squad were Jamie McCart, who had a short loan spell from Celtic in 2016/17,Jordan White who arrived from Barrow and Sean Welsh from Falkirk.

The pre-season friendly programme started on the last day of June with a double header. The squad split in two with half going to Keith and half playing Strathspey Thistle at Fort George. Both matches ended in 5-0 victories. A similar split squad arrangement on 3 July saw a 2-2 draw at Rothes and a 4-2 win at Forres. Over the next week it was 1-1 at Nairn, 3-1 against Clach at Grant Street Park and 8-0 at Buckie.

In the Betfred Cup ICT were drawn in Group C with Hearts, Raith Rovers, Cowdenbeath and Cove Rangers.

Competitive football started on 14 July with a home meeting against Cove Rangers – the first time the sides had

met competitively. A Nathan Austin double earned three points for ICT then it was down to Cowdenbeath three

days later. It was a bizarre match with some strange refereeing decisions. It ended 5-2 which rather flattered ICT. 

The next evening the unused substitutes joined young players for a friendly in Brora. New signing Sean Welsh

had an eventful first match against Brora – he scored two goals (including a penalty) in the 3-1 win but saw a late

red card. The following Sunday there was a challenge match between ICT and 100 local youngsters, all

resplendent in ICT strips. Last year the ‘100 Kids’ won 20-5, but this time honours were even with a 25-25 draw. 

Match 3 of the Betfred Cup group stage took place on 24 July with the visit of Raith Rovers. It looked like 

heading for a 1-1 draw until substitute Dan MacKay popped up with an 87th minute winner. This set up a 

group-topping decider at Tynecastle the following Sunday. In the aftermath of the Betfred Cup match between Hearts and Cove Rangers, it emerged that Hearts had fielded an ineligible player – they were fined and docked two points so went into the final match on 29 July with six points, three behind ICT. Hearts needed to win and ICT had to avoid losing by four goals. For 28 minutes it looked comfortable then three strikes in four minutes saw Hearts go in at half time 3-0 ahead. Two more Hearts goals in the second half ended all hopes of progressing in the cup and clearly illustrated the gap between an improving ICT side and Premiership opposition.

On 10 August the sad news came through that club legend Alan Hercher had died at the age of 52.

Alan’s place in the club’s history is secure as the scorer of the first league goal in 1994, part of a hat-trick

against Arbroath, and as Caledonian Thistle’s first captain. Herchie was a great player and a true gentlemen

who will be mourned by many. Close friend Charlie Christie paid this tribute: “Alan was more than a terrific football player; he was a terrific individual who was hugely respected by all those who played alongside him and against him. It was fitting he scored the club’s first ever hat trick in the Scottish League and he followed this up with so many important goals for the club in our early years. Big ‘Herchie’ was a truly great Highland footballer who will be sorely missed by me and by so many others.”

The real business of the season began on 4 August with the start of the Championship. Round one was away

to Falkirk ending in a narrow but very satisfying 1-0 win thanks to George Oakley’s tenth minute goal. 

The following Saturday, after a minute’s silence for Alan Hercher, the first home league match of the season against

 Ayr United got under way. It ended in a rather drab 0-0 draw with the only bright spot being Aaron Doran coming

 on as a substitute to make his 200th appearance. Ayr’s Daniel Harvie conceded a penalty on the half hour mark and

 saw a second yellow before Liam Polworth hit the spot kick wide. The ten men held on for a draw. In the aftermath

 there was a major row as fans had abused Polworth’s family after the penalty miss – the story spread on social

media but the club acted quickly to identify the culprits and ban them from ICT matches.

Three days after the Ayr match the defence of the Irn-Bru Cup started and ended. In the first round (north) Dunfermline were the opponents in Inverness and John Robertson rang the changes with Daniel Hoban’s first appearance, Jamie McCart making his debut second time around and Dan MacKay starting for the first time. Dunfermline took the lead in the 24th minute from a hotly disputed penalty goal – even the Dunfermline camp thought Brad Mckay’s penalised tackle was outside the box. Jordan White equalised in 61 minutes but Calum Smith grabbed a winner for Dunfermline three minutes from time.

On Wednesday 22 August it was off to Lossiemouth for the quarter final of the North Cup. A mix of youngsters and experienced players represented ICT and won 6-0. The following Saturday there was disappointment in the league with a 2-2 draw at home to Alloa Athletic after leading twice, including a penalty strike just after the break. It could have been 3-1 with 20 minutes left when a second penalty was awarded to ICT but Coll Donaldson hit the bar. The third penalty in the match was awarded to Alloa three minutes from time and the resultant goal earned the visitors a draw. John Robertson was left lamenting the many missed chances. ICT finished August in fifth spot. On the final day of the month (the end of the transfer window) it was announced that Zak Elbouzedi had left the club. His appearances had been restricted by injury and it was mutually agreed to end his contract.

Saturday 1 September was a good day at the office. Heading to Dunfermline could have been tricky, especially after the Pars knocked ICT out of the Irn-Bru Cup, but it proved quite the reverse. A resounding 3-0 victory sent ICT up to second in the league with eight points – one behind Ross County. Shaun Rooney opened the scoring with his first goal for the club followed by strikes from Liam Polworth and George Oakley. 

Sadly on 10 September former Caledonian (and Clachnacuddin) player and manager Alex Main died. He was an accomplished and much admired journalist and the author of the 1986 Caledonian Centenary book “Caley all the way – the first hundred years”. Peter Corbett was captain under Alex Main and he described his former manager as one of the most successful managers in the history of the Highland League – “His record of success was unbelievable.  He was old school – a real gent.”

The semi final of the North Cup took place on 11 September at home to Forres Mechanics. As in previous rounds the ICT was a mix of youth and experience – a 4-0 win took ICT into the final. League business returned on 15 September after an international break and Partick Thistle came north. After 32 minutes Caley Thistle were 3-0 ahead and cruising. Four minutes from the break Mark Ridgers saved a Miles Storey penalty to keep his goal intact. It stayed that way until two late Partick goals took a little of the shine off the victory. The second Partick goal came with almost the last kick of the match so there was no time for a third. ICT finished the match with 10 men as George Oakley limped off close to the end and all subs had been used. The win allowed ICT to leapfrog Ross County into top spot and maintain the unbeaten league record. The first Highland derby of the season took place in Dingwall a week later. The match was much anticipated and a large contingent of ICT fans made the 15 mile trip north. It turned out to be a hard-fought encounter but with no goals. The final September match was at home to Queen of the South on the 29th. On a very windy day there was little excitement and, for the second week in a row, there were no goals. The month ended with a slip to third despite the continuation of the unbeaten league run. 

On 6 October Greenock Morton came to Inverness and took the lead in the tenth minute – Jordan White equalised on the stroke of half-time and that is the way it stayed despite chances for ICT to win. 24 hours later it was the final of the North Cup against Ross County at Grant Street Park. The ICT side was a mixture of youth and experience and, at 3-0 down, it looked all over. Two late ICT goals gave hope but it was not enough. County took the cup 3-2.

Back to the league and a tricky visit to Tannadice on 20 October. Dundee United had just appointed Robbie Neilsen as their new manager and a boost to their fortunes was expected. Caley Thistle earned a 1-1 draw, despite losing Coll Donaldson to a second yellow card eight minutes from time. The remarkable run of undefeated league matches continued through to the end of October with a 0-0 draw at Alloa and 2-2 at home to Dunfermline. ICT finished the month in fourth place but eight points behind leaders Ayr United. Turning draws into wins became a priority.

The second local derby of the league season took place in Inverness on 3 November. In the week leading up to this match Scottish Football was rocked by disgraceful scenes at Tynecastle during the Hearts/Hibs derby.  Neil Lennon and the two assistant referees were hit by objects thrown from the crowd and Hearts ‘keeper Zdenek Zlamal was assaulted as he retrieved the ball from behind his goal. The fall-out lasted for weeks. Against this backdrop, ICT and Ross County played out a good old fashioned high-octane derby in a tremendous atmosphere, and with none of the antics seen in Edinburgh. It could have gone either way but it ended 2-2 – ICT’s seventh draw in a row and 23rd undefeated league match since March – both new records. The highlight of the match was a first half wonder save from Mark Ridgers to deny Billy Mckay – the media dubbed this his ‘Gordon Banks moment’!

The draw sequence came to an end at Firhill a week later. Tom Walsh scored in 71 minutes to gain victory with Mark Ridgers playing a major part four minutes later when he saved a Blair Spittal penalty. It was 25 league matches undefeated on 17 November at Dumfries but only thanks to a dramatic comeback. Queen of the South were well on top for most of the game and were 3-0 up after 61 minutes. It looked all over until an amazing 10 minute spell – Jamie McCart and Nathan Austin scored then Sean Welsh netted a penalty in 81 minutes. Austin nearly clinched all the points in added time but was beaten by the ‘keeper. Queens were left wondering why they did not take all three points. For ICT, November’s league campaign ended in fourth place.

On 8 November Ricky Calder’s contract was cancelled after he was found guilty of a criminal assault in Birmingham. The club’s action was fully justified but it did leave a vacancy at left back. With Carl Tremarco still injured, Joe Chalmers filled the spot for two matches before Jamie McCart took over.

The Scottish Cup run started on Sunday 25 November with an away tie against Edinburgh City, who were temporarily ground sharing with Spartans. A new ground for ICT and new opponents. Despite much pressure ICT went in at half time only 1-0 ahead thanks to a Shaun Rooney header, but could not find the net in the second half. City pressed late on and equalised four minutes from time to force a replay.

Falkirk’s visit on 1 December ended the undefeated league run – an amazing 25 matches but far too many draws for the manager’s liking. The Falkirk match ended 3-2 with their winner coming three minutes into added time. It was a bitter blow after a good performance, but at least the record could be consigned to the history books rather than dominate. The following Tuesday it was the cup replay against Edinburgh City. Despite ‘The Citizens’ equalising Tom Walsh’s early goal, ICT went on to a resounding 6-1 win. Jordan White was the hat-trick hero with Tom Walsh scoring a brace and Aaron Doran adding the sixth in added time. 

Three days later it was down to Ayr for a much-awaited televised Friday night league game – but it did not happen. Storm Deirdre hit Scotland and the match was postponed less than an hour before the kick-off time. Referee Craig Thomson was happy with the pitch but the wind was gale force. There was an outside chance that the wind would abate so Thomson waited as long as possible before conceding defeat. It was a long wasted trip for fans, players and officials but there was no choice. It was 1-1 at home to Dundee United on the 15th then a fine 2-1 win away to Greenock Morton a week later. That just left the small matter of a derby match at Dingwall on the 29th to round off the year. With County sitting on top of the Championship, 10 points ahead of ICT in fourth place, it was always going to be difficult. In an action-packed match County took the lead, Jordan White equalised then, with time running out, County home side scored a winner. John Robertson was numb – his side had dominated for most of the game but came away with nothing. County co-manager Steve Ferguson summed it up: “We won ugly”. 2018 ended in fourth place but 13 points behind County at the top. 

2019 started with a home match against Queen of the South on the fifth and a debut from the bench for new signing, defender Kevin McHattie – a direct replacement for Ricky Calder. Tom Walsh’s goal in 69 minutes gave ICT the lead but two goals in the 83rd and 84th minutes earned Queens the points. It was much better a week later when high-flying Ayr came north and Jordan White’s goal in 61 minutes was enough to earn ICT three vital points. Round Four of the Scottish Cup brought another new opponent to Inverness, East Kilbride with former ICT favourite David Proctor in their ranks. Any possibility of a ‘banana skin’ disappeared in less than half an hour with ICT 3-0 ahead. A fourth, via an own goal in 71 minutes, completed the scoring. On Boxing Day ICT lost a loyal supporter when Dawn Sinclair died in Raigmore Hospital. A period of applause in the 16th minute from both sets of fans was a fitting tribute on what would have been her sixteenth birthday. She loved wearing her ICT strip and her hero was Ryan Esson whom she sponsored. Her greatest memory was attending the 2015 cup victory at Hampden and her happy face will be missed at the stadium and at supporters’ events. 

Next up was a difficult trip to Falkirk on the 26th. With Mark Ridgers injured, Cammy Mackay started in goal with young Martin Mackinnon on the bench as back-up. New signings Darren McCauley (ex Coleraine) and Anthony McDonald (on loan from Hearts) made debuts from the bench. The Bairns were struggling in the league but are always difficult opponents. Despite ICT being twice in the lead, and dominating for most of the game, Falkirk came back to earn a 2-2 draw. John Robertson was furious that a blatant hand-ball two minutes from time was not punished, despite Falkirk defender Ciaran McKenna clearly raising his hands to block Darren McCauley’s shot. Once more a winning position could not be maintained.

The final match of January was the postponed Ayr match on the 29th. Amidst a cold and frosty Scotland the Somerset Park pitch passed an 1130 inspection allowing the ICT team and fans to travel with some certainty that the match would go ahead. The home fans would not have been so happy when ICT raced into a 3-0 lead in just 18 minutes with Nathan Austin scoring twice and Liam Polworth once. It remained that way until half time. Ayr hit back early in the second half and with five minutes left local hero Lawrence Shankland made it 3-2. Despite a nervy finish ICT held on for a great win and finished the month in fourth spot. 

The transfer window closed on 31 January, and on that day former ICT Assistant Manager Brian Rice was appointed Head Coach at Hamilton. Before the day was out he had signed George Oakley from ICT. Thus Oakley was missing when the February league programme started at home to Partick two days later. The visitors were two up in 25 minutes and it was not until the 77th minute that ICT replied via substitute Darren McCauley. There was no equaliser so Partick took the points.

From February the club’s home reverted to its original name of Caledonian Stadium. This left the door open to a future sponsorship deal. This followed completion of a land deal with Tulloch Homes regarding ownership of Stadium. The club now owns the Stadium, subject to long-term ground lease from Highland Council. February also saw ICT taking Inverness City Ladies, coached by Karen Mason,  under their wing – the team was renamed as Inverness Caledonian Thistle Women F.C.

The BBC cameras were at Dingwall on Monday 11 February for the fifth round of the Scottish Cup and a Highland Derby. It was a cracking match with ICT in the lead twice and twice County came back – they made it 2-2 in the 90th minute as Caley Thistle tried hard to hold on to their lead. Both goalkeepers were in top form with County’s Scott Fox particularly keeping his side in it on several occasions. In the end it was disappointment for Robbo’s men and it went to a replay in Inverness eight days later. This turned out to be a classic and a feisty affair, with eight yellow cards amidst the rain. County’s Ross Stewart made it 1-0 in 22 minutes and after heroics by both ‘keepers Jordan White equalised in 56 minutes. Michael Gardyne restored County’s lead in 67 minutes but with nine minutes left White struck again to equalise. It went to extra time then on to penalties. There was 100% success for ICT with five goals and Mark Ridgers was the hero when he saved from Declan McManus. Nathan Austin scored the decisive fifth penalty to take the tie and earn a quarter final match away to Dundee United.

Sandwiched between the two cup matches was an away league meeting with Dunfermline. The Pars were 1-0 up early in the second half and ICT only really challenged in the final 15 minutes when they pressed hard. It ended 

1-0 and ICT missed the opportunity to close the gap on the sides above them in the fight for promotion. The league programme continued on 23rd February with a home match against Greenock Morton. Carl Tremarco’s 11th minute goal was enough to take the three points. Next up were two visits to Tannadice. The first was on Tuesday 26 February in the league and the home side narrowly won 1-0 – just a Nicky Clark penalty separated the sides despite United playing for 20 minutes with 10 men. United had the better of the match overall although ICT came close to snatching a draw in the second half. This ended the month’s busy programme with fourth place retained.

Into March and the Scottish Cup Quarter Final at Tannadice on the third. A magnificent performance saw ICT reach the semi-final 2-1. Joe Chalmers scored a cracker in 19 minutes and only the bar prevented a second three minutes later. A much-disputed penalty for United was converted by Nicky Clark in 68 minutes and it looked like a replay was on the cards. Two minutes into the added three a Brad Mckay long throw was nodded on by Jordan White and Aaron Doran bravely stooped low in a crowded penalty box to head the winner. The ICT camp was delighted – both to avoid yet another replay and to look forward to another visit to Hampden. 

The challenge for a promotion play-off place continued on 9 March at Dumfries against Queen of the South. A long trip but a fine 2-0 win thanks to Aaron Doran and Brad Mckay. Next up were two Friday night matches broadcast live on the new BBC Scotland TV channel – or rather that was the plan. Heavy rain caused the Inverness derby league match on the 15th to be postponed. A week later it was down to Firhill to play relegation-threatened Partick Thistle. This time the match went ahead live on TV. The match came alive in the second half with a Jordan White dummy setting up Aaron Doran who finished in style. Almost immediately Partick equalised but with nine minutes left sub Tom Walsh returned from injury to score the goal of the season – or perhaps the decade. Doran was boxed in by Partick defenders but a brilliant flick set up Walsh whose volley was unstoppable. A fine win that took ICT back up to fourth. 

The next day Caledonian Stadium hosted the Irn-Bru Cup Final for the first time. Local rivals Ross County played Welsh side Connah’s Quay Nomads. It was 1-0 to the Nomads at half time but in the last 15 minutes County scored three times to keep the cup in the Highlands.

ICT’s games were now coming in quick succession and, four days after the Partick win, bottom club Alloa came north. It was all very comfortable until the last ten minutes when a 3-0 lead was pegged back to 3-2. It stayed that way and ICT moved up to third. The last game of March was on the 30th with Falkirk coming to Inverness. With strong winds affecting play there were no goals despite ICT second half pressure. The month ended with a slip to fourth on goal difference from Ayr United.

The postponed County game was played on Tuesday 2 April with the TV cameras in attendance as originally planned. It should have been a hard-fought match, remembered for good football, but instead referee Nick Walsh was the focus of attention. Charlie Trafford saw a second yellow card on the stroke of half time despite Ross Draper escaping justice for a similar tackle a minute earlier. County had taken the lead in eight minutes and this should have been cancelled out when a penalty was awarded shortly thereafter. Jordan White’s kick was easily saved but Carl Tremarco headed an equaliser in 24 minutes. By half time it was 2-1 to County and a second half with ten men proved too much. County extended their lead at the top of the Championship with ICT remaining fourth. The following Saturday another long trip to Ayr resulted in a 1-0 win. This was fourth versus third but ICT leapfrogged their promotion play-off rivals into third spot. The play-offs were in sight but next up was the big one – the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden on 13 April.

As ever a visit to Hampden was a great occasion for everyone connected with the club although the 1215 kick-off was a source of complaints as in the past. ICT started with confidence but slowly Hearts began to dominate but with no end result in the first half. Uche Ikpeazu was always going to be a handful and he gave Hearts the lead just after the break. ICT hit back and Joe Chalmers forced a tremendous save from Zdenek Zlamal – it looked a certain goal but somehow the ‘keeper tipped it onto the bar. Jamie McCart did find the net only for offside to be given – John Robertson was convinced a touch from Jake Mulraney had played McCart onside but it was still no goal. Two more Hearts goals – the second from the penalty spot – ended the contest and ICT had to be content that they had come this far and were still in the promotion race. All were left to wonder what would have happened if the Chalmers effort had hit the net, or the McCart goal had stood.

A 2-2 draw away to Morton three days later all but secured a promotion play-off spot.  An 18th minute goal from Anthony McDonald – his first senior goal – gave ICT the lead but Morton scored twice before half time. Darren McCauley rescued a point two minutes from the regulation 90 to put ICT in an almost unassailable promotion play-off place. Easter weekend was important for the championship race with Ross County coming from behind to beat Ayr 3-1 in the Friday night TV match and ICT facing Dundee United in Inverness the next day. The Ayr result virtually clinched the championship for County and assisted ICT in the quest for third place. ICT lost 2-0 to United but Dunfermline also lost so a play-off place was guaranteed. The final away match took place at Alloa on 27 April and ICT came from 1-0 behind to win 2-1. Ayr also won so it was neck-and-neck for third and fourth places. Both stood on 53 points with Ayr having a better goal difference. The final regular game of the season brought Dunfermline to Inverness and a 1-0 win, coupled with Ayr drawing against Alloa, meant a leap up to third place. Thus, for the first time, ICT had reached the promotion play-offs.

This was new territory and a potentially brutal timetable up to the final. It started well at Ayr on 7 May with a 3-1 victory thanks to a goal from Charlie Trafford and two from Jordan White, including a penalty. It was thus advantage ICT but, as the manager pointed out, it was only half-time in the tie. The home leg four days later was a tense affair particularly when Ayr scored after 19 minutes. They had further chances but the defence held out and Coll Donaldson’s glancing header made it 1-1 in 79 minutes. With an aggregate of 4-2 there was no way back for Ayr and it was on to the semi-final against Dundee United – with just three days before the first match in Inverness. 

The semi-final first leg turned out to be disappointing as United won 1-0. It was a very close game but it turned on Liam Polworth’s straight red card just after the break – a high boot caught Mark Connolly on the head but he was stooping down so a red seemed harsh. The 10 men fought hard and Jordan White was unlucky with two headers – particularly one which hit the post with the ‘keeper seemingly beaten. With 12 minutes left Paul McMullan capped a fine performance with a goal after the ball had come off both posts. It was damage control after that and ICT went into the return leg at a disadvantage. A massive 8540 crowd turned up at Tannadice for this vital match. ICT held their own for 45 minutes but a controversial penalty in added time led to United going in at the interval 1-0 ahead – and 2-0 on aggregate. As the tough timetable took its toll United scored two more to earn a final spot against St Mirren. In the event they lost on penalties after failing to score four in a row.

Thus the season finished with some disappointment but reaching two semi-finals was a major achievement in a difficult financial climate. 

The U18 team won the SFA ‘Project Brave’ Performance Progressive tier – the same squad won the equivalent Under 17 title in 2017/18. These talented youngsters have shown that they have a bright future and this can only be good for the club. On the international front Dan MacKay was called up to the Scotland U19 squad in January. The team played two friendlies in Spain and Dan came on as a substitute against the host side in the 72nd minute.

Football Secretary Jim Falconer’s retiral on 31 May was quite literally the end of an era. Jim’s service to Inverness football stretched back to Caledonian F.C. days and he was one of the pioneers who facilitated the Thistle/Caledonian merger. His 25 years at the unified club ensured continuity amidst other changes over the years. To mark his retirement Jim was awarded Life Membership. Youth Coach and Administrator Fiona McWilliams was a popular choice as successor and she shadowed Jim from January 2019. The vital Secretary’s role will be in safe hands.

There were many other changes behind the scenes. Liam Dalgarno and Ross Morrison joined the Board prior to 2018/19. In January Vice-Chairman Allan Mackenzie stood down to be replaced by Ross Morrison. Academy Director Danny MacDonald left the club in March and, in the same month, Ronnie Duncan retired from his Youth Academy post after 15 years. Yvonne Crook left in March after 10 months as CEO and in April Scot Gardiner took up the position. In December long-standing supporter, shareholder and club sponsor Roddy Ross was announced as the new Honorary President. ICT25 was celebrated with a Gala Ball in March and, in April, a Highland Council Civic Reception at the Town House.