Charlie Christie has seen it all at the club – as a player, coach, manager and now Head of Youth Development. Who better to be our ICT25 Ambassador than Charlie, who is doing a great job in promoting the club in this, our special anniversary year!
Between 1994/5 – 2003/4, Charlie played a total 314 games and scored 34 goals. In August 1997, he had the distinction of scoring the club’s 200th goal in a cup tie against Stenhousemuir. In 2000/1, he played 42 out of a possible 43 games, the highlight being his Man of the Match performance against Celtic in our memorable 3-1 win at Celtic Park. He was Manager between January 2006 and August 2007.
And of course his son, Ryan, generated the biggest transfer fee in the club’s history and is now starring with Celtic and Scotland.
An incredible 25-year journey
Having played for both former clubs Thistle and Caledonian it has been a huge honour to have played a part in the incredible 25 year journey that Inverness Caledonian Thistle has been on.
From defeating East Stirling in our first official senior fixture in the Scottish League Cup to lining up in the Europa League against Romanian side Astra Giurgiu it has been a remarkable story and one which has had so many more highs than lows.
Our march through the lower leagues under Steve Paterson was rapid and it was such a thrill for the mainly local squad to challenge themselves against ‘new’ senior opposition for the first time and remind our southern counterparts that there was genuine football ability north of Perth!
In that period the club also thrived in the Scottish Cup and, whilst facing a hugely talented Rangers side (including Messrs Gascoigne and Laudrup) in the Quarter finals in our second season was incredible, the tie most synonymous with our giant killing was in February 2000 when we travelled to Celtic Park to perform so well and send shock waves round the football world! It was undoubtedly my most enjoyable 90 minutes of playing football and the Man of the Match champagne still sits unopened in my drinks cupboard although it probably lacks much fizz by now!
Then in 2003/2004 the final step was taken as we enjoyed an incredible second half of the season to take the Division One title and we were in the Scottish Premiership after only ten years in existence.
Since then we have enjoyed so many superb results against far greater resourced clubs than ourselves including several wins over the Old Firm duo which our supporters always quite rightly relish.
I was fortunate enough to be given the chance to manage the club in 2006-2007 and whilst I was perhaps too ‘close’ to the job to really enjoy it I take great pride in the fact that in my one full season we sat comfortably mid table in the Premier League and wins at home and away to Rangers and a quite superb footballing performance at home against Hibs were some of the many highlights of that campaign.
Relegation has come and gone on a couple of occasions since and has had an obvious affect on us but we bounced back strongly in 2010 and are currently looking to do so again.
As I mentioned the cup competitions have regularly served up a treat for our supporters throughout our history and we topped it all in 2015 when we lifted the Scottish Cup and it was an incredible feeling to be there – even more so given that son Ryan was in the side that day. The celebrations the following day in the city centre and at the Northern Meeting Park were one of those special occasions that will forever stand out proudly in the history of the Highlands.
Whilst that cup final win was very special I think it was possibly overshadowed by the semi-final success against old foes Celtic when we went toe to toe with them at Hampden; scoring the winning goal in the dying minutes of extra time to send us all ‘ballistic’ once again! My favourite game as an ICT supporter!
And so for the next chapter – if it brings the excitement, the successes and the memories of the past 25 years we are all in for a treat and I look forward to it with great anticipation.