One of our most loyal and passionate supporters is “Lady” Kath Fraser, who along with her husband Bob, follows the team home and away, rain or shine. Kath is a member of the ICT FC Supporters Trust and serves on the ICT 25 Committee, which has been coming up with ideas to mark our 25th anniversary. The latest event is a Hall of Fame Dinner being held in the Drumossie Hotel, Inverness, on Saturday 26 October. She was one of the lead organisers of the recent testimonial dinner for our goalkeeper coach Ryan Esson, whom she and Bob have sponsored for many years.
Below, Kath reflects on her time following ICT FC.
Having a husband and two sons who were big football fans, I tagged along one day to an ICT game thinking: “If you can’t beat them, join them!” Bob and the boys had been going to Highland League games for a while and I was keen to see what it was all about – especially as Inverness now had a team in the Scottish League. I was soon hooked and the four of us were going to all games home and away. That eventually led to a 9-year spell running the supporters’ buses to away games. Twenty five years seems to have flown past and now some who travelled on the buses as boys are bringing their own sons and daughters to the games.
I estimate that Bob and I have attended around 1,200 games over the 25 years with many remarkable games and players. The first that stands out is that first Scottish League Division 3 game at Telford Street in August 1994 when we defeated Arbroath 5-2 and our skipper Alan Hercher scored a first half hat-trick. It was so sad that Alan passed away in August 2018, aged only 52. It is fitting that the club has paid tribute to Alan’s memory with the naming of an enclosure in the North Stand after him.
I will never forget that famous snowy night at Parkhead on 8 February 2000 when we pulled off one of the biggest shocks in Scottish Cup history by beating Celtic 3-1. The victory put us on the world footballing map. That famous “Sun” back page headline: “Super Caley Go Ballistic Celtic are Atrocious” is still talked about! Charlie Christie, our Youth Academy Director, reminds me he missed the celebration at the final whistle when the players joined hands and ran towards our support as he was busy giving a tv interview for being Man of the Match!
In May2004, I remember fondly Steve Hislop’s late header to beat Clyde 2-1 at Broadwood that gave us the chance to win promotion into the Premier League if we beat St Johnstone in the last game of the season. Our bus broke down at Broadwood after the game, but no one was too bothered as Premier League football was within our grasp. We went on to beat St Johnstone 3-1 to clinch the title and who can forget the excitement of the helicopter landing on the pitch with the trophy for the presentation to Robbo and the team.
I really enjoyed our trips to Pittodrie to play our home games in the Premier League as it was such an adventure to be playing in the top league in Scotland against the likes of Rangers and Celtic.
I salute Ross Tokely’s long service to the club playing in 592 games and it is great to see him back at the club as a coach of our Under 15s.
One of the most exciting games was our Scottish League Cup Semi-Final win over Hearts in 2014 when a last minute Nick Ross equaliser forced extra time against Hearts and we won the penalty shoot out after the game ended 2-2. Given that we were down to 9 men at the time of Nick’s goal, the achievement that day was remarkable. Pity we could not beat Aberdeen in the Final at Celtic Park, losing on penalties after a goal-less draw.
But nothing can compare to our success in winning the Scottish Cup in 2015. Our 3-2 extra-time semi-final win against Celtic thanks to David Raven’s late winner was an epic game setting up a final against Falkirk.
And the drama continued in the final, with a late winner by James Vincent to secure a victory that no one could have contemplated when the club was formed in 1994.
There have been sad times too. Two relegations and a number of friends lost over the years – Mikey Diamond, Gordy ‘The Bus’ Munro and ‘ Herchie’ to name a few.
We should be proud that Inverness is well and truly on the football map and that the club can mould local lads into respected professionals – Nick Ross, Liam Polworth and Ryan Christie being prime examples. What a prospect young Ryan is. I am really excited by the current group of youngsters in the first team squad and those learning the trade at Fort William and Elgin City. This must give us confidence for the future.
From North of Scotland Cup wins to a Scottish Cup win and from Highland League games in Rothes to a Europa League qualifier in Romania (not forgetting third place in the Premier League) – I think we have done pretty well.
Robbo has pieced together a really strong squad well capable of promotion. Roll on our return to the SPFL Premiership League.