With 589 appearances over 16 seasons, Ross Tokely is by some distance the player to have played most times for the club. Ross also scored 36 goals for the club and wore every jersey from 1 – 11.
He was awarded a testimonial against Sheffield United when he wore the number 9 jersey to complete the set. An Aberdonian, he was signed on 3 August 1996 from Huntly.
He is the only player to appear and score for the club through all four league divisions and has a championship medal from Division 3 and two from Division 1.
Ross was part of the Bell’s Cup winning side of 2003-4 and has also collected 7 Player of the Year trophies over the years. His last game for the club was on 12 May, 2012.
His appearance record is unlikely to be beaten for a long time, if ever. He is now back with the club, as a Youth Academy coach. Here he recalls his memories:-
I was a young midfield player playing for Highland League Champions Huntly when Steve “Pele” Paterson – a former manager of Huntly – brought me to ICT. I owe him a lot as he fashioned me into an attacking full back, where I played most of my games for the club.
Pele really knew the game having played for Manchester United and Sheffield United. He wanted his teams to play fast attacking football which the fans really appreciated and it suited my style of attacking from the right flank.
John Robertson, Donald Park, Craig Brewster, Maurice Malpas and Terry Butcher all helped develop my game and I am grateful to all of them for the lessons I learned.
Four games stand out for me.
The day Caley went Ballistic – 7 February, 2000 – by beating Celtic 3-1 at Parkhead was a night to remember and really put the club on the football map. It’s what football dreams are made of.
Probably my fondest memory was a 2002-3 Scottish Cup 4th round tie at Tynecastle when we pulled off a real shock by winning 3-1. The goal I scored against Anti Niemi is my best goal for the club. I hit a half volley with my left foot into the top corner and it came close for ‘Goal of the Round’. That day all three goals were from the top drawer. Dennis Wyness scored a second and finally David Bagen’s goal came after a great individual solo run. Hearts were very much the favourites and we were the underdogs so to go to Tynecastle and beat them was brilliant. Another tremendous day for me and the club.
We drew Celtic at home in the Quarter –Final of the Scottish Cup and this was another memorable game with us winning 1-0. Celtic were having a great season and earlier in the week had beaten my boyhood heroes, Liverpool 2-0 at Annfield in a European Cup tie. Dennis Wyness scored a great goal and after that we defended for our lives. Celtic missed a few chances and we had luck on our side. We went mental after the game and the champagne corks were flying in the dressing room.
Beating St Johnstone 3-1 on the final day of season 2003-4 to win promotion from Division 1 to the Premier League for the first time was a critical turning point for the club. I had always wanted to play at the highest level of Scottish football and I enjoyed every minute of my time in the Premiership –well almost every minute!
One final memory is the sensational second half of the season we enjoyed in the Championship in 2009-10. At one stage we trailed the league leaders Dundee by 15 points. We then went on an incredible run, mainly thanks to the pace of Johnny Hayes and the scoring exploits of Adam Rooney, to win promotion back to the Premiership.
And the game that I wore the No 1 jersey? Les Fridge was sent off with 20 minutes to go in a home league match against Livingston – and I kept a clean sheet!.
Over the 16 years, I had a ball, playing with some great players and making so many friends. It was a huge privilege to play so many times for the club and be such a part of the club’s history. I’m sure many more great times lie ahead