Inverness Caledonian Thistle aim to strengthen youth academy

Inverness Caledonian Thistle chief executive Scot Gardiner has said the club intend to strengthen the club’s youth academy as they are encouraged by the results it is producing.

Caley Thistle’s managing director, Scot Gardiner.

A number of players who were brought in from the club’s academy have managed to break into the first team in recent seasons.

Last season midfielder Roddy MacGregor and full-back Cameron Harper featured regularly for Inverness in the Championship, with defender Lewis Hyde also breaking into the first team, earning him a new contract at Caledonian Stadium.

Former Academy graduate Ryan Christie has become an established Scottish internationalist and has been promoted with Bournemouth to the English Premier League this season.

Gardiner says the talent coming through Caley Thistle’s treadmill is encouraging and the club will look to support him stronger in the future.

In a club statement, Gardiner said: “We continue to punch well above our weight with the quality of the players, the style of football and the level of our coaching. Everywhere I go there is only compliments on all three.

“We intend to continue supporting and strengthening the Academy structure at ICT.”

Gardiner says he was also encouraged by support for the ICT Community Trust project at Inverness Royal Academy sports grounds.

The project, estimated at £1-2million, would become a facility for women’s and community football in the Highlands.

The complex would feature at least one, if not two, enclosed grass performance fields.

There would be offices and locker rooms and a number of seven-on-seven surfaces.

The complex would also serve the women’s under-18 and development teams, as well as the newly created ICT Girls’ Academy.

Gardiner said: “It could be one of the most innovative and productive community programs in Scotland, let alone the Highlands.

“The political support from all parties as we move closer to a deal with Highland Council has been hugely encouraging to all of us involved in delivering the hub.”

He added: “The addition of over 150 girls from P1 to U16 to Caley Thistle Women has been inspiring. If we are successful with our plans, they will surely benefit from being a major anchor presence at the hub.

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