Merger draws curtain down on Caley and Thistle’s playing days

Saturday 14 May, 1994 saw the curtain fall on the long and illustrious histories of two famous Inverness sides – Caledonian and Inverness Thistle, who merged at that time to become Caledonian Thistle and play in the Scottish League Division 3 from the start of season 1994-95.


The city rivals had met for the last time three days earlier at Telford Street Park, Inverness when Caley striker Billy Urquhart scored the only goal of the game, which was a testimonial match for Caley’s Aberdeen-based players, Wilson Robertson and Kevin Mann, who had been 13 seasons with the club.


Caley travelled to play the Highland League champions-elect, Huntly, managed by Steve “Pele” Paterson, who two years later was to become Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s manager.    Former Aberdeen defender, Doug Rougvie, put Hunty ahead only for Wilson Robertson to equalise and secure a 1-1 draw.


Wilson not only scored Caley’s last competitive goal but he was to make further history by scoring Caledonian Thistle’s first competitive goal on 9 August 1994 – in a 2-0 win away to East Stirlingshire in the first round of the Coca Cola Scottish League Cup, when he was named Man of the Match.


Wilson played 570 games for Caley, winning 16 medals, including 6 Scottish Qualifying Cup North medals and 4 Highland League championship medals.  He scored 191 goals, 9 of which came in cup finals.  


He scored 6 goals in 31 games for Caledonian Thistle (as they were known until the start of season 1996-97 when they became Inverness Caledonian Thistle).

Wilson, who had signed with Kevin Mann from Dundee in 1981-82, later played for Buckie Thistle and Bon Accord.


On 14 May 1994, Thistle hosted a visit from Lossiemouth, whose striker was Ian Stewart who went on to star for Inverness Caledonian Thistle.   Ian helped Lossiemouth to a 2-0 win.


Skipper Dave Milroy, who made his debut for the Jags in 1972-3 playing more than 900 games in the following 22 years, played in every game that final season and Roddie Davidson was Thistle’s Player of the Year playing his 800th game against Lossiemouth.  Roddie had played 760 games for Caley before playing his last season at Kingsmills Park.


Dave, who had been assistant manager of Thistle,  joined Caledonian Thistle’s backroom staff and worked with manager Sergei Baltacha as second team coach.


Both Caley and Thistle were established in 1885/6 and were founder members of the Highland League, which was established in 1893-94. Caley won the league title 18 times and Thistle, 8, including the historic first ever title.


In that final season both teams lifted a trophy.   Caley won the North of Scotland Cup with a 1-0 win over Forres Mechanics thanks to an Alan Smart goal.


Thistle won the Inverness Cup, beating Clachnacuddin 1-0 - Ian Polworth scoring the only goal of the game.

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