Inverness Schools Benefit from Extra Time Programme’s Continued Support

Inverness Caledonian Thistle Community Development Trust have warmly welcomed the grant from the Scottish Government to continue the important work it is doing in the community in providing breakfast and after school club activities in four local primary schools.
The funding is from the Extra Time Programme, which is a joint initiative between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Football Association.

We shall not be moved! Trust in the Community

Inverness is the ICT Community Development Trust's home and always will be.

Fifty years ago – Jags bid for Scottish League membership remembered

The Inverness Football Memories Project has turned the clock back 50 years - to Friday 24 May 1974 - to recall Inverness Thistle’s attempt to join the Scottish Football League, having won back to back league titles in 1971-72 and 1972-73.

The Jags were one of four Highland League sides interested in gaining entry to the national league when the Scottish Football Association decided to admit a 38th league club following the demise of Third Lanark and a restructure of the league set up to create a Premier League and two lower leagues.  The other Highland teams bidding for entry were Forres Mechanics, Elgin City and Ross County.  Ferranti Thistle of Edinburgh and Hawick Royal Albert, who played in the East of Scotland League and Gateshead United, from the Northern Premier League, also threw their hats into the ring.

Sad passing of 
Brian Derby

Inverness Football Memories is sad to learn of the passing of Brian Derby who played in central defence for Nairn County and Caledonian in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Brian played in the memorable Nairn County team that won the club’s only Highland League title in 1975-76.

A gifted musician, Brian joined Caledonian in 1978-79 and marked the club’s league winning successes in 1976-77 and 1977-78 by writing the song “Caley all the way”.

Team manager of the time Alex Main adopted the song title for the book he wrote in 1986 celebrating Caley’s centenary.

A photo of Brian and the Caley team featured in Alex’s book (page 131) and also on page 130 of Inverness Football Remembered which is available for sale from ICT Community Trust.

RIP Brian

Highland Vehicle Rental Partners with Inverness Caledonian Thistle Trust to Support Community Initiatives

Highland Vehicle Rental (HVR) is delighted to announce its commitment to sponsoring the Inverness Caledonian Thistle Trust (ICT Trust) by providing an electric-powered van for use in its activities. This partnership is a testament to HVR's dedication to supporting community initiatives and promoting sustainability through the use of electric vehicles.

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.  

Ross Jack looks back on a remarkable career

ICT Head of Youth Development Ross Jack looked back on a 50-year career as a player, coach, scout, mentor, analyst and manager when he was guest speaker at a recent meeting of the ICT Football Memories Group.

Ross made an early impression as a goal scorer, helping Avoch Primary School win trophies and he was still a pupil at Fortrose Academy when Ross County signed him in 1974 and gave him his Highland League debut at the age of 15.  Indeed, Ross must be the youngest player in County’s history to score a competitive goal, still being 15 when he fired home at Peterhead.

Such was his promise that County manager Ian MacNeill recommended him to English top flight side, Everton, whose manager Billy Bingham, the former Northern Ireland winger, immediately offered him a full-time contract.

Ross made a scoring debut for all the Everton youth teams and was given his first team debut on 6 March 1979 at Ayresome Park, home of Middlesbrough.

Derek Dewar Tribute

A Highland League player who played in two history making sides has died at the age of 69 after a long illness.

Derek Dewar was a goal scorer when Brora Rangers won the Scottish Qualifying Cup (North) for the first time in their history in 1979.

And four years later he was a member of the “Invincible” Caledonian side that won the Highland League title by completing the 30-game programme undefeated – a record that had stood for 69 years. He won 9 medals with Caledonian, including three consecutive league and Qualifying Cup wins from 1981-82.

A Physical Education teacher for many years at Culloden Academy, Derek was brought up in Killiecrankie and attended Pitlochry High School and Breadalbane Academy.   He began his football career playing in his native Perth-shire with Grandtully Vale,  Vale of Atholl and Bankfoot Athletic, where his strike partner was Paul Sturrock, who went on to play for Dundee United and Scotland.

Derek’s performances were attracting attention and he was snapped up by  Arbroath, then a top tier side managed by Albert Henderson. Unluckily for Derek he managed just three games at Gayfield as he suffered the double blow of contracting pneumonia and pleurisy and returned to Bankfoot on his recovery.

After a further season at Bankfoot, Derek moved to attend Jordanhill Training College, Glasgow, in pursuit of his qualification to become a PE teacher.  During his time there he was honoured with selection for the Scottish Colleges team. 

Derek’s first teaching job was in Thurso and he played for Thurso Academicals and Wick Academy before being lured away to play for Brora Rangers in March 1978.  In season 1978-79 Brora qualified for the Scottish Cup for only the second time in their history by reaching the semi-finals of the Qualifying Cup.   Derek scored a terrific hat-trick in a 3-0 replay win at Buckie Thistle to earn Brora a place in the final, where Peterhead were waiting.

Derek also played a key role in the final.  In the initial game at Grant Street Park, Inverness, he headed Brora into an early lead but Peterhead equalised in the second half to force a replay.  The following week Brora lifted the trophy with an emphatic 5-0 win, with Derek scoring the fourth.  Great celebrations were to follow. To cap a great season, Brora finished the league in their highest position, third.

Derek’s work took him to Culloden Academy in Inverness and it proved a great move for him when Caledonian asked him to sign. Much better was to follow in 1981/82 when Caley completed the treble, winning the league, Qualifying Cup and the North of Scotland Cup.

And it could not get better than the achievement in 1982-83 of winning the Highland League undefeated, with 23 wins and 7 draws. This was the first time since 1914 that this had been achieved and it helped Caley win the Rothman’s Scottish Non-League Team of the Year award for a second year running. The Inverness Cup and the Qualifying Cup were also won that season with Derek playing a prominent role.

In season 1983-84, Caley completed a hat-trick of league and Qualifying Cup successes as well as winning the North of Scotland Cup. Derek won his final medal in 1984/85 when Caley won the Inverness Cup.

He was to go on to play for Rothes, with whom he was interim boss for a short spell,  Ross County and Clachnacuddin before returning to Telford Street Park as player/coach of the Caley  2nd XI playing in the North Caledonian League.

There was plenty of football left in Derek and he saw out his career making 234 appearances for Inverness welfare/amateur side, Bankers FC, many as skipper.

A fit and energetic player, Derek could play in defence, midfield and attack with equal effect and proved a great team mate with all the teams he played for over a 20-year career.

On hanging up his boots, Derek enjoyed playing golf and was a member of the former Torvean Golf Club and Inverness Golf Club and was a caddie at Castle Stuart Golf Course for a number of years.

He was married to Fiona and has two daughters, Lynsey and Ellen and a son Colin and four grand children, Leah, Emily, Ivy and Shaun.

Duncan Shearer shares his football memories


Scottish international Duncan Shearer has been sharing some of the memories of his illustrious career as a player and coach with the Inverness Football Memories Group.


From Caol, Fort William, the red-headed striker began his career with Clachnacuddin, choosing to sign as his brother David, who went on to play for Middlesbrough, and John Dennison, who had a spell with Morton, both played for the club.


The highlight of his time at Grant Street came in 1981 when he scored the two wonder goals that secured the Highland League Cup in a 2-1 cup final win at Dingwall over Brora Rangers.


His star performances were beginning to attract the attention of full time clubs and trials at Partick Thistle and Aberdeen followed before his big break came when Chelsea’s north scout Rodwill Clyne recommended him to Chelsea Assistant Manager Ian MacNeill.  A successful trial in 1983 saw Duncan, at the age of 21,  head to the bright lights of London. He spent three seasons at Chelsea before moving on to Huddersfield Town to kick start his career. He scored 38 goals in 83 games for the “Terriers”  before Swindon Town manager Lou Macari, the Celtic, Manchester United and Scotland striker,  paid £250,000 for his signature.


In his four seasons with the Robins, Duncan was top scorer in each season, scoring 79 goals in 164 games and was Player of the Year in 1991, when he was named in the PFA Division 2 Team of the Season.  At Swindon he also played under Argentinian World Cup winner Ossie Ardiles and England’s midfield maestro, Glenn Hoddle. A highlight was playing against Sunderland in a League Division 2 play off final victory at Wembley in 1990 in front of 80,000 fans.


At the time, Blackburn Rovers, who were managed by his boyhood hero Kenny Dalglish, were vying with Swindon for promotion and stepped in to pay £800,000 for the striker.   Duncan was to play only 6 games before being sold to Aberdeen for £500,000. His £3.6 million replacement at Ewood Park was Alan Shearer, who would become the Premier League’s all-time top scorer with 260 goals!  Swindon fans believe that Blackburn Chairman Jack Walker bought Duncan solely to deprive promotion challengers Swindon of his services in the league run in.  Swindon ended the season in 8th place, scoring only 7 more goals that season after Duncan’s departure.


Duncan seemed to thrive playing in red and in his five seasons with Aberdeen he was a firm favourite with the fans, scoring 54 goals in 152 games, including a goal in the 2-0 1995 Scottish League Cup Final win over Dundee.


He captained the Scotland “B team and won 7 full caps between 1994-95under Craig Brown,  scoring two goals – against Finland and Netherlands


In September 1997, Duncan joined Inverness Caledonian Thistle and helped the club win promotion to the SFL Division 1 in May 1999.   In his time with the club he scored 19 goals in 62 games.


In February 2000, Duncan succeeded Alex Caldwell as Assistant Manager of the Club, working beside Manager

Steve “Pele” Paterson for two and a half years before the pair were head-hunted by Aberdeen in December 2002.


His next move was to become Manager of Highland League side Buckie Thistle between 2004-2008 before he returned to Inverness, serving in a wide range of roles including caretaker manager, assistant manager, reserve team manager and youth development coach, remaining until 2017. 


Duncan captured the highlights of his career, rising from non-league football to the international arena,  in a book entitled Shearer Wonderland, which was published in 2011.

Extra Time Project is paying dividends for Inverness pupils, parents/guardians and teachers

At the end of October, last year, we signed up to pilot a new Scottish Football Association initiative in the North to deliver breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and holiday camps at three targeted Inverness schools, namely Bishop Eden’s Primary, Dalneigh Primary and Merkinch Primary.

We secured funding to deliver the SFA’s first Extra Time Project in the North Area over a 6-month period ie until the end of April. We would wish to continue the project until the summer holidays.

At Dalneigh and Merkinch we are providing 9 hours each week of contact and at Bishop Eden’s, 7 hours.

The breakfast clubs run from 8-9 am and we provide activities, such as football as well as board games, before the children are served a healthy breakfast and begin their school day.

The after-school clubs run from 3-5 pm and involve a combination of physical activity, quiet zones and a healthy snack.

During the three-day February school break, we will be holding a holiday camp for pupils from the three schools at Merkinch Primary.

A total of 93 5-12 year-olds have attended a session. 86 pupils from the three schools attended our Festive Friends lunch at Caledonian Stadium on 20 December when they received goodie bags and met the ICT FC Manager and first team squad. They had a great time.

After running the sessions for three months now, we are seeing real benefits of our engagement and learning lessons as we go along – lessons that we can pass on to any other community trusts that wish to follow our lead.

The attendance at the sessions suggest the children are enjoying their time with us and we are delighted that they are eating healthy foods. One pupil stood up at school assembly to let everyone know he had, that morning at the breakfast club, eaten the “breakfast of champions” – a fresh fruit and yogurt combination!

Other benefits are that the schools are experiencing improved school attendance, with fewer turning up late. Teachers report that many pupils are more alert in class due to the structure of their start to the day at the breakfast club.

A key benefit of the scheme for parents and guardians is the child care that improves their employment opportunities by giving them more flexibility in fulfilling their work commitments, with an earlier start and a later finish.

A number of parents have also volunteered to provide additional support at the breakfast and after-school clubs and volunteered at school football coaching sessions.

A bonus of the Extra Time Project for the Community Development Team is that we have been able to employ two full members of staff including an Education Development Officer to oversee the development and implementation of the programmes as well as the ongoing delivery and evaluation. 

The creation of this role has allowed us to bridge the gap between our community engagement and our local educational establishments.

We hope to use the experiences of this pilot scheme as part of a wider scheme to make a real difference in our community. We believe the benefits will be felt across the whole household and intend to capture this data more comprehensively in the coming months.


Rhona MacCormick Head teacher at Dalneigh Primary "We are delighted to be working with ICT. The breakfast and after-school clubs are very popular with our pupils. The breakfast club is a great start to the day and pupils comment on how ready they are to learn when school starts. Teachers have also commented on the difference they see in children's readiness to  start to learn. We feel so lucky to have this opportunity."

Jillian Kean Head Teacher "Merkinch Primary School are thrilled to be working in partnership with ICT.  Our children and families benefit from a very popular free breakfast club and a growing after school club.   A healthy and encouraging start to the day has a positive impact on our children’s learning.  Not only do our children enjoy a healthy breakfast and a super end to the day, and they also learn from the positive role models who lead these activities."


Craig Masterton

Community Trust Manager

Ian Macdonald Tribute

Fond memories of Ian Macdonald – a top Highland League goalkeeper

The Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Memories Group has lost a dear friend in Ian “Dons” Macdonald, the former Clach, Caley and Forres Mechanics goalkeeper, who has died at the age of 86.  Ian was a regular attender at monthly meetings of the Group at Caledonian Stadium, readily recalling his football memories, very often with the aid of his scrapbooks.

Born in December 1937, Ian grew up in the Ballifeary area of Inverness and attended Central Primary School and Inverness High School, where he excelled at football, firstly as a left back before focusing on goalkeeping.

His performances at school, boys brigade and juvenile level won him a move to Clachnacuddin before Inverness rivals Caledonian, stepped in to win his signature.   Ian took part in Caley’s pre/season visit to Norway in 1959 before winning a Scottish North Qualifying Cup medal in 1961 in a victory over Peterhead.

Ian’s next move was to Forres Mechanics where he was in goal when the Mosset Park club won the Scottish Qualifying Cup North in 1963-64 for the first time in the club’s history with an 8-4 aggregate win over two legs over Buckie Thistle. As a result of the success, Forres qualified to play in the Scottish Cup and drew a money-spinning first round home tie against a star-studded Dundee side, which included Scottish internationalists, Alex Hamilton, Alan Gilzean and Andy Penman.  Dundee won 6-3 but it was a great day for the “Can Cans” and a real highlight of Ian’s football career.

Ian, who represented the North FA, went on to win a North of Scotland Cup winners’ medal with Forres  in 1966-67 when they beat Ross County 3-0 at Telford Street Park Inverness. 

His career with the Pearl Assurance Company took him to Stornoway, Banff and Dingwall before he returned to Inverness to end his career as District Manager.

While based in Banff, Ian served as manager of Deveronvale FC between 1970-73,  overseeing the transfer of Des Bremner to Hibernian.  While in Dingwall, Ian helped run Dingwall Thistle.

He  was married to Karen for 63 years and has four sons, Ian, Colin, Ewen and Neil and a daughter Fiona. 

Annual Report

2023 Reports

Click on each image below to view reports on our recent events.

2022 Reports

Click on each image below to view reports on our events that took place in 2022.

News & Updates

Delivering Coaching To Record Numbers

Record numbers of children are attending summer programmes organised by Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s Community Trust, including those who are benefiting from free courses and meals to combat the cost of living pressures.

Community Development Manager, Craig Masterton, is thrilled at the response to the camps organised by his team in Inverness as well as in Aviemore, Cromarty, Farr, Fort William, Nairn, Tain and Thurso.

Over the summer holidays, the team:

  • Welcomed 1,317 participants at 17 venues;
  • Provided 160 hours of football coaching free of charge and
  • Provided 1,460 free meals and
  • Gained a 99.2 per cent enjoyment rate from those who responded to an end-of-course survey, with parents believing the activities were reasonably priced; the coaches engaged well with their child and courses were accessible to find and attend.

Craig said: “It truly has been a fantastic summer programme for us in 2023.  Not only blowing previous participant records out of the water but hearing from families about the incredibly positive impact our camps have on all who take part.  The comments we receive highlight the positive impacts the courses have on children in motivating them and helping them meet new friends in a safe environment.  It shows the vital role we play, using football to engage across the community.”

Craig said the Trust was able to provide free coaching and free meals in targeted communities thanks to funding during the cost of living crisis from the Bank of Scotland Foundation as well as the Scottish Football Association’s Cash Back for Communities Fund and Scottish Gas.

He added: “To be able to provide an opportunity to so many deserving young children, whose exposure to activity and sport due to barriers of cost and logistics would have been limited, is a key pillar of our work in the community.  The positive feedback further encourages us to expand our work in the future.”

As well as providing summer programmes across the Highlands, the Community Development Team organised a camp between 9 am and 3 pm during the recent three-day closure of schools due to strike action, with full attendances of 112 each day.  This was run through donations only as a thank you to parents who had supported the summer camps and in recognition of the help needed by parents and guardians in coping with the disruption of the closures.    Over the past year, the team has also made a total of 47 school visits to deliver education through football.  

They also deliver weekly para football coaching sessions and have recently attracted funding to resume sending a squad to take part in monthly para events in Stirling.

Also popular are the weekly walking football sessions held at the Highland Rugby Club all weather pitch at the Bught Park and the growingly popular monthly football memories meetings at the Caledonian Stadium on the last Friday of each month.

The Trust recently won the SFA’s Regional Grass Routes Award for the best “Football For All” project, which is sponsored by McDonalds and the Daily Mail, for the walking football project. 

ICT Community Trust is the bridge between Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club and the community, being a charitable trust run by a board of directors and a team of Community Development coaches. 

A major project being undertaken by the Trust, in conjunction with the football club, is the creation of a Community Hub on a 10-acre site at Inverness Royal Academy Playing Fields, where the team will be based to deliver  coaching to all sections of the community.

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