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Inverness Caledonian Thistle announce move to central Scotland training ground located 135 miles away

Inverness Caledonian Thistle have announced that they will move from their training ground to one based in central Scotland. It is hoped that moving their training base closer to the centre of Scotland will help attract better players instead of relocating them to the Highlands. Inverness will officially share a training ground with Kelty Hearts, beginning in the summer.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle relegated to third tier

Inverness were relegated from the Scottish Championship this season, following a torrid season. They will now play in the third tier of Scottish football, alongside Kelty Hearts, who they will share a training base in Fife with at New Central Park. This facility is located 135 miles away from Inverness, with a one-way drive estimated to take around two-and-a-half hours.

Lengthy statement explaining move released

In a club statement, Caley Thistle said: As one major part of our planned strategic restructure of the club, ICTFC are delighted to announce an innovative agreement with League 1 side Kelty Hearts, which will see the club move our training base to the Fife club’s New Central Park Stadium.

“This creative partnership will mean that we will hire their excellent facilities which include a 3g pitch, onsite grass pitches and offices for our coaching staff, as our training base during the week starting from this coming pre-season in June.

“The last few years have seen the geographic challenges in getting players to move to the Highlands become ever harder for a number of reasons. Caledonian Stadium will always be our home, but other factors in Scottish football have changed and where we train should not be an impediment to the quality of the players we can attract to Caley Thistle, or to our potential to progress.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Inverness Caledonian Thistle will continue to play their home matches at Caledonian Stadium.

“The commercial success of the city of Inverness – which will always be our home – both as a tourist destination and a place to live, has led to very high prices for the accommodation we require to house players. In addition to these high costs which our competitors do not carry, the extremely limited housing stock in Inverness continues to be both a challenge and a huge factor working against us.

“Increased playing budgets in and around the central belt has meant that on many occasions, even when we have offered players more favourable terms than our competitors, sometimes even agreed deals, we have then been told that the player has changed his mind due to challenges relocating their families.

“Support structures in and around the families of players may all be in and around the central belt, partners will have jobs where they live and moving kids schools to the Highlands and moving home itself can just be seen as impractical for a one or two year contract.

“It makes it particularly challenging for us to sign senior players, a category which through no fault of our budget, or of previous ICT Managers, we have struggled to attract in the last few seasons. Similarly, our location means that we miss out on the opportunity of signing promising players from the larger clubs in Scotland, on loan or otherwise.”

Commitment to ‘developing our own homegrown Highland boys’

The club also assured fans that they would continue to create pathways for talented local players. They said: “For the avoidance of any doubt we absolutely intend to continue to develop our own homegrown Highland boys and we will take the appropriate steps to make sure that by being creative, innovative and practical, they do not miss out on the chance to have a pathway to first team football with their team. We have a proud tradition of introducing local players in to our first team and this will absolutely continue.

“We obviously never intended to be in the same division as Kelty when originally exploring this concept, but football throws strange things at you sometimes and having reassessed the proposition and judged that the pros still far outweigh the cons, we would like to thank the Board of Kelty Hearts and MD Stefan Winiarski and his management team for considering this unique to the SPFL partnership, and then seeing and agreeing on the possibilities and benefits for both clubs.

“To reiterate, by moving our footballing department's training base to central Scotland, both the club's Board of Directors and the club's First Team Management feel we give ourselves the best possible chance to attract the highest quality players to the club, allowing some of the players we sign to also live in and around the central belt while playing for ICTFC.

“We now look forward to taking further positive strides on and off the pitch to address the football and financial challenges we face we believe this exciting opportunity to help us attract players previously not available to us and build a better squad, is one of the first steps we can make and we hope to develop further innovative partnerships.

“Inverness is and will always be our home. The Caledonian Stadium will always be where we play our football. We hope this venture will help us achieve our goal in giving our supporters a team to be proud of.”


Will Murray

Freelance football journalist. Experience writing for When Saturday, Comes, Goalkeeper.com, Elite Scholars and Total Football Analysis. Recently finished an MA in Sport Journalism at the University of Brighton. Long-time season ticket holder at the two-time European Champions Nottingham Forest.

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