The next few days will go a long way to revealing just how far-reaching the consequences of relegation will prove to be for Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
While the average age of those who joined Saturday’s post-match protests demanding the sacking of the board suggest they were probably more interested in CBeebies than boardrooms the last time the club suffered the ignominy of dropping out of the top flight, there is undeniably a growing level of disharmony in the city with regards to current operations at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.
That means that the future of chairman Kenny Cameron is under as much scrutiny as that of manager Richie Foran, who spoke out immediately after his men had finally strung together back-to-back league wins, defeating Motherwell 3-2. It was too little, too late as results elsewhere rendered that irrelevant and left them rooted at the foot of the table, but Foran was open in his desire to stay at the club and try to engineer a swift return to the Premiership.
He isn’t the only one. The majority of the players who contributed to the club’s downfall this term are still under contract and even those who aren’t, such as Alex Fisher, who netted two of his team’s goals on Saturday, quickly said they would be interested in sticking around to try to make things right.
“I had a six-month extension in January, which takes me to now. So I’m waiting to have conversations with the gaffer,” said the striker, pictured, who finished the campaign as the club top scorer despite not being used as often as he would have liked. “I’ve got to assess my situation but it’s a great club and I’d like to be part of something.
“We had a chat in the changing room after the game about the success you can have in the Championship, coming straight back up if we all stick together. It’s something I’ll think long and hard about. If I’m part of their plans, I would like to get involved.”
The man who netted the first goal to ease some of the home nerves, Greg Tansey, will not be hanging around,though. He has already signed a pre-contract agreement with Aberdeen and has another term in the highest reaches of the Scottish game to look forward to. By the time he netted, in the 64th minute, the chances of Inverness being able to do the same had already expired. By then Hamilton were well ahead in their game, foiling the hopes that the Highland side could leapfrog them.
But Inverness kept battling, hoping for a miracle that never came. They got two more goals, with Ross Draper and Fisher combining to allow the latter to score once with his head and then with a cheeky flick, in the 66th and 68th minutes.
Motherwell got two back, when substitute James McFadden pounced to get the first and then Ryan Bowman added another, from the spot, with virtually the final kick of the game.
As the whistle sounded the home players slumped to the turf, the stuffing knocked out of them, but they were soon back up and quickly looking ahead to the new season, with the likes of Foran and goalkeeper Ryan Esson, who were both members of the squad the last time the club was relegated, plotting a similar comeback.
“When you’ve been part of a team that ultimately failed then you have a duty to do your best to make up for it. When we won promotion the season after we were relegated in 2009, it was the best year I’ve had at the club,” said Esson. “I know people will point to the Scottish Cup-winning season and getting into Europe and I’d say there were two or three months that were unbelievable. But the way we won promotion was incredible. We were 15 points behind, everyone wrote us off, and it was so special.
“The second tier is even harder now but if we can retain most of the boys then we’ll have a better squad than we did then. It’s important to bounce back quickly because you can get stuck in the Championship. But for the club and the city we want to be in the Premiership.”