John Robertson signs new Inverness CT deal ruling out Hearts return

The Hearts legend was touted for a Tynecastle return

John Robertson has committed his future to Inverness CT, signing a contract extension until 2022/23.

The 55-year-old has led the Highlanders to back-to-back second place finishes after fifth in his first campaign back in his second spell.

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He has been touted for a possible Tynecastle return with Hearts boss Daniel Stendel currently without a contract following relegation to the Championship.

John Robertson has signed a new deal with Inverness. Picture: SNS

That has all but been ruled out with the new deal at the Highlands club with Robertson targeting promotion to the Premiership.

He told Inverness’ official website: “I came back to Inverness with the ambition of getting us back to the Premiership and in fairness I knew that it would take a lot of work and no small amount of football luck and it has probably been something of a rollercoaster since my return.

“We have lost some key players due to budget constraints but I knew that would happen given the fallout from relegation and the lack of finances available in the Championship and it only made me work harder. That said, I know we are getting closer to achieving our goal and the faith that Ross, Scot and the board of directors have shown in me gives me further confidence that we can continue to improve if we stick together.

“I am just about over the disappointment of losing out on our chance to win promotion via the play-offs through no fault of our own but having been out and about in the community during the lockdown as part of our TogetherNess campaign, I can see how much the club means to the fans and how much we all want to achieve success again at the club. I will continue to give my all to get us back into the top tier of Scottish football and I can’t wait to get the boys back on the training pitch.”

Robertson’s first managerial spell came with ICT back in 2002 before leaving for the Hearts job in 2004. After a short-lived spell at Tynecastle, Robertson went on to manage Ross County, Livingston, Derry and East Fife between 2005 and 2012.

The 55-year-old made a surprise return as Inverness boss in 2017, and has since led the side to the 2018 Challenge Cup repeating the 2004 success with the Highlanders as well as the second tier title that year.

Inverness CEO Scot Gardiner said: “I could not be happier to get this extension to John’s contract finalised. He has played a pivotal role in rebuilding the football team since his return to Inverness and has overseen year on year improvement.

“He led a team and a squad ravaged by a traumatic relegation to 5th place in his first season back, just missing out on the play-offs at the death, having already led the club to victory in the Irn Bru Challenge Cup Final.

“In his second season back he took ICT to the Semi-Final of the Scottish Cup and only lost out to Dundee United in the Premiership Play-Off Semi-Final having finished 3rd in the Championship.

“This past season he led us to the Quarter-Finals of the Scottish Cup and we were in 2nd place in the Championship when our season was called off in March, having held that position for virtually the entire season.

“The subsequent lockdown was a real blow to our plans as we were quietly confident we could go on and win promotion to the Premiership. John achieved all of this while consistently rebuilding the squad in all three seasons and always doing so within a budget that was nowhere near the largest in the division.”

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