'Unfinished business' sees Brewster return

CRAIG Brewster yesterday spoke of his burning desire to take care of "unfinished business" at Inverness Caledonian Thistle as he embarked on his managerial return. The 40-year-old Clydesdale Bank Premier League top scorer was paraded by the bottom-of-the-table club ten months after being sacked by Dundee United.

Given his two goals for Aberdeen on Saturday, the evergreen striker - who arrives for free - represents arguably the bargain of the season. But Brewster admitted he had never dared imagine his second chance would come at Inverness, where he spent a highly-successful 14 months.

The opportunity of a switch to boyhood club Dundee United proved just too alluring in January 2006, but the move quickly turned sour with only three wins in 30 games.

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Despite a fruitful eight months purely as a player at Aberdeen, the veteran jumped at the chance of a return to frontline management at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.

Brewster will continue playing at Inverness after signing a combined two-year contract on Sunday night. He also confirmed that Donald Park, who he worked under during Franck Sauzee's tenure at Easter Road, would remain as his assistant manager.

Park had offered to step down following Charlie Christie's resignation last week, but was very much wanted by staff and players and, crucially, by Brewster.

Paraded yesterday, Brewster admitted to regrets at leaving Inverness so early in his fledgling career - and of his determination to put the matter right second time around.

Brewster said: "I can't tell you how delighted I am to be back. It's not often people get a second chance in this profession and it's now up to me to take it.

"This place feels right to me. I'm thrilled to get the opportunity and hopefully the players are looking forward to working with me again.

"I never dreamt for a moment that I would get the chance to come back to this club, although I'd always hoped. I also really appreciate what everyone at Aberdeen did for me in those eight months, particularly Jimmy Calderwood and Jimmy Nicholl, the staff and the fans.

"Now I'm looking for the same support from the players, staff and supporters of this club.

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"There's unfinished business for me in Inverness and, hopefully, we can get back to producing decent results and performances.

"There is a point to prove in as much as I maybe probably left slightly too early when the chance came around at Dundee United."

Brewster will be in the dug-out tonight for the CIS Cup tussle with Arbroath, and his

first task will be to rekindle the once seemingly unbreakable spirit of Caley Thistle's players amid a run of four straight defeats that has battered confidence.

He knows the presence of Park, a favourite of the players, will be crucial. Brewster stressed: "Donald Park will remain at the club and I'm really delighted to have him.

"I was at Hibs with Donald when he and Franck Sauzee became the management team. A shoulder injury meant I didn't play under him much but he's a super guy who is liked and very highly-respected not just at this club, but throughout football."

It seems that Brewster's conduct on leaving for Dundee United played a significant part in facilitating his return.

Predecessors John Robertson and Steve Paterson were overlooked when Brewster left, with the club declaring it would never look back.

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While some supporters still feel short-changed by Brewster's abrupt departure, the board were able to negotiate the 200,000 compensation deal on the strength of his loyalty.

Brewster told Dundee United he would sit tight in Inverness unless full recompense was made.

The new manager admitted: "Perhaps some fans don't agree with the decision to bring me back. But Graeme Bennett, the director of football, was good enough to air a few things at the supporters' meeting.

"The club had been great to me in my first job and I wasn't just going to walk away without them getting what they wanted out of the deal.

"I think when you do things properly, people remember that."

Brewster, with just days until the transfer window closes, also pledged to quickly try and strengthen a currently under-manned defence.

"I've listened to a lot of people speak [about what is wrong at Caley Thistle]. They have played well in spells but there is little between teams and just one misjudgment can be costly," he said.

"Suddenly, after a few defeats, the confidence goes. But we are only four games into the season and there's a long way to go.

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"There is not too much wrong in terms of the squad, but I think we're short of defenders and that's an area I will be looking at immediately," he said.

Inverness were at pains to thank Aberdeen for being so co-operative in releasing Brewster.

Bennett said: "I got a phone call from Stewart Milne, the Aberdeen chairman, this morning and he said it wasn't often he gave away the country's top scorer for nothing."

Chairman Alan Savage stressed that Brewster had been the board's unanimous choice.

Savage said: "The board, including the club's major shareholder David Sutherland, were unanimous. Craig's immediate availability was a bonus but not a factor in the decision.

"He is the man we wanted and, more importantly, he wanted to come here and prove a point. He's a man who leads by example. He brings discipline and will give the place a lift.

"It's important to the club that he wants to play football and not the long ball up to a totem pole. The fact is, the board didn't want him to leave the first time around as he was doing very well at the time.

"There is some budget left should he want to bring in new players."


1966: Born 13 December, in Dundee.

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1985: Joins Forfar Athletic after being released by Dundee United.

1991: After scoring 35 times in 191 appearances, moves to Raith Rovers.

1993: Moves to Dundee United for 250,000.

1994: Scores winning goal in 1-0 Scottish Cup final triumph over Rangers at Hampden Park.

1996: Moves to Greek side Ionikos, where he remains for five years.

2001: Returns to Scotland with Hibs.

2002: Signs for Dunfermline.

2004: May - Plays in Tennent's Scottish Cup final defeat by Celtic.

November - Appointed player-manager at Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

2006: January - Returns to Dundee United as manager. October - Leaves United "by mutual and amicable agreement" after only two league wins. December - Signs a playing contract with Aberdeen.

2007: January - Sustains a dislocated shoulder against Inverness which leads to fears his playing career is over. March - Makes comeback from injury in 2-1 win at Falkirk.

25 August - Scores twice for Aberdeen in 3-3 draw at Hibernian.

27 August - Leaves Aberdeen to become Inverness manager for a second time.