1993-94: Caley's Final Season


With veteran Soviet international Sergei Baltacha installed as manager, and two places in the Scottish League available the following year, this season was never going to be routine. But as the season unfolded, developments in Inverness frequently made the national news.

After a couple of friendlies against Junior clubs in Perthshire, Caley were unlucky only to draw 2-2 against a strong St. Mirren side which included Lavety and Lambert, as well as future ICT keeper Les Fridge. A 1200 crowd saw Caley 2-0 up thanks to Lisle and Smart, before Saints hit back (31 July).

download the goals

Above -

my membership and season ticket (no 93)

Below -

Chunky takes on Barry Lavety

Martin Lisle opens the scoring against St. Mirren

Friendly at Bankfoot Juniors


After a 1-1 draw at Victoria Park, in which Alan Hercher scored for Caley in front of 1600, County were finally seen off 4-3 in the replay. Hercher put Caley ahead in 15 minutes after great skill by Baltacha, but Duff equalised, only for Herchie to head home from a corner, and Mike Noble to add a third before the break. Soon after half time it was 4-1 as Martin Lisle volleyed home, but Duff immediately made it 4-2. Caley fell right out of the game in the last 20 minutes and in injury time Grant made it 4-3. Crowd 1400. Caley went on to beat Brora 2-1 at home before going out at Christie Park, Huntly in the semi-final.

Herch makes it 1-0 in the first match


Caley win 2-1 at Buckie with first-half goals from Wilson Robertson and Charlie Christie. Caley had earlier drawn 0-0 at Keith, and beaten Peterhead 3-0 at home.

Picture-David Wilson


Caley were denied another crack at the Scottish Cup when they crashed out of the Qualifying Cup at the first hurdle. In a physical game at Kingsmills, where precious little skill was on show, Caley lost to a Thistle side which may have been inferior on paper but showed Caley's well-paid stars how a cup-tie should be played. Caley had Colin Mitchell sent off a minute before half-time for complaining about the rough treatment he was receiving. Charlie Christie was also booked for dissent as Caley left themselves a mountain to climb and lost to two second-half goals.

Right-Baltacha beats Ian McLean watched by Thistle debut boy Roddie Davidson


On Thursday 9th September, just 5 days after the two clubs had met on the park, they voted on the proposal to merge and apply for membership of the Scottish league. Whether some Caley fans were swayed by their inability to beat Thistle (and so they might as well join them) or whether, as some believed, the vote was rigged, we will never know. At their meeting in the Muirtown, Caley members voted 55-50 in favour, while Thistle voted 33-12 at the Rannoch Lodge.

On the Saturday, at Rothes, a group of Caley fans staged a "peaceful protest" when they trooped on to the pitch just before half-time. The police actually allowed them five minutes after they explained what they were doing. However the club later banned 9 of these fans after identifying them as Caley members.

Police intervene during an anti-merger protest at the Caley Park


A thriller of a second half at Telford Street sees Caley defeat Elgin 3-2, the winner coming from a Colin Mitchell free-kick in injury time (right). After a goalless first half, Caley went ahead through Alan Hercher in 57 mins. City took the lead with a late burst from Pete MacGuire (80) and Sammy Leonce (83). However sub Alan Smart equalised 2 minutes later, and Colin Sinclair hit the bar, before Mitchie produced his late winner. In recent league matches Caley had won 2-0 at Rothes, while hammering luckless Nairn 9-0 at home, but had gone down 3-1 at Brora.

Picture- Mike Troughton


Since beating Elgin, Caley had won 3-1 at home to Cove, with goals from Mike Noble (download), Charlie Christie (download) and Mark McAllister (download).

The following Saturday, Fort William were outclassed 4-1 at the Caley Park, and on Wednesday, championship hopefuls Ross County came calling, but were put to the sword, as Wilson Robertson grabbed two stunning individual goals, added to singles by Lisle, Hercher and Christie, in a convincing 5-2 win before 2200 fans.

Downloads: Wilsie 1, Zico 2, Herchie 3, Charlie 4, Wilsie 5

Martin Lisle takes on Johnstone Bellshaw


After defeating County, Caley had lost 3-2 at Forres and had slipped four points behind leaders Huntly, so three points were essential. However Caley missed Wilson Robertson on a day when, despite dominating the first half and much of the second, they lost to a last-gasp winner from Martin Stewart. Copeland put Huntly ahead in 39 but Alan Hercher deservedly equalised immediately from a Christie corner (download). A mistake by Baltacha allowed Selbie to score in 51, but the goal of the game followed with 20 minutes to go when Rougvie fouled Hercher and from the free-kick Colin Mitchell sent one of his left-foot specials over the wall and in off the bar (download). This was a terrific result for Huntly, chasing their first title since 1930, and the away dressing room echoed to their singing. Steve Paterson, later to manage ICT, brought himself on as a substitute in the second half.

Mike Noble tackles Alan Selbie

November 9- THE STORY OF A SEASON (3) or


Caley crash out of yet another cup, the HOE Inverness Cup semi-final, 3-1 to Clach, after beating Nairn 6-2 in the previous round. Charlie Christie scored for Caley, and the Clach scorers were Mark McCulloch (2) and Graeme Bennett, both of whom would later play for ICT.

The main talking point in the town next day was the hiring of a no. 7 bus by the Caley rebel fans who had been banned since the Rothes pitch invasion. For £25 they were able to hire the double-decker and park it in the Comet car park in order to see the game. The bus windows were festooned with letters spelling out the above message, aimed at Caley secretary Jim Falconer.

As November moved into December events on the field were almost forgotten as the merger affair dragged on. Caley Rebels had signatures, including players, against the merger, though in the Courier of November 26, there appeared a letter from 15 players in support of it. At this stage the Caley committee feared that the Scottish League would simply put an end to any Inverness bid. In a bid to get the rebels back onside, Caley proposed to Thistle that the new club be called Inverness Caledonian. Thistle, not surprisingly, declined.

A second vote was held on December 1. Rebels suspected the banning of the nine members had as much to do with denying them a vote as appeasing the SFA. By this time Caley's membership had swollen from around 180 to 576, amidst claims from the rebels that the Committee were giving away memberships for free, as the vote went in favour of merging, by 250 to 226.


Caley are held 1-1 at home by Lossiemouth in a thrilling game. Both sides played some excellent football but Lossie keeper Ivor Pirie, plus the crossbar, denied Caley. After an hour, Lossie and ICT legend Ian Stewart headed home to put Lossie ahead, but after Mark McAllister was brough down in 75 mins. Alan Hercher made his usual excellent job from the spot. In recent League matches Caley had beaten Deveronvale 3-0 at home, and drawn 2-2 at Clach.

After the game Moray Firth Radio held a phone-in as the merger controversy rumbled on.

Left- Steve Kew gets to grips with Colin Mitchell in the first half(www.northsport.com)


On a raw afternoon at Allan Park, Caley scored twice in the last three minutes for a 3-1 win over Cove Rangers. Caley deservedly led by a towering header from Mike Noble from the edge of the box, seconds before half time. However Cove put them through the mill before equalising midway through the second half. Cove, for all their possession, were unable to capitalise further, and Martin Lisle accepted a Dave Caldwell pass to slide the ball home with three minutes to go. As Cove adopted the cavalry charge to save the game, away went Wilson Robertson to run half the length of the park before finishing in style, leaving Caley's slim title hopes alive.

Martin Lisle scores
Two shots from Allan Park


The win at Cove had brought new optimism, reinforced with a win over Lossie to reach the North Cup final, but this was soon dashed in the next league match, as old rivals Elgin defeated Caley 2-1 at Boroughbriggs, despite a first minute goal by Wilson Robertson. Wilsie followed this up with both goals in a 2-1 win over Thistle at Kingsmills, then Alan Smart scored as Caley won 1-0 at Fraserburgh.


By way of Golspie Sutherland (15-0 at Caley Park), Ross County (1-0 at Victoria Park after a 1-1 draw), and Lossiemouth (3-2 at Caley park), the team had reached the final of the North FA Cup. It was Caley's final chance of silverware as the league flag was now bound for Huntly by a landslide. Caley had won nothing since the Qualifying Cup of 91-92, but were overwhelming favourites to beat Forres mechanics, who eventually finished 13th in the league.

Grampian TV were there to film the game, but their 1-hour highlights programme was optimistic in its length, as in a poor game Caley won comfortably without ever playing well.

The only goal came in the last minute of the first half when Martin Lisle took a quick throw-in to Smart, who rounded the goalkeeper before scrambling the ball home(download).

The game obviously won, the Caley fans could now spend the second half berating their own Committee, the "traitors in the stand".

As the Cup was awarded, many Caley fans were on the pitch alongside the team, but many others remained on the terracing, Thistle's "tin shed", where they belted out their Caley anthems long after the teams had gone inside, until the Highland Constabulary moved them along.

Police go over to invite the Caley faithful to leave (Mike Troughton)
Above- the victorious Caley squad (spot the webmaster!)

Below- a rather glaikit-looking Alan Smart (www.northsport.com)

Top- Caley and Forres players

Middle- Chunky lifts the cup

Bottom- The victorious Caley squad

(photos- Mike Troughton)


After winning the North Cup Caley went on to a 3-2 win at Brora in midweek, then lost 3-1 at home to Fraserburgh. At one point fixture congestion meant playing Monday-Wednesday but by this time the league was a forlorn hope anyway. Baltacha lost the confidence of the fans midway through the season due to his overcautious approach, many harking back to October when Caley surrendered a two goal lead to lose at Forres. So despite playing some great football at times, Caley's dream of leaving the Highland League as champions was not to be, and though the controversy over the merger may have contributed, Steve Paterson's Huntly side were worthy champions.

Up until the Thistle game on May 11, the sequence ran: Caley 3 Clach 0; Fort William 1 Caley 4; Ross County 4 Caley 3; Lossie 1 Caley 2; Caley 1 Buckie 2; Caley 1 Forres 1; Caley 2 Rothes 1; Caley 2 Nairn 1.

Alan Smart scores against County at Victoria Park

May 11- URQUHART HEADS THE WINNER (no change there then)

In a low-key end of season game, which doubled as a testimonial for Wilson Robertson and Kevin Mann, Caley bid farewell to Telford Street and to old rivals Thistle.

Before a 2000 crowd, Caley quite cynically fielded Billy Urquhart as an unregistered player, and he scored the only goal in 49 mins, at the Comet end, from a Wilson Robertson free-kick on the left (download) For this breach of League rules, Caley were fined £200. Both the Jaggies and the Howden End remained after the game to trade insults for the last time (download).

Urq takes on Davie Milroy for the last time


A crowd of around 2000 had gathered, either to celebrate Huntly's first title in many years, or to witness the final appearance of a Caley side on a park, ever.

Caley fielded Robin Gray in goal and the pace was that of an end-of-season game. Slack marking allowed Rougvie a free header to open the scoring in 32 minutes, and ten minutes later Wilson Robertson fired home via the crossbar to take his place in the record books as Caley's last ever scorer in a 1-1 draw. Huntly were presented with their trophy at the end but the Caley fans were also on the pitch bawling their own songs, some encouraging the team to come out for the last time, some simply aiming abuse at the Committee.

Caley team: Robin Gray, Davie Brennan, Mike Andrew, Mike Noble, Colin Sinclair, Billy Skinner, Danny MacDonald, Martin Lisle, Kevin Mann, Colin Mitchell, Wilson Robertson.

Huntly 34 27 3 4 92 21 85

Caley 34 20 7 7 77 43 67

Ross Co. 34 21 9 4 80 51 67

Caley players warm up before the Huntly game (Mike Troughton)
Two more shots from the Huntly game

Last update 18/7/09