Inverness CT

June 27, 2013

Inverness Caledonian Thistle have enjoyed a steady and
progressive climb up the leagues since their merger and admittance into the
Scottish Football League. They first came into the SPL in the 2004/05 season,
which our writer has fairly judged to be a good cut off point in which to build
a fair team of infuriating failures. Considering the fact that Caley Thistle
were relegated on the final day of the 2009 campaign, it will be sure to
provide sufficient scope to find a team full of flops. One, even, that featured
in this season’s much praised side. Lawrie Spence writes.


Zbigniew Malkowski – 3 apps (2007-08)

The Pole is infamous at Hibs for a string of blunders,
especially in derby matches. ICT signed him on loan for a season as competition
for the erratic Michael Fraser. Thankfully, he spent most of the time rotting
on the bench, but when Fraser hit a dodgy run of form, Craig Brewster
parachuted in Zibi for a league game against Aberdeen. He managed to go error-free for a
grand total of eight minutes, before letting a Derek Young shot slip through
his hands and into the net. Thankfully, we didn’t see him again until a
meaningless end of season game… and after that we never saw him again. He is
now back in Poland
playing for Korona Kielce.


Lionel Djebi-Zadi – 36 apps (2008-10)

Craig Brewster wasn’t the first coach to be seduced by the huge
yet speedy French full-back; the fact that he hadn’t been kept on by a German
lower-league team, nor by Ross
County before that,
should have been a clue that he wasn’t actually any good. Think of him as the
defensive equivalent of Gregory Tade. Staggeringly, Terry Butcher kept him for
another season after we were relegated. He was last heard of playing for a club
on the island of Reunion.

Phil McGuire – 37 apps, 1 goal (2007-09)

Former Aberdeen and Dunfermline defender McGuire joined on loan on a transfer
deadline day, as Craig Brewster desperately tried to bolster an area left light
by his predecessor Charlie Christie. He did okay initially, right up until we
gave him a two-and-a-half year deal a few months later; is it coincidental
that, with his future seemingly secure, he lost all form? McGuire lost his
place in the team when Terry Butcher took over, and was released with a year
left on his deal. Within six months he was strutting his stuff in the Highland
League with Formartine United; he’s currently at third division Montrose.

Tom Aldred – 4 apps (2011)

The Scottish under-19 international joined on loan from
Watford, and at 6ft 5in he seemed to fill our desperate need for a dominating
centre back; however he was run ragged on his debut by Motherwell and was
quickly put on the bench; when he got the chance to come on as a sub against
Rangers a few weeks later, he preceded to give away a (very soft, admittedly)
penalty. Aldred was then lined up to play a North of Scotland Cup game with the
reserves and youths to gain some match practice, but by all accounts threw a
hissy fit about it. He was back to Watford and
released by the club by the end of August. He joined Colchester United, but has
yet to play for them.

Andre Blackman – 3 apps (2012)

The left back was the outstanding player on the pitch in his
first SPL game after joining on loan from Celtic, and you could easily see why
Neil Lennon had taken a chance on the troubled defender, who had a history of
off-field problems.  Sadly, he was gone
within a few weeks, his loan terminated due to “poor attitude and
discipline” – apparently he had managed to have a run in with the police
and fall out with several teammates. 
It’s unclear if he is still on Celtic’s books.


Claude Gnakpa – 8 apps (2012)

Terry Butcher claimed he had been after the former Luton and
Walsall player for years and was delighted to
snap him up during the January window. The Frenchman came on as a sub for his
debut against St. Mirren and hit the post with his first touch… and was
booked for diving after his second touch. It was all downhill from there –
subsequent performances were hapless, though it’s not his fault he was played
out of position as a lone striker on one woeful afternoon in Dunfermline.
He was gone before the end of April, and has ended up playing in the Iraqi

Daniel Stratford –  21
apps, 1 goal (2009-10)

The English-born Stratford
arrived at ICT after studying and playing in the USA, and had even played a few
games for DC United. His versatility – a central midfielder who could also play
as a full-back – probably convinced us to sign him for our promotion campaign
but he struggled to make an impact. He barely featured after the autumn, with
even David Proctor sometimes preferred in midfield to him. He is now back
playing and coaching in the United

Gil Blumenshtein – 6 apps (2010-11)

“Blooming s****”, as the Israeli under-21
international quickly became known, might have done better if he had spent more
time concentrating on the game than on his hairband. Just 20, apparently he was
quite the starlet as a youth player and had been on the books of Villarreal in Spain. He was
hampered by injuries initially but was given a chance to impress from the start
in a league game in Perth
at New Year and was hooked after a hopeless 45 minutes and never seen again. He
now plays in the Israeli second division for Hapoel Ashkelon.


Bajram Fetai – 10 apps (2005)

Rangers had paid £250,000 to sign Fetai as an 18 year old,
and the press talked up the speedy winger as the Next Big Thing, so we were
excited to take him on loan for the second half of the 2004-05 season. Sadly,
it turned out that pace was all he had, and he seemed capable of using it only
to run into cul-de-sacs. His only contribution of note, ironically, was against
Rangers, where he set up a late equalizer for Bryan Prunty (remember him?) and
Alex McLeish moaned that it wasn’t sporting of ICT to play Fetai against his
parent club. Fetai has at least gone on to fulfil some of his potential, and
won his first caps for Macedonia
in 2011.  He now plays for Denizlispor in
the Turkish top flight.

Dean McDonald – 7 apps (2007-08)

Poor Dean was up against it from the start after joining
from Gillingham. Charlie Christie, who
presumably had plans for him, resigned within a few weeks, and it quickly
became clear that he didn’t fit into Craig Brewster’s team. To cap it all, he
had to cope with a family bereavement early on, though he flew back from London a few days later
just to take his place on the bench for a league cup game. He never started a
match and was released the following summer. He dropped down to the English
non-leagues, and was released by Carshalton Athletic last summer.

Andrew Barrowman – 41 apps, 3 goals (2008-10)

It wasn’t just the laziness, or the failure to win (or even
challenge for) headers, or the lack of movement, or the impotence he provided
in attack. It was the fact that Craig Brewster spent the summer of 2008
practically prostituting the club to the Ross County
forward in a desperate attempt to sign him, to the point where we ended up
giving a guy who had just scored 20 goals at second division level a three year
contract as the club’s highest paid player. He scored half an hour into his
debut at Pittodrie… and didn’t score from open play again for more than a
year. One hopes we didn’t have to pay him off when he returned to Dingwall
after 18 months. Dunfermline fans tell me he
hasn’t changed much since he signed for them.


Craig Brewster (2007-09)

Brew’s first spell in the Highlands
was a resounding success – probably because he was still playing as well. His
nightmare spell at Tannadice should have rung alarm bells, but he was
reappointed soon after Charlie Christie resigned. Things went sour in a big way
from January 2008; in his last 12 months in charge he won only nine out of 42
matches, while alienating the players in a big way by obsessing about fitness,
operating a very petty fining system (full back Richard Hastings was once fined
because the garage didn’t have his car ready in time for him to get back to the
start of afternoon training) and suddenly withdrawing a contract offer from
club hero Dennis Wyness. His tactics were utterly bizarre, and watching him try
to change from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2 during a home game with Falkirk
was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in football. It’s no surprise that
no-one has given him a manager’s job since.

If you’d like to read more from Lawrie you can find it at
Narey’s Toe-poker and you can follow him on twitter.