Childhood in Inverness for me meant the occasional Highland League game at Kingsmills "round the block" and the even more occasional visit to Kingsmills or Telford Street if a "big team" came to town. It was a really big deal if any league team visited (even the Montrose's or Stenhousemuir's of the day). I remember the excitement of Thistle thumping Kilmarnock 3-0 on a cold day, seeing Celtic at Kingsmills at a midweek friendly game (part of Ryan Christie's dad going to Celtic?) and Aberdeen at Telford Street (part of Liam Polworth's dad going to the Dons?). It's certainly good to reminisce.
I embraced the promise of league football offered by the merger and have been a keen ICT supporter ever since, taking in their first ever league game at Telford Street and a season ticket holder for the last 4/5 years up to now. In between, life has intervened (work, location, family) from time to time, making regular attendance more challenging but I'm proud to say that I've seen most of the big events first hand (supercaleygoballistic win in Glasgow, cup semi and finals).
All this warm, cuddly stuff is nice to look back on but it's also worth bearing in mind that, from the outset (circa 1994), the feeling amongst the great, the good and the humble supporter was that Inverness had been frozen out of senior football for long enough., that its population etc warranted a team at the top table and that it should endeavour to get there within several years. "Should" is a big word and brings no guarantees but, with sincere thanks to everyone involved, we certainly got there ... and then some, didn't we!
It isn't wrong to get frustrated or angry with disappointing team/club performances/attitudes/choices. We shouldn't curl up in a corner and meekly accept dross just because, hey, we used to be in the Highland League after all. Successful people in sport get a taste for success and want more. I'm realistic though. When we won the cup, I told my son to enjoy it because we might not see another one. I'll support ICT whatever division they find themselves in ... in the knowledge that I've been there before.