Departing Inverness Athletic manager Jason Golabek full of praise for club ahead of final match in charge of North Caledonian League outfit

Inverness Athletic manager Jason Golabek says he will not be in any rush to return to management after his time with the North Caledonian League outfit comes to an end.

Golabek confirmed in February that he would be stepping down at the end of the season, with former St Duthus duo Stuart and Andrew Ross set to take over ahead of next season.

That changeover will happen in a matter of days, as Athletic will draw their season to a close this Saturday with their final match of the campaign against Thurso.

His time in the hot seat has been a learning curve for Golabek, who has had to fight back from spending much of the season at the foot of the table with an extremely young squad.

Manager Jason Golabek will leave Inverness Athletic after Saturday’s match.

Those experiences have forced him to be adaptable, but although he will help out as a coach at Clachnacuddin in the summer amateur leagues he is in no rush to nail down the top job somewhere else.

“It has certainly been an experience,” Golabek reflected.

“It has certainly made me want to go and think and work on things that I maybe need to learn a bit more about in management – just little tweaks here and there that I can do better in the future if I go back into management, so it has been a learning curve.

“It has made me realize that management isn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but in terms of the season it has been up and down.

“It’s not been a case of getting battered week in, week out. There were a lot of games that we were unfortunate in and should have taken something from, but that’s just the way football is.

“The players have been fantastic – seeing them develop and progress has been a happy thing for me and the coaches. We’ve had 17 or 18-year-old boys in their first season.

“North Caley is a very good standard of football nowadays, there are some very good teams, and then when you’re coming up against experience you watch how they adapt.

“To be fair to the boys, they have been very, very good in terms of what they’ve come away with, what we’ve asked of them and what they’ve learned they can do better at.

“It’s only going to do them good for next year if they come back and do another season, so it’s exciting times. The club is in a good position, and I the new management team is coming in with coaches working there already with the players . There’s a good structure there. “

Golabek has had challenges to deal with off the pitch just as much as on it across his time in charge of Athletic.

Inverness Athletic have one more match to play this season, against Thurso.  Picture: James Mackenzie
Inverness Athletic have one more match to play this season, against Thurso. Picture: James Mackenzie

The pandemic forced a total change of structure to the North Caledonian League in his first year as manager, and he found that a number of players who previously turned out for Athletic were no longer at the club.

Despite all that, though, Golabek has nothing but praise for the club as a whole, and he would love nothing more than to leave with another three points to their name.

“When we first took over, we had to rebuild the squad for the Covid season – when it was two leagues,” he explained.

“We just had to get players in, build a squad and start from there. After that going into the first full season last year, we lost a lot of players to other clubs.

“That’s just what happens – clubs come in for good players, and we lost two or three, so we had to go and rebuild positions and get players in again.

“That’s just what your job is, you’ve got to do that in management and coaching. It’s just part of football really.

“In terms of management and going back into is straight away, I probably won’t do that. I don’t know what I’m going to do next winter, it depends how I do this summer with Clach.

“I might look for a different challenge and try something different, but I’ve had three or four brilliant years at Athletic.

“It’s a brilliant club, well-run, and I’ll sign off with three points hopefully on Saturday.”

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