The History

Inverness Thistle Football Club was established in 1885. The club was founded by a Mr Smith (a miller from the Diriebught area of Inverness) and four of his sons played in the very first Thistle team. The original registered colours for the team were Red and Black.

In the early years, before the Highland League was formed, Thistle played in the Inverness Combination Association. The member clubs involved in this operation were Thistle, Rovers, Citadel, Caley, Crown, and Union. The Crown team was later absorbed by Inverness Thistle in 1889, and then in 1895-96 Union amalgamated with Thistle. The Highland League was formed in 1893 and initially comprised the teams Caley, Camerons, Clach, Citadel, Dingwall, Forres Mechanics, Thistle, and Union. The very first Highland Football League champions were Inverness Thistle FC in 1894!

The first Highland League table:-

Pld Win Draw Lose For Against Points
THISTLE 12 10 1 1 59 16 21
Caley 12 7 3 2 39 20 17
Clach 12 7 1 4 26 22 15
Forres 12 5 1 6 35 32 11
Union 12 4 1 7 19 31 9
Citadel 12 3 2 7 23 34 8
Camerons 12 1 1 10 11 56 3

At first Thistle played their matches on the Royal Academy sports ground (now the Millburn Academy playing fields). Around 1896 the home of the 'Jags' became Kingsmills Park in the Crown area of Inverness, commonly referred to as "up the hill", and remained so for almost a century, albeit used for other purposes during the two world wars. The original stand at Kingsmills Park burned down in 1939, it was replaced in the early 1950's with a new 600 seat stand which also suffered the same fate in 1995 at a, by then, vacated Kingsmills Park. Nothing remains of the ground today as it was sold in 1994 to be built over with executive housing and a Nursing Home. However the name of the new street created is called 'Kingsmills Park' ! The Floodlights and the 'Tin Shed' enclosure from Kingsmills were saved from the bulldozers. These were purchased by Wick Academy of the Highland League for use at their own ground Harmsworth Park and can still be seen there today. 

Arguably the Jags' greatest era came in the early seventies when the team won back-to-back Highland League titles in 1971/72 and 1972/73. Around this time the Jags also applied, on their own, to be admitted into the Scottish League. The club narrowly missed out on being elected, losing by a single vote only, with Ferranti Thistle, later to become the present day Livingston FC, gaining the position instead.

January and February of 1979 was an interesting time for the Jags. After qualifying for the Scottish Cup, Thistle were drawn against Falkirk with the tie due to be played on the 6th January. The match never went ahead on this date and was further postponed a record 29 times before eventually being played on the 22nd February 1979. Unfortunately we lost 4-0.

Another memorable season came in 1986/87 when Thistle won the League again for the first time since 1973. The team lost only one League match during the entire season, that defeat coming on the very last day at Peterhead.

Very much a tradition at Kingsmills Park were the "Half-Time Harriers". So called because this tradition consisted of a large section of the home support making a 100m dash to the 'Corriegarth' (the closest pub to the ground) at half-time to partake of a light refreshment ! ........Sometimes many even made it back in time for the commencement of the second half........!!!!

The club ceased to exist, effectively, in 1994 after merging with our local rivals 'Caledonian FC' to form a new club called Caledonian Thistle FC, subsequently given their current name Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC, in order to be elected into the Scottish League.

Inverness Thistle FC played their last ever match on the 14th May 1994 against Lossiemouth at Kingsmills Park. Jags lost the match 2-0, possibly because minds were on other matters that emotional day, and so ended an era.

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