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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 May, 2004, 12:47 GMT 13:47 UK
Inverness chase promotion
Caley Thistle boss John Robertson celebrates
Caley Thistle were celebrating at the weekend
Inverness Caledonian Thistle have taken another major step towards promotion to the Scottish Premier League.

Shareholders and fans said at public meetings this week that they would back the club should they share Aberdeen's Pittodrie Stadium next season.

And Inverness director Graeme Bennett said: "Talks have been on-going and we are confident we can get things tied up with them by the weekend."

Inverness must put their ground-sharing proposal to the SPL by 28 May.

They clinched the championship on Saturday, when they defeated St Johnstone, after which it was stressed that they would not decide whether to apply for promotion until they consulted fans and shareholders.

Those meetings proved positive and director of football Bennett confirmed: "I think the euphoria of winning the First Division has helped us drive it through."

It seems that the rent is a lot higher than we originally thought
Caley Thistle boss John Robertson
Caley Thistle have been forced to consider groundsharing as their Caledonian Stadium does not meet top-flight entry criteria.

It would mean supporters making a 100-mile plus trip to Pittodrie for each home game.

The Highland side would also have to pay around 35,000 rent for each game - a total of 665,000 for the season.

Caley Thistle manager John Robertson said: "It seems that the rent is a lot higher than we originally thought, but it could still be the best thing for the club to go ahead with the groundshare.

"It is a big concern because we thought the figure would have been in the region of 300,000 and it's nowhere near that figure.

"The board will digest the figures, but the club spoke with shareholders, fans and sponsors and they were all unanimous that we should give it a go.

"The most important thing is the safety of the fans.

"The road from Inverness to Aberdeen is a terrible road, so we are hoping to do deals with trains and bus companies."

An Aberdeen spokesman said: "We want to help Inverness, but we also have to do what is best for Aberdeen.

"The club had further meetings with representatives of Inverness Caledonian Thistle this morning.

"We have outlined what we are looking for and they have taken all the information back to Inverness.

"I wouldn't have thought anything discussed would have been a total shock as initial discussions had already taken place."

Partick Thistle, who would be relegated should Caley Thistle's application be successful, are preparing a legal challenge.

Champions ponder promotion
17 May 04  |  Other Scottish
Partick prepare legal block
15 May 04  |  Partick Thistle
Inverness 3-1 St Johnstone
15 May 04  |  Other Scottish

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