Caledonian Stadium
(Inverness Caledonian Thistle)

Address: Stadium Road,
East Longman,
Inverness,
Highland,
Scotland,
IV1 1FB

Capacity: 7,512 (All-Seater)

Inverness Caledonian Thistle

A tidy Highland football ground located by the waterside. A long trip north for most, but worthwhile.

Opened in 1996, it has been the home of Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club ever since.

Caley Thistle were formed in 1994 after the merging of Highland clubs Caledonian and Inverness Thistle. The new club played games at Caledonian’s Telford Park Street for the first two years of their existence but required a newly built ground in order to gain entrance into the Scottish Football League.
Four initial sites were proposed, with a site called East Longman approved by Highland Council in 1995. Construction of the Caledonian Stadium was completed in November 1996, with its first Scottish Football League match being a 1-1 draw between Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Albion Rovers.

When Inverness won promotion to the Scottish Premier League in 2004, they faced issues as the Caledonian Stadium did not meet the seating requirements for the league. Caley Thistle agreed to groundshare at Aberdeen’s Pittodrie Stadium whilst the Caledonian Stadium went through necessary work. That work ended up having to not be as major when the SPL reduced the minimum seat requirement from 10,000 to 6,000.

This redevelopment project was done by the Tulloch Construction Company, also the biggest shareholder in the club. Tulloch was added to the Caledonian Stadium name due to the company paying for the development, and this new name remained in use until February 2019.

Alongside Inverness Caledonian Thistle, the stadium has also once hosted a rugby union game between Caledonia Reds and Edinburgh Reivers.
Several Youth and Women’s International fixtures have also been held at the Caledonian Stadium, including four games at the 1998 UEFA European U16 Championship.

Location and Getting There

The Caledonian Stadium is located in East Longman, around 1.5 miles north of Inverness City Centre. The Moray Firth is just a few hundred metres away to the north and northeast, and the River Ness is 0.7 miles away to the southwest at its closest point.

It’s a long drive north for many of us to Inverness, but the Caledonian Stadium is a place certainly reachable by car.
Car parks are in place at both ends of the ground which visitors can pay to park in.
Street parking is a little trickier to find however as the Caledonian Stadium has open space around it. There is an industrial estate to the southwest that is on the other side of the A9, though you may find yourself facing a lengthy walk depending on where you find to park in there.

Inverness Station, served by ScotRail Caledonian Sleeper and LNER, is located near to the City Centre and walking from here to the Caledonian Stadium takes between 25 and 30 minutes.
The route is a fairly simple one though, leaving the station and briefly heading north along Railway Terrace before turning right onto Longman Road (A82). Continue to follow this road past two large roundabouts and onto Stadium Road. The ground will eventually come into view on your left.

Despite Inverness Bus Station being located right next to Inverness Train Station, there are no buses which go straight from here to the Caledonian Stadium.

Outside the Ground

Heading to the Caledonian Stadium from Inverness Station will eventually bring the ground into view on your left.

What will immediately stand out is the Main Stand to the east, which is named after Jock McDonald.
John ‘Jock’ McDonald was a former chairman who navigated through the merger of Caledonian and Inverness Thistle to form the club that is in place today.
A life president of Caley Thistle, he passed away in December 2008.
The Jock McDonald Stand’s exterior primarily use a brickwork base with blue and white corrugated iron higher and cantilever coming down from the top. This stand also has a large brick building protruding out of its centre however, inside of which you can find the Main Entrance. To the left of this entrance is an Information Point, the Inverness Caledonian Thistle Club Shop, and the Main Ticket Office, with a brown brick tower at one end of the building housing the Kingsmills Club Entrance. The I.C.T. Family Sports Bar is based near the ground’s southeast corner, whilst the Players Entrance can be towards at the opposite end of the exterior.
Turnstiles for the Jock McDonald Stand itself are housed along the brickwork base in red boxes.
Many of the car parking spaces immediately outside the stand are for executive use, though there is a single row along the edge of Stadium Road that can be available for supporters.
Moray Firth is out beyond here on the other side of Stadium Road.

Heading round in a clockwise direction from the Jock McDonald Stand brings you to the South Stand.
Noticeably smaller than its adjacent neighbour, it has a blue corrugated iron exterior which has nothing of real note housed along it.
The turnstiles for this side of the Caledonian Stadium can be found next to the exterior in the ground’s southeast corner.
Immediately outside the South Stand is one of the Caledonian Stadium’s main car parks.

The West Stand at the Caledonian Stadium looks much more exposed when compared to the other three sides.
Essentially containing a small, open stand with facilities in the centre, you are able to walk along the outside of it if you wish, but there are no club offices in place here.
Walking along the outside of it can help with access however, as the West Stand has two sets of turnstiles available for use. One set is located in the ground’s southwest corner, and the other is located in the ground’s northwest corner.
Vegetation separates the outside of the West Stand from the A9. The Kessock Suspension Bridge is located north along this road.

The exterior of the North Stand is essentially a carbon-copy of the South Stand opposite. This North Stand is sometimes also known as the Bridge End however because of Kessock Suspension Bridge out beyond it.
The exterior here is made from blue corrugated iron and has nothing of real note housed along it.
The turnstiles for this side of the Caledonian Stadium can be found next to the exterior in the ground’s northeast corner.
The other of the Caledonian Stadium’s two main car parks is located immediately outside the Bridge End and is larger in size than the other one.

Inside the Ground

The Jock McDonald Stand can be divided into two tiers that you can freely get between.
The lower tier is much wider than the upper tier and given that the stand’s roof only covers the upper tier blocks, it means that either end of the lower tier is left open and exposed.
The lower tier blocks are predominantly coloured blue, although its central block is red in colour instead. You can find the letters ICTFC spelt out in white across the blue blocks which are protected by the roof. The upper tier has blue outer blocks, red inner blocks, and a small central black block which is normally for executive use. Rows of executive boxes and an executive lounge are stacked on top of each other behind the very back row, and this means that the stand’s roof hangs high up overhead.
The Caledonian Stadium’s dugouts and tunnel are housed down at the front of the lower tier, with the changing rooms located inside the stand.
Your view from anywhere inside the Jock McDonald Stand is perfectly clear because of the cantilever roof above.
Overhead protection of course will only come for the more central blocks, with the two blocks at either end of the lower tier being left open and exposed from all sides. Windshields at either end of the upper tier provide full protection to the rows inside.
It is safe to say that the best place to be in the Jock McDonald Stand is the upper tier, which is well protected from above and from the sides.
Given how close the Caledonian Stadium is to Moray Firth, you can find the ground being hit by bitterly cold winds at times. You will certainly be feeling those winds more than most if you are sat in the exposed ends of the lower tier.

The South Stand consists of a single tier of seating.
Its smallest blocks at either end are coloured red, with the rest of the seating blocks coloured blue and having the letters INVERNESS spelt out in white across them. You can also find some flat platforms with white seating down at the very front which are available for disabled supporters to use.
Your view from anywhere inside the South Stand is perfectly clear as there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof above.
Large windshields are in place at either end which fully protect every row inside.

The West Stand contains a section of uncovered blue seating that is located near to the ground’s northwest corner.
This seating area offers clear views of the pitch in front, but its only protection comes from the back wall behind.
The centre of the stadium’s western side houses an elevated television gantry and commentary box, with some refreshment facilities also available here.
It is the most exposed side of the Caledonian Stadium, and the clear smallest with room for only 400 fans on a matchday.

The Bridge End is a near carbon-copy of the South Stand opposite, consisting of a single tier of seating.
Its smallest blocks at either end are coloured red, with the rest of the seating blocks coloured blue and having the letters INVERNESS spelt out in white across them. You can also find some flat platforms with white seating down at the very front which are available for disabled supporters to use.
Your view from anywhere inside the Bridge End is perfectly clear as there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof above.
Large windshields are in place at either end which fully protect every row inside.

Away Fans

Away fans are housed behind the goal in the South Stand.
This is a single tier of seating which has clear views from every seat, windshields at either end that provide full protection, and flat platforms down at the front for disabled supporters to use.
The stand is of very good quality overall, but like the rest of the stadium can be hit hard by those bitterly cold winds from Moray Firth to the east. I would suggest bringing a coat to for an Inverness Caledonian Thistle game, regardless of where in the stadium you are going to be based.

The turnstiles for the away stand can be found in a separate block next to the South Stand’s exterior. They are in line with the stadium’s southeast corner and easily reachable from off Stadium Road to the east.

Matchday Pubs

Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include*:
-Blackfriars (93-95 Academy Street, IV1 1LX) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near Inverness City Centre and Inverness Station)

-The Gellions Bar (14 Bridge Street, IV1 1HD) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near Inverness Station)

-The Innes Bar (61 Innes Street, IV1 1NR) (Popular with Home Supporters) (Located in more central Inverness)

-Inverness Caledonian Thistle Social Club (28 Greig Street, IV3 5PX) (Typically Home and Away Supporters)

-The Kings Highway (72-74 Church Street, IV1 1EN) (A JD Wetherspoon Pub, Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near Inverness City Centre and Inverness Station)

-Platform 8 (38 Academy Street, IV1 1JT) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located very close to Inverness Station)

*The location of the Caledonian Stadium means that there are no pubs within close vicinity. You will need to head towards more central Inverness in order to find a drink pre-game.

Overview

The Caledonian Stadium can be hit hard by bitter winds from Moray Firth, but in terms of overall design is a good stadium. The stands behind either goal are almost identical in layout, whilst the other two stands are incredibly different in size and shape.

You will have no restricted views from anywhere inside this ground, though there are certainly places that can be left much more exposed to the elements than others. Its certainly a place I highly recommend wrapping up warm for, but there are plenty of things to like once you’ve arrived.

A long trip north for most, but a trip to somewhere you likely won’t find anywhere else.
Worth coming to check out.

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