Inverness CT 'should have sacked Richie Foran earlier', says Barry Wilson

Richie Foran and Barry Wilson
Richie Foran's dressing room was split, says Barry Wilson

Inverness Caledonian Thistle paid the price for not parting with manager Richie Foran before the end of the season, says Barry Wilson.

Unlike Caley Thistle, Dundee avoided relegation after bringing in Neil McCann with five games to go.

"Dundee made a brave decision in getting rid of Paul Hartley and replacing him," said ex-ICT man Wilson.

"And I think Inverness were a little bit weak and should have done the same thing then to give them a chance."

Dundee, who were second bottom of the Scottish Premiership at the time and one place above Caley Thistle, won their first two games under McCann, 42, and drew their third. McCann lost his next two in charge and left Dens Park on Monday - the same day as 36-year-old Foran's departure from the Caledonian Stadium.

"Dundee got the bounce and stayed up, while Inverness decided no and paid the consequences of that," Wilson told BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound.

Neil McCann
Former Dundee player Neil McCann steered the Taysiders clear of relegation

Foran joined Caley Thistle as a striker in 2009 and replaced John Hughes as manager last summer.

Wilson, 45, had two spells as a player with Inverness and was surprised the announcement of Foran's exit did not come sooner after last week's boardroom reshuffle that led to the departure of chairman Kenny Cameron.

"Kenny was keen on Richie before they gave John Hughes the job and I think he came out and said one day Richie will be the manager and then obviously 18 months down the line that transpired," said Wilson.

"I think Richie obviously lost an ally there, but the statement doesn't confirm whether Richie resigned, or whether he was sacked, or if there's some kind of negotiation."

Following relegation, Foran had spoken out about "a few bad apples in the dressing room" and Wilson thought that earlier criticism of his players had not helped a manager in his first season in the role.

"There was obviously a bit of a split in the dressing room," he said. "There were some senior players who weren't overjoyed by some of Richie's comments.

"It is different when your ability is being questioned, but when your attitude is being questioned, that's when they can decide whether they are going to play for that manager or not.

"There were a couple of occasions when I thought some had stopped playing.

"At times, he was too honest and there would be an outpouring and I don't think at times the players knew where they were going with him."

'An absolutely huge decision'

Former Caley Thistle assistant Maurice Malpas had been recruited to the coaching staff near the end of the season and they responded with three wins in their last four games.

"There was no mention of Maurice or Brian Rice either," said Wilson of the club statement.

"When Richie got the job, he was told he had to keep Brian Rice and he is a great assistant manager and coach.

"Maurice is there and Brian Rice is there. Is there a combination there? We are guessing at the minute."

However, Wilson says that whoever succeeds Foran has a tough task to return them to the Premiership.

"The Championship is going to be hard to get out of," he predicted.

"Granted, there's going to be no Rangers, Hearts or Hibs and Hamilton are not going to join them.

"There is a chance there, but this next decision is an absolutely huge one."

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