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Goalkeeper to assume coach role

Ryan Esson yesterday signed a new player-coach contract with Inverness Caledonian Thistle which will run until the summer of 2016.

The deal is designed to allow the 33-year-old to assume the role of goalkeeper coach which was left vacant after Steve Marsella moved to Hibernian, while Esson will also continue to try and dislodge Dean Brill from the Inverness first team.

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The former Aberdeen goalkeeper had lost his starting place following injury but remains committed to the Highland club. His attitude would win favour almost immediately with new manager John Hughes, who considered it natural to offer Esson an opportunity to join the Inverness coaching staff.

"He's another one eager to commit long-term to the club," said Hughes, who has released Curtis Allan as the winger has failed to ignite the heather since joining last summer. "He still has a real desire to get that first-team jersey back from Dean Brill and I've been very impressed with him since I've come to the club.

"Now he has his goalkeeping certificate and full coaching badges, it is a natural progression for him to make the step up. He has a lot of experience at the top end of Scottish football and is going be goalkeeping coach, while very much looking to get that first-team jersey back from Dean."

It is tempting to assume that Hughes would also like to stuff Billy McKay into his jersey in an effort to stop the prolific striker from making an exit next month. McKay has scored 15 goals already this season and is expected to be a target for clubs in the next transfer window.

The Northern Irishman has shown typical sang-froid when faced with speculation about his future, though. "I still have 18 months left on the contract I signed here," said McKay. "I am happy at Caley Thistle. Who knows who is out there watching? You never know what can happen in the future. But given just how content I am at this club it would be a very hard decision to leave."

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