Published: 07/06/2012 13:25 - Updated: 07/06/2012 14:05

Dingwall coup as Tokely swaps Caley for County

Caley legend Ross Tokely has crossed the bridge to sign for the Staggies
Caley legend Ross Tokely has crossed the bridge to sign for the Staggies

ROSS Tokely is vowing to win over sceptical Ross County supporters with "blood, sweat and tears" after completing a sensational switch across the Highland divide.

The Caley Thistle legend signed a one-year deal with the SPL newcomers just days after acrimoniously ending his 16-year love affair with Inverness.

The uncompromising defender has always been the man Staggies’ supporters love to hate - and may have to work hard to win over Dingwall fans.

But Tokely, who made a club record 589 appearances for ICT, including seven SPL seasons, declared his intent to do exactly that.

The 33-year-old, who won three SFL titles with Inverness, said: "I’d just ask the Ross County supporters to give me a chance.

"What I will do is give them and the club every ounce of effort and blood, sweat and tears that I gave Inverness.

"When I pull on that strip and get onto that pitch, I will give 110 per cent - I never give anything less in football or in life.

"Whether it is day-to-day things or whatever, people who know me know that I’m genuine.

"I’m not going over there to Dingwall just to muck about. I’m going over there to keep Ross County in that division and get them as high as possible up the SPL table.

"There is an unbelievable identity to that club, good players and people who want to prove others wrong.

"That is all part of what took me over there."

Tokely’s ultimately bitter split with Caley Thistle saw him accuse the Terry Butcher regime of acting disrespectfully towards him during contract talks.

The 33-year-old was offered a big wage cut to stay and latter correspondence was carried out by text message.

With such a totemic Caley Thistle figure now  in County colours and baying for his old club’s blood, Highland derbies will take on added spice.

Tokely admitted: "That’s in my locker, that’s all I can say. Hopefully, the County fans will see that.

"Granty (Munro) turned them when he crossed the divide last summer. All I want is a fair crack of the whip and I’ll do my very best for Ross County.

"I just love playing football and when I spoke to Derek Adams yesterday it was clear his passion and drive for success is similar to mine.

"It is nice to get an offer so early after what happened with Inverness and I’m not one to muck about. I went with my gut.

"I’m feeling really good. I woke up this morning after a good chat with them yesterday and knew it was the right move for me.

"It’s a great challenge and one I’m really looking forward to taking.

"I’ve always worked of challenges and I’m very excited about this."

It is the first time Tokely has moved clubs since 1996 when Caley Thistle’s Steve Paterson plucked him from Huntly in the Highland League.

The defender stressed: "Life moves on and this is going to give me a new lease of life.

"I had some very good conversations with the chairman Roy MacGregor and when I met Derek and George Adams yesterday it was a no-brainer, really.

"It was very nice to be wanted by a manager and the effort they have put in made me very interested. That’s why I signed.

"As soon as Roy knew things weren’t working out at Caley Thistle, he was on the phone. I’ve known him for years and I appreciated the interest."

Manager Adams is in no doubt Tokely will be a big asset at Victoria Park.

Adams said: "He is hugely-experienced in the SPL after 16 years at Inverness Caley Thistle.

"He is a physical player and one that can play right back or centre half - he will do well for us next season.

"I’m sure Ross will be accepted by the fans. Over the years, a number of players have moved across the bridge to Inverness.

"We’re now seeing a number move in the opposite direction to Ross County.

"There is obviously the rivalry between the two clubs, but when he gets playing he will be a big favourite of the fans.

"It’s a challenge for him, there’s no doubt about that.

"The supporters on both sides will have a lot of conversations about the signing and we’re looking forward to him coming here."

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