Tomorrow marks the first time since the 2009/2010 First Division season that Highland Derby rivals Ross County F.C. and Inverness Caledonian Thistle F.C. will meet each other in a competitive match. More importantly, it will be the first time that the two clubs will meet as members of the Scottish Premier League. For those in search of a little perspective on the latter fact, keep in mind that just two decades ago Ross County F.C. were in the Highland League (the fifth tier of Scottish football) and Caley did not exist as single club, but rather as Highland League sides Caledonian Thistle F.C. and Inverness Thistle F.C.. In addition to the historical nature of the match- and the bragging rights involved- there will be several other subplots to follow.
First, there is a great deal at stake in the SPL table. Both clubs have taken 8 points from the season’s first 8 matches, although Caley are currently in 9th place to Ross County’s 10th place by virtue of having scored more goals (they’ve given up more as well, however. Twice as many as County to be exact). Both clubs are also joined by Dundee United who are also on 8 points, though they do have a match in hand. All this highlighting the fact that a win by either side (or Dundee United) will move that club up into the middle of the table. A loss by either club coupled with a Dundee F.C. win would drop that club to within a point of last place (currently held by the aforementioned Dundee). Conversely, a win and a Dundee loss and the winners could open up a seven point gap above the relegation place.
Second, it is usually the case with the Highland Derby that there are a large number of players on both rosters who have played for the “enemy.” Not this year, however. With County being the club in the ascendency for the last 18 months or so almost all of the traffic over the Kessock Bridge has been from Inverness to Dingwall. This year there is not a single player on I.C.T.’s roster who has played for County, but the County roster includes some of the most important players in Caley’s brief history: Ross Tokely (456 matches), Grant Munro (312 matches), Russell Duncan (286), and Mark Brown (176), as well as Michael Fraser (73 matches) and Iain Vigurs (25 matches).
Based on the number of tickets unsold today (less than 300) the match, which will be held at Inverness’ Tulloch Stadium, will be a sell out.
Get in there County!!