Scottish Cup final: Local-boy Nick Ross has Inverness dream

Inverness Caledonian Thistle midfielder Nick Ross with the Scottish Cup
Nick Ross is hoping to lift the Scottish Cup
Scottish Cup final: Falkirk v Inverness CT
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Saturday, 30 May Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC One Scotland, Radio Scotland and BBC Sport website

Nick Ross recognises the weight of expectation as he eyes living out his dream of becoming a local hero in the Scottish Cup final.

The Inverness-born midfielder is vying for a place in the Caley Thistle line-up for their first-ever Scottish Cup final, against Falkirk on Saturday.

"I think I'll turn the phone off just to focus on the game," Ross said of the excitement generated in the Highlands.

"I've dreamt of this all my life, but you can't let it get in your head."

Ross has spent his whole career with his hometown club, although an appearance at Hampden may well be his last since his contract is due to expire.

"I think everyone in primary school is dreaming of this when they are playing in the playground - to be playing in the Cup final, to score and to lift the trophy," the 23-year-old told BBC Scotland.

"I'm no different, but it's the same as all the boys in there - it's everyone's dream to play in a final and lift that trophy.

"I've had a lot a lot of support, and a lot of jealousy as well to be honest, but they are all getting behind me and I've had quite a few messages already."

Ross says the backing of the Inverness fans helped them overcome Scottish champions Celtic in the semi-final and hopes for a similar vocal backing on their return to Hampden Park.

"I've got a few family members coming down and, from what I've heard, there's a lot of support for us - maybe over 15,000, although I don't know how true that is," he said.

"To get a crowd like that would be unbelievable.

"The crowd helped us against Celtic and were positive throughout, even when we were 1-0 down and were up against it.

"They stuck by us and, if they can do that again, hopefully we can win it for them."

Nick Ross is tackled by Celtic's Adam Matthews
Nick Ross missed a good chance to score in the semi-final win over Celtic

Instead of being underdogs, the side who finished third in the Scottish Premiership will start as favourites against a team that were fifth in the division below.

"We know it's not going to be easy and will be a tough test," said Ross.

"But, after the semi-final, we got a lot of confidence and we are confident we can do it."

The ultimate dream for Ross would be to score as well as lift the trophy for the first time.

"I should have scored in the semi-final to be honest," he added. "I had a chance quite late on and I was gutted I missed that.

"Now I've got another chance to get on the scoresheet, but as long as we win, I don't care what happens really.

"If I can get a goal then brilliant, but if we get that trophy home then I'd obviously still be delighted."

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