Inverness CT v Ross County: 25 years of Scotland's friendly rivalry

By Amy MacBeathBBC Sport Scotland
Scottish Cup fifth round: Inverness CT v Ross County
Venue: Caledonian Stadium, Inverness Date: Tuesday, 19 January Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online

Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County will meet again on Tuesday for the right to face Dundee United in the last eight after their Scottish Cup fifth-round meeting ended 2-2 in Dingwall.

For 25 years, the two have shared managers, swapped players and enjoyed a rapid rise to the top tier of Scottish football.

Between them, they have secured the Scottish, League and Challenge Cups and provided Scottish football with plenty of upsets.

'El Kessocko', 'The Cold Firm' - whatever you want to call it, a Highland derby rarely ends goalless or without a wee bit of drama.

27 August, 1994 - Ross County 1-3 Inverness CT

After entering the Scottish league system in the old Third Division, Ross County and Inverness met for the first time at Victoria Park in front of 3,157 fans.

The newly formed and still contentious Caley Thistle, led by Sergei Baltacha, walked away with the bragging rights thanks to goals from Sandy McLeod and Chris Sommerville, with Andy MacLeod's effort a consolation for the hosts.

It was an early indicator of how this derby would play out over the years - referee Joe Kelly had to flash 10 cards, including one red after a stramash in the box set tempers alight.

2 January, 2001 - Inverness CT 3-3 Ross County

A 3-3 draw appears a popular derby result, the first of them coming in a festive First Division fixture in the newly named 'city' of Inverness.

County were 3-1 up by half-time, with names that have gone on to manage the club - Owen Coyle and Steven Ferguson - on the scoresheet.

But Dennis Wyness, who netted 24 goals that season for Inverness, worked his magic with goals in the 89th and 90th minute to send the visitors back to Dingwall with only a share of the spoils.

Steven Ferguson tussles for the ball with David Bagan
County co-manager Steven Ferguson (left) takes on ICT's David Bagan

1 December, 2012 - Ross County 3-3 Inverness CT

Tuesday's match is not the first time the Highland rivals have had the chance to knock each other out of contention for silverware, or the first time it's come down to a replay.

Richie Brittain's 90th-minute free-kick looked to have sealed the deal for County as they went 3-2 ahead, only for Richie Foran to tuck an equaliser away later in extra-time.

Inverness prevailed 2-1 in the replay 10 days later.

Richie Foran
Richie Foran was in disbelief after scoring the equaliser - with his face - in the 3-3 derby in 2012

19 March, 2016 - Ross County 0-3 Inverness CT

Six days after County beat Hibernian 2-1 to lift their first piece of major silverware - the League Cup - the two Highland sides faced off in the Premiership.

With a parade through the streets of Dingwall planned post-match, John Hughes's side somewhat dampened celebrations as goals from Liam Polworth, Ross Draper and Miles Storey claimed an emphatic victory for Scottish Cup holders Inverness.

But it also meant that, for the first and likely only time in the foreseeable future, both trophies were held in the Highlands.

Miles Storey scoring for Inverness Caley Thistle
Miles Storey makes it 3-0 for visitors Caley Thistle as County prepared to parade the League Cup through town

28 April, 2017 - Ross County 4-0 Inverness CT

Bragging rights are, of course, a crucial part of any derby and, even in this so-called friendly rivalry, they are fiercely fought for.

Hence, this spring night was one Caley Thistle fans will want to forget as Liam Boyce ran riot in Dingwall.

The Northern Ireland international scored all four goals to cruise to victory, leaving Inverness scrambling at the bottom with impending relegation looming.

To pile on the pain, local lad Polworth was sent off as the Highland capital side seemed to be spiralling down to the Championship.

Liam Boyce
County's Liam Boyce made it a night to celebrate in Dingwall

22 September, 2018 - Ross County 0-0 Inverness CT

After missing out for a season, the battle was back on when Ross County joined Caley Thistle in the second tier. With both setting out to return to the top flight, the fixture was eagerly anticipated in the Highlands and 6,402 packed in to witness what they hoped would be a spectacle.

It ended goalless, but the game was far from being a damp squib. Michael Gardyne was a constant menace, firing several off-target efforts, while County goalkeeper Scott Fox had his work cut out fending off numerous attempts to break the deadlock by the visitors.

The November encounter ended 2-2, with County finally getting one over Inverness with a late winner to win 2-1 December.

A scrap between Ross County and Inverness players
In four meetings this season, County and Inverness have amassed 17 yellow cards and two reds

Top Stories

Around Scottish sport