Ross County fans head from the hills for Hampden final
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Saturday 15 May 2010
Inverness Caledonian Thistle may have the most famous headline in Scottish football but it is their neighbours, Ross County, who will today become the first Highland team to play in a Scottish Cup final when they take on Dundee United at Hampden Park.
An estimated 20,000 supporters will make the journey to Glasgow from Britain's most northerly league club – a number four times the population of Dingwall, County's home town. It is only 16 years since County, and Thistle, their larger neighbours, were elected to the Scottish League.
After two promotions they are now in the second tier but nothing can compare to this run. They have already beaten two Scottish Premier League sides en route; Hibernian and in the semi-finals, in the biggest upset in the history of Scottish football, Celtic – who Super Caley so memorably beat to end John Barnes's tenure at Parkhead 10 years ago.
County's last game was a 4-1 defeat at Raith Rovers two weeks ago and since then the club secretary, Donnie MacBean, has been in touch with Uefa to discuss staging home ties in case they win today and find themselves in the Europa League.
"Highland League teams and shinty teams have changed their games to the Friday night to come and support us," said Derek Adams, their young manager, whose father, George, is the director of football. "The players have done so well this season and they have been able to help the whole of the Highland football community."
South of the border, Huddersfield host Millwall in the first leg of the League One play-off semi-final, while in League Two Aldershot play Rotherham. The other League Two game is tomorrow with Morecambe travelling to Dagenham and Redbridge.
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