They were dancing in the streets of Dingwall last night after Ross County brought back the spoils from their historic League Cup victory at Hampden.
Alex Schalk struck at the death to secure a 2-1 win over Hibs and secure the Staggies’ first ever major triumph.
The result means that both of Scottish football’s main cup trophies reside in the Highlands – with the League Cup in Dingwall joining the Scottish Cup held by Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Nearly 9,000 Staggies supporters made the journey to the hallowed Glasgow stadium, leaving the club’s hometown, which has a population of 5,500, close to empty.
However, the fans left behind packed into the town’s bars to watch their team record an unprecedented success in nail-biting fashion.
The tension grew after the sides scored a goal apiece in the first half and the match appeared to be heading for extra-time before Schalk broke the deadlock in the 90th minute.
That dramatic late winner sparked wild celebrations, both among the travelling support and those watching at home in Ross-shire.
At the Mallard pub in Dingwall, close to the club’s Victoria Park, 21-year-old fan Callum Shaw, who missed the trip because of work commitments, was overcome with emotion on the final whistle.
He said: “It’s amazing, I am speechless.
“They have got to take us seriously in the Highlands now, we have come all the way from the Highland League to here and we are the first team to do that.”
Fellow fan Andrew O’Connor, 33, paid tribute to the club’s chairman Roy MacGregor, saying the win wouldn’t have been possible without his work at the club.
He added: “Who would have thought this was possible? What a success story. It is just such a brilliant day.”
The fans took the long road back up the A9 after the match, with more than 50 buses having made the trip.
Among the supporters was lifelong Staggies fan, Dingwall councillor and recent £50,000 winner in the Postcode Lottery Margaret Paterson.
Speaking last night on her way home, she said: “I am in seventh heaven, over the Moon. It is almost as good as that Postcode Lottery win. Everybody is on a high. We are so proud. It is wonderful for Dingwall and the whole area.”
However, there were mixed emotions for Ross, Skye and Lochaber SNP MP Ian Blackford – a Hibs fan who was at Hampden for the match.
He said: “I congratulate Ross County. Obviously for the Highlands, it’s a great day.
“The fact that the two cups are now residing in the Highlands puts the whole Highland area on the map as far as Scottish football is concerned.
“Particularly for Ross County, coming up from the Highland League through the leagues and, really, for Dingwall and Ross-shire and the rest of the Highlands, it’s a very fine achievement.
“I send my warm congratulations to the club. When I am back at Parliament, I’ll be placing a motion in front of the House, so that Parliament can also note the success that Ross County had have.”
Asked how he coped with his divided loyalties, he said: “It was always going to be a difficult day. I would have been happy to see Hibs win, but, at the same time, I’m happy for the Highlands and my constituents.
“I’ve seen Hibs lift the League Cup – 2007 was the most recent time and I can remember how I felt on that occasion.”
Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Rob Gibson said: “I am delighted for Ross County, all their supporters and for their hard work over the years.
“This is just a great achievement for them. I am sure that they are going to be up there and fighting in future and that this win at Hampden says that football in the Highlands has a big impact on Scottish football as a whole.”
Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP Drew Hendry said: “County have made history today. It’s fantastic for the Highlands. It shows that we can do anything here.
“It’s a great result for the spirit and perseverance of both clubs that we now have the Scottish Cup and the League Cup residing in the Highlands and are now a force to be reckoned with.
“The rest of Scotland is sitting up and taking notice of both the football and the progression of the Highlands.”