Ross County midfielder Michael Gardyne reckons competition holders Celtic need no warning about the danger of underestimating the Staggies in Sunday’s League Cup semi-final.
Jim McIntyre’s men take on the Hoops at Hampden Park this weekend, with the Dingwall squad aiming to reach the final of the tournament for the first time with a victory.
Gardyne was part of the County side that delivered the most famous result in the club’s history nearly six years ago when they defeated Celtic 2-0 at the national stadium thanks to goals from Steven Craig and Martin Scott.
The Staggies were then a Division 1 club, but Gardyne, who is in his fourth spell at Victoria Park, believes the Parkhead club will be well aware of the progress his side has made since winning promotion to the top-flight in 2012.
He said: “It’s obviously a lot different this time. But we’re looking forward to it. The mood is good in the camp and we’re feeling confident after winning at the weekend.
“We were a First Division club then and it was the rags to riches story. We’re in the Premiership and doing well, we’re in fourth place, so Celtic will certainly not look at it the way they did years ago.
“It’s a different team. Celtic were going through a transition back then as well. It’s a totally different scenario now but we just need to try and worry about ourselves and look forward to the game.”
Gardyne began his career at Celtic but failed to make the breakthrough to first-team level, initially joining County on loan in 2006, before making the move permanent 18 months later following a spell with Morton.
The 30-year-old is well aware of the expectation placed upon the Hoops’ players, with manager Ronny Deila under pressure to deliver a domestic treble following a poor showing in Europe this season.
Gardyne added: “As a Celtic player you’re expected to win every week. They’re expected to win every cup and win the league by 20 points.
“That’s just what it’s like playing for Celtic.
“It was all about winning. You needed to win at under-18 level and under-21, and that’s what you need to make it as a first-team player at Celtic.
“We’ll be looking forward to it, knowing we’re underdogs. The pressure is off us. We can go in and enjoy the game, but we know we need to be at our best to get a positive result.”