Caley Thistle goalkeeper Mark Ridgers has warned Ross County their budget will not guarantee them success in the Championship.
County are expected to have one of the biggest budgets to bankroll an immediate return to the Premiership but Ridgers, a former Staggies youngster, reckons you only have to look at Dundee United to show it is not always the deciding factor.
For the first time in eight years, both Highland clubs will be in the second tier and have dreams of getting back to the top flight. Caley Thistle came fifth last season and missed out on the play-offs on the final day.
County have made no secret of their ambitions to win the title but Ridgers says the larger budget on offer in Dingwall does not guarantee it will happen.
Ridgers said: “You can’t just look at budgets. Take Livingston this season – what they went on to achieve just shows you that you don’t need to spend lots and lots of money in the Championship. A lot of it is down to hard work in getting through all the games.
“Dundee United had a big budget last year and they failed.
“Look at Livingston, they came up from League 1 and went straight to the Premier League. Just because you’re paying a lot more than other teams doesn’t mean you get the right to go straight back up.”
Ridgers, who made his senior debut as a 15-year-old for County, is relishing the chance to come up against his first club again.
He was born in Inverness but his wife, Emma, works at Ross County and father-in-law Peter Swanson is on the board of directors.
The 27-year-old feels the two sides can spur each other on in the Championship and finishing above the Staggies will give them a good chance of success.
Ridgers said: “It is the wrong league we’d want the teams to be in but that’s just the way things are at the moment for football in the Highlands.
“We want to continue in the way we left off. I do think the two clubs can feed off each other in the Championship.
“Straight away, you’re competing with that added edge. Realistically, if we can finish above Ross County in the league we’re going to give ourselves a better chance than we did this year.”