The Highland derby is back after an absence of more than a year, and football in the north of Scotland has been reinvigorated by it.
The first meeting of Ross County and Caley Thistle in 17 months was everything it had been built up to be and then some.
The shared aim of going up this term has had a galvanising effect on the two clubs – and understandably so, given that their respective results are going to directly affect the fortunes of the other; it naturally follows that the head-to-head meetings of the clubs matters even more.
That was evident in a frantic and frenetic opening 15 minutes at Victoria Park on Saturday, where the two rivals went at each other with an approach which looked almost carefree if not verging on reckless at times.
Players were surging forward from one end of the pitch to the other before they came to their senses and settled into the game.
Caley Thistle shaded the 90 minutes but a double save from Scott Fox ensured County did not concede, while the home side pinned Inverness back in the closing 10 minutes but were unable to find a goal to take the three points.
In the end Ayr United were the real winners, with the Highland stalemate leaving both camps frustrated and allowing the Honest Men to move to the top of the Championship.
The stakes were high for the 56th competitive meeting of Ross County and Caley Thistle on Saturday.
The Staggies were unbeaten in four matches against the Highlanders, but it was Inverness who arrived in Dingwall as league leaders and with a better overall head-to-head record against their hosts, having won 26 of the previous 55 games with County having won 15.
The last meeting of the sides, in Dingwall in April last year, ended in a 4-0 win for the home side with Liam Boyce scoring all four goals to all but consign Inverness to the Championship.
The gulf that day had rarely been wider between the two sides.
County joining their neighbours in dropping down a division 12 months later has been a sobering experience for fans of football in the Highlands.
With no club representing the region in the top flight the stakes have become high for both clubs in these financially challenging times.
Let’s be honest here, the Championship is a competitive league but it does not command the same focus as the Premiership in terms of revenue or interest from fans.
Games like Saturday’s meeting of the two clubs is therefore a welcome addition to the people looking after the money in the respective Highland clubs, as a packed-out Victoria Park can attest.
With the two clubs neck and neck at the top of the division and united in the common goal of winning promotion back to the Premiership this season, here’s hoping the sight of a packed stadium becomes the norm.
Nationally, the focus may be off the two teams in the north but, for the people who follow these two clubs in the Highlands, the intensity and interest has been rekindled.
In an ideal world both could be playing Premiership come August next year but, given the unfair manner in which the play-offs are weighted heavily in favour of the Premiership’s second bottom team, it will be a turn-up for the books if both can come up.
That’s why this is about more than holding the bragging rights.
Having the upper hand in a rivalry is great, but the spoils of victory will mean so much more if one of these clubs can win the title this season.
On the basis of the first Championship meeting on Saturday, predicting which team will be the top dog come May looks a near impossible task.
There was little between them here and you would have to be bold to predict a winner between these two.