Mark Ridgers sees no reason why Caley Thistle can’t continue their Scottish Cup “love affair” by knocking out Premiership side Hibernian this weekend.
The Inverness goalkeeper, a runner-up in the competition last summer, knows the Championship team go into Saturday’s tie as underdogs.
However, with the club having won the trophy in 2015, and been three-times beaten semi-finalists within their three-decade history, the 33-year-old wants to help write a fresh chapter.
ICT are seventh in the league, while inconsistent Hibs dropped out of the top-six of the top-flight when they lost 3-0 at home to St Mirren at the weekend. They also squeezed past League Two Forfar Athletic 1-0 in the last round.
All the pressure is on Hibs – Ridgers
Inverness go into the fifth-round clash on the back of a 1-0 league loss against Queen’s Park, but Ridgers believes they can play with the freedom that this competition offers.
Ridgers said: “We were really disappointed after Saturday, but ahead of the Scottish Cup it’s a different situation, with a one-off outcome to look forward to.
“Playing a Premiership team, the pressure is all on Hibs – especially after their recent results, which have not been great either.
“They will come here with a point to prove, but we’ve got a love affair with the Scottish Cup.
“We go into the game not having to go for it like we had to on Saturday. We’re looking forward to it.
“We have a point to prove, because we were disappointed with how Saturday turned out. It’s an opportunity to get back to what we’re capable of and not let the manager down again.”
Hibs won’t sit in – and ICT can attack
The ICT number one said: “Our home games are very similar in how they pan out. We know our form at the stadium is not great at all this season.
“That’s why we’re in the position we’re in, but when teams come at us, with the way we play under the manager, it suits us a bit.
“We have a big pitch and teams come here and sit back and it then is up to us to break them down, but then our opponents nick a goal, as has been happening to us.
“I can’t see Hibs playing that way, especially the way their results have been. I expect a completely different game.”
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Championship sides fancy chances
As well as ICT v Hibs, Morton will fancy a Friday scalp at home to Motherwell, in-form Airdrie might test Hearts, Scott Brown’s Ayr United visit Rangers and Partick Thistle will not fear Premiership basement side Livingston at Firhill.
Ridgers reckons teams from the Championship should head into the ties with confidence.
He said: “The gulf between the Championship and the Premiership is not as big as people think, apart from Celtic and Rangers and maybe Hearts, who have shown their dominance this season.
“There are a lot of Championship teams who could easily compete with many sides in the Premiership.
“The biggest factor is budgets. Teams are spending a lot of money, but in the Scottish Cup especially, we know what to expect. We’ve done it before – beaten Premiership sides on the way to semi-finals and finals.
“To reach that stage this season, we will have to do that again by beating Hibs.”