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VIDEO: Eight years ago today, Ross County stunned Celtic in the Hampden sun to reach their first major final

It will go down as one of the finest days in Ross County’s history and in many ways, it was the first time the Staggies properly announced themselves on the national stage.

On April 10, 2010, the unfancied Dingwall side took on Celtic at Hampden Park in the Scottish Cup semi-final.

Pre-match, the feeling was that a win and a maiden appearance in the Scottish Cup final would be lovely, of course it would, but you had to be realistic about the chances of a team that ultimately finished fifth in the second tier.

The Ross County heroes that stunned Celtic in 2010: where are they now?

After all, just 11 days before the semi-final the Staggies were thrashed 3-0 by rivals Caley Thistle.

Inverness were set for their own glory that season, an incredible unbeaten run catapulting them towards an immediate return to the SPL by clinching the First Division title.

Not to be outdone however, County sought their own slice of glory.

That quest may have ultimately ended in failure when Dundee United triumphed 3-0 over the Staggies in the May showpiece but what a run to the final it was.

Lower-league opposition were easily swatted aside in the earlier rounds. County’s cup run began with a 5-1 thrashing of Berwick Rangers at Victoria Park and they followed it up with a 4-0 drubbing of Highland League Inverurie Loco Works and an astonishing 9-0 win over Stirling in the fifth round.

A late Michael Gardyne equaliser earned them a 2-2 draw against Hibs at Easter Road in the quarter-final and although they trailed to an Anthony Stokes goal in the replay in Dingwall, a goal from Garry Wood and a stoppage-time winner from Scott Boyd sent the Staggies’ supporters into dreamland.

And Celtic’s form gave hope to County ahead of the big match. Two weeks earlier they had been hammered 4-0 by St Mirren, a result that cost Tony Mowbray his job, and they were well adrift of eventual champions Rangers in the top flight.

That said, Neil Lennon was in temporary charge and the expectation was that he’d need to win the Scottish Cup to have any hope of landing the job permanently.

Despite their recent woes, he named a team including seasoned internationals like Robbie Keane, Aiden McGeady, Georgios Samaras and Scott Brown.

But in the end, that star-studded squad was no match for the grit and determination of a dogged County team bossed by Derek Adams.

Steven Craig’s opened the scoring on 55 minutes and with the Bhoys chasing the game, Martin Scott doubled their advantage with a volleyed finish two minutes from time.

Not only did County win 2-0 but they were deserved winners. They enjoyed lots of possession and restricted the Glasgow team to just five attempts at goal.

In contrast, the Staggies managed 12.

Understandably, the Celtic faithful were not happy. Supporters gathered at Parkhead post-match to castigate the players as they left the team bus and Lennon was forced to intervene to calm some of them down.

As it happened, he managed to win the final six league matches of the season, including a derby success over Rangers, and was handed the reins full-time, winning three titles before departing.

Ross County may not have won the final but many of this side were still key components when the Staggies romped to the First Division title in 2011-2012, where they’ve been a permanent fixture in the top flight ever since.

Ross County: McGovern, Miller, Morrison, Boyd, Keddie, Scott, Brittain, Vigurs, Gardyne (Lawson 90), Barrowman, Craig. Subs not used: Malin, Kettlewell, Di Giacomo, Wood.

Goals: Craig 55, Scott 88.

Celtic: Zaluska, Hinkel (Rasmussen 84), Naylor, Thompson, O’Dea, N’Guemo (Crosas 42), Brown, McGeady, Keane, Samaras, Fortune (McCourt 67). Subs not used: Cervi, Wilson.

Attendance: 24,535

 

 

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