Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson hopes Caley Thistle remember what their former players did for them as they make their return to the Highland capital in this weekend’s derby.
Billy Mckay, Ross Draper and Iain Vigurs could all make their first appearances at the Caledonian Stadium since joining the Staggies.
Vigurs and Mckay have both played at Inverness as opposition players before but it will be the first return for Draper since his moving over the Kessock Bridge last summer.
Ferguson expects the players in question to brush off any flak they might get from the home fans on Saturday, adding their contribution to the Caley Thistle cause ought not to be forgotten.
He said: “We feel if any type of player can deal with that situation, it’s the players that have crossed over. It won’t bother them – it’s something they’ll relish. What sort of reception will they get? They’re big enough and broad enough in the shoulders and it’s probably more tongue in cheek rather than any genuine hatred.
“The players we have served their club exceptionally well and if the supporters’ memories serve them correctly, they’ll realise they have a lot to thank them for.”
Vigurs was the fans and players’ player of the year for the Caley Jags last year, while Draper won the Scottish Cup as an Inverness player in 2015. Mckay netted 66 times in 145 appearances across two spells at Caley Thistle, working under Terry Butcher, John Hughes and Richie Foran.
John Robertson’s side come into the derby on the back of five straight draws and have struggled for goals, recording two in their last five games.
They are, however, on a 22-game unbeaten run, stretching to the end of last season and Ferguson is wary of the threat they pose.
He added: “I’m sure they’re delighted in the fact that they’re not conceding many goals. The problem has been scoring goals and sometimes it’s difficult on these undefeated runs – I’ve been in the situation where the focus is on keeping the run going, rather than winning games. That can get lost.
“The run can’t be underestimated, it’s spoken about all of the time. It’s a big thing to Inverness and it’s their prerogative. They want to put one over on us and there seems a real focus on us from them, which is fair enough. For us, it’s another game, another three points and an opportunity to stay top of the league.”