Former Ross County midfielder Paul Lawson believes the Staggies’ stunning run to the 2010 Scottish Cup final was the catalyst for them to become an established Premiership side.
Today marks 10 years since the Dingwall outfit faced Dundee United at Hampden.
Although a 3-0 defeat by the Arabs was not the fairytale finish County had hoped for after stunning victories against Hibs and Celtic, Lawson believes it was an important landmark.
Lawson, now 36, played in that showpiece occasion and two years later was part of Derek Adams’ Staggies team that won promotion to the Scottish Premier League for the first time. Since then, County have spent just one season outside the top flight.
Formartine player-manager Lawson, who played at Victoria Park from 2007-2013, said: “I think that period was where Ross County announced themselves to Scottish football really.
“We’d put Hibs out in the quarter-final (2-1 win) but certainly the result against Celtic (2-0 victory) in the semi-final put us on the map and made a lot of people sit up and take notice of Ross County.
“That was a great achievement but I think the promotion two years later was a bigger success.
“Since then the club has come on leaps and bounds and established itself in the top flight, but I think the cup run was the start of that process.”
Lawson admits it was only years later that the enormity of County’s achievement a decade ago sunk in.
He added: “Myself and a number of guys have said since that we let ourselves down a bit in the final.
Some of the best images from County’s 3-0 Scottish Cup loss to Dundee United in 2010:
“We didn’t quite manage to hit the heights we had in the previous rounds. At the time after the game it’s disappointing and a sore one to take.
“It’s only maybe when you get to anniversaries like five years or 10 years that you look back and realise what an achievement it was at the time.
“That’s not being disrespectful to us as players, but with where the club was at that time, to get to the final and beat the teams we beat on the way was a tremendous achievement.
“As players we still felt we could go on and win the trophy, but on the day we let ourselves down to an extent.
Watch the full replay of the 2010 Scottish Cup final here:
“But it’s still a time in my career – and I’d imagine it’s the same for everyone else in that squad – where I look back with fond memories.”
Lawson also praised manager Adams for assembling a Staggies squad with players who had a point to prove after being cast aside by other clubs.
The former Celtic player said: “Derek got the job as manager when he was 32 and straight from the off he knew exactly what he wanted and what he wanted to do.
“He could upset people along the way, myself included at times, but ultimately, to be successful I think you have to be like that.
“He assembled a great squad and he had the knack of gelling the team so that they fitted so well.
“I don’t know if it was deliberate or not, but it seemed like he was taking players on with a point to prove and the hunger and desire to reach the levels they felt they should be at.”