Ross County and Caley Thistle will meet for the first time in exactly two years when they face each other in tomorrow’s Scottish Cup Highland derby at Victoria Park.
It will be the ninth meeting between the sides in cup competitions, with Staggies boss John Hughes coming up against the Inverness side he led to victory in the Scottish Cup in 2015.
With a last-16 place at stake, we take a look at the eight previous cup classics between the Highland rivals:
August 26, 2003 – Challenge Cup
Caley Thistle 1-0 Ross County
Following 24 league meetings, the two sides met in knock-out action for the first time at Caledonian Stadium.
Steven Hislop netted the game’s only goal on 49 minutes, only a matter of months after making the switch across the Kessock Bridge to become John Robertson’s first signing during his initial spell in charge at Inverness.
The result proved the springboard for Caley Jags to ultimately win the competition, with Hislop scoring again in the 2-0 final victory over Airdrie United at McDiarmid Park.
August 24, 2004 – League Cup
Ross County 0-1 Caley Thistle
Prior to this weekend’s encounter, this remains the only previous Highland derby to be contested between the sides when they have been in different leagues.
Inverness were newly promoted to the Scottish Premier League under Robertson, with their top-flight status shining through as Ross Tokely scored the decisive goal on 64 minutes.
October 4, 2009 – Challenge Cup
Caley Thistle 1-0 Ross County
Following Inverness’ relegation from the top flight in 2009, the two sides were paired in the semi-final of the Challenge Cup.
It was Terry Butcher’s men who came out on top thanks to a late first half goal from Robert Eagle, who had joined from Norwich City during the summer.
That set up a final against Dundee at McDiarmid Park the following month. Despite Inverness racking up a two-goal half-time lead through goals from Adam Rooney and Nauris Bulvitis, a resurgent second half display from the Dark Blues saw them run out 3-2 winners.
December 1, 2012 – Scottish Cup
Ross County 3-3 Caley Thistle
The rivals met each other in the Scottish Cup for the first time, in what turned out to be a game widely considered one of the greatest Highland derbies of all time.
Inverness had led at the break through now Ross County forward Billy Mckay’s opener, however Rocco Quinn cancelled it out early in the second period.
Richie Foran restored Caley Jags’ advantage on 74 minutes, however quickfire late goals from Iain Vigurs and a Richie Brittain free-kick – as the game entered stoppage time – looked to have secured the victory for the Staggies.
Remarkably, there was still time for a late reply from Inverness, with Richie Foran bundling home following a corner to force a replay.
December 11, 2012 – Scottish Cup replay
Caley Thistle 2-1 Ross County
Inverness struck first in the replay courtesy of Billy Mckay’s penalty, however Iain Vigurs netted the equaliser just before half-time.
Mckay netted the winning goal early in the second half however, which proved decisive in sending the newly-promoted Staggies out of the competition.
The win set up a tie away to Kilmarnock, however the Ayrshire outfit ran out 2-0 winners at Rugby Park.
October 27, 2015 – League Cup
Caley Thistle 1-2 Ross County
County secured their first cup triumph over Caley Thistle, which proved to be a significant one in setting up a League Cup semi final against Celtic.
Jackson Irvine opened the scoring with a bullet header in the first half, with Michael Gardyne doubling the advantage shortly after the break.
Greg Tansey pulled one back for the home side, however County survived the late rally with a win which put Jim McIntyre’s men on course to win the competition with a final victory over Hibernian the following March.
February 11, 2019 – Scottish Cup
Ross County 2-2 Caley Thistle
With both sides in the mix for promotion from the Championship, the last-16 tie offered the added incentive of a Scottish Cup quarter-final place.
Aaron Doran’s stunning early strike was cancelled out by Ross Stewart early in the second half, however Inverness regained the lead through Brad Mckay.
With the game well into stoppage time, Josh Mullin netted a last-gasp equaliser to set up a replay at Caledonian Stadium.
February 19, 2019 – Scottish Cup replay
Caley Thistle 2-2 Ross County – Caley Thistle won 5-4 on penalties
The replay proved to be just as thrilling, with the two sides sharing the same scoreline to take the tie all the way to penalties.
Ross Stewart’s opener was cancelled out by Jordan White, who has since made the switch to Dingwall.
Michael Gardyne restored the Staggies’ advantage, before White equalised for a second time late in the match.
With no breakthrough in extra-time, it was Caley Jags who triumphed on spot-kicks, with Mark Ridgers saving a Declan McManus effort, which allowed Nathan Austin to net the all-important winning kick.
Inverness went on to reach the semi-finals, before losing 3-0 to Hearts at Hampden Park.