Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

WATCH: Seven Staggies heroes reflect on Ross County’s run to the 2010 Scottish Cup final

Ross County players celebrate after beating Celtic in the 2010 Scottish Cup semi-final.
Ross County players celebrate after beating Celtic in the 2010 Scottish Cup semi-final.

If Ross County’s players need any inspiration as they attempt to escape the relegation play-off tomorrow, they can always hark back to the club’s class of 2010.

It was 11 years ago today the Staggies appeared in the Scottish Cup final for the one and only time.

May 15, 2010 ultimately ended in disappointment for the near 20,000 County fans who descended on Hampden Park.

A long-range David Goodwillie strike and a Craig Conway double propelled Dundee United to glory.

But the journey to Hampden was littered with memorable moments.

Moments which key figures at the club believe helped get the club to where they are today.

In chairman Roy MacGregor’s eyes, the foundations for County’s promotion to the top flight in 2012 and League Cup triumph in 2016 were forged during a magical run in the spring of 2010.

Roy MacGregor celebrates his side’s victory over Celtic in April 2010.

“That was the journey that made us a Premier League club,” he said. “As Highlanders we tend to be humble and not shout too much about ourselves.

“But this lifted the bar in terms of thinking about what could happen. It fuelled a frenzy and the final was like a Highland wedding.

“Buses full of mums, dads, granddad, granny, ex-pats, it told me a lot about the potential of Ross County.”

The early rounds

Under manager Derek Adams, the Staggies were on the up in 2009-10.

After winning promotion back to the First Division in 2008, the club consolidated their place in Scotland’s second tier in 2008-09 and were quietly confident heading into the new campaign.

Derek Adams encourages his players during a derby victory against Caley Thistle in August 2009. Picture by Sandy McCook

A pair of derby victories over freshly-relegated Caley Thistle had the Staggies among the title challengers in the first half of the season.

Had the club not embarked on an energy-sapping seven-match run to the final, could they have mounted a stronger title challenge?

In the eyes of County’s class of 2010, undoubtedly.

As it turned out, a favourable draw through the first three rounds put the Staggies into their first-ever Scottish Cup quarter-final.

Berwick Rangers were their first victims, falling 5-1 in Dingwall in the third round.

Ross County making themselves heard at Hampden Park. Picture by Raymond Besant

A 4-0 triumph over Highland League Inverurie Locos followed before the Staggies thumped Stirling 9-0.

They were all matches Derek Adams would have expected to win, but the manner of the Stirling result was particularly impressive.

This was a team who ended up winning the division below that same season.

That set up a trip to play Hibs at Easter Road and, in the eyes of most pundits, certain defeat.

‘You are battering us’

In March 2010, Hibs were bossed by a now familiar face.

John Hughes had the Edinburgh side playing good stuff with a team full of players like Derek Riordan, Anthony Stokes and Liam Miller.

Goals from Colin Nish and Riordan – either side of an Ian Murray own goal – had Hibs in front heading into the late stages.

Michael Gardyne wheels away to celebrate after netting a late equalising goal against Hibs.

A late equaliser from Michael Gardyne sent the tie to a replay and, back under the lights at Victoria Park, the Staggies had every reason to be confident.

Gardyne, who is still a key part of the current team and now holds club records for most appearances and goals, said: “We really fancied our chances in the replay. We knew it was somewhere they wouldn’t want to come midweek.

“I remember Colin Nish saying to me during the game that we were absolutely battering them, that was nice to hear.”

Derek Adams (right) celebrates with assistant Craig Brewster after a Scottish Cup victory over Hibs in March 2010.

Stokes had Hibs in front just after half-time, but a dramatic equaliser from substitute Garry Wood set the game up for a grandstand finish.

With extra-time looking certain, Staggies stalwart Scott Boyd bundled home a Richie Brittain corner to spark wild scenes of celebration.

Full of belief

County’s reward for their upset win over Hibs was a trip to Hampden Park to take on Celtic.

The Glasgow club were in a period of transition having recently sacked manager Tony Mowbray.

That said, interim boss Neil Lennon still had players like Robbie Keane, Aiden McGeady and Scott Brown to choose from.

Celtic’s Robbie Keane (right) tussles with Scott Boyd.

Keane, on loan from Spurs, was reportedly taking home around £65,000 a week at the time.

Few people expected the Staggies to pose the Glasgow giants any problems.

Apart from the County players and staff themselves, it seems.

Paul Lawson, who featured 190 times across six years with the Dingwall club between 2007 and 2013, said: “Credit to Derek Adams, he was full of belief beforehand.

“We used to have a guy called Stuart Millar who did reports on the opposition. It’d be ‘he’s not good at this, we could do this to them.’

Paul Lawson during his playing days with Ross County in 2010. Picture by Sandy McCook

“The Celtic report was no different. It was all about what they couldn’t do and how, if we stuck to our gameplan, we’d be fine.”

‘Every single one of us excelled ourselves’

As it happened, County were more than fine.

Not only did they beat Celtic, they were full value for their 2-0 win.

Roy MacGregor recalled looking into the players’ eyes before kick-off and being surprised to see how calm they were.

Leading from the front with that attitude was captain Richie Brittain.

Ross County captain Richard Brittain (left) celebrates with Michael Gardyne at the end of their Scottish Cup semi-final match against Celtic. Picture by Raymond Besant

“There was no pressure on us whatsoever,” said Brittain, who enjoyed seven seasons with the Staggies and is now the club’s assistant manager.

“I remember us being incredibly relaxed. The press already had Celtic in the final, we were cannon fodder who were just to turn up and play second fiddle.

“But we knew we had a chance and every single one of us excelled ourselves.”

‘Ross County are living the dream’

A bone-crunching challenge from Staggies stopper Alex Keddie on Celtic midfielder Landry N’Guemo in the opening minute set the tone and the Dingwall men grew in confidence from there.

After a goalless first half, Derek Adams’ message to his players at the interval was simple: keep believing in yourselves.

Ross County striker Steven Craig celebrates after opening the scoring against Celtic. Picture by Raymond Besant

With 55 minutes on the clock, Steven Craig wrote his name into County folklore when he gathered the ball close to the halfway line, burst past two Celtic players and then smashed a shot past Lukasz Zaluska.

“As soon as I picked up the ball, I knew I was going to score,” said Craig. “If the onus had been on us that day, it would’ve been different.

“But we went down to Hampden under the radar and no one can argue we did not deserve the victory.”


Michael McGovern had a few saves to make in the County goal, but Adams’ team were surprisingly comfortable.

When Andrew Barrowman burst down Celtic’s right and fired a cross in for Martin Scott to tap in for 2-0 on 88 minutes, the nerves lifted and the party could really begin.

The final

The nature of second-tier football meant Ross County had a pile of fixtures to finish before the end of April, and then two weeks off before the showpiece final against Dundee United.

A training camp in the sun was planned to help prepare the players, but more than 650 miles away in Iceland, a volcanic eruption at Eyjafjallajökull grounded thousands of flights and scuppered County’s plans.

Ross County’s Andrew Barrowman (left) gets away from Garry Kenneth in 2010 Scottish Cup final.

“We had 10 games in April, that did take its toll on us,” said Barrowman, who had returned for a second spell with the Staggies in the January transfer window.

“We were supposed to have four or five days in Marbella, but then the ash cloud happened. Instead we ended up having warm weather training in Dingwall.”

If Celtic were guilty of underestimating County, the same charge cannot be levelled at Dundee United.

Arabs manager Peter Houston was a constant presence during the Staggies post-Celtic matches.

Coming up short after getting so close to winning the competition was heartbreaking for the players.

But with a bit of time to recover, they were quickly able to reflect on the scale of their achievement.

Ross County’s Iain Vigurs (left) with Morgaro Gomis during the 2010 final.

Current County captain Iain Vigurs was still in his first season with the Staggies back in 2010.

He said: “At the time, you are gutted. But we did come out of nowhere. At some point you need to look back and say that it was an incredible achievement.

“It was an amazing feeling. To experience it with a group who had such a close bond, that was even better.”