DCSIMG

Brittain and Foran square up in Highland derby

Richie Foran leads out his team alongside opposite number Richie Brittain. Picture: SNS

Richie Foran leads out his team alongside opposite number Richie Brittain. Picture: SNS

  • by ALASDAIR FRASER
 

THEY will be sworn enemies and bitter combatants for 90 minutes tonight with no quarter given, no prisoners taken.

The two Richies, Brittain and Foran, have been squaring up in Highland derbies with blood-curdling intent for five years now. Behind this fiercest of personal rivalries, though, lies deep mutual respect.

Brittain, assessing his opposing captain on the eve of the latest Dingwall derby, stressed the pair were kindred spirits.

The County midfielder, who has eyeballed Irishman Foran in nine derbies to date, said: “I know Richie personally, away from the football, and he’s a good lad. He’s a fierce competitor and, like me, he doesn’t like to lose. We’re cut from the same cloth, you could say.

“It will be a very competitive contest between us if we’re both playing. He wears his heart on his sleeve and I wear my heart on mine.

“That’s the only way the two of us know how to approach a game of football.

“He’s massive for Caley Thistle as captain – Mr Dependable. Every game he is a seven or eight out of ten in terms of performance.

“Having a captain like that who performs consistently well in every single game is just massive for any team. Richie chips in with a few goals for them, too, so he will be a threat we will have to guard against.”

The passion and commitment of the two Richies was never better illustrated than in an unforgettable Dingwall meeting on 1 December, 2012.

In the rollercoaster 3-3 draw in the Scottish Cup, both Brittain and Foran scored stoppage time goals while others around them were accepting the outcome and downing tools.

Brittain reckons that famous derby game epitomised what the pair are all about. The 30-year-old former Livingston and St Mirren man recalled: “That game summed up what the derby is all about and, I suppose, Richie Foran and myself as well.

“But if I remember rightly, Richie Foran’s goal was offside! It just goes to show that we are both players who go right to the final whistle.

“It is in our nature that we don’t know when we’re beat. Hopefully, we can see some of that tomorrow.”

The original tie fell victim to an embarrassing power failure at the ground in October, with live television cameras in presence.

County, back then, were labouring under poor form but enter the rescheduled date in much better fettle after a restorative surge in form since that New Year derby triumph – helped by some shrewd transfer window signings.

Inverness manager John Hughes knows the team from across the Kessock Bridge are now a very different animal to the one his side would have faced back in October.

“I have seen a lot of Ross County and the likes of Yoann Arquin and Filip Kiss are good players,” said Hughes.

“There is a wee bit more of a physical presence about them than earlier in the season.

“Every team in this league is capable of beating each other but, if we keep doing what we do, Ross County will know they have been in a game.

“If we carry a bit of luck and take our chances when they come along, then we could pick up the three points.

“I would rather be where we are than they are but all of their [January] signings have done very well. I saw Arquin when he was at Notts County and Filip Kiss when he was at Cardiff. Jordan Slew played against us at New Year.

“Derek Adams will probably be disappointed his recruitment at the start of the season didn’t quite work out. He has been fortunate enough to get the opportunity to bring in six or seven new players who have blended in well.

“County will have no more physical presence than St Johnstone on Saturday, but it is just another challenge for us – and a challenge we look forward to.”

 

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