ROSS County manager Derek Adams believes his players’ familiarity with the Highland derby is a boost to their chances in tonight’s clash with Inverness.
The rivals meet for the first time in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League but most of the County squad have sampled the occasion in the Irn-Bru First Division, unlike many of Terry Butcher’s new-look squad. And the Dingwall side have four players in their likely starting line-up who have previously starred for Caley Thistle – Michael Fraser, Ross Tokely, Grant Munro and Iain Vigurs.
The teams last met in the 2009-10 season when both sides won two games each with another match drawn.
“We’ve got a lot of ex-Caley players on our side and they’ll be looking to do well against their old team,” Adams said. “We’ve got players who can play in the big occasions so I’m sure it will be a terrific and special occasion for the Highlands.
“We’ve got players who enjoy playing in big occasions, they’ve played in Scottish Cup finals, these are the boys who will do well for us. We’ve got players who have played in derby matches before for Inverness and Ross County so they know what it means to win.”
Adams claimed it was a “major boost” to have so many former Inverness players on his side.
“Their knowledge of the derby match, their knowledge of what it means to both clubs is a major plus,” he added.
“We’ve got many players who have played in the derby before and that’s a major bonus for us.
“I enjoyed them and I enjoy them more as a manager than I did as a player. It’s a terrific occasion and we’ve done ever so well in the derby matches.”
Both sides sit on eight points after losing only two games each in the first eight matches of the SPL season.
And Adams expects a special occasion as both sides celebrate their ascent to top-flight football.
“It’s great that two clubs have done well in being able to get to the SPL,” he said. “We always want to have a rivalry in our own community or our own cities and we’re 14 miles apart. For both communities, it’s going to be great whoever wins and we will be trying to win the match.
“There is definitely respect there but that goes out the window on Friday night when both teams are trying to take the three points. I don’t care who it’s against, I want to get those three points and take them back across the bridge. We have 2,000 fans who are going to be there. They always give us tremendous backing on the road and it will be no different on Friday night, live on the television. It’s great that the first SPL derby will be shown live to the world.”