Posted: 3/24/2010


         It seems like half a century ago that I drove my Austin minivan up to Ross County's little ground in Dingwall for a Highland League game. It was cold, windswept and apart from a raised portacabin for the directors, all four sides were open to the winds from the Pentland Firth. Dingwall, a Viking name, became a Burg, or borough under King Alexander II in 1226.

        I had been learning to ski in the Cairngorm mountains earlier in the week. Our head instructor was called Ron, his assistant was called Ron-Ron, so they called my Ron-Ron-Ron for the week. It only cost 8.00 for a week of instructions, ski rental, a bunk bed and 3 hot meals a day. Pretty darn good.  Anyway, I think The Staggies won but can't remember. Tuesday night in Dingwall WAS A NIGHT TO REMEMBER as they came from behind to beat Hibernian of Edinburgh 2-1 in added time from a Scott Boyd goal to bring them face to face with the mighty Celtic in a Scottish Cup semi-final for the first time, at Hampden Park on 10 or 11th April. Raith Rovers face the winner of Dundee United and Rangers in the other semi-final.

        6,600 were crammed into Victoria Park, more than the population of the town, the most northerly professional team in Britain. A few years later, after watching Scotland win a World Cup match, v France, I think, at Hampden I caught the overnight sleeper to Inverness and then changed to the pretty Kyle of Lochalsh line that stops at Dingwall, and on to the Isle of Skye,(by ferry, but now there is a road), an awesome trip.

        The club was formed in 1929, while Hibernian started in 1875. In fact Hibs, or The Hibees, were the first British team to play in the European Cup in 1955, and beat Rot-Weiss Essen, then Djurgardens IF before losing to Reims in the semi-final. Reims lost 4-3 to Real Madrid in Paris in the first ever final. Chelsea were banned by the Football League from playing in the inaugural competition. Matt Busby ignored the league and entered Manchester United the following season. When The Scottish League expanded in 1994 Ross County and Inverness Caledonian Thistle entered the Third Division.  They made it up to the first, were relegated to the Second, and are now back in the First, just below the big guns of the Scottish Premier League.

        Look at the official site, and also the unofficial fan's site to learn more. They also have The Highland Academy next door with many all weather and grass pitches, and the stadium boast 2 very large TV screens.

     On my return south to England over the high road, the Scottish Border country, on that trip long ago, a mother grouse and her little ones suddenly shot out of the heather on the deserted road, and the mother hit my front wheel. I stopped to see if I could offer first aid as the chicks ran off(they are called cheepers), but it was too late. So, I picked up the road kill, drove home, found some friends to pluck and cook it. It was delicious.