Ross County’s Scottish League Cup semi-final victory over Celtic will this week be recognised by the Scottish Parliament.
But the local MP has joked that when it comes to the final, he will be unable to lend his allegiance to his constituency team.
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has lodged a motion at Holyrood in the wake of County’s stunning 3-1 victory over Celtic at Hampden on Sunday.
Mrs Grant said: “Ross County is a great community football club, from the supporters all the way through to the chairman and board. For them to have secured a final place for the first time in 100 years is a terrific achievement and puts the club and Dingwall firmly on the map. The success of the team filters through to the community at large and generates a feel-good factor, making them proud of their local football club.
“I wish Ross County FC every success as they grow as a club and also in the League Cup Final against Hibernian FC.”
County recovered from the loss of an early Gary MacKay Steven goal to win 3-1. A Martin Woods penalty – after Celtic defender Efe Ambrose was sent off – levelled the tie, and second-half goals from Paul Quinn and Alex Schalk sent the Dingwall through to their first-ever league cup final.
MSP Ian Blackford, meanwhile, admitted that the final on 13th March might leave him feeling a little conflicted.
Mr Blackford is an avid Hibs supporter, although his constituency of Ross, Skye and Lochaber covers the Staggies’ heartland.
He said: “Football ought to be about local heroes, particularly when it is against the odds and you are the underdogs. The story of the success of the Staggies is a great Roy of the Rovers archetypal tale. With my heart being in the Highlands, I would be happy to see Highland success. However, to quote the late great Lawrie Reilly, I was born a Hibee, I will die a Hibee. If Hibs win, I will feel for County, whilst at the same time, as the local MP, I will have a smile on my face if the cup comes up the road to Dingwall.”
The motion submitted by Rhoda Grant reads: “That the Parliament congratulates Ross County on the team’s success against Celtic in the semi-final of the Scottish League Cup, which was played at Hampden Park on 31 January 2016; acknowledges what it sees as the drive, determination and endeavour of all involved with the community club in helping it to make it the success that it has become; recognises the contribution of the fans; understands that many made the difficult journey south to attend the match, and wishes everyone connected with the club every success in the final and in the future.”