SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP

Tulloch Caledonian Stadium

Referee: I Brines | Attendance: 6766

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Inverness Caledonian Thistle

  • Ross Draper 9'
  • Andrew Shinnie 28'
  • Aaron Doran 87'

3 - 1

FT

Ross County

  • Iain Vigurs 48'

Foran: Highland derby won't be dirty contest

Inverness captain Richie Foran has warned fans anticipating a Highland derby ``bloodbath'' they will be disappointed.

Foran has missed half of Caley Thistle's eight Clydesdale Bank Premier League games through suspension this season, and is determined to channel his aggression in a positive manner when Inverness and Ross County meet for the first time in the top flight.

Foran said: ``When the fixtures come out the first fixtures you used to look for is when you play the Old Firm, that was the big game.

``The first fixture I looked for this season is when we play Ross County.

``It's going to be a wonderful occasion and we can't wait for it to start.

``The build-up has been excellent and it looks like it will be a full house.

``All the supporters will be looking for bragging rights and they will probably be looking for a bloodbath as well, but unfortunately I don't think that's going to happen.

``The game has changed so much in the last couple of years.

``If you go to ground in a tackle, even from the front, and even if you win the ball, you are risking a yellow or red card.

``You have got to calm down. We have to make sure we keep 11 players on the pitch so it is not going to be a bloodbath like that.

``We have got to be more aggressive in passing shots on goal rather than aggressive in the tackle.

``It's not worth the risk of being sent off, we don't want to go down to 10 men in this game.''

With goalkeeper Ryan Esson ruled out for up to four weeks with a hip problem, Foran is one of only two players with experience of playing in the Highland derby to be available to Terry Butcher.

The other, Nick Ross, has only sampled five minutes of the fixture on the pitch, but Foran does not believe his side will be at a disadvantage against a County side who have four former Inverness players in their ranks.

``The young lads go out and play with freedom, that's what we tell them every week,'' Foran said.

``On a big occasion like this you have got to go out and enjoy it.

``Once you are enjoying yourself, you will play well and that's how you win the game.

``It's just another game of football, don't get roped up in all the stuff around you, the cameras, the full house, the atmosphere will be cracking.

``We have to be boiling on the outside but nice and calm on the inside.''

Ross County manager Derek Adams believes his players' familiarity with the Highland derby is a significant boost to their chances.

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.

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 the 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 I think 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.

Adams expects a special occasion as both sides celebrate their ascent to top-flight football.

``I just think 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.

``I think 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.''

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