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Ridgers would happily spoil family's day to claim Highland derby bragging rights for Inverness Caledonian Thistle against Ross County in Scottish Cup

By Alasdair Fraser

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If Mark Ridgers awakes on the sofa on Saturday morning, he will know it has been a good derby for Caley Thistle.

He might get the cold shoulder from wife Emma for a day or two, but the chilly atmosphere within the family ‘bubble’ will be well worth it.

Ridgers’ other half is an ex-County staff member and avid Staggies fan, as is her mum Linda. Father-in-law Peter Swanson is a Staggies board member.

After graduating from the County youth set-up, Ridgers always tracked their fortunes through playing spells at Hearts, Orlando FC, Partick and St Mirren.

Mark Ridgers was the penalty shoot-out hero in the last meeting between ICT and Ross County in the Scottish Cup. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Mark Ridgers was the penalty shoot-out hero in the last meeting between ICT and Ross County in the Scottish Cup. Picture: Ken Macpherson

That all changed for the Merkinch-raised 30-year-old when he joined Caley Thistle in 2017 – a club he can now envisage finishing his career at. Tonight’s derby will underscore that commitment as he marks his 150th appearance for the Caley Jags.

It could be a special evening, but it might not please the rest of the family.

“They are all mad Ross County fans,” Ridgers said.

“I’ve got good memories from my youth at County, but everything changed at Caley Thistle. As much as I grew up wanting County to do well, it’s the opposite now. For myself, it’s all about getting this club back to the Premiership

“My father-in-law Peter and I’d been getting on really well during lockdown but the relationship could be ruined on Friday!

“Last time in the Scottish Cup, after knocking them out with my penalty kick save, the family were a bit upset. I’d happily take that again on Friday.”

Proud of the career landmark, Ridgers admitted he could see ICT being his final club, if given the chance.

“That’s definitely something I’ve started looking at,” he said.

“I’m getting older, but everyone keeps telling me I’ve plenty years ahead.

“I’ve got a year left after this year, so if the club wants to talk to me about extending it, I will be willing to talk. I’ve really enjoyed my time here. I’m from the city, and being surrounded by friends and family adds to the feeling.

“I’ve played almost 150 games, which I can’t get my head around. Fifty clean sheets was another milestone I was really proud of, but a derby win would be even better.”

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