County are off to the final!

Saturday was a lovely day – beautiful sunshine, a brilliant wedding, and in the middle of it all, the news coming through from Hampden that the mighty Ross County had beaten Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final.

What a result!  2-0 for the team struggling in the promotion race in Division 1 over the Old Firm giants sitting second in the SPL.  Regardless of the result in the final, it’s been a great season for football in the Highlands, with Inverness Caledonian Thistle looking favourites to win the Division 1 title and return to the SPL. And now this – plucky Ross County overcoming first Hibs and then Celtic to make the Scottish Cup final next month.

The thought occurs, though, that it’s not actually that much of a surprise.  Celtic are having, to put nicely, a season of transition as they move from the Strachan era to whatever lies next in their challenge to overcome Rangers.  Tony Mowbray failed to show signs of bringing about the change needed, and this wasn’t the first surprising defeat of late for them.

Meanwhile, Ross County have been punching strongly in Division 1, which has over the past few seasons been fiercely competitive, with half a dozen or so sides staking credible claims on the one promotion spot.  For years, people have been calling for an increase in the size of the SPL, and one such reason is that there is nothing to distinguish the top half or more of Division 1 from the bottom handful of SPL sides, and cup results frequently demonstrate that.

What we had then, in effect, was a top SPL side on a terrible run against a side worthy of being somewhere around the basement of the SPL.  Upsets between such sides occur more than rarely in the league, and if and when Ross County make it to the SPL (whether it is restructured or not) such results will continue to happen every now and then.

So yes it was a historic result, and yes it was a surprise, but probably not as seismic as it’s being made out.

Still, it doesn’t really matter either way – Ross County in the Scottish Cup Final is great news and a moment to savour.

With any luck I’ll be there to cheer them on on the fifteenth of May.

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