|Other names||El Kessocko, The Cold Firm|
|Teams||Inverness CT and Ross County|
|Stadiums||Caledonian Stadium, Inverness and Victoria Park, Dingwall|
|Most wins||Inverness CT (26)|
The Highland derby is a football rivalry that is based in the Scottish Highlands. It is contested between the only two senior league clubs in the Highland council area, Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County. The city of Inverness and town of Dingwall are only 14 miles (23 km) apart, whereas the nearest other professional clubs (Aberdeen, Dundee, Dundee United and St Johnstone) are over 100 miles (160 km) away from either club. The fixture is the most northerly professional football derby in the UK.
The rivalry first arose in 1994, when Caledonian Thistle (whose name did not yet include the city) were formed out of the merger between Caledonian and Inverness Thistle. Both the new Inverness club and Ross County had been accepted as new teams into the Scottish Football League, starting a trend of Highland League clubs entering the SFL. The first match between the sides was a Third Division contest, played on 27 August 1994 at Victoria Park, won 3–1 by Inverness.
Since that historic first match, the encounter has gone from strength to strength as both teams improved and came to compete near the top of the Scottish football league system. Both have significant fanbases that have grown due to their successes since their inclusion in 1994. Attendances at the derby matches often surpass the 5,000 mark, making the match itself a popular attraction. The clubs met in the top flight of Scottish football for the first time during the 2012–13 Scottish Premier League season. For a few months in 2016, the Highland clubs were simultaneously the holders of the country's two major cups, with Inverness's triumph in the 2015 Scottish Cup Final followed by Ross County's win in the 2016 Scottish League Cup Final (March).
In head-to-head matches, the teams have played each other in 61 games, with Inverness Caledonian Thistle winning 26 times, compared to Ross County's 17. A total of 18 matches have ended in a draw. Inverness have won more league, Scottish Cup and Challenge Cup matches, with both teams tied in League Cup matches.
- As of 2 April 2019
|Team||League||Scottish Cup||League Cup||Challenge Cup||Total|
|Inverness CT v Ross County||Ross County v Inverness CT|
|1994–95||Third Division||29 Oct 1994||Telford Street Park||0 – 0||2,440||27 Aug 1994||Victoria Park||1 – 3||3,157|
|6 May 1995||Telford Street Park||3 – 0||3,562||2 Jan 1995||Victoria Park||3 – 1||2,749|
|1995–96||Third Division||30 Sep 1995||Telford Street Park||1 – 1||3,625||18 Nov 1995||Victoria Park||2 – 0||4,288|
|23 Jan 1996||Telford Street Park||1 – 1||4,931||16 Mar 1996||Victoria Park||2 – 1||3,670|
|1996–97||Third Division||16 Nov 1996||Caledonian Stadium||2 – 0||4,562||28 Sep 1996||Victoria Park||1 – 3||3,598|
|15 Mar 1997||Caledonian Stadium||3 – 0||5,525||12 Feb 1997||Victoria Park||0 – 3||5,017|
|2000–01||First Division||16 Sep 2000||Caledonian Stadium||0 – 1||4,823||18 Nov 2000||Victoria Park||0 – 3||5,721|
|2 Jan 2001||Caledonian Stadium||3 – 3||5,291||31 Mar 2001||Victoria Park||0 – 1||5,876|
|2001–02||First Division||17 Nov 2001||Caledonian Stadium||3 – 0||4,513||15 Sep 2001||Victoria Park||2 – 1||4,679|
|23 Mar 2002||Caledonian Stadium||1 – 1||4,685||19 Mar 2002||Victoria Park||0 – 0||4,414|
|2002–03||First Division||24 Aug 2002||Caledonian Stadium||2 – 0||3,669||9 Nov 2002||Victoria Park||0 – 2||5,449|
|25 Feb 2003||Caledonian Stadium||1 – 5||3,443||8 Mar 2003||Victoria Park||0 – 2||4,621|
|2003–04||First Division||14 Nov 2003||Caledonian Stadium||3 – 3||3,523||30 Aug 2003||Victoria Park||1 – 1||5,020|
|27 Mar 2004||Caledonian Stadium||1 – 0||4,019||3 Jan 2004||Victoria Park||1 – 0||6,120|
|2009–10||First Division||29 Aug 2009||Caledonian Stadium||1 – 3||5,846||7 Nov 2009||Victoria Park||2 – 1||5,506|
|30 Mar 2010||Caledonian Stadium||3 – 0||5,411||20 Mar 2010||Victoria Park||0 – 0||5,928|
|2012–13||Premier League||5 Oct 2012||Caledonian Stadium||3 – 1||6,766||2 Mar 2013||Victoria Park||0 – 0||5,959|
|16 Mar 2013||Caledonian Stadium||2 – 1||5,750||19 May 2013||Victoria Park||1 – 0||6,002|
|2013–14||Premiership||1 Jan 2014||Caledonian Stadium||1 – 2||4,332||25 Feb 2014||Victoria Park||0 – 3||4,805|
|4 Apr 2014||Victoria Park||1 – 2||4,433|
|2014–15||Premiership||5 Oct 2014||Caledonian Stadium||1 – 1||3,741||1 Jan 2015||Victoria Park||1 – 3||4,887|
|31 Jan 2015||Caledonian Stadium||1 – 1||4,021|
|2015–16||Premiership||2 Jan 2016||Caledonian Stadium||2 – 0||5,388||3 Oct 2015||Victoria Park||1 – 2||5,473|
|19 Mar 2016||Victoria Park||0 – 3||5,912|
|2016–17||Premiership||13 Aug 2016||Caledonian Stadium||2 – 3||4,204||31 Dec 2016||Victoria Park||3 – 2||5,111|
|18 Mar 2017||Caledonian Stadium||1 – 1||4,123||28 Apr 2017||Victoria Park||4 – 0||4,928|
|2018–19||Championship||3 Nov 2018||Caledonian Stadium||2 – 2||4,353||22 Sep 2018||Victoria Park||0 – 0||6,402|
|2 Apr 2019||Caledonian Stadium||1 – 2||3,795||29 Dec 2018||Victoria Park||2 – 1||6,313|
|2003–04||Challenge Cup||Quarter-final||26 Aug 2003||Caledonian Stadium||1 – 0||2,631|
|2004–05||League Cup||Second round||24 Aug 2004||Victoria Park||0 – 1||3,315|
|2009–10||Challenge Cup||Semi-final||4 Oct 2009||Caledonian Stadium||1 – 0||2,755|
|2012–13||Scottish Cup||Fourth round||1 Dec 2012||Victoria Park||3 – 3||5,077|
|Fourth round replay||11 Dec 2012||Caledonian Stadium||2 – 1||4,135|
|2015–16||League Cup||Quarter-final||27 Oct 2015||Caledonian Stadium||1 – 2||3,004|
|2018–19||Scottish Cup||Fifth round||11 Feb 2019||Victoria Park||2 – 2||2,600|
|Fifth round replay||19 Feb 2019||Caledonian Stadium||2 – 2[a]||3,608|
Players with 3 or more goals in the Highland derby.
- As of 2 April 2019
|Scorer||Team(s)||League||Scottish Cup||League Cup||Challenge Cup||Total|
|Liam Boyce||Ross County||10||—||—||—||10|
|Dennis Wyness||Inverness CT||9||—||—||—||9|
|Billy McKay||Inverness CT||4||3||—||—||8|
|Iain Stewart||Inverness CT||7||—||—||—||7|
|Aaron Doran||Inverness CT||5||1||—||—||6|
|Alan Hercher||Inverness CT||4||—||—||—||4|
|Jamie McPherson||Ross County||4||—||—||—||4|
|Iain Vigurs||Ross County||2||2||—||—||4|
|Ross Draper||Inverness CT||3||—||—||—||3|
|Steven Ferguson||Ross County||3||—||—||—||3|
|Brian Grant||Ross County||3||—||—||—||3|
|Barry Robson||Inverness CT||3||—||—||—||3|
|Miles Storey||Inverness CT||3||—||—||—||3|
|Marley Watkins||Inverness CT||3||—||—||—||3|
|Barry Wilson||Inverness CT||3||—||—||—||3|
|Greg Tansey||Inverness CT||2||—||1||—||3|
|Steve Hislop||Inverness CT||1||—||—||1||3|
|Richie Foran||Inverness CT||1||2||—||—||3|
|Ross Stewart||Ross County||1||2||—||—||3|
|Jordan White||Inverness CT||1||2||—||—||3|
|Michael Gardyne||Ross County||1||1||1||—||3|
Notable players and managers of both clubs
A number of players have played for both clubs. Craig Brewster is a former player and manager of ICT who then played for and coached Ross County. John Robertson has had spells as manager at both clubs.
Among the players who have featured for both sides are:
- Andrew Barrowman
- Graham Bayne
- Mark Brown
- Joe Chalmers
- Alex Cooper
- Don Cowie
- Lionel Djebi-Zadi
- Ross Draper
- Russell Duncan
- Michael Fraser
- Les Fridge
- Stuart Golabek
- Richie Hart
- Richard Hastings
- Steven Hislop
- Roy McBain
- Mark McCulloch
- Billy McKay
- Gary McSwegan
- Alan Morgan
- Grant Munro
- John Rankin
- Antonio Reguero
- Mark Ridgers
- Hugh Robertson
- Greg Tansey
- Ross Tokely
- Iain Vigurs
- Nicky Walker
- Steven Watt
- Barry Wilson
- Garry Wood
These are the football honours of Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County since they joined the Scottish League in 1994–95:
|National Titles||Inverness Caledonian Thistle||Ross County|
|First Division/Championship||2 (2/0)||2 (1/1)|
|Scottish League Cup||—||1|
|Scottish Challenge Cup||2||3|
|National Competition||Caledonian||Inverness Thistle||Ross County|
|Highland Football League||18||8||3|
|Highland League Cup||5||3||4|
|North of Scotland Cup||20||13||4|
- Amy MacBeath (19 February 2019). "Inverness CT v Ross County: 25 years of Scotland's friendly rivalry". BBC Sport. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
- Bannerman, Charles (30 March 2010). "Inverness CT 3–0 Ross County". BBC Sport. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- McLeod, Graeme (12 April 2008). "Highland clubs reluctant to join SFL ranks". The Scotsman. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- "Highlands 'buzzing' ahead of first SPL derby of the season". BBC Sport. BBC. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- "Inverness C T 3 Ross County 1: Clubs' first competitive meeting in the top flight proves worth the wait". heraldscotland. Herald & Times Group. 6 October 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- "McKay settles Cold Firm clash". PA Sport. Yahoo! and Eurosport. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- Fraser, Alasdair (5 May 2010). "Highland football has never had it so good after County's Cup run and Caley promotion, say Wilsons". Daily Record. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- "Highland Football Academy launched". Scottish Government. 10 April 2002. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- "About Us". Highland Football Academy. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- "All time results between Inverness CT and Ross County". Soccerbase. Retrieved 18 February 2008.
- "Ross County sign Brewster at 42". BBC Sport. 5 February 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- "Hislop in Highland switch". BBC Sport. 13 February 2003. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- "Reguero Joins". Ross County website. 16 June 2014. Archived from the original on 16 June 2014.
- "Inverness pair join Ross County". BBC Sport. 3 June 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- All-time matches between Inverness CT and Ross County at Soccerbase