Highlands & Islands

Argentina legends backing Ross County's relegation fight

Ricky Villa and Ossie Ardiles with Ross County scarf and a fan in London on Thursday night Image copyright Adrian Pope
Image caption Ricky Villa and Ossie Ardiles with Ross County scarf and a fan in London on Thursday night

Two South American football legends are backing Scottish club Ross County's fight to avoid relegation.

Former Tottenham Hotspur stars Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa are supporting the Dingwall-based side because of the club's connections with Argentina.

The first president of Argentine club Rosario Central was Colin Bain Calder from Dingwall.

Ardiles and Villa were photographed with a County scarf at a conference on sports diplomacy in London.

The Staggies, who are bottom of the Scottish Premiership, face St Johnstone at Perth on Saturday and need to win to have any hope of staying in the league, and not being relegated to the Championship.

The aim of the event Ardiles and Villa attended was to look at how sport can be used to help build bridges and heal rifts between countries and rival communities.

Rosario Central rivalry with Newells Old Boys - Lionell Messi's former club - is one of the most intense in world football.

Newells Old Boys were founded by Isaac Newell who was originally from Kent.

Adrian Pope, who is also from Kent and formerly a teacher in Argentina, was also at the diplomacy conference and photographed Ardiles and Villa with the County scarf.

Mr Pope is a fan of English side Gillingham and is trying to generate interest in a series of football friendlies involving Ross County, Gillingham, Rosario Central and Newells Old Boys to mark their connections.

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