Ross County & Inverness CT face 'Highlands stigma' - Robertson

Ross County manager Jim McIntyre
Ross County manager Jim McIntyre celebrates beating Celtic in their League Cup semi-final

Ross County and Inverness Caledonian Thistle still face a 'Highlands stigma' despite their recent success, says ex-manager of both clubs John Robertson.

The Hearts legend led Caley Thistle into the Scottish top flight in 2004 and also had a short spell at County.

Inverness have finished in the top five for three years running while Staggies are fourth and in the League Cup final.

"People have this stigma about the Highlands as a footballing outpost; it is not," Robertson told BBC Scotland.

"There are a lot of good players up here. Both clubs deserve tremendous credit for the work they have done over the last four or five years."

Inverness' Graeme Shinnie celebrates with the Scottish Cup after beating Falkirk in the 2015 final
Caley Thistle's Scottish Cup win last season was a landmark moment for the club

As well as their highest-ever league finish of third last season, Inverness won the Scottish Cup for the first time, a year after reaching their first League Cup final in 2014.

After promotion in 2012, Ross County have finished fifth, seventh and ninth, but currently lie fourth in the Premiership ahead of Wednesday's visit of third-placed Hearts.

The Staggies have also have a League Cup final against Hibernian on the horizon after beating Celtic in the last four, and a home Scottish Cup quarter-final against Dundee United.

Finishes in Scottish Premiership - last 4 years
Ross CountySeason Inverness CT
9th2014-153rd
7th2013-14 5th
5th2012-134th
First Div champs2011-1210th

"People still seem surprised," Robertson said. "We have been saying for years the talent was up here. The Highland clubs have made tremendous progress. They are both really well run and both have quality players.

"Inverness have been hamstrung by injuries this year but they are still going well in the Scottish Cup and will fancy their chances of retaining that [Caley are away to Hearts or Hibs in the last eight].

"Everything is going fantastically well at Dingwall at the moment. County have rarely been out of the top six.

"They have been well backed by the chairman, spent really well and have just added a bit more quality and experience with David Goodwillie to bolster their attacking options.

"They are in the League Cup final and have a wonderful chance of reaching at least the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup."