Hibernian midfielder Jackson Irvine acknowledged the pivotal part Ross County played in his career ahead of his return to the Highland club on Saturday.
The 28-year-old Australia international joined the Staggies initially on loan from Celtic in 2014 then a year later signed a two-year deal.
Irvine helped County to their historic 2016 League Cup final win over Hibs at Hampden Park with a major trophy going up to Dingwall for the first time.
He moved to Burton Albion and Hull City before joining Jack Ross’ side in January following his release from the Tigers last June and is looking forward to going back north to play against 10th place County who are battling for survival.
He said: “I have amazing memories of my time at Ross County.
“It was a huge building block for my career, coming out of the youth team at Celtic and having a difficult loan spell at Kilmarnock the season before, it wasn’t really until I went to County that I found my feet.
“The club helped progress me into the player that I have become since then.
“We achieved some fantastic things during my time at the club and I have very fond memories of those two seasons and what it meant for my career.
“It is a brilliant place to play your football.”
Despite losing their last two matches, Hibs are three points ahead of fourth-placed Aberdeen with a game in hand over the Dons and Irvine is keen to help the Hibees clinch third spot.
He said: “We are in a good strong position to finish third and that has got to be the target now for the end of the season.
“These final two games (before the split) could really push us in to a really strong position going into the split, which is always key
“Especially after a couple of poor results in the last couple of games, we have to remember that’s what is at stake and it is still ultimately in our hands.
“We have put ourselves in this position and the reason we are there is that we are a good team and we have the players that can pull off something special this season and there is plenty of time to do it.
“It has been great so far. I have enjoyed every minute of it after having such a long time out of the game. Everyone at the club has been amazing with me since the start.”
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