Inverness goalkeeper Ridgers hoping to break Hearts on Hampden debut

Inverness goalkeeper Mark Ridgers is a Hampden Scottish Cup final winner but is looking forward to his first appearance at the national stadium on Saturday.

The 28-year-old Invernesian was on the Hearts bench when the Jambos beat Edinburgh rivals Hibernian 5-1 in the 2012 final and he enjoyed the celebrations which gathered momentum on the way from Glasgow to Gorgie.

By twist of fate, Hearts stand in his way of another appearance in the final against either Aberdeen or Celtic, who play in the other semi-final this Sunday.

Ridgers may already have a winners’ medal but is keen to feature against his former club and help give the Championship side – winners of the trophy in 2015 – and himself the opportunity for another glory day.

He told Football Paradise: “Especially with being from Inverness, my home town, it would be amazing.

“I have never played at Hampden. I have been on the bench, I never got the opportunity to play so to walk out on Saturday and play for Inverness…as a young Scottish kid, you want to play at Hampden and this opportunity for me is amazing.

“We will see what happens on the day and if it means getting to a final then it is another one to look forward to.

“It was nice to win it and be involved in it with Hearts.

“Going up to lift the cup was amazing and the whole aftermath with the fans was mental. That’s when I realised how big a club Hearts are.

“I had been there for a while as a youth player but the scenes driving back from Glasgow and on the streets of Edinburgh, the parties after it, was incredible and I loved every minute of it and to be part of it was fantastic.

“But to be able to play and win it would be a completely different ball game.

“It is going to be a really difficult task, we know that but then we have been playing well and it is one we are looking forward to.

“It is going to be a great occasion. It is football and anything can happen.”

Ridgers has not been back to Hampden Park at all since that cup final win and he looks forward to rekindling some warm memories.

The former St Mirren and Partick Thistle stopper said: “This will be the first time going back.

“Obviously I left Hearts a few years after and went to St Mirren and then to America (Orlando City B) and so I haven’t been back.

“I trained next to it on Lesser Hampden when I was at Partick Thistle so I have looked on to it – but it is one I am looking forward to.

“It will be a proud moment for me and my family.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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