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Sister papers’ soccer souvenir marks minnows’ European adventure

A special supplement marking a football club’s first venture into Europe has been produced by two sister newspapers.

The Inverness Courier and Highland News have produced the 12-page pull-out as Inverness Caledonian Thistle prepare to take on Romanian side FC Astra Guirgiu in the Europa League second qualifying round tonight.

Readers were able to get their hands on the souvenir, pictured below, in this Tuesday’s edition of the Courier and Wednesday’s edition of the News.

Victory in the Scottish Cup and a third place finish in the league in May ensured the club, which has only been in existence for 21 years, qualified for Europe for the first time this season.

Highland ICT

The Courier and News produced two other 20-page special football pull-outs in May.

The first marked Thistle’s remarkable run, which saw them defeat league champions Celtic to reach the Cup final for the first time, while a follow-up celebrating the Cup victory at Glasgow’s Hampden Park stadium was also printed.

A two section Courier produced on the Tuesday after the side’s Cup success, carrying in-depth coverage and pictures, added 400 extra sales.

The newspaper will also be represented at the away leg of the forthcoming tie in Romania by sports editor Jamie Durrant.

Highland News editor Paul Breen told HTFP: “The recent achievements of such a small club in the Highlands of Scotland have been remarkable and we felt needed to be properly celebrated with our readers.

“The club normally attracts home crowds of less than 4,000, so for it to win the Scottish Cup and now compete in the Europa League is rich reward for the efforts of affable manager John Hughes and his coaching team, the players, directors and backroom staff who have steered the club on a steady course over the years from humble beginnings.

“Myself and a few other staff at the Highland News have watched Caley Thistle grow in stature from day one and we’re delighted to be able to mark another milestone following the glorious Cup-winning day at Hampden Park in May.

“Astra Guirgiu is a very good Romanian side and will be extremely tough opposition. But we wish ‘Yogi’ Hughes and the boys all the very best to upset the odds once again.”

Courier editor Robert Taylor added: “Caley Thistle’s achievement’s this year have been remarkable and have created a buzz around the whole city amongst football fans and non-football fans alike.

“The Inverness Courier has increased its coverage accordingly and we have received excellent feedback from readers.”