Northern football legend Brian Irvine has explained how a chance encounter with the Queen made headlines 22 years ago.
The former Scotland defender, whose penalty won the Scottish Cup for Aberdeen against Celtic in 1990, also played for Ross County from 1999 to 2003.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Inverness in July 2000, primarily to present the Highlands and Islands Business Awards at the Eden Court Theatre.
The royal car pulled up in the town center and that’s when Irvine, who has been capped nine times for Scotland, had the chance to chat with Her Majesty.
He said: “I was walking down Stephen’s Brae in Inverness and hadn’t moved in a long time to play for Ross County.
“The queen was on a visit which I was not aware of. I remember the car stopped and the queen came out and was talking to part of the crowd, which was not too big at this point.
“She came over to where I was and we had a polite conversation. It was certainly memorable for me.
“I think the article even got into the P&J. A reporter asked what we were talking about, but you never reveal what was said.
Feels like a personal bereavement
Weekend professional matches across the UK have been postponed as a mark of respect.
Irvine was fully behind the decision and explained that the events of the past few days carried emotional weight.
He said: “There was no doubt that matches had to be canceled at all levels. It was absolutely the right decision.
“All we know is that the Queen is in charge. Even if I didn’t know her personally, it feels like a bereavement, it feels like she was someone we knew.
“King Charles’ life has completely changed. He just became king, but lost his mother, so it’s a very difficult time for him.
“In the longer term, his being king will be a happy occasion, but it’s bittersweet right now because of the passing of the queen.”
No need to rush for the decision of the next game
Scottish football authorities have yet to confirm whether this weekend’s games will take place, meaning before the Queen’s funeral.
Irvine believes taking the time to consider the mood across the country before making any decision to return to play.
He added: “It might be better to assess the situation better as the days go by.
“We could be ready to resume football next weekend, but at the moment it’s too early to say for sure.”
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[Former Aberdeen and Ross County defender Brian Irvine recalls meeting the Queen in Inverness]