With Scotland’s “must-win” match against Macedonia about to kick off I want to make it clear how happy I am that Ross County F.C. is so well represented in the nationals side today. Midfielder Don Cowie (10 caps so far) was born in Inverness, raised in Strathpeffer (less than 5 miles from
Victoria Park Global Energy Stadium), and moved through the County youth system before becoming the club captain and playing over 200 matches for the Staggies. Another midfielder, Charlie Adam, spent half a season on loan in Dingwall when he was signed for Rangers. Finally, goalkeeper Craig Sampson has been called in for goalkeeping depth with Allan McGregor’s health in doubt- wait a minute, CRAIG SAMPSON?!
Craig Sampson who was the starting goalkeeper for Ross County in 2006-2007, after which they were relegated back to the Second Division- the only backward step on their climb from the Highland League to the SPL which started in 1994.? Craig Sampson who has only lasted more than one season with any club in his career once (St. Mirren, his current club)? Craig Sampson who guided the Buddies to an 8th place finish last year? Craig Sampson whose club is currently behind Ross County in the SPL standings? Craig Sampson, finally, who has given up 5 goals in 5 matches this season- and two of those to lowly Caley Thistle? He deserves a cap?!
What if there was a keeper in the SPL who was the same age and height as Sampson? What if he had twice the SPL experience of Sampson? What if he had only given up 1 goal in 5 matches in the SPL this season (and that goal was to Celtic, defending champions), and what if those performances were part of a 39 match unbeaten string stretching all the way back to the third match of the 2011-2012 season? What if he was the most important factor in having his newly promoted side in 5th place? Wouldn’t that player merit a seat on the bench ahead of Craig Sampson?
If only such a player existed…