I’ve been writing a lot in recent weeks here on the site about trying to keep as positive an attitude as possible when it comes to what I’m sure will be the ups-and-downs of Ross County F.C.’s first season in the Scottish Premier League, and so far, so good. Expectations have been rational and overreactions have been minimal.
So, when I was greeted with the news (and manner) of their 2-1 loss to St. Johnstone F.C. this afternoon I needed to sit down, take a few deep breaths, and think about the big picture. I knew County’s 40 match unbeaten streak in league play was going to come to an end sooner or later, but I did not expect it to happen in this manner. How, I asked myself, was I going to spin a home defeat against a team that played with 10 men for the last hour of the match, who, until they beat Celtic last week and County this week, were considered to be one of the worst clubs in the SPL, enough to find something positive in it?
Here is what I’ve come up with: First, as one often hears leading up to the NCAA’s “March Madness,” there is such a thing as a “good loss” for a team that hasn’t faced much adversity to date. In this case, the loss serves two purposes- it takes the pressure of continuing the streak off the club and it serves as a wake-up call that County really do need to find their “killer instinct” if they are going to avoid relegation. This has been apparent in past weeks when they have dominated matches but walked away with only a single point and today, when they couldn’t put away a team that was minus a player for two-thirds of the match.
Second, striker Sam Morrow- starting in place of the injured Colin McMenamin- not only scored a goal today, but was generally a “handful” for his entire time on the pitch today. This is good news for a County attack that, including today’s tally, has produced only three goals in the club’s first seven matches. I don’t know that Derek Adams will start playing with two up front, but at least he now knows that he has a capable player to start matches or come off the bench late in them if McMenamin can’t find his shooting boots in the near future.
Finally, even with today’s lost County remains on track for safety- with 8 points from their first 7 matches. They’ve dropped down to the middle of the SPL pack with today’s loss, but with the table as tight as it has been in years- if not decades- that could change just as quickly if they win their next match. And speaking of that next match…
…it’s against St. Mirren and the boys will have to stay focused on the match in front of them it will be followed on October 10 by the first Highland Derby to take place between two SPL sides. Did I mention that Inverness Caledonian Thistle F.C. are in second to last place, have the second worst goal differential in the league, are the only club not to record a win thus far this season, and they’re in financial trouble?
See, positive, positive, positive!