Ross County F.C. today announced the signing of two new players- Brian McLean and Graham Carey.
McLean, a defender, joins County after several weeks during which he was the worst kept secret in the Highlands. Though only 28 McLean must be, at this point in his career, described as a journeyman-starter. He began his career at Rangers (though saw no first team action) before moving on to Motherwell, Falkirk, Preston North End, and Dundee United. He’s shown the ability to make the starting 11 throughout his career, but not enough to prevent him from being cut loose by several clubs when better options came a long. McLean has good size (6’2″) and can play at either the center or right back position- he also played as midfielder earlier in his career. Though he was born in Scotland and represented the country at the youth level, McLean’s only senior cap came for Northern Ireland in 2006. He’d probably have more caps than that if every the IFA weren’t incompetent and UEFA wasn’t heartless.
Graham Carey’s signing comes as a surprise, and may turn out to be one of the better moves made by manager Derek Adams in recent years. A central midfielder who has also played striker, the Irishman began his career at Shelbourne before moving on to Celtic as a 16 year old. During six years at Celtic he made only one first team appearance and one Europa League appearance, but showed well enough on loans to clubs in England and Scotland to be snapped up by St. Mirren in 2011 and to be a regular for them for two seasons before somewhat surprisingly being released by the club. My suspicion is that he wants bigger things than the Scottish Premiership, hasn’t found them yet, and has chosen a season at Ross County to keep himself in the proverbial “shop window.” During his year in Dingwall the club will certainly benefit from the abilities of a player who has played at every Republic of Ireland level through U21, has been an SPL Young Player of the Month, won an Irish title with Bohemians, scored last year’s SPL “Goal of the Year,” and is known as a free kick specialist.
On the whole I have no problem with either of these signings, both make the club better. I continue to wonder, however, where the goals are going to come from in 2013-2014? Last year’s four top scorers for the club (Brittain, Vigurs, Sproule, and Quinn) were all midfielders and County’s midfield is probably one of the two or three strongest (or at least “deepest”) in the Premiership- but what are the odds of this happening again? Moreover, how many goals could be added to County’s middling-to-poor haul of 48 goals last year with the addition of a true goal scorer? New signing Kevin Luckassen has shown a nose for goal in the preseason and he might well turn out to be the 12-15 goal scorer that I think County need to sign, but if he’s not the club is left with only Melvin de Leeuw who has anything like a “resume” as a goal scorer- 30 goals in 153 matches.
There has to be somebody out there, right?