At this time last year- almost to the day!- I marveled at the way that the Ross County back room staff (Derek Adams, George Adams, and Roy McGregor) had used the connections made by current and former players to bring players to Victoria Park who would have never otherwise heard of Ross County F.C.. The subsequent influx of players (Ivan Sproule, Evangelos Oikonomou, Andre Hainault, etc.) turned what looked to be a prolonged relegation battle into a fifth place finish and a brief- and exciting- flirtation with the possibility of European football. It appears as though Adams and Co. have done it again and that gives supporters hope that the second half of the 2013-2014 season will be just as exciting as last year’s. Let’s take a look-
Čikoš, a Slovakian right back (a position County desperately need to strengthen) is only 25 has has already played with such storied clubs as Poland’s Wisla Krakow and Slovakia’s Slovan Bratislava. He has also been a Slovakian age-group international player through the U-23 level. So how have we arrived at a place where he and this club far-off in the Scottish Highlands might be considering a deal?
That seems fairly simple- current County on-loan wonder boy and former Slovakian youth international Filip Kiss must have reached out to him. But wait, how did Filip Kiss end up moving from Cardiff City to Ross County? That’s easy too- one of his teammates at Cardiff City was Don Cowie, Scottish international, Ross County Youth Academy product, and player of over 200 matches for County. Duh.
So that takes care of those two Slovakians, let’s see how many of the rest of this year’s cast of international characters (some of whom arrived during the summer transfer window) we can account for?
And then there is Nejc Mevlja…
I haven’t yet made a “connection” with him, but let’s talk about him anyway! Mevlja is a Slovenian (not Slovakian) defender believed to be on trial at Victoria Park. The 23 year old plays for NK Maribor in Slovenia. Maribor are the biggest and best club in Slovenia, and if that’s not enough, just ask the “bigger” and “better” clubs they’ve knocked out of European competitions over the past twenty years (Olympic Lyonnais, Villareal, Hibernian, Rangers, Dynamo Kyiv, etc.) about their quality.
From January 2012 through March 2013 Mevlja, a U21 international, was out of football due to injuries suffered in a automobile accident. He has played only three matches so far this season, so the goal of a move to County would be for one of two reasons: to get the playing time that would allow him to work his way back into the Maribor starting eleven upon return from a loan or as a way of putting himself in the “shop window” for a few months (a season?) in order to generate other offers for a permanent move.
Either way, this will all be wrapped up within a week!
*Thanks to Craig Lewis (via Twitter) for this information!