Ross County announced today that they have signed Slovakian fullback Erik Čikoš for the remainder of the season (it is unclear at present whether this is a loan deal from Slovan Bratislava or an outright transfer) and that there U20 coach, Barry Smith has signed on to become the manager at Championship side Alloa Athletic.
Smith has only been with County since July when he joined after being- in this writer’s opinion- unfairly dismissed by Dundee F.C.. You will remember that it was Smith who pushed the club to a second place finish (behind Ross County) 2011-2012 and then unexpectedly saw the club promoted to the top flight when Rangers were liquidated. Such was Ross County’s dominance that year that Dundee had already sold off their high earners in the expectation that they would not be gaining promotion and needed to economize. Thus Smith entered the then-SPL season with a depleted squad which, logically, struggled to compete. Wilson was sacked, and Dundee eventually relegated back down to the then-First Division. All of this for a player who made over 400 appearances for the club before taking charge.
Still only 39, Smith takes charge of an Alloa Athletic side now in the Scottish Championship after back-to-back promotions. This rapid improvement has put a pit of a strain on the club who now sit just above the relegation zone in the second division. Smith does have a seven point lead and a match in hand to work with over Cowdenbeath (Greenock Morton are a further seven points back and seem certain to be automatically relegated), so if he can bring some stability and fight to a club that has only one point from their last five matches, they should be safe.
Good luck to both Smith and Čikoš!