Ross County today announced some of it’s preseason matches ahead of the 2014-2015 Scottish Premiership season. They are as follows:
Suffice it to say that this will not, in the end, be the full preseason schedule. Additional matches will be sandwiched in between the current dates, secondary matches (requiring split squads) will likely be added on some of these dates, and you can rest assured that if the club is traveling to the Netherlands again it won’t be just for a “one off” match against F.C. Twente! I’m assuming, of course, that the last match on the list is an “away” date, but based on the picture above, who wouldn’t want to travel to Dingwall to play in that setting!?
As long as I have your attention, can I make a plea for any matches added to this schedule to be matches NOT against clubs in the Highland League? Don’t get me wrong, I know that County have built their support over the years by making sincere and continued forays into the Highlands (and Islands) during preseason and that people in those areas have repaid them by adopting County as their “big club”- you don’t get to the Premiership from a town with a population smaller than the capacity of your stadium without drawing in and counting on, “outsiders.” That being said, how much good is playing against this level of competition doing a club that has proven its worth at the highest level in Scotland?
Yes, these matches benefit the club off the field. Yes, they provide ample playing time for all of County’s players from the club’s “stars” all the way down to the squad and youth players. Yes, they are a boon to the clubs they play and the towns they play in, but are they actually helping the club get better ahead of the 2014-2015 season? Up to a point (starting slowly, building fitness, etc.), but after that point, no, I don’t think they are. Manchester United are probably not coming to Dingwall again this summer, but why not a club in the Championship, or even one of the better League One sides?
I realize it would take somebody at the club having connections, strings to pull, or something to offer prospective opponents, but how nice would it be to see a preseason match against a club with some real football history behind it? Of the top of my head, how about Derby, Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday, Wolves, Preston North End, or Nottingham Forest? Or, failing that, can Blackburn Rovers just let us keep Jordan Slew and Yann Songo’o for another season?