Later today defender Scott Boyd will play in a record 288th senior match for Ross County F.C., eclipsing the record currently held by his former teammate, Mark McCulloch.
Boyd joined County on loan from Partick Thistle F.C. in September of 2007 (after starting his career with Livingston F.C.) when the club was in the Second Division, having been relegated the previous season. During his time he has been part of a side that won the Challenge Cup, he scored the winning goal against Hibernian to put County into the 2009-2010 Scottish Cup semi-final, he has captained the side, and he was in an integral member of the club’s improbable rise from the Second Division to the Premiership. When he finishes his current contract he will have been with the club for a full decade and receive a well-earned testimonial.
During that time there has not be a hint of scandal or controversy attached to him and he has been the consummate professional both on and off the pitch. The fact that he has played so many matches in such a relatively short time also means that he plays while injured. Every athlete does this, all the time, and in the rough-and-tumble world of Scottish football it’s probably even more common than it is elsewhere. But have you ever heard him mention this? Have you ever heard him use it as an excuse for a sub-par performance? You have not.
There has always been a group of supporters who want to talk about what Scott Boyd “is not.” They are particularly interested in what he is not “great” at. They want to focus on him not being the fastest member of the squad, on him not being the strongest, or not being the most technical. They have even gone so far as to call him the “Ginger Pelé” (which I have been guilty of using as well), a moniker that, while it is meant to be endearing, it still contains a hint of mockery, of negativity. What those who criticize Boyd for “not being great” fail to understand is that, for his entire tenure at the club, he has been “very good.” Sure, his form occasionally dips- as that of all players does- but the facts speak for themselves.
Boyd has played in three different divisions in Scotland since his career began in 2005 and no side he has been in at three clubs has ever been relegated, only promoted, and he has played a large part in all of these sides. At Ross County alone he has played under Dick Campbell, Derek Adams (twice), Craig Brewster, the immortal Willie McStay, George Adams (briefly!), Jimmy Calderwood, and Jim McIntyre and all of these men have seen fit to put his name on the team sheet match after match, season after season, year after year. This, despite the fact that most of these men have gone out and brought in other defenders- Martyn Corrigan, Darren MacCormack, John Bateson, Branislav Mcic, the list goes on- Boyd remains, Body plays, the club continues to succeed.
Has he been the best player on any of these teams? No. Has he been one of the three best? Probably not. Has he been one of the top five? Yes.