the tanner ba'

The 2016-2017 Ross County F.C. Season

As promised a few days ago here are my thoughts on the just-completed season.

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What has two thumbs and…

7th Place

I’m a little ambivalent about this.  In the end it looks okay and we’re staying up, but beyond that…  The goal was to finish in the top half and, who knows, maybe have a sniff of European play for a few weeks before settling into 5th or 6th place for the duration.  I’m afraid that the finger of blame has to be pointed in the direction of Jim McIntyre where this topic is concerned.  It was- in my opinion, if no other- apparent that there was enough talent in the team to finish in the top half, but McIntyre could not seem to settle on a starting eleven on a week-to-week basis, or even find a consistent formation that made the most of the talent he had.  There’s no better example of this than the whole “Liam Boyce in the midfield” saga.  How many more goals would Boyce have scored and how many more points would County have gained if he had just been left up front to do what he does- score goals?  Boyce, however, was just the tip of the iceberg.  Michael Gardyne, one of the most creative players the club has ever had, buried (deep) in the midfield for most of the season?  Jay McEveley playing…at all?  The club finishing as “best of the rest” probably saved McIntyre’s job, but the same finish next season probably shouldn’t.

Liam Boyce

Whatever happens in the future, the one thing can be said of Liam Boyce:  he’s done everything asked of him since he joined the club.  He’s transformed himself physically into a full-time professional footballer, he’s scored the goals he was brought into score (and many more besides), he’s played out of position (and played well), and he’s not let any of his success go to his head- leading scorer in the Premiership, international footballer, etc..  Much like our beloved Jackson Irvine, it’s probably only a matter of time before he is off to far bigger things and I think when he does move on he will do so with the support and thanks of every County supporter.  That said, if we can somehow manage to hold onto him for one more season…

Headed for the Exit

The club recently announced that a number of players would be leaving the club either as the result of their contracts expiring/not being renewed or being told that they can leave on a free even though their contracts still have time left on them.  Here’s the list and a word or two on them where warranted.

First Team

  • Paul Quinn:  A long spell out injured, probably one of the higher payed players at the club, getting on in age, not a surprise.
  • Jonathan Franks:  If County had the luxury of keeping around extra players Franks might have been nice to keep, but they don’t, so…
  • Oscar Gobern:  Watched him in the Developmental Derby against Caley and that seemed to be about the right level for him- which is not good when you’re 26 and already at your eighth club.
  • Ian McShane:  I’ll admit that I thought he might do a job when he was signed from Queen of the South- especially given that it was his former manager that signed him, but for whatever reason he never seemed to break through into the first team.
  • Martin Woods:  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a player over which club supporters were so split.  Some think he was a liability, others that he was the “glue” that allowed those around him to play to the best of their abilities.

Development Team

  • David Brownlie
  • Chris McLaughlin:  This one surprised me a bit as he seemed to be at least working his way onto the substitutes’ bench this season.
  • Matt Hall

 

Staying a little longer…

I think the good news is that so many players have chosen to extend their stays with the club.  I think that says that, whatever problems supporters might have with him, Jim McIntyre hasn’t “lost the dressing room,” and that the players feel that the club still has the potential to improve in the Premiership.

  • Kenny Van Der Weg: has been offered a new contract, terms being worked out.
  • Tony Dingwall: has been offered a six month contract while he continues to recover from injury (class move by the club).
  • Chris Burke:  discussing a contract extension while he to recovers from illness.  I hope he can get well- he might be a bit long in the tooth, but his quality is evident every time he plays.
  • Scott Fox:  2 year extension.  Can’t believe we held onto him!
  • Alex Schalk:  1 year extension.  Again, great news!
  • Ryan Dow:  2 year extension.  Felt like he might be a “spare part” when he was signed last September, but he got better as the season progressed.
  • Craig Curran:  1 year extension.  Glad he’s healthy, hope he stays that way.  Such a hard worker and probably good for 8-10 a year if he gets enough minutes.

In addition to these players, a number of developmental players have had their contracts extended:  Davis Keillor-Dunn, Reghan Tumilty, Russell Dingwall, Dylan Dykes, Blair Malcolm, and Mark Foden.

Give us a reason…

The recently announced Scottish U20 squad contained no players from the DEVELOPMENTAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONS Ross County, and PREMIERSHIP LEADING SCORER Liam Boyce couldn’t get a sniff of any of the Player of the Year awards.  Looks like County will have to make a point next year…

And finally…

Feelings vary where our arch-rivals being relegated to the Championship are concerned. On the negative side, no non-cup Highland Derbies for at least a season, one less Highland side in the top tier, tough times for those of their supporters who might also be our friends, colleagues, relatives, etc..  But on the positive side, if we know one thing, it is this:

highlander_there_can_be_only_one_quote

 

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