The rumors have been circulating for weeks that it was only a case of Ross County F.C. offering rivals Inverness Caledonian Thistle F.C. the right amount of money for them to allow midfielder Ross Draper to make the move to Victoria Park. While there is still a medical exam to be passed, it appears that £100,000 was the magic number and that Draper will formally join the Dingwall side in the next few days.
The transfer of a player who has been a stalwart in the Caley side for the past five seasons to their nearby rivals in the Highland Derby is rife with both symbolism and on-field impact for for both clubs. Ross County are pick up the kind of “none shall pass!” defensive presence in midfield that will, along with players like Jim O’Brien, Andrew Davies, and even Kenny van der Weg, give County a bit more or the bite on the defensive side of the ball that they have lacked over the past few seasons. It also shows, symbolically, that as “wee” a club as County are, they are still a Premiership club and have the ways and means to take advantage of a lower division club (oh how I enjoyed typing that!) which finds itself needing to sell off a star player in order to improve their financial standing.
For Caley this is a disaster on every level. Not only did they have to sell off one of their best players to their Highland Derby rivals (though, to be honest, they got good money for him), something that will make it just that much more difficult to gain promotion back to the Premiership following the 2017-2018, but in doing so that have essentially had to admit that they are, despite their larger size, the “junior” club in the Highlands. It would have been one thing if, having been relegated to the Championship, they got out the checkbook, “reloaded,” and made it clear that the situation was “unacceptable” and that they were going to pull out all the stops to make an immediate return to the top flight. But, of course, that’s not what happened. Instead, their actions since being relegated seem to suggest that they are more concerned with surviving in the Championship than immediately returning to the Premiership. Stay tuned on that front!
Having said all of that, welcome to Ross County, Ross Draper!