This is the week that any periodical writer fears. Nothing of any interest whatsoever happened. Not a jot. Zilch. Nada. So as a result, there’s nothing to write about. I often wish the news channels would be a bit more honest, rather than making up pretend news with no relevance to anyone.
“Today, on the World Tonight – nothing happened other than some unseasonable snow showers in Tokyo, but that’s not really that important so here’s some light music.”
This week at Ross County nothing happened. Well, that’s not strictly true. We revealed our shirts for next season, which are pretty similar to our shirts for this season. Try writing 750 words on that. The Richard Brittain thing went away. Good, but not news. Ross County beat Dundee United and a not-very-good Dundee United prospect with Jedward hair got sent off. Not really news, although the Jedward reference is pretty shameful.
The club decided to get some new ground-staff. Again, not really earth-shattering stuff (pun entirely intended). The rest of this post is, accordingly, the literary equivalent of the light music they play on Radio 4 when somebody presses the wrong button and the air goes dead. Regular or discerning readers can feel free to skip this week, nobody would blame you.
For most Ross County fans at the start of the season, even at the winter break, the idea of nothing happening would have seemed astonishing. Bighoosegate looked like it would never go away, one half of the Old Firm died and Jim Traynor was blaming us. You and I were to blame for years of systematic corruption at Rangers.
Dundee were thrown in to the SPL underserving and unprepared. Many County fans saw it as a lifeline; eleventh position was all but secured. Since then, Celtic have stumbled to the title, the top six has been virtually decided, albeit in an order almost nobody would have predicted. St.Johnstone, Ross County and Inverness are battling it out for the third European place, the honour of traveling to, and getting thrashed in, Iceland in the middle of July. Dundee have sacked their manager and replaced him with John Brown, who was chief pitchfork wielder outside Rangers during the summer and still is now, for all it would seem.
Motherwell have done nicely but unsurprisingly well, Hibs have done nothing of any note, Hearts have gone bust but not properly bust. Kenny Shiels’ diatribes have entertained, enraged and quickly gone stale.
League reconstruction was blown out the water by Roy McGregor and Stewart Gilmour who for a while were bullied like naughty little boys but soon everyone realised that they were right.
Neil Lennon has moaned, moaned and then moaned some more, making his club even less liked by the wider football public than was ever previously thought possible. Players have been banned for diving and involved in the racial abuse of fans, and Giovanni Di Steffano made a more-than-welcome reappearance – before promptly getting sent to jail for fraud. Pretty dull season, all in all.
Ross County set out not to get relegated. By Christmas we had achieved that with surprising comfort, and so Uncle Roy made a telephone call to the League of Nations (or at least, a very well-traveled agent). In came a Greek (Oikonomou), a German (Wohlfarth), a Canadian (Hainault), and for 23 minutes a Swiss/Serb (Micic). Our pitch disintegrated into a sandpit. Then manager Derek Adams turned down Aberdeen. Now we’ve qualiﬁed for the top six and rather going through the motions until the ﬁnal derby game of the season, which may (but probably won’t) affect the European place. All the while the club stood up to an insane proposal to replicate the Austrian League of 1977 into the SPL of 2014.
Oh, and Ross Tokely was signed, played reasonably well, and got released. The stadium was transformed into 6,000 all seater arena, renamed, and resurfaced. The club continued to lead the nation in the quality provision of macaroni pies. And Steffen Wohlfarth wore his very ﬁrst kilt. It was black. All of which, in totality, is a remarkable achievement.
Europe or no, Ross County have transmogriﬁed into a genuine SPL club. It only took £1.5 million in stadium redevelopments, undersoil heating that has prevented precisely zero postponements, an influx of foreign stars who luckily (or by careful proﬁling?) have integrated seamlessly into the team and community, a ridiculous last-minute victory over Celtic, a thumping of Motherwell and the retaining of one of the most promising managers in the Scottish game. Unmitigated disaster has been observed, survived and then averted. All in less than twelve months.
This week at Ross County, nothing happened. On balance, I’ll take that.