Are Ross County prepared for the season ahead?
I would like to think so. Jim McIntyre made his signings early, and despite a hefty turnover of faces, the squad has had plenty of time to gel. That said, the evidence of the final warm up game, a 2-0 defeat to NEC Nijmegen, suggested we are still short in central midfield.
What signing are you most looking forward to seeing?
Andrew Davies. It was something of a coup when County managed to sign the former million pound defender, and he’s looked a class act on and off the park during the summer.
If he’s as good as advertised, then County’s propensity for conceding from corners may be a thing of the past. I’m also a fan of Brian Graham, although many aren’t.
Liam Boyce. Even a cursory glance at the squads for the expected bottom six sides suggests little between most of the teams. Most likely it’ll be the guys who score consistently that make the difference. Liam Boyce is our guy. I fancy his chances, based on the second half of last season.
Central midfield. Ian McShane looks a little passive, while Stuart Murdoch is anything but, but perhaps lacks for creativity. If County can find a combination between Murdoch, McShane and Quinn, they’ll most likely be fine, but I have a feeling our best midfield includes someone who hasn’t been signed yet.
How would you rate Jim McIntyre and can he improve upon last year?
He’s won me round. There’s no question he was responsible for the upturn in results towards the end of last season, notwithstanding the dreadful start to his tenure. He can improve by making sure we concede fewer from corners. I’d really prefer the team to be a bit less direct, but this is his high tempo team, and this is how he plays. A lot of pressure on the wide players to provide for the likes of Graham and Boyce – unlike Adams’ teams, which created a lot more through central midfield. It says a heck of a lot, though, that most County fans gave Jim McIntyre the benefit of the doubt over the Brittain decision.
Anyone or any club you are worried about that may cause problems for you?
Inverness seemed to have the beating of us quite comfortably last season. While County have improved and they have arguably regressed, John Hughes’ “tippy-tappy shite” tended to cause us all sorts of bother. Kris Boyd will no doubt score with every single chance he gets against us.
Expectations for this season?
Billy Dodds says that eighth place is the least the club will settle for. I’d be happy with that, no relegation battle, no need for a January overhaul. A couple of thumping wins, a brief cup run and a regular goalscorer (Boyce) will do just fine, thanks. I also fully expect Brian Graham to completely polarise our support.
Where will Ross County finish in the league this season?
Eighth sounds just about right.
What was the highlight of last season?
The post January run which took us comfortably away from St Mirren. Michael Gardyne’s prodigal return. The two were not unconnected.
What was the low point?
Richie Brittain’s last game. He should still be in the team, or at least in the top flight. Player manager of Brora is ill befitting of his playing ability. There is a photo of him with Boyd which could bring tears to a stone.
Who will win the Premiership?
Celtic, obviously. Second place (which effectively means winning the Premiership) will be Aberdeen.
Who will be relegated?
I have almost no clue. Hearts are a far, far stronger side than St. Mirren so I don’t see anyone getting cut adrift at the bottom this year. Hamilton and Partick’s squads don’t seem to be much stronger than last year, so I think it’s going to come down to whichever one of those sides finds a regular goalscorer.