Right, full disclosure, I’m not going to Dingwall. I am gutted. I have to be at a wedding tomorrow and it means that I will miss the most important game of the season so far (friend who is getting married, if you are reading this, then please ignore the last sentence).
Tomorrow’s encounter will provide us with the sternest test of Robbie Neilson’s reign so far. It will also massively help or hinder our title push as we aim to cut the gap between ourselves, Ayr United and Ross County. Indeed after County’s poor recent results we can close the gap on them to one point, which would provide us with a huge psychological boost ahead of our matches against Alloa and then league leaders Ayr.
This week the club have continued with the Robbie Neilson PR push by hosting a Q&A at Tannadice on Bonfire Night. Anyone who went along to the evening was full of praise for Neilson and for his vision. He continues to come across very well and some would say he presents himself in a similar manner to Craig Levein when he was at Tannadice. His answers are always very measured and precise with little room for ramblings that were a feature of our previous manager. It fills the supporters with optimism but it must also rub off on the players who look like they now know what is expected of them and what they have to do to meet the standards the manager has of them.
So far it seems as though the message is – Use the ball, be dynamic in possession and when you lose it then work your socks off to win it back. This seems to be the ethos that Neilson’s system is based on. It is based on the idea that at this level players make mistakes when put under pressure. It is also so simple but effective that you continue to wonder why anyone who manages in this league wouldn’t do the same (for reference please see our last manager).
We should take yet another brilliant support to Dingwall and without sounding like I am repeating myself at the moment, it is a great time to be a fan. The season ahead will not always be so positive but we can at least enjoy the fact that fans are much more unified during this current upturn in fortunes. It is also so important that the club capitalizes on this and continues this feel good factor.
This week has also seen for me personally a generally very engaging response to my article a few days ago about fan investment and/or fan ownership. From what I have seen there does seem to be a genuine appetite for increased fan involvement but whether or not that would be in the shape of fan ownership is still very much up for debate. If you have yet to read the article it can be found here and it would be great to hear some more feedback on a post that I feel very passionately about.
The club landscape did actually change this week and it is now public knowledge as to who owns what after an update was published on Companies House.
Until now it was never officially in any business document that Stephen Thompson had left the club but we now have that evidence in an official update that informs us that Jimmy Fyffe now owns 43% of the club and Mike Martin owns a similar amount. That leaves us without a single majority shareholder which on paper should be a good start when it comes to the future ownership of the club. We all knew that Thompson had “left the building” but seeing it finally in writing is yet another small boost for the supporters.
Those of you who are very much involved in social media will also know that last week a rumour started to circulate on the Friday afternoon that potential American investors were to be at Tannadice for the Queen of the South game and that there may have even been some official announcement by the club. After the match many different people posted online that Americans were in the Hegarty Suite and in hospitality but as of yet we are still in the dark about what, if any, American investment may be on the horizon.
Back the County game it really is a fantastic opportunity that Neilson and the squad have tomorrow. If they can continue to impress, put a dent in the Ross County challenge and continue to close the gap then it would be a brilliant achievement for the new manager and the club. Hopefully Robbie Neilson’s Tangerine Army will be to in force to support the team.
Possible Starting Lineup vs Ross County –
GK – Benji Siegrist
RB – Stewart Murdoch
CB – Frederic Frans
CB – Rachid Bouhenna
LB – Callum Booth
CM – Fraser Fyvie
CM – Sam Stanton
RM – Fraser Aird
CAM – Billy King
LM – Paul McMullan
ST – Pavol Safranko
Others – Not much news on this front. Paul Watson continues to push for a space in the squad but other than that we probably only maybe have worries about Frederic Frans and Callum Booth. Both are expected to be okay but out of the two Frans would be the biggest doubt. It has to be said that the ‘Edge’ played really well last Saturday as a last-minute replacement so he may well get a chance again tomorrow.
Key Player(s) – Speaking of defenders the reality is that our trip to Dingwall will see us under more pressure than we have been recently. You would expect that after a couple of poor results County will push for the win so we need people like Rachid Bouhenna and our defensive midfielders to show their real quality tomorrow.
View From The Opposition – County took a clean sweep of monthly awards in the Championship for October but they are a bit wounded at the moment having been held to draws in their last two games. They are maybe going through a slight sticky spell but their quality is still very evident. Last time out at home they thrashed Morton 5-0 and if they get going they are a tough, tough team to fight back against. Undoubtedly their strength is in their physical presence and ability to grind down teams with real force. Thankfully we now look like we can match them in the aggression stakes and we will surely provide more of a test to them compared to the last time we faced County.
Current Form (Last Four League Games) –
United – 2-1 Win vs Partick (A), 1-1 Draw vs Inverness (H), 2-0 Win vs Dunfermline (A), 2-0 Win vs Queen of the South (H)
Ross County – 2-1 Win vs Ayr United (H), 5-0 Win vs Greenock Morton (H), 1-1 Draw vs Falkirk (A), 2-2 Draw vs Inverness (A)
The Weekend’s Full Championship Fixture Card –